I'm writing to you from Perth. What is Perth like? It's like Riverside, California existing in Kelantan.
Perth is very cold in the early morning (need a sweater), hot at midday, cool in the evening and at night. Nice to stroll by the river at sundown.
Shops are many. Shops open 9am - 5.30pm. It's the off-season now so it is nice to be here - few people, not congested, nice to stroll. Boots are at 4 places: Betts and another down Hay St Mall. There's another fur boot (ugg) outlet at London Court and somewhere else. Long jackets for ladies (petite) are lovely but heavy and with big buttons. Lighter plastic jackets are AUD$190-AUD$200. Lots of pretty hats for kids. Lots of souvenirs, Made in China mainly, very few are Made in Australia. Very pretty souvenirs/gifts for the loved ones.
Halal food outlets are few. Insan's Cafe (Murray St, Perth) serves good Malaysian-Indonesian rice and kuah with delicious terung goreng, curry puffs, ayam rendang, etc. Turkish Kebab (Broadway Fair, near UWA in Nedlands) sells very tasty kebab, large serving - delicious with BBQ sauce.
Travel is easy with Transperth. Use the Blue CAT or Red CAT for free travel within city limits. Use the Family Rider ticket for WA school holidays and for weekends (AUD$11.00 per family, free travel anywhere, whole day). Family travel for 2 adults and a 14-yo is AUD$4.00 x 2 + AUD$1.60 for the small one = AUD$9.60 for 2-hr unlimited travel for 2 zones. Perth-Freemantle by train is AUD$11.00 (Family Rider, during school holidays/weekends) or AUD$9.60. Perth-Mandurah is the same as for Perth-Freemantle. Take the free service bus at each town (Freemantle. Mandurah) - we took both the Red CAT and Blue CAT. I love the trains and buses - there are good for sight-seeing.
Met a young Muslim man, our neighbour's son, Faisal, who helped to update about the current situation of Perth Muslims and Rivervale Mosque (it is now the Islamic Community Centre). The toilets facilities here are good. The houses around the mosque have all been demolished long ago after I left Perth in 1989. Only the mosque remains there and the name has changed from Rivervale Mosque to Islamic Community Centre. A high brick wall stands behind the mosque. Nothing else is there, just dry grass and sand.
Met a man at Perth Mosque who updated us about the mosque extension - almost ready, quite big. Perth Mosque is at the corner of Beaufort St and Robinson Avenue, close to Brisbane Rd. Here, toilets and prayer spaces are good and well laid out. There are 2 dry fountains, one in the front courtyard and another at the rear courtyard. Very nice to stretch out and breathe in fresh air. Peaceful place too. Front garden has rose bushes and a lime tree. The front gate is locked after hours but left unlocked during office hours. The rear gate is left unlocked outside prayer hours.
Met a Muslim Blue CAT bus driver, Faysal, who explained about the buses to us and informed us of the Halal food outlets along William St in Perth.
Affandi says Kailis at the boat harbour in Freemantle is Halal as they do not mix the oil, etc. So we ate at Kailis. Tersilap order a Family Pack of traditional fish and chips for AUD$27.00 (5 fish fillets) and had to take home a bag of 2 fish fillets and lots of potato chips. I forgot that the Australian "Family Pack" is a feast! LOL. But very nice with salt, pepper and vinegar.
Lots of fresh fruits, fruit juice and salad greens in Perth and Freemantle. Good thick bread and preserved olives - Black Mission Olives and Kalamatta Olives.
There are quite a number of small fruiting olive trees in Freemantle. There is one near the old gaol. I think they are replanting for landscape or other. Very nice and good alternative to green the environment.
Going out now to UWA to drop off my books at the Reid Library. Returning to Hay St Mall by noon to shop for boots and mobile phone for Yusrina.
Catch up later.
Writing from The Melbourne Hotel, Room 204, Perth