Monday, April 23, 2012

Over the Ocean and Through the Bush

Between seeing Australia and drinking its fine beverages, including a weekend with no Internet access, there has been little time for blogging. Let me see now about posting a selection of photos from the last week. We flew here (Perth, Western Australia) via Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia. Note to any readers who might one day be flying out of the Ho Chi Minh City airport. They take baggage weight and size limits very seriously there, down to the weight of your carry-on(s). Jacket or vest pockets, the more and larger the better, can come in very, very handy.

This is the Perth skyline. The blue sky was (and is) so wonderful after the weeks under Hue's usually gray sky. It is so nice to shoot a photo, preview it, and see blue rather than the overexposed white that was the norm in Hue. The sun was also a nice way to jolt our bodies awake after the flight that arrived in Perth at 5:25 a.m. Fortunately, clearing immigration and customs went smoothly, and we were walking into the arrival area as our Aussie hostesses walked into the terminal from the parking lot. We were in the car and headed out so quickly that their parking was free.

After a morning in Perth, we headed inland, to Northam. The drive took about an hour. The husband slept for the first half, until we stopped for meat pies for lunch, and I slept the second half. The next day, our hostess' husband reported having seen an emu while on his cycling training ride, and we were lucky enough to find it. The landscape here is much different from on the coast, and gets drier as one moves further inland into the outback.

This is the town hall of York, the first inland city. I add that ("the first inland town") because they take that fact very seriously there. After a little while, you might actually think that the name of the town was York-The-First-Inland-Town.
I must admit that the town hall is quite spiff. The lady in the tourist information center there suggested that we might want to visit the toilet at the mill down the street. We told her we had just used the toilet in the town hall. She stiffened a bit and told us that we should visit the toilet at the mill with our cameras in hand. This is why.
Yes, the sinks are the same incredible wood as the counters. We decided that it was a case of if we had to ask how much it cost, we couldn't afford it.

We stopped atop a hill (its name was actually Mt. Brown, but "hill" seems more appropriate) outside town. This was part of the view.
The location comes with a story of star-crossed lovers from two aboriginal tribes. In the tales, the trees shown here would be the warriors from one tribe converging to meet those from the other tribe. The two lovers became this and a neighboring peak, forever in sight of each other but unable to meet.

The next day, we visited Toodyay, which is pronounced Too-jay. They still have phone booths there, and quite nice-looking ones at that.
There is also a store with an amazing collection of Golliwogs.
Before you jump in to comment on the racial overtones here, let me offer the Golly history that came with the one I purchased. The origins of the Golliwog began with the British soldiers who occupied Egypt near the end of the nineteenth century. The Egyptian labourers working for the British wore the letters W.O.G.S. on their arm bands, indicating that they were Working on Government Service. These labourers were spoken of as Ghuls - the Arabic word for desert ghost - by the British troops. The children of the Egyptians played with black stuffed material dolls. These dolls in turn were given as gifts or purchased by the soldiers returning home to England. These dolls became known as Ghuliwogs, a name which would eventually become the Golliwog we know today.

We also visited Windmill Passing, the deepest railway cut in the Southern Hemisphere. A railway cut takes a railroad line through a mountain without a tunnel. The line sits at the bottom of what is basically a deep gash through the mountain to the level of the ground on either side. Our hostess timed this visit perfectly, with a mining train appearing as we were standing atop, over the cut.
Mining trains can be miles long, and this one was no exception.
It seemed to go on forever.

And so this takes us through our first three days in Oz. More to come later. Right now, I'm off not to see the wizard but perhaps a wombat instead.


Jayne said...

More beautiful pictures! Thank you!! Perhaps one day I, too, will see these amazing places.

Va said...

Wonderful - makes Kansas' flat look hilly! What are they mining? How did the Golliwogs get to Australia from Egypt? You have great hosts taking care of you!
Continue to enjoy and enthrall us!