My time in Perth was fantastic. The weather wasn't brilliant, but it didn't mar anything.
I was picked up on my arrival by my friend, Jim, and whisked off to his place to have dinner with him and his wife and then we went out to a jazz club. As I had been 2 hours ahead in Sydney, it turned into a very late night. I really enjoyed myself, though the table next door to ours and I were rocking the music and in the end we all decided I would have been better off at their table!
The next day Jim took me on a tour of South Perth where he lives and to his office and from there into Perth itself. We walked across the Narrows Bridge to Kings Park and amazing views of Perth, South Perth and down the Swan River to Fremantle. A lovely lunch in the park and then a wander round town, a stop at a pub and a good catch up with all that we'd both been doing since we last saw each other and finally took a water bus back over to South Perth. Then it was out to dinner at a restaurant on the jetty, Mister Walker's, which was ok... not brilliant, but it was a lovely location looking out over the lights of Perth. Of course I forgot to take my phone, so no pics of that!
The next day I went on a 6 km walk down the Swan River foreshore. It was just amazing. Flat parkland flanking the river and quite beautiful. Then Jim and I went off for a drive to the Swan Valley wine region for lunch, where we had a wine tasting at Jane Brook Winery and a picnic lunch out on the porch. Then Jim decided we should go on a wine crawl and he wanted to go to Sandalford. Ok, this sounded great. We got in the car and zoomed off. This would have been fine except we'd travelled quite a long way and couldn't find it. Jim put his phone on and asked Siri where we were. The voice came out saying, 'You are in Brigadoon'. I'm sorry, but at that point I was in hysterics and almost pissed myself laughing. We turned around and then Jim spied some lemons on a tree at the side of the road and he encouraged me to get out and pick some. I was still laughing from the Brigadoon gaff and lemon picking just made me laugh even more.
|Picking lemons from the side of the road in hysterics!|
And of course Sandalford turned out to be just down the road from where we'd started! Jim was pissed off and I just couldn't stop laughing.
We eventually got back to South Perth, 8 lemons to the good, feeling very mellow from our day out. Then it was out to dinner at an Indian restaurant along with one of Jim's sons, Ian, and his lovely wife, Kate and their 2 boys. It was a very companionable evening.
On the Friday I went off to Fremantle on my own. I sailed down the Swan River on a Captain Cook cruise. That day in Perth it was raining, but by the time we got to Fremantle the sun was shining and it was just brilliant. I took the free bus to orientate myself and then decided on a walk along the beach by the Indian Ocean.
|On the beach at Fremantle|
Then it was off to look at some exhibitions. I went to the Shipwreck Museum, which was fascinating and then met up with an underwater photographer and went to see his exhibition, which was great. Then it was time to head back to Perth on the cruise.
|Perth in the distance from the Captain Cook cruise on the Swan River|
|Looking over to Perth from South Perth|
That evening was Jim's CD launch for one of his bands, Jimjam. It was a fun night and I got involved with a crowd of guys who plied me with wine and kept me laughing all night.
The next day was my last in Perth and Jim and I took a long walk with his wife's dog, Jyoti. All along the foreshore are exercise machines and Jim insisted on showing me how good he was... I made no comment at all!
|Jim doing his thing, or in this case posing, though I think Jyoti did a better job of that!|
On the way we passed a whole jetty full of pelicans... what a delight!
|'Pelican city' South Perth foreshore|
And then we had a final lunch together at Mister Walkers, which was lovely. After that it was back to Jim's house to watch him make his bean chilli hotpot for the musical soiree that we were going to before I got my plane back to Sydney - which was leaving at 11.55 pm.
|Jim cooking up a storm in his goggles to prevent an onion attack!|
My final evening was spent at the musical soiree, where a whole bunch of bands get together and have a half hour slot to play their stuff, while their fellow musos drink and eat and don't dance... no sirree... far too cool for school! One of the guys who'd plied me with drink the night before and had taken a shine to me plied me with drink again and then it was time for me to go get my plane.
I arrived back in Sydney at 6.15 am Sydney time - which is 2 hours ahead of Perth time, so it was 4.15 in the morning! I made it back to my hotel no bother and spent the day with my friend Su and recovering from my early start. Then it was out being sociable in the evening to a place called The Camelot Lounge, where Su and I and everyone else in the place danced non-stop to a fantastic Columbian band. I was adopted by these gorgeous young people at the table next door. 2 of the women were Columbian and one from France... the 2 Columbians married to a German guy and a guy from Iran. They were a fantastic bunch of people and I had a ball.
|My lovely adoptees|
|Me with my girls!|
On my final day in Sydney, I wandered around for the day. The guy who was supposed to be taking me to lunch had got the date wrong (I'm saying nothing!) and so I had the day to myself. I went all the way to Mrs McQuarrie's Point and sat in the sun watching a plane write 'marry me' in the sky.
I also had my last photo of me and the bridge and opera house.
|Final Sydney photo call|
And then for my final evening my friend Su and I went for a slap up meal at The Gantry, an upmarket place on the waterfront near Darling Harbour.
The next morning was an early start (5.45) to get my plane back to Thailand. I was a touch disappointed that I didn't get a second pair of Quantas pyjamas (which are really very nice), but I think they only give them out on a night flight. But the wine and food more than made up for it. I arrived back in Bangkok no problem and was met by my driver and aircon limo, which was just as well as it was 38 degrees and we were stuck in traffic trying to get out of Bangkok. I eventually arrived in Hua Hin at what would have been midnight Sydney time, so was exhausted and pleased to get to my bed.
I had a day off before starting work again. The last few days have been pretty low key as there are renovations afoot and so there's only about 28 guests in the place. So I've spent my mornings going on long walks along the deserted beach, which is fab. I aim to do 6 km a day and so far am on track and feeling pretty fit.
|The beach at Hua Hin. On the hill at the end is the golden Buddha statue|
|And here he is|
Then in the afternoon I get a bit of sunbathing in and doing a bit of work with the staff. I still have my morning class twice a week and my talk once a week, but it's all pretty low key.
One of the lovely things is though, they're having the annual staff party - a bit like a Christmas Party, but because it's high season at Christmas they have the party in June. Everyone's very excited and get dressed up to the nines. Although I brought a couple of dresses with me, I didn't really have anything suitable, but I bought a dress off a friend who comes from Chiang Mai before I left for Australia, so at least I have something to wear. It's a bit on the short side, but is pretty glamorous... ok, well maybe glamorous isn't quite the word... I think 'sexy' was the one they all used when they saw it!
So that's me for now. I'll report all from the party in due course, but I thought I'd leave you with this photo of a herd of goats that just leaped out from a side street when I was out walking the other day and I think thought I was herding them. They negotiated the traffic far better than most pedestrians do in Hua Hin!
|The goat herd trotting down the pavement!|