Thursday, 16 July 2015

Few Snapshots of the Changes in the City of Sydney

A watched pot never boils, a watched watch never moves, and by these logic, a watched city never develops.

Ok, if you watch a watch long enough,  its minute hand will move just as a pot will boil. But why? It's as boring as watching hair grows, or dish dries, it's extremely boring. Why do you want a staring contest with a clock? Why oh why? If you win, it's not like it's going to hand out prizes (either with its minute or hour hand or both of its hands. No siree Bob).

View from hotel window of Fraser Suite. Anzac Bridge and Rozelle Bay, Sydney, Australia
View from my Fraser Suite hotel window.
View of Anzac Bridge and Rozelle Bay.

If you leave the room and come back 15 mins later, the clock's minute hand would move by 90 degrees. That's drama! And if you leave the country for a few years, you see all those changes in the city that took place while you were away in an instant. Things do happen with or without you. The world go on. Spin, baby, spin!

Came to Singapore in April 2009, and last visit to Sydney in July 2015.
Close but no cigars.

Bear with me for a moment while I put the clock forward by 2 hours from Singapore to Sydney time. The only hands being moved were my hands.

{* Mistaken Identity *}

Case in point. One of the 4 corners of George and Goulburn Sts used to be occupied by Délifrance, and is now taken over by...drum roll please...Delafrance. This is perfectly sensible move by Delafrance.

De La France, delafrance, George St, Sydney, Australia
Yep, just like Délifrance, Delafrance has outdoor tables, following closely 
the tradition of French cafe. A practice that isn't widespread in Sydney.

De La France, delafrance, George St, Sydney, Australia
A curve olive branch in its logo.
Délifrance, too, has an olive branch in its logo.

My friend Scot - a Sydney local - thought they were the same shop. Considering that they're both French style bakery coffee shops with their names differ by one letter, he could be forgiven, especially he's not a customer of either shops.

The French call it boulangerie Café, and the most well known is Paul (est. 1889). There were no Paul bakery/cafe/restaurant in Sydney, and both Délifrance and Delafrance aren't French franchises (did French also invented franchises?). They're Singaporean and Australian brands respectively. OK, Délifrance was a French company bought over by a Singapore company. It's now listed on SGX.

Of the 3, I like Paul the most, followed by Délifrance, and lastly Delafrance. Actually, the thing I liked about Paul the most is their free stuff: the green olive pâté. Since there's no Paul in Sydney, I discovered it in Bahrain (the Arabs are Francophile, they also like Italian and Chinese food, although they don't really taste like it). Even though there're a number of Paul outlets in Singapore, my short stay in Bahrain was before my long stay in Singapore (5 years and counting).

There was another Délifrance outlet only a hundred meters away in Townhall Station. I don't know what happens, but both had closed down.

{* Facelift and Arm Extension *}

After the extensive facelift, Westfield decided it also needed to rechristened the shopping mall from Westfield Centrepoint to Westfield Sydney. During the facelift, it also grew an arm to reach into its neighbouring department store Myer across Pitt St Mall, like somebody who puts an arm around his mate's shoulder. The 2 business had became chummier.

Reflection, Sydney Centrepoint, Sydney, Australia Reflection, Sydney Centrepoint, Sydney, Australia Reflection, Sydney Centrepoint, Sydney, Australia

Skybridge, Pitt Street Mall, Sydney Centrepoint, Sydney, Australia
The 2-level sky-bridge that connects Westfield Sydney to Myer Store.
It makes the Pitt St Mall seems more cluttered.

The facelift and arm-extension contagion also spread to the nearby (next city block) MLC Centre Building.

Skybridge, MLC Centre, Sydney, Australia
Skybridge cutting across King St.

{* Whole Body Reconstruction *}

Well, one building in particular is not just undergone facelift, but is being replaced by a new building. It was an award winning building that was opened by the Queen in 1988. The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is an important and integral part of Sydney Darling Harbour is nothing but a hole at the moment.

The spiraling fountain that gave so much fun for the kids was also gone alongside with the Centre.

Contruction site, former Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Australia
View of the hole left by the Exhibition Centre from my hotel window

{* New Identity *}

If you're a Chinese-speaking immigrant, and you have lived in Sydney for more than 5 years, you would certainly recognise this building located at the corner of Goulburn and Pitt Sts (just a block from Delafrance).

The Mandarin Club was a watering hole for many, and for the Chinese speaking migrant a place with pokies (poker machines). Most in Chinese community know the name.

It holds memory for many Chinese-speaking immigrant, myself included. I remember I fell down in its toilet one night after some drinks. I fainted because my hayfever had closed off my nostril. The low oxygen rich environment didn't help. People carried me out of the club. When the ambulance came, the paramedic asked my friend Darren if my nose was always this big. His answer was that my nose looked normal. Who was being nosy?

As far as I'm concerned, it was there forever. But nothing lasts forever. The Mandarin Club has moved to somewhere else, and this former Mandarin Club building are now occupied by restaurants.

Former Mandarin Club building, Corner of Goulburn and Pitt St, Sydney, Australia
At the top of this vertical sign, the Mandarin Club logo remains,
reminding its former incarnation

Good or bad, the only constant is change. C'est la vie. And when you come back once in awhile, you can't help but notice the accumulated changes.

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