I walk to the window of the flat and stare out towards the road. Nothing. I sit back down and continue to read. I can’t focus properly on the book, and get up again to check out the window. It’s been a week since I’ve seen Jarrad and the kids. Jarrad stayed with the kids in south-west Western Australia while I flew back to Melbourne to see family for the week. Now, I am expecting them to arrive any minute and all I can do is keep checking the driveway to see if they turn up.
I arrived in Perth late last night. I think it was nearly midnight when I tumbled into my cousins’ Perth house, and they were already sound asleep. I rose early that morning when I heard them tip-toeing around getting ready to catch a taxi to the airport to go to Malaysia. I couldn’t get back to sleep for my excitement at seeing the kids again that day.
After what seems like an age, I finally hear the loud diesel engine pull into the driveway. I run to the door of the house, and see the kids jumping out of the car to run towards me. The kids are all talking at once. Lucy and Edmund grab a leg each to cuddle while I throw my arms around them and Peter. Susan, who struggles to be demonstrative, gives me a quick hug then backs a few steps back, continuing to talk incessantly.
Finally we talk about what we are going to do that day. The kids check out the backyard, while I ask on our facebook page; ”we have a day in Perth. What should we see?” People suggest a lot of things that all sound pretty cool. Kings Park, Cottesloe Beach, Maritime Museum, Fremantle gaol, round prison, Fremantle markets, science museum, mint, zoo, ferry from Fremantle to the city, bell tower in the city, London arcade, fish and chips at Fremantle and the CAT busses were all nominated.
I think the zoo sounds the best. Jarrad looks at me in disbelief. ”We’ve just done the zoo. Two zoos. For a month. I am not going to another zoo.”
“But that was the Adelaide zoo. And the Monarto Zoo. This is the Perth Zoo. It’s a different zoo. There will be different animals.” He shoots me a withering look, and I know there’s no point pressing the point. ”Shall we go to Kings Park then?”
The kids come back inside and Susan says, “Can we go to the zoo?” Jarrad shoots her the same withering look he had given me.
We finally agree on Kings Park, and head through the busy Perth streets in towards the CBD. It’s actually quite pretty. Well, for an Aussie city it is quite pretty.
Jarrad and the kids grab their respective cameras as we get out of the car, and we head to the little cafe for a coffee and a juice as it’s still early in the morning. None of us are accustomed to this new time zone, yet, least of all me. We’re all in bed asleep by seven each night, and up by five. So, despite having been up for 3 hours already, I’m still wanting that coffee to get me moving.
As we finish that oh-so-expensive, but good, cuppa coffee and stand up to leave, Susan gasps, “My camera! It’s gone!”
We spend the next twenty minutes frantically searching for the missing camera, before we are give up. We stop in the gift shop as a last resort, in case someone has handed it in. Amazingly, they have. Susan is so happy, and we are so grateful
We dawdle around Kings Park for a few hours. The place is just beautiful, and really relaxing. We sit down for a picnic lunch on the grass near a waterfall and a rotunda. The kids roll down the hill on the grass, and get their feet wet balancing on rocks in the water.
The walk takes us up on a bridge over looking Kings Park, the Swan River and the city. We watch a pair of kookaburras sitting on the trees from up above, and look back over the grassy lawn and stream where we’d been sitting before. We turn around and look the other way over the city, and are impressed with how clean Perth’s Swan River is compared to our native Melbourne’s murky Yarra River.
We decide to spend one more night in Perth, as we settle down to enjoy fish and chips on the foreshore at Fremantle. I really want to see the historic Fremantle Gaol before we leave Perth.