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Last Day In Perth

I woke at 6 this morning, La Serpiente curled up against me, sunlight streaming in through the blinds we had forgotten to close last night. Thankfully, my daughter went off to entertain herself and I got a bit more sleep before going downstairs to start the day. We packed and were out of the house by 10am, heading up to Wireless Hill, the highest point in Booragoon.

There used to be a 120m radio mast on the top of Wireless Hill. The concrete blockhouses that anchored it still remain, and so we could walk up the four flights of stairs to the top of one, looking out upon Perth until vertigo got too much. Then it was down the hill and down the road, back along Lee Chi Way to Kings Park, a huge grassy space looking down upon the downtown of Perth. James Blunt would be playing a concert there tonight, but luckily we’d be long gone by then.

We parked at the top of the hill, then walked down to the bottom, where a playground funded by the Western Australian lottery was situated. The kids gambolled amongst the woodchips, slid down slides and swung on swings, and then out of nowhere some of our neighbours from Singapore appeared, with child sized reinforcements. Thus we had a very relaxing three hours there, the children quite capable of entertaining themselves while I drank (disgusting) limited edition raspberry flavoured Coke.

Walking back up the hill, past the Rio Tinto Children’s Play Area (which sounded more fun than the lottery one, but which was closed due to the risk of fires when the lottery one was not) the children reached their limits, howling and screaming at our failure to carry them on our heads. The ravening beasts didn’t stop complaining even after we got them to another cafe and offered them food, but that is the unfortunate side effect of foregoing naps and running around in the sun.

Perth is hotter than Singapore right now, but much less humid, so we don’t notice the heat and instead stay outside long enough to get sunburnt. I’m not sure if that’s a net positive or not.

Driving back to the airport, I forgot which terminal Scoot fly from, and had to guess. Luckily I got it right – they’re at Terminal 1. I had remembered the confusing route to the rental drop off; in enormous white writing painted on a blue fence are the words “Car Rental Return” but that’s right next to two small no entry signs, either side of a road opening parallel to the fence. Somehow the eye is drawn much more to the road signs, rather than a large architectural feature, and so you panic and take a different direction.

It wasn’t as if we could take the car back anyway, as we still had to fill it up with petrol. But Google Maps was not our friend, misbehaving in my wife’s hands. In my peripheral vision I could see her turning my phone this way and that to look at the map, and it was only by a minor miracle that we ended up at a petrol station. Much in the same way that this happened the last time we flew out of Perth. So good to see we remain consistent.

Apparently we’d scraped the rim of the front wheel of the car. Hooray for an insurance policy with a zero-excess. I’m pretty sure we ground the edge off the rim of the last hire car we had in Perth as well; again, it’s good to be consistent. Unsullied by extra cost, we gave the car back, walked to the terminal, and spent an hour in the check-in queue, thirty minutes walking to the gate, and then boarded just before take off. It was all efficient, one way or another.

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