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Hamelin Bay ParkSo where to start?  I think it’s been about a week since I last posted…I’ll be honest…I feel a little overwhelmed with keeping track of all that I’ve been seeing and doing.  I was kept quite busy over in Perth. Kim was in charge of all the planning and she was an exceptional hostess. 

On the night before we took off southward for our caravan camping trip, the housemates convinced me to watch a film called Wolf Creek…. yeah, it’s about backpackers who drive up to this canyon and then when the vehicle breaks down, a local bushman ‘helps’ them out.  It’s turns grusome and the one male backpacker manages to survive.  It’s based on a couple of real-life murderers.  Awesome!  ..actually it’s a good movie – just the timing was just ’bout ‘nough to give one nightmares.

All the more eager to get on the road (that’s sarcasm), Kim and I drove south the next day.  We intended to stop in Bunbury to hit up an exhibition footy match but were lead astray by three different locals! – really – they all seemed so helpful, but we were pointed in three entirely different directions! We circled the small city many times over and when we finally found the field we were told the game didn’t start for another nine hours.  We decided the wineries deserved our full attention, and continued on down the road. 

We stopped for petrol and while I was in line for the toilet, a young woman asked where we were headed.  She mentioned that her and her boyfriend were playing at a brewery later that same day.  I neglected to get more detail as I was side-tracked by the next stall coming available.  Too bad, but we had lots to do and see that day anyway.

Capel Vale, our first winery, was just down the road.  Jill at Capel ValeThe region is home to over a hundred wineries and everywhere we looked there were row upon row of grape vines.  It’s stunning!

Next stop – lunch at the Bootleg Brewery…and, what do you know?  Our friend from the gas station was there at the mic, guitar in hand.  We sat down for some lunch, great tunes, beer and great conversation.  Beautiful. 

We made our way to Prevelly Park to camp for the night.  We sat on the beach and drank our wine.  Ate some Irish stew and reminisced about camping many years ago.  The two of us have had some great experiences up in Tofino back in Canada.  It’s a little surreal to realize we’re camping together in Australia only a few years later.  

So we had a great time exploring the Margaret River Area.  We went through the Boranup Forest, toured through a huge cave, Mammoth Cave (no mammoths - just really big)watched the surfers from the beaches, saw the south-western most tip of the continent and swam where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean.  We went into town to enjoy more live music, and saw a few more wineries as well (including a nice little organic winery that we stopped at twice!).  Boranup Forest

We chatted with some gents at the bookshop/internet cafe in Margaret River and learned they were not only brothers but one of them had written and published a book on Surfing, and the other had lived in Canada (on Saltspring Island).  Boy the locals are nice – we wanted to stay for karaoke! 

We landed ourselves back in Perth that evening and got to bed early; we needed to rest-up for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrating the next night.  We went out with a real-live Irish chap and we had a good time. 

So my last few days in Perth were spent visiting and beaching and trying to get through some of the wine we had purchased.  I really did fall for Perth. I have a feeling I will find myself back on the west coast before my return home.  The people are great, the beaches beautiful.

On the plane back to Brisbane I find myself contemplative again.  I try to watch the movie but it’s really bad so I listen to music and think about my first two weeks down-under.  Time is  quite relative when traveling.  I guess it always is.  It takes forever to wait for something and then only moments to enjoy that same something.  I’m glad my time down here hasn’t absolutely flown by – I’m trying to appreciate the now….focus on what’s happening at present.  This is a hard lesson.  I could spend my whole life trying to live in the moment. That being said, I think we need time for reflection as well…and some time to enjoy the thought of future prospects. 

Anyway, I lose myself in the stars as I cup my hands over the window.  I see the bright pinpoints of light in the sky; the stars are clear and exact.  The small dusting of light below are indications of civilization but if I look through them I can pretend they, too, are stars.  Now I’m surrounded by distant celestial bodies. No longer am I being edged into the wall by the snoring man beside me (he oozes over the armrest).  I’m now flying through space.  The lights below start to connect as the towns get bigger…they are simply other spacecraft traveling along with mine, or other galaxies as seen from the side.   My fantasy starts to crumble as the lay of the land becomes apparent – the sprawl of the city taking over.  And we land – the plane on the ground – and me, back to reality.

Theme Songs of the Day:

The first Day of My Life – Bright Eyes, from the album I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning

Never Going Back Again – Fleetwood Mac, from the album Rumours

Another sunset

Wow!  I have fallen in love…  Perth is just amazing!  We have packed so much into three days that is feels like two weeks. 

The plane ride  over was pretty uneventful.  I had a bit of cry on the plane – something about being at 15,000 ft…. it gets me every time.  I guess I needed the release, that and it’s been my first alone time since landing.  I realize I constantly carry the conflicting emotions of sad, and very, overwhelmingly happy emotions.  Where do I go from there? How can I hope to reach these strong levels of emotion again in my lifetime?   Will I become more numb as I go?  Will I find new levels of both happy and sad?  I guess it will change.  I will continue to experience life and, hopefully, find new layers of depth; grow older and wiser….

I have the feeling that I have, through the events of the last year and a half, become very attuned to what’s happening around me.  I am maybe more sensitive, more empathetic…but in the same breath, I am seeing my life from the outside a little more. 

I’m excited to travel, meet new people, connect, experience.  I think my challenge will be to figure out how to personally invest in these events and interactions.  Don’t get me wrong, when I am talking with someone, I am fully present.  I feel like I may be looking through a third person’s eyes.   I may be taking refuge in the safety  of an ‘outside’ self as a way of self-preservation…  I want to connect but I don’t think I have much of myself left to give.  The parts that remain must be kept for myself. 

I have loved and lost in a VERY extreme way.  I am searching for emotions to counter-act my past experiences, no small feat…all this, without giving myself over in any substantial way. 

mmhhh….that was a bit of a tangent.

On an entirely different note: my computer has a virus, and until I can clean it up, I have limited time on the Internet.  This isn’t so bad is it?  A major drawback is that I can’t post pictures…but I will get that sorted in the next week or so and then I will have some visuals to check out.

So what have we done in Perth so far?  What haven’twe done??  I arrived at around noon on Tuesday.  My friend Kim and I hopped in the van and headed north to her place.  WE stopped and one of the countless beaches here on the west coast and I had my first swim in the Indian Ocean.  From there we met up with her friend Jenny and drove up the coast to Yanchep National Park.  Wrapped around a beautiful lake, this park is home to kangaroos, koalas and birds.  We watched as the lazy koalas slept in the trees above us. 

We headed back towards the city and stopped at, of all places, the cemetary.  Someone in the know had told us to check it out, as there are quite a few kangaroos there and you can actually get pretty close.  We saw eight of the grazing on the grass.  I hoped along beside them (yes, there ARE pictures).   Wow!

We watched the sunset at a beach near Kim and Stu’s house.  Amazing

The next day we headed south to a small city called Freemantle.  We toured the shops and cafes and then went on a tour through the prison.  It was horrifying but fascinating as well.  The prison was actually used up until 1991 when they were permanently closed down.  At the time of closure they still used buckets for latrines.  Something else that we all found amazing is that punishment by whipping  was still legal until 1993.  It was simply an over-site (the last person that had the experience of the cat o’ nine tails was in 1943).  When Western Australia abolished corporal punishment in ’93 they realized that the ‘whipping legislature’ had never been removed.  Quite the over-site.

After the gruesome but educational tour, we headed to a local microbrewery called Little Creatures.  The venue is an old wearhouse that has been converted to a funky bistro/brewhouse (much like the Canoe Club in Victoria).   All us roomates had a great time chatting and eating and then we headed over to Clancy’s Fish Club where we watched the Battle of the Bands: West Coast Blues and Roots.  It was a fun night.

The next day found us at the beach.  We spent a few hours surfing and then headed home for naps.  That evening Kim had a surprise for me:  she had tickets for Cirque du Soleil: Dralion...!!!  AWESOME!

We dressed up and headed into the blue and yellow tent.  The show was phenomenal.  I believe we both shed a tear of joy at the end of the performance.  It was beautiful and funny and awe-inspiring – I’ve never seen anything like it. 

It’s hard to belive I haven’t even been here four full days.   The next adventure begins tomorrow as the two of us head South towards Margaret River.  We will hit some wineries…beaches….anything and everything, camping along the way….why not?  We should all be so lucky to hit anything and everything along the way – that’s what life is all about!


Theme Songs for the day:

OH! OH! OH! Trouble –  An Angle, from the album…I’m not sure…

Where is My Mind – Pixies, from the album Surfer Rosa *(and if you haven’t been lucky enough to listen to this song but sort of recognize it – it’s the closing-credit song from Fight Club)

FortressPinback, from the Album Summer in Abaddon

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