After arrival by train we undertook a walk to the Library to deposit ten books as part of two literary competitions. We passed the first of the sky scrapers and after overcoming intestinal hiccups, the walk resumed with renewed vigour. We are now seated underneath large white canvas umbrellas enjoying a sandwich, a bagel and café lattes.
We noticed that despite the heat we were feeling remarkably chipper. We both enjoy watching people go by. It is interesting that we noticed far more cafés and eating places now in Sydney. Many tantalising plates of food were on display. Gone were the dreary lamington, devon and pie offering of years gone-by. No, all is good in the culinary world. A revolution certainly seems to have happened in edible food in contrast to the fare handed out by our rorting politicians.They still revel in showing abhorrence to even the slightest hint of public support for the dreadful treatment of refugees! But of that more later.
Souvlakis and the yeeros outlets seem to have been well established along Macquarie Street while Pitt Street now excels in Chinese wontons, oriental offerings, noodle dishes and even sad-looking flattened smoked ducks hanging from inside shop windows. A man approached us pointing to his throat. We shook our heads. He walked on and went to the next customer. Was he hungry or mad? Poor man, possibly both. After a good rest and drinking copious amounts of water, Helvi suggested to go on. Our next stop would be Martin Place. Martin place is to Sydney what the Left-Bank or Eifel-Tower is to Paris. It even has its own train station, all underground. This is where many people meet.
Years ago Martin Place had an expensive and fancy night-club restaurant. I think it might have been called ‘Quo Vadis.’ The uber socialite and fund raiser of that time, Nola Dykevere, used to write up in the Sunday Telegraph about the celebrities visiting this night club. It would feature photos identifying by name the diners and their guests. It was many a Sydney-sider’s lifelong dream to be featured in that paper.
I took one of my first dates there. It was a terrible night. The food was cut up sliced English ham and a salad without dressing, some pierced bits of English gherkin. I threw all caution to the wind by ordering a glass of tepid insecure wine. My date had sparkling lemonade and we just kept saying to each other; “nice, oh how nice, and my spicy Dutch guttural English ‘you look so lovely’ was answered by ‘thank you.” ‘ I was wearing a too big a suit with a white shirt and tie. The brylcreme tried its best to give my mat hair a bit of a wave. The show had a chanteuse singing something from Tammy or possibly the latest from that racist ‘ The Black and White Minstrel show.’ For dessert we had some sliced cheese and a pale jelly. I bet the cheese was ‘tasty cheese.’ Still a favourite today.
Of course, anyone on a rare first date would have felt a bit nervous and memories might be exaggerated or vague. My experience of the opposite sex were at that time very limited but my interest at pitch fever heights. A peak during the Scheyville migrant’s camp after our arrival, at the Polish taxi driver’s wife’s bush in the shower through a crack in the fibro partition was as far as it went. Most of my fellow Dutch migrant boys at the Nissan Hut camp thought it a very fortuitous break and were jealous.
Today, Martin place is thankfully different. A busy bustling place with well designed open places where people can sit, enjoy a coffee and avoid talking to each other tinkering on the mobile phone. Going up past the station we again met up with many of the homeless. A volunteer with entrepreneurial skills had set up a kitchen to feed those that were hungry. A cook was busy stirring and frying food. Many seemed to just be sleeping or perhaps the heat was having an effect. Many looked elderly. Were some pensioners? It all looked rather startling and unsettling to see so many. How could that be?
Right now our politicians are in the middle of a scandal with rorting their entitlements. One female minister for HEALTH just resigned when it came out she was using travel entitlement to scour the Gold Coast Auction market and had made a most lucrative investment in a high-rise unit on the cold Coast while purportedly being on Government paid health business. Where are their priorities? Certainly not on the home-less.
Another minister with a penchant for horses had used her travel entitlements to attend polo races with her boyfriend. She was shown in a photo wearing a hat and far too much eye blackener. Another scoundrel had travelled to the US attending a Prayer Breakfast, whatever that means. But the forgotten flotsam of the homeless are in Martin place and a few were even seen prostrate right in front of the reason of our walk and focus, the State Library. Again I won’t finish this tale of books and woes.
It seems, that I got stuck far too long on regaling past memories with peaks at female bush. Is that what drives me?
Keep an eye out. More to come!