Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Freedman Down Under: Perthpective

Okay, due to a bit of a technical hitch, photos are not going to be inserted, but instead I'll throw in some links as I go along, and invite you all to check the little album here. Thanks to Wifey for most of the pics.

Now where were we?! Ah yes, down at the Bros House in Perth. Cue endless Facebook status updates involving words I could shoehorn Perth into, ie Perthpective, Perthetic, Pertheption,
suPerthtructures, interperthonal skills and so on. Oh how I laughed.

Anyway, after being fed, watered and cleaned by Momma Bro, including superb home-made schnitzel, we nipped into town for Warren's stag do. Of course it is not right to publicise the details here, but I will say that Wifey and I had managed something like 9 hours of sleep over the previous three days, so were just a tad exhausted. Nothing that a 10 minute dremml on a lav stool in a pub couldn't sort out. Then on to The 'Deen, a crazy pub/bar/club thang with 6 rooms and a courtyard, each with its own bar and different ambience and musical theme. Massive amounts of accessible WA fleisch but it was stinking hot, and as mentioned, we were knackered, and besides, it being a stag do, we knew there was a guarantee of nude lewd behaviour to come... I am saying nothing except I have never seen anyone wear bifocals like THAT before.
Next day was spent napping and fressing, with a stunning home-made curry for Fri night dinner, then an early night and general raiding of the Bros' oversized fridge, then we hopped on a train down to Fremantle to catch the 11.30am last ferry to Rottnest Island. We arrived at the station at 11.28, legged it 400 yards in 2 minutes in the 37 degree heat, and just made it. Turns out eating kangaroo gives you extra special springy-step roo powers.

So Rottnest is just lovely, Caribbean-style white beaches and turquoise seas, and funny little marsupials unique to the island, called
quokkas. They're really adorable, but apparently you're not supposed to touch them because we might give them some nasty diseases or vice versa. Instead, people limit their contact to quokka soccer (allegedly). We got there a bit late and also a bit hot to be cycling around the place, so hopped on the island bus, found a beach, and duly had a good shlump and a nice swim. This was followed by a pretty decent fish and chips, some more strolling and shlumping, and a very nice glass of sparkling at a beachside bar, before reboarding the ferry back.

Landing in Fremantle, we headed off for a little wander around town. It's a bit more old-skool than Perth, very quaint, and we wound up at a lovely rooftop bar and restaurant, on the terrace having yet another glass of something good as a sundowner. As this was a taboo-breaking trip, we went a bit nuts on the seafood platter... again, quite tasty, and glad I've tried all these things once, but the part I liked the most was the only kosher white fish on the dish. Washed down with some bloody good chardonnay.
A quick rundown of the treif experience, for those yidden who will never cross the line:
- Oysters are a real delicacy that looks and tastes just like someone brought up a real good one from the back of the throat and flobbed it gently into a large shell full of seawater.
- Crayfish wins third prize in the ugly seafood contest, behind cuttlefish and Moreton Bay bug (more of which anon). It's like a lobster without the amusing whiskers, castanets and French accent. Tastes okay, but proves my longstanding principle that anything you have to use a burglar's tools to get into is just not designed for us to be eating.
- Octopus is like a piece of rubber tyre braised in a fishmonger's mop-bucket. Mussels are not too bad, but I am really bothered by the little orange cube thingy that attaches the bit you eat to the bit you don't.
- Eating prawns made me realise how accurate the (vegetarian!) flavouring of Walkers prawn cocktail flavour actually is... in fact, the real thing has a "delicate" (ie bland) taste, and a weird texture that grew on me a bit, as prawn pops up in SO many things down here.
- Proper shellfish bouillabaisse, replete with scallops, mussels and prawns, jolly nice soup, could take or leave the treif isles flottantes, but no doubt added plenty of stocky goodness. Also this was more of a consommé, whereas the kosher version is a proper thick soup using the flesh of biblically certified fish. Prefer the latter.
Back to the Bros, night's kip, up next day to raid the fridge again, then off to Warren and Amy's wedding, taking the family's spare Beamer. Scorching hot day, pushing 40 in the shade, best men in black suits, Wifey and I just about staying alive in white shirts and cotton/linen trousers, luckily meant a bevy of hot girls in flimsy summer dresses, including the incredible Marie, photos of whom are available on a pay-per-view basis only.
Decent grub, wedding cake, then on with the bride, groom and friends to a nightclub and casino, where a local ditz saw 2 of us more burly lads march in wearing the uniform white shirt and tan trousers, and asked if we were from the police. Needless to say, the response was "every breath you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you". Wasted on her.
Quick shout out to Laura, who is adopting Independent Love Song by Scarlet as her special song. A little excerpt of the lyrics

I'll show you how to take me
Go down go down
And I'll show you how to turn me
Right on right on
And I'll show you how to touch me
Right on right on right on
Right on right on right on
Now it's fine that many men will look my way
And I'll take them home and let them show me the way
And sure I'll like a few but I'll leave the rest to play
I'm doing it a different way
I'm doing it a different way

Hmmm, maybe a little racier than she had in mind. Back home in the Beamer, more sleeping, then off to Margaret River ("the Marge") on Monday morning. Leisurely potter down some pleasant coastline, including some waterside grilled fish at Mandurah, then into wine country.
Through gritted teeth I agree to stay in a youth hostel, albeit just us and a cute Dutch girl in a room, and the place came with volleyball, footy, swimming pool, a pervasive whiff of pot, and proximity to the main drag. Ate at a really fab little place called Ze Arc of Iris, go before it changes hands and goes downhill, or buy the place. Particularly worthy of mention was the slow-cooked Moroccan lamb, like a spicy yet sweet chulent. Naturally we washed this down with a decent bottle of local shiraz cabernet, delightfully named "Skuttlebutt". Seriously Freedmansmum... I've sent a bottle home just to prove it.
Morning, headed off on a wine-tasting extravaganza with a very camp guide who took a bit of a shine to us. To be honest, after full tastings at four wineries, a brewery, a liqueur factory, a cheese shop and a chocolate factory all in one day, broken up by a fat deli lunch with the most extraordinary red pesto, I was anyone's. Particular recommendations are:
- Brookland '02 cab sav merlot, about to run out, so other than down in the Marge, they are now only selling their '04. The '02 was so good I am sending a crate home before they make the switch.
- Flying Fish '07 rosé, actually tastes of toffee apples, would be a totally amazing dessert wine, or to drink by the gallon on a summer's day.
- Windance '04 cab merlot and shiraz... in fact this is a blind recommendation as we didn't get to the winery, but each of these won about a dozen top awards, so I've freighted back some samplers.
We finished the day by driving up to Dunsborough to stay with the lovely Brett, Amy's brother. He has a very cool villa with old-fashioned pool table, close proximity to the beach and of course a stack of wineries. Off to a very good curry dinner with him, cruised through some decent sav blanc on the starters and another red on the mains. Left the rosé in his fridge.
Back on the road the next day, picking up Dutch girl en route, stopping off for more fresh fish in Mandurah, arriving in Perth early arvo (see how native I am?!), one last stop at the Bros, where Momma Bro tried to feed us AGAIN. Then to the airport where Wifey got his first experience of the business lounge. For an equanimous, spirally-dynamised, meditating, backpacking artiste, he seemed to get really stuck into le snobisme of going through those sliding glass doors and riding the escalator up to above the seething masses and into air-conditioned bliss. Certainly made short work of the buffet bar. Washed down with - you guessed it - some decent sparkly.
Next stop, Brisbane...

No comments: