Thursday, May 20, 2010

Notes from the West

So... I'm in Perth.

The flight was surprisingly pleasant and time flew (pardon the pun) much faster than I thought it would. I assume half a xanax and two gin and tonics assisted in making it a good flight, but I was also fortunate enough to have noone sitting next to me, so after requesting the aisle seat at check in (in case I needed to make a quick exit), I was able to move over to the window seat without feeling confined and anxious. It's weird - I seem to get worse, or more anxious, every time I fly... You'd never believe I've traveled all the places I have when you hear me talk about how flying turns me into an anxious mess... The worst of it is the prelude to actually taking off, I think that's the most anxious time for me... I seem to calm myself down once the take off has been successful and there's no turning back - it's all out of my hands so I have to just go with the flow of the flight.

Despite the xanax kicking in fairly early, I managed to force my eyelids open long enough to watch Crazyheart. Becoming engrossed in an in-flight movie always helps me forget I'm up in the sky. I think being at the very front of the plane helped the flight feel a lot smoother too.

The taxi ride from the airport was another thing... whilst my driver was a pleasant chap, and quite chatty - asking questions about Melbourne in comparison to Perth and telling me he was originally from Bangladesh... we then moved on to talking about small bingles and larger accidents that he had had in the cab... not sure if that's the best thing to talk to your passengers about unless you want them to start feeling unsettled... either way, I contributed my five cents worth to the discussion.

The funniest or perhaps even ironic thing was that he proceeded to tell me how Perth cab drivers have to sit something similar to an exam when going for their cab licence to ensure that they know the city well enough and know the quickest routes from A to B etc... He seemed pretty comfortable with my desired destination when I first got in the cab and said 123 Hay St, Subiaco (the address of the gallery) and headed off with confidence. It turns out Hay street is MASSIVE and passes through several Perth suburbs. Of course, as someone who has never been to Perth, I had no idea of this, but after telling me he had passed his 'exam' and saying "yeah, yeah" when I told him where I wanted to go, I had assumed he might have some idea. We ended up a little lost as he and 'Tom-Tom' were in disagreement as to where we should be heading.

I ended up ringing the gallery as we were parked outside the WACCA and getting directions - we were quite a ways away from where we needed to be...

So - in a city full of one way streets, we were forced to take a much longer route than we had hoped. I had to laugh. He was a nice guy and I could tell he actually felt a little bit unsettled that he had gone the wrong way. We ended up in the tail end of peak hour traffic where he apologised to me and said he would stop the meter each time we were in traffic because he felt guilty. Bless.

We made it - finally - and he helped me carry the last of my paintings into the gallery. I think he even knocked a little more of the final meter reading, and as we parted I said "now we both know where 123 Hay Street is". Funny.

The gallery is a lovely space. It was nice to finally see the place that has been home to my work in WA for over a year now. Whilst it was good to see the show almost completely hung, it was also nice to walk away and take some time before coming back to see it all again at the opening.

I was tired when I got to my hotel room. Probably more so due to the 2 hour time difference. I though I might've enjoyed a sleep in, but despite being so tired, I still woke up on my Melbourne clock.

The weather predicts a sunny 25 degrees here in Perth today.... best get out and enjoy it!

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