Monday, March 9, 2015

Melbourne Market tour winner revealed!

Hi everyone - thank you so much for your fantastic entries to my first-ever giveaway!  I put out a call for "your best westie story - the one that just sums Footscray, or the inner west, up".  The winner gets two tickets to an upcoming tour of the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit & Veg Market.  I said I'd publish the winner today, and I will - plus a few more, because so many were just too good!

There was a real theme of history among many of your entries.  Roslin writes that:

"1995, 5 year old Roslin would get her hair cut at Forges by Marina, then navigate through the hustle and bustle of Footscray Market with her mum. Fast forward to now and 23 year old Roslin is eating her way through Footscray: Cannoli. Pho. Ethiopian. 8bit and more."


And from Lan:

"My mum used to work at the Asian grocers that's still on the corner of Hopkins and Moore St. As a little girl, dad would bring me with him when he went to pick her up from work. I remember waiting by the register with her whilst she finished her shift and watching people from all walks of life come in, have a little chat with Mum before taking their goodies home. Mum seemed to know everyone and many conversations revolved around what they were going to make with their ingredients. It was fascinating to hear the variety whilst I sat perched up on a stool having a durian or red bean ice cream! The things you learn growing up in the west!"


I loved Kate's Saturday morning Footscray ritual:

"My Saturday morning in Footscray - a sense of adventure in the air. I battle the masses at Nhu Lan for my beloved Tofu roll. A jump to Vy’s for my Vietnamese Iced-Coffee. A cheery ‘hello’ to the elderly street side vendors. A myriad of curious stores and restaurants longing to be explored. The vibe is unique and incomparable. I am energised and inspired!"


And I really feel Footscray's capacity to subvert your expectations in Georgia's entry:

"One of my most memorable moments in Footscray was with my Somali friend, her dressed in her colourful hijab and me in my traditional melbourne winter outfit of BLACK! We entered an Arabic store which looked like a shop which sold various foods and kitchenware of odds and ends. My friend suggested we enter and I was wondering what we would possibly buy here...  as we walked towards the back of the shop the heat and gorgeous cooking smells hit us and there was a man making fresh injera on a supersize pancake maker with his wife sorting and packing it for customers. We left with beautiful bread and me with the experience of a lifetime having met wonderful people and entered a world I would never have known existed."


Wendy got a peek into an "inner world" too, at Gold Leaf, Sunshine:

"Treating a visiting Nimbin hippy fresh off the plane, we eschewed Melbourne's CBD, instead heading for Sunshine (how could you not love a place with a name like that!) As the last diners sharing a very relaxed late lunch with wait staff, laughing as they all dived on the best trolley baskets for their own meal break... Only in the West!"


Kathryn apologised for offering four entries and told me clearly that if this was "overkill or cheating", to just consider her first entry.  Oh, but I love all of these little vignettes so much.  I love their honesty and the way they make me pause.

"Two African guys argue (something about rabbits) at Sunny Nguyen’s counter, while the Vietnamese lady serving looks nonplussed. Finally, one says to the other, ‘No, last year was Year of the Rabbit, this year it’s Year of the Snake, and after that, it’ll be something else.’ He looks at me and we exchange grins."

"A grizzled white man wheels a stunt bike along Footscray station, stopping to admire a pit bull (‘Fucken beautiful dog, pardon my French’) and tell me this joke. ‘You know the government’s changing the family subsidy - what do you call a white person with six kids? An entrepreneur!’ He grins. ‘It’s a good one, isn’t it?!’"


"Further up the Maribyrnong they sit in family groups, their fishing rods wedged into upright tubing, but this angler sits alone, holding his rod in gloved hands. Once he’d plunge carp into ice to banish the mud flavour from their flesh; now he throws them back, and his faded red bucket holds no ice, just river water."

"Overheard. Two men (one begging), Footscray station.
A: (Calmly, but becoming belligerent) No, no, no. I won’t. I won’t give you money so you can smoke. I won’t do it. What do you think you’re doing? It’s not right. I’m not gonna do it. I’m not. So don’t ask me.
B: (Quietly) Alright, mate."


But in the end, I am going to award the tickets to May, whose entry I felt was as bright and crisp as the snow peas she describes.

"As I inspected the snow peas at Little Saigon, a friendly member of staff approached holding a box above his head carefully, as if presenting Simba to the Sahara. Slowly, it tipped and rained crisp, glorious, snow peas into my waiting hands. I put on my war mask and went into battle as the vultures descended..."

Congratulations, May!  I hope you have an awesome time!  Thank you also to everyone who entered.  I loved reading your wonderfully diverse submissions.  Keep living and loving the west!

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