West Australia Diary 5 August 2002

I got to Perth at around 2am my time. After getting to the hostel and sleeping until 11am it was still only 7 o'clock local time.

I decided to try and walk off my jet lag by meandering around town. I spent most of the day walking around the CBD area of Perth. I think that I can best describe the place by comparing it to Sydney. Imagine if you will, the Sydney skyline with its myrriad of tall skyscrapers and assorted towers. Now remove all but four of them. For the streets, well just think of them as they are (or as they appear in The Matrix film if you've not been there yourself). The only real difference for the ground level is the people, or rather the lack of them. Turn your imagination back on and picture a busy Sydney street (that 'girl in the red dress' scene will be perfect). Now get rid of 7/8 of them and you'll be close to the feel of the place. Everything's here, cafes, bars, galleries, it's just as though most of the town's gone on holiday.

I went for a campanology discovery experience after lunch down at the Barrack street wharf on Swan river. Campanology is bell ringing. The way that the British do it is unique and peculiar to us. In 1988 the 12 bells of St Martin-in-the-fields (actually Trafalger Squars) were presented to Western Australia in exchange for enough metal to cast some smaller lighter ones for the church, the originals being too heavy for the tower and damaging it. After many years in storage, the bells were eventually housed in a purpose built tower on the river front. They were joined by six more bells making a total of 18, 16 of which can be rung together at any one time. The building is unrivaled in the world as having been specifically designed so that you can watch the ringers pull the ropes that cause the bells to ring and watch the bells in motion - without going deaf. This second, crucial, part is achieved by some hefty vacuum separated double glazing. Even so, you can still feel the frames shaking with the force of the vibrations from the bells.

I finished the day off with an art gallery and an Indian meal. A very satisfactory end to the afternoon.

To tomorrow

Created by Dan Leigh 07/08/02