Saturday, October 25, 2008

Paddington market


When I was in Sydney last year, my co-worker and I went to Paddington market. This Saturday-only market has several hundred vendors selling an impressive variety of handcrafted items such as jewelry, clothing, leather and woolen goods, and other "artisan" goods. I enjoyed it so much last year that I decided to go back again today. (And yes, this entry was written on Saturday, not Friday as it probably says above. Sydney is 15 hours ahead of Eastern USA time.)

I took a taxi out to Paddington. My very talkative driver was an Iraqi native who has lived in Australia for 15 years. Our conversation was mostly one-sided (with me acting as listener) and according to him, everything in the world, from US-Middle East relationships to the current situation with the economy, has been pre-determined by a small group of rich white men from North America and Europe, and there's nothing we can do to change anything: us ordinary folk are all merely serfs. The taxi fare was A$15 but I felt like he should have paid me - for therapy.

Fortunately, I was about to get some therapy of my own. Retail therapy, that is. Ahhhh, what a great day to shop in the great outdoors! The weather was absolutely perfect. I walked around, totally enjoying myself as I inspected items for sale, and chatted with the vendors and designers. A representative of Leather and Roses (one of my favorites last year) showed me their new items. I met one of the designers of the very cool Ruby Cat purses, and a jewelry designer who was doing some really unusual things with sterling silver. I had a discussion with a weaver about spinning and hand-dyeing wool - and I bought one of her beautiful scarves. And I discovered the work of Ping Lian Yeak, a young "autistic savant" who paints animals and landscapes.

I LOVE PADDINGTON MARKET. OK, I spent too much money. Or, looking at it another way - I did most of my Christmas holiday shopping today.

After leaving the Market, I began walking down Oxford Street towards the city. It was just so nice outside, and I was really enjoying the walk. I passed numerous restaurants and cafes, and made my way in and out of several independent bookstores and boutiques. Then there was a block or two of, um, shall we say "adult"-type stores (and no, I didn't check those out. LOL.) Before I knew it, I was at Hyde Park.

I didn't have a map. And we hadn't come this way in the taxi. I just "knew" where I was going, as if being led by an invisible tour guide. I popped into a Starbucks for some quiche and an iced vanilla latte, and called it lunch. Then I kept walking, past beautiful old sandstone buildings and designer shops and the first government building in Sydney. Before I knew it, I was back at Circular Quay. (By the way, the word "quay" is pronounced like "key.") I'm not exactly sure, but I probably walked two or three miles.

So now, I'm going to have room service for dinner, and spend the rest of the evening relaxing. I've got LOADS (Aussie word) of work to do, but I'm going to procrastinate on that until tomorrow.

Until next time . . .