In Praise of Blandness

One of the things about living in a really boring and bland place, like Canberra, is that it makes even the smallest curiosity or unusual event seem like the most amazing thing ever

Its like when you've been living somewhere with truly dire food (like researching in dirt poor Cambodian villages) and the first thing that you put in your mouth after you emerge from the blandness is like the biggest revelation of your life, or at least it seems that way anyway. I distinctly remember a bowl of chain store airport noodles I had in Singapore, from a flight from Cambodia. It seemed like the most amazing bowl of noodles I have ever eaten, but really they were airport noodles

Well, Canberra's Multicultural Festival seems like the most amazing thing to ever happen in Canberra.

From this small, ugly, bland wee town full of bureaucrats, academics and army officials, once a year the town square is filled with Australia's purportedly huge immigrant population and bought to life with silly costumes, national dances and street foods of the world. It's all a bit much for everyone and most people just wonder around stuffing things in their mouth and staring. Others, like me, wonder where all these people usually hide out with their yummy snacks and the under fives ask 'why can't people dress like this everyday?'


Unfortunately my phone camera ran out of batteries as I tried to document all the nations and even those struggling for nationhood parked out under the city council's standard issue white tents.



There were Sudanese, PNGers, Tongans drinking kava


Bosnians cooking sausages, far too many Chinese and Thai stalls, and Ethopian stalls, the Dutch Pancakes were a hit as were the Salvadorean hot tamales and pupusas.





Fudge people even came, although I very much doubt the authenticity of their proclaimed ethnicity.


Noticeably absent was a Khmer stall and a Burmese stall, I'm sure a huge number of African states and definitely large numbers of South American nations were not represented but all in all I was amazed that Canberra managed to pull that much diversity out of the hat. There were even Kuwaites and Iraqis

There were four stages where aboriginal groups, bollywood dancers and Maori people sang and danced.

The Maori group made me homesick. They sung all the songs I learnt at primary school.

I watched the Bulgarians torture the crowds with traditional Bulgarian love songs for a while and then wandered off to check out the Russians making blinis and some amazing looking Sri Lankans eggs.



    Hah! Nice snaps there Maytel. Poffertjes, pupusas and sri lankan eggs, I can't imagine Auckland matching that selection...ok maybe the poffertjes..

    BTW that crew look amazing in the first photo, what are they, Spanish gypsies? Hot look.


    i think the eggs are called hoppers


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