I’ve only been to Sydney and that was 9 years ago. I can’t remember much of the weather and how it felt as I was there one moment and I left the next. But this, right here, in Perth, you can smell the sea in the breeze. The way the sun shines on the trees and make its green leaves turn gold in the light and the sand that whirls into a mini-cyclone right before your eyes and disappears before you can react is something you can’t easily forget. Even the seagulls want to make an impression.

We didn’t go to the city centre as all of our businesses were either at the universities, the suburbs or well, the beach(es). We had moved to a nice home-stay at Tuart Hill amongst Malay families who have moved there. Just a stone’s throw away was an Iranian joint offering sheesha and kebabs til late. I couldn’t stand the kebabs any longer. Take me back to Freo for the mussles or give me rice. Halal food is widely available, don’t get me wrong. But most retailers, shops and cafes retire by sundown, so dinner is early; something most of us were unprepared for especially since we had to do some offline editing throughout the night. So if you’re here, and don’t intend to sit down for dinner at 6ish, 7ish, then better buy take-away. Kebab pun kebab lah!

There is this wonderful squarish town called Subiaco. The locals call it Subi. Vintage book stores, coffee houses, pre-loved clothing galore. We missed the market which I imagine to be a flea-market circus kind of affair. It opens only Fridays through the weekend. Didn’t have time to go back there though. Would have been grand.

Although it is chilly, and can be rather cold this time of year, if you can go without wearing warm(er) clothes, you probably will still suffer the case of the chapped lips. The quality of water, the quality of the air, the temperature, the humidity and the kind of plants they have is all different. This adds up to the regular Asian tourist like me having dry lips, peeling cheeks, and superdry hands and arms. After a few days of adjustment you will be fine lah, stop complaining. But do watch out for your young ones as this change will be very unfamiliar to them.

A very touristy thing to do would be to visit the museums, chocolate factory, honey factory, botanical gardens, and yes, watch a movie. Got to catch The Hunger Games with the crew, and it was nice how everybody, strangers mind you, reminded each other to shut up.  Wait, did someone say Chocolate Factory? There’s one on Fremantle and also the famous Margaret River Chocolate Factory. They even shaped the entrance to look like a chocolate bar! (Sorry, no pictures!) That, you must go.

This trip have been amazing so far. Can’t wait to show you the beaches. Went to a few, and yes, Penguin Island off Rockingham. Penguins! Til next time. Check them out on my Instagram for now. Username: imranajmain

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