My last day, we go to Mandurah, further down the coast from Rockingham. Another seaside town that’s a lot more built up than it was 20 years ago on my last visit, so again its cool to see how its changed in that time. Have a wander around the harbour, have a few beers at the Brighton Hotel, then buy loads of bags of twiglets from an English shop. I’ve not had twiglets now for over two months and I’ve been craving them. I eat all the bags in one day!
I’d had a brilliant time staying at Ray and Shirleys, but it was time to get to Perth proper and stay with some other friends. So I pack my bag and move over to Martine and Marks place near South Perth the day the weather goes to shit. It pisses down with rain and remains cloudy for over a week, which is a tad disappointing!
The weekend I arrive at Marts, they have another BBQ – kinda like a pre-birthday bash, and meet a bunch of their friends, some of whom I met earlier in the trip, and others I’ve not met. At one point I’m standing in a circle of people I’ve never met while a nice lady goes round everyone asking about their kids. I’m a bit gutted she never gets to me, as I was busy making up two kids to tell her about, so I could join in the conversation. Rest of the eve is spent with the guys I’d met at the first BBQ, getting drunk and talking about various things I can get up to over the next few weeks. It’s a fab evening, and hopefully I’ll get to see some of these people again before I go home.
The following day, Mart and Mark take me and their kids to the Perth Mint (and I spy a pub I want to go and check out when I eventually get back into Perth). The Mint is an interesting place, and is housed in a cracking old colonial style building. Highlight of the trip is the gold pour, where a chap talks through the process of melting and pouring the gold, right in front of you, in the dark.
The guys then take me to Kings Park, another place I’ve not been to for 20 years. Again, a lot has been added to the park (shops, cafes, car parks, nature walks etc), and its quite a difference from the last time. The view of Perth is still as awesome up here as it was previously, however, the weather is rubbish so the views not quite so good!
Get to day #76, and it’s my 42nd birthday. Martine has the day off so takes me out for the day – get a haircut, go for an awesome burger, then a couple of beers at the Balmoral Hotel in Victoria Park. She also buys me a groovy new tattoo design wallet. It’s awesome and I’ve been using it ever since!
In the eve, Ray and Shirley pick me up and we head off to have an evening birthday meal with Marts sister Tanya (who I’ve not met up with yet) and her family. Have lots of beer, a massive chicken thing to eat, and get a birthday cake with “42” on it. I change the numbers round to “24” and then eat the massive chocolate cake. Yum. Arrange to meet up with Tanyas daughter Jayde (who I met when she was 3 when I was last here!) later in the week to go and catch a film or summat.
Eventually the sun comes out and I sort some things to do in Perth while I’m staying so close. Organise a walking tour round the city with a company called Two Feet And A Heartbeat. Day of the walk I go into town, have a couple of cheeky beers at The Grosvenor Hotel (that I saw the day we went to the Mint), then meet the guide at the town hall. The Tour is being run by an irish dude called Gary, and theres four of us on the walk, which is good – nice small group. Gary takes us round the city explaining the history of the place and whats happening to Perth in the future. Its all really interesting stuff, but far too detailed to go into details on this blog. Was just awesome to hear about how Perth is moving forward, and gave me much more appreciation of the city. The tour ended at Rosie O’Gradys in Northbridge, where we all get a free beer and have a chat. And a few more beers. Two of the girls on the tour are English doing an Australian tour, and Perth is their first stop. Its good chatting to a couple more randoms (as I hadn’t met anyone travelling since Fraser Island), and we hang out drinking VB, till I decide I’m pissed and its time to go home!
Next day they weather is even better, so I head into Perth for another mooch around. Get off near Barrack Street Jetty, take some photos and find a pub called The Lucky Shag on the water front. No way was I gonna miss a place called The Lucky Shag, so I popped in for a couple of James Squires Sundown – and was pleased to find most of the bar staff were tattooed punk rockers. Sat out on the veranda, on the water listening to my ipod. Was quite a pleasant way to spend the morning.
Finished my beers, then decided to head up to Kings Park again. Was a wicked sunny day, so managed to get lots of great photos, then went deeper into the park. Found a few places I remembered from when I was last here, the main one being the Pioneer Womens Memorial Lake. The memorial is basically a lake with a statue, with loads of fountains and small streams that run off the main lake. It’s a really nice place to chill out in the sun. And I also saw my first wild kookaburra!
After the lake, I go back to the main entrance of the park and sit in the shade by the war memorial – when the two girls from the walk the previous night suddenly appeared! Had a brief chat with them, then left them taking photos. They’d had the same idea as me, which was to take photos of Kings Park in the sun to replace the overcast photos from two days ago. I wander back into town and head to The Lucky Shag again. Have a few more beers and a ridiculous steak – one of the best I’ve had since Sydney. By the time I leave, the sun has set, the bar is full of work people, and theres an acoustic duo noodling away in the background. I’d had a pretty brilliant day, and what with the info from the walk the previous night, made me appreciated how great Perth was, especially now the weather was good again. Such a brilliant city – quiet, chilled out, clean, and amazing to look at. I’m pleased I’ve finally managed to come back here after 20 years, and can see why so many people want to move here.
The next few days I lie low to save money for the weekend, but do manage to meet up with Jayde and go to the cinema to see “In Time”. Which is a totally crackers movie that doesn’t make much sense!
Get to day #80 and I’m into my 4th weekend. On the Friday, I get a ferry from Barrack Street Jetty and head down to Fremantle for the day. The trip down the Swan is fairly uneventful, apart from seeing some insanely expensive houses on the way. Arrive in Fremantle and find I do exactly the same things I did with Kelly and Alex two weeks previous. Obviously theres not that much in Fremantle! Head to the Sail And Anchor again, have a couple of amazing Nails IPAs and have lunch. The menu is fantastic (everything seems to be cooked in beer), and decide to come back at some point before I come home. Before I jump on the ferry I have a wander around the E Sheds markets. It’s full of utter tat, but it’s so cheap. So I end up buying souvenirs for everyone. Apologies in advance, haha!
In the evening, Martine and Mark take us for a Mexican in Victoria Park. It’s my first Mexican meal since San Diego and doesn’t disappoint, even though the margaritas were a bit too sweet for my liking.
Saturday is another afternoon/eve out with Kelly and Alex. Firstly we head for food at a pub called the Inglewood Hotel (near to Mount Lawley). Have a few beers and a massive fish’n’chips, then we head to The Civic for my first DIY punk gig in three months! Plenty of beers are drunk, and I meet come of Kelly and Alexs friends, who are all pretty cool people. It’s really nice getting to hang out with tattooed punk rock people again, drinking, talking music and watching bands, and I have a brilliant night. Two of the bands stand out – Ex-Nuns and Grim Fandango (the headliners – friends of K&A), and really enjoy watching these guys making a racket. The other bands playing are ok, but suffer from the same thing a lot of bands back home do – the Hot Water Music/Dillinger Four/No Idea affliction. But its brilliant being in this situation again, and it makes me realise how much I’m missing music and my funny alternative friends back home, especially getting to meet K&As friends and seeing how great they are. Not one person asks me about my trip – it’s all music, tattoos and drunk person talk. It’s nice to get a bit of normality since the US.
Sunday I get up early and head into Perth to meet Mart and the family. Theres a Heritage open day on, and we go to the open day at Government House. It’s an interesting place, and the grounds its set in are amazing, but I’m tired and hungover and just want to go home and sit in a dark room! Which I eventually get to do (and update the blog). But Mart decides I’m being quiet enough, so it’s out for more beers with some friends of theirs which livens me right up!
This is my last weekend at Mart and Marks for a few days. The following week I’m off to Tanyas for a week to stay with her and her family. I must admit though, I was beginning to burn out at this point. Apart from Rottnest, seeing Tanya and going to the OFF gig in Dec, I kinda felt that I’d done everything I wanted to do in Perth, and the gig on Saturday night made me realise how much I wanted to get back home and get a bit of normality for a while. I really need to get back to seeing some noisy horrible bands, and also to hang out and talk nonsense with my mates One thing this holiday has made me realise is how much I love my music, and was really missing getting in a dirty sweaty rehearsal room and making a noise with a bunch of like-minded individuals.
The final few days at Martines I get my last lot of flights sorted by STA, and organise a posh hotel in Singapore for a few days. It’s nice to have a definite leaving date sorted finally. At this point I’ve literally three weeks to go before the holiday is over. It has been an amazing thing to do and have done some stuff I never thought I’d get to do. I’m not dismissing the experience at all, but I’m definitely feeling it’s time to go back home and regroup for a while. That’s not to say I won’t be doing anything like this next year (I have some ideas!), but I’ll go into more detail about the whole holiday experience at a later date.
Meanwhile there’s still 2 and a half weeks left in Perth, and a list of things to get up to (although I end up saving cash, so don’t go to Wave Rock or Kalgoorlie – its just too expensive).
More to follow!