Feb 20, 2015
Returning to the Land Down Under - Australia/New Zealand Tour, February 2015
Patrick G. Jordan, viola
30 hours, 16,000 km and an increase of 50 degrees Celsius
That’s all it took to get us from Toronto to Perth, Western Australia. We arrived somewhat bedraggled but grateful for the warmth.
Thomas Georgi makes it Down Under!
Our first day here was a welcome recovery day, and lots of the group went out to the gorgeous beach suburb of Fremantle, about 20 km away by boat or train. I had hoped to go out to Rottnest Island, the western-most point of Australia. I wanted to see, among other things, the island’s indigenous marsupial, the quokka (more about the little beasts in a subsequent post). I hedged on the morning of the recovery day, realizing that I hadn’t touched the viola in a couple of days, and fearing that the one 90 minute period on that day when I might be jet-lag free enough to practice profitably, might be as I stood on the west coast of the island looking across the Indian Ocean with not much between me and Madagascar. Next time, I’ll see the quokkas…
Western Australian Botanic Gardens
A panoramic shot of Perth
On to the things I did do on the recovery day, rather than the virtually inexhaustible list of things I did not do. Up at 5:30 or so, I went for a long walk in town, in part scoping out a restaurant for dinner, which paid off well later in the day, as it was very nice. I also happened to find an outlet mall, which had a shop featuring very nice boots, which paid off well later in the day for them, as I ended up with less cash and more new boots than I had imagined possible.
The highpoint of the day was a long walk through the Botanic Gardens, the most interesting part of which was the Law Trail devoted entirely to the bushland flora of the region. The diversity of ways that various plants have adapted to a very harsh environment is astonishing, and the ways that the aboriginal Nyoongar people made use of that diversity is incredibly ingenious.
Western Australia Botanical Gardens
(For those who remember my blog from Japan, with the endless photos of drain covers, I found one featuring several images of the spirits of Nyoongar people… I seem to keep my sights low!)
Keeping sights low - a beautiful sewer grate!
Perth Concert Hall
Our first concert of the tour was in the acoustically excellent Perth Concert Hall. The hall has an official capacity of 1,729 and I don’t think we were far off that number. The audience gave us an extremely warm and enthusiastic welcome, which is a very nice way to start a tour! There is a point in the show, at the top of the second half, when we casually take our positions within the audience. Several audience members told me how happily they remembered our last visit and how much fun they were having.
As far as I was concerned, the concert went off without a hitch and the audience remained very appreciative. I only learned this morning on the way to the airport for a flight to Melbourne that the tech crew had a seriously rough go of it yesterday, with an exploding projector bulb and other difficulties. They once again pulled it out of the fire, as they have done many times. The news this morning made me think of my late father who used to report having seen graffiti at the University of Texas at Austin, in two parts. The first part, written in very large, bold letters read “IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS!” beneath which was meekly inscribed “Gee, I felt so much better before you told me that…”
Bobble-Head Bach in the set for House of Dreams
Tafelmusik tours internationally with the generous support of the