Shocked 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