Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Datapoints Perth 04.

Subject: Scanning the Suburbs. Perth log Day 02.

I have a couple hours to wait before Calamariforthought and his partner arrives at about 2.30am. Going to meet them at the airport to save them the A$30+ taxi fare to their hotel. In the meantime I am wasting the time away in the Internet cafe. (Perth centre pretty much closes down at 6pm, with the notable exception of a 24-hour McDonalds.)


Reckon most human towns and villages are built around a nodal model. There is the town centre where the marketplace and specialised services can be found. And then there are the residential areas surrounding the centre, linked by roads or other modes of transportation.

With this assumption in mind, today was spent checking out the suburbs around Perth. The search pattern was the same for each of the suburb: Check out the suburb centre on foot, then drive in a circular pattern around the town centre to check out the residential streets. The impressions from a car on the road versus the impressions on foot can be very different.

There is no point posting the details of each Perth suburb. Too much information, too little relevance. Instead I will list the points of note for our generic town model. Repeat for each suburb.

Facilities and clues to look for:

  • physical size and layout (organic or pre-planned)
  • transportation nodes (train stops, bus routes)
  • groceries and raw food supply (Woolworth, Coles, etc)
  • prepared food supply (fast food, pizza places, etc)
  • medical, dental services, chemists (pharmacies)
  • bookshops (types of books supplied shows residents' interests)
  • empty or abandoned shopfronts (why?)
  • development and construction in progress
  • pawn shops, paycheck-advance shops (resident debt levels)
  • presence of graffitti and vandalism of public property
  • pet shops and pet supplies
  • specialised hobby shops (fishing, boats, gardening, etc)
  • adults shops, liquor stores (hey, I need my vices!)
  • specialised ethnic shops (clue to residents' makeup)
  • language and signs in shops (clue to residents' makeup)
  • types and age of vehicles in town centre
The following notes apply for all the suburbs visited. They are mainly on the east and south edges of Perth within a 20km radius (or about 30 mins, if connected by freeway). Did not have enough time to check out the northern suburbs.

Weekly rental for a 3-bedroom house is around A$175 to A$190. Studios and rooms go for A$110 to A$160. The futher from Perth, the cheaper. Modified by the distance to facilities I suppose. This is inline with the Australian Bureau of Statistics data previously mentioned in Datapoints Perth 02. Houses in the suburbs go for about A$300,000 to A$750,000 - varying widely. A note of interest is that there seems to be more raw land and development plots to be sold as compared to the more mature cities of Perth and Melbourne.

Parking is the suburbs are free. Most of the main streets have time-limited (2 hour to 4 hours usually) parking. Due to the large parking lots having to cater for a wide range of vehicles driven, I had no problems parking that tiny Suzuki Swift.

Of all the suburbs I visited, my favourite is Cannington. It has a huge town centre with signs proclaiming "Cannington City Centre". (Everybody wants to be a city!) Large number of stores with even brand clothes / linen / shoe / book stores and cinema and all the standard fast food names in the town centre. Railway station with park and ride in the two stations before and after Cannington stations. The residential area on both sides of the rail line look relatively modest (and diverse styles) without being posh.

Talking about posh reminds me. The southern suburbs of Bull Creek, Leeming and Willeton qualify as such. A blog reader mentioned that the immigrant Chinese like to stay in these areas. But even as a Chinese, I felt uncomfortable in these suburbs. The houses look like they came from a cookie-cutter mold. Most houses are freshly-painted with immaculately lawns hidden behind high hedges. The vehicles (high proportion of SUVs) are large, new, shiny and look freshly washed. And it is obvious most of those SUVs are status symbols because work vehicles are usually pretty beat up, dented, dirty and have tools hanging off or piled in them. I did not like these suburbs probably because there are not enough fuzzy edges. Feels way too sterile and standardised to me. A poor slob like me would definitely stick out out like a sore thumb.

The Asians in Perth seem to have blended in very well generally. Walking and driving around Perth counting heads shows an Asian face out of every 4 or 5 heads. Yet I have not seen any Asian enclaves. Even Northbridge (supposed to be the "Chinatown" of Perth) blends in pretty much with the rest of the city. Also of interest is the mixed groups. In Sydney and Melbourne, I see the different ethnic groups tending to hang out together. Around Perth, it feels more multicultural with "mixed" groups. I hear less non-English language around here in Perth compared to Sydney. Languages I could detect included Thai, German, Cantonese, Bahasa.

In terms of "disappearing" by blending in with the local population, Perth may be even a better option than Sydney or Melbourne. Probably because of the huge immigrant population. See Datapoints Perth 02. Everybody is different so nobody stands out. Even the timing and billing control software used in this Internet cafe is written in Bahasa Indonesia, with the counter manned by a lady with a Cantonese accent, and I am sitting next to a lady using VoIP speaking in German, and whole mix of different skin colours amongst the customers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manz! Im impressed! Yr so observant! Have you gone to Carousel yet? Fast Eddy's is 24 hours too! ..and you can watch midnight show at Carousel as well.. Tuesday is 1/2 price waffles at gelare. Han's cafe pad thai is good. Carousel is the biggest suburb mall in Perth, but you can try other suburb malls like Garden City which many people like. All suburb malls sell the same stuff basically. City is best for everything. =) Thursday is suburb malls night, close at 9pm. Friday is City night, close at 9pm. Try Utopia bubble tea at Northbridge behind gelare, Original aka red pearl milk tea in sgp with lychee jelly. Easy way bub tea is thicker than others. Utopia serves begetarian food. Maya Masala at Northbridge serves great North Indian Food--I go there often! Try Butter chicken, mango lasi and prata. Go to TAKA--A cheap great Jap restaurant.. lots of students go there! Try Teriyaki Beef set-5++ for small and 8++ for big! Yum!! They have a rest now in city, but u have to know how to walk. if not u can go to their mini stall at foodcourt metro at city. Try also Wong Hawker which is at Karawara..opp my school~ Try their Nasi Lemak and steamed chicken rice($3.50!!) really cheap in Perth.. Wong Hawker is a small lil rest by itself opp coles. They close on Tuesday. You cna get lots of Asian groceries and go to many asian restaurants at city.. its just behind those city shops... in btw northbridge actually~ haha city n northbridge are too close!! For clubs, try Ruby Room at Burswood.. u can see the casino too.. dresscode applies. Guys have to wear shoes to all clubs. Try other clubs like Paramount, Metros(Biggest club in perth!), Varga Lounge, margaeux's(Parmelia Hilton Hotel--best for Wednesday only!) Those are all Rnb/hip hop clubs, except for Ruby Room.. They have diff music for diff night, u can check their website.. Latest event coming up for all Singaporeans will be Mambo Red 1 at paramount club(Northbridge, just beside Varga Lounge.) Its on 17th March and Zouk dj sonny will be there. Ticket is 12 bucks at the door. Its a must go!! Its sooo fun and u get to see Singaporeans!! lots of them and me~ lol

January 25, 2005 11:30 PM  
Blogger sari said...

Ooops the above comment was from me, the sari party girl. heh heh~

January 25, 2005 11:33 PM  
Blogger C said...

Welcome! I love walking in the dead of the night here (except i do it in the suburbs). Mostly because you have the more or less absolute quiet and are free to oogle openly at people's houses, have a chat and breathe it all in.

The one thing that never ceases to amaze is how fragrant this city (loosely referring to the entire metro area) is. In more established areas the eucalyts and native plants just provide natural aromatherapy.

Anyways, enough with me gushing (have just been blissfully losing myself in a secret camp spot by the beach nicely away from people). Hope you're enjoying yourselves =)

January 26, 2005 12:25 AM  
Blogger C said...

Welcome =) I love walking around here in the dead of the night, except i do it in surburbia. What never ceases to amaze me about Perth is that it is such a fragrant place, especially in the older suburban areas where tall eucalypts and things are more established and people generally have bigger plots and lusher gardens.

Listen to me i sound like a bloody brochure.

Here's hoping you're enjoying your stay, and the Lotto Skyworks tonight among other things!

January 26, 2005 11:09 AM  
Blogger C said...

Right, my first comment, from 24 hours ago has just appeared for no reason (i thought it hadn't registered, hence the one below it today). Apologies.

January 26, 2005 12:06 PM  

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