The simple reason we wanted to go to Perth is to see what the city looked like with people in it. We had been in Perth in 2018 and it had people but was largely under massive reconstruction. In 2020 we were in Perth, the ghost town. Initially we were told we had to go directly to the airport after disembarking from Amsterdam and wait for our plane there. But our plane flew out two days after we left the ship, so the authorities relented and let us stay in a hotel. By then the city was beginning to lock down. It reminded us of some of the scenes from the post-apocalyptic film “On the Beach” set in Melbourne, where radiation from World War III was moving south and people were going into their homes to die, leaving fewer and fewer on the streets.
We were in Perth two days. Day one we wandered around the city, not many people were on the streets but some. Restaurants had blocked off tables, so parties were seated more than 6 feet from each other, although that was not really an issue because not many people dining out. On day two we were told the city would close at noon. We were the only ones at the hotel breakfast.
We went out that last morning. The only people we saw were going into stores to buy last minute stuff they may need during the sheltering in place phase at the start of this new and scary pandemic. We wandered empty public spaces along Queen Elizabeth Quay, no restaurants open now, and in the deserted Supreme Court gardens until we had to be back in our suite where we stayed until it was time for us to go to the airport. The cabbie worried how he would make a living, he reckoned we would be his last fare for a long time. The airport was shutting down soon after our flight to Dubai.
Se we wanted to see what the town looked like, alive and full of people. Our plan had been to disembark at Queen Elizabeth Quay, walk around a bit through the Supreme Court gardens and through some of the walking streets and then go back to the Quay for dinner outdoors and to watch the sunset over the Swan River. We planned to take a train back to Fremantle later in the evening.
While walking along the edge of the gardens where I was studying a sculpture that I had seen before and wanted to take a better look at (It looks like 5 fountain pen nibs jammed into the earth with Aboriginal designs etched into the metal) we met another couple from the ship. They had taken the train in from Fremantle earlier and were heading back to the ship. They told us that the train service was shutting down at 7 or 7:30 for track maintenance. (Although we later found that there would be a substitute bus service.) They had learned that when they boarded the train. Since we got to Perth on the ferry from Rottnest, we didn’t hear about the early train service suspension.
So we altered our plans, walked to the Perth station through the pedestrian streets and skipped going back to Queen Elizabeth Quay for dinner at sunset.
On our walk we saw a bike counter. Each time a bike passed on the bike it ticked up a number, showing the number of bikes passing that day, and year to date.
We caught a beautiful the sunset in Fremantle as we walked from the train back to the ship.