Wednesday, 28 December, 2016
Much like many other temporary residents in Australia, we spent our Christmas at the beach. This was obviously different to usual – instead of snowmen, tinsel and crappy jumpers; we had sandcastles, surfboards and buff Santas.
The buff Santa is its own niche group in Sydney (particularly Bondi Beach).
A buff Santa’s duty is not to give presents to kids. Instead, their role in the community is to place a Christmas hat on their head and strut up and down the beach for hours on end flexing their muscles. Every hour they are required to break up the walking for a game of volleyball. This ensures that their body remains at twelve-pack level and the other buff Santas cannot laugh at them.
Seriously, these guys are blown up like a balloon.
In fact, many of the fat and skinny guys that live in the Bondi area are getting increasingly concerned about how many buff Santas are being allowed onto the beach.
“Bondi used to be great; we had no trouble. We were fat and proud, tops off whenever we wanted. Now we can’t even celebrate Christmas the way we like it on our own beach. Seriously – how many buff Santas does this beach plan on letting in? It’s getting ridiculous. It seems that each year more and more arrive. They’ve taken our beach; our gym; and I’m sick of it.” Fat Bob told the EveryDay Male newspaper.
Personally I think that Fat Bob is just blaming the buff Santas for his own laziness and poor choices in life. I also think that the EveryDay Male has been very selective when picking their interviewee – but, what do I know?
While Bondi Beach was not traditional, it was still a great way to spend the holiday. We had a nice picnic, swam between surfboards for a bit and then walked across the beautiful rocks to visit some of Sydney’s other famous beaches.
In the evening, we went to Hyde Park – not the best one in Leeds, or the runner up in London, but the bronze medalist that is located in Sydney – and as we were walking around, we noticed a whole family of possums. That was definitely a Christmas first. The only animal I usually see on Christmas Day is a turkey and it’s always pretty dead.
We saw three in a tree and later one alone shifting rapidly across the grass – we guessed that he had forgotten to pack his nephew’s Lynx Africa set, so his wife made him rush home to get it. We spent a while monitoring the possums in the trees – sure, we were probably intruding on their festive celebrations a little bit, but we had never seen possums before and felt curious.
However, they would later start pulling the crackers out and we agreed that this was our cue to leave. We finished celebrating Gary McAllister’s birthday by watching ‘Home Alone 2’ back at the flat.
Overall, it was a solid 25th December. It certainly ranks in my top 28.
While Christmas Day came with an unfamiliar feel, it had nothing on the oddities of Boxing Day. That was a really weird one.
We decided that we would use our free day to check out the Figure Eight Pools – a group of naturally formed rock pools in Sydney’s Royal National Park. However, the visit would not come easily. The natural wonder would be waiting for us at the end of a three hour trek through the forest.
At the start of our journey, we were basically side by side with a group of young kids (who presumably would be with us for the entire three hour walk). They were playing really loud dance music through some speakers and kept whistling at all the birds, which in turn, was making them fly away.
On a side note, the fact that this was irritating me to such an extent perhaps indicates that I’m maturing (a polite way of saying getting old). As much as I was trying to hold my tongue, I knew that there was only so long that I would be able to listen to their bollocks before saying something.
After about twenty minutes, the beaten path split into two different directions (which I assumed would eventually reconnect somewhere down the line). I told Monica that we would be taking whichever route the noisy kids didn’t – so we did exactly that.
Without the music, the walk became more pleasant and woodland creatures were once again starting to emerge.
The trek really started getting quite long and sweaty. Although, the fact that we passed so many smiley faced people men along the way – who we assumed were joyfully returning from the Figure Eight Pool – helped us to remain pretty upbeat.
After a few hours, we noticed a beach through the bushes and assumed that we were finally reaching our destination. Thumbs up.
As we made our way down the hill, gravity started getting the better of me. I began to make uncontrollable hasty steps through the final bushes – which almost ended with me falling into a man, who was laid on the floor and virtually hidden. Thankfully, I managed to regain my footing just in time.
I came to a halt next to him, and noticed that he was missing something – clothes. He was completely frigging naked – from head to toe. Not even so much as a tea-towel or a sock to cover the privates.
He also wasn’t moving, not even to the sound of my oncoming feet – for a moment, I truly believed that he was dead.
“There’s a naked man there and I think he’s dead. Is he dead?” I asked Monica. She responded with a shrug. Bloody hell. I was going to need to do something, wasn’t I?
I nudged him on the shoulder; to which he looked up at me and said, “Can I help you?”
Thank God, he was alive. I let out a big sigh of relief, before explaining that I was just checking he hadn’t called time on life. We then continued on towards the Figure Eight Pools – obviously while discussing how weird that exchange was. I assumed that he was sunbathing and didn’t want the tan lines.
We made our way down to the beach and we soon discovered that everybody was naked. Not only that, but they were all men, middle-aged, and in the most part, there individually.
Due to the fact that this wasn’t mentioned in the directions section of the guidebook, I’m going to assume we took a wrong turn – ‘Once beyond the trees, go through the beach with naked men, around the cliffs and then you will arrive at the Figure Eight Pools.’
So, there you have it. Australia has a hidden beach that men go to alone on Boxing Day to get starkers. This most probably ties in with all the buff Santas taking over the beaches that are more conveniently located.
Imagine proposing that one to your wife.
“Tim, don’t forget that Julie is bringing the kids over on Boxing Day.”
“Mary, look – I made turkey dinner, I took the boys out to play with their new toys and I spent the entire afternoon with your mum today. Is it really too much to ask that I disappear through the forest, find a beach and get naked alongside some men I’ve never met for Boxing Day?”
We will attempt to make it to the Figure Eight Pools sometime again next week.