Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just An Ordinary, Boring Weekend in Oz

Some people think Perth is a boring place.  At first, I didn't understand what they were talking about.  But after getting to know Perth and learning some of the many incredibly, amazingly boring things about it, I'm beginning to understand.

An uninvited swan.
Take this weekend, for instance.  Saturday afternoon Yvonne and I were at Point Walter (what a BORING name!) sitting on the grass enjoying a meal of beef Teriyaki and Thai green curry (ho-hum - such ordinary, everyday boring food) when to our utter boredom an absolutely boring Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) casually strolled right through the middle of the picnic area.  Two hundred years ago that would have caused tremendous excitement, since at the time the mythical Black Swan was believed to be, well,  mythical.  But today if you live in boring old Perth tripping over Black Swans everywhere you go, they just contribute to the overall boredom.

Cygnus atratus,  NOT mythical.  Quite boring, actually.
Not even venomous or anything.
Later that evening, we were down at Fremantle Harbour watching the boring container ships being unloaded, which they do here 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Yawn!  Over 26 million tons of remarkably dull goods pass through this port every year.  Then the dullest thing imaginable happened:  a transport ship from Kobe opened its hull and a bunch of ordinary Toyota cars started driving right out onto the dock.  About twenty wharfies then spent hour after boring hour parking hundreds of cars in a massively boring lot and then stuffing themselves into an ordinary minivan, driving back onto the transport ship and starting all over again.  This went on for hours.

On the bridge of HMAS Choules, facing aft, port side.
We know, because we watched the whole thing happening from the bridge of the soon-to-be-commissioned Navy transport HMAS Choules, a Bay-class landing ship dock purchased (in typical Australian fashion) second-hand on Ebay.  Ha ha!  No - they actually bought it from the Brits.  Second hand.

Well, at least they didn't pick it up on the side of the road somewhere or make off with it in the middle of the night while its owners were sleeping, which is even more typically the Australian way of procuring things.

This ship is so immensely boring that the sheer size of it stunned me into submissive silence.  It weighs 16,000 tons and is 580 feet long.  It has an enormously boring cavity right down the middle of it with enough space for 150 trucks.  That's a lot of trucks.

HMAS Choules in Falmouth drydock,
earlier this year.
To get an idea of what this experience was like, you should go out and find a parking lot big enough for 150 trucks and imagine putting the entire parking lot INSIDE the middle of a ship.  How does that make you feel?  Pretty darn bored, right?

Our fully authorized incursion onto the ship was courtesy of a friend who is an electronics technician in the Australian Navy.  He had just arrived on this ship all the way from Falmouth, England (Britain's deepest and most boring natural port) where the ship had been undergoing re-fit since August.  By the time they finally got to Perth, the entire crew was absurdly, ridiculously bored.  Perth has that effect on people.

The HMAS Choules was re-named for Australia's oldest living WWI and WWII veteran Claude Choules, who ironically died earlier this year in Perth (undoubtedly from boredom) at age 110.  He was Australia's oldest living man at the time of his death.  And he holds the World's Record for being the oldest first-time published author when he released his memoirs at age 108. This is probably how he got a ship named after him.  Well, that and his service in two world wars and 41 years as an enlisted man and NCO in the Australian Navy, of course.
December 10, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse at about
40 minutes before full occlusion.  Photo by
 Cpl. Marek Bubna-Litic, R.A.N.,
taken from onboard the HMAS Choules.

From our towering vantage point some 100 feet above Fremantle harbor, we could see every boring thing that was going on. In particular, the TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE that was happening that very night right before our eyes.  This is a scientific event that is so boring it happens only every couple of years (but twice this year, being a particularly boring year).

The overall effect it had on me was to make me so sleepy after watching it until well past 11 PM that I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.  But I finally understand why people say Perth is so boring.

It is because they are devoid of any imagination and lack even a passing curiosity about the fascinating place we live.


  1. Right on-show them how "boring" it is here

  2. so your incursion onto the ship was authorized? how boring!

  3. Well, we WERE going to conduct a commando-style raid on it but we couldn't find any ninja outfits that fit. (Those ninjas must all be really petit.)