It’s interesting to see how things have changed in the past five to ten years – where in the past, McDonald’s in large cities were filled with backpackers wanting an easy, affordable and reliable meal, families with children running around, and teenagers bragging and feeling cool, thesedays the elements have shifted somewhat. I am sitting in a McDonald’s store near Town Hall in Sydney, equipped with my macbook and with my skinny caramel late – surrounded by presumably backpackers with their laptops and netbooks, as well as businessmen taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi as well. I decided to join the wi-fi bunch after I finished my burger earlier. I certainly don’t fit any of the descriptions that I put above – I’m all suited up for my next meeting at 3.00pm and there are really no grungy looking backpackers in sight. They have gone upmarket with their travel behaviour!
I’m in Sydney for a series of meetings – I had two yesterday which went pretty well, and another one at 3pm. I tried to fill the morning with more meetings as well, to no avail, so I have been spending my time with getting out of my hotel room late (10.20am). I then take the train from Kings Cross (the hotel used by the company is next door to the Kings Cross train station) to the city, and you know the rest. I don’t know how long I can stay here before being booted out — I haven’t finished my coffee so I suppose I can stay a wee bit longer.
One of my meetings yesterday was in Parramatta, one of the satellite towns to the west of Sydney. I heard some negative stories about Sydney’s west, but when I was there, I certainly didn’t feel too much of a negative vibe. There were some policemen patrolling the ‘plaza’ area near St. John’s Cathedral and there were some more policemen in the train on the way from Parramatta back to the city. After my meetings, I stopped by Asagao in the city, a non-descript, standard sushi place near Pitt Street Mall. I’m such a creature of habit – whenever I am in Sydney, I usually have one of my solitary dinners there. I went there many years ago when I was sent by my former employer for a meeting in Sydney, and because the sushi place is just near Pitt Street Mall, it’s just natural that I ended up eating there.
I then made my way back to the hotel and stayed there – I don’t feel like walking around Kings Cross alone as I’m certainly not ‘in the market’ for the type of ‘entertainment’ that they offer. On the way to the hotel yesterday, the taxi driver cheekily enquired, “There are some [hotel brand name] in the city, why did you pick this one in Kings Cross?” His eyes studied my reaction, half-wanting me to admit an ulterior motive. I told him a straightforward explanation that the company received good corporate rate from the hotel. So, no hanky-panky planned indeed!