It’s 7.30 am, and our taxi is coming at 9 to take us to the airport, so I’ve got an hour or so for a quick catch-up of our adventures.

But first, what I know you’ve all been waiting for, photos of the gorgeous Arki and Bandit:



And, just to prove to MrPloppy that our house isn’t the only one filled with cats:

Ok, now for the touristy stuff.

We had a fabulous day yesterday. Libertine101 had to work, but she left us with a plethora of maps and bus and train timetables so we could explore on our own. She also mentioned something about rain, but the sky looked blue and clear, so we left the umbrella she lent us lying on the table. Oops, forgot we’re on the edge of the tropics here – we’d only walked a couple of blocks towards the station when I noticed a large black cloud looming overhead. Literally second later, we were being drenched by a downpour. Luckily, it didn’t last long (just long enough to saturate us!), and it’s warm enough that we dried out pretty quickly. But note to self: when a local says it might rain, LISTEN TO THEM!!!

The other sign we’re in tropical climes was the plants in the gardens we were walking past. All sorts of exotic (to us) trees and bushes that I’d only ever seen as tiny potplants, or in photos. Like the frangipani flower we saw lying on the ground:

and then looked up and saw we were standing under a whole tree of them!

We found the station easily enough, and puzzled our way through the ticket machine, only to discover that it only took coins, and we, not having spent any money in Australia yet, only had notes fresh from the bureau de change. And the change machine was out of order. But there was a dairy across the street (sorry, we’re in Australia now, you don’t call them dairys, do you? Convenience store?), so we used our new knowledge of Australian chocolate acquired on the plane, and bought what was called a Boost bar, but which we knew was secretly just a Moro Gold in disguise 🙂

So, armed with some loose change, we managed to buy a ticket and even managed to get on the right train to take us into central Perth.

In town, we decided a second breakfast was in order, so set off to find somewhere to eat. Our first choice looked great until they told us they didn’t serve breakfast (then why was it on your menu???), then we passed a sandwich bar that looked fabulous (huge slabs of the most wonderful looking foccacia, filled with the most tempting salads), but we decided we really wanted something smaller and more breakfasty, so we noted the location and vowed to come back later for lunch. After a fruitless search of a few more cafes that only seemed to offer heavy cooked breakfasts, we finally settled for waffles from an ice-cream parlor. Baby Bally couldn’t beleive his eyes:

Suitably refuelled for the day, we wandered around the streets and malls, trying not to be too tempted by bookshops (we seemed to have an unerring instinct for finding them, including an amazing specialist science fiction bookshop that I had to ask Otakuu to drag me out of before temptation got the better of me). A spire in the distance attracted our attention, so we headed off up the street towards it. When we got there, it turned out to be the Catholic cathedral, but was covered in scaffolding, so not as interesting a sight as it might have been. But walking up that street turned out to be a great decision anyway, because otherwise we wouldn’t have spotted this little gem:

(It’s Kirkman House, part of the Royal Perth Hospital)

Consulting our map, we decided to head towards the river, and on our way came across the Government House gardens

and then a group of kangaroos clustered around a fountain. Baby Bally assisted us to release Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach in the paws of one of them:

We stopped to sit on a nearby bench and contemplate the world for a while, watching all the government types scurrying back and forth with their briefcases and air of importance, and were rewarded by seeing someone catch the book:

When we left, he was still reading it.

Our next stop was some more gardens around the court house, where among more tropical plants

we found a taste of home – a set of wooden sculptures carved from a 100-year-old kauri tree that had once stood on the sight. Lovely to see an old tree remembered in such a way, though I wish the accompanying plaque had told us more about how a NZ native had ended up growing in the middle of Perth.

We found our way to the riverfront, and contemplated climbing the Swan Bells, but were put off by the $10 entrance fee. Not that $10 is expensive for a tourist attraction, but there’s something wrong about the idea of having to pay to climb stairs!!! 🙂

Instead, we found the ferry terminal, and after being briefly tempted by the tour boats’ offerings, opted instead for the short hop the river on the ferry to South Perth. There we were rewarded by a peaceful waterfront park where we strolled and recharged our mental batteries for a while. A sign pointed us to a paperbark wetland, which sounded interesting, but we got there to discover the wetland was dry. It was still lovely among the paperbarks, though, listening to the birdsong, so different to that heard in the NZ bush, and watching strange parrots flit through the trees.

Not much time now, and Otakuu wants to upload her own entry, so I’ll stop here and let her have the internet for a bit, and continue writing this entry on the plane, to be uploaded when we next find an internet connection.

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