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Things you must see

Nudists

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 25 May 2015 | Views [99] | Scholarship Entry

An elderly man stands proudly on the golden sand below with hands on hips, his enormous boner visible from our elevated position at the lookout fifty meters away. Unencumbered by clothes he soaks up the harbor’s radiance on yet another glorious Sydney day. He leans back slightly at the hips, maximizing surface area.

My Japanese friend Kasumi shrieks with laughter and covers her eyes in a gesture of embarrassment that seems to be joking and genuine in equal parts. I’ve brought her to the South Head Heritage Trail as part of a whirlwind tour during her one (insufficient!) day in Sydney, and this is one of the reactions I’d hoped for.

So far things are going perfectly to plan; the ferry ride from Circular Quay was reliably breathtaking and ticked the mandatory Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge boxes, Watsons Bay delighted with its fig-tree-lined beach and grassy park, and we got an excellent photo (which was later discovered to be an unfocused and terrible photo) atop the cannon that sits sentry over Camp Cove, a relic of the city’s WWII defenses.

Kasumi had just minutes prior obstinately refused to try the cliff jumps into the harbor, despite my best efforts to explain that I’ve never received the $500 fine indicated by the large anti-fun/pro-safety sign prohibiting cliff jumps. My belly was full with gelato and overpriced fish and chips so I acquiesced and we continued along the trail to where we now stand at the (arguable) highlight of the South Head tour: the lookout over the pristine patch of sand that is Lady Bay Beach.

A designated nudist sanctuary since 1976 (and a non-designated one for much longer than that), Lady Bay Beach is currently not living up to its name. The nudists are mostly middle aged men, some of whom no doubt work behind the tinted windows of the skyscrapers that glitter in the background of this radiant scene. Numerous colourful towels lie in neat arrangement as their owners chat amiably, ankle deep in the kind of perfect greenblue ocean that you wouldn’t typically associate with a major global city. Sail boats glide by on gentle winds, mirror images of the few wispy clouds overhead.

A young woman in nothing but a bucket hat appears from nowhere to join the congregation. She gestures animatedly as she speaks, the atmosphere appears one of relaxed familiarity. Inspired, Kasumi takes my hand and we rush like children towards that sand, sun, salt, sea.

I love this city.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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