A few years ago when Catriona was filming a story for Getaway in Hollywood, she was chuffed to see Australian singer/song writer Ben Lee being pursued by paparazzi. They recently caught up in the madly popular Sydney suburb of Bondi the one with the beach every tourist wants to see.
Ben was born in Sydney and broke into the music scene as a 14-year-old with his band Noise Addict. He had a monster hit in Australia with 'Catch My Disease'. That single won him the Aria Single of the Year award.
Ben hasn't only been in the recording studio. He's also tried his hand at acting, starring with Garry McDonald, Miranda Richardson and Rose Byrne in the Australian film The Rage In Placid Lake and the critics loved him.
With all the fame, however, Ben is a Bondi boy at heart: it's where he grew up and went to school, and he was happy to show us his Bondi.
The Bondi Pavilion Community Cultural Centre dates back to 1928 when the local council responded to visitors' needs to built and promote it as the Playground of the Pacific. It housed Turkish baths, a ballroom, Palm Court and changing sheds.
It is still a core part of the community and these days has a theatre, gallery, rehearsal area, meeting rooms, art workshop, pottery and studios. It is the centre for festivals and performances throughout the year. It holds classes for a huge range of interests, and holds various workshops and school holiday activities.
Martin Smith's bookshop is a mecca for discerning book-lovers (and the first drummer in Ben's band is Martin's son). The small space houses a dynamic collection, packed almost to the ceiling as good bookshops should be. It has books of literary fiction, art, science, philosophy, biography, history, the classics, cuisine and children's books. It also has a selection of artistic cards.
Captain Billy's Crab Shack sells clothing for skaters and people who like cool clothes. They stock new- and old-school skateboarding clothing, shoes and accessories. They do have quite a bit of fun with tourists who think the shop is a seafood restaurant!
The owners are light years away from their previous occupations a plumber and a scientist. They've decked their shop out in a tiki theme with bamboo board walls, pufferfish lamps and New Kids on the Block action figures. It just brings a smile to your face, even if you went there expecting a huge plate of blue swimmer crab!
Bondi Beach is one big eating area. Choose from high end restaurants to a simple meal of fish and chips on the beach and lots in between.
One of Ben's favourite food places is tucked away in a side street and is a treasure known to locals: the Earth Food Store. It has a huge range of fresh organic fruits and vegetables and they stock organic products such as yoghurt, noodles, breads and cakes. They have a hearty take-away selection and their fresh juices are second to none.