Sometimes us middle-aged folk like to remind ourselves what it was like to be young, hip, irresponsible and living close to poverty on the edge, like we did all those years ago when we were students.
We’ve enjoyed a long, hot weekend here in Sydney, so the old man and I decided to do something a little different this morning and ignore our embarrassingly white, middle-aged, middle-class beach in suburbia and groove on down to Sydney’s iconic Bondi.
Not that Bondi is synonymous with poverty – far from it – but there’s distinctly a more earthy, soulful vibe to be had there than in the Lower North Shore.
The old man and I are so far up our own arses about fitness at the moment that we try to combine exercise with beach at every opportunity these days, and although a temperature of 34 degrees might have scared off the sensible most Sydneysiders, we foolishly saw this as a challenge.
Out came the fitness gear – or the old man’s interpretation of fitness gear, which is a subtle melange of Mexican and Hawaiian influences – we lathered ourselves with layers of factor 50 sun cream, topped up the water bottles and set off on our weekend adventure.
For those who have never ventured to the shark-infested, turquoise waters and hot white sands of Australia’s beaches, Bondi is iconic in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs for several reasons:
It is only a few kilometres from Sydney’s CBD, which means it is feasible to surf in your lunch hour.
The surf… is apparently really good.
Although only beautiful, young people are truly allowed onto the beach, occasionally they let old gits like us on it, to keep the local economy going.
The beach can be super-dangerous even by Australian standards. Possible threats to life include rips, massive breakers, jelly fish and rogue surfers who cut across to the swimming section and target innocent backpackers with their boards, which gives us a means to keep our quota of tourists down.
Once a working class area, Bondi has become a middle-class enclave with some of the most expensive real estate in the Eastern Suburbs to ogle.
Aesthetically, it’s certainly not the most beautiful beach in Sydney, but if you want a sense of what Australia is really about, it’s a great place to start.
And not just for the beach.
For us cougars, there are a satisfying number of near-perfectly gorgeous male specimens complete with Aussie-stereotypical, rippling brown surfer muscles and tight boardies to gawp at through the cameral lens of your Iphone, while you pretend to take photos of the landscape.
The local cafes and restaurants offer a smorgasbord of every style of cuisine imaginable, although the archetypal Aussie breakfasts are still a standout. Frankly, there ain’t nothing a good Aussie chef can’t do with an avocado. And if you’re well-to-do, there’s Bondi Iceburgs restaurant where lots of famous people who have lots of money hang out and feel superior to the proletariat sweltering below them on the beach.
And did I mention the beautiful people?
Or the barely-there swimwear?
To truly nail the Bondi-style, all you need is an itsy-bitsy bikini with an itsy-bitsy body-type to match, voluminous hippy dress or super-short cut off denim shorts, and wide-brimmed hat.
My Jane Fonda work-out gear might have looked a little dated – the leg warmers possibly too much on such a hot day – but I don’t care anymore because I’m over fifty now and with that comes the perfect excuse for poor taste.