Posts Tagged With: Beach

No Canals Today

I’m in Venice but it’s not Italy. It has canals but I won’t visit today.  It’s around 8:30 and I hurry to put my warm-ups on and head out to the beach before the Saturday crowds arrive. VeniceBeach  I like encountering people along the way that take it as a fact that only a local could be out and about early morn. A commonality, real or assumed, that brings out the most cordial in people. I get many good mornings along the way.

I love the vibe and the creativity this town emanates. Apparent even on the sidewalk. I stop so often, my walk may be sabotaged by it.

A brief look up to be puzzled by people forming a line for an Adidas sale at a local store: 9

Then there are the murals which are everywhere and unavoidable. 

On empty lots: 10

On a house’s fence:   11

I found it of note that the wall chosen by a homeless was one devote of any: 12

Another with a burst of color: 13

As I walk by, a memory comes of a meal at a restaurant I like, The Butcher’s Daughter, where I said goodbye to a friend heading north. 14

Venice makes me smile, even with its requests: 15

Back to the murals. This one always makes me stop and ponder a bit. She looks so sad and introspective. 16

And very apropos, the next thing that catches my eye is this one of  TrustyScribe of a subject that is so misunderstood and so few of those affected (the one with it and those around them) know how to handle. 17

More murals, this one with French. 18

Oh, and if your breakfast wasn’t dope… here’s a food truck (their proliferation competing with the murals) who is “making breakfast dope again”. 🙂 19

Some murals are pretty intricate. 20

Art is everywhere. Some exulting your civic duty along with your emotional one. 21

I love the beach cottage/bungalow construction but I really like Victorian houses as well and this one stands out. 22

I’m getting hungry… yes, I’d love some but am on this Keto diet (a very low carb thing) and still have pounds to go. A confession… I’ve been off it so mayyyybe…

23

I pass the Ellison Suites  24 with its super cool murals. 24A It amuses me that they also had to write on it: “This is not a hotel.” probably from the myriad of inquiries they get. 25

I think this quote by Lana del Rey defines Los Angeles… “Singing in the old bars, swinging with the old stars, living for the fame…”

26

And then there’s Jim.

Instructing us to “Try to set the night on fire” 29

Murals with depth and little stencil animals abound.

I am now on the beach. A VW bus bursting in color and nostalgia… and merchandising. 32

The people in this town as colorful as the murals.

 

I LOVE hugging and what this mural means.    35

Mural competing with the architecture. 36

This time, it’s mosaic tiles: 37

Can’t walk my bike (I don’t have one and never learned to ride!). 

38

Did I mention it was Christmas?  

I think this mural confused even the birds. 40

This mannequin fits right in with the crowd. I think it had on too many. 41

I put my feet on the beach just in case you doubt that there any water and sand in my walk.  I take the obligatory shots. 

The sea is rough today attracting many surfers.

 

Who said you can’t stand on water?  

 

Californians can do it all because Cali is gold…  P1470796

I remind myself that I am still on a diet and manage to avoid two of my favorite things: funnel cakes and soft ice cream. 

It helps to remind myself that I am in Venice a town where most are a size 2 (though I’ll never be that again). And those that aren’t, are working at getting as buff and in shape as possible. The guy playing paddle had only one arm and was playing harder than the others. Gives me little excuse. Muscle Beach is deserted probably because it is a bit too early for them to show off. 

Not too early for a photo shoot.

P1470787

But I digress, so back to the murals where I am a voyeur as bunnies get some action. 🙂 P1470813

I have to detour because the alley I took was blocked off and I encounter so many more murals. Some advertising stores, food trucks, restaurants, some on private homes, some just as adornment. All pretty cool, coloring my path.

A bit of colorful history.: when Mr. Abbot Kinney built Venice of America, Main Street was a canal. Guess that technically means I can walk on water. 

P1470820

Nearing home I realize that I really am a Venice fan. 

P1470804

P1470812

Knock, knock… where will I go next? 

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Fog Guides Me Back to What I Love

It suddenly gets dark in my home office and as I glance out my window I see… nothing.  An afternoon fog has cloaked the beach and the pier and has made them invisible.  I’ve been yearning for a reason to stop doing what I should be doing and haven’t started doing so in a move I have not done in a long time, I reach for my camera, get my iPod and head out without a second thought.

fishermen, pier, Long Beach, Belmont Veterans Memorial PierAs I walk out to the pier the fog is still thick but it doesn’t stop the fishermen from going to their usual spot.

The lifeguards wouldn’t be able to see much if they were at their post.

Lifeguards, Long Beach, fog, beach

The Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach is home to homeless, to fishermen, to seagulls, pelicans (and many other, unidentified by me, species), tourists, photographers and more.pier, Long Beach, fog

But I am interested in what happens below it so I take the path downwards.  Where the fog does not seem to interrupt daily activities.

 

pier, beach, Long Beach, fog    Long Beach, fog, pedestrian path, bike path

I don’t follow the path.  I go under the pier. pier, Long Beach, fog, beach, sand  pier, Long Beach, beach, fog

First I look across, fog, Long Beach, sand delaying what I am sure will delight my camera and myself.  And it indeed does  Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, pier, fog

Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, pier, fog   Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, pier, fogBelmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, pier, fog

Am I somewhere else?  I must look back and check.   Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, pier, fog

And once I’m sure I am not lost I once again enter trancelike state. Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, pier, fogBelmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, pier, fog  Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, pier, fog

But my beach is being invaded…  Long Beach, beach, fog

So I look the other way.  Long Beach, beach, fog

 

 

 

 

 

 

To a spot of the beach where birds can play (or fight).   Long Beach, beach, fog, birds

Stare…  Long Beach, beach, fog  Where love is present and blind.  Long Beach, beach, fog, love

Where a congregation is not unruly.Long Beach, beach, fog

Well, maybe just a tad…Long Beach, beach, fog, birds

Where people come to de-stress…Long Beach, beach, fog

Or ignore the waves and the beach altogether…Long Beach, beach, fog

Where unfortunately, man leaves his tracks…Long Beach, beach, fog

Where a father and son bond in daily exercise and share their path with seagulls…Long Beach, beach, fog, runners, father and son   Long Beach, beach, fog

Long Beach, beach, fog, pier I go back to the magnet that the pier has turned out to be for my camera.  Long Beach, beach, fog  Long Beach, beach, fog  On my way there these flowers on their last breath stop me in my tracks.  Is it an offering to Iemanjá, the Queen of the Ocean, in Brazilian culture?  Long Beach, beach, fog, flowers, offering  Long Beach, beach, fog   So much to photograph I don’t seem to be able to still my mind or my steps.  Long Beach, beach, fog  Long Beach, beach, fog  Long Beach, beach, fog  Long Beach, beach, fog  So I go up the pier to where I started.  Long Beach, beach, fog, pier

 

 

Where I am reminded that I really haven’t been traveling at all.  Long Beach, beach, fog, pier

 

 

Long Beach, beach, fog, pierLong Beach, beach, fog, pier

Long Beach, beach, fog, pier   Long Beach, beach, fog, pier

But somehow I do feel as if I have taken a short trip and as I leave the pier I feel recharged and ready to tackle what I had procrastinated in doing.  Pier  Long Beach, beach, fog, pier

Maybe…

 

 

 

 

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An Archangel Burns a Hole in a Skull and Malo Isn’t really Bad at All

The morning was uneventful which is okay by me since the rest of the  day (and this post) is going to be jam-packed with visual delight.

We are renting (“hiring” in Aussie and Brit talk) a car and heading out to the coast.  Our first stop will be Mont Saint Michel.  I’m a bit nervous about the drive.  French drivers are really good but drive at lightning speeds.  Fortunately I won’t be driving.  Dean has bought a GPS for our journey so we won’t be getting lost either.  We don’t have much of a route set up. We are traveling, as always, waiting where the winds – in this case the wheels – will take us.  I like it that way though at times setting up good accommodations requires a bit of knowing our itinerary ahead of time.

I cross the street to buy some croissants and milk and coffee for the road. And we are off.

It’s a two-hour ride to Mont Saint Michel and it just flies by.  Before we know it we are approaching the very familiar site of Mont Saint Michel.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island As we get closer the little spots I see in the distance turn into munching cows that concentrate solely on eating and disregard the island behind them.  They create a perfect photo-op that I can’t let pass by.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island Normandy, France, pilgrimage, abbey, island, cows  We park the Renault (which curiously enough has not been named by us) and take a shuttle bus Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, bienvenue, bienvenidos that takes us closer to the entrance and then walk to the island which is linked by a causeway, which makes it technically not an island any more.  A fact that does not deter from its beauty and impressiveness.Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  There’s a medieval town on the mount with its expected winds and turns and narrowness.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, medieval town  The hoards of tourists remind me that this has been, through the ages, one of the top pilgrimage sites for Christians.  The abundance of souvenir shops Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, souvenirs lining the quaint (and exercise inducing) steep streets may make you forget that this place has much history, dating from when years didn’t have four numbers.  It also has a peculiar history.  It is said that before the abbey that’s on it was built in the 8th century, the Archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, in 708 and instructed him to build a church. Seems that Aubert ignored the archangel so Michael burned a hole in the bishop’s skull with his finger.  The abbey was built afterwards.  First there is a little chapel we visit.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, chapel  And then onwards towards the abbey. Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, Mont Saint Michel Abbey

Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, souvenirs  The abbey is built on the islet’s top point so it’s a bit of a climb. Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, church  It has a gothic feel to it.  The church Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island is more austere Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, church than any of the other churches we have visited but if it doesn’t quite match the beauty of the others it holds its own by just where it is situated.   Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  Normandy, France, pilgrimage, abbey, island   Before heading back in I am fascinated by how large the seagulls Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, seagulls, birds are around here. Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, seagulls, birds Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, seagulls, birds  And how privileged they are to fly so high and have such an amazing place to land.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel  Once my eyes get unglued from the birds and the view, my imagination takes flight.  I can almost see the robed monks going from one side of the abbey to the other through this bridge.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, bridge  And going about their chores around water source which has the largest faucet I’ve ever seen.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, water, faucet  We go back inside to explore how the monks lived.  I like the simplicity and solidness of it all.   Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island   Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  As usual, I am distracted by a window with a soft view of the outside.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, window, stained glass  But I concentrate on my steps in the inside for it is dark and a gentleman going down the steps has fallen.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, hallway

Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, Archangel Michael, psychopomp, archangel   I encounter the Archangel Michael in the basement.  He is a plaster replica of the one that is on top of the spire and he is the one I mentioned earlier who burned a hole in the bishop’s skull.  I certainly would do as ordered!  He is also a psychopomp – which I wouldn’t mention except for the fact that the name made me giggle – though the responsibilities of one are quite serious.  He leads the dead and weighs souls (didn’t know souls had weight) on the day of judgment and is often presented with a balance in the scenes of the Last Judgment. I would definitely want this guy on my side!!

It isn’t a sunny day but it almost enhances the feeling of going back in time.  The view, with the tides low around the mount, is a bit surreal.

Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel  Another unique feature of Mont Saint Michel is that the bay around it has the highest tidal variations in all of Europe.  At low tide the Mont is surrounded by sand.  At high tide the water comes in at an astonishing speed, compared to a galloping horse.  In fact, Wikitravel has a warning that says that it is not unheard of for tourists to die after being cut-off by the tide if not crossing through the causeway.  It must be quite a sight but we didn’t stay for we were headed to Saint Malo.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides I, quite the contrarian, have to look up as we are going down.  A door caught my attention and reminded me that this place was also used as a prison.  What a history!  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, door  As we descend the many steps we pass The Mere Poulard which cooks its famous mega omelettes on an open fire.  I was sorry I wasn’t hungry enough to eat there.  They looked really good, served in a really great setting.  But I am glad I didn’t for the reviews on yelp were pretty bad and at 28 to 60 Euros an omelette it would have been quite disappointing to not have an extraordinary meal.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, La Mere Poulard, omelettes, restaurant  One look back.Normandy, France, pilgrimage, abbey, island, causeway

And we leave.  Mont Saint Michel, car park, Normandy, France  The Renault is waiting for us.  Mont Saint Michel, car park, Normandy, France  We have already paid for our ticket so Saint Malo here we come!

Saint Malo was recommended by a travel group I belong to, The Travelzine.  They said the walled city was lively and a good base to explore the area. We are not staying there (more on that later) but I am fascinated by walled cities and we figured it would be a good place to have dinner before we on to the farm.  We enter the narrow streets of the walled town and are at a loss to where to park.  A delivery van is blocking the street in front of us so I get out and ask him where to park.  He tells me to follow him and takes us to a municipal parking lot (car park for my Aussie and Brit readers) right next to the water and marina.  We cross the street to the city itself entering it through the Saint Thomas Gate.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  We are rewarded with beautiful views as we climb the steps to walk the wall that surrounds the city.

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city

I’ll just be quiet now, for the view captivates me and hopefully captivates you as well.

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Saint Malo.  Malo in Spanish means “bad” or “mean”.  This “malo” is good!!!

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled cityThere’s a lookout point that has a telescope which points into the direction of areas I have some connection with.  The Falklands (Malvinas to the Argentinians and from where a lot of my friends are).Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Rio de Janeiro, where I lived for 4 years. Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city Quebec, where two children of a family I considered my own live, one of them who I taught to drive.

A pool on the side of the sea that reminds me of Australia, a country I have learned to love because of who I love.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  It’s not that warm outside but there are people enjoying it, diving from the board.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city The city was not only walled but well protected. Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  I loved the city but later Brittany locals (the region the town is located in) would tell me that they consider it a “sad” town mainly due to its history and the fact that it is walled in.

Hunger strikes me and Dean knows me well enough to get me into a restaurant fast before I get cranky. 🙂 So we dive into Le Lion D’Or.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city, restaurant in Saint Malo, I’m glad we did cause it had great reviews on Tripadvisor and I would add mine to them.  I had a really great huge plate of mussels that was delicious though the mussels were small and could not compare in size to the Tasmanian mussels a friend and I had at the Sydney fish market, though they were matched in taste. Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city, restaurant in Saint Malo, The city is on the coast after all so I was counting on good seafood.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city, marina, boats

Once we retrieve the car we are on our way to another real adventure… which I will tell you all about tomorrow!

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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!

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

Bye, Bye Bondi

It’s Saturday, September 22.  Tonight we head over to Dean’s sister’s house in Peats Ridge.  So today I pack in the morning so that I can have the rest of the day to say good-bye to Bondi Beach.  It has truly been wonderful to be at a beach in an apartment where I got to know my neighbors and surroundings and live a bit as a local.

I was going to do the Coastal Walk once again but decide to stay close to home.  It is the weekend and the weather is still beautiful so the people are out and about the beach.

The grass along the beach is also packed with people enjoying the sun.  Perhaps these are the people who do not consider sand between the toes as enjoyable or romantic but still want to be at the beach. I can’t resist some of the graffiti walls and as I pass I photograph.  

I cross the street into Bondi and am fascinated by the mosaic benches.  No one seems to notice them or care.  No one is even sitting on them.  I just photograph them and do not listen to them beckoning for me to sit down since I have barely started my exploration today. 

  

I’m hungry and consider eating at one of the fish places on the beach but decide to go further into the town itself. I pass Gertrude and Alice  that seems to be a café but basically has books outside for sale.  I continue and then make a U-turn.  Has been a while since I’ve heard the name Gertrude.  I imagine very prim and proper women having tea around an inviting fireplace when I read it.  Need to investigate this place. People are having coffee and I smell food.  I go in and it is in fact a café and bookstore.  It’s cozy and I’m digging the vibe inside.

Once done I go back home where I will wait to be picked up and head to our next home: Peats Ridge which is about 45 minutes from town. After getting into the apartment and checking all is ready to move I go outside and as the sun goes down I bid Bondi Beach farewell.

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 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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