Treasures in the neighborhood

Actually this is not about my immediate suburb, but the other end of town. But likewise, a treasure, you may not think to seek out.

We all live in our areas, often for years and go in and out of various places. Sometimes for years, passing by shops, parks, restaurants, museums, galleries, never visiting them. Maybe even not having them on our radar screen.

Often in fact, we strive to look for something far away and ignore the nearby.

While I write about this, I also think about our trend to purchase on-line and thus starving the small business in our area of income and thus, destroy the diversity in our immediate environment. Sometimes under the dubious excuse of saving money, not realising, that in the long run, we may pay much more.

But this is not about environment or online shopping, it is about diversity and how we can enhance our lives.

In many countries around the world we have very mixed, multicultural communities. In fact, often forgotten, countries like Australia, USA, Canada, etc. would not be, what they are today without the immigrants from all over the world. But even many long established countries have in recent years, had strong influxes of immigrants, wanted or not.

Of course not all these newcomers brought desirable change. But immigration brings interesting additions, from cuisine to fashion.

The Chinese shop around the corner, catering mainly for the local Chinese community, actually sells many products and vegetables much cheaper than the large supermarket.

The Indian and Korean shop brought us spices and food products we never expected and allow us to enrich our daily servings on the table.

When I came first to Australia as a visitor in the early 70’s, apart from the usual staples, the Chinese take away was prevalent everywhere and an Italian restaurant in between. Nowadays we have Thai, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Nepalese, French, Italian, German, etc, etc.

Many of these established by immigrants, who brought with them many secrets to create authentic cuisine or products. Who understand how to prepare and integrate.

I am thinking about a fantastic Italian bakery in Haberfield, one of the inner city suburbs of Sydney, which I never can pass if I am in the area.

The shop, which brought me to write thos blog is placed in Mascot, near the airport. Most delicious bakery from the eastern meditanerian, started by an immigrant from Cyprus.

I found this place by accident one day and everytime I am in the area I am visiting it, much to the detriment of my wasteline.

So, next time you go out, don’t take the car or train, just walk. Walk around your area, your subburb and discover these treasures. Which are often hidden behind obscure or not so obscure names, behind colourful curtains or entrances, blocked with cartons and signage, which you can not decipher.

Just enter and have a look around. You may be surprised and, if they are not to busy, often these shopowners will tell you about their history and how to prepare delicious meals with the products you buy in the shop or how to use them to decorate your place, adding an international flair to your surroundings.

But even if you leave empty handed, you will have learned something and maybe even made a new friend.

Just try it.

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