Sydney skyline.

Messing Up Plans & Getting Lost in Your Own City

June 7, 2011

in exploring, food

I’m not a person who likes to waste time.

It’s historically been hard for me to relax, take naps and “just chill.” I have improved in this arena since coming to Australia, but I’m not quite reformed.

A beneficial byproduct of this tendency exists, however. When plans run awry, I tend not to give up: I get creative.

This is what happened last Wednesday night, after I tried, then failed, to meet up with a new creative group I’d found on Facebook. They were gathering in a bar in Surry Hills, but I arrived to find said bar packed. After asking several people, I decided to just leave. Where to next? I was already downtown and Brendan was out doing his own thing  so I was in no rush to get home.

So I just started walking.

I started craving some desert or hot chocolate at a café. But upon strolling the streets, I saw many of my options were already shut for the night (it was only about 7:45). I walked down a street full of rough-looking people standing outside a pub and decided to delve further into Surry Hills, a neighborhood I haven’t explored much.

Sydney skyline.
I walked up hilly Foveaux, past a Mexican joint I’d tried the weekend before, and turned left on Crown Street. I saw a grocer on the corner, so I peeked in for possible pastries, but it didn’t have the right “vibe.” The vibe I wanted, by the way, was a darker, dingier one. A place with ratty couches, with only songs released before 2000 playing on the stereo. I would’ve probably had better luck in an Inner West suburb, or Melbourne, for that matter. I stopped to ask some workers at a chemist, and their suggestion was Gloria Jean’s. Not quite what I had in mind.

After snaking up Crown to Bourke Street, I made a left onto Oxford Street heading back toward the CBD. My eyes scanned the storefronts, and just when I was about to give up and head to the bus stop at QVB, I saw it.

The Grumpy Baker.

Not the most inviting of names, eh? But there were sweets protected behind the glass counter. I walked in and saw my vision before me: a narrow walkway leading to two shabby couches with magazines and a local paper spread out on the tables in front of them. And though I couldn’t be sure, I thought I detected some grunge/alternative tunes from the mid 90s playing on the stereo.

The friendly blonde clerk obliged my request for a slice of chocolate nut loaf and a jug of water, and I sunk into a couch at the back. I took a few bites of chocolaty goodness and read a story about happiness, of all things, in Australian Vogue. Just then, a Silverchair song from 1996 started crackling through the speakers.

I smiled. I was at The Grumpy Baker. And I was happy.

*Unfortunately, I was sans camera on this evening so I couldn’t capture shots of the café. Next time.

Image from oscarmg on Flickr.

5 Comments - Add Yours!

    1. Lauren Post author

      Really? It is cute in there, but I don’t know, I often prefer a “quirkier” place. I guess we all have different “vibes” we’re after though 🙂

  1. Kate

    I just moved to Surry Hills today into my new flat! Can’t wait to start checking this ‘hood out soon! Let me know next time you’re in town and we’ll get together! xo

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