"" Writer's Wanderings: Perth - Laundry day and the Aquarium

Friday, March 19, 2010

Perth - Laundry day and the Aquarium

While doing the laundry on a trip may sound mundane, it is actually quite an experience especially when you are in a foreign country. While Australia doesn’t seem all that foreign—they do speak English, the laudro-bar as it’s called down under, was in a way.

The lady running the place was a young Brazilian who graciously changed our paper money for the coins we needed for the machines and then explained about how long it would take for the clothes to dry. She was exactly right too. After we got the dirty clothes into the washer, we had some time to take in the rather eclectic d├ęcor.

Mounted on the walls were collages, poems, artwork, lessons of life and philosophy, etc. that was all reminiscent of the 1960s era. Bright colors and paisley-like designs made me think of decorated Volkswagon buses but instead they were old ironing boards. It kept us entertained for a bit and then we sat on a fleece covered bench and waited for the clothes to be done. It was a fun way to spend the morning actually.

Wanting to stay out of the sun and heat (temps were reaching to about 102 F.) we opted to visit the aquarium in Hillary’s Harbor near us. We were pleasantly surprised at how extensive it was. There were specimens from all over the west and southwestern coast of Australia including the most beautiful sea dragons that look like seaweed when they float in the water. What a treat since we have never seen them while diving!

One of the most popular displays was the shipwreck reef area where there is a deep water tank of sharks, very large stingrays, a big loggerhead turtle, and other large fish I couldn’t readily identify. Visitors step on to a very slow moving track and let it carry them in a large circle around and through the tank as sharks and rays swim over their heads. We were also there in time to see divers feeding the sharks.

A favorite display of mine is the large circular tank holding graceful jelly fish that pulsate through the water that is blue-lighted. It is one of the most peaceful exhibits to watch. In the water as a diver it wouldn’t be so inviting since jellyfish have a nasty sting. But in this environment they are a beautiful sight to watch.

Dinner was on a terrace in front of a restaurant on one of the back streets off the main beach road. It was a pasta and pizza place with reasonable prices and delicious pasta, salad, and garlic bread. Prices for food in the restaurants have been a lot more expensive than we remembered from other trips over here. It makes it a challenge for the trip budget. When the going gets tough though, the hungry usually get to a grocery store where there’s a section with salads and/or sandwiches.

We spent our last evening in Perth/Trigg sitting on a park bench listening to the waves roll in until we were too sleepy to hold our heads up. Guess I should have taped some of those sounds to play at home when it’s hard to fall asleep.

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