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Tourist in Perth

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Perth. To the best of my knowledge it was that odd city on the wrong side of Australia and I had vaguely heard that it had nice beaches and that it would be very hot.

Now I’m happy to say that Perth is one of my favorite cities. The public transit is clean, the downtown of the city is nice, there is tons of green spaces and in general it felt like home. The heat was indeed bad, as we’re in the middle of summer down here, but the humidity seemed quite low, so even when it got into the 90s there was relief in the shade. With so much mention of the beach, and the realization that it’s beach on the Indian Ocean, which I’d never touched, I had to spend some time at the beach.

I went with my friend and colleague Anita Kuno, and it made for a wonderful relaxing time as I dealt with the cold I managed to pick up while traveling. The water was on the cool side, but still very pleasant to swim in. Plus, it was beautiful.

Oh, and it was fun to get immediate use out of my linux.conf.au speakers’ towel!

I was able to get some shopping in too, picking up some of the typical tourist goodies (I didn’t have to get an opal though, MJ took care of that one on a trip to Sydney a few years ago). I skipped the didgeridoo and picked up an awesome kangaroo leather hat. Now, I love kangaroos, so getting a hat made of one is still causing me moral conflict. It’s a really nice hat (see above!).

On my last day in Perth I decided I’d go to the zoo. Unfortunately the weather didn’t want to cooperate and the forecast called for 43F (which it got up to, that’s 109F). So I altered my plan some and decided to arrive right when the zoo opened at 9AM and then just stay for an hour or two so I could see the Australian animals. When I asked about buses, the Hilton concierge pointed me to the ferry terminal and recommended that instead – it was the same price ($2) and ferry!

I made the 10 minute walk down to the ferry and was happy to learn that the ride across the river only took a few minutes, but it was a great ride.

I sat in front to pretend I was driving (just kidding (no I’m not))

Once I got off the ferry there were signs pointing to the zoo which I followed and bought my ticket. First stop – Australian walkabout!

That’s where I saw my first live kangaroos in Australia.

It was actually a much cooler experience than I’ve had with kangaroos at other zoos. The area where the kangaroos (and wallabies) live is fenced off but inside the fence where you walk is open so I found myself startled when a kangaroo popped out of the bushes and hopped down the walkway right in front of me. Given the heat (81F when I arrived, up to 91F by the time I left just after 10AM), most of the kangaroos were sleeping (or rolling or relaxing) in the shade.

I also got to see a wombat, which was much bigger than I expected, and caught a glimpse of a little numbat before it hid away. Australia-wise, I was happy to see some Little Penguins.

Before leaving the zoo I also did a loop around their African Savanna, which was thankfully shaded through most of the walk. Even still, I was exhausted and quite hot before I decided to finish up my zoo visit for the day. I took the bus back to my hotel to cool off and finish packing for my evening flight.

More photos from my trip here (I will be adding lots more here when I get home): http://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157639640699323/