No more 4-car garages, no more unlimited irrigation of Malaysian tropical plants with desalinated water in the heat of the afternoon. Maa salaame Muscat.
Now I'm in Oz, the land of fires, droughts, and floods. Where in Melbourne the water reservoir is at a fantastic 34% level. Where you are only supposed to have 4 minute showers, and signs on the suburban streets around my aunt's house proudly proclaim that they are watered with reclaimed or tank water.
I'm in Box Hill, a western suburb with its own "enlarged map" in the Melways map book - so it must have some significance. Box Hill is also a place in Surrey, England - where all of Emma's plans fell through in Jane Austen's book. I'm not sure if I have any plans just now except to wake up before 1pm and exercise a bit. My aunt's border looked at me in a certain way when I said that I wanted to walk in a park rather than see the city centre today.
Specifically, I'm at an internet "cafe". More like an internet hall. It's completely reminiscent of the one I used in Urumqi, China - just a small version. There's about 40 computers packed efficiently here, and everyone (except me) is an Asian male, most Mandarin-speaking. Everyone is chatting, it is pretty lively in here. My Windows is a Chinese version, and the language input is some version of Chinese. It's an instant pop quiz in terms of remembering the short cuts for "new window" or "new tab".
Box Hill is, in my eyes, a total success in terms of suburban town planning. It's changed quite a bit in the past 5 years. It seemed like it used to be Cantonese - now it's quite Mandarin. The centre is charged with a subway train station and a shopping centre, with a high-quality Asian version of Granville Island Market. It has a lot of people around, a lot of small restaurants and outdoor places to enjoy bubble tea, and a life up to 2am.