Sunday, 21 June 2009

Arrival at Perth, 2008

Welcome Swallow


That's the impression of Western Australia from the air, the very ground rusting away, contrasting with the Indian Ocean blue as our plane followed the coast down to Perth. Not a town to be seen for hundreds of kilometres until the grids of civilisation appeared within a boomerang-throw of the capital. Perth almost sneaks up on you in surprise and we were down and out of the terminal faster than Adam Gilchrist gets to a century.

I had booked the shuttle bus downtown, which rather surprised the driver, who was prepared to hang around until the last passenger had squeezed out of the airport. This gave me time to identify welcome swallows, so at least the birds were pleased to see me; and I had finally hit summer after a couple of dismal British washouts.

The bus bounced into the city, over the Swan River, home to silver gulls, and past the WACA, home to cricketers. The kid sitting in front of me clicked his camera phone at everything. He had flown from Britain in one and was hyper from lack of sleep. He snapped the cricket ground. He had no idea what it was – cute.

The remainder of the day only gave me time to eat but it was light enough, while I sought out a restaurant, to register parrots squawking and zipping between trees. They were too fast to identify but the calls were familiar; I just couldn't pin them down. A disappointing nasi goring preceded bed, perchance to sleep. Or not, as it happened.

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