“Hey!” An older woman called out on my right. “Don’t push me!”
“I’m TRYING to walk!” A grumpy old man yelled back. Beads of perspiration dotted his bald scalp.
“So is everyone else.” The woman replied. “That doesn’t mean you have the right to push.”
“Aw, shut up you old cow.”
The woman laughed, incredulously. The old man continued pushing through crowded Barrack Street and into a father with a newborn baby in his arms, then he stepped on a kid’s foot.
“Don’t you trample my son!”
“Aw, shut up.” The old man yelled over his shoulder.
“Just because my son is little doesn’t mean he deserves to be pushed around and stepped on. Get some manners.”
Barret and I had come to Perth over Valentine’s weekend to see The Giants- two massive marionettes that walked the streets of Perth thanks to a French troupe called Royal de Luxe. The production was the highest-attended public artwork ever in Perth and it was the showpiece of the Perth International Arts Festival. Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the downtown area and at times it felt like the festival was suffering from its own popularity.
However, The Giants did not disappoint. From their costumes and props to their eerily human gestures- it was magical to watch. They stopped at intervals along their routes to do things like remove rain jackets, jump on cars for a ride, or take a cool sip of water. The diver had a glass plate on his helmet removed so he could quench his thirst with the help of a vintage fire engine.
When the massive crowd became too much to handle, Barret and I headed back to a loft we found on AirBnB. It was inside an old Salvation Army building in the heart of Perth’s CBD. We took a shower, changed into our evening clothes, and wandered over to William Street in Northbridge.
The neighborhood is packed with good restaurants and nightlife. It’s such a diverse area that within a few blocks we went from a back alley Kung Fu studio in Chinatown to a South African restaurant named Baby Mammoth which serves curry just the way my mom makes it- sliced bananas on top. Breakfast at a paleo cafe and a nightcap at the hidden Ezra Pound. Our Vegas IDs always get a comment.
Because the local university is also on William Street, we found a popular and affordable late night café. The Moon was filled with students and an instrumental quartet led by a micro-managing Peruvian. The music was pleasant, restrained, and unfortunately not loud enough to drown out the conversation behind us. “I like ketchup on everything.” Same person: “I don’t get it. How can you name a song with no lyrics?”
Barret and I shared a pizza, two glasses of the finest boxed wine, and settled into one of the many overstuffed couches. Around one in the morning we plucked ourselves out of our comfortable seats and went outside to hail an airport taxi. We had a redeye flight to Sydney and a full day at work ahead of us.
I had been feeling quite ambitious when I booked this trip. Barret and I packed a lot of walking and not a lot of sleep into two full days- but you know what? It was worth it. The Giants were stunning and the city did not disappoint. My only regret is that I did not have more time to spend in Perth.
About: Perth International Arts Festival
About: The Giants
How to get to Baby Mammoth: 2/305 William Street, Northbridge WA 6003
How to get to The Moon: 2/323 William Street, Northbridge WA 6003
How to get to Ezra Pound: 189 William Street, William Lane, Northbridge WA 6000