Internship in Australia (Chapter 10— Kings Park and Botanic Garden)
I have already skipped ahead of time and focused only on the work journey in the last couple of chapters, so I thought it’s now a good time to update on other aspects of life here as well. (Traveling, to be specific, since that’s probably the only thing we do except working and daily life routines.)
On the weekend after we visited Caversham Wildlife Park, we went for a good change of atmosphere and visited Kings Park in the city of Perth. I used Google Map to navigate to the park with public transport. However, it led us to the back entrance instead of the front one. The park is actually quite large, but on the back there’s nothing much to see but bushes and trees. It could not be help, however, so we need to walk the path around the wide area of park to get to the front and the famed Botanic garden. We noticed that some people brought their bikes and encountered some biking around the park. It must be fun to do. The weather was actually getting colder than weeks before, so it was quite a pleasant time to stroll around.
After we finally walked through the park and got to the front, we turned right and paid a visit to the Botanic garden. It is a section of the park that display some very beautiful gardens encompassing several exotic or endangered plant species. (Local here, but exotic for us.) There is a walk trail around the garden called the Boodja Gnarning walk (Living off the land), passing many highlight places in the park. The name came from the Nyoongar people’s language, the aboriginal people living around this area since the oldest time.
We walked along the path and find the Mt. Eliza lookout, where we could see a breathtaking panoramic view Perth city and the Swan river. There are also information on what can you see and the history of the area.
We continued our walk along the path to the next highlight, the glass bridge. First of all, for all you adventure seekers there, please take note that the glass bridge is not actually all glass. Only the sides are made from glass to give a clear view of the scenes, while the floor has steel plates. Some plates also feature indigenous arts as well.
The bridge is not that long or elevated that high either. It just provides a little shortcut to the next hill without walking down and up again. On the bridge you can also see a good view of the river from a different angle, but since the botanic garden is right up in the river bank you can see it from almost anywhere nonetheless.
After that the path split into two tracks, the male one (longer) and female one (slightly shorter by skipping some points). I guessed this is reflected an aboriginal culture where male and female have their own separated duties and won’t talk to each other about them. We all took the longer path though, since we have a lot of time to spend here.
At about the end of the garden where the path started to turn around to lead us back to the beginning, there is a place of reflection. Basically it is a place for you to sit and see the view and think about something. Maybe reflect on your life?
The path back led us through more bushes and trees, before finally reaching the Pioneer Women’s memorial where there is a statue, and pond and a fountain that periodically shoots up water several meters high in the sky. Since it was sunny that day, a little rainbow occurred every time it did.
By then it was still pretty early in the day, and we need to meet up with my advisor from Thailand in the evening. She flew from Sydney to Perth after she went there to give a lecture in the Vivid Sydney event (a very famous event, I wish I have a chance to be there.) She would like to take us all for a dinner, probably Japanese food. I love Japanese food. She said she will meet us at Kings Park in late afternoon, so we need something to pass the time. It was getting cold and windy up there on the hill, so walking around probably was not a good idea anymore.
I spotted a cafe nearby the front of the Botanic garden. (Not that it’s hard to spot, since it was packed with people eating and drinking. We just didn’t notice it before since we came from the back of the park.) The cafe was already packed with people drinking and eating, and after looking around we found it too tempting to skip. So we settled down there, ordered some meals and teas, and just sitting there talking about random stuffs to pass the time. A good warm cup of tea is all you need when you are facing the cold winds of winter in Australia. (At least it is not as cold as some parts of Europe.) I also ordered a bowl of baked tuna with chips to share with a friend, because I didn’t want to eat too much but food portion here is rather large.
We sat there for a very long time, asking the waiter to refill our pot with more hot water so many times I bet he already remembered our faces. When my advisor finally met us there after taking a stroll around the park herself, we still continue to sit there and had a little talk for a while. It was getting colder (and darker) however, so finally after a couple of hours of sitting in a cafe we finally moved out. One of my friend spotted a good place that we can take a picture and see the view of the city, so we walked there first to have some group photos taken. The temperature was dropping and the winds getting stronger by then, and we had a hard time trying not to shiver to get a good stable photos.
There is a bus service running from the park to the city centre and then the airport. However, as it was Saturday it was not frequent and we missed the one we should have get into. My friend actually even ran to the front door, only to see the driver gave her a smile and drove away. I guess he need to keep the schedule, or maybe he is just really mean. Come to think of it, maybe the latter.
Nevertheless, we need to wait for the next bus to come. Since there is only one bus route going down from Kings park to the city centre, it means we had to wait for about 15 minutes. Thankfully, 15 minutes was tolerable although we did shiver in cold from time to time since it was getting really cold up there when the sun started to set. At least transportation here is reliable. I would not like to wait for the next bus in Thailand, since you have no idea how long it will take before it comes. Say goodbye to your time management. We took the time to look for a good restaurant to go while waiting for the bus to come. We decided to give the Poppo Korean and Japanese restaurant a try, because of its convenient location and good reviews (with not so expensive price too). Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos there, maybe we were too hungry for that. This can be proved by the bill, which totaled to over 200 dollars for six people. I doubt you often use that much on a mid-range restaurant unless you are really hungry.
We ought to return to our houses after that. My advisor studied in Germany back in the day she was still pursuing her doctoral degree, however, and if you know anything about Germans you know you can’t complete a meet-up with them without a beer (or maybe two). We walked around the area to find a bar we can sit, which take a while because it was already late and Perth is not exactly a city of nightlife. We ultimately found a place, which I can’t even remember the name since I was not paying attention. We sat there and had a drink and talked about random stuffs, including politics and social science. (I am really curious why people talk about serious topics when they drink.) We did not spent a long time there, however, since bus services are harder to find in late night. So we said goodbye to my advisor around 9 PM and then separated into our own ways back home.