Thursday 19 March 2009

Life is peachy at Homebush

This is not part of planned development at Homebush, home of 10 billion mosquitos. Instead, it is one of several entrances into the old naval armory. This is where baby trains would emerge, carrying shells and so on for their trip down to the docks. That roof in the background is probably on one of the old bunkers. It's open on weekends, and I have been in for a look around, but some areas are still fenced off due to unexploded ordnance.

Instead, this is Homebush. I don't know if this used to be a toxic waste dumping ground or an industrial area, but it is now block after block of fairly expensive apartments. Friends of ours used to rent there - they were a "sort-of power couple" pulling in something around the quarter million mark between them. The apartments are large and fitted out very well - the exact opposite to what Renter Girl has been experiencing - but then you can pay $1,000 a week to live here.

Note the mature palm trees and the precisely manicured hedges - of differing colours, so that they contrast nicely.

There is plenty of room between apartment buildings, so you don't get issues with shading, neighbours peering into your kitchen and noise from across the road. You could fly a small Airbus down this road without fear of clipping a balconey.

Most of the parking is underground, so visitors don't have much trouble finding a spot on the street. Even the parking bays are manicured. The corporate body fees alone for gardening must be vicious.

Each block has a silly name, like "Napoli". And an "ooh-ah" designer entrance, making a statement.

Roundabouts and the ends of streets have sympathetic botanical treatments as well. I'm not big on this modernist architecture, but the whole place is reasonably pleasing on the eye.

Even the small things are taken care of - there are stands every so often dispensing plastic bags for collecting dog turds (and I imagine that if you are caught leaving a dog turd behind, they crucify you and your dog on the nearest date tree).

"Pulse" - another one of those funny names developers dream up. Written in a fancy font too. I can't imagine how hideously dated this will look though in say 2019.

The outdoor gym equipment is immaculate as well - no peeling paint and rusting bars and splintering steps within this lot.

I'd never noticed it before, but there is some sort of half-sunken wreck just off the shore at this point. It seems to be broken into three bits - the bow is on the far left, then two other bits over towards the mangroves on the right.

A closeup of two bits of rusting something-or-other.

And another bit. This bit has collected enough dirt to actually support some plant life - and a few thousand seagulls. The "dirt" could of course be 50 years of built up seagull poop.

After seeing that bloke in the kayak, I spotted this. I didn't stop for a close look, but I presume you can rent these for a spin around the harbour. Just the thing for a bit of shark watching.

Someone went all out when they designed these light fittings. I can imagine seeing these things walking down a catwalk in Paris. It's the little touches like these that set the place apart.

It also has a few of a particular designer feature that shits me to tears - the "quality statement" that is functionally useless. These are scattered all around one building in particular. They are like the skeleton for a covered walkway, except without the useful bit - the roof - that keeps the rain off in winter and the sun off in summer. And notice that it doesn't even cover the path - it cuts across a lawn. I hate these things.

So, back to more enjoyable plants, and a rock feature. Yes, the rock feature is functionally useless as well, but at least it is partly "natural".

My favourite - the big wobbly glass entrance plate to "Mariners cove". Real estate agents must have wet dreams when they see things like this.

In summary, this place is way too sterile and planned for me, but I can appreciate how nice it must be to live here if this is your thing.

And that's how the other half are living. For the moment at least. I haven't heard of any throwing themselves off the roof as a result of their share portfolio cratering, but anything is possible.

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