I am writing this last edition of my travel blog in Singapore Crown Plaza overlooking the rooftop pool where Marilyn is having a last swim and lie in the sun.
The weather in Perth has been unseasonably hot. Autumn has started at the beginning of March but temperatures have been hitting the 40 degree plus mark over the past few days. Thankfully the Freemantle Doctor has been giving some respite in the afternoon and evening.
We spent our last days on the beach at Scarborough and visiting Freemantle for evening fish and chips in the Fishermens’ Harbour. Before that we passed the day at Perth’s wonderful Art Gallery and Museum, took a stroll through the shopping centre to the water and hopped on a free bus that took us round the inner city.
In such a short visit it is hard to have a really formed idea of the place but it has a relaxed atmosphere and a feel of a confident city that is booming with a strong sense of a mix between East and West. There is a definite Asian/Chinese influence in the modern town, mixing with the more colonial tone of some of the older style architecture and retail outlets. There is a marked European influence – especially in Freemantle which was largely developed by Italian immigrants – and the Mediterranean climate must make it a very comfortable and interesting place to live.
There is a strong sense of pride among Western Australians for their city and their State. They are so far removed from everywhere I suppose. Perth is nearer to Singapore than Sydney. It is cheaper to take holidays in Bali than Brisbane. Maybe these Western Australians feel a sense of independence and a confidence built on a modern mining boom and their close ties with the growing economies in China and the East. Adverts boast of new flights to China from Perth making this the next ‘go to’ destination. It will also provide the next doorway for another fresh group of can do immigrants to further strengthen Western Australia’s economy.
We got to see some dolphins and the elusive black cockatoo in these last few days. We experience two final sunsets over the Indian Ocean to match those at the start of our journey all those weeks ago when we watched the sun setting over the Pacific. Somehow that seems such a long time ago.
I am glad we chose to spend our last few days in Margaret River, Freemantle and Perth to be left with such a positive image of this confident nation. I am still pleased that Sri Lanka gave them a good seeing to in the second of the one-day finals however.
So we are a few hours from our last flight back home and there will be time to reflect on the past ten weeks when we have stepped off the merry-go-round of this amazing journey and are back home in our little cottage in Cornwall.
One of the recurring thoughts that I have as we have travelled is that I feel lucky and very happy that I live in such a beautiful place as Cornwall because, as far as I have travelled and though I have been privileged to experience many beautiful places on the way, Cornwall is always up there with them.
So, sad as I am that this saga is over, I can return to my home with a sense of excitement and a looking forward to the Cornish springtime. Perhaps, in some of my future blogs, I can tell of some of the many things that I love about home.