Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Crashing A Protest and Meeting the Broccoli King

I called Kent to eat lunch and it finally dawned on me that Sydney was friggin expensive. To have a simple lunch somewhere is around $20 Aus which in reality is only $16 US- but I think $16 for lunch is a lot for a normal day. I have to say that Australian food was not my favorite. I was already overdosing on fish and chips. I walked Kent back to his office and noticed some commotion in the street in front of his building. He ran off to work and I decided to find out what the hubbub was about. It turned out to be a protest for Comfort Women in front of the Japanese consulate. Apparently, during WWII, the Japanese had kidnapped 200,000 Australian, Chinese, and Korean women and forced them into sexual slavery for their soldiers. They wanted an official apology, reparations, commitment to non-repetition, and a blurb in Japanese history schoolbooks. I was a little leery at first because I wasn’t sure what this was all about and the last thing I wanted was to get tear-gassed and arrested in the street. It was my first protest and I felt that it was a worthy cause. I stuck around for awhile listening to speeches and yelled and shook my fist at the appropriate moments.

Afterwards I walked around town again and hung out at the Sydney Museum. From there I decided to go to the Customs House to see what it was all about. When I arrived I made a beeline for the bar. I was very impressed. A museum with a bar! I slung back a beer and asked the bartender if the museum was upstairs. He laughed and said that I was at the Customs House Bar and the Customs House Museum was down the street 3 blocks. Boy, did I feel stupid. So I shrugged and had a couple more beers and – you guessed it, some fish and chips. I noticed that Aussies don’t eat fries with ketchup but they sure do like their mayonnaise. I’m pretty American when it comes to my sauces so, I asked for some damn ketchup. I suppose most people don’t ask for ketchup because they brought me out an entire soup bowl of it. Then they asked me if I wanted them to play anything particular music wise in the bar. I told them to play whatever they wanted. So, they played Peter Andre videos during my entire meal.

After my late lunch I realized that I was late for a meeting. I set up a networking meeting with one of Wing’s (guy I met on plane on the way to Hawaii) business associate in Perth. Jim was in Sydney for business and had agreed to meet with me for a beer at my hotel. So I ran 7 blocks and arrived at my hotel sweating of Custom House beer. Dammit. Wing told me that Jim was the "Broccoli King of Australia". I had no idea what the Broccoli King could do for me, but I figured I did need business contacts. I had a couple of beers with him and tried not to let on that I had been drinking all afternoon. Australian beer was not anywhere near as watery as American beer, so it kinf of started kicking my ass. I had a great meeting with him and I still email him at intervals to ask him questions from time to time.

I had dinner with Michelle and Kent that night at the Redoak Boutique Beer CafĂ©. It was a neat restaurant that served a lot of great beers (it was an all day beer day). The waiter was very cute and dropped menus and knocked over some glasses in front of me. Kent seemed to think that it would be wise to give the guy my number. I turned very shy suddenly and didn’t let him. I dunno, I suppose that I get a little nervous around men when I’m with my friends and pretty much in general. When I’m alone I guess it’s fine because there’s no one around to witness anything horrible, but when you’re goaded by friends to throw yourself at some dude, it’s not so fun. Opportunity lost, I guess.

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