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A morning in the life of Auburn

The old guy outside the Turkish pizza shop wanted me to take his photo. "You take one of me in front of the mosque?" he asked, gesturing to the mural behind him.

"But why do you want me to take your photo?" I asked, secretly thrilled that I didn't even have to ask.

"I want to spread my beauty to all," he said and laughed and laughed.

Auburn is that kind of place. I took the old fella's photo and then all the other regulars wanted their photo taken too. Then a strong Turkish coffee appeared, "sit, sit, you sit!" they all commanded. So I sat.

"You're a very beautiful woman," one septuagenarian leered.

"Yeah, thanks," I shrugged.

"Very, very beautiful. So beautiful."

"You know, one beautiful is kind of nice, but more than one is totally creepy, you know that, right?"

"Creepy? What's this creepy?"

"She means back off grandpa or she'll have you arrested," the young guy at the table behind us guffawed.

Fevzi runs the delicatessen next door. He's been there for twenty years, but he changed the name to Elif Market when his grandaughter Elif was born ten years ago. From under the counter he produced a 2007 Who magazine and flipped to the page marked with a Post-It. "This is Elif," he said, pride spilling from his face. "She used to be a little model but she doesn't want to do it anymore."

"She's very beautiful," I said, eerily echoing the old timers from next door. "Very beautiful."

"But my grandson is my real pride and joy," Fevzi added, pulling a framed portrait of his grandson from under the counter. "Can you take my photo with him?"

I snapped the shot of Fezi holding the photo of his grandson and took Fevzi's email address to send him a copy. "I do it all," he said. "Email, internets, searching with the Goggles. I'm keeping up with my grandson."

As I was leaving, Fevzi pushed a small bag of cashews across the counter towards me. "A gift!" he exclaimed merrily.

"You are too kind, I love cashews."

"For you to share with someone you love," he said simply.

Over by the shopping mall is a huge muralled staircase, rising up like a rainbow in a dank grey sky. The colour draws you in and I stopped to watch kids race each other to the top and back down again and up to the top once more. Grocery carts, prams, trolleys, wayward toddlers, shopping bags - all life was hauled up and down those kaleidoscope steps.

"I hardly notice the steps anymore," the lady behind the sweet counter laughed. "I suppose they're fun, but I'm too busy walking up them to see them."

"We're spoiled with colour every day here in Auburn," her colleague added. "Everyone loves colour here."

 "The young girls, all they want is to wear black - like you!" Ahmed mused as he folded rainbow scarves in his clothing shop. "But they still like the bling!"

"They like no such thing," his customer disagreed. "My granddaughter's dress more conservatively than me! No style whatsoever! They get around looking so drab."

"Not if they come into my shop, right?"

"Never in here," she agreed.

When I walked past the pizza shop on my way back to the car, another Turkish coffee was pushed towards me. "Go on! It's your last chance!"

"Oh, I'll be back," I said. "This suburb feels like a holiday."

"Of course! Why travel when you can go to Auburn?"

What suburb feels like a holiday to you?

Find me here:


Leanne Barnett said...

This is great! Love the staircase.

katiecrackernuts said...

A truly awesome post. I am a huge fan of Western Sydney. A huge fan. I worked out Parramatta way for so many years and could never understand why people turned up their noses. So much creativity, so much, well, spice, flavour, colour. Auburn is an awesome suburb. Yeah, it's got it's problems but go out there for the day and it is like travelling. It smells different to the city. It's glorious. Good on you. Hope you stocked up on the Turkish Delight. The vanilla and almond one is my favourite.

Corinne (aka Rinny of Arabia) said...

Living in the Middle East your photos and stories above feel like my every day!

I used to go to Cabramatta or Ashfield a lot when I lived in Sydney for Vietnamese or Chinese food and that always felt like I'd been on a little jaunt. Loved it.

My Yellow Heart said...

oh wow, this is amazing. I was reading this and wondering when did Bron make it to Turkey!!! What a gorgeous little suburb. That's one thing I miss living in the middle of nowhere like I do, multiculturalism like this x

Katie @ Life With The Crew said...

Great pictures Bron! Your people pics are looking good! Love all of the color in this post.

Cathy said...

A brilliant post - the colours make it extra special :-)

Vicki ShoppeGirls said...

One word AMAZING!

Becky from Becky and James said...

Love this, Bron. What a fabulous idea. Love those stairs, just beautiful.

Trudie said...

How glorious I think I want to visit Auburn and mix with these people and watch the world. I love a world of colour and laughter.

Lauren Matheson said...

Just brilliant, the colours in the photos are so vibrant. Isn't it lovely to find such an amazing place tucked away in our cities? I love this x

Miriam said...

love it, love that friendly relaxed way of relating... it sounds fab

Lila Wolff said...

So gorgeous, now you're making me miss Turkish coffee and sitting down listening to the rhythm and hum of Turkish being spoken while I understand pretty much none of it, so much warmth shining through this post.

Bec - Mumma Tells said...

The colour. The life. I love it. I love it all. X

Cybele Masterman said...

Me, oh, my, what beautiful pics. I LOVE Auburn. Best food shops ever x

Carolyn Darragh said...

What a lovely insight into an interesting area. I used to take my year 12 business studies students on an excursion to main train there. I loved getting into the shops after we had done our school stuff. Such an interesting place.
Carolyn Desire Empire.

Lisa @ Random Acts Of Zen said...

Such a glorious place Bron, and you've captured it beautifully. x

Gaby said...

this is some awesome photojournalism bron! x

Sam Stone said...

Such beautiful photos Bron. Berowra feels like a holiday to me, it is where I grew up.

debsinspirationaljourney said...

Loved these photos! xx

David Wren said...

I loved this post. It gave me a glimpse of a world I rarely see.

Bec - said...

I scrolled so fast through this post that I thought it was somewhere overseas! Then I went back and slowly perused the photos and read the words. Incredible. It's things like this that I miss about living in a city.

Andrea said...

You dont have to be in the middle of nowhere to be isolated from multiculturalism unfortunately. ..I miss it too

Andrea said...

Yes, this diversity is so much more appealing than the latte lifestyle

Megan Blandford said...

I came over to your Berry post, and clicked through to this one, and the difference in the feelings you've conveyed are brilliant. So much reflection and, I guess, sadness in that one, yet so much joy and laughter in this one. Love it.

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