Wednesday, March 18, 2015

1200 people a week can't be wrong

Every time I come to Perth, it's different. Well, not so much since the last time seeing as that was only about a week ago - but otherwise, the city always seems to be reinventing itself. It's not a new thing: many of the original buildings dating from the founding in 1829 were knocked down, as so often elsewhere, in the 1960s, to give precedence to the car. Not one of architecture's finest hours, plenty of those buildings themselves were subsequently demolished too, to pretty much a deafening silence, during the periods of boom that Perth's mining industry has alternated with comparative busts.
Though the price of iron ore has dropped considerably lately, people are still moving here in droves, and there's enough money in the system for another period of building to be going on, and it's impressive. Apart from things like moving roads and railways to return the city to the people, erecting lovely and varied public art works, converting previously neglected heritage buildings and putting up some super-duper new skyscrapers, there's the huge effort going on at Elizabeth Quay.
I saw it today out with Segway Tours WA (just the 7th two-wheeled outing for me, cough) along the riverside: here the river itself is being returned to the city, having been pushed aside, and there's going to be something for everyone there, even the wildlife. Up in the CBD and previously down-at-heel Northbridge, there's already a vibe going on, with laneways tarted up, international street art going on, trendy hideaway bars popping up, lots of restaurants and cafes - but now they'll have a waterfront too, and it'll be popular. They seem to be a sociable lot, these Perth people, and they enjoy being out.
It feels so prosperous here. Gold will do that, of course (you can buy a fancy one-ounce coin at the Perth Mint for around $2700), and diamonds, and uranium and even the currently despised iron ore. But there are other riches in Western Australia too - pearls, for instance, and scenery. They're next on the itinerary, when I fly up to Broome this afternoon to go cruising along the Kimberley coast. There will be blue, and orange, and white (that's the boat), and heat and sunshine, and fish and crocs. Other stuff too. Can't wait.

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