The first two things I noticed when I arrived in Perth, Western Australia, was how this city has come of age since I was here almost a decade ago – and the delicious dry heat (bliss for my asthma that chucks tantrums in the tropics).
I’m here for work so, after long days immersed in health and safety systems, I’m ready for a drink and looking forward to EB arriving for the weekend.
Meanwhile, I amuse myself people-watching in the Pan Pacific hotel restaurant. Dotted around the room, commuters like me sit alone or with co-workers, smart phones and iPads ever at the ready.
I take a sip (a long sip) of my pinot noir, but refuse to even take mine out of my bag – smart technology is easy to hide behind, but you miss life in the process.
Like the Japanese family who come in, do a polite ‘who sits where’ dance, before settling in their seats… then immediately get up to explore the buffet.
Or the business lady on her own who manages to simultaneously devour juicy prawns and incessantly check her iPad and phone, all without making a complete mess of herself. I manage to drop stuff on myself even when I’m concentrating
And over there, two businessmen talk about risk assessments at a mine, crunching the numbers, and getting another beer. Mining is big business in Western Australia and the reason this city has taken off.
It’s a long week and I’m pretty excited when EB arrives on the midnight flight.
The next day, we hire bikes and cycle around the Swan River circuit. In all that dry heat, with not a hill in sight, and a bit of wildlife to see, it’s a great ride – even if my handle bars did drop down suddenly when I braked hard!
Then we jump on a train to meet EB’s family at our favourite place here – the eclectic port city of Fremantle, 30-minutes from Perth.
This is the place to head for if you love boutiques and galleries, buskers and bands, markets, great places to eat, and micro-breweries to hang out at, like the Monk Brewery and Kitchen.
There are moments when we think we could (almost) live here. But I could never bitch about cycling up hills again, and where’s the fun in that?