The heavens had mercy on me. After being subjected to sauna conditions at work the entire week, I got to enjoy a rare bout of Summer rain. Despite the rather accurate weather forecast here in Perth, I brought my family out anyway. No, there was no need to stay indoors just because the place did not have any covered link ways, or much covered car parks at all. I was lucky (old) enough to live life without all these luxuries in Singapore. In a country with much higher rainfall, dealing with rainy days were part and parcel of life. Besides, we had the luxury of owning a car here. Mobile covered linkway.
After visiting the land and dancing around the bricks and pavings on it, we dropped by a shop to get some fruits and bread to complement the food we brought for a picnic. While driving off, I searched for a random nearby park to have our breakfast at. That was how we ended up at Altone Park. We had breakfast while Albany played in the play ground. There were 3 groups of children with Albany. 2 Asian boys with a mother who spoke Mandarin, 2 Aussie girls and another 2 children with parents who spoke Korean. The children played and shared facilities. It was easier to co-exist when there was more space per person. That was the reason, from my observations, why people generally still treat one another nice enough on roads, public places or in the suburbs. The higher the population density, the lower the tolerance people have towards one another. Thus, it is probably a place like NT to have less friction among people to a city like Sydney.
We decided that it was likely that we would get caught in the rain so we planned our exit strategy. Jen was to move to Ugly Green to feed the baby. Albany and I would join them after Albany finally finish up her jelly. They made it to the car before the rain started falling, leaving Albany and I stranded in the little shelter. All other families packed and ran off quickly, causing Albany to urge me to do the same. "No, Albany. Let's wait for the rain to stop," I told her.
That would be the first time we were caught in the rain. We might as well enjoy the experience. Albany wanted to touch the rain so I let her. Soon we cuddled tightly on the bench like silly koalas, cracking nonsensical jokes about the rain. Albany commented that we were the only people left within the area and she was right. Everyone had disappeared out of sight. Even the birds had taken flight and fled the scene to take shelter at a better place elsewhere.
The rain didn't do any harm at all. Not only it cooled down what might be another warm Summer day, it kept the flies at bay too, leaving a pleasant few minutes for us to enjoy alone.
Before long, it was time to return to the car to check out Jen and baby. Rain rarely last more than a few minutes here, except for those odd thunderstorm once in a blue moon. If you have a few minutes to spare, it is actually a better idea to wait for it to stop than to run through the rain.
We made it to the car without getting wet and moved on. Earlier, I was surprised to see so many markets in that region advertising on their community newspaper. The competition there was much stiffer than the southern region that we currently live at. With higher competition, I could really see a big difference in pricing, while everyone was fighting for their share of market capacity.
So we drove to a place 5 minutes away to take a look what the fuss was all about, since they advertised fruits and vegetables at a price I would never find in the south. It was a place called Benera Fresh. We were surprised to find many cars at their yard but was lucky enough to get one immediately. The shop had a hippie looking business signage which mentioned they carried organic stuff in their shop.
Well they had grapes at a good price. They didn't taste like those famous "lychee" grapes or something in Swan Valley. I was told those grapes tasted like lychees. These didn't. Instead, they tasted like ... grapes .. and since they were firm and fresh, I helped myself to a nice portion.
After I moved to Perth, nectarines became one of my favourite fruits because the ripe ones simply taste divine. During the nectarine seasons, I would buy them regularly to enjoy during those warm afternoons. They would be affordable at $3-5 per kg so I couldn't resist getting some of these at that price (look above). Hope the quality was good. That was the whole point of trying them wasn't it?
Too lazy to cook, we decided to eat out for the first time in months. Jen said since it was my birthday, I was "king" and got to decided. So I got her to decide and she chose KFC over Hungry Jacks. The KFC was one of those typical joints peppered all over Perth. They were tiny but functional. We were the only walk-in customers when we entered the place. I noticed a LONG queue of cars at the drive-thru behind the shop though. I bet I would get my food before any of them, really. That was the difference in culture over here. In fact, I almost could not locate the main entrance of the KFC from the car park. There was also no foot path leading to it nor an entry point among the hedge abutting pavement to save walk-in customers a detour. Even walk-in customers were expected to drive, park and went through.
It was worth repeating that fast food joints here provided no free sauce. Most customers would not pay for sauce anyway. They are mostly takeaway customers with gallons of sauces at home to complement their food. Tourists from Singapore will undoubtedly have a gripe. That's the way it is for now.
Albany refused chicken several times after being offered by both Jen and I. It might be the second time she ever dine in a KFC joint before. The first time was when we took Tucky to have a quick bite and a tabao for his meal-less plane ride before he flew home. Back then, Albany was barely two years old and ate nothing but mushrooms and hashbrowns offered by Tucky. Until now, Albany does not recognise the KFC brand. I suppose that isn't really a bad thing. I actually had my first KFC meal in Singapore when I was in primary school. I still grow up laden with cholesterol. There is no hurry for such things really.
That afternoon, I enjoyed a 3 hour nap after we reached home and woke to a birthday cake that I told Jen not to go through the fuss to make. Little Albany seemed to enjoy that tremendously. That was good enough a birthday, falling on a Saturday for the first time in forever. With the temperature reduced to 20s, there wasn't much more I could have asked for.