We recently ventured down unda’ for the first time, travelling to the city of Perth on Australia’s sprawling west coast. The flight was a short 4-hour commute from Jakarta, but the difference in worlds here felt as if we were light years away.
Hello infrastructure! Is that you blue sky? Look, sidewalks! You mean we can communicate with each other using one common language? (no pointing…no signals…no drawing pictures?)
Sarcasm aside, it was great to experience 4 days basking in the glow of the developed world and the brilliant skies of Australia’s sunniest capital city.*
We took the sparkly clean and wonderfully efficient metro rail (oh, public transportation, how I’ve missed you!) over to the sea port town of Fremantle and enjoyed the day on the beach, the pier and strolling along the tiny town’s myriad of artist shops and local coffee houses. To my foreign eyes, the city oozed an eccentric mixture of New England vibes, a smaller San Francisco topography, distinctly British undertones and the general mystery of being in the land down under (♫ where women glow and men plunder! ♫)
So when we ran into a popular eatery that touted fish & chips and local Aussie beer to be enjoyed while sitting at the New England style restaurant on the San Fran-esque looking pier by the Indian Ocean, I wasn’t in the least phased at this cultural hybrid of a situation.
But I was surprised to find that the fish & chips meal was the best I’ve ever eaten. Being once a resident of London, I can honestly say that I’ve had more than my fill of fish & chips from various pubs around the city in various life situations. When I was feeling poor (which was always) I ate fish & chips. When visitors came to town (which was frequent) we ate fish & chips. When I was drinking pints (which was also frequent) I ate fish & chips. When I was studying (which was daily) I ate fish and chips.
And honestly. This one beats them all. The fried breading was light and fluffy and falling off a juicy, fresh white snapper that had been grilled in lemon and lime. The vinegar was tangy, the chips were salty and there were no “mushy peas” to be seen. Washing it down with our Victoria Bitters made us feel truly connected to an amalgam of worlds–delightfully those of the developed variety.
* Perth enjoys 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and was voted one of the world’s most livable cities.