Contrasts of greater Sydney

In the heart of what is essentially Sydney city, twenty somethings and retired couples took it easy late on Sunday afternoon, sipping coffee, browsing through the Sunday papers, making small conversation or just staring into each other's eyes. Never mind if the grounds were wet from passing showers throughout most of the day.
Vespas and like-minded motorbike models were neatly parked in front of shaven-headed men with big eyes and almost similar body hugging t-shirts. The women could be fans of the book Sex and The City, but in reality perhaps have more complex realities than anyone can imagine.

The service was not exactly top notch at this Challis Street cafe. There seemed to be a dearth of open coffee places in Potts Point. The Fratelli Fresh was lively - and so was a rather trendy Woolworths store along the main street. We sat in alfresco dining quarters where a car was driven to neatly park literally straight behind our backs. Perhaps after what we saw in front of a terrace in another part of Sydney city - when the last vestiges of the Southern Cross Drive met Flinders Street - we appreciated this precise and polite parking.

Earlier in the afternoon, we saw how bold and recklessly a man parked in a spot obviously too small for his Holden. He blatantly nudged the stationary vehicle behind by pushing it surely with the back of his car, and then did it again. I understand that this is done on Paris or New York cbd streets in the late hours of night, when one needs to park the car and urgently crash in bed - but this was inner Sydney on a Sunday afternoon.

For lunch, we had plunged into the exotic chaos and dynamics of street markets reminiscent of another place, another time. I reckoned there could have been a thousand and one things on sale - mangosteens, freshly cooked food, red cherries, kitchen ware, artificial flowers, longans, all types of gourds, various pancakes, steaming buns, pastries, cakes,recently made rice and egg noodles, bean sprouts, peaches, durians, multi-hued jellies and more. Shoppers were placed shoulder and shoulder, or back to back, as they passed by each other in narrow arcades.

The mung bean noodles I had were thoroughly mixed with savoury sauces and garnished with red chili cuts. It was expected to have difficulty to park the car but we found a spot on the top floor of the multi-storey car park. Cabramatta has a reputation in any angle you see it. There was no alfresco coffee sipping place in sight, and almost everyone there wanted to finish their business and move on. There were queues of people and vehicles. Service was quick and crowded. And even if space was really tight, I have not encountered a driver rudely pushing back another car to make way for his. Or maybe not yet.


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