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Perth is my sunny hometown mistress…

I’ve just returned to my island home, my tropical paradise, from two event filled weeks in my hometown Perth.

I flew into town after a night in Bali with friends and kittens and got to the airport to be met by my big sister and my bro in-law. It was nice to see them, it had been, as it has always been of late, far too long between visits.

a beautiful Perth sunset

I went to Perth for one reason, to be there to greet my handsome new nephew when he was born. And truly no words can express the joy and the love that banded our family together when we were lucky to meet him for the first time. Perfect pink lips, blue baby eyes, little fingers and toes… nothing less than absolute perfection. He is the little lion man, the one who greets you with dazed eyes and bubbles on his lips. He curls up like a little frog on my chest and sleeps soundly his chubby face buried into the warmth of my skin. He breaks my heart with love for him, he fills my world with hope and joy. He’s made a mark on all of us, Zaiden, a mark that will grow and flourish as he does. It saddened me to leave him, to know that he will grow and change and I won’t be there to see it. He will learn to smile and to laugh, he will learn to crawl and learn the faces around him, and for his first year my face will not be one of those. But the moments I got with him I will cherish until I make it home to dance with him in the lounge room again and fill his little world with bedtime stories of adventures from far away.

Perth gave me many good times with my closest of friends, lots of beer, lots of laughter, lots of card games and silly adventures into the night. We ate junk food and we talked of times we’d shared as teenagers, I cried with laughter at stories of times that I’d missed. We reminisced about friends that are no longer of this world with sadness and with joy. I woke to find a friend with stubby holders on his feet and coins in his hands. 

I spent time at the beach in the wind and the sun and got beat down by the violent waves and had the skin removed from my back by the sand. I felt the course Australian grass, shrivelled into whiskers of pale straw under my feet. I drove through the quiet streets of Perth at night staring at the city that I grew in, a city that quietly hums like a computer chip holding memories that reveal themselves through familiar sights and sounds. I shared meals with my family, I cooked exotic dishes for the people I love as I wet their appetite with stories from lands far away. There were times when I sat in the sun with a pint of cold beer and a best friend next to me, when I wondered why I ever left this beautiful sunny city with its stunning white beaches and sapphire sea.

But then I returned to this island, this village, so far removed from the place that I grew up, a culture so different to the one that is ingrained in me, and I remembered why. Because I can. Because adventure is in me…

I left Perth in the dead of night in a Taxi to the airport. Alone again. The sea of people who had been there to meet me and to greet me during my time there all sleeping soundly in their beds in their little houses dotted across my sleeping hometown mistresses streets. I boarded the plane and I said goodbye to the place where I grew into the person I am as I watched its city lights disappear below me.

I arrived in Bali at 8.30am and I collected my bags and headed for the sunny tourist beach of Kuta where I secured a cheap hotel for the day so I could get some rest and a cool shower to cleanse me of my travels and prepare me for the trip home later in the day. I slept, I showered, I sweat and then I braved the winding lanes of Kuta until the beach spread out before me like a summer picnic. Colourful and sweet with too many choices to fill me up. I shopped and I drank cool drinks with friends at a beach bar. I then wandered back to my hotel with hawkers grabbing at my clothes and asking me to buy their trinkets. Calling out ‘Sunglasses, Sunglasses,’ ‘Transport? Transport Madam?’ or ‘Movies, Films with George Clooooney,’ or ‘Bracelets for a lovely lady!’ and amongst it all I heard, ‘Condoms, used, one dollar.’ I laughed, you have to give him credit for his originality… though I certainly do hope he was selling something a little more desirable, I didn’t stop to find out. A man in a doctors coat and stethoscope went up to a group of young western girls and said, ‘yes? Doctor?’ They squealed and walked away. Kuta, once a village of locals, now cluttered with more white faces burnt by the sun and balded by the beaded braids that jangle around their necks than the kind brown faces of the locals.

In the afternoon I checked out from my hotel and climbed aboard an Ojek(motorcycle taxi), rather precariously, and did the ride back to the airport. Hot and tired I fought my way through the untamed lines to pay my departure tax, my hair matted with sweat and my eyes hollow with exhaustion. I waited in a crowded room and watched children yelling at each other and racing through the sea of people, damp and ebbing slowly backwards and forwards.

I got on the plane, I slept, I fought waking all the way to Bandung. And then I arrived. Back in my home state. Met by the beautiful friendly face of Sara at the airport. A surprise, a moment of relief, a seven hour drive bumping through little streets, up and down mountains in the dark, and then there we were, all of sudden, eventually, on our narrow street, amongst the coconut palms, out the front of our beautiful little island home.

Home. Sweet. Home.

Here I am. What will become of us now?

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