Yesterday I had a day off. I also had a relatively new book to read. It had a good first page, and I was gripped by the line: "a galaxy of cream unribbons in my coffee cup". Mostly I liked the word 'unribbons', it is what milk or cream does in a coffee cup. I was slightly irritable after my fruitless attempt to track down a missed caller, and I had to buy a train ticket to Canberra.
It was such a warm and sunny day, and after buying my ticket I had nothing really to do, and no-one was around, so I spent the day tripping through the city. I wondered. I was caught up in my book and randomly wondering the city, so basically it was an afternoon spent dipping in and out of reality.
From Central station, wondered along through the park. The way to the city from the boarding house, when Nagisa, Lanny, Sophie and I would escape the boarding house for the afternoon for a quick visit to Chinatown. It always seemed different approaching from that direction, if you come straight from the station and walk across the park, and the tram lines, and past the theatre, then George St seems kind of insignificant. It stops being the defining feature of the city. Instead you are caught up in the little backstreets, and the larger streets, that sprawl out into an extended Chinatown. From there you walk through Chinatown proper, stopping at Y2K for pearl sago tea (which I did, after buying skittles from a convenience store). I stopped to drink my tea and read my book on a seat on the street. The pearl sago balls get a bit much after a while, they always do, but the tea tastes like Hong Kong. It is a shock to look up from a book that has dragged you through a night in Tokyo to find yourself in Chinatown. Disorienting.
I kept up the walking through backstreets, sometimes I feel like I've seen most parts of the city too many times already. It's nice to explore new areas. I found an alternative bookshop, full of books ranging from mainstream religion (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism), through New Age, astrology and self-help to the truly, truly weird. Titles like 'Hair of the Alien: DNA and other forensic evidence for alien contact', and a real-life version of Loony Lovegood's father's paper (you know, from Harry Potter). It was truly bizarre. People are strange.
I was looking for a Sanity store, partially because I felt I was surfing the edge of mine, but mostly because I have a voucher. Then I found myself in Skygarden, going up escalators because someone (Ang?) had been talking about a shop somewhere there that was cool although I couldn't remember why. Despite this vague plan, and my being sidetracked by looking at hats and fake frangipanis, I did eventually discover that this was a British sweet shop, selling on of my all-time favourite cereals-frosted shreddies. Basically wheat pieces coated in sugar. Like Punch and Judy toothpaste they are a sweet, sweet childhood memory- unobtainable in Australia. A box of them cost $8, although they were on sale for $5. Exorbitant for cereal. I walked away, pausing to buy myself a Frys Bar. I ate it, while reading and politely farewelling people who tried to sell me facials. Why does that always happen?
I found a Sanity, but it didn't have anything I wanted, so I went to HMV, because I love it there. I like to listen to music and watch the day go by to different soundtracks. I was listening to some 'new music', a Fallout Boy cd, when a song sounded familiar. I thought I was mistaken, but the chorus I knew.
"We're going down, down, in an earlier round,
But sugar we're going down swinging,
I'll be your number one with a bullet"
and so on. It was actually stuck in my head for a while some time ago. I don't remember when, or why, or where I heard it first, but there you go. I liked it anyway. Pop punk makes angst fun! So I thought maybe I should buy it. I was thinking of buying Prince's greatest hits, but now am in a dilemma. They are both very different styles of music of course... I don't know if I want the whole Fallout Boy cd though, it did seem to drag toward the end. If I can find a halfway decent Sanity I'll hang around trying to make up my mind a bit longer. I would like to own some pop punk, but not too much.
My book had unexpected violence and gang warfare. I walked crazy up from Pitt Street to Hyde Park. You know when you're flying along and smiling, and still half out of reality if you can at all help it? Maybe not. Anyway, I was nice to the Greenpeace guy that I avoided, I took a photo for random tourists, and there was unexpectedly a photography exhibition under the trees. It's always strange to see pictures of Circular Quay with horses, carts and sailing ships. There was this photo there, and somehow it was the same, although completely different. I looked at the photos and listened to the busker and smiled.
There's a garden at the end of the avenue of trees, for some king or other. I was going to wonder in, but there were a couple of schoolkids kissing passionately, so I wondered hastily away. To the bus stop opposite Town Hall, where there was a graduation, and a bus to take me through Pyrmont and over the harbour bridge, while I read my book and twisted round in the back seat to look at the city skyline. And head home.