Perth does not feel like Australia. It practically isn’t. I see know why it is a South African refuge of sorts. I had lunch at a Dome next to a Uniting Church that offers Afrikaans Services on the last Sunday of each month. That took me back somewhat. But along the river – it is stunning. King’s Park – wow. UWA… double wow.
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I landed in Perth at 13.10 local time (my body clock was set to 15.10), and caught a bus to the city. We saw “He’s just not that into you” on the plane (does no justice to the book). Nice hotel room. Have spent the equivalent of an hour in my day waiting for transport to and from airports. Not cool. But cheap.
The CBD reminds me a lot of Sea Point. And maybe a little of The Strand/Somerset West. I would have easily been in Cape Town. The weather was beautiful: 26 degrees (in May?!) I caught the 4pm ferry to Fremantle just to see the coast and how things looked along the Swann River. Stunning. If I’d had time the yesterday, I’d have tried to do the ferry up the river too. No luck. As for the ferry trip. it was wonderful. I couldn’t believe the number of jellyfish in the river though. I tried to take a few photos, but none of them came out. Same with the dolphins. There were three schools of dolphins on the way down river. So lovely. And, I watched the sun set on the way back. Perfect timing. It really was gorgeous.
The workshop, we’ll not dwell on that. Let’s just say I now know what the dynamic of a workshop will be when librarians are stuck in a room with their respective managers. It was painful. And very frustrating for me. I was completely destroyed by the time I finished, and crashed very soon afterwards. Had a pretty decent sleep though.
Checked out at 8 this morning, and wow, the city is beautiful when its empty. I’m not familiar with the public transport here, so I headed in the general direction of Crawley (where the university is), up over King’s Park/the Botanic Gardens. I did the Law Walk along the side of the hill – visiting the Bali memorial, as well as WWI & II centographs, and the treetop bridge. I also went through the part destroyed by the fire lit in January – when the Magpie was in Perth for a conference and actually had to evacuate. Seeing how close the fire got – I’m not surprised.
And UWA… wow. It was such a joy to walk around a campus that felt like a campus. And the Arts building, not only boasts an outdoor stage, but its own resident peacock. It really is a stunning campus. Pity about the English department’s propensity to default to Freudian scholarship on most matters. (I’m sure this is a gross generalisation, but this unique trait has shown itself in every graduate I’ve met that’s passed through their archway). But that’s besides the point. Their Tolkien collection is quite impressive, and the amount of books I’ve inter-loaned from the Reid comes second only the the amount from the Matheson. Anyway, its a beautiful campus. I’m glad to have seen it.
And now, now I’m sitting in the boarding lounge, waiting for my plane home. The hours couldn’t come fast enough, to be honest. It’s been a long week. One more seminar next week, on Tolkien and Mythology, and then I can finally get back to the Pensky File. I have missed it.