Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wednesday night date night

Last Wednesday night Jason and I went for a run after work, popped home for a shower (essential after running in 37 + degrees), grabbed a picnic and then headed off to the ballet at the Quarry Amphitheatre. The Quarry Amphitheatre is a magnificent open air venue which was created from an abandoned quarry at Reabold Hill (not far from City Beach). Reabold Hill itself is the highest natural point along the Coast (apparantly 90 - 100m high so not very high in Wellington terms at all). But once you get to the top, the park offers panoramic views across the City to the Darling Range. The quarry amphitheatre is an ideal setting for theatrical, musical and other events.

Reabold Hill was once known as one tree hill... hmm another thing that the Aussies claim as theirs (hehehe).

Here's a shot from the website (we weren't allowed cameras but I did take a few sneaky shots...):

Here's a shot as the crowds started piling in... I sneakily took a couple of photos. I didn't want us to get kicked out.
Jason showing just how excited he was about being at the ballet. Even the cheesecake and wine didn't soften him up :-)The ballet itself was part of the Perth International arts festival an unfortunately it was a little hit and miss, it was a series of 6 small sub shows, some were good, some bad, some weird and some I just didn't understand. But I guess that's what happens with dance? Right??

Unfortunately it cooled off a little during the evening and dew was falling on the stage and making it a little slippery for the dancers. You could see that they were very tentative and between each dance they were trying to dry the stage which was taking ages. So we had a bit of waiting around and seeing as we had been up at 4.45am for swimming it dragged out a bit.

The ballet was performed by the Western Australia Ballet company and the best show was the last of the evening... which was good finishing on a high note. It was inspired by the emotionally powerful music of Mozart's Requiem. The dance was very moving, as stated on the program - one man's contemplation of death, an ending yet also a beginning:
The rest of our week was pretty standard... a bit of swimming, a ride on the weekend, a spot of shopping and some long hours at work. We did have an experience on Saturday, the day started off with watching the start of the Rottnest Island swim (I will blog about this later this week). After this we went for a run and had then planned to go to Harbour Town (cheap clothes). I left the apartment to go to the mailbox on the way to the car and Jason assumed I had the car/house keys. But I didn't and we locked ourselves out of the house. Now we are on the third floor in an apartment building and there is no chance of Jason being able to climb up the outside of this building... although he did try.

It made us realise that we pretty much have no one to call on here at all (apart from the landlord)... while our unorganised landlord was searching for a spare key we were stuck outside in what ended up being a 40 degree day. We were hot, tired, dehydrated and not very happy at all... 3 hours later our landlord saved the day... hmmm not the best Saturday at all. After that experience, we treated ourselves to pizza by the river and gelato on the beach before heading home for a DVD night.

Thats all for now, we are now in our countdown for our NZ trip! Just two more work weeks (which includes a publc holiday -yay).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cirque Du Soleil: Dralion

Late January Jason and I were lucky enough to go to our second Cirque Du Soleil in 6 months. Dralion was on in Perth and Jason's parents gave us tickets for Christmas.

Cirque has set up a massive tent in the middle of langley park (on the edge of the swan river). They even laid concrete down on the park!!! Pretty serious infrastructure for it really.

is the fusion of ancient Chinese circus tradition and the avant-garde approach of Cirque du Soleil. The show's name is drawn from its two main symbols: the dragon, representing the East, and the lion, representing the West. Dralion derives much of its inspiration from Eastern philosophy with its perpetual quest for harmony between humankind and nature. Suspended in time between the past and the future, Dralion is a celebration of life and the four elements that maintain the natural order: air, water, fire and earth.
The music, colours and tricks were all amazing. I think this on was far better than the one that we saw in Vancouver. In the Bamboo Poles, scene (below) six men manoeuvre long poles symbolising fire. The artists demonstrate a keen sense of precision and synchronisation as they keep the poles 'in flight' overhead while performing acrobatic feats on the ground.
Here is the dralion itself. A blend of the traditional Chinese dragon and lion. In a dynamic and energetic tumbling sequence, the artists come on stage on wooden balls which they roll under their feet and on which they perform somersaults. Five dralions perform acrobatics around them.
This girl below was AMAZING, this single hand balancing act is performed by a young girl who, although slight and fragile in appearance, astounds with her strength and agility. She balances herself on a cane on one hand for an improbably long time, constantly changing positions. Only rarely does she touch the ground.
From the moment he steps on stage, the juggler (below) captures the audience's attention. To a stylised choreography that makes the most of his incredible flexibility, he incorporates a fast-moving juggling act with hints of modern dance. His incredible precision and mastery of juggling are evident as he juggles up to seven balls at the same time.
A couple, intertwined, flies over the stage in a long band of blue cloth. Within the cloth, they perform various acrobatic figures that demand great feats of strength and flexibility.
Skipping is a children's game familiar to everyone, but the skipping rope takes on a new dimension in Dralion. As long skipping ropes beat time, the artists between them perform flips, make pyramids and even form a three-person-high column.
Defying the rules of gravity, fearless aerialists bounce off trampolines using the futuristic backdrop both as a diving board and landing pad. They cascade perilously through the air performing spectacular stunts at a dizzying pace.
All in all an amazing night!! A totally awesome Christmas present.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sand bar walk

On the weekend we found and put a deposit on a new TV as ours is getting pretty old now and I have been promising Jason a new TV for a while now. While we were at the shops I managed to find a really cute summer dress as well. Its been ages since we have been shopping so it was a nice treat to get something new. Jason decided that a bottle of bourban was just as much a treat so we were both happy.

You will remember from our Freshwater Bay posts that there is a sand bar out in the Swan River. After our shopping Jason and I decided to drive round the other side of the river (via Fremantle) and walk out on the sand bar. It is located at Point Walter and this is an awesome place for families. There are bbqs, trees to shelter under, shallow water for kids to play in, grass, sand, a wharf to jump off, a playground and lots of action on the Swan to observe (sailing, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, the ferries, kayakers and swimmers).

Here is a panoramic view from halfway out the sandbar.
It was really hot the day we decided to do our walk (hmmm starting to sound a little repetitive I think) but there was some cloud cover which is not that regular an occurance.

Here is a shot of the sand bar from the car park. The tide was in a bit so our walk was through water for some of it. When the tide is out you can get right to the end without walking in water. It was not a problem walking through the water though as it was a very hot day and very unusally humid. We are generally pretty lucky in Perth to have low levels of humidity which makes the heat more bearable.

The sand was so hot, it was burning our feet. Jason didn't want to take his jandals (sorry thongs) off... and yes, Jason is wearing his togs... whoops, thats bathers/swimmers in Australian!!!!

I thought it was about time that I got on the other side of the camera for a change.
The water was SOOOOOOO clear and there were fish darting about everywhere, they were way too fast to capture but I did get some cool shots of jelly fish.

Jason checking out the tiger moth flying past... which I didn't get a shot of as I was taking photos of him hehehe
Had to do the signature shot, its been a while.
SO by the time we walked out and back and jason patiently waited while I took a number of shots of the jelly fish an hour had passed and we got reasonably sunburnt.

Jason sweats LOTS here... hes not crying in these shots, that sweat from walking... very slow walking as well.

We are getting used to the heat, me more than Jason I think and we are getting better habits around drinking replacement drinks more regularly. Apparantly February is usually the hottest month so we are loking forward to that :-). The hardest part is the hot overnight temperatures, sometimes it stays around 30 during the whole night. To combat this and to get good sleeps we have moved our bed into the lounge so we can take advantage of the air con.

Thats all from Perth. Till next time.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Random sightseeing

A few weeks ago I decided that we needed to be doing more sightseeing so we headed off for the afternoon. Perhaps we should have stayed at home this time :-)

Our first stop was Lesmurdie Falls, if you do a google search on these falls some of the things that come up are "The spectacular Lesmurdie Falls is a must see!" and "The Lesmurdie Brook flows through the centre of the park and tumbles 50 metres over the sheer face of the Darling Scarp."

Hmmm spectacular and tumbles are not the words we would use, mind you we are used to NZ rivers and streams. So we got there and the first thing we tried to find was the water, it was like a Where's Wally cartoon.... very hard to spot.

Here is a shot of the "Falls" from the lookout... can you see any water?

Ohh there it is... just a trickle! Perhaps not the spectacular falls that we were expecting...
And considering it was 38 degrees that day Jason was not impressed with the 10 minute walk to the lookouts. Again... try and spot the tumbling Lesmurdie Brook in the shot below!
So after the Falls I didn't want to head home... I have this fascination with trying to make sure we are doing things all the time which is frustrating Jason. But I do want to make sure that we have fun and see lots of things. Fun is not the word Jason will use to describe this outing...

Our nest stop was Araluen Botanic Park. It was now nearing 40 degrees and no surprise but the park's parking lot was empty, not many other suckers were planning on walking round the gardens in this heat. But I was not to be deterred and off I strode... and poor Jason followed, trying to hide from the sun. We arrived at the front gate and Jason asked the lady if the $4 entry fee was worth it.... anyway to cut a long story short I figured (quite rightly) that Jason was not that keen so we pulled the plug on the gardens for this day trip.

But still we didn't head home... instead we decided to go and see one of WAs finest dams... hmmm coming from a hydro station dominated country with some great dams I should have known that a WA dam was not going to be that exciting. Especially as it didn't look like it had ever released any water what so ever!

What made the dam sightseeing even worse for us was that we parked (unknowingly) in the bottom car park and had a 35 min uphill walk to see this dam (self proclaimed as a modern engineering feat). I wasn't doing so bad in the heat but it really took it out of poor Jason. Here he is at the top. Check out the sweat just rolling off him:

Looking particularly impressed with our walk...yeah right...
He probably lots about 3kg in pure sweat this afternoon!
So out of three we have pretty much 3 misses on this trip. I didn't even take a photo of the dam is was that uninspiring! I asked Jason what he thought of the dam and this was his reaction, I think that it says it all really: