Going for a wee donner through downtown Perth this afternoon, I stumble upon this:
Random enough – it’s not every day you see a bouncy castle Stonehenge. But here’s the really weird bit – two years ago I spent most of a Glasgow summer jumping up and down on this self-same piece of pre-historic rubber! That ping you heard was my randometer breaking free of its moorings.
These little reminders of home have happened a lot on this trip. On the flight over, I got chatting to the woman beside me who was from Ullapool. Turns out, furtherly random (to coin a phrase), we had a friend in common and we got on so well we ended up going out for tea in Sydney. Then I found out a girl I used to work with had emigrated to Adelaide with her family three weeks before I got there. Also random, also ending in lunch in Adelaide. And my brother’s in-laws, who live a mere teacake’s throw away from my parents in Greenock, are over here just now visiting rellies of their own. Did we go for lunch? Of course not, we’re from Greenock. We went to the pub. All these familiar faces in strange places has made it feel a bit like I’m in the Wizard of Oz, if the Wizard of Oz was set inside a pizza oven at full bung.
Which is a lie, of course. There’s a lot of evidence that here, although it has familiar traces, is actually a very, very different place indeed. For a start, there’s the heat. I’m not going to be a bore about this. Of course it’s hot. It’s Australia. I did not expect Troon beach in February. But suffice to say, since I’ve been here, the thermostat has had two settings – boiling and night. I’ve slipped my way through the last four weeks, covered in a fragrant, oily mix of factor 50 and sweat. It’s a good look, and an even better smell.
There are also the mildly deranged cutural differences, viz:
This is a drive-thru bottle store, otherwise known as taking your car for a drink. I’m no health and safety nut but – WT effing F?
Anyway, tomorrow is my last full day before heading home. I’m going to a place called Rottnest Island, where I’m going to put the final crispy touches to my (Glasgow) tan. Rottnest is home to this little crittur, the quokka. A quokka is apparently a species of marsupial which looks like a cross between a kangaroo and a rat (haud me back!) and sounds like a duck (Quokka. See what I did there?). Not only have I not seen one of these before, I’ve never even heard of the blighters. Like I said, it’s all just the same here, only very, very different.