Thursday, 21 December 2017

Off to get some Egyptian in Enmore

This is the latest in a series of flaneur collages that started in March and was suspended in July before being picked up again this month.

I left home at just on 11am and took the lift down to the ground floor because the fire doors were still shut on floor four due to the fire alarm testing which had been conducted earlier in the morning. At the bottom of the stairs on Quarry Master Drive a woman sitting on a park bench was speaking Spanish into her phone.

A man in an orange hi-vis shirt on Saunders Street was operating a leaf blower. In the cafe next door to Channel Ten from outside on the street people could be heard talking and laughing. A young woman in a blue-and-yellow print dress was pushing a shopping cart laden with groceries up Saunders Street. Three middle-aged women were waiting at the lights at Miller Street and talking among themselves but I couldn’t hear what they said because of the traffic noise. “Really?” asked one of the women, wearing a black T-shirt and black skirt. She walked around behind me to stand under a tree, and in an American accent said to her companions, “Just in the shadow.” They crossed Bank Street with me and went into the Fish Market. The woman who had spoken earlier walked with one of her companions right down the middle of the carriageway in the parking area.

There were two rental bikes next to Wentworth Park on Wattle Street, one of which was an oBike that had a front wheel bent out of shape. A young black woman wearing a black singlet and black shorts rode on a skateboard toward me on Wattle Street, and went rapidly past. There were cicadas singing in the trees in Wentworth Park.

A workman rode his motorbike out of the construction site at the end of park, and turned east into Bay Street and accelerated noisily away. In the NSW government construction site over the sound of loud rock music a workman sitting on a concrete bollard was looking up and he shouted in the direction of someone above him.

Two boys wearing Santa hats were busking outside the shopping centre near Broadway. One was playing a violin and one was playing the cello. They were playing a Christmas tune in some sort of accurate fashion. A small child with her arm in a plaster cast seated in a pram at the lights on Parramatta Road was talking in Italian with her father who was standing behind the pram on the pavement. He gesticulated with his right hand as he spoke to her.

In Victoria Park I could hear Indian mynas and ducks making noises. A man with a group of kids came toward me on the path with towels over their shoulders. One of the children split off at a run shouting, “Seagulls!” “Protection zone NO ACCESS” said a sign attached upside-down to a wire fence near City Road. A child’s pink sneaker was tied to the wire mesh for someone who might have lost it to collect it. Next to the worksite in the park a B-double truck tooted its horn and started moving slowly down the hill.

At the corner of Missenden Road and King Street as I was looking south the sky seemed bright yellow in the heat. I stopped at Campos Coffee in Missenden Road to buy a kilo of ground coffee. “Would you like a bag?” asked the employee behind the counter. “I’ve got a bag,” I answered and produced a grey singlet bag from my trouser pocket, into which I put the black bag of coffee as I exited the store.

On King Street, a woman said to another woman who was holding the hand of a small girl, “So there used to be one along here.” A middle-aged man in a colourful, red-print shirt was walking with the aid of two rubber tipped ski poles. “Well I don’t know but ...” a woman said to the small boy who was walking along with her on the street. A man carrying an electric fan in a box under his arm went into a cafe with an elderly woman who was walking awkwardly and who had hands that shook.

I went to the Egyptian restaurant on Enmore Road and had two beers and a plate of food. When I had finished I came out onto the street and caught a taxi. It was very hot. The driver said he was going to work on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. He was Indian and he said he lived in the western suburbs. He started talking to someone on the phone on the dashboard. When he had finished I asked him what language he was speaking and he told me it was Hindi. He said Hindi is very close to Urdu, which was the language spoken in the areas once ruled by the Mughal emperors. He said Hindi and Urdu are closer than French and English, and that if you can speak Hindi you can understand Urdu. He said many Indians live in Harris Park nowadays. He said Punjabis live in Blacktown.

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