Friday, August 5, 2016


It was a beautiful, crisp, and clear Sydney winter morning.

I got the train from Jannali, alighted at Town Hall, and started walking towards Darling Harbour. It was quite a distance to the harbour, not to mention I didn't have much of an idea of my direction but I was keen to wander and explore anyway.

I walked and walked and walked and kept getting lost, but came across many interesting sights and places. Chinatown, Powerhouse museum, a performing theatre, street art, etc. 

I walked so much for hours that my feet hurt. I lost count of how many breaks I took to just sit and ease my aching feet.

I came across lots of open lawns with neatly manicured grass where people had folable chairs spread open enjoying the sun. Some were napping with faint smiles on their faces even in sleep, some were reading newspapers with their dogs at their feet. I saw three little kids playing with a bubble gun chasing the bubbles and laughing in excitement.

(I later learnt that these green open spaces were for public recreation and were called 'ovals')

I came across a winter funfair too, with a kids skating rink and carousel.


Finally, I found myself at the harbour. I wandered round by the waterfront, watching people in posh cafes, little kids chasing after seagulls, tourists posing for photos. 

I decided to take a posed touristy photo myself as well.

I visited the Australian Maritime museum. Museums are pretty pricey in Australia ($25-35), but most of them have a section called an 'open gallery' where you are allowed to visit for free.

Days in winter tend to be short, and by 4pm sunlight was starting to fade. Sitting on the steps by the waterfront after a long day of walking and exploring, I concluded that it was time to head back.

I felt a tap on my shoulder.

It was a boy my age. What did he want?

   " Excuse me, but do you have some change to spare? "
I frowned while giving him a scathing glare (which he probably couldn't see because I was wearing sunglasses). Was this going to be a scam?

   " I've been out all day trying to find a job, and it's so cold, and I haven't eaten at all the whole day. "
   " Please, do you have two dollars so I can have something to eat? "
With an expression which was not short of desperation. 
I sensed genuine sincerity in his voice.

My thoughts flashed to when I was begging in Indonesia for money.

And also that time when I got screwed over by a woman who told me she wanted money for her kid's baby powder but then bought a bottle of whiskey.

I decided to respond the best way I could think of.

   " Come on, I'll buy you a meal. " 
I responded.

   " Oh thank you! Thank you thank you so much! "
Immediately his face lit up with a big smile.

There was a Maccas right next to us, so I went in with him and bought him a burger.
It was crowded inside and there were no seats, so we went back out to the steps by the waterfront to sit and eat.

Unwrapping the burger, he kept gushing about how much he appreciated this and how thankful he was to me.

   " Where are you from? Can I have your address or email? I'll promise I'll pay you back. "

I laughed, touched at his gratitude from something so simple.

   " Hey, you don't have to pay me back. Just tell me you'll pay it forward. "
   " Keep it up with the job hunt and all the best. "
I smiled as I got up.

And then I caught the train back from Central Station. 

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