Our second stay in Australia for Christmas came and went in a flash. We had anticipated that Peter would be working but in fact he had a break between shifts for the whole of the six days and we wished we had made it a longer stay in Perth.
We arrived on the 21st December and went straight to the very lovely and quite grand home of Jing Jing’s parents. Jing Jing is a friend of Peter with whom he has been staying. He had, by now, signed the contract on the rental of a small house of his own – the one that Jane and I had viewed on his behalf - but his moving in had been delayed. Jing’s parents were away on holiday and had kindly offered their home to us during our stay. It felt like complete luxury and we were moved by the generosity of people we had never met.
The following day we visited Peter’s new house to see how we could best prepare for his moving in, then a quick brunch and off to the beach. Peter had a kite surfing lesson, whilst we did our own thing
We had largely escaped any pre Christmas preparations but practicality intruded with a necessary trip to the city for Christmas shopping. This we enjoyed, the warm balmy evening, snowmen, Santas in cut offs, Christmas lights, carols and and a Christmas spirit amongst the shoppers and shop staff. It all felt a bit different.
Jane went off for lunch with some acquaintances of hers the following morning and Peter and I took to the beach. Later we met up for a trip to IKEA, the second for Peter who is discovering the cost of moving into new home on his own. Whilst it is supposedly furnished some of the furniture needed augmenting or replacing. His plan is to buy a place at the end of this tenancy so hopefully his purchases will be an investment for his own future home.
That evening we had been invited to a barbecue by Penny, a colleague of Peter’s and daughter of Tom and Joan, the couple whose home we had visited before the Cape to Cape walk. It was a typical Aussie affair, prawns, sausages and kangaroo meat, good wine, good company. Such hospitality.
On Christmas Eve we drove for approximately 40 kms to Serpentine Falls National Park. We attempted a long, steep walk to the top of a ridge where there was a lovely view. I struggled inI the full sun, stony track and steep gradient and announced I could go no further. I was happy to go back down to the falls, where I had seen people swimming, a very attractive alternative to the route march. Either Peter and Jane were being kind or they were equally happy to abandon the walk for the water. Either way, Peter and I jumped in, Jane took the photos and we had a lovely time, kangaroos and all.
More shopping followed at the B&Q equivalent and another visit to the new house. We had promised Jing we would cook for her but instead we arrived late after a trip to the supermarket and she did the cooking.
It was a good way to spend Christmas Eve!
Christmas day, hot and sunny. We followed the Australian tradition and headed for the beach with a rather superior picnic. We met up with some friends of Peter and absorbed ourselves into the beach community – Santa hats and good spirits. We stayed through until the afternoon then returned home for our Christmas dinner – vegetarian burritos. We found ourselves opening presents at midnight, I have no idea where the time had gone. A delightful, memorable Christmas.
We only had one full day left and I wanted to do the maternal thing – clean Peter’s new house properly and prune the shrubs before he moved in. Peter absolutely didn’t want us to waste our limited time left on this so we compromised with a two hour domestic slot. Then it was pure enjoyment; a walk along the river, followed by the beach for a wonderful sunset and the roosting of the parrots. Drinks at the beach and a final meal in Fremantle.We were sad to be saying goodbye to Perth and to Peter but were looking forward to the next stages in Vietnam, Cambodia and India. Our record of following natural disasters continued as all flights to Ho Chi Minh City, our next destination were cancelled on Boxing Day due to the typhoon moving across from the Philippines. We could only hope that flights would operate on our departure date of the 27th.