Unfortunately my weather luck ran out, since it was constant drizzle the whole day. Instead of my hiking raincoat, I wore my teal trenchcoat & my new beach hat I had bought on Sunday, which was enough without getting out my umbrella. Downtown Perth is about the size of San Jose as far as tall buildings & skyline goes, but there are a few more older brick buildings and churches than I've seen in San Jose, most likely because Perth is a bit older. I "rode" one of the bronze kangaroo sculptures, with a very clever one "drinking" out of the fountain bubbles, we saw some nice buildings, and we went to Ye London Court shopping area. Very cute, Tudor-style street, several tacky tourist shops, but also a nice place called the Rock Shop Amy had seen before so wanted to go back. I decided to get a tiny chunk of raw opal and Amy bought a nice necklace of polished stones. One of the tacky shops had a nice selection of leather bush hats "Crocodile Dundee"-style actually made in Australia, so I found one a good color for me and splurged. It was useful the rest of the day with the drizzle, that's for sure. I will be wearing it on the plane since I can't pack it!
We knew our sit-down meal luck was already bad, so we headed for the Green House for lunch by 11:30 so we'd be sure to be done before 1pm. They didn't officially serve lunch until noon, so Amy called Daniel in case he could meet us for lunch, but they let us order a little before noon after all. The place is very cute, with the outer walls covered with pots of strawberries with irrigation at the top & halfway so the excess water drips down into the pots below, but we're not sure this is the best plan. It's autumn already here so understandable, but the wall that doesn't get as much sunlight should probably have more shade-tolerant plants, and they'll need to figure out something for winter otherwise it'll look pretty sad! The shovel door handle was cute, and I love their bar bottles hanging on hooks on rope...very clever. The inside is all raw plywood, and it took me a bit to realize the light fixtures were wire fencing coiled into shades. Their gimmick is to be as "green" and biodynamic as possible, using free range meats, organic produce, even the toilets had sinks built into the top, so the faucet water was refilling the toilet tank to flush. The food was excellent and we had their cheese plate for dessert...yum!
We had just enough time to drive over to the Swan Bell Tower, a modern glass building that houses the 12 bells from St Martins-in-the-fields, London among others. They weren't ringing when we were there, but if it wasn't such poor weather, it would have been a nice view at the top, and from there you can also look down into the bell ringer room. I've been lucky enough to see ringers extensively up close in Havant, England, back in 2004, otherwise I probably would have been disappointed. We made it back to campus on time, so that was all I got to see of downtown Perth. Nice city, but lots like many cities I've been too all over the world by now...plenty of shopping for things I can get back home, nice big modern buildings, but those are pretty much the same. It's the older buildings, unique art and attractions like the Bell Tower that make the difference.
While Amy was up in the lab, I spent the afternoon on Amy's laptop at her desk on campus researching hot air balloon rides & accommodation for Yarrah Valley once we leave Melbourne, then we got to the house right about 5pm, barely an hour before guests were supposed to arrive. Due to the rain many people had backed out, including all our weekend friends, which was a shame since I'd like to have seen them again before I leave. By the party start time, I had arranged my manchego with homemade quince paste & the other cheese plate with sliced pears, and from all the last-minute cancellations we thought we were down to maybe 6 people at the most, but it ended up with quite a few after all crowded around the dining table as buffet, and I had nice chats with lots of them over the evening. I was already too full of caprese salad & cheese before the American-style burgers & kangaroo sausages were off the barbie, so I only made it through half my burger! Randall brought a bottle of Cuban rum, aged 7 years, and served it on the rocks. It was quite smooth & tasty to sip, and I joked that since it's from Cuba, it would be illegal in the USA, so I had to take a photo. Yes, since my hair was already awful from the day, I left my new hat on the whole party. I figured I was the silly tourist anyway so why not? :)
Since it was a work night for everyone but me, guests were gone & kitchen cleaned up by 11pm or so, and I was sleeping by midnight, just getting photos off the camera before I couldn't keep my eyes open. Amy has to spend most of Tuesday at the lab, so I get to sleep in, do some laundry & hope the internet connection keeps working. Hopefully Tuesday evening I'll get to finally see this Australian 80s movie they keep telling me is so funny!
Oh, I forgot to mention before that Gallery has all photos so far but not all captions. Margaret River has its own album, but Perth & Western Australia covers before & after the weekend.
Until next time!