Sunday, 19 December 2010

Still weird

Studying hard!!!!
Bit early this week but then again we are off to Denmark, remember Denmark, Western Australia, not Denmark, Europe! Also we happen to be 8 hours ahead of GMT.

Well it took until Saturday morning to finish my assignment and it felt like an epic to get it done. That did mean I was stuck inside most of the time, which when the sun is so fierce is perhaps not a bad idea really. I hope I have learnt something from the module and I hope I have passed, after that I am past caring, it was a slog. I knew this semester was going to be a challenge to keep on track with what I am doing when trying to fit in the weddings of two of our children but it was worth it to keep on track with getting the course completed and being an online course does mean that at least I am more flexible in where I study - always a good thing I think.

The beach near Fremantle
I haven't been inside the whole time of course and although you might think it is a boring existence to get out only to do some shopping, we did manage that. Not Christmas shopping or anything, haven't done any of that, just regular shopping. Shopping in a different country I find fascinating as it always gives you a clue about the food culture of a place, what's there and what's not. Fresh meat, fruit and veg, I am pleased to say, is abundant enough but rather eye-wateringly priced. Managed to spend on one evening for four what we would normally spend in a week in Latvia for two, but then again there are not many Kangaroo kebabs in Latvia. We even had steak this week, partly because it didn't cost much more than the pork, and we can get plenty of that in Latvia, very nice it was too on the barbie (Barbecue - just in case you are wondering, which I am sure your not) something you have to do of course whilst in Australia. Mind you I don't think that sitting outside having a barbecue is quite as popular as we imagine, sitting inside air-conditioned houses is though.

Fremantle Round House, looking very pristine for its 180 yrs
Finishing my assignment meant I was finally free to get out and about and see a bit more of Perth and so our daughter and her fiancĂ© took us  to Fremantle or "Freo" as it is called locally. There are a lot of colonial buildings made of limestone that look incredibly new, but having checked the history I think it is just the difference between limestone bleached by the sun and not weathered by the wind and the rain like it is in the North England like we are used to. Having trundled around the town looking at hippyish market stalls and observing the architecture including Fremantle Round house we headed for a bakery for something to drink; never before has an iced chocolate drink looked quite so appealingly in December, hot chocolate maybe but never iced. The temperature a little cooler in the late afternoon and we headed to the beach for a swim, my daughter laughed at me but it took ages for me to get into the water it was so cold, I am not particularly fond of swimming in cold water, it was just a blessing that unlike England after a bathe in the early summer sea it wasn't freezing when we got out. Maybe you are wondering about Ian? Well!!!! He plodged and could not be persuaded to enter the water past his ankles but then again Ian and water that is not in the shape of a bath or a shower never mixed.

Just to prove it! Here's me swimming in the sea in December
Ian has been spending the week on a borrowed bike and walking around the area while I have been studying (no he hasn't been walking around with the bike, he would go out for an hour or two on the bike in the morning and a walk in the afternoon and is consequently getting quite brown already)  and he has been itching to get me out on a bike as he was telling me how good the cycling paths are. I don't mind cycling but I do like to use a bike as a means of transport to somewhere rather than just cycling for the sake of it, a point Ian is well aware of and so he told me there was a wonderful little cafĂ© along the way. Sold!!! Sunday morning we set off and the bike trail took us besides the Swan river, a well used river for recreation by the look of it, with people picnicking, power walking, strolling, power boating, kayaking  etc. both young and old. We wended our way past conservation areas with wetlands - yes such a thing does exist in Australia and maybe a valuable means of protecting the river banks from erosion due to the use of pleasure craft on the river, past the marshmallow plants and the bullrushes, past the trees that appear to have almost naked and polished trunks, past the sign saying beware snakes on the path - doesn't specify which snakes or whether the idea is not to hit them or not to get bitten by them, and onto the little tea shop, which very conveniently for us, is situated about half way around the loop we were cycling. I don't go in for iced tea normally but being a little hot, decided on an iced peach tea, which was ..... very peachy and iced. Ian had a latte to keep him awake, think he was close to falling asleep I was going much slower than he would normally go, actually he said it was good to go slow as he hadn't really had much time to take in the scenery when he had been hurtling around the track this last week.

The little fella keeping Ian entertained while I was swimming
With plenty of good company to eat with and a lovely home to stay in, all in all its not been a bad week even if I have been stuck in a good bit of the time but I did put at the top of this post "still weird", well it is still weird. Being bitten by mossies in December, seeing star shaped pine trees and weird twisted trees, seeing Christmas decorations in a little tea room but sitting outside in the shade, hearing the wafts of Christmas music in the malls and it is not a mistake as in Latvia where they carry on playing the Christmas music into June in our local restaurant because they don't understand the lyrics, just little things that take some getting used to.

4 comments:

ju-north said...

Pleased you finished your work and are enjoying the sights. Snow storms here (again!)

Joanna said...

Thanks Ju, it was a relief to get it posted but used my personal email in the end as I had difficulty with the University's email system, just to add to the fun.

Snow storms again! Everyone will be in a right panic and thinking that Christmas will be ruined - look forward to seeing how people perceive it in the end.

karen said...

I must admit I would find it wierd spending christmas in heat??!! Have wonderful christmas.

Joanna said...

It is weird, we were listening to Christmas carols in the car today on the way back from our hols, so odd when seeing so much greenery. Hope you have a great Christmas too Karen