Continuing from here, I went home with the intention of getting some sleep because I woke up early. My friend and I (and some of her friends) were thinking of going to Auburn Botany Garden, particularly the Japanese Garden To enjoy the blooming cherry blossoms. We wew planning to go around 11-ish, so I should have had enough time for some nap.
When I got back, I remembered I had a package of NutriSari Jelly I brought from Indonesia. I kept forgetting to use it, so I felt that I shouldn’t have postponed it any longer. NutriSari is an Indonesian brand that’s most famous for its orange juice powder. Just add a bit of sugar and a bit of hot water to get everything dissolved. Add more warm water or cold water with ice, and there we have refeshing orange juice. I used to love it when I was a kid, but I now prefer fresh orange juice. The jelly products are relatively new. Advertised as packed with antioxidants and fiber from fruit and vegetables, the products came in four different flavors. I was most intrigued by the golden flower one, which has the combination of chrysanthemum, black tea, lemongrass, melon, and honey. I put several cups of water in the pot, and poured the jelly powder into it. I also mixed in some sugar, but not too much because I like it light. I could smell of the tea and a hint of chrysanthemum right away. After the mixture was boiling, I poured it in a mold and added slices of oranges for more texture. I was quite satisfied with the outcome, and ready to try different flavors. I am rest-assured because I can get them easily in some Asian supermarkets ( I think I saw them in Thai Kee in Market City).
Tuning back to the Japanese garden, some of my flatmates were planning to go earlier. Since I had little time to sleep, I decided to join them instead of going with my friends. Auburn station was about 30-40 min from the city, and for weekends during the cherry blossom festival, free shuttles were provided from the station to the garden back and forth. The entrance fee was $4 per person except for small kids and Auburn residents. The pink color of the cherry blossom welcomed the visitors right away from the entrance gate.
I found out the day I went there was the last second day of the festival. The flowers were falling, and the leaves were growing. Signs prohibiting to shake the trees could be found near many trees. Some security guards were circulating actively to warn those who were ignorant. The place was started to be packed with people- young and old ones, couples and families. Those from Chinese background were the majority as I could hear clear Mandarin and Cantonese spoken in the air.
Many were busy taking pictures (including me!). Some just chilled, sitting on the grass and went on a picnic. This reminded me of the scenes in Japanese comic or drama where people brought some food for a picnic under the sakura trees. They call it ‘Hanami’ (Hana for flower and mi for to see). I definitely missed out the hanami because I didn’t prepare anything. I guess I’ll leave it for my visit to Japan during the Spring, someday.
The Japanese Garden also has an artificial lake surrounded by pines and other oriental plants. There were some bridges, waterfalls, rocks and sands landscaping the garden with elegance and tranquility. Unfortunately, the rising number of visitors somehow attenuated the serenity that it should have. At least people did enjoy themselves and hopefully did not just take the beauty for granted.
Besides the Japanese Garden, there were parts worthy to be explored such as the Scented Garden where the wedding pavillion is, Rose Garden, and Fauna Reserve. We were finished around 1 pm, and the our tummies were calling for some food. The only things available were a Japanese stall selling takoyaki, spring rolls, and edamame; and a stall selling coffee and other drinks. Man, the line for the food stall was long. I was drooling when I saw the takoyaki, but I gave up the idea of joining the crowd. My flatmates and I were heading to Cabramatta, which is several stations away from Auburn for some Asian food.
Cabramatta has a huge Vietnamese population. We went straight ahead for some food. I didn’t know what to choose and ended up having fried noodle. I also bought steamed dumplings (菜粿) with taro, bamboo shoots, and chive fillings. They tasted alright, not as good as those from home. After filling full, we walked around the market for a bit, and headed back afterwards. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep in the train. I did play hard that day.