Hello From Down Under (2) – The First Shocking Moments

1592955-Perth_City-PerthShocked after landed in Perth under its glorious sunshine at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, I quickly reminded myself that we are no longer in Aberdeen, where it gets dark before 4 PM, where  it is cold, windy, and wet all day.

We were discussing the best option to get into our temporary apartment (Emirates provides transportation service for its business class passengers but we forgot to arrange it), when suddenly mr.mck’s friend materialised from nowhere. He made a surprise appearance to pick us up at the airport, and before long we and the rest of our luggage were shoved into his jeep which took us to the city centre.

It was Friday afternoon, and the city was quiet, quieter than Aberdeen, even though it is occupied by over 1.6 million people. I was told that nobody lives in the city centre, and nothing much is happening after working hours. Oh great, it really makes us feel welcome.

We took a stroll down to the jetty on a lazy Sunday. I fancied some Chinese food, so we stopped by at the only Chinese restaurant we could find along the jetty. With only 2 main courses, 1 tiny plate of fried wonton, a diet coke and a jasmine tea, we were faced with almost AUD 100.00 bill, which is equivalent to £55. With the same amount of money we would have been able to eat at a nice restaurant in Aberdeen, having a bottle of wine, completed with starter or dessert for both of us. We looked at each other and wondered if everywhere in the city is as expensive as this modest-looking restaurant by the river.

Mr.mck had been to Perth for a few times and remembered it was much cheaper in those days. I lived in Sydney for a couple of years and was never interested in visiting Perth, and so far the experience was not great either. The shock continues when our friend took us to some bar at Northbridge area. The price list of drinks looks like a joke, only that we didn’t laugh. They all look horribly expensive! Mr.mck went to fetch the drinks and looked confused and hurt when he came back to announce he had spent $20.00 (£11.00) for only a pint of beer and a small glass of single vodka+tonic. A pint of beer, we painfully discover, cost over $10.00 (almost £6.00) – where in UK we could get three pints with the same amount of money. Spending AUD20.00 in UK will get us 3-4 drinks, twice as much as we could get in Perth.

We went around to the liquor shop to check on their wine price, and found out that their very average Jacob’s Creek is sold for $25.00 a bottle, or almost £14.00. In UK? We could get the exact same thing for a mere £5.00. Almost three times cheaper, and it is imported from Australia! Something isn’t right here.

We expected the worst when we went to Fraser’s last Thursday, but delightedly found that their price does make sense this time, especially for us whose brains are still in British pound sterling zone! We had a fantastic time, the waitstaff was very attentive, the food was excellent and didn’t come in huge portion like we normally got for the past one week, and the location is great. This is what we normally got and paid in UK, not something cheap, nasty, and expensive like what we had experienced so far.

It got better yesterday when we were asked to join a friend in The Garden, Leederville. The place was absolutely mobbed on Sunday afternoon (maybe that’s why the city centre was empty!), even though it doesn’t serve any spirit (odd? well…). The food was nice although the chips were overcooked (and you’d think Australians, who proudly claim they’re the original fish and chips country, would’ve mastered the way of frying chips). But it was great to find a place which was alive and vibrant and doesn’t look sad and empty like any other bars in the city centre in the afternoon.

Up until now, that Chinese restaurant at the jetty is still a sore subject for us. And we still can’t come to terms with the city’s ridiculous liquor price. And of course the fact that everything we took for granted back in UK isn’t available here, like 24-hour supermarket, or free wi-fi service everywhere. I picked up last Sunday’s The Weekend Australian Magazine, only to find out they published an article about the  crash of Air France jet in Brazil, which was published in the UK Sunday Times three weeks a go. I checked on Louis Vuitton and Gucci prices and found out all items are at least about $200 more expensive than back in UK or anywhere in Europe. And there is no Zara in Perth! One thing we find cheaper in Perth than in UK so far is Indomie ($0.50) which is three times less than the price in UK.

But, as we have only been here for a week, we still have 2 years and 51 weeks to go. I might fall in love with Perth just like I have with Aberdeen, after a lot of bitching about its weather and its gray surrounding.

So, let the journey begins.

Read the part 1: Hello From Down Under (1) – The Journey


  1. OK, well, here’s the thing…I usually assume that I’m sort’a odd.
    I mean, I say silly jokes that don’t always translate (I used to send humorous stuff to a lady named Bigga in Sweden…she said later that she didn’t always understand them, but, she liked the attention, anyway) I drop in on conversations and act like a friend because, well, my Old Man was in the Air Force and I traveled all over the world…new place every 18 months…and I got used to making friends fast, and they with me, too…so, when you weren’t coming back to my blog and commenting so much, I assumed i had offended you some.
    I kept meaning to come back to say something specifically to the matter. I would have started out with an apology, of course.
    But, these past few months I have been really busting my butt to finish a job (and it’s beginning to look like i may not get paid…she’s a widow and works only three days a week at a library….not a big money job, if you know what I mean) because I sold a bunch of my art and bought a plane ticket to fly to Florida at the end of this month and see a girl there i think i like (and even better, she thinks she likes me, too!) and all of a sudden I realize I am writing this a mile a minute and you probably aren’t THAT interested, but…here’s the thing…
    There IS something else you get for way less money in Perth than in Scotland, England, or anywhere North of the Equator…
    Warm breezes blowing over the sandy beaches…lovely sea shores, the ocean lapping waves up to our feet…

    Very lucky you are, now.

    And with that, I gotta go because the girl from Florida (Jean from the Pondering blog) is expecting my call.
    I, too, am most lucky!
    I’m falling for a real beauty!?
    .-= boneman´s last blog ..It Was A Miracle! =-.

  2. Oh shoot!
    I forgot to say the joke…

    I kept waiting for you to finally waken to the fact you didn’t visit?
    And sure enough, you’re Finally Woken!

  3. @boneman: good stuff. I am the one who owes you an apology for taking too long to return the visit. Yeah you’re right, there are many good things about living in Australia, but let me bitch a wee bit about Perth, and praise the city in the next posting. You’re right, again, that I’ve escaped from winter (again), so can’t (shouldn’t) complain too much:) Good luck with the lovely ladies!

  4. Hmmm I don’t remember the prices of food and beverage being that expensive in Australia! Maybe it has changed a lot!! 😀

    But I hope it doesn’t put you off, I’m sure there are good and bad things in every country and you will learn to accept them no matter what happens :)
    .-= therry´s last blog ..The Haunted Academy =-.

  5. Hm…. ok let’s see now — i’ve never been to Perth, but here’s a Melbournian POV:
    * $0.50 is what you normally pay in major supermarkets (aka: Woolies/Woolworths and/or Coles). In most Melbourne Asian Groceries, it’s $0.25, cheaper if you buy by the boxes.

    * $25 for a wine is indeed quite pricey. Perhaps it has something to do w/ the year or special brew ? Or perhaps it has something to do w/ the Bottle Shop (that’s what we call Liquor Shop here). It may also have something to do w/ special WA tax (not sure about this though). Generally, Dan Murphy is the cheapest. Try checking them, and if they are still expensive, then that concludes it: liquor is more expensive here in Australia =)

    * No, we havent got that many free wifi hotspots: the internet in AU does suck – our land mass vs population ratio doesn’t really help to sustain it.

    * Cant really comment on the restaurant — I very rarely dine out.

  6. the bill from the chinese restaurant sounds crazy! i never been to perth so i don’t really know but i don’t recall things are that expensive in gold coast. but maybe coz we didn’t really step into a restaurant there. just the fast food joints lol hope your stay gets better or 3 yrs sounds like a lifetime to me
    .-= Ivy´s last blog ..Attending Yua’s Wedding =-.

  7. Welcome to Australia, that sounds like generally in Australia cities though. The pricey chinesse food maybe because they located in “tourist” area? And pricey wine because it took longer time to distribute to WA which is isolated city?.

    I found food in Melbourne are cheaper in Canberra, maybe because majority of people in Canberra are public servants who can afford it rather than students (more likely in Melbourne), same thing about housing price.

    Btw, ZARA and Mango are not available in Australia, bummer!
    .-= Ecky´s last blog ..3 Things – Just humor me :) =-.

  8. Btw, Coles and Woolies open until 12 at night though, it helps when you need milk in the middle of the night 😉
    .-= Ecky´s last blog ..3 Things – Just humor me :) =-.

  9. Melbourne’s prices are cheaper! That’s right!! LOL.

    Hey, why do they call it Woolsworth in Canberra and Safeway in Melbourne when they have exactly the same logo and everything?
    .-= therry´s last blog ..The Haunted Academy =-.

  10. Starting in 2008, they’ve rebranded Safeway to Woolies.
    This has something to do w/ American supermarket (namely ‘Safeway’) which was acquired by Woolies in the eighties.

  11. That’s cool. I always found Safeway a bit strange to be named as a supermarket. It’s more like a health insurance name rather than a supermarket, I think!

  12. John Doe: everybody actually confirms that liquor in Perth is ridiculously expensive, it’s more expensive than anywhere in the East Coast and it’s definitely much more expensive than UK. It’s actually almost as expensive as Norway!

    Ecky: it’s not really a touristy area – but it’s at the jetty. I understand normally they will rip us off, but this is too much. Almost AUD 100 for lunch, not even a single drop of alcohol, only tea and diet coke, two main courses and 1 small starter. Woolies at the CBD is closed after 6 PM, by the way.

  13. The good thing about expensive drinks is that one may consider changing to soft drugs to get mellow…

  14. Colson: hahaha, like ginger tea and space cake?

  15. May you'll settle in your new adopted home despite the shocking moments, which btw, make for great blogging material, don't you think? 😀

  16. Hi Anita, long time no hear (I've also been absent from blogsphere). Perth is more expensive than most cities in Australia, but on the other hand it has free public transportation. I love the city park, the view and the nature, dunno much about the brands though… I remember I had fun doing the wine tour around the vineyards and getting tipsy before noon :) Would love to return there one day.

  17. Hi Mia how are you? Yes it's been quite a while! Well if you pop in here, just let me know and we could have bloggers' catch up “cabang Perth” :)

  18. Definitely, Maureen. Loads of things to bitch about, and to praise too 😉


  1. […] here, though. Seems like everything is more expensive than UK. Our biggest complaint would be the price of booze. My second complaint would be shopping in general. On Boxing Day sale I bought some stuff from […]

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