Travel Diaries – Sydney Day 1

Today I realised how much I missed grocery shopping … a visit to Coles and I just couldn’t stop. All my mind said “ah I can make something with that” “oh I haven’t had that in a long time” “what fresh vegetables”.

After 24 hours of travelling and the last leg of 14 hours straight in a plane I was exhausted. I’m a nervous traveler I just cannot sleep before the flight and a 5 o’ clock morning flight is big trouble. Leaving the house in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep before that is tiring for sure.

We arrived early morning and spent most of day sleeping. We woke up for dinner and decided to walk to the mall close by.

We strolled on a footpath next to a beautiful stretch of the river. The flowing water was soothing to look at. It’s gentle lapping sound as the water gently brushed over the rocks on the sides was music to my tired ears.

The boys were constantly running. With all the sitting in the plane they were excited to have a chance to run. They would run far ahead of us and then run back to us.

I was walking at a slow pace with Sakina walking besides me. She only talked about food. “Mama can we eat pizza?” “Yes” I said. I’m not sure if it was the tone of my voice or just that she knows me so well.

“Mama you are not planning to cook on this trip?” She questioned me. I just made some gruntled noise dreading this conversation.

“You do know that all my friends go and eat at restaurants when traveling”. I said exasperated “Sakina it’s good to eat home cooked food.” “You eat outside the house a lot too,” I reminded her.

She looked at me with her eyes wide open; this look on the face that every teenage mom understands and dreads. She said in a slightly louder voice “you promised you wouldn’t cook on this trip”. She paused and added “you cook horrible food. You do know that”. This was her being rude just to prove her point. Teenagers can be quite mean especially if they are tired after a long flight. I just nodded and ignored her last statement.

Well I actually had said that I wouldn’t cook on this trip when she had pestered me non stop. I didn’t really mean it and she knew that.

When we got to the mall most of the shops had closed. It was late though not late by standards in Karachi. The grocery store was open.

I was overjoyed. My starved eyes sparkled as I walked up and down the isle looking at the ingredients. I offered to make Sakina pizza. She reluctantly agreed. The kids ran off to buy things for breakfast. I wondered up and down the isle. I was like a hungry child in a candy store. I didn’t know what to buy and what not to buy.

Sohail looked at me and said “we are walking back so please “Only” buy what you need”. He repeated this line quite a few times as I added stuff to the basket. He then said to me “We can come back in the car”. I absolutely ignored the look on Sohail’s face and pretended not to hear what he said. I just couldn’t stop. I am only buying stuff for dinner and breakfast next morning I told him. I’m sure he didn’t really believe me.

We eventually got a trolley as the basket became heavy and uncomfortable to carry around.

I decided to cook Tasmanian wild Salmon for dinner with couscous, roasted sweet potatoes and green leaf salad.

As we checked out I knew we were in trouble. It was a long walk back. I had an extra grocery bag (anticipating some shopping) and Yousuf’s backpack. I filled the backpack with the heaviest stuff and quickly put it on my back. There was still a lot of stuff leftover. I filled the big grocery bag next but there were still 3 shopping bags left. I’m sure you are wondering what is it that I got. I was wondering the same.

The walk back felt very long indeed as Sohail had predicted. I walked slowly accompanied by Sakina. She was complaining about the shopping bag she was carrying. She continued to complain about my cooking. I only focused on the weight on my shoulders and decided to keep nodding at what she said.

As soon as the kids got home they wanted food. The pizzas assembled and went in the oven first and were finished even before I could take any pictures of them. Salmon was in next. All it needed was some salt, black pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. The sweet potatoes refuse to get cooked. I decided not to wait for them.

“I am so looking forward to making breakfast tomorrow” I said to Sohail over dinner. He laughed. He has finally come to terms that there is no getting away from cooking on holiday.


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