Sydney is enchanting. It’s surprising that Sydney can stay so excellent.
Pure, simple, still unsullied, still surprising. There’s just so much of it left to see, except that nobody cares to.
There is something to be said for this town, something apart from that facile phrase, ‘multicultural city’ or the equally insufficient ‘cosmopolitan’. It is true that Sydney is multicultural, but that doesn’t mean that various different cultures have collided together in their extremes. It’s cosmopolitan because these have all taken to Sydney, Sydney has taken to them somehow.
Never the popular which garners most amazement, or creates true enjoyment, but rather the simultaneous vitality of the numerous obscurities which are most suprising.
Lakemba: Is home to everyone. Shire people don’t come here. They should though. It’s a sun dappled, ethereal marketplace in the daytime. Shisha comes out and so do bumbags and mullet cuts at night. This is a surprising community, not an ethnic centre. Though it’s pretty ethnic.
Shopping squares and Centro’s. Even Marketplace’s. One in Menai, the other, Chullora.
‘Marketplace’ is the franchise that has stayed almost as much a secret as that place called ‘Chicken Express’
“Established in Sydney 1991, Chicken Express is a group of fast service chicken takeaway outlets”. Tasty citation: http://www.chickenexpress.com.au/
From the Rocks market to the Fish market to Charcoal Chicken shops and the obligatory Vietnamese bakeries on almost every suburban strip, chemists, and post-office. Massive metropolitan Parramatta, to a secret Lebanese pizza oven store on a forgotten Kingsgrove street corner.
Hurstville: downtown Manhattan in its legitimacy, a true China town, except happier.
Menai’s village café’s, Drummoyne’s riverside fish and chips, its streets dappled with ethereal, lustrous, sparkling sunshine, shining through tree leaves.
Bankstown’s industrious, military commitment to sweet shops, café’s and shawarma.
The Westfield’s, all 79 thousand of them. That enormous commercial enterprise: first in Miranda, spreading north through the burbs, and then finally plastering itself onto the skyline with our most pretentious Westfield ever.
Those endless football fields/Wednesday night soccer training grounds. Those obligatory brown bunker style toilet blocks on every green expanse. All this apart from the clichéd resplendence of the harbour and the Opera house foreshore.
A green, thicketed, bushy horizon wherever you look into the distance. Look past the trees, and, oh! there it is, that comforting city skyline. It can be seen with surprising consistency, even here in Menai. Perhaps it can’t be seen from Parramatta, that enormous second city they’ve been making.
Burwood and Concord and Brighton and Sydney. Sydney. It stole the show. Enmore, Stanmore, Enfield, Newtown. Sydney, endlessly surprising. Five Dock, Concord, Roselands, Gymea, Sydney, you cannot stop.
It’s in the 40 km/hr school zones, it’s in the industrial football fields, It’s in the streets, in the local mixed business store, in the Bowls clubs. Caringbah Bowls clubs, here’s to you!
Happy, privileged, simple, surprising, sexy, Sydney.
Sydney, you never cease to surprise.
Louise Hasson’s “52 suburbs” tracks Sydney, through a simple and long overdue photographic collection of suburbs. Encyclopedic evidence of some Sydney’s places. Check it out, scroll down the tab on the left to find your suburb.