Google sightseeing for a Saturday

Just randomly, I decided to compare some of the shopping centers I’m most familiar with on Google’s satellite imagery.

In reverse chronological order, we have:

Westfield Bondi Junction: I only started frequenting WBJ late last year, after it was reopened – it had been closed for a few years undergoing renovations. These pics appear to have been taken while the rebuilding was in progress, although it looks like it’s not too far from completion. It’s not immediately obvious, but there are two buildings that comprise the shopping center – look for the bridge above the road which runs east-west. Coincidentally, this is where I’m going as soon as I’m done with this entry – time for my haircut 🙂 This one is 5 stories all over, with a 6th story on the main (northern) building. One cinema with at least 9 screens, a gym, a hotel with a couple of bars, two food courts (one traditional shopping center trash, one that’s very nice)…

Westfield Parramatta: Before living in the city, I in Parramatta, just up the road from this Westfield – it was my local shops. 5 levels, 1.5 food courts, 3 McDs (one McCafe, one Express, one normal). One cinema, with about 5 poxy little screens. There’s three buildings to this one, although one is fairly small (and only used for parking).

Before coming to Sydney, I lived on the Gold Coast for a couple of years. Pacific Fair was one of the two shopping centers I frequented. Only one supermarket (a smallish Coles) – all the rest have one Coles and one Woolworths. Not bad, very fun – but quite touristy. One level all over, mostly open-air (it is, after all, the Gold Coast, a small slice of heaven, and there’s no need to shelter from the weather). One cinema with… 9ish? screens, definitely the best cinema on the coast. The building at the eastern end has two levels, with a small food court inside. The building in the south-west corner houses the cinema, and is thus two levels also, and has a teeny-tiny foodcourt.

The other shopping center I went to a lot was Robina Town Center. The center as a whole comprises about 5 levels, but it’s built on the side of a hill – so there’s no one place that’s more than about two stories tall. One cinema with about 4 screens (I saw The Phantom Menace and Matrix here). Again, very open-air (although since I’ve left, they’ve enclosed some parts that used to be open – but they’ve done it with very high roofs, and lots of glass, so it still feels very open). This was where you’d come when you wanted to do Real Shopping – this is where locals came to do their weekly groceries, whereas Pac Fair was where tourists came to buy trinkets, gifts, and maybe a few supplies for the few days they were in town.

I would also occasionally go to Brisbane, whereupon I’d almost always end up at the Queen Street Mall. From that photo, there’s not much of the mall you can see really – it is, after, just a street with shops down either side. In the center of the photo is a large green rectangle above a street intersection – I’d love to tell you that that was something fascinating, but in reality, it’s just a large green rectangle of glass, a small roof above a small part of the mall. Directly south of that is the Myer Center, which is barely worth being called a shopping center – it’s more of a Myer store with speciality stores attached. It did, though used to have the only roller coaster I’ve ever seen inside a shopping center. On the mall as a whole, there’s at least two cinemas, one of them quite large. Underneath the mall is a very large bus station/interchange. The bus station has about 5 seperate “platforms”, none of which are connected – to get from one to the other, you have to go up a level and find the other platform. Finding them can be slightly tricky, as they’re not named with anything sensible like letters or numbers – rather, you have platforms Crocodile, Emu, Koala, Kangaroo, and something else. So – I’ve just come from Kangaroo, I want to find Crocodile – is that on my right, or on my left?

Eep, look at the time, I have to run. More to come later.

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