Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bondi Beach, Sydney's Playground

31 May 2013

Bondi Beach (pronounced "BON-die" -- not BON-dee) is just a short train and bus ride from Sydney, and is part of our same daily bus/train/ferry pass.

 And since the weather forecast is for "rain developing" on Saturday and rain all day on Sunday, we thought we should take advantage of the sunny day and spend it outdoors. 

Bondi is famous for surfing, although there are actually better surfing beaches along the Pacific Coast - it's just that Bondi is easier to reach.

And there's the famous "Bondi Rescue," a TV show about the life guards of Bondi Beach.

I think there's even a TV show called "Bondi Vet," about a very photogenic vet who treats the usual pets and also has been involved in wildlife rescue on the beach.  Australian telly at it's greatest, y'know mate! 

At any rate, Bondi is a lovely beach, some 800 meters of golden sand and deep turquoise water, a perfect crescent with a boardwalk, and a town catering to swimmers, surfers, and tourists.

With all that publicity, no one ever mentions the mosaics of Bondi - and they are phenomenal!  All the benches, tables, and planter seating areas along the waterfront are covered in some of the most gorgeous mosaics I've seen in a long long time!  Tiny pieces of tile and glass have been cut and matched in gradations of color to create incredibly lifelike portrayals of the history, culture, development, and natural resources of Bondi.  I couldn't find any information about the artist(s) who created this series of murals, so I'm not sure who deserves the credit - but they truly were gorgeous!



I also really like the dolphin sculpture - which was beautifully rendered - and made even funnier because the shadow looks more like a shark than a dolphin, almost as if he is dreaming about or pretending to be a mean and speedy shark, rather than the fun-loving dolphin!

So the sun shone, the water sparkled, the surfers waited for their perfect waves (looking somewhat like pods of deformed dolphins as they sat on their boards waiting and waiting).  We walked along the road, then back on the boardwalk, and had a wonderful lunch at a Hungarian restaurant.  Richard had chicken soup with noodles, and I had the chicken soup with matzah balls.  (We're still fighting the colds from Singapore, so we needed some Jewish penicillin, like our mothers used to make.)  We chatted with the Italian barista, French waiter, and fellow customer from Oklahoma who settled in Bondi back in the 1960s.  It was a lovely and relaxing lunch.

By late afternoon the waves picked up, and more surfers were out there showing their stuff.  It seemed as if the better surfers were the young kids, although we did see one or two people in our age group out there too.  And, with patience, I was able to get a few decent shots before the surfers inevitably wiped out. 

We headed back in to Sydney for the Vivid Sydney events - and I'm sorry to report that my camera takes horrible night photos.  The Opera House "painted" with projected images was just amazing - various community artists put together imagery that moves and segues into other images and acts like a giant kaleidoscope, with the "slideshow" projected onto the Opera House and numerous buildings in the harbour area.  IT  WAS  INCREDIBLE!!!!   The images flowed across the shells of the Opera House turning it into a video game, a source of flowing water, a dancing diva, putting the performance inside onto the outside, back into a bouncing game, then into blinking lights a la Vegas - and that was just one night!  Each night is supposed to be different!  

Other buildings had rotating light shows, flying origami birds, pulsating lights - and the Museum of Contemporary Art had a dazzling light show, with bouncing cubes and flowing building blocks that would swoop and swarm, then fall to the "ground" and build back up.  

The only installation I was able to somewhat photograph was the lit up apples - and they really were other-worldly!

So - my apologies for the lack of photos for this part of the blog, and here's the link to Vivid Sydney, so you can see some photos as well as the schedule of events (with fireworks every Saturday night):

Note from Saturday, 1 June - it was a grey day, so we headed out to Newtown, the funky and alternative town/neighborhood not far from us.  We had a nice time wandering around, having a great lunch, window shopping, browsing bookstores, thought about a movie but the timing was bad, played a few pokies (slot machines), and eventually had dinner and gelato.  It started raining in earnest by mid-afternoon, and seems as if Sunday will be rainy as well.

Winter may truly be here.

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