Apparently the grocery store here is a racket. Not only is everything expensive, but everything is also expired. Dan warned me, but I’m not in the habit of checking every single item for its expiration date (called expiry dates here – I love how they just shorten and add a “y” onto words here), and I forgot. So I bought $5 peanut butter that expired in January. Really? 4 month out of date peanut butter on the shelf? Wow. You know that shit has to be really old because peanut butter never freakin expires. The locals think that Fishers (the grocery store company) sends all its expired stuff from other stores to Robinvale – since there’s no other competition in town, people are kind of stuck with it. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s pretty impressive that the grocery store is so bad that there’s a conspiracy theory about it.
So I went back into town today and bought some non-expired peanut butter. All the peanut butter looks kind of weird to me – like it’s too light in color. Of course, it’s all very processed Kraft and generic stuff, no “real” looking peanut butter on the shelf at all. Oh Trader Joe’s, how I miss thee! I broke down and bought some Nutella too this time.
I’ve been leafing through the handouts I got at the tourist information bureau, and there are two kind of cool things that are on my list to do. One is a winery! According to their ad, Robinvale Wines is organic and open 7 days a week for tasting. :) There’s also Robinvale Estate which grows olives and makes all sorts of oils and dressings. I bought a jar of kalamata olives and a bottle of orange-poppyseed dressing at the tourist center. The olives are great, I haven’t tried the dressing yet. Maybe on a salad with red onions, tuna, mandarins, and avocado….oh, another example of what a rip-off the grocery store is — avos are $4 each. Yeah. $4. They’re a more typical $1 or $2 each in Mildura, the larger town an hour away.
I walked into the drug store and bought some pain meds with codeine just because I could. It’s essentially Vicodin – 500mg of paracetamol (acetaminaphen) and 9.6mg of codeine phosphate. The typical uses listed on the pack include “Period Pain.” What a civilized country, where you can get over-the-counter Vicodin for cramps! I think I might stockpile some to bring home with me, you never know when it’s gonna come in handy. Oh, and 24 capsules for $3.50, how’s that for health care? Although I guess Dan bought a 50-capsule pack in Mildura for $1.50. Shocking how much we Americans overpay for drugs, huh?
Driving the Ute today was no big deal. I only accidentally turned on the windshield wipes once. Now the phase of dangerous complacency is coming on, I can feel it. It will likely be followed by a mistake and a close call, and then I’ll have the perfect amount of comfort + paranoia to make me an OK driver.
Yesterday it was all rainy, so I stayed inside and knit. I’m working on a hat pattern for my SMerF sock yarn. There’s this hat that Linzee made out of mini-Mochi that I really like (green stripes, diamond lace pattern), and I wanted to make something similar. I brought one of my Barbara Walker stitch pattern books and picked a cool lace pattern with a wrapped-stitch component. I mucked with it a little to make it look a littler nicer (in my humble opinion), and now I’m making the hat. You have to cast on a lot of stitches to making a hat with sock yarn on #2 needles – I did 140! And yes, I made a swatch first (of course!) so I’m reasonably certain it will fit. I have a few more rounds to go before putting it on some waste yarn and trying it on. Hmmm….do I even have any waste yarn…. I’ve also been playing with my copy of Intwined Pattern Studio. It’s pretty nice. I have a few things on my list that I wish it would do, but for $40, I’m not complaining. It makes creating charts easy, which is exactly what I need.
I met Dan’s roommate last night – his name is Brad and he’s here about half the time. He and his family live in Mildura, so he stays here some nights and goes home others. We watched an episode of Top Gear on TV (ha! I don’t have to pirate Top Gear for a while!) and I tried to understand what he was saying and not seem like an idiot. I mean, Australians speak English, but it’s not the kind of English I’m used to. They use so many different words and slang, that it can actually be hard to just chat conversationally. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it, but I hate not understanding what someone is saying when they are plainly speaking English. It just makes me feel dumb. But on the other hand, maybe it’s just as hard for him to figure out what the hell this chatty American girl is saying. :)