Tag Archives: music

Love is Blue

I don’t mean that in a negative sense. I wonder if whoever wrote the song ever saw the Southern Ocean? For, to see the sea at Esperance is to fall in love with blue. This is unlike any blue I’ve ever seen. Not the indigo-wash blue of Jodhpur’s houses, not the vivid blue of Perth’s beaches, but a deep sparkling blue that makes me think of sapphires and velvet, diamonds and midnight. So begins my visit to Esperance.

Blue View: Waves roll up from the Southern Ocean off Esperance

I’m hungry – a four-hour car drive from Kalgoorlie does wonders for your appetite, even if you are only the passenger. However, my friend knows where to find McDonalds. Yes, the golden arches have found a home down on Australia’s southern coast. My friend orders the lamb burger, and I opt for the fish. This is a bad choice. Lamb looks much better in a burger. If only I could eat red meat.

Later, as we drive down the road to the beaches, I spot my first emu in the wild. Only a silhouette, but still…! Do people eat emu meat?

We’re freezing – at least, I know I am. But the full moon over the bay is too good a photo op to miss. It’s not an easy shot though. Moon over the quay, moonlight on the waves. Click. Perfect. I could write advertising copy for Nikon.

Moonlight Bay: The full moon rises over Esperance Harbour

We’re exploring Cape Le Grand Natural Park and very grand it is too, in the French sense of the word. The weather is fine, and if we’ve missed the early morning kangaroos, we certainly haven’t missed the view. After much modest wriggling in the car, I manage to strip off stockings and walk down to the beach. I curl my toes into the satin-sheen sand. It’s softer than feathers.

My friend is taking photographs. We will have 500 shots before the trip’s end. It’s quiet. The beach is almost empty. The waves are shushing the noisy gulls. We’re so lucky to be here, to see this. What else would we be in Lucky Bay?

We spot kangaroos on the roadside on our way back. They are adorable. Ummm…people do eat kangaroo meat.

Between the Lines: Wave patterns in the sands of Lucky Bay

We are saddened. Over in the next bay a fisherman has drowned. I’m shocked and disheartened. The landscape that looked so beautiful is also desolate. It’s a reminder to respect nature. All this will still be here long after we’re gone. Suddenly, I feel quite insignificant.

We’re back on the road and headed home. I think I must be Spanish – or I might have been in a previous life. My friend, who is South American, is teaching me words for colours, numbers, and animals. Las vacas negras y las ovejas blancas en los campos. We cross fields of canola, bush-fire-burnt trees and sign posts for mine sites. Still can’t say all that in Spanish.

Life and Death: Burnt trees tower over newer growth

It is almost dark when we cross Kambalda – the home stretch, according to my companion. I’m tired but still enthusiastic. There’s this odd twitchiness around my mouth. A smile? Ah yes, now I know what this is. I’m happy.

Interested in the French version? Watch “L’amour est bleu” sung here.

For the many lovely photographs, I thank my friend, el géologo.


Listening to the Sound of Music

I had a Harry Potter moment. Or was it a Dr. Who encounter? I stepped into a phone booth and went down a flight of stairs into a jazz club. The tables in The Jazz Cellar are really sewing machine table tops – Singer does not mean sewing here. Food and drinks – BYO (Bring Your Own), glasses provided, very Australian. The musicians were probably not a day under sixty, but there was nothing wrong with their lungs. There was much enthusiastic dancing – not for me though (you know by now that I’m a dance hazard). The music was probably wasted on me because I only recognized “When the Saints Go Marching In” – the last melody in their repertoire, to the tune of which the band marched out. Still, a night out with friends and music is something to be appreciated.

My first taste of Perth’s music scene was an open-air concert at Curtin University’s amphitheatre. My friends were in lectures, so I was on my own this time. The Promise, a choir visiting from Newcastle donned London bobby hats and sang songs from the Pirates of Penzance. And then they sang Happy Together, taking me back to a time when my parents owned a record player. I went home and played it on the guitar for my flatmates and taught the Namibian geologist how to sing it. So happy together.

I’m still listening for the sounds of Perth’s music. It’s everywhere this Christmas –  red-hatted carol singers and scruffy guitarists are getting soulful at the corners of the business district. Justin Bieber is blasting through the overhead speakers in the malls. Snatches of rock and rap and hip-hop drift from the bars and clubs in Subiaco. Tonight I’ll be singing Christmas carols in St. Martin-in-the-Fields. This might be just your thing. I’m after something quieter. The soft strains of jazz that drift from a club as I stand under the Christmas lights at Burswood. The gentle notes from a distant piano in the lobby of the Intercontinental.


Still, my favourite of Perth’s music is more and less than these. It’s the quiet swish of the Swan River against the south shore at midnight. Leaves whispering stories of the breeze. Quiet laughter in the company of a close friend. Is this what the shepherds heard before all those angels started singing? Do you hear what I hear? This too is worth remembering, this music of the night. Have yourself a merry music-filled Christmas.

The Market at Manning

It’s not quite the same as an Indian bazaar, but the Saturday farmer’s market on the Clontarf grounds on Manning Road reminds me of weekends at home.  On Saturday morning my Dad will drag out the Vegetable Shopping Bag – a large tote bag that sits under a shelf in my Mum’s pantry. On a good day, he will convince my brother to go with him to Colaba market where they will buy fresh vegetables, fruit, and perhaps fish.

The market at Manning is not very different, but not quite the same. Parking is nearly full when my Chinese friend Joey and I arrive, but Clontarf is not Colaba and several elderly gentlemen are directing the cars to empty slots. The market is only open from eight to noon. The farmers have arrived in utes and the stalls are temporary. There are quite a few bread stalls, florists, and plenty of food. The bread looks lovely, but the prices would make you weep. The Koeksisters offer bratwurst (a Dutch/German sausage?) – my Namibian and German friends would love this. Joey and I settle for crepes. I’m having apple, cinnamon, and maple syrup on mine.

The Aussie Way: Keeping the sun at bay

There are craft stalls too, selling quirky buttons, wooden brooches, and egg-shaped candles as it’s the Easter season. An old man is playing Cliff Richard’s “Living Doll” on the guitar. One of my Mum’s favourites. Does he know I’m looking for a birthday gift for her? Unfortunately, there’s nothing small and light here that a) will fit into an envelope b) is cheaper than dirt c) will not be swiped by Mumbai’s postal service.

Market Music – A singer plays old favourites at the Manning Farmer’s Market

We spend a pleasant hour wandering from stall to stall. There are plenty of people about. Some of the buyers are serious bargain hunters. Others are just out for a morning with the family. I spot quite a few dogs – the kind that comes on a leash. You won’t see that in Colaba. When we finally leave, we are full of stomach and empty of hand – a little lighter in the pocket too. The guitar man is playing “Travelling Light”. He certainly has that right – and this never happenswhen my Dad returns from Colaba Market.