Perth and Fremantle, Western Australia
27.08.2010 - 02.09.2010 12 °C
Perth, Western Australian, 5am waiting for the airport shuttle OMG its freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezin, around 3 degrees, brass monkeys. I am not prepared for this. YIKES!!! I hadn’t got off to the best start in this continent. Firstly, I was questioned by immigration, ‘what other countries have you travelled to since leaving UK?’ ‘emmmm.........’ ‘where are you staying in Australia?’ ‘Emmm my aunts in Kalgoorlie’ ‘what is her address?’ ‘ I have no blimmin idea’. Half asleep from the flight from Bali, they finally let me through immigration only to be stopped by customs while they rifled through my backpack. Actually everyone on the flight from Bali was searched. Had a good ‘ol business going on here the custom officers. Big pile of confiscated foodstuffs, Indonesian souvenirs, anything wooden, even shoes that might have been contaminated with soil, clothes you might have worn in freshwater MY GOD!!! So, I am quite confident that they will have nothing on me. After all, I palmed off the kampot Cambodian peppercorns on Scott for him to take back to the UK. Scott said he quite fancied being intimately searched at Heathrow anyway! Scott got through UK customs with a bag of suspicious looking black pods and me in Perth... well they confiscate my emergency 3 in 1 nescafe coffee sachets i picked up in Burma!!!!!!! WHAT?????? Unbelievable. I pleaded and pleaded ‘hey they are Nescafe, they are SEALED’ but no ‘sorry love its the milk powder in them’. They checked each sachet for where they were made, the Singapore ones I got to keep, the Burmese ones got binned!!!!
Anyway, back on topic now, Perth.... Glorious glorious city, I fell in love with it, even though a bit on the chilly side after Asia. Beautiful setting on the majestic swan river, named after the unusual black swans that live there. Gorgeous walks along the promenade, palm trees, clean air, spring sunshine, spanking new skyscrapers reflecting various city scenes. I stayed at the YMCA and yes I couldn’t shake THAT tune from my mind the whole time i was there. Well dodgy place to stay though, seemed to be also a hostel for people with social problems, just released from hospital or something. Every day there was some kind of argument, shouting, crying, screaming. I had my boobage groped in the lift ‘whoops sorry love’. I dreaded going back there but this was all i could afford here, Australia, particularly right now with the strong dollar COSTS AN ARM AND A LEG!! Real shock after arriving from Asia, rooms cost at least three times what i paid in asia.
Another big shock to the system was the abundance of ALCOHOL. I very quickly became happily acquainted with this aspect of the Aussie culture though. BIG TIME. First things first, a spot of beer tasting in Fremantle with James, who kindly offered to show me some of the city. We spent a Sunday afternoon, and into the evening, in the microbreweries of this beautiful harbour town. Sitting out in the beergarden in the sunshine watching the wealthy folk of Fremantle drive past in their flashy cars, with a line of beers in front of us, ahhhhhh nice.. We finished off the day sampling the famous pale ale in Little creatures microbrewery right on the harbour front. The alcohol fest continued just the next day with wine tasting in Swan valley. I joined a small tour to go round 5 wineries and a chocolate factory. Apparently, we sampled 38 wines that day! I remember it very well, of course! Ahem... well what did you expect??? I had gone five months without red wine I was in my absolute element.... Swan valley is inland from Perth along the swan river, protected from the winds and with a Mediterranean-like climate, is a perfect grape-growing area. The first vineyard there, Walters edge, was started by an English botanist, one of the first European colonisers to Western Australia. Apparently, he dug out the cellar with his bare hands as this was before there were English convicts there to do the work for him. One day, Mr. Walter drank too much of his own wine and went for a swim in the river, like you do, but being a soft Englishman and a poor swimmer he drowned! Nice story eh! Well pretty much, apart from the next vineyard being run by an Italian family, I have little recollection of the rest of this day, well its rather fuzzy anyway. I must have stopped listening to the stories and concentrating on the wine or something! We cruised back on the river to Perth and I do have some memories of the skipper of the boat singing to us and I remember seeing black swans, next thing I know, I wake up back in the YMCA hehehe!!!!
First day of Spring, I visited Kings park, on a hill overlooking downtown Perth. I joined a free guided bushwalk and learnt something about the native wildflowers and trees of Western Australia. Many of the wildflowers were just starting to bloom, including the famous ‘kangaroo paw’. Beautiful views over the city, colourful parrots and ‘flaming’ galahs squawking in the trees. Gorgeous. I spent a whole week in Perth, enjoying the shopping, the parks, the cafe culture and of course the wine hic!!!!!!