In Fremantle, “Freo” the port for Perth, we started looking for stamps for our postcards and the perfect beach and ended up looking for the tooth fairy. Along the way we found a delightful small city, some nice beaches, and great people. We also found a collapsed post office and a condemned bridge but no tooth fairy. Our quest continues.
The first order was stamps. Before getting on the shuttle bus from the cruise terminal to downtown Fremantle I stopped to ask one of the tourism volunteers about where to get postage stamps and shop for some other things we wanted before heading off across the Indian Ocean to Africa. It is a good thing we did. She told us that the post office that HAL had directed us to had collapsed six months earlier. She showed us where to find a newsvendor who sold stamps.
Once off the shuttle we stopped at a pharmacy and an eyeglasses place where at least three people from the ship were getting eyeglasses fixed. I had lost one of the nose pads from mine and they needed tightening. Then headed to the newsvendor.
We saw a shiny new post office in a storefront two doors down from the newsstand. The postmistress told us that they had just opened after the collapse. This was a three-year temporary fix until they repaired the historic old building.
She took out her phone and showed us snaps of the collapse and told us the story. It was a windy night, and an alarm went off in the post office at about a quarter past midnight. The person in charge thought it was because of the wind and decided not to go check. She would reset it only to have it go off again. The next morning the crew showed up at the back of the post office in the sorting area, which was untouched. When they opened the doors to the front, they were shocked, piles of rubble and no roof. The wall on the building next to the post office gave way and crashed into the cupola and roof of the post office bringing it all down. It will take three years to get the building safe and habitable.
At each stop we asked about the best beach in Fremantle. Some said South Beach, good sand, nice surf and clean. Others said dog beach, fewer tourists (but lots of dogs.)
Others said, “Bathers’ Beach,” good restaurants and a boardwalk but lots of seaweed. We went to all three. Dog Beach is an oceanfront dog park with, indeed, mostly locals, both human and canine, and a “stick library,” a box with sticks and a few stray balls you could throw for your dog to fetch along the beach and into the water and then bring back. It also seemed to be the lost and found with a few stray flip flops.
We waded into the water there but ended up at Bathers’ Beach for lunch and a stroll. At Bathers’ beach a man walked up and asked “How’s y’ur tucker, mate.” It was quite good. Later he saw us going through coins and came over to ask us if we were coin collectors. We said no but that we got coins from different countries for the tooth fairy to leave for our grandkids with a note on where she had gotten the coins.
“Well, Mate, you need a tooth fairy coin.!” He pulled out his iPhone to show us that the Royal Australian Mint had issued three different tooth fairy commemorative coins. You could get the coin or a package with the coin, a tooth brush, and instructions in dental hygiene. They also a coin mounted on a card that promotes coin collecting as a hobby. (When I googled “tooth fairy coin” I found several countries had issued tooth fairy coins). We thought this would be the perfect thing for the grandkids. The website said you could get them at post offices so off we went, back to the new temporary post office. The same lady told me that because they were no longer full-service office, they didn’t have any tooth fairy coins.
She told us we could not get to a post office that sold them and get back to the ship on time. BUT a coin shop had gotten a shipment, the post office delivered them, and it was close by. She left her post and walked us to the corner and pointed us in the right direction. Unfortunately for us someone had come in a couple of days before and bought him out, all 12 coins. Must have a lot of grandchildren.
We were skunked on the tooth fairy, but we did see a lot of Freo, with its classic waterfront buildings and a street named Cappuccino Strip (or so it says on the road signs and bus stops.)
Looking on the web we will be calling at least one other country that has a tooth fairy coin, so as we sail out of Fremantle, our quest continues.