Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Very Important Visitors
Perth is currently undergoing lots of last-minute sprucing up because at the end of the month it is hosting a whole bunch of very important visitors. Homeless people are being swept up and moved along, a controversial new law was passed to temporarily give the police ‘special powers’ (The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Special Powers Bill), and various long-broken things are getting fixed. As is often the case with these things, the CHOGM visitors, including the Queen, will see a sanitised and in some ways idealised version of Perth.
One instance of this is the Big Aussie Barbecue which the Queen, her husband, the public and no doubt many hundreds of specially powered police will be attending. It is going to be an alcohol-free event so I suspect it will resemble few other Aussie barbecues ever held in the whole history of Aussie barbecues, or be anywhere near as entertaining.
I don't know whether we'll make it to Perth during CHOGM but we have certainly spent a lot of time there lately as we had a very important visitor of our own to take around to see the sights. My Mum was here for a week, camping in our half-unpacked and floorcoveringless house. On our travels around Perth we saw many workmen scurrying around rolling out lawn and building some somewhat surprising new gardens. We sniggered at a floral mural that spelt out CHOGM with petunias and panolas (fancypants pansies) and guffawed over a blousy floral City of Perth crest. These kitschy concoctions are springing up all over Perth.
Why I find these time-warp gardens filled with naff little plants so bizarre is because Perth and Western Australia look amazing at this time of the year anyway without this sort of twee horticultural contrivance. Western Australia has an incredible array of unique and amazingly beautiful flowering plants and spring is when they are at their best. People come from all over the world to see them and quite rightly so as they are breathtakingly gorgeous. Why the new CHOGM gardens weren't made containing these treasures is a mystery to me.
Western Australian wildflowers can be seen in their natural state in many places around the state but the easiest way to get a whizz-bang, action-packed experience of them is to go to King's Park in central Perth. I love it there at any time of the year but in spring it is quite simply fabulous. Mum kept saying "I had no idea it was so beautiful here!" Here are some snaps I took there last week.
Many of CHOGM's very important visitors will get to go to King's Park too as the Leaders' Retreat will be housed in a restaurant there - with the newly refurbished Victorian-style floral clock right outside.... But hopefully they will also get a chance to explore the park further and to see the wonderful, uniquely Western Australian spectacle that is King's Park in spring, as that really is a sight fit for a King. Or a Queen.