Bondi grows on you.
I guarantee that the first time you ever visited Bondi, you thought to yourself – what’s the big fuss about? In fact, you may have even wondered if you were quite simply in the Bondi you’d heard and read about. Idyllic City Beach, Magical Beachside Promenade . . ? Not quite, right? You probably noticed all the half-dilapidated apartment buildings, discarded 1990’s TV sets, severely pock-marked and pot-holed roads, overpriced parking rates and abandoned mattresses and figured that you’d be duped. I hear you. Partner in Crime (remember her?) and I often used to walk around wondering if there’d been a civil war in the Eastern Suburbs in recent times.
And then for those of you who have never been to Bondi, I imagine that you’ve constructed a particularly aesthetically-pleasing image of the place. A friend recently mentioned that Bondi in her mind’s eye was something along the lines of Miami or Malibu Beach.
And it’s certainly not like those off-the-charts Cape Town beaches, for all you Capetownians out there wondering where I am heading with all this.
No. Bondi is not what you’d expect at all.
It’s not mind-numbingly pretty, with the exception of the beach in the early afternoon and early evening (heavenly) and the majestic coastal walk between Bondi and Bronte (even more heavenly).
It’s definitely gritty in parts. (And I don’t agree that every inch of grit in this neighbourhood can be positively accredited to its edgy, laid back or Boho appeal thank you.)
The promenade sucks big time. The shops, the architecture, the noise. In fact I avoid Campbell Parade (the main drag across from the beach) whenever possible.
But it’s mostly a fabulous little neighbourhood and I’ll tell you why.
It has a pretty fine looking beach.
The sand is super-soft. (It gets cleaned every morning like a model combs her hair and it’s long and wide which means there’s space to soft sand run, walk, swim and laze. (Disclaimer: most of the time.)
It has nice waves and small pools. And on very hot days it’s as calm as the Mediterranean.
It has a great Sunday market.
It has lots of small, independent shops and boutiques, a joy just to browse.
It’s where you’ll find iconic Icebergs swimming pool.
It’s home to my synagogue. (Yip surfers, swimmers and spirituality-seekers all in one spot.)
It’s got a kinda hipster, boho, weird-o, “surfery”, edgy look that’s best depicted here.
It’s where swarms of Japanese tourists come (dressed in trousers and sweaters?) to take pictures of the beach from the safety of the promenade.
It’s only a twenty minute drive to the heart of the city.
It’s home to North Bondi. A quiet, slightly elevated little suburb and my new home.
It’s got a community feel and people who live in Bondi, LOVE Bondi.
Yip, I’ve joined the ranks of those who say “Once in Bondi, you don’t really want to leave . . . ”
I know I didn’t expect that to be me either.
But it’s my little republic and I’m kinda proud of it.
Here are a few spur of the moment iPhone shots of my new ‘hood.