Sydney is a city of villages, each with its own style, reputation and demographic. Randwick, where we are based, is half way between Coogee Beach and the Central Business District. We're on Alison Road, pinned between the racecourse in front of us, and Centennial Parklands behind. Three bus stops away is Belmore Road, and further away again is The Spot - two shopping areas of Randwick.
The pace here is laid back, and the buildings vary from the gently crumbling but well-do-do houses, to the more recent characterless apartment blocks - but nothing too big.
The shopping streets are higgeldy-piggeldy lowrise, with the occasional supermarket but mostly specialist shops and a disproportionate number of cafes, eateries and realtors/estate agents. The eateries are all small and cover everything from The Lebanon, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Italy, England, India and more. The prices are low enough that eating out does not require you to consult the monthly budget, and I think that 's why the local economy can support so many small restaurant businesses.
Neither the cars that file past in orderly fashion, nor the locals who traffic the footpaths show any obvious signs of wealth. This makes an enormous - and welcome - change from Ireland. This is a prosperous area, a much sought after address, it just doesn't care to shout about it. How can I describe the locals? There is such variety that it's hard to talk about a typical look. But let's give it a go, hey?
There is, it would appear, a Dame Edna Everage lookalike contest running in perpetuity on Randwick's thoroughfares, and it's organised alongside permanent auditions for the next Ang Lee movie. (If I don't get my damn hair cut soon, I could end up winning the former).
Oh - there's another architype that Letizia has just reminded me about. Let's call him Thor. He has the body of a Nordic myth, and the conversational repertoire of a street-bred tweenie (50% of which is either printed on his t-shirt or tattooed on his shoulder - presumably as an aide-memoire for awkward silences, or perhaps as a substitute for conversation entirely. Mind you I have to remind you, as I have again been reminded by Letizia, that conversation is not what you got to Thor for).
I'm knackered after that long parenthetic effort. (I tend to hold my breath when I open a bracket, and keep holding it until I close again, just to stop me from overdoing what Katharine has correctly diagnosed as flashbacks from Lisp programming in college, taught, as it happens by an Australian with both the appearance and menace of Nosferatu, oh dear god I'm going to faint...