Monday, October 13, 2008

Perth Notes

I wrote this over a month ago but never actually posted it. I might post some of the more interesting photos latter. We left for Perth and on the 29th of September and came back on the 1st of September, a really quick trip. What follows is my account of the trip...

It was a quick trip: we left on Friday and returned on Monday. The purpose was for a few mates and me to see Collingwood play Fremantle on Friday night. If you follow the footy you'll know what happened and know that that was the lowlight of the trip. The rest of the trip was fantastic.

One thing you notice is the amount money over there. A fairly basic house, perhaps a bit run down, goes for over $500,000. Most of the main footpaths are paved with brick pavers, and there is much new development. The area surrounding the Subiaco railway station reminded me of a utopian city.

The public transport system (Transperth) is clean, fast, safe and frequent. There is an overwhelming presence of transit police and revenue protection staff, and yet they are friendly, courteous and non threatening. I don't think we waited more than about 10 minutes for a train ever, and when they did come they were clean. The only signs of vandalism were scratched windows.

The public transport ticketing system is an interesting one. They have a smartcard system that works. We didn't use those though and just bought cash tickets. From what I can tell the ticket machines are the same ones that will be installed here when the Myki system finally gets underway. The fares themselves were fairly reasonable, $3.50 bought a 2 zone ticket that was valid for 2 hours, that is what we used to get to Fremantle.

On Saturday we caught the train to Fremantle and visited the Fremantle Gaol and the Little Creatures Brewery. We did two tours of the gaol, a basic one, and the great escapes tour. We learned a bit about prison conditions through the years and various riots and escapes, and basic prison life. It was an interesting way to spend the afternoon.

Little Creatures Brewery is fantastic, if not a bit pricey. Basically it's a beer hall in the middle of a brewery with pipes and vats and things all around the seating area. Being a Saturday afternoon it was packed too. It's not dark in dingy, very open and light, right on the foreshore of the Indian Ocean. I recommend a visit when in Fremantle. This was the most "Melbourne" thing I saw over there, apparently they have a place in Brunswick Street Fitzroy.

One of my friends suggested we find a Sizzler restaurant for dinner. And so we did. We took a train to the northern suburbs and walked about 1-2 KM through deserted streets until walking into the entertainment hub of Innaloo. Yes I ate at a place called Innaloo. We lined up for about 15 minutes before being seated and began to raid the salad bar. Brought back old memories, except this time I was able to have some self discipline unlike my visits to Sizzler as a kid.

On Sunday the plan was to go to Cottesloe beach and join the famous (it only registered vuguely for me) Sunday session at the pub. I think we were a bit early, but we got see a capoeira demonstration and had fish and chips for lunch. Back in Perth we walked from the Mount Lawley train station to our hostel (instead of walking from the city) and hung around there before returning to Mount Lawley for dinner. We went to the Flying Scottsman hotel for their $10 Pizza and Pint night. The freshly made pizzas were great and the pints were crisp and cold. Sitting near us were Muph or Plutonic from the hip hop duo Muph & Plutonic.

Monday we flew back. At check in we were told that the in flight entertainment wasn't working. Two of my mates managed to score a $10 newsagent voucher as compensation. Somehow they managed to play a movie anyway, which was good, a shame it was Indiana Jones which I had already seen. On this flight I managed to fly on a type of aircraft I've never been on before, the Airbus A330. This aircraft, an A330-200 registration VH-EBJ "Margaret River" was only delivered in May so it still had that new plane feel about it.

That's it really


Anonymous said...

Transperth. A model for the rest of us...Paul Mees wasn't wrong on that, it seems...if you're to be believed.

Ben said...

Well the thing is, the "Perth Model" seems ideally suited to Perth. What is needed in Melbourne is the "New Melbourne Model", taking many cues from Perth but on a much grander scale. The main problem is that Perth basically started from scratch in the late 80's. Melbourne is mess of the remnants of past failed schemes.

Ben said...

And current failed schemes, MYKI for one.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes indeed. Hopefully The Greens will get enough momentum to enact positive change.