Monday 9 March 2015

A fitting finale

You don't often get a day off in this job. Apart, that is, from all those days at home not working or earning. Regular readers (ha!) will be familiar with my whingeing about crammed-full itineraries with not a spare moment to scratch your - well, whatever itches. Normally travel commission PRs squeeze as much as inhumanly possible into the itineraries they compile, to get the very best value from people whose air fares they've had to pay for. This time, though, I've been employed by the Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe PR people, who have treated me the same as the sculptors who are the whole reason that I'm here in WA, and that means that not only have I had free time, I've also been bestowed with the previously-unknown joy of a per diem. That's money, folks, for daily expenses - actual money in an envelope. It's a whole new world, truly.
So, today, with the sculpture trail done and dusted, I had a whole day free plus pocket money. What did I do? Not a whole lot, actually. This is my fourth time in Perth, so I've done my duty here already, tourism-wise - which meant I could actually be a tourist. Specifically, the free shuttle bus to the railway station, the super-clean and -efficient train into the city, and then just mooching - some shopping, an art gallery, a museum, a cafe, watching little kids enjoying the fountain in front of the old Post Office.... relaxing and absorbing the ambience. What a treat!
Then I left the laid-back vibe of the city centre to return to the bustle of Cottesloe Beach, which has been thronging all day with people here to see the sculptures. The beach was heaving, so was the Groyne, there were marshals helping people cross the road on the zebra crossings, and all those sculptures each carefully labelled 'Please do not touch the art works'? CRAWLING, literally, with children. Nice to see. As was the sunset, the climax of the whole effort for everyone settled in with rugs and picnics to watch it.
It was yet another day with virtually no cloud, so there was no daintiness about it. Instead the sun, dropped behind Rottnest Island as a blazing orange ball that dimmed the sodium lights on the Groyne, there was a green flash, and then it was gone, and what was left was an intense orange glow all along the horizon, everything and everyone else silhouetted. Really, it needed a soundtrack.
I watched it with a beer and an incidental companion to share the pleasant Schadenfreude of watching a Lamborghini right in front of us get a parking ticket, and then Il Nido supplied a crab linguini that fitted the bill just right. Cottesloe Beach has been just right too: make sure you visit. It's a real treat - and the sculpture's just the icing on the cake.

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