Sydney's Paddy's Markets & Salsa Caliente (3rd July 2011)

Today's the end of week 1 that Jono has been away. Even though we have kept in contact regularly, it just isn't the same - I want him to be physically here so I can snuggle up to him in bed instead of making a huge cocoon with the duvet to keep warm! And I want my hugs, my kisses and cuddles!! Sigh, I just miss him so much :,( 4 more weeks till I see him!

Got up at 8.30am, had breakfast and headed out with Ken to Sydney's Paddy's Markets in Haymarket to buy fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. We came prepared this time with a day pack each so it would be easier to carry our purchases home. I haven't been doing much cooking since Ken stayed over - he has been making all our dinners and filling up my pantry and fridge with food items (his way of paying back for us letting him stay in our living room) so I left the shopping decisions to him and just tagged along as we moved from one stall to another. It was interesting to watch Ken as he picked up items and eyes lit up with excitement - I could sense he was thinking of all the possible dishes he could make and being someone who enjoys cooking, it brings him joy. We walked around the market once to get a feel of the prices (stalls selling the same fruit or veggies may not necessary have the same quality and/or price) before beginning our shop. Eggplant, kai lan (aka Chinese broccoli), persimmons, mandarins, mushrooms, eggs, avocado etc. filled our packs. We also went to the meat section to see what they had and Ken asked the Asian lady working behind the butcher counter if they sold beef tongue (he's obviously got some recipe in mind). Apparently they do but he needed to order it in advance. Eee, tongue of a cow...doesn't sound very appealing to me..."Oh, you'll see - I'll have to make the dish for you guys when Jono is back," responded Ken, explaining to me that a cow's tongue is huge so no point cooking the dish when there was only two of us. Ok, I suppose I could try a bit to see what it's like...Photos taken at the market here.

Stopped by at Pho Pasteur, my favourite pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) place in town on the way home around 12pm for lunch. I had my regular pho ga (chicken noodle soup) while Ken ordered their special beef pho which had beef tendons and beef balls in addition to thinly sliced beef. Always crowded and filled with customers, it's great for a quick cheap meal but not a place you would linger for long.

Pho Pasteur lunchtime crowd

Pho ga (chicken noodle soup)

Home to put away the shopping and rest, then out again at around 2.15pm - Ken headed up north for a house viewing while I went into town to find a new pair of ankle boots to replace my old pair which I managed to chip of a corner of its heel dancing on Friday.

Ken convinced me to go out salsa dancing again this evening, this time at Docks Hotel in Darling Harbour. "But I'm really tired..." I whined but he wouldn't give up. Fine, I'll come but we'll have to leave early this time since it's Sunday. Docks Hotel turned out to be a bar/lounge and bistro located by the waterfront with Salsa Caliente (the name of the salsa dancing event) occuring every Sunday from 8.30pm till late and it was free of charge. We arrived around 8ish and El Moro (Cuban salsa instructor and performer) had already started his class only to our disappointment that it was a beginner's salsa lesson instead of the bachata lesson as advertised on the web. Bummer! Ken bought us beers (we tried the Bluetongue, an Australian beer I've been meaning to try - quite nice, light and crisp) so we sipped and chatted as we watch the class go on for the next hour. A majority of the participants were new to the dance and it reminded me of what I probably looked like when I first started learning salsa - the look of uncertainty, unsure of what I was doing, trying to be co-ordinated and still be in time with the beat. But it was good to know that there were new people joining the dance scene - I've not seen anyone here that I saw on Friday.

Finally at 9.30pm, the class ended and social dancing began. Ken and I had the first dance together and then split up in our hunt for other dancers. I didn't dance as much this time partly because most of the leads were absolute beginners and I couldn't sight any Cuban dancers on the dance floor. As I stood by the bar watching out for potential leads, a young Brazilian guy (hmm, maybe early 20s?) came to grab my hand for a dance. "I'm not very good at salsa," he said, giving me a smile that showed his braces. He was actually easy to dance with and had his own groove. "Wow, you dance very well. Where do you come from?" he continued, a question both Ken and I seem to get a lot dancing in Sydney salsa scene. And so we chatted while dancing and I stayed on for another dance. He started asking where I was living and if I was keen to come out dancing with him elsewhere, subsequently asking for my phone number. Hmm, a bit weird when I hardly know him so I ignored his requests casually with a smile and continued dancing. When he started to lightly stroke my arm at the end of the dance, alarm bells started ringing in my head - this ain't no salsa move; the guy was hitting on me! It was further confirmed when his next question was if I had a bf! And yes I do!! He wasn't convinced and followed me to the bar, asking if I had my phone handy so he could give me his number (apparently his phone battery is dead) so I had to excuse myself and rushed to Ken who was on the other side of the dance floor for cover. Help! I retold the incident to Ken who very kindly put an arm on my shoulder and I think the Brazilian chap got the gist, even if Ken was faking it. Phew!

We continued on dancing with other people (I had a guy who goes 'yeah' and nodded his head each time I completed a turn which made me felt weirdly uncomfortable) and around 10pm, headed to the train station for home. Hmm, salsa dancing on Sundays is not quite ideal when we have to head off 30 minutes into actual dance time. But at least we now know where to dance salsa on a Sunday!


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