Perth Dear Perth My First Australian Love

Perth was my first solo days in Australia. Getting my feet wet so to speak, getting back to the solo travel experience. Once I learned to walk on the correct side of the sidewalk navigating Perth streets became much easier. I even got brave enough to jay walk. I revelled in walking the malls and finding my way around the streets, the cultural district, Northlands. I loved the trains, Freemantle, the ghost gums in Kings Park, eerie trees, a fitting tribute to soldiers gone. I spent days in the museum and the art galleries. I liked how quickly I could find my way around. I loved it all!

I did things I never do nor ever expected to do: tour a prison, go to a zoo. Both places caused me to assess how I felt morally and spiritually about being in these places. And the beaches! I can just imagine what a fabulous city this must be in the summer. I unfortunately was there on the coldest days of the year. And speaking of cold I was amazed that no one in Perth acknowledges the cold and no one has central heating! You might be lying in your bed with a fuzzy bathrobe wrapped around your shoulders under woolen blankets,but no need for heat. All well and good if you have another body in bed that generates heat but way too cold for this solo traveller!

Some of my favourites: the art experience at PI! Some wonderful modern art; the Western Australia Police Pipe (make that bagpipes) Band that was playing at the pedestrian mall; winter fest and the fake snow machine; didgeridoo players on the pedestrian mall; the public art project that gave alternate names to streets – Presence of Absence and Ambivalence of Destiny streets. I laughed at the complaints about the transit system in Perth. They have trains and trams. Lots of them. Vancouver transit would be a rude awakening for people of Perth.

Really, what was not to like about Perth? How’s about the cost of food? I understood expensive in Exmouth – the end of nowhere where everything must be flown in or trucked a very long way – Perth is a fifteen hour drive. So yes, I understand fish and chips for $29.00 and nice meals for $40 or gulp $44 in Exmouth. But I don’t get the costs in Perth. Dear Perth. Dear as in expensive!

Imagine on a holiday Monday one of the restaurants that was open calmly saying to me “we charge a 10 percent surcharge on a holiday”. Excuse me? You want me to pay you extra money when you have quite likely had an increase in business due to the fact that not everyone is open on a holiday? Needless to say this indignant Canadian walked herself right out of there and back to my favourite dining place Old Shanghai.

Old Shanghai is like a mini food court with a central eating area and about nine vendors who seem to be the same from Old Shanghai to Old Shanghai. There’s dim sum, chinese, Malaysian, east Indian, fried foods like steak or chicken, a bar with wine, beer and spirits, a fresh juice bar and a couple of others that escape me now. Reasonable prices and good food. Thank goodness. Lunch and dinner for $10-$15; great bowls of hot and sour soup, spicy noodles and wonderful fresh dim sum. Plus if you don’t finish all your meal you don’t feel as if you have just committed a crime against your pocketbook!

Perth. Like this evening. In the restaurant at the casino you have to walk up to the bar to order your own drink. AND you have to go and order your own food at a different station. I’m surprised you don’t have to pick it up at a window yourself. And all of this for a $29.00 burger! Someone has sure pulled the wool over the eyes of the Perth populace if you ask me.

Rumor has it that the east coast is cheaper. I certainly hope so. The best lunch I’ve had on my own was today standing on the beach at Bunbury eating rice crackers and a wonderful $5.00 fresh cheddar I bought at the cheese makers yesterday and a wonderful apple. Cheap too. Get me out of here or I will be reduced to McDonalds, the only affordable meal in town!

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