Friday, 14 November 2014

Nine Days in Perth

For the first time since we left Canada in April, we have had an extended period of time sleeping in the same bed (in a lovely small hostel just outside the city center) and deciding for ourselves what we are going to do.  It’s been a great catch our breath time as well as giving lots of opportunity to explore Perth, a city we really liked when last we visited Australia.

Perth seems to have all the advantages of a big city without the disadvantages of huge crowds of people.  We made great use of the free bus that stopped half a block away and also the train system to get to Freemantle.  Perth, and the settlement of Western Australia in general, parallels western Canada for time frame, so we kept bumping into names of familiar explorers as well as items in museums that would have fit into one in Alberta.  Not as many photos as when we were travelling through Asia, precisely because of this familiarity.

Here’s some of the things that are different and fascinating:

Uniquely Aussie sculptures, icons, and ways of saying things
Hog's Breath Cafe.  Great food.  Great atmosphere

The interesting thing about this quote, found at the Maritime Museum,
 is that the next day there was an article by this local Perth author about hospitals.
  Definitely need to check him out.

Maritime museum.  Display about all the things shipped
in and out in containers.  Of course there was a couple of
containers with sheep.

And now I know what is with boxing Kangaroos.
  The logo for Australia II, that was the first downunder sailing ship to win the Americas cup.
  BIG deal here.  

Submarine Ovens.  Only Ausssie sub to sink another ship (a decommissioned ship)
so was entitled to come back into harbour flying the Jolly Roger.

Bon Scott in the Freemantle Harbour.
He went to school in Freemantle.

Cal's new hat with poppy.
  Sadly, the the increasingly faded yellow BUM hat has been retired.

Welcome dinosaur at the museum.

Nescafe classic blend comes from Brazil with warning label
 to not try phoning numbers in Africa with complaints

Rocking Honda Motorcycle and motorcycle trike made by folks doing community service.

Speed boat practicing a slalom course out on the river.

Animals, some in the zoo but many in the wild, who are familiar enough with people to show no fear.
camel bell of wood.  OK, not an animal exactly.

Perth Zoo has a large display of local animals, including snakes.

And Fairy penguins

Echidnas in their burrow.  I also saw one in the wild (Ningaloo Reef Park)
Just didn't get the camera out fast enough.

Quokka, which is why Rottsnest Island has it's name

Koala zoned out on eucalyptus

Orangutan in his high tech gym.
The Perth Zoo actually has released orangutans back
into the wild.

Galapagos Turtle

A pile of baby meerkats playing

And an older meerkat looking elegant

Great study in texture and pattern. The giraffe
and the zebra are in the same enclosure

Merlin in the scaffolding of the Submarine Ovens

And the wild Quokkas on Rottnest Island

Mum, dad and the kids at the Botanic Garden

Plants that are just past their peak, apparently.  Western Australia prides itself on its wildflowers in October.

Salt plants along the west coast of Rottnest island.
  If you enlarge the photo, you can see the salt crystals sparkling

Paperbark tree

These bottlebrush (Banksia) plants are everywhere.
In the Botanic Gardens there were dozens of plants with flowers dried out and blackened.
Except for this fellow who must have been a late bloomer.

All sorts of interesting colours and textures for quilting ideas.  And some additions to my ever growing file of Singer sewing machines.

Lululemon, Perth

Painting my quilt backing on the back walk of the hostel

Fossil soil

Next quilt square

The hull of the Dutch ship Batavia.
 The Dutch East India company figured out the faster way from Europe to Indonesia
 was to sail straight out from the Cape of Good Hope and then turn north.
  The problem was that if you didn't do your arithmetic right and turned too late,
 you bumped into Australia.
A lot of Dutch ships got wrecked on the rocks of western Australia.

What I will remember about Perth:

This is our first place out of the tropics for many months.  We are still accustoming our bodies to temperate spring temperatures – below 20 in the morning and perhaps as high as 25 in mid day.  Most people are wearing long pants and a jacket. Western Australia is a resource based economy – iron ore and gold mining – which seems to give the same mood and attitudes as Alberta.
Street signs are an iffy science.  Sometimes they are there and sometimes not.  Combine this with the fact that streets change names as they move from one suburb to another and that the city is not on a grid.  Solution is either to follow google maps (but with the tall buildings, this too is an iffy science) or to strike up a conversation with locals who are more than willing to help you out.
People in Perth have gotten the “too much sun is bad” message.  Locals all wear hats with huge brims – workers have brims and neck covers integrated into the hard hat (or in the case of the posties, their bike helmet).  Everywhere you see people applying sunscreen, including the zinc sun block to the nose.  When I was picking up paint brushes at the local hardware store and chatting with the clerk about what I was doing, he reminded me to put on sunscreen!
Perth has strong ties to the ocean.  Freemantle, really just part of Perth, is the largest port city in Australia.  Resources like gold, iron ore and oil as well as beef grain and other agricultural products go out and goods come in for the entire country.
Like the other communities we have travelled through, Perth is also proud of its military history.  We walked the Kokoda trail yesterday to get to the Botanic Gardens, which is the memorial to the Western Australia regiment that fought in Papua New Guinea and managed to halt the Japanese advance toward Australia.  First defeat for the Japanese.  Of 1500 soldiers,  less than 200 survived the two week campaign.

Thanks for the lovely visit, Perth. I had a lovely time choosing some quilty goodies at The Thread Studio and then dying the fabric for my travel quilt backing. One World Backpackers was restful and even if the kitchen was a bit crazy (I resisted my mum urge to tell folks to clean up after themselves) it was great to go shopping in a grocery store and then cook your own meals. I will remember how clean and fresh everything is.

Just one final story about Perth.  I was in a souvenir shop in the downtown area (don’t tell Bub, I was getting a present for him) and chatting with the manager/sales person when there was a loud crash, shouting and a girl in her 20s rushing into the store and standing behind him.  She continued to shout curses at the Aboriginal group of girls who had also come into the store and were throwing things.  Apparently there had been a dispute on the street about something... What fascinated me was the manager knew just what to do to defuse the situation – and then apologized for the inconvenience,  but that this happened every day because of where the store was. OK, Perth, you aren’t perfect and you do have an inner city, just a bit cleaner and newer than what I expected.

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