Week One

The main north-south road is called the Brand Highway. It's single lane both sides, with dirt roads often coming off it.
The main north-south road is called the Brand Highway. It's single lane both sides, with dirt roads often coming off it.

It’s Monday night and I’ve come into work, due to the fact that I don’t have a home internet connection yet. That will hopefully change this weekend when I move into my new apartment. I have a work laptop that I can bring home, I have an internet connection through Pacific… I just need a home and a home phone.

The last week has been totally amazing: both exciting and scarey as I’ve moved, temporarily, from Sydney to Perth. I don’t really know anyone here, I don’t know much about the state, but those above me have enough faith in me to believe I can do the job.

Yvette came to farewell me at Sydney Airport. The trip over was pretty good. Due to some reason or other there were free drinks on the flight, though I kept myself nice. The inflight meal was okay and the entertainment was good and bad. I saw a new episode of “Absolutely Fabulous”, an old episode of “Kath & Kim”, and a movie featuring George Clooney about divorce lawyers.

I’m staying at the Saville Suites. The apartment is great: I received an upgrade.

Last week was a reasonably busy week, as I also drove to Geraldton, which is about 450km north of Perth. The trip takes about four or five hours, depending on how many roadside stops you make. Mind you, there aren’t many. We only really passed through one town along the way, called Dongara.

Geraldton was a real surprise. Although I’d been told it was a pretty ugly town, due to its status as a major port in Western Australia, I thought it was actually quite nice. The water in the harbour is a spectacular aqua colour. When I mentioned this to one of the local staff members there, they said, “Yes, it is beautiful, but it’s actually an environmental disaster. It’s that colour because all the seagrass has been killed off”.

The people who work there are all very lovely and made us both feel very welcome. After a hard day’s work, we all ended up at the Geraldton Bowling Club, playing lawn bowls, as the office has a team in the competition. The set up is great, as you don’t actually have to go into the bowling club to get a beer. I am making an effort to try as many different drinks as possible, so I tried a beer called “Midstrength”, one of the many beers over here which I have never seen before.

The ocean outside the motel was spectacular, which gave dinner a terrific sunset view.

I’ve also paid a brief visit to the Swan Valley, a wine region located only about 30 minutes drive from the heart of Perth. In many ways it reminded me of the Riverina (around Griffith) due to the mixture of stone fruit and grapes. In many other ways it reminded me of the Hunter Valley due to the sheer number of wineries. As a wine region, the Swan Valley didn’t appear to be all that interesting. It is, however, the kind of area you could easily cycle or walk around. I called in to a few wineries. My favourite was probably the LedaSwan Winery which had a very nice, though somewhat oily Chenin Blanc (unoaked in 99, oaked in 2000 producing a more fruity wine in the latter vintage) and a Spanish desert wine (unfortified) Pedro Ximinez which had a wonderful caramel flavour with hints of Big Sister Plum Pudding!.

Over the weekend, I also undertook a river cruise from Perth City to Fremantle. One of the great things about the river cruise was the opportunity to gaze at the houses of the rich and famous, including Kerry Stokes, Gina Reinhard and Rose Porteus who lives in this house at the top of the hill. Compared with many of the other houses, it’s surprisingly tasteful. Interestingly enough, she has views of both the river and the ocean.

Locally, I’ve paid a visit to Northbridge, the main restaurant and entertainment area in Perth: Kings Cross meets Darlinghurst. I paid a visit to a local pub called “The Court” which has a great Sunday afternoon/evening session, featuring a pretty good covers band interspersed with dance music, but ending at 10pm which all pubs apparently do in Perth. I got talking with a fairly nice bloke who moved over from Melbourne a few months ago, back with his family.

Restaurant-wise, I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Northbridge which was very good. Unlike Sydney, however, the assumption of Soy Sauce, Chilli and Chinese Tea for Anglo-customers wasn’t made and I had to ask for them. I was also asked if I’d like chopsticks or cutlery, and upon choosing chopsticks I was made to feel a little more welcome. I’ve also had dinner with a couple of people from work at a restaurant in Subiaco called Atlantic. The company was great and the meal was pretty good.

Although the motel where I’m staying is fine, I still feel a little up in the air. I can’t wait to have somewhere to call my own home.

I’m pretty happy with how things are going here. The work is satisfying. I don’t think I’ll fuck up, though I must watch my sometimes urgent reaction to say yes or no to things: that could become a problem.

I’m also pretty happy in myself: Sydney seems thousands of miles away, and not just geographically. The only thing that I haven’t quite gotten used to is the time difference. Whereas I could normally call friends at home whenever I feel like it, I now have to plan the calls.

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