Feb 14 – Perth-Dunsborough Ride
After two days of clouds with occasional drizzle, Valentine’s Day 2014, also our anniversary, started with sparkling sunshine. It was a perfect weather for a 3-hour drive from Perth to Dunsborough which was to be our home base for the next 8 days.
When I last took that drive, it was over 10 years ago. And I was going in the opposite direction. I had just sold the Bolt Hole (property) and my car, which I delivered to a dealer in Busselton. From there, we took a bus to Perth.
A decade later, I approached the drive back to Dunsborough with both excitement and a bit of apprehension. What sort of changes will I find? Will the place look as magical as it was when I left?
We took our time. Our Blackboy (Grasstree) cottage in the vicinity of the Bolt Hole was not going to be ready for us till 3PM. So we got off the freeway and took the regular highway which used to be the only means of traveling this route back in 2005.
Our first stop was Mandurah. It’s a lovely town less than an hour south of Perth. I used to have an old friend who lived on the bay. She has passed away since then. Even though I was not really looking for nor expecting to find her house, we ended up there anyway, as if guided by a magical celestial GPS.
The bay in front of the house has changed. Where there used to be just the pelicans suntanning and fishing on a sandbar, there is a high rise development now. I quickly turned around and drove on to the center of town.
I was pleased to see that not much has changed there. The beach and the little stores around it were just as I remember them. Elizabeth and I took about an hour or so looking around. I also had my Flat White with whipped cream. Which I learned the Aussies call “Vienna White.” 🙂
After taking a leisurely drive along the coastal road of Australind, we entered Bunbury from the north. This town of about 60,000 was the largest community in the vicinity of the Bolt Hole. It lies about 50 miles northeast of Dunsborough. On clear day, one could see across Geographe Bay the lighthouse and the only white high rise Bunbury had back in 2005.
Bunbury is where I used to go for “major” shopping, such as to buy my bike. 🙂 And also some furniture for the Bolt Hole.
Now, I had trouble figuring out where I was. There has been so much development since 2005 that only the drag street remained familiar.
We parked in an underground garage where there was once an open field. Not knowing what to expect, we walked from there across the street and found ourselves inside an indoor mall.
“Yuck!” I said to Elizabeth. “This was once a lovely town with its own distinct culture. Now they’ve imported the (American) mall rats.” And all other crass retailing practices, especially on a Valentine’s Day.
I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Exiting on the other side, I finally spotted the town’s center as I used to know it. We spent another hour or so walking around and sightseeing, ending up at the lighthouse on Geographe Bay.
“That’s where Dunsborough is,” I told Elizabeth, pointing vaguely at a ridge across the bay.
Busselton: Emu Pie
When we were in Cambridge, England two years ago, Elizabeth fell in love with the Cornish pie (“pasty”). And I thought that the Emu pie would taste similarly.
I also told Elizabeth how I used to tease my Aussie friends that they ate their national symbols. 🙂 Both the Emu and the Kangaroo are a part of the Australian national crest (right). And on the menu in various restaurants.
We bought two Emu pies. Elizabeth ate one on the spot. She didn’t like it nearly as much as the Cornish pie.
“Oh, well,” I thought to myself. “You win some, you lose some.” 🙂
Outside, I took a picture of Elizabeth and a real live Emu.
“I ate you ,” she boasted as the pointed her finger at the bird.
As I was reaching for the camera, this is also where I left behind a jar of fig jam and a cucumber that we bought for tomorrow’s breakfast. Hope that whoever found them enjoyed them.
And then, it was time to traverse the last 16 miles that separate Busselton from Dunsborough, my second home for nine years.
Stand by for a story about what happened when we got there… on Valentine’s Day, our anniversary.
Importance of #11 Resurfaces in WA License Plate
By the way, on our drive from Bunbury to Dunsborough, I also explained to Elizabeth that once again we were given a car with a license plate that stands for #11 numerologically. This has been the case now in all three of our resident states.
To understand the significance of that, check out Masters #11 in Altzar’s life.