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China Town through new eyes By Tia Duck

Words by Tia Duck.

The city is busy. It can be brutally beautiful, consistently surprising and I often feel an urgency to keep up. To what I am unsure. Life definitely does not slow down here and although I once lived in the city for years, now when I visit, I find myself lost in a swarm of new developments and corporate suits. The faint hearted have headed north for survival as this concrete jungle pushes against its seams.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really am quite in awe of our cities – I just struggle to be as comfortable here as say by a quiet beach or in the open air. I sometimes struggle to hear myself think because I’m so captivated by everyone else thinking.

And it’s hard not to become addicted to these conversations, these subway soapies. An entourage of issues publically flaunted at each station. A new stop simply becomes a change of channel and as the doors close the next show begins. Jumping off at my station, I smile.

Fearing my city scepticism had gotten the best of me, I decided to catch up with beautiful Ali, my extended family who had been living and breathing city life since she was old enough to hail a taxi. Ali was the reason I became aware of Pastiche Jewellery and was inspired by their Shanghai Collection to pair some of their pieces with Element Eden’s beautiful winter collection in these China Town photographs, so I definitely trusted her opinion.

Our first stop was Mr Wong’s. Tucked away in an old stone alleyway was this incredible Japanese Restaurant. The beauty of this place still lingers in my thoughts, from the amazing carved metal walls to the ceiling high shelves lined with traditional Japanese ingredients and ornaments. Mr Wong’s is an explosion of culture in an unexpected environment and I think I fell in love a little!

Noticing conversion in my eyes Ali lead me to our next stop, Angel Place. We rounded the corner into another alley way and I saw them. Bird cage among bird cage suspended from the sky as if floating through the air. Speakers played the ‘Forgotten Songs’ of birds that would have been in this area before modernisation convinced them to relocate. Sad but so beautiful all at the same time.

‘One more stop’ Ali insisted and grabbed my arm leading me down the road.

China Town.

I still can’t quite find the words to do this street justice. A breath of authenticity and familiarity amongst the ever-changing city. Vibrant, fragrant, creativity – everyone was different here. Comfortable with their own style and not standing out because of it, but seamlessly moving amongst each other. I un-tucked my flannelette from my ripped jeans and we slowly made our way through the florescent street.

I finally understood why so many cities had such thriving China Town districts. From the velvet embroidered slippers, to the brightly painted pottery, China town was a visual feast.

Personality and authenticity in abundance was what made China Town one of the most enjoyable stops for me that day. I remember Amber from Element Eden once telling me ‘Inspiration often comes from experience’ and my goodness was she right.

I cheers’d Ali with my green tea ice-cream cone and felt content for the first time since I had arrived in the city. Content with myself, my style, my voice, other’s opinions. Just content. How did one place manage this? Well, I suppose you’ll just have to visit and discover it for yourself. Enjoy!

Lots of love,

Tia.