Sharks, 'Roos & Music

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

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Friday, November 18, 2011

After what seemed like a tranquil few days, now that my departure from Perth is imminent, sightseeing seems to have been cranked up into overdrive. Today's spot was Hillarys. Hillarys is a relatively new boat harbour and is home to AQWA, the Aquarium of Western Australia. The first comment on Hillarys is that it has to have one of the oddest shopping malls, as half of it seems to be on a jetty protruding over the water. It doesn't sound so strange, but it’s an indoor mall/arcade, with all that that entails, on a boardwalk. Not unlike a one-storied Maremagnum, but on wood. The mall, or rather one shop in particular, did present me with the perfect photo op. It was full of Xmas items and I was in my bathers (swimming trunks), thongs (flip-flops) and sunglasses. I couldn’t pass it up.

Anyway, the first of port of call was AQWA. It’s been years since I’ve been to an aquarium, so I can’t really compare it to others, but I imagine they’re all pretty much the same: fish in tanks. Naturally, the focus was on fish native to Australian waters, but the stand out features were the Dangerzone (just to see the myriad ways you can be killed, paralysed or crippled in the ocean – and that doesn’t include the sharks); the petting pool (there were sting rays – these ones felt like touching a dog under water, star fish – which felt like rocks – and Port Jackson sharks) and of course Shipwreck Coast, which is full of sharks, loggerhead turtles and massive sting rays. Shipwreck Coast was so cool, in fact, that we (Helen, Lilli and I) went around it 3 or 4 times (I lost count).

After AQWA we went to the beach to chillax for a while. Once again, the sea only had old people and young kids in it. However, Lilli convinced me to go in, insisting that the water was warm. Well, 'go in’ isn’t exactly right, as I dipped a toe into the water and then quickly ran back up the beach – the water was definitely not warm despite the fact that it was a beautiful day.

It had already been a good day, but it was only going to get better. The previous day, we’d been to Heirisson Island to try and spot kangaroos but had been unsuccessful. A gardener there had said that the best place to see them would be at Marangaroo golf course. So, on the way back from Hillarys we stopped there and, lo and behold, there they were! On the golf course! While golfers were trying to play! There were heaps (*such an Australian word*) of them everywhere. The golfers had to shoo them off the tee and, in fact, the ‘roos had become a natural hazard, as we realised when we saw one golfer slice his shot only to see his ball stopped by a ‘roo’s backside. I’d finally seen kangaroos in the ‘wild’. They seemed such timid creatures, but, oddly enough, the very first two I spotted were fighting/boxing; on seeing that, any thoughts of trying to get close enough to them to pet them went out of the window.

Things were going swimmingly, I’d seen sharks, I’d been to the beach and I’d even seen kangaroos. All was good with the world, when, on the way home, Helen got a phone call. As she was driving, she asked me to see who was calling her and I’m sure you can imagine my surprise, when I saw that it was me! I thought that my phone had gone off in my pocket, as it sometimes does, but I answered it anyway. A woman’s voice was on the other end. It turned out that I’d dropped my phone at the beach; she picked it up and dialled the last number called to try and let me know what had happened. I was shocked, gutted and grateful, all at the same time. Fortunately, we managed a way for me to retrieve my phone, but, of course, this meant going back to Hillarys. Oh, well, there are worse ways to spend your day.

In the evening, things were looking up again, as Paul and I had scheduled a visit to the local pub to see an informal concert. In an effort to turn me on to Aussie music, Paul had played various Aussie artists. One of the stand outs was Andrew Winton, and guess what? He was playing at the Balmoral (the same place as Paul’s Sunday Session). He’s a solo artist and his speciality is the lap steel, which is basically a steel guitar that sits on your lap. His favoured music style is blues, though he did play some well known songs e.g. Walk On The Wild Side and Respect Yourself. One of the strange things was that he would record a backbeat by slapping his guitar and then go on to the play the tune. I hadn’t seen anything like that since Beardyman. I was that impressed that I bought his latest CD.

Despite the (temporary) loss of my phone, I don’t think I could have asked for more in a day; sharks, ‘roos, and a great concert.
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