On 24 December, Nick and I left Canberra for the start of this massive adventure.
This was one of the places I actually booked accommodation. Not surprisingly, most hotels and hostels close to the beach were booked, save a few outrageous spots that we refused to pay for. Airbnb is always among my favorites to search through, and I was able to find a unit only a couple blocks from Bondi! It was affordable and closer than any other hotel could have placed us, in that area.
This year’s Christmas was a bit different. Really different. For one, it didn’t even feel like Christmas. In the weeks leading up, thanks to the warm, long days of a southern hemisphere summer, it seemed more like Christmas in July. Commercials with Aussies’s on the beach, dressed in togs (swimsuits). People out shopping, collecting Christmas trees and decor in their thongs (flip-flops), all while blasting the AirCon. A fake Christmas. This fact alone was strange enough. Not to mention family, friends, traditions, decorations, and the like were all absent. It all sounds much more pitiful than it really was; but what I’m trying to get across is that it just didn’t feel…right.
We did our best though, to add some Christmas spirit. Christmas “tree” at the beach (see photo above), reindeer ears and Santa hats, home cooked Christmas dinner, and of course Christmas crackers. We Skyped with our families and overall, it wasn’t so bad to be Christmas Orphans. Just a new memory and experience to share.
Bondi itself was much less busy than I expected. And much calmer. It was not a crazy beach party, with thousands of co-eds dancing to Aussie electronic music with their brightly colored Wayfarer sunglasses, togs and budgie smugglers (swimsuits and Speedos), like pictures may portray. Instead, it was simply families and friends relaxing on the beach, sometimes getting their photos taken with the blow-up Santa and Snowman. And maybe with a cheeky (saucy/smart-alecky) bottle of champagne or other grog (beer or alcohol)…otherwise prohibited on the beach. Pretty sure there have been some problems in the past and “alcohol prohibited zones” have been set up in certain areas of Australia.
On Boxing Day, 26 December, we ran a bit of the Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk. Packed up, and started heading north again.