March 12th – 19th
Perth is like the blonde in the bar that catches your eye after you’ve had too much to drink. Even in the dim light you can see that she’s wearing a fair amount of concealer, but your vision is too hazy to gauge the extent of the damage. She can barely pull off wearing the outfit she’s decided to go out in, but she thinks she can. You know full well that things may not be as they appear, but dammit, she’s attractive enough at this very moment, so you’re going to march right up to her and give it your best shot — any potential issues can wait for later.
The first night goes well enough… the hookup is awkward, but not the worst you’ve had by a longshot. Dawn breaks, and as you discreetly try to make it out the door without waking her, you pass the bookshelf and notice a few well dog-eared books by your favorite author. This is enough to flip a small switch in your head, and all of a sudden you’re sticking around, making scrambled eggs (for some odd reason you’re really bothered that she keeps her frying pans in the cupboard above the sink instead of the low one next to the oven, but you let it slide) and making plans for every day for the next week.
One night you’re out at a “reasonably priced” restaurant she claims is her favorite, and you wince at the fact that the cheapest cocktails are $16, moreso once she starts putting Long Islands down like it’s her job. As you casually mention how delicious (and “reasonable”) your $8 Gin and Tonic is, she hits the cocktail menu once more and orders something with sambuca in it because “that word sounds funny”.
A few nights later you steer a conversation away from American Idol and ask her about those books you saw on her shelf. “So which one is your favorite?”, you ask. She blinks a few times, and replies “Oh, those all belong to my ex-boyfriend. He really loves them, so I pretended that I couldn’t find them when he asked me to return his stuff.”
You proceed to shoot yourself in the face.
This is a longwinded way to express my opinion that Perth is: (a) less attractive than it thinks it is, (b) expensive, (c) boring and (d) kind of a bitch. It’s the brightest and best city that Western Australia has to offer, but it just ain’t Melbourne (or Sydney).
I’ll admit, it roped me in. After ten days in the Outback I really wanted to spend some time in a nice city, so I booked a few weeks in Northbridge based on a few reports of “it’s nice”!
I’m just about ready to let Perth know that “it’s not you, it’s me”.
My main complaints would be:
– Large portions of the city’s most popular areas are completely dead except on the weekends. Granted, I’m an unemployed traveller with almost no reason to know which day of the week it is at any given moment, but in a sufficiently big city it shouldn’t be too hard to find something to do at the drop of a hat.
– Whenever something is actually going on, you have to jump through a ton of hoops and give away your privacy to actually get into a bar. Elsewhere in the country I almost never get carded, and my California Driver’s License works fine when I do. In Perth I need to provide my passport (just the thing I want to be carrying around at boozetime), pose for a photograph, and give them my FINGERPRINTS. Then the name of the person who grants you entrance into the club gets stamped onto your arm in ink, so they know who to hold accountable if you’re found face-down in a garbage can in the lady’s restroom. TSA agents could learn something from this shit.
– Things are pricy as a traveller. Perth is extremely isolated, so most stuff has to be imported from far away. On top of that, a large number of the people in town are LOADED. The mining industry is huge in Western Australia, and pays extremely well, so there are always a lot of people with money to burn, so the prices stay high.
– If you were a nerdy type during high school in Perth, you wouldn’t have the joy of watching all of the people who made your life difficult skip college and go to work at the local gas station. Instead, you’d go off to university while they all go to go work in the mines, and every time you’d be home on winter break you’d be reminded of how much more money they make than you.
The place isn’t all bad. Beautiful parks. Great coffee. Attractive ladies.
I really enjoyed my five nights in a proper hotel, with my own queen-sized bed, no roommates, and the air conditioning blasting.
My St. Patrick’s Day almost sucked, but after suffering through hordes of drunk Irish I remembered an event I’d seen advertised earlier in the day. I hoofed it a few miles away from the city center, and found a place called the Flying Scotsman that had a weekly Wednesday Mod night. Vintage miniskirts, some nice new friends, and dancing to The Who. Win.
Off to Fremantle, Perth’s popular beach suburb for a few days. At the very least, I know that it’s home to my favorite Australian brewery, Little Creatures.