29 May Bondi Rescue!
Once I’d had enough of the city I took the bus to Bondi to stay in Surfside Backpackers. The great thing about staying in Bondi is that you have the best of both worlds- you can go to the beach but you can also take a 30 minute bus ride into the city. And it doesn’t have the problem of having to get a ferry like Manly does.
The beach itself looks a lot smaller than it does on television; some people scoff at it being too touristy, but I’m a tourist and I loved it. The white sandy cove has a pavilion with juice bars, toilets and restaurants for the tourists, and often you’ll see them filming Bondi Beach Rescue. On my first day in Bondi I was lying down basking in the heat when all of a sudden there was a big commotion. “SHARK ATTACK” I heard someone say as thousands of holidaymakers and Sydneysiders ran across the beach to see what the fuss was about. A big crowd was gathered round the lifeguard’s tent along with TV cameras and sound-men and I was so curious I ran over too. As I peered over people’s shoulders I expected to see a bloody bitten off leg or someone passed out from a jellyfish sting, but instead there was a small stubby little man wearing a mankini. Yes people will do anything to get on Bondi Beach Rescue, and this guy was dressed as Borat. In Europe, exposure on a beach is no big deal, but in Australia of course he was escorted immediately off the beach by officials because of his indecent exposure. Bondi is a great place to watch the beautiful people on the beach, or take a stroll and look in the surf shops or buy some jewellery in the Bondi Markets. The big thing to do in the day is do the walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee which takes about 2 miles and is about 7km. The walk takes you to the smaller coves of Tamarama Beach and Bronte and then through a cemetery oddly enough right on the coastline. Is it me or does that seem even freakier to have a cemetery on a clifftop next to the sea? It wasn’t something I expected on my walk but I suppose If you died you might want to always have a view of the sea. I must say there were some ornate monstrocities- people with family vaults and tombs, with too much money if you ask me. I felt sorry for the poor buggers with the average tombstones laying next to someone with a gold statue and a vault. The walk then takes you to Clovelly and Gordons Bay, and finally Coogee where you’ll want to pass out from the heat and probably get the bus back. That’s what I did.
There’s not much to do at night in Bondi, you can go for a drink in Iceberg’s or Bondi Hotel, and there’s a cool bar on the corner called Ravesi’s, but everything tends to close rather early. So the main party is in the hostel and often it would spill out onto the beach. You can go on a night out in Bondi Junction though- I only did that once when the hostel had a free bus which took us to ‘The Gaff’ where we were plied with free drinks and I ended up dancing on the bar and joining a wet T-shirt competition. I did it for the money- they were offering $200 to the winner and I had taken no money out with me; all I wanted was $2 to get the bus home. My two Swedish roommates entered it with me and the rest is a blur- I remember us all being herded into this poky room and being handed a t-shirt and a pair of scissors- we were like pieces of meat going to the slaughter. I fashioned mine into what can only be described as a belt and we were plied with champagne to make us all a bit more slutty. I remember being paraded onto the stage and then looking down at literally a room full of men, ive never seen so many men in all my life. When we were announced by the DJ he asked Olivia what country she was from- “These girls are from Sweden!”. Well I didn’t dispute it with him, Sweden was definitely a better selling point than England.
I spent most of my days lazing around on the beach in the sunshine, and drinking goon in the hostel at night. Surfside is just one of those hostels that you can never leave and where you’ll make the bestest friends you ever had. It’s been known for people to stay there for months, and I think the drug dealer that they put up for free there has been around for a couple of years. I can’t really tell because he’s so messed up you can’t really tell what he’s saying. I’ve read some pretty bad reviews about it online, and I’d heard one or two stories about people paying and then having seen their room walking straight back out again, but you don’t stay in Surfside for the luxury. You stay in Surfside for the party. The hostel itself is on Hall Street just off the main drag, and you hardly notice it’s there because it’s down this little alleyway with a metal gate to keep the party off the street. Inside it’s got a surf theme with painted mermaid murals on the wall and the rooms are basic with a set of communal showers. They only have a small number of rooms on the one floor, but if they’re fully booked (which they usually are) they’ll usually let you sleep in the TV room. Most of the time it’s pretty quiet in the day and then people come out to play at night, it gets pretty rowdy and I feel sorry for the person who has to clean up our shit. It looks like there’s been a goon bag massacre at 2am when everyone’s cleared off to the beach.