At the moment I'm working in a suburb of Sydney called Campsie. (At job #1, that is. The yarn store is still located in the city, where it's always been.) I don't know if my fellow Sydneysiders know Campsie, I certainly didn't until I started working there on a temp assignment this week. A half hour on the train from my 'hood and truly it is like another world. It has an amazing eclectic mix of migrants, the sort of place where you can hear Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, various African tongues, Tongan... well, almost anything. (And lots of English of course.)
There is a really bustling, vibrant atmosphere about the place that I'm digging. Like all areas that have large migrant populations the shopping is kind of wild, lots of grocers, butchers and fishmongers, the latter two specialising in things with their heads still attached (it would seem). Not catering to the sqeamishness of your average Woolworths customer. More like a "Survivor" food challenge.
So, the one thing I have been unable to find, is a decent coffee place. Zip. Nada. On a shopping street, in Sydney! (For those playing along overseas, Sydney - like all major Australian cities - has a very strong coffee culture. Thanks mostly to a long history of Italian immigration. Any shopping street is likely to have at least a few small coffee shops where really good, thick, rich coffees abound.)
On day one I missed the one caffeination opportunity I've been able to find entirely, a little outlet of the chain DCM (Donuts, Coffee, Muffins) right next to the train station. I walked the entire length of the shopping strip looking for a coffee. I passed beverages of all other kinds (with or without tapioca pearls and grass jelly), bargain shops, kebab places, and a whole dead eyed parade of grinning things with their heads still on, but none of the bean. No Arabica. No macchiato, affogato, or even cappuccino. Where are the Italians when you need them?
Thankfully since then I have discovered my enablers at DCM, otherwise it would not be pretty.