Return to Home Page

May 5, 2012

Vagabonding Field Report: Going home- Perth, Western Australia

Cost:$37 a day

This isn’t a true reflection of expenses in Perth as I have been staying and eating with relatives. A large chunk of my costs are beer related and I am not a heavy drinker so expect to pay two to three times this much if you aren’t couch surfing and eating in.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen lately?

On a beautiful, sunny day at Cottesloe beach a friend of mine pointed out the aircraft carrier ship USS Carl Vinson docked off the coast. This warship was the one that Osama Bin Laden’s body was brought to in the Arabian gulf, prior to being disposed of at sea. This man-made behemoth was a reminder that not all is well in other parts of the world and was in stark contrast to the calm and peaceful surroundings.

 

The view from Cottesloe beach. USS Carl Vinson is at the distant left. People love to climb and jump off the pylon in the foreground.

 

Describe a typical day.

 

After waking to the jarring squawk of an Australian raven I eat the breakfast of champions- Weet-bix and vegemite on toast. I go for a run in the morning before it gets too hot, after which I head to the beach with my little brother. We laze around in the heat, take the odd dip in the cool water and inevitably decide to buy exorbitantly priced ice creams, usually a Golden Gaytime or Rainbow Paddle Pop- the best Aussie ice creams usually have slightly homoerotic names. After the beach we seek out some glorious meat pies for lunch and head home. I’m usually pretty tired from all this hard work and require a nap in the afternoon. The night is spent catching up with old friends and family, preferably with some cold beer at my favorite pub- Little Creatures- in Fremantle.

 

Beautiful beaches, Rainbow Paddle Pops and great beer- some of the best of what Perth has to offer.

 

 

Describe an interesting conversation you had with a local.

 

An old friend of mine threw some new Aussie slang at me when he referred to CUB’s during a chat about how wealthy Perth is right now due to a sustained mining boom. CUB’s is an acronym for “cashed-up bogans”. A bogan is essentially a derogatory term for an Australian version of a redneck or hill-billy and CUB’s refer to these bogan’s that have found themselves with a lot of money in recent times but still retain their rough ways. By rough ways I refer to things such as heavy drinking, displaying terrifyingly awful tattoos and the liberal use of the word c***t as a term of endearment.

 

We then discussed other Aussie slang and the fact that the vernacular has changed significantly over the years. For better or worse new slang evolves and the old dies away. A sampling of phrases found in Aussie slang phrase books that you are unlikely to hear uttered from anyone under the age of seventy are as follows:

 

Don’t come the raw prawn= don’t pull my leg

 

Technicolor yawn= vomiting

 

Streuth= damn it

 

Cripes= damn it

 

I could go on and on. New slang is always evolving so leave the slang phrase book at home.

 

Describe a challenge you faced.

 

I did all my growing up and went to university in Perth but I have been away for over four years now and have only briefly visited twice over this time period. Because of this I haven’t seen as much of my family and friends as I would have liked in recent times. This has to be the most challenging aspect of traveling and working abroad. It is particularly hard leaving elderly family members knowing that you may never see them again.

 

My grandad is 97 years old and was a pilot in World War II before becoming a commercial airline pilot and flying throughout the world. He and my Grandma lived in Jakarta, Beirut and Tehran at different times and his and my father’s tales of these distant lands were, in part, what inspired me to travel. During his career he achieved the unenviable record of being the first Australian pilot hijacked overseas when his plane from the south of Iran was taken by Iraqi drug smugglers. He flew them to Baghdad with a gun to his head and thankfully escaped unscathed. He is now very frail and has dementia. I know he has lived a long and incredible life, however it is still hard to leave knowing that it is more than likely I will never see him again.

 

What new lesson did you learn?

 

It’s impossible to return to a place after an extended time away and not see it in a different light. It’s easier to appreciate the good things in a place but any pitfalls become glaringly obvious. Perth is a lovely place and it has been great seeing my family and friends again but I have also thoroughly enjoyed the little things like old school ice creams (Rainbow Paddle Pop= best ice cream of all time), the abundance of bird life (never noticed this before) and the Aussie sense of humor. I loathe the overt racism towards the indigenous population that can be encountered at times and certainly don’t appreciate the fact that drunk young Aussie men love to punch each other in the face in pub brawls. Fortunately gun laws are strict so you are unlikely to be shot in the face. When I lived in Perth I was aware of these problems but incredibly they didn’t seem to bother me as much as they do today.

 

Coming ‘home’ has made me very aware of the fact that I am not ready or willing to move back any time soon. I feel a curious sense of displacement now and I don’t really feel that I have a set home anymore. I suppose home is anywhere you can surround yourself with the people you love in a place that holds your interest. Can you lose a sense of this when you vagabond? I can’t make up my mind whether I find this thought disconcerting or comforting.

 

Where next?

Road trip in the USA to the grand canyon and beyond

Posted by | Comments (2) 
Category: Oceania, Vagabonding Field Reports


2 Responses to “Vagabonding Field Report: Going home- Perth, Western Australia”

  1. Chris Says:

    Hey I was here recently working on Rottnest island for a few months, your right it is a fantastic place just wish I could have stayed longer, Im finishing up my visa in Broome now then off to Asia again!

  2. Ash Jordan Says:

    I didnt get a chance to go to Rottnest this time around. It’s a great place to hangout for a few months! Brooms is beautiful- enjoy it.

Leave a Reply

Main

Bio

Books

Stories

Essays

Video

Interviews

Events

Writers

Marco

Paris

Vagabonding.net

Contact


Vagabonding Audio Book at Audible.com

Marco Polo Didnt Go There
Rolf's new book!


Vagabonding
   Vagabonding

RECENT COMMENTS

Franca: I totally agree with you, travelling long term can make you feel lonely at...

Roger: I am really annoyed when I hear someone who is very hawkish about American...

Barbara Weibel: Thanks for your comments, Roger and Faith. I absolutely agree that...

Barbara Weibel: Good point, Linda! I hear all the time from Europeans, Asians, Aussies,...

Roger: I would say that most travel warnings are over exaggerated. Unless there is a...

Linda: Are, I wonder, Americans aware of how this works the other way around? I have no...

Faith: Thank you for a very good article! I traveled for 6 months and 9 countries last...

Roger: This is very informative, and mind boggling how few Americans venture abroad....

Roger: Wow, this is good stuff. Simplicity can be such a wonderful tonic. Thank you...

Sage: I like the idea of travel being “monasticism on the move”

SPONSORED BY :



CATEGORIES

TRAVEL LINKS

ARCHIVES

RECENT ENTRIES

Explode your comfort zone…why the decision to travel is never a bad one
Dealing with the Loneliness of Long-Term Travel
How young is too young to travel?
Should terrorism keep Americans from traveling overseas?
The Age of Travel is not over
The difference: Living well vs. Doing well, Part 2
Vagabonding Case Study: The Wagoners
What travel hacking isn’t
Vagabonding Case Study: Behan Gifford
What you see on large news channels is not the only news


Subscribe to this blog's feed
Follow @rolfpotts