Aussie life’s a beach (parking spot)

Well, here I am in Perth. Back again after 10 months away in Sydney, or near enough to it. A lot has changed in that time: most notably the rents. Ours went from $185 a week to $300. Should have stayed in the Blue Mountains. It was only $275 there.

It’s good to get away from a place like Perth sometimes. We had the luxury of 10 months to recharge the batteries, so to speak. There’s so much more going on over east, which is hardly surprising, given that most of the population live there.

I’m originally from Sydney, but have lived in Perth for 17 years. Returning east was not really a big deal. I’d done it briefly twice in those 17 years: to work on the Olympics and in sports coaching. I think when you grow up in a place it’s easy to slot back in.

The difficult part is heading west again. Sure, it’s less crowded. But the attitudes over here ARE different. There seems to be a “redneck” type of culture, which is probably a remnant of the early mining days, when things were rough and tough. My impression of Perth is that it’s a “tradesman’s town”. Mostly all I notice on the roads are utes driven by tradesmen. That’s hardly surprising, given the amount of housing construction going on.

That brings me to another aspect of life in the west – the driving,. Later.

But back to the seamier side of life. My wife has noticed the differences this time. I’d always say to her: “it’s just not that safe over here”, and she’d say I was paranoid. But she’s come to see that there’s an undercurrent of violence and aggression that’s not as evident as in Sydney. It’s more the level of petty thugs and mugs running around over here. There is what appears to be a disproportionate number of bashings in Perth, as we’ve witnessed in the past two months. I’ve no other way to prove or qualify that statement, other than to say you have to experience it. Just travel on public transport, or do some extensive driving in both places and you’ll understand.

For example, why is it in WA so many people drive around drinking alcohol? I hardly saw this over east. And why are the drivers here so impatient and aggressive? People generally don’t like letting you merge: they have to be ahead. If the speed limit is 60, they’ll do 70, if it’s 70 they’ll do 80, and so on. Indicate at roundabouts? What’s that? I’m a bit more picky than most when it come to driving, given that I ride a motorbike.

But please don’t interpret this as a whinge. I’m just commenting on the differences I perceive between east and west. Anyway, there are some great benefits. As I always say when I’m at the beach: “you can always get a parking spot”.


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