Day 6 – Friday, December 14, 2007 – Relaxation and Refuelation
Location: Bondi, NSW, Australia
We got up late today, still recovering from Wednesday night I imagine. Only left the flat by 1pm and had a couple of stops to make before being able to hop on a train to Bondi. We felt sort of rushed to get there because of the setting sun and Ben’s call mocking us for being so slow to get a move on, but we were incessant on our relaxation plans. It’s fun to need a vacation from your vacation.
After stopping at the post office, kmart and the news agent we took a walk through Redfern to the rail stop. Redfern is Sydney’s “no-go” district. Although it seemed pretty safe during the day, Ilya assured me that walking around there at night is not the brightest idea.
We arrived at Bondi around 4pm and went to Ben’s flat where we were encouraged not to head to the beach until the sun was at a much more obtuse angle. Although I had originally hoped to spend a couple of hours on the beach, I think both Ilyusha and I recognized the person who lives two blocks from the beach greater authority on the matter. When Ben’s girlfriend Jacynthe came arrived in from Canberra we eventually meandered over and I sat under a parasol reading, chatting and generally enjoying the view.
After sitting on the beach staring at a population of both natives and tourists, I will finally get to the reflection on the aesthetics of the Sydneysider population (I can’t really say anything about Austrialians as a whole, now can i?). I preface this paragraph with the obvious caveat that it is a HUGE generalization. People look healthy here. Portions are smaller and food is more expensive, which likely accounts for their being slimmer. The accessibility to lots of outdoors, sporty activities is likely accountable for their glowing complexions and muscle tone. This is not a place to be unattractive if you are of either sex. However, people don’t seem as hung-up about their imperfections as I would say the French-Canadian population often is (even though it’s reknowned for being slender). Being here is inspiring to an active, healthy lifestyle – and it’s a pleasant change not to have to fight the urge to eat crap.
So, the beach was lovely. The sand wasn’t too hot and there were children everywhere making sand castles (if I lived on the beach I imagine I would start my week-end by going to the ocean too). I only went in for a very brief dip (the water was still a little cold to my liking, it IS the ocean and still only early summer), but the riptide wasn’t too bad. I saw people ocean kayaking which I had never really realized was a sport before. I want to ocean kayak before I turn 30. I guess this means that I need to come back to Australia
After the beach, we decided to go to an Italian place that Ben’s friend Kamal had heard good things about. Although I found the food very tasty, I will admit that the service was poor and the prices were exorbant. Ben, restauranteur that he is, caused quite a bit of a raucous which resulted in my informing him he could be an American with regards to his demands. Lovely. By this time we were six at the table: Ilyusha, myself, Ben, Jacynthe, Kamal and Vish. Kamal is a manager of restaurants and coffee shops and Vish is a surgeon. Both are originally from New Zealand – we were quite an international bunch.
After dinner we went to a bar off the beach with perhaps the worst ambience I have ever seen. It felt like a dingy shopping mall. I don’t know why we decided to go back to Ben’s, but that didn’t work out either because we were making too much noise, so we headed to Vish’s (don’t ever think that surgeons don’t live swankly) for another hour. There was much wine consumed during this evening. Much conversation. Much talk of life plans, laziness, travel and much else. There was a moment of awkwardness as I was my usual cuddly self on a couch with Vish (read: we were both tired and I like sitting with someone’s arm around me – it’s cozy).
We hopped a cab back to Glebe with a native heading to his girlfriend’s Christmas party. The conversation in the back of the cab was relatively amusing. The poor guy was worried that his girlfriend wasn’t calling him to come meet up because she was picking up other blokes. It was difficult not to laugh as Ilya tried to assuage his fears.
And… just so you know… I fell asleep in my cover-up and bathing suit without getting changed again.