Ikea at Rhodes is big. Really big. Much bigger than the one I used to have at nearby Moore Park.
I was so upset when Moore Park Ikea closed. It was so convenient, being only a ten minute walk from home. Getting to Rhodes was a far more complex affair, especially since there was track-work today.
I went there with a couple of goals in mind: to buy some household goods and to eat some “typically” Swedish food.
The meatballs were a bit of a disappointment to be honest, falling far short of the meatballs I enjoyed in Sweden, and most memorably at Skansen. For a start, the accompanying potato was mashed. And secondly, the meatballs were a little dried out, and definitely in need of that murky brown sauce and cranberries to make them edible. Yes, I knew it was always going to be the case, but I hoped nonetheless.
Still, I enjoyed some Marabou Chocolate which is the same all around the world, thank goodness.
After lunch I went in search of some new cutlery. That was all I wanted. Though of course I ended up buying some saucepans, a bedside light, and some some cards.
I also walked around practising my Swedish by saying as many words and names as possible outloud. Clearly, I have no shame anymore, or perhaps it’s confirmation I’ve joined the ranks of Sydney’s freaks err bohemians.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m not a good shopper. In fact, I kinda loathe shopping. And after a while I had a minor panic attack. “Get out of here”, I thought to myself after about an hour or so of mindless consumerism.
Despite this, the whole experience remained wonderfully Swedish. Although the vast majority of shoppers were of Asian descent, I heard three or four people speaking Swedish which was kinda fun.
In particular, as I was looking at some of the Swedish food on the way out, I overheard three young people looking at the food and speaking in Swedish. “Jag har inte”, I heard one of them say, as he looked at the goods in the freezer. Literally it means “I have without”, but in this context it means something more poetic like “I miss them so much!”.
As I sat on the train station at Rhodes to catch the train back I thought for just a moment I was back in Sweden. It was modern and quite clean. The trains ran on time, though obviously less frequently. The colour scheme was the typically Swedish blue and yellow/gold. And it was surrounded by medium-high apartment blocks. For just a moment I was back at Solna Centrum in the dark suburbia of Stockholm. Of course, I was in Sydney’s equivalent.