imagery of ocean and sand and sun conjure up delicious memories of childhood summers spent frolicking on the beach. of tropical holidays in exotic locations, and sunburn and salty skin. seduced by that feeling when we know we have nowhere we need to be, instead sliding into the languor of afternoon sun on skin. of cold beers and tie-dyed sarongs, and stamps that fill our passport pages. but this is no holiday. this is bondi beach.
sunbathers and coloured parasols punctuate the sand. while girls in designer bikinis and bottled tan, all golden and glowing and firm, wear top knots and take ‘selfies’. because days like this are for sharing. especially when there is some showing off to be done; “look at us”, the pictures smirk, “we’re at bondi beach lying in the sun”. the boys do chin-ups and press ups on the grass nearby, flexing tattooed muscles, shiny and smug. yes, this is the place to be seen, here at bondi beach.
if we dare, we might make our way to the local’s rock, keenly aware we weren’t invited. feeling as though we’ve tried to gain access to the vip room at an exclusive club. rockstars and dj’s only. we are neither. but we are locals now, and just as happy to set up camp on the sand not too far from the shore. the pale yellow sand is hot beneath our toes making us impatient to cool ourselves in the sea.
we know to swim between the flags because that’s what aussie kids are taught when we are young. but sometimes we disobey, where the waves gently lap against the rocks in the calm north end of bondi, yes, that’s where we’ll go. we eat calypos sold to us by young european backpackers, saving us from moving as they walk up and down the beach.
on the promenade, families gather, all buggies and strollers and wandering children. surfers surf, joggers jog, all the while we lie there oblivious to the sounds of passersby, oblivious to all except for the water’s music and the feeling of our skin, nourished and warm. eventually we draw ourselves up as we contemplate the right time to enter the water. we glance at the sea, all calm and inviting and decide that yes, this is the right time to go in.
the cool water washes over us, gently lapping against bare tummies. we bob on soft waves without a care in the world, and for a moment, a very brief moment, we forget that we’re at bondi and imagine ourselves in a faraway sea because we have that feeling that there’s nowhere else we need to be right now.
we breath in bucketfuls of crisp air, sometimes a faint trace of seaweed lingers and then it hits us, we are hungry. the type of hunger that only comes from doing nothing. the beach and our tummies collude and conspire, knowing we’re powerless to refuse. we gather our towels and our flip flops as we stroll away from the sea, thinking only of devouring hot chips dripping with vinegar, and maybe a glass of wine.