Finally, I am free! Two weeks of joyous adventures with family and friends started yesterday, July 7th. Actually, we enjoyed a weekend in Freo and Perth last weekend, showing Erin and Tom around a few sights. The highlight for me was enjoying time at the Picasso to Warhol exhibit at Perth's Art Museum, all too short, but wonderfully sweet. The Jackson Pollocks and Piet Mondrians were most delicious viewing, as were whimsical sculptures by Matisse and the classic cubism of Picasso. I liked his Reclining Liquor Bottle very much. Australian artists were also vibrant and interesting, needing much more time to be appreciated properly. Then there was the dynamic exhibit by Vancouver photographer, Jeff Wall. I do wish we lived in the city so we could enjoy more of the rich culture here. A year in Perth would have been quite wonderful, but that dream will have to wait.
We gathered Alex Sokol from the airport after her 30 hour journey from Edmonton, poor thing. She seemed fresh as a rose, as only a teen could, but rest was in her agenda for a while. Gina was absolutely delighted to have her pal arrive! Back we went to life in the country for a final week of school. Kees boomeranged to Perth again on Tuesday to help Erin see Thomas depart for Canada. Then they headed three days' drive north to secure a campsite for our arrival. Gina and I did our best to show Alex a few sights around Narrogin, Williams and Fremantle before flying north to meet Kees and Erin in Monkey Mia. Most of these events in Perth have been graciously facilitated by Chook and Phil Melvin, who host our stays in the city and support us in innumerable ways. We can never thank them enough! They are the most amazing couple who treat us like family, going out of their way to make sure we have all we need whenever we visit Perth. Hopefully, they will find their way to Canada at some point, so we might make a small dent in returning some of their amazing hospitality.
Now we are camping in Denham, poised for a day of camel riding near Monkey Mia tomorrow, then feeding the dolphins that arrive at the beach each day like clockwork , waiting for tasty handouts of fish. We have a dive trip planned later this week, north if here near Coral Bay, famous for the giant gentle whale sharks that we hope to see along Ningaloo Reef. We spent our first evening sharing a glass of wine with the Syversons, another exchange family from Alberta who are also stopping in Denham for a couple days. I find it quite delightful that we will most likely meet many exchange friends as we hop and skip along this very remote part of Australia's west coast. We have a prime camping spot tonight, overlooking pristine aqua coastline of Shark Bay, with two daughters and a friend resting in swags under clear starry skies as I type. It is all quite remarkable, really. I pinch myself for a reality check and then try to settle my whirring brain to rest. Impossible, but here I am.