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Back and There Again

(...or "Perth...something for everyone!")

sunny 24 °C
View The Longest Road To Queensland on stevecrow's travel map.

===Part II: South by Southwest===

Things are in motion now, my enjoyable but brief acclimatization to the country is behind me. The Longest Road to Queensland waits for me on the opposite side of the country. Oddly enough, standing in the domestic terminal of the Sydney airport I am only but a couple thousand kilometres to the south of my finish line in Brisbane. My path however leads far away from here.

The flight into Perth is largely uneventful, with the sole exception of getting a bird's eye view of a massive prescribed burn that engulfs a massive area of forest below.

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Once I have settled into my hotel room I find that the smoke from the fire I observed earlier is wafting over the city, bringing with it the unescapable fragrance of camp-fire. The sunset is super-charged by the particles in the air, amplifying the fiery reds and golden embers of the approaching twilight.

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My hotel is, suffice to say, not quite of the same calibre as my swank condo in Sydney; by no means rundown or unsettling but it has the ambience of an apartment I may have occupied as a bachelor twenty years ago. The walls are soaked in the stench of a thousand home-cooked meals, mostly of the Asian and/or curried variety.

There is no time to take in any of the city before dark falls and the modest metropolis morphs into a sparkling shadowy presence looming all around me. The highlight of the evening, apart from a thoroughly fulfilling Italian dinner is noting that right outside my hotel the block contains a late-night Wanton house, a tattoo parlour, and a porno shop. Under somewhat different and assuredly more seedy circumstances, all of one's needs would be met within fifty metres of the doorstep.

Soundtrack: Remember by In This Moment.

The entire first part of the following day is spent revelling in my most favourite activity - shopping. I traverse all around the city - including a train and bus trip out to a north-western suburb called Innaloo, gathering various pieces of camping equipment and other supplies ranging from why-not (a handy-dandy clip that holds a wine glass on a camping chair) to what-if (duct tape, cable ties, and leather gloves...which all put together, in retrospect, seems a tad serial-killerish). By the way, I am pleased to see that Australia has labeled their dollar stores with the more accurately described "The Reject Shop". A perfect place to gather cheap supplies for camping...or, I suppose, killing. I kid...please don't flag me.

I relax after my scavenger hunt with a glass of red and a pizza that, among other things, features some kind of citrus mayonnaise - much of which gets scraped off because it gets a bit overwhelming. I get half of the mayo pie boxed up to take away, having the feeling I just may come to appreciate it more at a later time.

I'm finally able to give Perth a bit more of the attention it deserves, at least more than I was able to the last time I was here when the freak rainstorm turned the streets into floodways. And I am utterly taken aback at just how gorgeous this city really is.

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Perth has a very interesting quality. From a distance - say riding in from the airport, or taking the train back from one of the suburbs, it appears much like many other bustling cities, with towering skyscrapers clustered together in a modern urban hub of business and commerce. However, some wandering around the downtown core provides a completely different feel, as it seems at any given time there is no more than one or two large buildings in view...anywhere, in any direction. It is as though one could arrive expecting a murky concrete forest but instead be saying to themselves "where did all the buildings go?" Upon venturing further along the city corridors, it turns out that the city really has a single boulevard of large towers. It is as if Perth were wearing a disguise - recall the cardboard town from Blazing Saddles - to discourage any further development that might make the city bigger (this, despite the obvious cranes and construction sites everywhere around the city - it looks more like it is in the middle of a boon). Anywhere away from that two block stretch of real city along St. Georges Terrace, there are plenty of smaller buildings - many of them heritage and almost Victorian looking - that space out any possible clustering of towers. It is a fascinating illusion.

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With all that said, and despite the haze from the distant fire that dresses this modest Western Australian city up into something that resembles a Los Angeles suburb, it is perhaps the most beautiful major city in Australia that I have seen yet (out of, so far, Sydney, Darwin, Perth and Melbourne). The weather, although approaching winter, is a very pleasant mid-twenties; the menagerie of temperate and tropical greenery plentiful, and the architecture - a mix of both classical and modern design - melds together to form a cityscape that is undeniably unique and pleasing to the eye. It is an energetic urban hub that holds its own without the frantic pace of it's larger cousins. It truly is gorgeous.

In fact, I could see no reason why someone would not want to live here - granted, I'm somewhat ignorant of exactly what the current economic environment here offers. But ignoring the question of what one comes to this city to do exactly, this place seems to have everything in terms of lifestyle.

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Waterfront...

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Churches...

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This...arch thing...

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A cool pedestrian bridge...

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What appears to be a building made to look like a hatched dragon egg...

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A carousel...

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This massive park I won't get a chance to see...

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Dinghies...

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A circus (well, an ex-circus)...

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This tree...

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Business opportunities (ok that's a touch unfair) ...

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Rigid parking regulations...

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Diagon Alley

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An arena seemingly made up of massive D&D die...

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A lively art scene...

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...and mini golf.

This place has everything. Who would not want to live here? I certainly do.

Evening barrels in sooner than I would like, but I take this last opportunity for the foreseeable future to indulge in Kangaroo for dinner before settling in for the evening. I have a bit of trouble falling to sleep; I am restless and excited, yet at the same time apprehensive and even just the slightest bit scared.

Starting tomorrow, everything will change.

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Posted by stevecrow 04:55 Archived in Australia

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Comments

WOW! That is certainly a gorgeous city! You can sense the ambience from your pictures, so I imagine that in person, it's even more personable. I did a google search into buying a place in Perth. We'd have to save up. ;-)
Miss you lots. <3

by Wifey

Perth does look amazing.

by Shirl

Haha... thanks for the Perth promo;)
Looking forward to reading about your big trio.
Cheers
Ann

by aussirose

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