Friday, October 16, 2009

The Great Australian Dust Storm

Side Note.....The first 4 days in Australia, Carlos and I stayed in a rented apartment in Bondi Beach. After that, we moved in with my dad and stepmother an hour up the coast where my sister's wedding would be taking place the following weekend......We are to be in this area for the next 8 days.

Sept. 23, 2009: I woke up very early ( 5:30 am ) and saw a red orange hue streaming through the shutter blinds in our gorgeous bedroom in Palm Beach, NSW.  Remembering back to my days living on the beach in Ventura County and San Diego I thought, "Fog?"
We don't have fog in Hawaii and I was thinking........
 " nice.....I miss fog but this is kind of strange looking??"

The beach house my parents rented ( which sat perched on a cliff ) had shutter glass windows all throughout. When we first arrived the afternoon before, we had opened everyone of them to let the cool ocean air in. It was so pleasent out that the windows remained opened through out the night. However overnight, the off shore winds picked up so much it was hard to sleep.  Then dawn broke and I was awake for good. After about 30 minutes I woke Carlos so he could see the red sky too and he said,

"It's just fog....go to sleep...."
 I pleaded,  "I don't think so?? It's way too windy to be fog....I think it's red dirt."

At this point, Carlos had already flipped over and put a pillow over his head clearly ignoring me......( ew! )
I love being right.... ( because Carlos is always right and I'm just an "exaggorator"...) But this time ( thank god )  this was not fog at all just like I thought! It was RED DIRT, blown in from the parched Australian outback! AND 2 mornings before my sister's "Outdoor on a Private Island" wedding!
By 9am everyone figured she was having a massive panic attack at her office in downtown Sydney ( we saw some very RED live stream video from the Opera House on the news ) and we were calling her to see if she was okay. She actually seemed really fine about the dust ( shocking?? ) but she was still annoyed......we forgot it was also her birthday......Oops

Now technically Australia is a whole day ahead of the US....and I do seem to recall that my sister was born in Los Angeles. So technically we had one days grace period right? Guess not....sorry can blame the "End of the World" scene going on outside your adopted new country and a bunch of Californians with  jet lag ).

So, this brings me to the food......

We had decided to cook up a big birthday meal for my sister and invite her soon to be In-Laws as well. My dad was in charge of the "meat" BBQ part ( sorry, he's from Texas and eats a lot of meat....I'm letting it go.....he's almost 70 ), I was in charge of the veggie part and my step mother was in charge of everything ( as usual :-)
However, the first task was going to be taking care of the house that was now covered with the Simpson Desert! Suddenly, those beautiful massive all wood floors that we admired the day before became a major headache.......oh well, what else were we going to do? Go outside? LOL!
Pics taken around 11 am ( not as red as earlier )

Before and After.....

So on to the menu.....( veggie friendly part of course )

Salsa Fresca and Guacamole

Caprese Salad

Vegetarian Pin Wheels ( hummus, goat cheese, lettuce, chives, and roasted peppers )
Lox Pin Wheels ( lox, cream cheese, capers and red onions )
Simple Salad ( mixed greens and rocket, red onion, Tasmanian feta, avocado and assorted store bought dressings)

Cheese and Dips

The cooks.....

Australia and New Zealand: To be continued.........

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