Friday, May 16, 2008

End of the world

When Aldous Huxley was traveling in Belize back in the 1930s, he said that “If the end of the world had any ends, British Honduras (Belize at the time) would certainly be one of them.”

To me my end has always been Perth in Australia. Probably because in my mind, Australia is already on the tip of the map, and when you look at it Perth is even more difficult to reach from wherever you come from. So when I received an email from my friends asking me if I wanted to spend a long weekend in Perth, I jumped on the occasion to see what the end of the world looks like at least once in my lifetime.

Let me tell you that this end of the world is not that bad. It’s an end full of wineries, long white sand beaches and gorgeous food. Time is slow under a winter sun, close to the earth tempo blending get up, watch, eat, drink and go to bed.

Now I did not went to the end of the world by myself, maybe too scared of not coming back or maybe tempted to show what the end of the planet might be to other, I went to the end with 10 others wallabies wannabe. After a short flight away from Singapore to Perth on a Wednesday night, half of the end-of-the-world team drove to the nearest hostel.

The shock was not only temperature wise but also landscape wise. After a flying jump away from the red-dot, horizontal distance became larger than my usual. Long straight lines forced me to put my deep thinking look on and my brain started again imagining what could be far behind the horizon line.

Perth is not the real end of the world but much more the airport of the end of the world. If you want to experience you have to drive a but more down close to the south pole and loose some time on the road. At the end of the road you might find a lovely village called Margaret River where the local or tourist lost souls gather together and make this place a departure destination for exploring the wonderland around. To my surprise, this end of the world is also a land full of delirium plantum named wineries. Who would have thought that the end is such an heaven land. Wine needs to have a moderate weather with mild winter and moderate summer, almost a perfect weather for a small clothes closest aficionados like I am.

The main difference that I saw when compared to my middle of the world called home land of reference alcoholic liquidity (Bordeaux) was the color of the soil. All the pictures collected over my years of imaginary Australian dreams were true. The soil is bright red, granular and light. The flying dust over the horizon line gives you a constant blurry vision of the land. Almost if the land had decided to not be only the ground but wanted to be free. The end of the world is a mixing land where soil sticks to your shoes, socks and bottom of your pants. The closest experience that I could reckon was when I tried, unsuccessfully, a long time back pushing the ball with a giant racquet on a clay tennis court. My socks even after many washes, stayed the same red bright, red blood color which by the way impressed many of my soccer teammates.

That would be nice if this end of the world would be only winery based, but this place smell sea as well. The blue sky, white sand and green shores stripe along the border of the land proposing a continuum horizontal picture that no camera on the planet can capture in it entire spirit.

This end of the world had once in the past a pier for final departure for whose who were not afraid to fall behind the tip of the map. But since the return of some of them, no one uses it anymore, leaving the pier sinking in the sand to maybe one day disparate totally in the green sea.

If from that side you have no option, you might want to look inland to find the answer.On the other side of the shore, looking into the eyes of the outback, giant Tingle trees (up to 25 meters high) surrender the village of Margaret and its River.

Lake Cave

Around three hundred and fifty caves are hidden within the limestone ridge underneath the area of Margaret River that runs from north to south. Most of the caves are not suitable to be opened to the public. However, the four major caves are located off Caves Road, the country road that runs through the area from Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin in the south, and are clearly signposted if you wish to stop by. If the decide to drop down one of them, you be surprise by the effect of the global warming on the caves at the end of world.

Barrel Race

No real Australian experience could be taken seriously without a stop at the pub, where you can enjoy local beers with local (giant) company. If suddenly your are place is the shadow it’s probably because a giant Australian has moved between you and the light. Don’t you worries, soon (s)he move to the washroom for a stop over recycling.

Margaret and its River do not offer a great deal of urban entertainments, except if, like us, you go off season for the annual wine festival. You will be taken from wineries to wineries in buses, tasting the best local red, white or pink wine for your own pleasure. You can also try to enjoy western delicacies for lunch in middle of wine grapes, or you can also enjoy the great view from your cottage, a comfortable bed, a large table full of food homemade cooked on the BBQ surrounded by your friends, a MindTrap game around the flaming chimney, a late poker in house tournament or a final pool competition.

Let me tell you "cobbe" that this end of the world is an "awesome" place to spend some time with friends, wine, food, beach under the sunshine.

I am now wondering what the other end of the world looks like.