Hi-rise in Paradise: In the built environment of Surfers
“I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me.” — Charlene
I had never been to Paradise before, and holidays are all about getting away from me. But an unfortunate circumstance has us pied a terred where it shines beautiful and perfect from one day to the next; I had been anticipating the troubled climes of Fairweather and the AsiaPac Triennal and Bacon rather than this bluesky spectacle. Where the skin is fifty shades of leather brown and buff is just a way of passing the hours. We had come up from Byron to occupy gratefully a friend’s offer of an apartment, a hi-rise in paradise.
We located the one Fitzrovian cafe — Black Coffee Lyrics — among the plethora of Asian fastfood stores, which are so cheap you wonder how they keep going and what the food is made of (last night’s tempura bento was edible but shabby). But BCL was closed at 6:30 in the morning — it’s extremely bright up here early; sans daylight saving — so we had to make do with Monmarte on the Esplanade, which at least had the sidewalk option for the dogs.
The beach is stunning. The backdrop of the built environment is staggering. After the modest scale of the southern towns this aspirational spearing skyline is monstrous; after the laidback spread the density is suffocating. Even rainbow-lefty Byron presents EuroAnglocentric; post-spiritual lycra Surfers is full out polyglot polyethnic tourist transient. The surfie tatt dudes and chicks v the Singapore family consuming their safe os trip on deadline. The demographic and stylistics of the passing parade is a startling, topsy turvy contrast to the schoolies and hipster seniors of the Byronian coast — the latter all natural linens and sanctified greys. Yesterday, crossing the road in front of us were a pair of tall blondes skimpily dressed as Vodka-Santa-bikini babes in gold platform slingbacks. They did not look out of place; they set the pace.
Here are views from our 19th floor at 7 am. I feel dizzy. Sunstruck.