With the sounds of a family wedding still ringing in my late to bed ears I was awoken by my children. Their sun clock woke them early and they demanded attention, stories, consciousness. The alteration of the clocks means nothing to them - and a few hours later I was on my way to Perth. A long day loomed.
I boarded the plane at just after 3 in the afternoon, flew for almost four hours and arrived two hours later. Such is the mystery of westward flight. You may read the time from your watch but your body tells you otherwise. In a different city, with my brain saying I should have been asleep hours ago, I struggled to stay awake. You can kid yourself along for only so long, in the end you have to give in to the siren song of sleep - a long day indeed.
As we descended into Perth I was watching a tourist information video on the plane. Amongst other information it suggested that the seagulls (their words I assure you!) should not be fed, as they can become aggressive! In a country blessed with more than its fare share of the deadly end of the wildlife spectrum I thought a warning about the hazards posed by gulls was a little misplaced. Over influenced by Hitchcock maybe?
I am not making this up. The lack of full power assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades and the ability to call in air strikes seemed like an act of genuine restraint.
Where the hell was I? Gulls with a mass less than a meat pie and probably less threatening to your long term health are to be avoided at all costs, but I can wind down by blasting the crap out of (and I'm guessing here) human looking targets in the name of relaxation! Why not bring them together and declare an open season on Silver Gulls - kill two birds with one stone, or high velocity, armour piercing ammo in this case. The grinning girls in the advertisement and the shaven headed man grasping a large pistol scream for some form of analysis, but I’m not up to it. I’m still in shock, and I need to take shelter under the bed as there is a gull on my balcony with an evil look in its eye and mischief in its heart.
Things were not about to get better. The taxi driver and the waitress at dinner were straight from Bond double agent central casting. Bottle black and bottle blond hair, eastern European accents, although they managed not to pull any outlandish martial arts moves on us. Thankfully. But they made it clear we were on their turf. I may have been very tired, but I could have sworn that the buildings were changing colour as well. Very strange.
At lunch time I wandered down into the car park, flanked by dense scrub. Bird calls. Insect buzzes. The occasional rustle of something larger, or clumsier. White cheeked Honeyeaters fought in the bushes, noisy, resolutely brave, even when under close observation. Young Black Faced Cuckoo Shrikes, with Zorro face masks and long pale wings, were being shepherded through the bushes by adult birds. A large red dragon fly landed a few feet in front of me, and cleaned its eyes. Sweeping movements of its legs over the huge globes that fill the front of its head. I heard the whoosh just before a saw the bird. A Willie Wagtail flashed over my right shoulder, just past my ear, and collected the dragon fly with a metallic snick. Surprisingly loud, surprisingly sudden. It landed in the nearby bushes with lunch in its beak, leaving a single wing drifting down to the ground. Thin, like glass paper, detailed, like net curtain. A lizard flashed across the path and darted up the trunk of a small tree. It stopped, confident in its camouflage.
The next two days dawned pink and clear, with the sun behind us, east. I was not seeing much in the way of living things from the hotel - rats excepted! So I looked elsewhere. Windows. Edges. Glimpses of the river. And poking their heads above the mantle of a green building, grass trees. A roof-top garden, surrounded by the glass and steel of today and an ornate reminder of when buildings were built with curves. Even inside your room things can catch your eye - especially if you borrow a few ideas!