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I APOLOGIZE

14 October 2003

I need to apologize to the country of Australia.

A week or so ago, I wrote an entry about differences I observe here from what I'm accustomed to at home. Peggy's local supermarket, Dewson's, was prominently featured and I contrasted the one here with the one in Margaret River and the one in Mt. Barker. I talked about the lack of "vastness," the fact that you bag your own groceries, etc., etc., etc.

Concerned messages came in from Australian readers (most of whom know Peggy), telling me that this country does, indeed, have super stores where supplies are plentiful and where clerks will cheerfully bag your groceries for you.

Today, Peggy was shamed into taking me to one.

So I am here to publicly apologize to the country of Australia (or perhaps just the state of Western Australia) for so vastly underrating its position in modern society.

We went to "Action," a huge supermarket. The bread section alone is mind-boggling.

As is the produce section.

And yes, there are wide aisles, lots of checkers, and they bag your groceries for you. Silly me.

I spent a lot of time looking at prices of things. most things were on a par with US prices (especially if you take into account the exchange rate), but I was definitely appalled to find the prices of jellybellies. (Yes, that says $39.99!) Heck, if I'd known this I could have been rich here! (Assuming I could find someone silly enough to buy jelly bellies from me!) I brought over enough jelly bellies to pay for my trip, at these prices!

Naturally, as with any huge supermarket, there are bargains to be had. Peggy spied a display of knives as we came in the door.

It was 41 pieces, including measuring cups, hanging rack, at least 6 steak knives and a block to hold them. Now, Peggy does not cook (it's not that she can't...she's quite a good cook when she wants to be--it's just that it's not a priority for her). She does not entertain. She's managed wonderfully having me here and I haven't had to eat dog soup too many nights. But I don't see her throwing any grand parties after I leave (other than to celebrate getting her house back to herself, that is...but that will probably be a party for one human and two dogs). So buying a 41 piece knife set seems rather silly. But--it was a bargain at only $8.95 and her eyes lit up as she grabbed it. "I can't pass this up," she said.

Now we've unpacked (and washed) all the knives and I suppose they will be a lovely thing to dust in the coming weeks.

This morning I had another new experience. Knowing that I arrive home on the 18th and that we leave for Santa Barbara on the 22nd for Tom's wedding, and knowing that my hair is way too long, I wrote to Shelly in Davis and asked her to make a hair appointment with Robbie for me. However, Robbie won't be working until the 22nd, so that lets that idea out. So I decided to go for the full Australian experience.

Peggy made an appointment for me at her hair dresser's, and I walked down to get my hair cut.

Super Cuts, this is not.

First of all, I was the only customer. I had Rachel (the woman who cut my hair) and Scott (who washed it) all to myself. Scott greeted me with a menu of complimentary drinks and when I asked for coffee, he asked if "percolated was OK." Hey...OK for me!

Then Scott washed my hair, a long, luxurious wash, with scalp massage included that was worth the price of the treatment itself.

Next Rachel took over and took a lot of time examining, talking, cutting, shaping, tapering, and blow drying. When it was over, I looked a lot better, felt a lot lighter, and wonder if I can keep this looking at least somewhat decent until time to pose for wedding photos. (And it didn't even cost a fortune either.)

It's been a rather mundane day, but we got a lot accomplished, and I finally know that Australia is not behind the rest of the world in modern supermarkets. I am officially impressed.


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