Saturday, 31 December 2011

Exploring Perth

During our ten days crossing the Nullarbor there were four of us in particular that became become good friends and as well as the usual swapping of e-details we arranged to spend some of our time in Perth together. We arrived on the Friday afternoon and shared drinks with our tour guide and two other girls and this truly was the end of the tour. The following day three of us were off to Rottnest via the Frematle markets. We caught an early train to Fremantle, or Freo as the locals call it and took an early morning walk through the markets stopping at different stalls until we found breakfast in the form of a large rosemary foccacia roll big enough to share. The markets were busy even though it was only 9am when we got there and there was an impressive variety in the types of stalls. As well as breakfast I purchased a small platypus pin for my one ‘proper’ going out dress and had to resist many colourful skirts and dresses. Market well and truly visited we then headed to the quay and our ferry to Rottnest.

The ferry ride was short and we were soon on the beautiful island. We thought we would rent some bikes as we had been informed by many different sources that this was the best way to explore the island. We decided the best deal for us was to rent them for three hours in the afternoon leaving us a couple of hours to walk along the beach. Whilst I did miss my camera I also felt a certain freedom in just enjoying the views without trying to capture them. I especially felt this later in the day once we had our bikes. There was an amazing view that my friends stopped to photograph but I kept going as I was working up momentum to help get me up the hill in front of us. I already knew that I was unfit but there nothing to underscore your unfitness like trying to get a bike up an innocent looking hill! Unfit and camera-less as I was I still greatly enjoyed our ride to the inland lighthouse. The rides up the hills were gruelling but totally worth it for the rides down them. We git our bike back to the hire place in plenty of time and went on to a late lunch of the most enormous portion if fish and chips I have ever had! We were very good and didn’t feed the quokkas but we were much amused at their antics as we rode around the island and by their attempts to get food from us during our lunch. We had a time for a short stroll along the beach between lunch and our ferry leaving. We had decided to get the ferry all the way back to Perth and were rewarded by seeing some dolphins in the river. On arriving in Perth there was just enough time for a quick change at my hostel before I met up with my friends for some cheap and tasty Japanese food at Taka’s.

On Sunday the same group that had met for dinner met again for brunch before it was time to say goodbye to one of our group as she was heading back east that afternoon. The reminder of us walked toward Kings Gardens by probably the most round-a-bout route possible. It was a fun walk though that ended with a climb up the famous Jacobs Ladder steps which though steep were thankfully proper steps and not at all ladder like. We saw a couple of people jogging up and down them which didn’t surprise us as we had been told that they were a popular spot for people to train, though for what I don’t know. From the top of the ‘ladder’ we walked through Kings Park in search of coffee for my caffeine addicted friend and hot chocolate for me. We finished our day together with a tour of the botanic gardens where my friends were very naughty as they did talk in German amongst themselves, mostly about the very annoying Australian woman that had joined our tour and had to add her own opinion to everything the tour guide said and only asked questions she knew the answers to no doubt so she could wow us with her knowledge. My only annoyance at my friends talking german was that I couldn’t join in as she really was very annoying. Still I knew what they were thinking ans there were a few mummrer sin English and meaningful glances when the Australian woman spoke. I have to say our guide was excellent, very knowledgeable and friendly to all of us. She even pointed out where we could get the free bus back in to town, something I was grateful for as I was having dinner with some of Josh’s family that evening. Some of Josh’s mum’s cousins picked me up and took me to their house for pizza and a catch up. It was a lovely evening and a nice end to a fun weekend. My fun with my friends wasn’t over yet though. On the Monday three of us went shopping, stopping for a sushi lunch and taking a stroll down to the bell tower before heading our separate ways. My final destination that night was Duncraig, a northern suburb where I would stay with Josh’s extended family. Before another cousin kindly came to collect me I was able to have dinner with one of my friends in a pub in the Northbridge area. She had promised me a cute glass collector but the pub she took me towas shut so we ended up at the Brass Monkey which though missing said glass collector was still a very nice pub with decent food and Bulmers Pear cider on tap.

Josh’s mum’s cousin had been to the UK in 2007 as her daughter was over staying with the family on gap year from university. Her son had been over more recently so I was looking forward to staying with them and catching up. I had initially thought I would stay in Perth one night before visiting the family for a week then heading off in search of work but I felt so welcome there I soon figured out that I might take a little longer than planned to look for work. My first day with the family was sepnt with two of my friends on Rottnest. One of our group had missed out on the previous trip as she had plans with the friends she was staying with so we headed back with her to enjoy the island once more. This time we headed straight to the bike hire place before stopping by the local grocers for a few snacks then heading to the western point of the island where the next land mass way beyond our sight is Africa. The ride was at times hard work but just as before it was worth it. This time I had a borrowed camera with me so I made sure to capture as much of the island as I could. We were determined to fit in some sunbathing but the weather was against us. Though the wind made riding cooler it also blew up the sand making sunbathing rather difficult. We did venture in to the sea but it was still quite cold what with it only being spring so we didn’t stay there for long. Sunbathing scratched we headed back to the town to return our bikes and go in search of ice-cream.

During our ride round the island the daughter of the family and I had arranged that I would get off the ferry at Fremantle so we could give me a lift home. I was sad  to say goodbye to my friend as once more I don’t know when I will see them again but I was glad for the extra time we had together in Perth after our tour was done. As I left the ferry to meet my Australian not cousin-cousinish friend I allowed the excitement of seeing her again after many years to replace the sadness of saying goodbye to my other friends on the boat. After finding one another we stopped by a local pub so we could have a drink wither work mates before heading back to Duncraig and dinner with a friend of hers. After some reassuringly familiar Chinese food it was back to her house where after conversing with the family about my plans for finding work and coming back next year I realised that what I wanted most was a week off. I hadn’t worked in over two months and my funds were depressingly low but I had been on the move. The chance to catch my breath and catch up with some of my blogs and photos editing was just too tempting, not to mention the long lies that were now possible! All of a sudden I had the perfect plan for the next week and it involved doing precisely nothing. 

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