Tom and Rosie come to visit in Perth

Tom and Rosie come to visit in Perth
Perth, Australia

Perth, Australia

Monday 4th November Me and Mike were both up early for work. We had a strange feeling – knowing that we were going to see Mikes mum and dad in a few hours, but for some reason we didn’t feel excited. I guess that we had been excited for so long, that now the day was finally here, it somehow didn’t feel real. All that changed by 2pm. Mike finished work and drove to the airport. I was still at work but on the phone to Mike’s mobile every 10 minutes with questions: ‘Have you finished work yet?’, ‘Are you on your way?’, ‘Has the flight landed?’, ‘Are they out yet?’, ‘Are they out now?’. And finally, Mike was saying, ‘Yes I can see them!’ He did his characteristic whistle as they walked past him. Mike drove them to their hotel via our house. I still had an afternoon of work to do before I could leave, and it was going really slow. We all got together in the evening and showed them around Northbridge – the area that we live in. We had a pub meal and some Indian sweeets to celebrate Diwali. By the end of the evening it seemed like we had all never been apart… ————————————— ————————————— ———– Tuesday Mike took his parents to Kings Park for a guided tour of the Botanical Gardens. There’s also a very picturesque spot where you can see the whole city and the Swan River that runs through it. I was at work but it was Melbourne Cup Day, so we were all watching the race with a glass of champagne and munchies – everyone in the whole country stops work while this is on! Slightly tipsy and totally full up, I met Mike and his parents for lunch and it was lovely and sunny, sitting outside with a drink and a sandwich. Then it was back to work for me, while they went to the Perth Mint. There were displays of how gold was found and how it led to the gold rush. On the walls, there were gold coins and there were huge lumps of gold that had been found in the ground, worth millions. There was also a display of a gold pour, where liquid gold, bright orange in a furnace, is poured into a mould and within 10 seconds it is solid enough to be tapped out in a block. It gets plunged into cold water to cool it completely. Also, there was a solid gold brick sized block that you could try to lift. Mike’s mum couldn’t! They also did a bit of shopping and visited the Museum of Western Australia – a huge place. By closing time, they still hadn’t seen it all. It had been a long day, and we ended it in front of the TV (our camcorder video of Dubai and India) and a Domino’s pizza. ————————————— ————————————— ———– Wednesday Mike took his parents to Rockingham, about 45 minutes South of Perth, where they caught the ferry to Penguin Island. The Island is very close to the mainland, you could swim it, or even walk it, if you really had to. It’s named Penguin Island because it is a sanctuary for Penguins, and next to it is Seal Island – occupied only by seals. Both islands are small and untouched, no people live on them. In fact, you can only view Seal Island by boat, not set foot on it. On Penguin Island, they saw the penguin feeding, saw a few Seals and tried to walk around the island. It should only take about 20 minutes but was impossible because of the seagulls… they were actually nesting and therefore kept dive-bombing everyone! In the evening we persuaded Mike’s dad to try Indian food – he had never had it before and it would be a big achievement as he really was a meat-and-two-veg man! We went to our favorite place – ‘Maya Masala’, where the food is typically South Indian and quite different from ‘English Indian food’. Tom didn’t have a curry, but he did try a masala dosa – a huge pancake made from ground rice and lentils, filled with spicy potato. And he liked it! We had a drink at the Brass Monkeys pub where they held a comedy night. The first act included sword eating as part of the routine, and although some parts were quite funny, it wasn’t long before eyelids were closing! ————————————— ————————————— ———– Thursday WACA was the first destination – the Western Australia Cricket Association – where you can get a tour of the cricket ground and see where the Ashes Test match is held. This was the highlight of Tom’s holiday – he’s a big cricket fan! I met them for lunch and took them to the 34th floor of the BankWest Tower – where I work. If you ever see a photo of Perth, you’ll see that the BankWest Tower is one of the two tallest buildings in Perth. It has a right-angled-triangle shaped roof with a spire and a big blue logo on it. From the offices on the 34th floor, you can see all the way up to Rottnest Island, 30km away. Unfortunately, as only employees are supposed to go into the offices, we only went as far as the windows next to the lifts, with a view of North-east Perth. You can make out the airport and our house amongst other things. The toilets however, gave the best view…a massive glass window looking out over North Perth. We had lunch at one of the many food courts in the city, where you can spend 20 minutes just choosing what to have! The rest of the day was spent shopping and at Swan Bells, a glass prism shaped building on the Jetty, where you can get a good view of Swan River and the city. ————————————— ————————————— ———– Friday We headed North to Hillary’s Boat Harbour, to go on a 3-hour whale-watching tour. A friend from work had recommended it, having been the previous week and seen many close up. We saw a few breaching in the distance but unfortunately didn’t see any close up – they just didn’t want to come over and play near us… We spent the rest of the day in Freemantle, visiting the Freemantle markets where Rose had her best cup of coffee, (ever!!!) and the Freemantle Prison, where we did a canlelight tour. It was really very well done, learning about what the convicts from England had gone through when they first reached Australia, and how the prisoners were treated, and how repeat offenders were hung. ————————————— ————————————— ———– Saturday Goodbye Perth. We journeyed South towards Bunbury, stopping several times en-route. At Mandurah, we spent a couple of hours along the Estuary, feeding pelicans and fishing (didn’t catch anything). It was a pretty spot – lots of wildlife, green grass, blue sky, calm water and shops, restaurants and cafes. When we reached Bunbury, we checked into a Motel right by the sea and then headed out to get some food. We found a chinese Eat-As-Much-As-You-Like Buffet. Mike’s dad had never had chinese before…but was willing to try it. To their surprise, they actually liked it! Indian food and Chinese food in the same week!!!! It really was something that we wouldn’t have imagined possible!!! ————————————— ————————————— ———– Sunday Dolphins are said to visit the coastline in Bunbury 7 out of 10 days. The day before, they had come within 10 metres of the shore and stayed for 3 hours, happlily swimming alongside people. It was just our luck to hang around for over an hour and not see a thing. We drove around the Margaret River area where we visited a Macadamia Nut Factory and spent lots of time trying the various flavoured samples!!! Then it was onto the chocolate factory, again leaving with a cupful of tasty samples! And not forgetting the cheese factory, where we tried not only cheese, but a bit of yoghurt too! To burn off all those extra calories, we did a tour of Lake Cave – a deep cave with over 300 steps to get down into it. Inside, there was running water and was the first ‘wet’cave that I’d been in. We drove to the furthest South-Westerly tip of Australia, a place called Augusta, which is a good spot to see Whales, but again, we didn’t see any. We found a nice two-bedroom motel in Manjimup to spend the next 2 nights. ————————————— ————————————— ———– Monday Valley of the Giants – the whole area is full of tall trees and we went on the Tree Tops Walk – a suspended walkway 40 metres above the rainforest floor high up in the canopy. It was a bit windy and by lunchtime the rain came. We changed our plans a bit and visited some nice art and craft galleries, and stopped at a beach with perfect clear blue water – even in the rain and wind! ————————————— ————————————— ———– Tuesday We visited a timber museum, learning about how they felled trees by hand. In the surrounding area, there is nothing but trees for 100’s of kilometers, so timber was the main industry. Then it was back to Perth. ————————————— ————————————— ———– Wednesday The day went so fast – shopping and an Ozzie Barbeque at a local park. ————————————— ————————————— ———– Thursday It was 8am and we were at the airport saying goodbye – 10 days, gone too fast…and by 10 am I was at work and feeling very homesick…


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