I'm talking about the town here, not my disposition. It's only a mile from Bondi as the crow flies, but some might say it's a world away. You see, there's a great divide that runs through Sydney. It's called the harbor. And it separates Sydney from North Sydney. That's just geography. More importantly, it separates Bondi Beach in the Eastern Suburbs from Manly Beach in the Northern Beaches. The harbor is full of bull sharks because we're meant to be separated. Because Bondi is better. But the Manly people...they think they're better. And so we're locked in a bitter battle over who's beach is better.
Some might say this is one of those superfluous arguments that can never be resolved. Paris versus London. Melbourne versus Sydney. Coke versus Pepsi. There's no right answer, these people say: just what's better for you. My mom once expressed a similar sentiment when she declared that she liked tie games because it meant nobody lost. She was promptly kicked out of America.
As an unbiased person I thought I'd compare the two combatants across a number of areas. This is a completely impartial comparison even though I lived in Bondi*.
Name: I have to give this one to Manly. After all, the name of the town is Manly. It was actually named for the manly comportment of the aborigines by an officer of the First Fleet. There are only two places that can outdo that name, and they're called Manlier and Manliest. They don't exist yet but I've got my eye on some cheap land in North Dakota and will someday become the Manliest Mayor. Has a ring to it. Bondi, an aborigine word, roughly translates into "the sound the waves make crashing on rocks." Poetic. But not manly. +1 Manly
Beach: Bondi is like the spokesperson for Australian beaches. It's famous and it's got an amazing setting -- curving from the cliffs of North Bondi south to the start of the beautiful Bondi-to-Bronte ocean walk. Whenever an advertiser needs an urban beach scene for a commercial they film it at Bondi. Manly also has a nice beach but it doesn't have quite the iconic setting. It also has a sewage pipe jutting out in the middle. It did have a whale and her calf stop by to play with some swimmers, which is cool, but the calf probably has developmental issues from the sewage now. +1 Bondi
Food/Bar Scene: Manly has a few winners. Some friends are constantly at one of three bars by the wharf and it's got a microbrewery that makes some solid beer. Bondi has actually changed a lot just in the years we've been there. Quite a few small, funky bars and new restaurants have opened up shop. We don't have a brewery but it's only a matter of time before some hipsters open one. Plus we've got Icebergs, which might have the best view in Australia for a bar. +1 Bondi
People: The usual lazy dig against Bondi is that it's "full of Poms and backpackers". That's only partially true. It's actually full of hipsters. Think skin-tight jeans, plaid shirts or deep v-cut oversized t-shirts, Ray Ban Wayfarers, and beanies with a 5 day shadow. Manly seems to be full of tourists, though. And Poms and backpackers as well. Draw
Wildlife: Besides an abundance of Staffordshire dogs in Bondi (all the hipsters buy them; there's seriously no originality when it comes to dog purchases in this part of the country) we've got Flying Foxes in the evening and the lovely sounds of the Kookaburra early in the morning. Manly had those whales, which is nice. But no one likes a retarded whale which is exactly what Manly will have once that calf returns next year. Draw
And that settles it: Bondi wins with 2 points to Manly's 1 point. Sorry Manly, the East is better after all.
*This may be slightly partial after all.