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Sometimes when I close my eyes, I could almost see Perth’s blue skies in my mind.
It was also a specific time and place when I could pinpoint the exact moment when I felt like I could stay in Perth forever and not leave. The last month of winter, my last day in Perth. A lush green park, just one of the many in the city. A little past mid-noon, amazingly blue skies dotted with cottony white clouds. A grandfather and his two young wards taking a leisurely stroll, a vision right out of an Enid Blyton story.
It was also where I fulfilled an unexplainable desire to see a black swan in the flesh. For unknown reasons, it almost became an obsession for me to see a black swan in Perth, perhaps for its significance in and association with Western Australia.
“What do you want to do?”
“I want to see a black swan!”
And so we hopped on one of the CAT buses in search of a promising sounding stop where we would then hop off and then venture on foot in our search for the black swan. We found them and there were so many of them! I was glad.
I had an entire day to spend with Val who had arrived at Perth a week earlier to further her studies. By now she’s the Perthian, having been there for 3 years now. But back in July 2007 we were newbies to the city, so to speak and wished to explore. So we went to see The Swan Bells.
The Swan Bells are a set of 18 bells hanging in a specially built tower. Twelve of them date back to before the 14th century (from a church in Trafalgar Sq in London) whereas the rest were cast in recent times. I don’t remember if we managed to be part of the bell ringing demonstration (it was many months ago…) but I remember the scenic view of the city from the top of the tower.
We also made it to the Perth Zoo. Looking back, the admission price was more than worth it as we ended up spending so many hours there and had a great deal of a time (both people and animal watching )
Other random or not so random memories of Perth:
Kings Park. By the time I could get there, it was after 6pm and rather dark. I remember it being a chilly evening – then again I cannot take even slightly colder weather than usual. As I wrapped my jacket tighter to my body, I saw a guy in a tank top and shorts running past us. My first thought was, “ARE YOU NUTS?!?!” Heh but now that I’m slightly, uh fitter ( ) I’d like to try that some day. You know, jogging in Kings Park on a winter evening.. sounds whimsical in a way, doesn’t it?
Empty vines because it was… uh, winter, heh. I think we stopped by more than a few wineries and got rather tipsy. Well there are so many along the Swan Valley, we couldn’t be biased and just visit one or two, right??
Fremantle. The seagull that tried to steal our fish and chips dinner.
The highlight of my Perth trip was going to see the Wave Rock in Hyden, about 200++km from the city. It was not the destination but the journey for we crossed through the Wheatbelt region. The road we were on looked pretty much like this for 200++ km…
… and it was one of the most exciting road trips I’d ever gone on You tend to notice and appreciate every other little details that pop up like a bare tree on the side of the road. Or a lone sheep separated from the flock. Or patches of rusty brown intermingled with fields of green. Finding a kiosk after miles of driving to share a piping hot sausage and cheese stick. A steak and onion burger that was fried up last century but still tasted good because… well, there was nothing else. But it was still good Discoveries like these makes this my preferred mode of traveling.
As the Hippo’s Yawn, another famous rock formation was just nearby, we decided to drop by and check it out. It is all very literal, actually. It’s a massive rock that looks like a hippopotamus yawning.
Well I’d like to return, especially after reading about The Extraordinary Taxi Ride.It is a journey that embraces all the attractions and to-dos in Western Australia, a 9-week adventure by taxi that includes World Heritage Listed locations and the largest fringing reef in the world.
Driven by taxi driver Doug Slater, the more than 10,000km ride sees 11 couples from Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Germany taking part in the journey. The Malaysian winner of the Extraordinary Taxi Ride, Dr Ling recently explored the Great Southern Explorer route which took him and his brother Shaun through the deep South West of Western Australia.
I can see myself doing just that. Really, I could. Get on the off the beaten paths, you know, backpacks and all.
Now, who wants to go with me?
(You may have to know how to change a 4WD tyre, I can’t do that yet)
For more information on Perth – where to go and what to do, check out Experience Perth.
For info and updates on The Extraordinary Taxi Ride, click here. I think you can spend hours here with journeys and blog posts and photos and videos and route maps. I sure did!