Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 272

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Martinshof Story - Happiness - Awareness - Black Forest walks - Camino - Dolmen Tour - Travel

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Friday - Tuesday, February 1 - 5 2013 (diary)

Microwave steamer from Sistema As you probably know from some of my previous Blog entries : I love Japanese food, especially sushi and sashimi (raw fish), and also Asian dim sims and dumplings : small pastry pockets filled with meat, chicken, prawns or vegetables.
These are prepared by steaming.
For several months now I have been looking for an electric steamer but could not find one I liked.
But last week, wandering through the Coles supermarket, I got lucky. On display on one of their shelves I spotted a range of new products designed and produced by the New Zealand company Sistema : microwave steamers.

They come in a range of shapes and sizes, and I immediately bought one (only $10). You simply pour some water in the container, spray the bottom of the plastic basket with olive- or vegetable oil (to prevent the food pockets from sticking to the basket), place up to a dozen or so frozen dim sims and dumplings in the basket, then seal the lid and place the container in the microwave. It took just 6 minutes to steam the food to perfection : wonderful!

I was quite surprised how little water is required in the bottom of the container to do the job, but it makes sense, as the steam circulates and stays within the sealed container. You can steam vegetables in it as well and Sistema also include a microwave rice steamer in their new range.

After my first successful trial run I immediately went to Asian Emporium shop on Darwin's Bagot Road and purchased a huge load of dumplings (they have a good and authentic range there), so the freezer department of my fridge is now filled to the brim with them. I am a happy man !

Today (Tuesday, Feb.5) I was to leave early by plane to Brisbane, but late last night I received an SMS notice that my flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems. I am now scheduled to fly out late this afternoon. I keep my fingers crossed that this flight goes ahead, as I have promised to conduct my first bridge session at the Sunshine Coast tomorrow morning.

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Wednesday - Sunday, February 6 - 10 2013 (diary)

Mooloolaba Beach Yes, I got down to the Sunshine Coast alright on time after a smooth and uneventful flight.
Cyclone Oswald, although out to sea, did do some damage to the coast here too. Windows blown in of buildings on the sea shore and lots of beach sand washed away. It undermined the foundations for the Lifesavers watch tower on Mooloolaba Beach (shown on the photo), necessitating the temporary removal of the structure.

Leaving prosperous Darwin (its economy buoyed by the 4 billion dollars gas processing plant project) it becomes clear that other parts of Australia are not so lucky. I had planned to visit four shops I used to frequent here, but all of them have gone to the wall.

Firstly my favourite French restaurant Chez Claude (in Woombye) has ceased trading some time ago. It was apparently replaced by an Italian restaurant (it signs are still up), but that too has closed down. Also in Woombye the computer shop I used to get my laptops serviced has disappeared too.
Driving on to Nambour to get some photo copying done, I arrive at an empty shop front. One of several in a row.
Later that day I stop by in Mooloolaba to buy some dumplings, but the Asian specialty shop there has been replaced by a Real Estate office.

These are only a few of the scores of small businesses all over the Sunshine Coast that have closed down since I was here last 2 years ago. And it is clear that more are to follow this sad fate.
My daughter, who just has returned from South Australia, reports that the once proud city of Adelaide now is resembling a ghost town.
Best pies on the coast.  Is no more!! What is the cause of this disaster ? The aftermath of the GFC, the high Australian dollar ? Perhaps to some extend. But primarily, I believe, it is a combination of two factors.
Firstly the suffocating Industrial Relations laws enforced by the present (socialist) Government and high State and Federal taxes (necessitated because of irresponsible Government spending).
And secondly it are the exorbitant house prices still prevailing through most of the country. This has the double whammy effect of all time high household debt, forcing consumers to spend less, and sky high lease prices which makes running a small business simply prohibitive.

How is this crisis to be resolved ?   Either a long and sustained bout of inflation, or a significant rise in interest rates. Households at present just manage to repay at least the interest on their mortgages. But if interest rates do rise substantially a USA-like disaster will strike Australia, with numerous families unable to repay their debt, losing their home.
Is there another, less painful, solution ? You tell me.

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