Bondi Beach, one of Australia's best-known stretches of sand, is Sydney's third most visited spot, after the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Of the almost two million people Bondi attracts every year, half are from overseas, and increasingly from China. In 2012 Chinese holidaymakers accounted for 9% of all visitors to Australia. By 2020 they should reach 21%.
Since the opening of their country and the rise of a middle class, the Chinese travel more and more, traversing the world in well-organised package tours. Most choose to visit capitals, famed sites and to shop. Those who crave space, nature, sun, and new landscapes turn to Australia, a country that is able to offer all these things. An average visit is 10 days. On Bondi Beach, the routine of tour operators is well-known: every morning buses bring dozens of tourists to the beach. In their best garb, they venture onto the sand that many touch for the first time. Often the waves of the Pacific catch them off guard. For about twenty minutes in front of the Pacific Ocean, their rituals are repeated: from the selfie to the jump shot, often under the protective cover of flamboyant hats, colourful scarves, gloves and sparkling umbrellas. They shun the strong Australian sun, but not the cameras.
The contrast with the sun-tanned and sporty locals is striking. The atypical visitors are either a source of amusement or go unnoticed as an increasingly normal part of the decor of this beautiful and iconic beach.
I chose to document this blatant disparity between cultures, between habits and customs of peoples, a gap that can lead to amusing – almost absurd - situations, when people from different cultures cross borders and meet.