So, this is my last official post from Australia. We will be leaving Sydney on Sunday and heading back to London. We really enjoyed seeing a bit of Australia, though we wish we could have had time to see a lot more of the country. However, with a country that’s so big traveling on a two day weekend and feeling like you’ve seen anything but the inside of an airport isn’t that feasible. Obviously, we’ll just have to come back at some point to see all the things we missed this time around.
We’ve decided to take some time on our return to London for a holiday in Seoul and Japan. We’re flying home through Seoul, so it makes it quite easy to see the city and then jet over to Japan to see Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo for a couple of weeks. And of course, while we are there I will have to check out the Costco stores in Seoul and at least one in Japan. I can’t wait to see what these stores are like in comparison to the US, UK, and Australia. I’ll be sure to do a full report of my Asian Costco field trips when I can. If anyone from those areas has any tips to share, email me please.
Since this is my last Aussie Costco post, I figured I should take this opportunity to post about some things that I’ve seen here at Costco Australia that I’ve never seen anywhere else.
If you’re from the US, you might recall being forced to learn to play the recorder in third, fourth, or fifth grade – somewhere around that age anyway. The recorder was supposed to teach us about music, the hard way (even harder if you were a parent I suspect) through learning to play notes on an actual instrument and read music, not just listen to it. I can still recall my brown plastic recorder that was clearly supposed to look like it was made of wood but was just the bane of my existence for a while. I squeaked my way through the songs but let’s just say it wasn’t my calling. I don’t know anyone that really enjoyed playing the recorder then and don’t know anyone that plays it as a non-grade school aged child. Are there recorder musicians? In any case, Costco Australia can help any fledgling recorder players out with a great deal on a Yamaha recorder Learn to Play pack for the low, low price of just $19.97. I should have gotten one so that I could play a song for my mom. I’m sure she would have really appreciated that reminder of squeaky, screechy days gone by. I suspect this is a school thing, but it’s fun to speculate that there are all of these adults around Sydney playing the recorder in big community bands or performing in parades. I don’t know how much the recorder cost all those years ago, but $20 isn’t a bad price for an instrument if you want to teach your kid about music. I imagine my mom would have been more than happy to pay twice that much to have me just be quiet. Imagine how she felt the next year when I decided I wanted to play the clarinet like my older sister!
Another childhood favourite of every kid growing up in America in a certain period: Pop Rocks! I didn’t even know they still made these. I thought that they quit making them years ago. I guess it is more likely that I just outgrew them. But I must admit that there was a part of me, and Dave too, that kind of wanted to buy them. Is that wrong? So, for those of you that don’t know about Pop Rocks, and have never experienced them, they are a carbonated candy. The box is filled with little chunky sugar “rocks” and when you put a few in your mouth they fizz and crackle and “pop” away. And it is both exciting and fun all in one little candy. Of course, I imagine dentists everywhere curse the Pop Rocks since they are really just little nuggets of sugar and corn syrup. Sugar with a side of sugar. But they were so much fun to eat that everyone I knew loved them and would buy the little boxes any time they had the chance. They used to sell them at the concession stand when I played softball in the summertime and we all had to get a box. The whole team of little girls would sit there listening to the crackle and pop as we all dissolved a big handful in our mouths. Come to think of it, if my mom had just bought me this big bulk pack of Pop Rocks, I might have not been able to play my recorder. Maybe that is why they sell both of them here at Costco Australia. At $15.99 for a pack of 48 boxes, you’re getting a good deal I think. I’ll assume/hope that people are buying these for concession stands and not just for their own, personal consumption. I always liked the grape flavour best, as did Dave. So I guess we’re lucky they only had the strawberry and cola flavours at Costco or else we might have been really tempted to pick them up.
These last few items, I don’t have any dorky childhood memories for me, unfortunately. But I do love the variety of prepared food items that Costco offers here. The chicken biryani looks really good and would be great for those of us that don’t regularly whip up our own Indian dishes. I was kind of amazed that they would have this though because, unlike in the UK, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of Indian food around Sydney. We’ve been amazed by the lack of it really. Though, we possibly just don’t know where to go to find it. And what we’ve found is like the fast food version of Indian and just places in malls that don’t look like where I’d want to get my Indian food fix. Of course, maybe that gap in the local cuisine is why Costco provides this; they’re doing a public service.
The spicy laksa soup was something else that really amazed us the fist time we saw it in Costco. For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, laksa is a spicy noodle soup that is popular in Malaysia and Singapore. There are many, many different varieties of laksa (according to Wikipedia) but they fall into two general categories of either curry, which is coconut based, or asam, which is fish soup based. While I’m not positive of exactly what variety is found at Costco, it is definitely a curry laksa with the the creamy coconut soup base. It looks like the one that we also get served when we go to Malaysian restaurants around here or what we had when we were in Singapore, which was laksa lemak. But no matter what it is called, it is delicious! And would be great now that it is getting cold out here too. I like the spicy, coconut soup base because it is creamy and packed full of flavour with a spicy edge that just makes you want more. I don’t even need the noodles really because the soup part is so fabulous.
And lastly, a twist on the ever tasty Costco Take and Bake pizza. I usually get cheese or pepperoni versions of this pizza, because I’m a purist (or boring, depending). However, I might try the Hawaiian version for a little variety every now and then. Usually the pizzas at Costco, at least that I’ve seen, have just the basic pizza toppings on them, and never get the fancy addition of pineapple on them. I was really glad to see that the pizzas here are the correct circular shape, instead of the rectangle that they have in the UK. Of course, right after that I realized that there was no way that I could fit one of these pizzas into the baby oven in our temporary accommodation, sadly. I love the Take and Bake pizzas at Costco because they can get that really lovely crunchy crust if you bake them just a minute or so longer than they suggest. I’ll have to pick one up the next time we are in the US visiting my mom. Yum!
Sadly, I never did get a chance to try out the glazed donuts in the Costco bakery. There weren’t even any left around to take a picture of. I thought it would be rude to take a picture of food in someone else’s cart.
And here’s one last picture, for the person that asked for a photo of a kangaroo. It is a real live kangaroo, out in the wild, that we saw just hanging out at the side of the road. He didn’t seem too worried or even interested in us. And I’m sure for everyone here it is no big deal to see a kangaroo, but it is really cool to see them hop off down the road when you’re more accustomed to the usual mix of four legged animals that trot, run, or walk. And he was really big too when we was standing more upright you could tell he was quite large. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the same luck seeing a non-zoo dwelling koala.