Coastal Walk

Walk, But Not on By… and not Laboring on Labour Day

Though I’m living in the Bronte/Waverly area and I can see the ocean from my window I have yet to go to Bronte Beach or finish the upper part of the Coastal Walk which goes from Bronte to Coogee.  I’m sort of in the mid-point.  So today we are off to walk it all!

It’s October 1 and Labour Day (labor for Americans), a national holiday in Australia.  Though a bit on the chilly side the sun is out and it is just the perfect weather to walk around. Being an Angelino has diminished my tolerance to cold and at the least breeze I am shivering!  Don’t know how I am going to handle the real cold in New Zealand.

Keep healthy, Sydney, Australia

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind!!

The street has these clever signs painted on the floor indicating what you will find ahead and the benefits of walking.  Wish I had taken the time to photograph them all, they were so amusing.  I took a photo of only one and it was far from being the best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronte Park, Sydney, AustraliaWe have to cross Bronte Park to get to the beach.

It’s literally like venturing into a forest.  Bronte Park, forest, Sydney, Australia

 

The green starts thinning out eventually and the most wonderful blue peeks through.  Trees, forest, Bronte Park, Sydney, Australia    Blue Sky, Bronte, Sydney, Australia

Up till now the park had little to no people but as we see the beach ahead of us so come the masses.  It’s a holiday, it’s beautiful outside and hence it is crowded.  And though I am not one for crowds there is a festive air that makes it all okay.     Bronte, Sydney, Australia

Bronte, Sydney, Australia

Bronte Beach, Sydney, AustraliaPeople don’t seem deterred by the Dangerous Currents sign.

 

 

 

 

After all, the surfers here all seem to really know their thing…  Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia

Even when the seagulls just stare and wonder what the heck they are doing.

Coast Walk, Bronte, Sydney, Australia

Why do they surf?

The sea is rougher here and rockier making it more fun to photograph.  This photo doesn’t show me at my best but it does show well how I felt.

Happy 🙂

Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia       Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia

We climb heading out towards the Coastal Walk path and what I hope will be a bit away from the crowd.   Bronte, Coastal Walk, Sydney, Australia

I still am just smitten with the custom of having these tidal pools/swimming pools next to the beach.    Sydney, Australia

Ah this dilemma of mine.  Should I point my lens towards the rocks?  Coastal Walk Wall, Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia Or towards the water?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further up there’s Waverly Cemetery which has to have the best view ever!  If I were to be buried I want to be in this prime real estate spot.

Waverly, Sydney, Australia

This is really resting in Peace!

And if I were a lawn bowling enthusiastic I want to belong to this club on top of the hill with the most incredible view.  Bowling club, Sydney, Australia

Of course if I were a bowler I would be looking down as this one is, and not out.  Sydney, Australia

This chatty father and son duo were having so much fun!  Turns out they are from the bowling club close to home that was closed today so they all landed at this club to play. Sydney, Australia

Another beach.  Another swimming pool.  Sydney, Australia

This one was rockier.  Sydney, Australia

 

Some mosaic steps beckon us to take a short cut.  

 We continue on.  Sydney, Australia

 The sun is hiding and as we go we see a photo shoot.  She must be freezing!  

 We end up in Coogee.  Time to take the bus back ‘cause we are definitely walked out!

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Categories: Bronte, Bronte Beach, Bronte Park, Coastal Walk, Coogee, Sydney, Waverly, Waverly Cemetery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Come And Say G’day!

I wake up to an absolutely perfect weather on Thursday, 20th September (as they state the day first and month afterwards around here) almost like Sydney proving me wrong to have said that bad weather is the norm here.  I can’t believe it’s been a week since I left Los Angeles and 5 full days of being here.  First time that I go out in short sleeve and don’t even bother to take a jacket.  The sun is up.  The surfers are out. The park is full already at 9:00 am.

I am determined to get my coffee fix today.  Head out to the cleaners first.  Want to take advantage of the sunny sky and take a photo of my two favorite buildings.   Though I have my trusty camera hanging from my shoulder I am almost feeling like a local.  Until, that is, I go into the cleaners.  Name?  That’s easy.  Telephone?  Uh, don’t remember.  Do you need one? The Asian looks up, sighs, says yes, sighs again and then says he needs a phone number in case something goes wrong.  Now I’m really confident in leaving my clothes.  So I give him a number, he seems satisfied and I proceed to walk up the hill into the residential area.

I pass a school which has a mural on its wall which I love.  

The houses on my way up are distinct, with colorful glass panels.  

I find a little café in the hill away from the coast.  After all, one can only take so much of the beach, right???

I usually smile a lot and say hi to just about everyone that crosses by.  Finding that most here avert their eyes when crossing, rarely say hi when eyes meet and don’t smile much.  Once engaging in a conversation they are charming and really quite helpful but to get to that point is not effortless.  Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee fame made it sound that everyone was pretty much open and overly friendly.  Remember the “I’ll slip another shrimp on the barbie for ya” commercial from the mid-eighties?  Or does this mean I am such a product of mass media that I believed?  By the way, for the Aussies it would have been prawn instead of shrimp.  Shrimp was replaced when they did the campaign so as not to confuse Americans.

I head to the Coastal Walk, which I know will keep me on track and help me not get lost.  I find a park way up on a hill with wonderful views.

I sit on a swing.

Find a bench.

I lay on a bench.  I’m starting to get really good at this chilling thing.

Back on the Coastal Walk, I stop a million times to take photos for myself and of others.   “Want a photo of both of you together?”  “Yes please!” was interchanged a lot.

 

 

 

      

I find that the scenery quiets me, makes me contemplative.

  It seems to have the same effect on birds.  🙂

  How could it not?

As I head back down I pass the Bondi Icebergs, a local club.  The swimming pool, where the waves crash into, fascinates me and scares me at the same time.  They have a pretty cool restaurant.  If you show your non-resident of the area document you can go in and eat.

I am getting closer to home now.  Pass some really colorful graffiti.

 And something that reminds me that humans are very similar around the world:  we all like to bend the rules at times. A lone surfer running towards the beach and stopping to assess the waves.

 

As I spot the apartment on the horizon a sort of possessive feeling comes over me, and start thinking of Bondi Beach as mine.

 

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Coastal Walk, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

No Jetlag and No “Nasties”

Monday morning, September 17, and I awake extremely proud of my body not going into jet lag mode at all.  Never mind that the only time I have experienced it was when I flew back to Los Angeles from Hong Kong.  Hopefully I am not jinxing myself and I truly have escaped it.

I haven’t figured out this Telsa broadband stick thing so I am again with no connection.  This is becoming a recurring theme.  So today, after I eat a yoghurt –which by the way, made me laugh out loud when in the nutritional info it stated Nasties: 0%- will head out to the café that has Internet.  It’s either Aussie’s great sense of humor or “Nasties” is their equivalent of “Other”.  I am trying to go as organic as possible and this yoghurt is divine.  I notice that there is an abundance of organic and gluten-free products in the market.

I pass Bondi Park which is right in front of the apartment.   Love the artsy sea serpent kids play on.  

I arrive at Speedos Café, order a very healthy egg white scramble and a not so healthy toast.  They have Internet but as much as I tried I could not connect.  The girl who is serving me asks me where I’m from.  So I tell her and she proceeds to start talking to me in Spanish.  I was a bit surprised.  She tells me she’s from Medellín, Colombia, and that, contrary to what I thought, there are tons of Latinos (according to her, mostly Chilean, Colombian, and Brazilian) in Australia.  She tells me life is hard here and if it weren’t for the fact that she has an Aussie fiancée she would be heading back to her country.  In fact, it was another Aussie that fell in love with her in another part of the world and brought her here.  She’s been here 4 years.  She sings three times a week in a Cuban restaurant.  I seem to be getting people’s life story every time I engage in a conversation and loving it.  People are fascinating.  Their lives are so interesting even when they don’t see it as such.

She tells me of a local food market to buy stuff for tonight’s dinner.  In this short block, up the hill overlooking the ocean is where the locals are.  Ion and Tony’s Market will be my go to grocery store for as long as I’m here.  Filled with organic products and pretty much stocked with anything I need.  The owners are Greek.  One tells me that he went to Hawaii and was disappointed.  He much prefers the Greek Islands where he is from.  How could he not?  He did say the shopping was better than in Sydney.  Cheaper, much cheaper, as well.

As I went up the hill I spotted a turquoise, art deco building.  Don’t have my big camera with me but think I will come back and take a better photo of it.  

At night we went to pick up some things left behind in another apartment in Bondi Junction and go to a supermarket.  It must have been around 10:00 pm and the streets were pretty much empty.  It started drizzling giving the town a bit of a haunted look.  Went to Coles, the bigger supermarket here though it isn’t as big as the ones we have in the States.  In the mall there is a K-Mart. 

Sydney showed its true colors on Tuesday.  The morning was extremely overcast and very much on the cold side giving me the perfect excuse to do absolutely nothing productive or otherwise.  I gazed at the beach, the park.  Read. Wrote. And once again gazed at the horizon.   I can now go online and after a quick look and wonderful chat with a few friends I, believe it or not, disconnect.  The weather improved but I was so into my inactivity that all I managed was to visit the market and cook a quick spaghetti.  Then at night we headed out to the beach for a gelato but the place was closed (again, it was after 10:00) so settled for something called Paddle Pop.  I don’t like chocolate but have been on this strange binge of craving for it.  Somehow this ice cream popsicle tasted specially good walking the coastal walk and hearing a very feisty ocean crash its waves against the coast.  It’s cold, almost deserted, and just eerily beautiful.  It was actually quite magical.  Another perfect ending to the day.  

 As we walk there’s a police car in the middle of the street and as we look to where they are looking there is this guy propped upright against a side mirror of a car, effectively in another world –either dead or very asleep.  They shine their flashlights on him.  He doesn’t budge.  We wait to see if he’s alive.  He wakes. We leave.  When we pass the place again cops and drunk are gone.  I ask what probably happened and am told that the cops probably took him home.  Certainly am not in LA where he would have probably spent the night in jail.

Wednesday allows me to do something I haven’t done in many, many years.  I do a wash and hang my clothes on the clothesline.  Washes I’ve done before (though maybe not for $4).  Hang clothes on a clothesline, nope.  Today is sunny and I can’t help but smile as I see wetsuits on it.  Must be surfers in the building.  And then, when I ponder what to do with the undies I laugh when I see bras and panties on the line.  So I proceed to hang mine up and to weave stories from the clothes others have hanged up.  I wonder if the same is done with mine.

It’s sunny outside and in two hours time they are dry.  I bury my face in the clothes and inhale.  There’s a scent that the clothes get when left to dry in open air, under the sun, in an unpolluted environment that just can’t be reproduced commercially. 

Tonight we are going to the screening of Graham, a short shot and edited by Dean. It will be screened at the Ritz, an old theater probably built in the ‘40’s.  It has an art deco feel to it.  It’s heritage listed as they say here.  Landmark Building as we say in America. Pretty.  Unfortunately, the film is actually being screened in the new addition so I didn’t get to see the old main theater. Couldn’t help but compare the ones in LA to the one here.  If it weren’t for the people’s accent, the whole set up -presentation, thank you, etc.- is pretty much the same.  The only thing is that in our screenings I almost always know most of the people so mingling comes more naturally to me at home. 

It’s almost 10:00 pm by the time we finish chatting and socializing a bit.  Most everything is starting to close but we are hungry so cross the street to El Bulli, a Spanish tapas restaurant that is still serving food.  Music piped in is Colombian (a cumbia), there’s tequila prominently displayed on the bar, some of the actors are sipping margaritas, the tapas menu is very limited and when it arrived it was a bit of a hodgepodge of countries.  They had a dish of Albóndigas de Paella.  Paella shaped in a ball and fried.  Fun, original and tasty.  I got spicy empanadas.  Both were good but not quite Spanish tapas.  Oh, and I still can’t get over sticker shock.  $35 for two itsy bitsy plates, no drinks.  Fulfilling nonetheless.

Back to the car that will get us back to our flat (apartment for us) on the beach, in no time.  

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Bondi Park, Coastal Walk, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

My Rested Body Awakes

Last I left you I was going to bed with full intention to write…

But when I get under the covers, slightly tired as I am, the only thing that I could possibly accomplish is sleep.  4:30 pm and I am gone into a land of slumber.  So deeply am I asleep that I barely hear the loud knock on the door three hours later.   Tonight I will sleep well.  Besides, there is no better lullaby than the sound of crashing waves. And I did.  I wake Sunday morning, September 16, at 9:00 am completely refreshed and ready to go out and explore.  The day is miraculously mild and sunny.  What a treat it is to set off on foot toward the beach, camera in hand.  People are already out.  I forgot it’s Sunday.  No wonder the little park in front of the apartment has been so packed.

I walk down the steps onto to the beach and after opening the gate to the beach I am already snapping away.   

    This is a surfer’s paradise.

 Love how they made a little salt water kiddie pool next to the beach.  Don’t know if it is so in the rest of Sydney but the people here seem to be quite body conscious.  Women and men are thin and athletic.  On the beach there’s a lot of sunbathing and surfing going on. I walk along the beach and realize there is an “official” coastal walk/road filled with locals running, walking, chilling.  Populated as well by tourists.  I can hear so many languages spoken but –curiously so- no Spanish.  All sorts and types of people pass by but somehow hardly any look like me.  I am starting to feel like an actual minority.  Funny how in a land that speaks my language I am feeling a bit out-of-place.  Yet, as soon as I write this I realize I am so at ease in this beach town. I think it could turn out that I have been a beach bum at heart all along!

 

 

The views are really gorgeous. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The water is the most beautiful blue.   All shades of it.

The walk offers a lot of other type of views too…  some are quirky like these ants painted on a house container wall.     Some are imposing as these rocks along the way.   Some infuse you with total tranquility as this lonely bench and kite… Some sculptures as well, framed by the crashing waves. Ahhhh… what visual overload this walk has been.     I follow it up to Tamarama Beach and go a little further before turning around.       I stop on the way back and have a salad.  The place is not a fancy one; my grilled chicken salad is $18 AUD, nonetheless.  The exchange rate is $1 AUD =$1.01 USD, however I have done an exchange in a Foreign Exchange place and got only $81 AUD for my $100 USD.  Later I would learn that going into a bank they give you a better rate and charge only a nominal fee for it.

As I leave, before I cross the street, I hear it:  Spanish, albeit from Spain. I head out to the supermarket, which is a relatively small one, and buy enough for snacks for the week (fruit and yogurt) and dinner tonight.

I pass a Chocolatería San Churro. That caught my attention. It is manned by Asians and on the wall they state that while eating a churro “you indulge in an experience in one of the oldest chocolate cultures in Europe.”  I’ve been in Los Angeles so long that I have associated churros solely with Mexico, forgetting the late nights or early mornings (depending on how you see it) -while in Madrid, Spain- of dipping a churro in a chocolate so thick you could make it stand in it.  I resist and do not stop and have one, even when the sign above the door says bienvenida, making it a welcoming sign catering exclusively to the female gender.

I get home and one of the neighbors is outside and, after I smile and say hello he immediately starts talking to me.  Australians will not go out of their way to start a conversation but are innately friendly if you do.  He started talking about the area and how a small one-bedroom with a kitchenette, like the one I’m staying at would go for $700,000 and his, a two-bedroom for about a million plus.  So real estate prices are almost as high as in New York!  He, his girlfriend, and baby boy are English and moving to the Canary Islands in a few weeks to be closer to the grandparents.  He said that in the Canary Islands they could buy a house while here everything is pretty much out of their price range.  Fortunately they have an Internet business which they can run from anywhere in the world.

I cook a bit with the door wide open listening to the sounds of people packing up and leaving.  It is getting breezy and cold but the day has been truly perfect.

As I cut up some vegetables and find my bearings I marvel at the fact that I have been two days without an Internet connection.  I could have and should have stopped at the café close to home and sat there a while but was on the lazy side and didn’t.  I have one of those connection sticks I installed this morning but it didn’t work.  I miss Facebook and being able to use Skype, however, I am doing things that I probably would not be doing if I were online.  By tomorrow I’ll have it and am hoping that I won’t be whittling time in front of a computer when there is the whole of Sydney to discover.

Categories: Coastal Walk, Sydney, Tamarama Beach | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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