Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dolly vs CHOGM

The end of October saw Perth host CHOGM. The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting is a summit meeting of the heads of Government from all Commonwealth nations.  This meeting is held every two years and was even graced with the presence of Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, (as head of the Commonwealth).  All normality ceased and the dignitaries and royalty came with an entourage of police 'borrowed' from other Australian states.

If you ask me, the police staffing was a little melodramatic.  Roads were blocked and unblocked constantly over a seven day period.  There were police with white waving gloves dancing like Michael Jackson on standby at all traffic lights.  Snipers on roofs, and no doubt undercover agents everywhere talking into their wrists.

Perhaps I should of felt more proud or patriotic that this event was being held by Perth.  In my mind we are still on holiday, I presume that by 6 months I will be referring to 'residence' as 'home'.  For now, ummm "Congratulations?" Seriously it is a government meeting, (guess who is not into politics), not the Roman Empire.  Nevertheless, I will however revel in the bonuses.  CHOGM has definitely come with a slip stream of positives.
  • Every street was pristine, clean, all gardens manicured impeccably; it was fit for a queen.
  • Ferry rides are free.  (I had to explain to princess the difference between ferry and fairy; I think she was a little disappointed to go across the Swan River in a boat instead of a free ride on Tinker Bells back.)  I love a good bargain.  I am not a penny pincher, but I must admit that I have noticed that the dollar does not go that far here.  Cost of living on the west coast is definitely more expensive than the east coast of Australia. In retrospect, I am convinced that Milan was even cheaper.  It appears that Perth is similar to the living expense of Oslo, Norway.  Splendid!  Apparently Cottesloe Perth has the average house price of 2 million, the most expensive in Australia, have a feeling we will not be extending our property portfolio anytime soon!
  • Care for a free ride?
  • Another positive is if I get concussed, say by a fall or by walking into a pole, (if you know my coordination then you would be aware that this is very likely), then I would instantly be able to identify where I am.  How you ask?  With the helpful assistance of my Hollywood  "Perth" sign. Gigantic white letters letting all of our visitors know where they are.  I am even able to look out of my window and across the river to see the sign, this helps with any confusion after a few glasses of wine.  Flowers and hedges were even molded to spell Perth.  Surely all of these people saw the destination on their plane tickets?
  • Free BBQ.  Woo hoo!  We didn't actually go, it was supposedly a casual BBQ with the queen, come along, get a sausage on bread. We witnessed it from our apartment as we had our own BBQ with beloved family and no one trying to crowd surf over my head to touch the beloved crown. It's estimated that nearly 100,000 people turned up at Perth's foreshore to farewell Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh as they completed their Australian tour. We had one guest.  So perhaps I am not as popular as her highness. Apparently she did not eat a sausage, the queen does not eat in public; downing a sausage is not particularly regal I guess. Let it be known that I ate a sausage, and I was not afraid to squirt tomato and BBQ sauce over it! The Queen left Australia that afternoon, boarding a jet in Perth, luckily it was not a Qantas flight as its CEO Alan Joyce announced the carrier had grounded its entire fleet effective from that day. Can you imagine the Queen on a standby flight, napping on bench with cabin bag as a pillow???  Awkward...
  • There are more police out and about then members of the community, so presumably there is little chance of being pick pocketed on this particular weekend.  We witnessed what can only be described as the most peaceful protest on earth.  Up and down the mall, the police led and followed protesters by horse back.  It was all very civilised, apart from the horse poop left behind, shouldn't they have a poop bag for that?

Big horse....

Equals big poop...
CHOGM managed to book out the majority of Perth for the week period.  Between press and entourage, things were pretty busy.  Can you guess what attracted more hotel bookings?  Dolly Parton, yup, you bet your cowgirl booties!  How does one begin to describe an icon like Dolly Parton? Singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress, philanthropist, businesswoman; this mighty talent’s list of credentials is worth every ounce of admiration she receives.  Oh, and by the way, she has really big boobies.  So huge in fact, that Perth was literally booked out the days surrounding her concert in an attempt to get a sighting of the booming bosoms.  Dolly verses the queen.  You decide.  Would you prefer the creator of a song about working 9 to 5, or a head on a coin who has never worked 9 to 5?
Ummmmm, we come for the music, honest???

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