2 Months Down; 2 Months To Go

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's exactly 2 months since I left Spain and, according to the stats on TravelPod, I’ve travelled 24,924km. I’m halfway through my trip and have now arrived in Perth. As you’ve probably gathered I loved Broome, but it was time to move on and leave the heat (and humidity) behind.

You’ve got to love Australian airports. Broome is called an 'international’ airport, but the only flights on the departures board were to Perth, Kununurra and Darwin. Does that mean that Darwin (in the Northern Territory) is considered to be foreign soil?

I’d been told that the best coffee in Broome was to be had at the airport and I was looking forward to trying it out. The only problem was that, similar to my experience at Melbourne Airport, in order to get to the café you have to go through a security check, even though the café is accessible to the public. And this is what I don’t get (all right, it’s for internal flights, I’m assuming), anyone can access the departure lounge whether you’re catching a flight or not. Security is really lax, but as Lilli, Helen’s daughter, put it, the authorities clearly seem to believe that Australia’s so far away from everywhere that terrorists probably can’t be bothered with it – possibly so.

It was a quick flight to Perth, only 2 hours 20 minutes. I literally fell asleep on take off (as is my wont), was woken up for some food and then woke up again when we were about to land. I must admit, there was a little confusion on my part at the time I woke up, because the plane was surrounded by white stuff and took me a few seconds to work out that they were clouds – I hadn’t seen clouds for almost three weeks hence my being a bit slow on the uptake.

Despite the convenience of flying, I did miss the long distance journey. Well, not the journey itself, but the camaraderie that develops among the passengers on such a long trip. It was immediately noticeable that once on the plane, everyone did their own thing and didn’t have time to turn and talk to a stranger, while on the Ghan/Greyhound after a few hours people would start talking to each other out of sheer boredom. On a plane, you don’t have time to get bored, except on a long-distance flight, but even then it’s different from the bus/train.

I knew that Perth would be cooler than Broome, but not this much cooler; some might even call it cold. On the plane, high above the clouds, the clouds looked all white and fluffy as they usually do, but once we started to land, they turned into grey rain clouds. Even though it had stopped raining by the time we landed, it was clear that it had only just stopped. Unlike the north (literally 5 minutes after it rains, everywhere is bone dry), here the water was to stay for a while. Later on while, sitting on the patio with Helen and Paul, I felt compelled to rush in and put one my hoodie. I even had to sleep under a ‘doona’ (a duvet to the English speakers out there)! Helen and Paul tried to claim that this weather was abnormal for Perth, but when we checked the forecast, it predicted rain for the next four days – *sigh* oh, to be back in Broome!

Again, before you start to feel sorry for me (as if!), it’s not all doom and gloom. The weather may not be the best at the moment, but it was so good to eat a home cooked meal for the first time in three weeks! Happy days!

The next day was spent taking my first real look around Perth. I was dropped off on the south bank in order to take a ferry to the CBD. I was gobsmacked by the view that I was afforded and decided to take a moment to take it in. I’m so glad I did, because as I was contemplating the river and the CBD, out of the blue a dolphin popped out of the water right by the river bank! I could scarcely believe my eyes when another one popped up and then yet another. Three dolphins swam by me – in the river. Is there anything that this country doesn’t do??? Surely, there have to be some things that aren’t bigger/better than in Europe (apart from the seagulls, of course).

Perth itself is a little odd. Like Melbourne, it juxtaposes the modern with the old-fashioned, therefore you will see architecture you probably won’t see anywhere else side-by-side with a fairly common European design. Furthermore, like the other cities I visited (Darwin doesn’t count), the CBD rises out of nowhere in the middle of the city. It’s like an oasis of commerce. However, one of the good things is that public transport within the CBD is free, so you can hop on, hop off to your heart’s content, although another oddity was that there was a tram service for tourists, but if you look carefully, there are no tram lines. How does that work? They’re fake trams. Some might ask, ‘Why bother?’ and to be perfectly honest, I can’t answer that question.

Using the public transport system gave me free rein of the city, which allowed me to pass by one of the things high on my list to visit. Unfortunately this same trip led to my first real disappointment of the trip. Finally, I’d found something that was not greater than back home: the WACA. It’s the major cricket ground in Perth and, well, quite frankly, it’s a little pathetic. Especially when compared to the MCG, which blew me away. Never mind, I will pay it a proper visit anyway. Who knows? Maybe when I get up close and personal with it my perspective will change.
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