Monday, August 14, 2006

Ekka 2006 (Fresh animals, fresh showbags, fresh choking hot mustard)

I got for this post!

Ekka is the annual festival in Queensland that celebrates animals, games, vegetables, dairy, food, cultures, fireworks, and choking hot mustard.

This year, we didn't catch the fireworks or the performances because we are old ladies needing our rest after a whole day of walking. I saw them last year and fireworks just ain't my thing, baby. It's pretty and all but I don't think I go ga-ga over it. Maybe if I am viewing the sparkling with someone special, sharing a kiss under the blazing skies... Hmm... Nah!

We took the train to the showgrounds, which is about 15 minutes from our house. Golly! It was crowded. I'm glad we bought our entry ticket at the train station. Saved us lots of time. It costs $18 for the daily train ticket and the entry to Ekka. This year Ekka seems to be slightly smaller than last year, probably because the very first things I saw last year, acrobats and a pub, were not around this year.

First stop was to Woolsworth's Fresh Food pavilion for the 10+++ rated chilli. I tried this last year and thanked my lucky moon that I wasn't too greedy with the quantity. It's those hot-until-your-ears-get-numb-and-you-keep-salivating kind of hot. Good for digestion and probably just as good for getting stomach uclers in the long run. Neverthless, please try! One stall offered a ginger drink, which was surprisingly good. This is the place where the aunties get very excited! 'Buy 3 at the price of 2!' 'Free recipe book with every $20 purchase!' Woohoo!!!

Highlight of the Ekka is the showbags, according to kids. These are plastic bags filled with different things, mainly gimmicks that make you purchase more, more, more, more, and more! Months prior to the festival, the website already informs you of the showbags that will be available for purchase. I think Australian kids are really fortunate! I see many of them with bags and bags of toys, lollies, and games. Gosh! I only bear to part with a tiny amount of money to get one or two things. Ok, make that four things.

My four things: Freddo chocolates with frog/lizard stuffed toy ($5), devil's horns ($3), piglet's ears ($2), and Spongebob Squarepants ($7.50). I have a feeling the frog/lizard toy will take the place of 黄熊熊 as my new blogllaborator. Hmm...

This is what the showbag pavilion looks like.

You think it looks crowded? Wait till you see the mad last minute shopping! Twice as many people I think! One of the traditions at Ekka is the strawberry sundaes. At $3.50, you get a sundae filled with strawberry ice-cream, cream, and strawberries! Besides, you are doing a good deed because part (?) of the proceeds goes to a charity for children. This is a good excuse to buy and eat more! It's for a good cause! +_+

I think we went in and out of the showbag pavilion many, many times. 'Should I get this, or should I get that, or both?' Choices, choices. Shopping is tough, darlings! Even D succumbed to the charms of Chicken Little with his bug friend. The wonders of toys!

There's an area for rides. There were some new rides but we didn't take any. Expensive! This year, we also wised up and decided not to challenge the games stalls. Simply have no aim for throwing! Literally. Throwing ball at bottles and throwing money down the drain. Geddit???!!!

The act-devil and princess-wannabe go to Ekka.

We went to the Meating Place to see meat too. Real meat looks so different from the cuts we get from markets.

They have competition for meat. I wonder how they judge them. Do you think some people will become vegetarian after seeing this? Not me though. x:

As with last year, there's an International Food Village. I think the most popular stall was Satae House, which serves Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine. Yum! I like! We saw a topless ah pek who drew a face on his substantial stomach and put a cigarette into his belly button. Hmmm.... Sexy...

I think Ekka started off as an event for farmers to show off their produce and evolves to a huge festival today. It's sad, however, that they did not provide a history page at its website, telling us what it originally celebrated. Would be an interesting bit of information for showing off in front of the date.

Do you like dogs? If you do, there are tons of dog shows! We caught those for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and German Shepherds. I saw a German Shepherd that was all black. Looks amazing! Don't you think that all German Shepherds look like males? Female German Shepherds sound very, very wrong. Lol...

Regal breed? Named a king wor! Prince Charles will look like that?

I prefer big dogs that look like they can rip strangers apart at the click of my fingers. Woohoo!

But I think I still prefer dogs that look like their faces are smashed up, flattened. Like pugs or bulldogs. Muahahaha! We saw a pug that looked like its owner, an old man of about 50 with wrinkles in the same places. I think I don't want any pets; don't want to look like an animal, though I may be quite a bitch. Muahahahahahahaha!!! Geddit??? Bitch = female dog! Right...

These are where the bitches dogs were kept before their competitions. Much like the cubicles soccer players have in their locker rooms. A personal space for you to think your doggy thoughts.

When I was young, I remember looking at Strawberry Shortcake and thinking she's a fake because I have never seen cupcakes that nice.

But these are so adorable! At $3 a pop though... Expensive cakes! I bake for you, you want?

Maybe these ladies were trying to be the adult version of Strawberry Shortcake?

Got 'front', got 'back' wor...

Check out this clip of their performance. Source. I seriously have no idea what they were doing. Their hair look like candy floss though. Yum!

There are pros and cons about going to Ekka on a Saturday. The pros are that being a Saturday, there are more shows to see. More people visit the event, making for a more festive feel. What's a festival without people? Because the venue is huge, and because it is still winter, there is enough space to breathe.

On the other hand, the crowd meant that, like us, you might be too tired to visit some of the exhibits, such as the baby animals. It also took longer to find seats at eating places. We were waiting for a table at the International Food area when this group of people stood near us, holding their food. One of the women took a step closer to the table we were waiting for. Being the polite people we were, we had stood slightly apart to allow the seated patrons their space. When I saw that, I took a step nearer, hoping that it would be clear to the woman that we were waiting. However, as one of the ladies stood up from her chair, the woman moved in to sit down. I found that incredible. Before she could sit down, I approached her, rather politely.

Me: Sorry. We are waiting for this table.
Her friend: Wah! Mai ho lang cei?

YOOHOO??!!! Don't you have eyes? We were there first and I politely told you we were waiting. When would it be your turn to take OUR table? Rude, inconsiderate, and self-righteous! Furthermore, the woman could have told her friend that we were there first, which she didn't. Bah! Think you can speak Hokkien and we can't? We have two versions of Hokkien there somemore. Pah!

At the fruits and vegetables pavilion, we were reminded that we have to eat 5 serves of vegetables and 3 serves of fruits daily. That's a lot, isn't it? D and P tried custard apple, which they insisted were soursops. Are they the same? One looks like this


And the other looks like this

Custard apple

They look and taste quite different to me! Hmm... Anyway, remember kids, fruits and vegetables are good for you!

I like! Makes you shit well!

Mr Scareleton will tell you so too!

The fruits and vegetables beside Mr Scareleton also move!

You also get to enjoy shows from cowboys, see horses rolling on their backs like dogs asking for a scratch, and rams with curly horns. Camels, llamas, goats, cows, pigs, cats, mice, hamsters, poultry, fish, bees, and birds. I read that albino animals can hardly survive in the wild because of their colour. I wonder how the birds below can survive in the wild, being as vibrant as they are. Maybe their colours allow them to attract more mates, hence being able to propagate more frequently, expanding their population no matter how easily preyed upon they may be. Hmm...

I hope they are not going mad.

There are also other kinds of exhibits, such as those of art and craft, quilts, baked goods (very mean of the sponsors, to tempt us like that), cars, technology, and electronics. When you see the winning entries from the bakery, you cannot help but feel a sense of dissatisfaction at the pastries, cakes, and breads you get. HOW COME MY BREAD IS NOT AS SOFT AS THE FIRST PRIZE WINNER?! WHY ISN'T MY CAKE AS NICELY DECORATED AS THE BEST AT EKKA? NOT FAIR!!! *drool* Please do not go and view the baked goods on an empty stomach. You will feel an undeniable urge to break the glass and grab the cakes, breads, and pastries. *shivers uncontrollably*

You also get to see carriages from the days of yore.

If there is only one ride you can afford and if you do not have a lot of baggage, take the ski-lift. At $5.50, you have an awesome, freezing cold, and exciting view of the whole showground. I suggested that we take the ride at evening, because the shows in the field would be starting, the lights from the rides would be on, you would get the evening sky with all its marvellous colours, and the blazing, cancer-causing sun would have set.

Exciting because you do not get much of a safety harness. There's just a metal bar across the seat. That's why we were holding on for our dear lives.

The setting sun makes for a very romantic erm... setting. For couples, that is. Not a good place to piss someone off though.

After the ride, we went and got the ultimate carnival food, Dagwood Dog! It's a hotdog surrounded by a layer of batter and fried in vegetable oil (or so they claimed). When you order it, they will dip the top of the dog into a pot of tomato sauce. It would have been better if we did not gei kiang and poured hot mustard over it. Hot mustard that tastes like wasabi and Dagwood Dog do not mix. No, they do not mix at all. Pui!

As the night got colder, we relied on Piglet's ears to keep us warm. Too bad our ears are at the side of our heads, as opposed to the top. Pray forgive the act-cute pose. Ekka is liberating like that. Most people wear some kind of headgear.

Like the kiasu we are, we hopped on the train home before the fireworks-watching crowd descended upon us. No crowds please.

Just me and my toys!

Leaving the train at Central Station, we thought to make a detour to Cesars for drinks at $2.50 a pop. 200m from the station, I remember no nightclub opens at 7.45pm. Muahahahahahahahahaha!!! Home in time for Crocodile Dundee at 8.30 then!


Do you think Singapore should have a festival like Ekka? P and I were wondering about this. What do you think a Singapore festival should celebrate? Our diversity definitely. What should it be like? There is hardly a documented 'Singapore' identity, though many have been quick to brand Singaporeans as the kiasu lot. I think if we have such a festival, we should also have showbags from the different ethnic groups. For these, we have to show cultural understanding, letting people know if the food contains animal produce, pork, beef, etc.

Food is a MUST because what would Singapore be without its food? Performances from all different ethnic groups would be fantastic. How many different kinds to include depends on the level of interest. There should be performances not just by the three main ethnic groups but also those from surrounding countries. Good for diplomatic ties and mutual understanding.

We can have things we are proud of to be on display. Competitions for the spiciest Indian curry, the most exquisite dim sum, the lowest fat hokkien mee, the most fragrant mee soto. We can also have competitions for things we are proud of, or rather, should be proud of. The student who can memorise the most things, the yuppie who can pick up the most number of girls, the retail staff who can come up with the rudest retort. Lol! Kidding! What we should award people for are their contribution to Singapore. In fact, I think one thing Singaporeans should be really proud of is Singlish. When you are overseas and you hear a familiar 'Wah lao!', you know you are in the company of a fellow countryman.

What should this festival be named?

'Lor lah leh!' sounds good. :D

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