The "good-times train" pulled into Perth after a few hours drive North from Margaret River and parked at base camp for the Perth segment of the trip; Morgan and Steph's Scarborough Beach Bungalow.
The famous Perth sunshine and warm weather were in full effect and we spent the late afternoon and evening on the beach watching a legitimate West Coast Australia sunset over the Indian Ocean; check that box!!
That night was a lovely one and we decided to fire up a personal Outdoor Theatre on the back patio. A white sheet was hung, projector setup, stadium seating installed and we spent the evening looking at photos from the weekend and videos from previous adventures.
A very special video surprise was unveiled that evening: the "Happy 30th Birthday, Gina" Video made by the talented Becky Reining was previewed even though, due to some late arriving footage from around the world, she was unable to finish it in it's entirety. It was a real surprise to Gina and I know it meant A LOT to have footage from all over the world; thanks to those who contributed and BIG props to Reining for her efforts in getting footage and assembling an awesome video.
The feature length film of the evening was Rum Diaries with Johnny Depp. I think it was a combination of the fact that it had been a long weekend and, perhaps a small commentary on the film itself, but not many people made it through the entire movie; plenty turned in early and a few tireless individuals, who shall remain nameless, wandered into the kitchen for a floor session of Zones.
Tuesday morning and beach front jogs were had followed by Bacon and Egg rolls on the grill. An unlucky few had to work that day and so were left behind while the rest of us headed out to explore Perth and, in particular, to visit a place that has long been on my personal Australia Bucket List; Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle.
I'm happy to report that the Creatures Brewery is just as magical a place as I'd envisioned. It's a huge, sprawling complex with a massive open aired kitchen and huge silos of their famous brew shining down upon you as you approach the bar to order your favorite pint. We scored a great table in their patio which overlooks the Fremantle harbour where we enjoyed lunch on yet another beautiful and warm WA afternoon before heading out to wander Fremantle's streets for a few hours.
That evening we made our way to Mosman Park Lawn Bowling Club where we pulled up a few patches of plush grass on the green and a few pitchers from the Bar. The place has a beautiful view down onto the Perth River and we were there as what was a gorgeous Perth day turned into a perfect Perth night.
For dinner we headed back to the Beach Bungalow where we fired up the grill and threw down a Fajita Burrito feed worthy of any Mexican restaurant in Australia. The evening's entertainment was another session in the outdoor cinema, the 80's classic "Weekend at Bernie's" was the evening's movie selection. Random, but curiously a movie that was on people's minds throughout the weekend.
I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but Wednesday we woke up to another beautiful Perth morning. After a run along the beach, G and I rendezvoused with Ali, Chris Devlin and Caity Noonan for a day trip out to Rotnest Island.
It's not a cheap day out by anyone's standards, but as it was our first time to Perth a trip out to Rotnest was mandatory. We took the ferry out, rented bikes and spent the day riding around the island and beach hopping and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters and warm sunshine. We ended up doing about 30 kilometers on bike and we were all surprised at the amount of hills on the island. The point is that it turned out to be a tougher endeavor then we had anticipated and by the time we got back on the ferry we were plane tuckered out!
For the last supper with the crew we stuck to tradition and Morgan threw down one if his famous lasagna feeds. We've been lucky enough to take part in a number of these over the years as, with this crew of people, it always seems that somebody is coming or going.
Oli and I lent a hand with the construction of the 2 heaping piles of goodness, and I think we did OK, but the real magic in the lasagna is the special homemade sauce which is all Mo.
The crew had been dwindling as each day more and more people had to head back to reality, mostly work obligations somewhere on the East Coast, but we still managed to have a very respectable showing of 10 very hungry diners for the final supper.
Of course, the food was amazing and the company great. Morgan said it's his favorite meal to cook because of the amount of smiles it brings to the table. I'll agree; I always smile when Mo's Lasagna hits the table... but, I have to say it's always a little bittersweet because, as I mentioned, it means that there are goodbyes on the cards.
And indeed there were; as we said our goodbyes G and I realized that it's unclear when or where we'll be catching up with a handful of the Australia kids next. That is a bit sad.
However, knowing how these kids live life by seizing it by the cajones... we are confident in knowing that we will see them all again, somewhere, sometime and that when we do we can pick it all right back up where we left off. Most likely with a few rounds of Zones.
Cheers to everyone who was able to stick around for a few days in Perth and especially to Morgan and Steph for being such amazing and gracious hosts!