Last weekend was an exploring weekend.

As my brother and I hadn’t seen my parents for a while, they decided to come up and spend the weekend in Brisbane with us.

I got to don my Tour Guide hat, and dragged them to the West End Markets in Davies Park (wearing the worst shoes possible, I’ll add).

I’d never been to these markets before, and I was expecting something  like one street and your general fruit and veg. Not what you get here! Yeah, there’s a lot of fresh fruit and veg (I was contemplating buying pineapple, but thankfully a wise parent mentioned that we still had to walk over to the city before heading back to my place, and a pineapple in a handbag wasn’t going to help me any), but you’ve also got tables filled with stunning flowers, fragrant herbs …

… and the one that stopped my father and I in our tracks? Huge pans of paella.

My dad, while originally being from Chile, seems to believe his mother country should have been Spain. He recently went there again, and I was treated to a variety of Tashi-look-what-we’re-eating phone calls. Anyway, he has a fascination with all things Spanish and anything that remotely reminds him of the food he could get over there. We stood there for a while, staring at those saffron scented pots with their capsicum and onion garnish.

“I could get some of that,” he murmured.

“You just ate lunch.”

“But it’s paella.” I was proud. He didn’t even use his terrible paella joke (“it’s not paella, it’s pael!”*), so transfixed he was by the food.

“Wait. We’ve lost your mother.”

And off we went again.

We found Mum by the Buchi Kombucha stand, where she was enthusiastically discussing the benefits of fermentation with her new friend (Jason Callender) at the stand. She thrust a note at me. “Buy some!” she said. “It’ll be good for you!”

I warily handed the money over, and received a cup of foaming tea in return. I wasn’t expecting to like it, but it was delicious. Slightly fizzy, the combination of lime, hibiscus, galangal (a Thai ginger root) and rosehip tea worked beautifully together to leave you refreshed – I was definitely contemplating a bottle of it! Dad had wandered off somewhere, so I was prodded to find him and give him his own cup of juice.

When we could finally drag Mum away (“Tashi, you must remind me to Google them later!”) we continued on, down past the record stands and kettle corn. I stopped to flick through records, lost the people I was meant to be chaperoning, and found them staring at eyebrow threading. “What is that? There are weird things in this city.”

“It’s great, better than waxing.”

“She’s one of those city girls now,” Dad sighed.

We were at the markets towards the end of the day, so as we made our way around the bend, the shouts of fruit and vegetables going for a dollar were filling the air.

“To the city?” Mum asked.

I was still contemplating my pineapple.

“You don’t need a pineapple. Come on. Let’s go.”

By the way, the worst shoes ever have been thrown out. The only downside to my day was of my own doing, and that is that I’m walking with a horrid limp now thanks to those ridiculous sandals.

*Paella is a contraction of para ella, apparently, which means ‘for her’; Dad’s joke (“it’s not paella, it’s pael”) means “it’s not for her, it’s for him”


Tash Pavez