The Great Indoors: Epilogue
Raye’s Outdoors - Camp 7
Upon completion of these writeups, I find myself contemplating the overall journey we had undertaken on this camp. In many ways what was suppose to be the most laidback and breeziest of camps ended up being the most expensive of them all. I compared it to being more on a holiday getaway rather than an actual camp.
Still, it isn’t all that negative as I may have made it out to be. For many of us camp isn’t simply just about staying away in the wilderness. Many know us for the hikes we go on, the sights we see and the laughs we have along the way during these camps. But as Mike as stated in his previous writeups, it’s all a learning process. For him the first camp he went on with us opened his eyes and changed his life for the better. Sometimes we all need to reconnect with ourselves, sometimes it’s through solitude and sometimes it’s away from the comfort of our own homes.
This camp may have had the most fails I know of in the history of Backseat Ballads (someone prove me wrong) but in hindsight, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The Great Indoors: Part Seven
Raye’s Outdoors - Camp 7
I’ve grown up watching and breathing American films and in that aspect I always feel a tad cheated when it comes to the Australian landscape. Obviously they’re both two different continents but when you’ve been brought up to see the American landscapes filled with pine forests, lakes and what not, Australia does feel like it’s lacking sometimes. Fortunately my mindset has changed over the years and I’ve come to love and appreciate my surroundings. Though I can’t say I’m a big fan of gum trees.
Stumbling upon the pine forest on our previous camp was a godsend in many ways. Here we were standing alone in these pine plantations: the air was crisp and silence engulfed us as we explored the area. Even though the Great Alpine Road was just a few metres away, for us it felt like we were deep within the woods. All we needed was some Bon Iver playing and it would have been perfect.
We made our way into the pine forest and I went about on my photography spree (as usual). How we experience and remember different places can be a result of many factors. The first time we were there, the pine trees were illuminated with the afternoon glow of the sun and everything just felt much more tranquil. This time round it was nearly midday where the sun is at it’s harshest.
I love sunny days but it’s not always the most pleasant time to take photos in.
Raye went off exploring at her own pace whilst me and Peter kept on photographing. After awhile we became worried as we couldn’t find Raye and the fact there was no signal didn’t make things much easier. Finally getting a hold of her, we went back to the main area and relaxed as she strolled back to us.
Group photos were taken to commemorate this trip and we discussed what the plan was for the rest of the day. With the blue skies and sunny weather, there was one thing on our mind: GELATI!
Heading back onto the road, we stopped by Myrtleford in hopes of finding a gelati store to satisfy our cravings. Unfortunately they had none, which was a shame but it allowed us to explore their information centre and grab a few brochures.
Our next destination was Wangratta which much have an gelati store. It’s quite a big town in comparison to the ones we’ve been to in the past with their own Aldi store and cinema complex. Ten minutes of walking around led us to the cinema complex and there it was. Anyone who knows us will know about the things we’d do and the amount of trouble we’d go through in order to satisfy our cravings. And here it was, the gelati store.
Peter wasn’t in the mood for gelati but with the warm decadent smell of popcorn wavering through the air, he bolted to get some straight away. Me and Raye got our gelati and headed out to the park right in front of the building.
In many ways it was like a mini-picnic for us though on a rather small scale. Which is fine because I feel sometimes we have such ambitious plans and they never come into fruition because of it. Nevertheless it was a good change to just sit back along the grass, eat/talk and just soak up the good vibes.
The drive home wasn’t too bad though I could feel my eyes getting heavy every now and then. The fear of being caught speeding loomed over me and I wanted to get home in time for a nap. Plus I promised the guys we’d watch Gymkata for Favourites/Movie Night as well. Suddenly what was once blue skies became dark grey clouds that filled the horizon which was a stark contrasts. By 5pm that evening the landmarks were now familiar.
We were home.
The Great Indoors: Part Six
Raye’s Outdoors - Camp 7
Our big plans of seeing the sunset eluded us, something that would become a recurring thing for future camps to come. I woke up at 8 with Raye and Thai following suit not too long afterwards. Generally the crisp, cool morning air tends to bring you out of your slumber but since we were so insulated, the thought of leaving your bed seemed less like a reasonable option.
We went about with our usual morning routines before Peter decided to prepare breakfast for us. Finally! The chance to sample his cooking was something me and Raye were both excited about but we tried to mindful of placing any high expectations on him.
He marinaded the chicken with mustard seeds and this garlic butter marinade and attempted to bake them inside the cabin. That backfired on him as it barely got hot enough to cook the meat so onto the next option: pan frying it. Unfortunately would work against him as the smoke from the pan cause the fire alarm to go off!
He’d be flapping the pillow like crazy and the alarm would stop for a second before continuing on with the beeping. Screw this, we thought, let’s just cook outside.
And so our heart big breakfast was prepared: eggs and bacon (that’s right, BACON), the marinaded chicken with toast and a selection of accompaniments such as hollandaise sauce & relish. By the second bacon & egg sandwich I was filling full.
Yep, we ended up buying way too much food. Another fail to add to the list.
After we had packed up, cleaned the place out and made sure everything was in it’s place, it was time to make way home. It was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and clouds hence we decided to park our car at Bright and walk around. One should never turn down the chance to explore and it seemed right to find out more about this little haven that we’ve idealised for so long. The brisk walk lasted for a good half an hour, a chance for us to stretch our legs and hopefully find the perfect house where we’d like to live in.
A last minute stop at the lolly store (what small town doesn’t have one?) and it was time to make our way to our next destination:
The pine forests.
The Great Indoors: Part Five
Raye’s Outdoors - Camp 7
Oh my, what a glorious sunset it was. It’s amazing how something so simple could stir such emotions within our minds and our very souls. Everyone likes paying out the whole cliche about taking walks along the beach during sunset - personally I think it’s bloody awesome. Maybe it’s simple because I’m a romantic at heart, though I like to think it’s because I like sunsets in general.
With all our essentials in hand, we made our way back to the car. The walk back wasn’t too bad in comparison to the walk we did a few hours before that. It’s much easier when you had some sort of idea on where the final destination is, rather than walking and hoping only to be disappointed by another turn. Oh such is life!
Peter went off whilst me and Raye took our time (as usual) walking and talking about our love for sunsets. Especially how pretty the colours are when the sun has just set - the good ole ‘golden hour’. And the moon looked rather stunning as it was bathed in the misty hues of blues and pinks.
We rejoiced as we made our way back to the car, what a fine achievement we had accomplished for the day. With the heater on high and the music blasting through my speakers, I drove down Mount Buffalo and back to Bright for dinner with Raye keeping me company whilst Peter konked out in the back.
Our first stop would be Safeway to buy groceries for tonight’s dinner. Peter had offered to cook us dinner which was a startling revelation to both me and Raye as we had no idea Peter cooked at all. With a bit of nudging we forced him to cook us dinner for this camp, though I honestly didn’t think it would happen. He had researched recipes online leading up to the camp and was determined to get it right. As we made our way around the aisles looking for the items, I began to get this nagging sensation that this would be too much hassle. Borrowing Peter’s phone (I wouldn’t get my iPhone till I got home the next day), I began researching what restaurants were still open just as a precaution. After a good five minutes debating whether we should cook dinner or eat out, a decision was finally made.
We were gonna eat out tonight!
Once we realised we didn’t need to cook tonight, we changed our mindset and decided all this would be now for the awesome big breakfast we could have in the morning. Strangely enough, this would propel us to spend big and go all out. And by that I mean we bought quality chutney’s, hollandaise sauce - the whole shebang. We’re here in Bright, we might as well live it up abit.
Raye paid for the groceries and I was slightly mortified when I saw the total amount she paid. She told us she would take the leftovers home though I still felt really bad about it. We drove back to the cabin, put the groceries in and headed back to town.That was one less headache to worry about, now it was time for food!
Using the Urbanspoon app, we settled upon an Italian restaurant called Sole e Luna. A family friend had told me the pasta was really nice there so it didn’t take much to convince Peter and Raye to go there. Upon entering, you could feel all the eyes of the patrons turn around and look at us. Here we were: in our trackies/jumpers slightly roughed up from our hikes whilst all the diners (mostly Caucasian) were all dressed up for dinner at this lovely restaurant.
We sat down at our menu, had a glass of water before having a look at the menu. A click glance at one another and we signed in agreement: this was not going to be cheap.i ordered the spaghetti with seafood marinara, Raye got the mushroom linguine and Peter got this fisher and basket along with various sides which we couldn’t finish such as polenta chips. By the time we finished our meal, I went with Peter to pay for the bill though he insisted on getting it. I felt so bad but he felt it was good for us to splurge once in awhile and if its with good company, it’s worth every dollar. I understand the sentiment but I would have still liked to chip for a $100+ total purchase bill. Instead of desserts we ordered coffees and continued talking before it became clear they were getting ready to close up.
After our rather expensive meal, we decided to head towards the park and kick back there. The park was deserted with us being the only occupants at that time of night. Many people will remark about how small towns generally don’t have a night life which in most cases is a good thing. But you definitely felt as though there was some sort of curfew in place and here we were - a few Asians running amuck on the playgrounds.
Our random conversations started drifting onto things from the past and it was there when it hit me. To cut a long story short, certain events that were brought up triggered some melancholic feelings inside me. Slowly I started to regress into my shell. And that would lead to a 4 month battle with my own insecurities, (minor) depression and a whole lot of Lana Del Rey being played.
It was there we realised we could have simply ordered pizza’s at the corner store and ate there instead. Would have saved Peter a good chunk of his money. Oh well.
Anyway we got back to our little hut and I decided to sleep first as the days activities had taken a toll on me. Plus I wanted to be prepared for the drive home the next day. Raye and Peter decided to play Monopoly and I remember hearing them laugh and scream as the game went on.
We had hoped to wake up early the next morning to catch the sunrise at the Gorge Lookout like we did on our previous camp.
Not surprisingly, we ended up sleeping in.
Sole E Luna
106 Gavan St,
Bright, VIC 3741
P: 03 5750 1861
The Great Indoors: Part Four
Raye’s Outdoors - Camp 7
With our bags packed with snacks and drinks, I parked my car along the side of the road and locked it. Through the whole duration I was thinking in the back of my mind the worst situations we could find ourselves in. What if the car doesn’t start when we come back. What if we come back and there was no car?!
We set foot upon our journey with one clear idea of where we were heading though clueless on the duration it would take for us to get there. Peter and I would go back and forth trying to remember how far it took for us to get there back in April. Driving there only took 5 minutes, walking would be a whole different story.
Another reason why we didn’t camp in tents at that time is because camping season at Mount Buffalo was still unavailable until early November. Although it was the beginning of Spring, remnants of Winter still remained. This was evident when we came across this.
Typically when we go on our hikes, Peter tends to be up front leading the pack whilst I’m at the very last taking photos of people’s heads. It’s become my sort of trademark in some ways though I do wonder when people will get sick of these shots. But this time round, instead it was me leading the way. Not sure why but I do think it was abit of arrogance on my part. “It’s not too far, I remember this part,” I would tell them.
Looking back, I don’t think I had any idea where we were in the grand scheme of things.
Slowly what seemed like an aimless walk to nowhere began to finally pay off. Little by little we would be teased of the view we had came for and as the rocks became larger and more noticeable, we knew our destination was near.
Taking a much needed break, we placed our bags on the table nearby and took in the scenery. Even with the doubts along the way on whether this was going to be worth it, it ultimately was in the end. Peter walked over to the steps which would lead up to the Horn lookout, but came back with disappointing news.
It was covered in snow.
He was annoyed about that (if you know him well, he gets annoyed with alot of things) but that didn’t matter in the end. We kicked back at the Chalet and I gave Raye what must have been the worst photography masterclass ever. Sorry Raye, I’ll give you a better demonstration next time!
Whilst Raye played around with Peter’s camera, I went off and sat down along the ledge by myself. Taking out my phone, it was time to set a soundtrack for this moment. Some people like to take in the beauty of their surroundings with silence, which I think is important and righteously so. But for me, music is such an important part of my life (as evident by the Raye’s Outdoors Mix) and nothing beats accentuating the quietly beautiful moments in my life than a song.
And there’s one tune that’s now become my go-to instant relaxation song.
Nujabes + Fat Jon - Aururian Dance
Anyone who knows me would know how contemplative I can get. All the over-thinking that goes through my mind: sometimes it’s good but many times it’s not. But there I was, sitting in silence as the song played against the cool breeze with this magnificent view in front of me and it made me wonder. Random questions going through my mind which led me to a discussion I’ve had multiple times with Peter.
Would this moment in time be as sacred and special if it was savoured only by yourself, or does it only become meaningful when it’s shared with someone close to you? Sometimes we see all these beautiful sights but we still feel like it’s incomplete. Lo and behold you find yourself remaking those almighty words:
Wish you were here.
The Great Indoors: Part Three
Raye’s Outdoors - Camp 7
The car was filled with excitement as we made our way to the Horn Lookout. When we had came to this lookout on our fourth camp, it was remarkable what a difference a day makes in regards to the look, atmosphere and overall appreciation of a place. On the first day as we left the Gorge, the weather changed suddenly from bright blue skies to overcast with rain beginning to pour. With our devil-may-care attitude - or should I say ignorance - we decided to continue with our plans to the Horn lookout.
By the time we made our way on to that road, the rain had suddenly disappeared and was now replaced with thick white fog that encompassed all our surroundings. As we continued driving slowly along the rocky windy road, we remarked how eerie this all felt. And the game ‘Silent Hill’ instantly came to our minds. Left with a dilemma on whether to actually do the Horn even though the chances of us actually seeing anything were nil, we decided we might as well. It didn’t matter that all we literally could see was white: it was all about the experience.
Plus the fact it also began snowing as well.
By the second day, we decided to do the hike to the Horn once again. The crisp blue skies had now returned and I was horrified to discover how cold it was. Like literally we had to ninja ourselves up (no blended needed) in order to keep ourselves warm. And as we reached the top and stood in silence taking in the views which we were deprived of the night before, I could tell this was it. This is what Backseat Ballads and us as a group were all about. Struggling through the different failures we’d experience, making the slightly difficult decisions but also basking in the sunlight and the glory of our successes.
Ironic that would all go out the window once we got here at this camp. As per usual, we stopped the car and took some photos of the scenery before getting back in and making it to our destination. Watching the sunset at the highest point in Mount Buffalo (I think?), it was one of those things we HAD to tick off the list.
That is, until we came across this.
Smack bang there was a gate. How is this possible? You could tell Peter was shattered as he made his way out the car to read the sign. Me and Raye were still singing so it wasn’t surprising we were in a state of slight confusion.
We stood around trying to figure out what the next move would be. Should we just leave and go back to Bright for dinner? But the sunset up at the Horn was why we wanted to go in the first place?
The final question was posed… do we want to walk to the Horn?
I know at this point we were all at a crossroads. How long would it take for us to actually walk there, let alone getting back. Looking at Peter, he would say he doesn’t care but it was obvious he wanted to go. After a few minutes of weighing our decision - it’s bad enough we’re indecisive as it is - Peter made the final call.
Fuck it, let’s do it.
The Great Indoors: Part Two
Raye’s Outdoors - Camp 7
We continued our way down the road past Centenary Park and found our ‘campsite’. More like a resort in some ways: there were plenty of cabins around with a swimming pool and even a inflatable jumping pad kind of thing. It was our mission to wake up early the next day and jump around on those things before all the kids dibbed it.
That didn’t end up happening, just another fail to add to the list.
I parked the car outside and we began taking things out of the boot and bringing it inside the cabin. The cabin consisted of one large room that housed a queen size bed, a bunk bed in the corner with a dining table, kitchen and a bathroom/toilet. Once all the necessities were taken inside, it was time to begin our trip up to Mount Buffalo.
Instead of rehashing what I’ve written about in the past, I’ll just copy/paste it here:
So the Raye’s Outdoors mix I made for that trip included this song and we found ourselves prancing around in our seats, trying not too get too sidetracked from focusing on the turns up the mountain. We realised a lot of the songs we were listening to tended to be these positive songs about the beauty of life and the world we lived in. Coldplay’s Don’t Panic, Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning and Ace of Bases Beautiful Life. Life was pretty good and it sure made things better with a soundtrack to it all.
Thai was in the backseat sleeping (or listening to his own music) so it was up to me and Raye to contribute some backup vocals to the song.
Reaching the Gorge lookout, we prepared ourselves for what could be a smack in the face of cold wind. Luckily, it was cool but not ridiculously cold like the previous time. Making our way to the first lookout, Raye jumped over the gate and felt at that moment it just seemed like the perfect time to dance. She asked for Whitney Houston’s ‘I Want To Dance With Somebody’ but unfortunately I didn’t have it (the horror!). So instead I put on the next best thing.
Whitney Houston’s ‘How Will I Know’.
If I ever got around to writing a list of songs that instantly make me happy (and want to dance), this would definitely be in the top 5 of that list. I jumped over gate too and we began dancing to this song as Thai tried to look away in embarrassment.
Dancing on top of a mountain to Whitney Houston. Because that’s how we roll.
We continued on prancing around, taking photos and trying to climb the rocks which we were to afraid of the first time. Looking back at the journey over the last year or so, I do find it amazing how less afraid I am of heights nowadays. Though with that said, force me to climb the Mount Donna Buang lookout from our first camp and you’ll have me in tears. I guess you begin to become fearless in some ways (or more like recklessly stupid), the adrenaline pumping inside you and the yearning to climb the higher rock in hoping to get a better view.
Which honestly doesn’t really change that much at all though.
It was close to half past 3 and if we wanted to catch the sunset at the Horn lookout, we knew it was time to head off. Luckily it wouldn’t take us long to get to The Horn lookout from The Gorge.
That was, until we actually got there.
Raye’s Outdoors Mix: Like A Version
PART TWO: THIS HERE, IS THE REMIX
Mention the word ‘remix’ to anyone and it can draw different responses from people. Back in the day, if a pop song was remixed, chances are they would add a new beat to it, a hip hop artist would rap in the bridge and tend to sex it up (Color Me Badd style).
When songs are remixed, the alterations can be subtle but sometimes they can completely change the whole meaning or atmosphere of a song. What was once a slow love ballad is now transformed into an upbeat dance track. There are many songs where the remix has complete ruined the song, though on the flip-side there are just as many that not only improve but completely blow the original out of the water.
For example: Jagged Edge - Let’s Get Married. My family friend introduced me to the song in 2001 just when I began highschool and I remember being amazed and loving the beat. I personally didn’t even know it was a remix until I saw the original version playing on the TV. With that said I would always be hoping for the remixed version to come on. Who wouldn’t get that chill down their spine when the beat drops and they hear those immortals words:
This here is a remarkable, SO SO DEF. REMIX.
The same also applies to R. Kelly’s Ignition Remix. I don’t think anyone even knows what the original sounds like. Unless you watch the Chappelle Show. I want to piss on you…
It’s not only limited to just hip hop/r’n’b songs: some of my favourite songs are actually remixes though most people don’t even realise this. Case in point would be Christina Aguilera’s ‘Come On Over’. It’s one of the best pop songs of all time (or at least one of my favourites) and it was disappointing when I tried to download it on back in the day and got the original version instead. Listening to it again it definitely has that pop feel, as though it was something that would have been played on the Disney Channel back in the day. Christina was always the more talented one of the pop princesses but it was this music clip where I fell in love with her.
And of course our favourite: Carly Rae Jepsen. Curiosity has got to hands down her best song and I’m so glad she decided to include the remix on her album rather than stick with the EP version. It’s alright, but it simply doesn’t compare to the album version which is simply so much more catchier!
That’s not to say all remixes complete demolish the originals though. Sometimes the original and remixes can exist in coexistence, that usually makes it harder for me when I have to decide which version to choose. I love the remix for Janet Jackson’s ‘Someone To Call My Lover’ but the original version is just as catchy. One that I struggle with to this day is 'So Into You' by Tamia. The original by her is such a nice 90’s slowjam but most of us would know the version with Fabolous (oh the days of being a teenager). They both evoke different moods and I love them equally - I just tend to include both in the end.
Other times you hear remixes that are subtle in the way they enhance some of the musical elements in order to push the dance aspect of the song. There’s a few songs that I’ll play thinking ‘wait, this sounds slightly different than what I remember’ only to realise it’s actually a remix. Two examples would be LeAnn Rimes ‘Can’t Fight The Moonlight’ & Kylie Minogue’s ‘Love At First Sight’. I actually really like the remix of CFTM which I think they actually quite abit on radio, though I’ll always choose the original version of LAFS anyday!
You don’t really hear remixes as often anymore - it’s become point of contention to just include some rapper on a pop song and sadly it’s commonplace nowadays. These days it tends to be the indie/upcoming dj’s who are making some of the most interesting/awesome remixes out there.
List of songs used:
The Great Indoors: Part One
Raye’s Outdoors - Camp 7
Every time I think about camp, a few things pop into my mind: stopping off for our morning coffees, long hikes, amazing scenic views, cup noodles and camp fires. But I think there’s one prevailing element that is guaranteed to happen at all our camps, past and future:
It wouldn’t be a Backseat Ballads camp if there wasn’t some sort of fail along the way. Whether it’s hiking in summer with no shorts, Neil running out of petrol halfway down a mountain or simply not packing the essentials (how Frannie forgot his sleeping bag, I will never know). It’s simply become a part of our adventures and in some ways, we do look forward to who will screw up so we could laugh about it in the future. Or right in front of their faces at the time.
And boy did this camp have so many fails.
The participants for our seventh camp was me, Raye and Thai - a natural progression as it was generally us three who would go off on these random adventures. Knowing that it was my first time driving for a camp, I was sort of looking forward to though I knew the drive home would be a killer.
What made this camp even more exciting was the fact we would be staying in cabins this time round. CABINS! I love camping in tents but it just felt it was a good time to try something different. Plus the fact we were staying in a cabin which was fully furnished with beds, kitchen and a bathroom meant we didn’t need to bring anything! Besides a bag of clothes, my boot was free with space that would normally be taken up with camping chairs, bags of firewood and the tent.
Morning arose and I headed off to Raye’s place to pick her up first. I had made 4 cds for the drive: each cd had a different mix of songs on it.
Disc 1: Morning Drive - filled with boppy/upbeat songs
Disc 2: Afternoon Drive - combination of indie/acoustic/classic (Mo-town & Doo-Wop) songs
Disc 3/4: The Good Stuff - aka our beloved powerballads/cheesy love songs
We headed to Thai’s house, put all the stuff in the car then made our way to the local petrol station (Caltex) on the corner of Sunshine Ave/Main Road to fill up. Raye went to the restroom and I put in the first cd to begin this adventure.
Driving along the freeway singing and talking (naturally), it was just as I had taken the exit to Seymour did I see Raye frantically looking for her phone. Maybe she it dropped under her seat because I’m sure she had it before. Peter tried calling it but no response. Obviously the phone being on silent didn’t help.
It was there we realised where she had misplaced her phone at the petrol station! Pulling over, we googled the petrol station and gave them a ring. Luckily the person on desk had found the phone and told us he’d put it aside for us to pick up. Massive u-turn back to the petrol station, Raye felt so bad the trip had already started off on the wrong foot. I just laughed and continued along singing to Huey Lewis & Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Cruisin Together’.
Retrieving the phone, we were now back on the road to start our adventure… again. They both took turns napping throughout the journey and I made sure I didn’t crash just yet. Honestly I’ve never had to drive anywhere that far before so the prospect of being captured speeding loomed over my mind during the drives. We stopped at the local Mcdonald’s in Wangratta to grab a coffee, which is where Raye discovered me and Thai were wearing the exact same outfit!
We made our way on the Great Alpine Road, talking about music and other random things (I explained to them my weird associations I have with songs and specific locations… don’t ask). Once we reached the massive roundabout we knew we had arrived: turn left to go to Bright, turn right to go to Mount Buffalo. It was AWN, Schmidtty style.
The last time we were there in April last year, I was determined that we would go to Ginger Baker which was located where Centenary Park is. It was one of those places I would constantly tell Raye about and how it was definitely a place she would love. We arrived there, found a table outside and ordered our meals.
Even though Spring was here, the starkness of winter still remained. Trees that were once filled with leaves in shades of yellows and red were now bare. I tried to so hard to forget the memories I had of this place, the vivid images imprinted in my mind of what Bright represented to me.
We said the next time we went here, we would reserve this table and have a banquet with the guys whether it’d be lunch or dinner. Thankfully it ended up happening at our recent camp.
Once brunch was completed, we casually walked around before making our way to my car. It was time to check out our accomodation for the night and possible one of the many reasons we even went on this camp
It was time to check out our cabin.
Gami: Korean Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken. If it’s not burgers or scones (or anything else really), just saying these two words would put any of us in a frenzy. Especially our local resident fried chicken aficionado’s Neil & Age. It’s not surprising to see Neil rocking up to movie night with a bag in his hand - we don’t even need to enquire what the content is. Guaranteed it’s Nelson’s Chicken (Nelson is a high school friend of ours and his parents own a chicken/fish and chip stop - awesome chicken!). I try to limit how much fried chicken I intake a month, but with the devil in a blue dress (or in this case, oversized jeans) hovering over me, it can be difficult.
I had told the guys about a place in the city called Gami which served KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) and was open pretty late. We’ve never actually got around to going, but it was John who took the initiative and instead of going to a food truck, decided last Thursday we’d be going to Gami instead. No suits and ties this time round, we knew it was time to get down and dirty!
The one at Healey’s lane feels more like a takeaway store with your typical K-Pop blasting over the speakers - though with that said, they did play ‘Call Me Maybe’ which was a sign this was meant to be. We made our order for the night: 3 plates of Fried chicken (2 original, 1 plate had half spicy and half ginger soy), two plates of Corn and Cheese and a few jugs of their finest brew. We nibbled on some shrimp crackers using chopsticks before the C&C came out.
Corn and Cheese. I had seen photos of it but it just never clicked. I honestly wouldn’t have even ordered it if John hadn’t mentioned he’d heard good reviews about it. We stared at this strangely exotic dish and allowed Neil to take the first bite. Anyone who knows Neil will be used to the expressions he has anytime he tries anything nice. That orgasmic sensation exploding in his mouth, you just look at his face and you know. The verdict was unanimous: this was bloody good. How could something so simple taste so good? I instantly looked up the recipe on my phone and basically it consists of corn kernels, evaporated milk (or mayonnaise with sugar) and cheese. Mozzarella, though we did debate it could possibly be tasty… then again it wouldn’t have been as stringy.
The chicken came out and boy did we enjoy ourselves feasting on these pieces of chicken and taking it down with some cold beer. The ginger soy chicken was quite nice and in this rare instance, I agree it would have been perfect with rice. I was also a big fan of the spicy chicken with the heat slowly increasing with every bite you take.
By the end of it all we were bloated and it was only 10pm. Generally Brunetti’s would be the place to go after any sort of meal, but being a weekday it was going to close at 11pm. Most of us were down for a coffee and dessert so we decided to head towards Cafe Romantica on Lygon Street (Brunswick end) to fulfil these needs.
Whilst the others got their coffee, I decided to get some gelati along with Jamie and Age. As we sat outside drinking, eating and smoking, we began to reminisce about what had to be the best summer of our lives: end of 2006 and beginning of 2007. Finishing year 12 and not having to worry about VCE exams anymore, the freedom of being 18 and getting our driver’s license. The amount of parties and drinkups we had and basically living at Tom’s house for most of the duration. Times have changed but looking back you can tell when people talk about the best summer of their lives, we had the opportunity to experience that and it’s something we’ll never forget.
Fried chicken + Corn and Cheese. It’s seriously been on my mind ever since we had it last week. Plus the fact it opens quite late will not do any good for any of us, especially with our penchant for late night (food) adventures.
Gami (Healeys Lane)
Shop G, 535 Lt. Lonsdale St
on Healeys Lane.
Tel: 03 9670 3232
52 Lygon Street
Brunswick East, VIC 3057
Tel: 03 9380 4437