This has been the first chance I have had to sit down and write what I have been doing for the last week so here goes...
The flights from London were good with Quantas but by the time I got to Singapore I had to make a mad dash for the connecting flight which was to take off within 20 minutes of me landing! I managed to get through the flight without valium (good for me!) although it probably would have made the journey a little less painful.
So with the first painful part of the journey over I had to face the next part - getting through Australian customs! Unfortunately I did have food (as presents) with me including cadburys choc. and a supply of Bisto Gravy for my cousin and family (who I am staying with in Perth) It seems gravy out here just isnt bisto! I was also asked what my profession was (I still cant get used to saying unemployed) so when I said drug safety scientist they then thought I had drugs with me and asked to see my valium!
Anyway, in the end everything was fine, and the chocolate, Bisto and myself were met by my uncle and aunt who are also here visiting, along with bright sunshine and 35 degree heat-bliss. My cousin Michaela lives just north of Perth in a coastal suberb called Ocean Reef which is a really nice upmarket area with gorgeous houses and even more gorgeous beaches. I have had severe jet lag for the first few days - helped by my cousin's early rising children (!) and have spent a lot of time lazing on the beach or pool, having barbies and beers and it's been great. I am really treating this stage as a holiday with all the home comforts, my own room, and the company of my family and im sure it will be different when I leave for Melbourne on 24th.
The outdoor life of W.A (Western Australia) really suits me, there are cycle paths the whole way along the coast, with free bbq's in the parks next to the beaches and nearly everyone heads outside when they are done with work for the day. I have done a bit of shopping - well window shopping as I don't have room to buy anything (very painful for me for those that know me well) and been along the coast to Freemantle - a beautiful colonial port town.
I think the laid back life of australia and the people is rubbing off on me but I have had the odd "Natasha drama" moments. On my second night here I walked into my room only to find a lizard on the floor. Thinking it was my cousin's children playing a joke with a fake one I went to pick it up, only the think actually moved and ran behind a cupboard in the room leaving me screaming and standing on the bed! My cousin's eldest son Patrick came to my rescue and after much "book swatting" managed to kill it (although the tail did continue to move for a while!- I realise this is not good for lizard karma but I figure that it's everyone for themselves in this country - humans versus lizards - insects etc... So far I have seen two spiders in the house and everytime I ask if they are redbacks I am told "no Natasha - they are just house spiders" still - I feel it wont be long till I see one and for those special friends of mine who witnessed the "spider incident" whilst we were on a snowboarding holiday - I think they will realise why I'm so concerned!
Today we have been touring Perth city which is really nice - but very hot at 40 degrees. It's a small city but with lots of nice open spaces including the huge Kings park which overlooks the whole city from a hill, and the Swan river which flows past. We took a shortcut up to the park today which is a path of 240 vertical steps. I nearly keeled over at the top but these steps (known locally as Jacobs ladder" are famous for the local athletes (and wannabes) to train on them by running up and down in the heat. Needless to say I was "lapped" several times by the same people in my one trip going up the steps!
Anyway, there are many more things planned for my Perth stay so I will update you another time while I try to upload some pics now. It's evening here and the daily winds coming up from the south (known as the Freemantle Doctor) are starting to blow and I am feeling cool for the first time today!
Hope all is well with you all, and hope to hear from you soon,
I'll be in touch,
love Natasha xxx