Under the massive Port Jackson fig, the giant chequer-board hosts a quiet, pondering throng. Individual tables are scattered in the vicinity, enabling others to feel part of the community. Older European gentlemen, and younger Asian geeks pace, or smile wisely as the adversaries step forward and move the massive pieces. Sagely, a Mexican-wave of nods acknowledges a strategy cleverly executed.
The muffled squeal of young children frolicking in the nearby Archibald Fountain, anchors the combatants and their seconds to the here, to the now – Hyde Park in the centre of Sydney, in the shadow of Centrepoint Tower, at the rear of the St James station Elizabeth Street entrance.
The dull background noise of the coffee aficionado under the bleached market umbrellas of Buonissimo Italiano wafts gently overhead, together with the aroma of freshly roasted Arabica beans and pain au chocolat. Vaucluse and Double Bay matrons, already scrabbling for their gold tipped cigarette holders, chequer-board David Jones’ shopping bags over their uncluttered arm, jostle for the next available table.
Sydney, at the beginning of autumn, is a state of bliss.
|Flaneur (n). A person who strolls the city in order to appreciate it.|