I’ve obviously been living overseas for too long. After having lived in two small expat communities, and Bali, I had formed the view that there was a greater concentration of, shall we say, “people with idiosyncrasies” than in the general Australian population. It seemed, from casual observations around Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, that I might have been in error. A visit to Bondi confirmed that this was, in fact, the situation.

As Helen often reminds me, the International Baccalaureate mission indicates that we should celebrate the diversity of personalities in our world (even if Jung and Myers-Briggs reckons there are are only about 16). Bondi looks like the Bali expat community, except “paradise” is in a more temperate, and expensive, climate.

The beach is beautiful, and, although (judging by old photos, in our hotel) successive governments have destroyed the unique feel Bondi Beach had 70 or 80 years ago, it is still a good place to “hang”. Being someone who detests smoking, and those who still believe it is okay to annoy everyone else within 100m with their addiction, I was bemused by the “flexible” approach some establishments had to anti-smoking laws. NSW has long been behind other states in this respect.

We went to a pub which seemed to have a permanent clientele of substance-affected dog owners. Some of the owners looked more dangerous than the dogs, but everyone kept to their own and a good time was had by all.

Helen also discovered a community of homeless people living behind the surf club, obviously with the tacit consent of the local authorities. They were set up with cookers, mattresses, the lot. They seem to be tolerated because they keep the place clean and don’t hassle other people, which seems fair enough, in today’s tough times. Maybe it is a step towards a more caring, tolerant society, in a strange sort of way.

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