Gotta Scoot

A foray into the world of the 2-wheeled amateur

18 April 2007 An excuse to open your eyes…

Having ridden now for over a week, I am constantly finding myself in a perpetual mental state of rediscovery.

In Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire (largely inspired by Bram Stoker’s classic) my favorite moment is when the main character Louis is made into a vampire, opens his eyes and looks into the night around him. He starts to hear the softest noises and see the richest shades of colour in what was previously only silence and darkness. Suddenly he realises the finer details that he’s missed all his life up to this point.

What I find so remarkable in the blogs I read is a similar understanding about the heightened awareness we have when riding. With this awareness I’m now learning that we notice much more than we ever would in the confines of a tin shell on four wheels.

With this in mind, I decided to jump on the scooter and travel 15 minutes to Auburn, a neighboring suburb that is made up of two very large ethnic communities – the Arabs and the Chinese. Sydney has a few such ethnic enclaves, where it is possible to loose yourself for hours in other cultures, rich with language, customs and – best of all – delicious food! I’m always quite touched by the friendliness and community-oriented feel of suburbs like Auburn, where you will find a library with a gigantic non-English section, bilingual (and sometimes trilingual) signs in banks, bakeries and butchers and an atmosphere that makes you stop to check that you’re still where you thought you were a moment ago. I find that when you give a little – with a pleasant smile or a “how are you going?” – you always get so much warmth and generosity back.

Can’t read English? No problem – Arabic or Chinese?

Mum goes out for a shop with the kids…

These humble tobacconists’ are so cool!

What is also remarkable is the fact that in a city like Sydney – home to a diverse range of ethnicities and cultures and built on values of tolerance and mutual understanding – you rarely has to travel far to learn something new about the world and change your perspective on it. Funny how a humble scooter can provide you with the “excuse” to get out of your comfort zone, open your eyes and start seeing things in a new way.

Auburn train station

Around the corner from the Arabic district you’ll find little Chinatown.

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April 21, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. One of the reasons I got a scooter was to be able to go to Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, among other things the home of Grunge music. It’s nearly impossible to find a place to park a car, and the bus is a pain in the arse. But a scooter is easy to park, even if you don’t manage to grab one of the four motorcycle spaces…

    Comment by Orin | April 23, 2007

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