I touched down in Perth yesterday for a week long conference. Some interesting observations:
1. The taxi driver that took me to my hotel was complaining about Perth being a racist city. I thought this was a rather strong statement to be making but I'm not surprised. The driver's comments were certainly consistent with the last time I had visited the city; back then, about 10 years ago, I noticed anti-immigration propaganda plastered on lamp posts. Unfortunately, this time round, I've already heard more racist comments in the two days I've been here compared to the last 5 years I have been living in Melbourne.
2. There are a lot more luxury brand stores in the CBD. My Western Australian friend says that this is a city full of cashed up bogans. I guess he may be right.
3. Tattoos are big in Perth. Guys here like ink blazened across bare torsos and chests (ala Ben Cousins).
4. The public transport system is fantastic. True, there was a strike on the trains the day I arrived but Perth has a touch-style card system that actually works (cf Melbourne's myki) and the trains actually seem to run on time!
5. The Art Gallery of Western Australia is superb. It's a small art gallery compared to most other State Galleries but it has an amazing collection.
6. The public aquarium is one of the best in Australia, rivaling the much lauded Sydney Aquarium.