The most isolated capital city in the world

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Saturday, January 1, 2011

Arrive in Perth we head straight to a pub as the city centre seems to be very lively and after being the only 'alcoholics' on the New Years eve (the night before) we want to feel normal. Wow, what a culture shock to come form Muslim and Buddhist cultures. A few hours ago Agi was hiding her shoulders – now one in five girls will have her underwear widely accessible for anybodies eyes. At the entrance of the pub we are asked for a photo ID (no matter what age you are without this you can not get in. Then we realise that we don’t fit the dress code ‘No thongs’ (flip flops funny enough!) but the security guy makes an exception. And we are in!

We are finally happy to hear some familiar songs performed by a live band. It’s been a while. We are much less happier once we find out how much the beer costs. We thought Singapore is bad. One pint takes off 6 of our daily budget. That’s very harsh. We did not expect that. Although we have about $150 (100) per day on our budget for Australia, this is actually underestimated. And later we find out that we are not allowed to drink alcohol in a park or in our hostel. But how can you resist if half of the city gets smashed every single night.

The amount of alcohol consumed in this place of course leaves a mark on the society. We see a lot of hard core drunken faces, a few junkies (mainly aboriginals) and many aggressively behaved blocks that all call each other a MATE. Two guys start a friendly fight and their friend approaches us to explain the whole situation. The first sentence comes out with a funny ending. We can not tell you what he was on about as we did not understand a thing but it all ends with ‘it’s all going bananas’ – we can’t help ourselves and start laughing. He does not even notice that and continues the conversation. So after our first encounter with the locals we understand that we need to practice our ears.

Regarding safety during our trip – we think that we felt much safer in South-East Asia than in Australia. There different religions forbid people to drink, thus there is less fighting and unnecessary assaults. However, health and safety will most definitely be more advanced in Oz.

It gets pretty chilly at night under +20C, so we both are shivering in the strong wind. Although in the day time the temperature rises over +40C, this is all new for us. It is very difficult to move around. But what’s different from Asia is that in Australia the air is really dry. We sweat much less now and our towels can finally be crispy dry.

We see a lot of fast food shops, there are no regular restaurants that sell home cooked meals. This can be seen on Ozzy bodies. They are a bit round. Eating out is another shocker, a pizza costs around 20.00 and simple meals in cafes are from 10 - 30. There are a lot of coffee shops here that serve delicious coffee. Unlike in Europe they also offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Thanks to the burgers, kebab and pizza Agi finally manages to defeat the fight with the big booby swimming costume search. The sizes are much bigger here. A very good advice, girls with bigger needs – buy your swimming costumes before you head to Asia! No matter how many shops you will go through there won’t be any. In addition, the heat eats up all the elastic and all you have in the end is a wobbly bits of fabric hanging on you.

Our hostel is a backpacker factory. They have a massive kitchen where at the same time about 20 people can cook their meal. We are staying in 8 bed dorm cause guess what accommodation is pricy here too. For one bed in a crowded and messy dormitory be ready to pay 20.

However, on our last day in Perth we get fed up with the constant company in our bedroom and get a private room in a different hostel. Their house rule is ‘no alcohol on premises’ and there is even a little note on the door saying that they do random checks in the rooms. But as we are alone in the room we have a sneaky bottle of beer. And to our surprise the inspection does take place just a few minutes after we open our beers. Our doors get unlocked from outside and here she comes in our room. We feel like at school but the lady doesn’t say anything she just pretends that she is changing the bin. How unrespectful for our privacy is that!?! Thankfully we were only drinking beer at that moment!

Another very important commodity in this weather is water. The prices for a 1.5l bottle vary a lot around the city from $1 to $5 (70p – 3.5). So we learn not to rush into the despair of thirst and be patient. (Bugger – we later find out that the tap water is potable in larger cities in Australia – although not very tasty).

One thing we can save money on is transport. The city is not too big but the Red, Blue and Green Cat busses conveniently run around for free. Yeeaahhh!

The sky is blue and the sun is shinning right on our heads. And annoying flies are flying around our noses and eyes. We don’t have these in Europe. They really want to taste your mouth, play with your nose hair and swim in your eyes. Naughty little creatures.

As proper tourists we are eager to explore the history of Perth – the capital of Western Australia. We take a river boat down the Swan River to Fremantle where we visit the beautiful city and the Old Fremantle Prison that was closed only 20 years ago. It appears that this prison has played the main role in the development of Perth and Fremantle. The convicts were brought here from the UK and they basically built these cities and later lived there with their families. We get to see prison facilities and hear different escape and daily life stories by the ex-workers of the prison.

We also visit the Mint Gold Museum. We learn out about the history of gold mines and the meaning of gold to the city and the region. We get to lift a 12.5 kg gold brick – it is really heavy for its size. And we also see a gold pour where gold is melted in +1600 degrees Celsius until it becomes liquid. Then it is poured into a gold brick container and placed in cold water. To our surprise it cools down within few minutes.

Now we understand a bit better why people are so wealthy here and why the city is so neat and tidy. There are a lot of posh cars on the streets, apartments and houses look very modern. But unlike in Singapore we can also see some poor people too.

The neat King’s Park is worth a visit too. It is located on a hill and is a very popular place for picnics. It offers nice cityscape views of Perth and also serves as a recreational place for locals. A lot of people come jogging here. During our walk we notice a lot of trees and other plants that we have not seen before. This park is the only place where we see people having a glass of wine or beer outside pub facilities. We are not sure why most of the people allow themselves drinking in that park and it does not seem a problem for the police!?

We head to Scarborough beach; half an hour bus drive from the Perth city centre. It is the most astonishing beach we have ever seen. The turquoise water is so clear and waves are playful. The sand is soft and white. Apart from the sand there are also lawns where people can lie down and sunbathe. There are a lot of people of course but somehow they all fit in the picture. The heat is overwhelming so we don’t stay long.

First few days we have been feeling a bit down due to the fact that we were not aware how expensive it is here and that our budget won’t allow us to enjoy many things. But after the free visit of the magnificent beach we gain new strengths to carry on happily

A&R.
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Comments

Maija on

I was in Sydney 2 weeks ago and I also found it extremely expensive ... crazy country!!! way more expensive than London!!!

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