We find in Perth a cozy holiday atmosphere similar to the one we admire so much in Portugal.
We ended up staying there for almost a month, totaling one year long trip around the world. During this period, we were part of several lives.
Mike Roach had moved from Sydney, looking for a better-paying job raising funding for NGO projects. Newly arrived, he didn't know anyone and needed company.
We found in the couple Merlin Eden and Ditte Strebel a true marital mystery of the city. Merlin's parents were from Denmark and lived in this village on the south coast of Western Australia that was home to mostly ex-hippies and other marginal souls.
We've always struggled to believe in the coincidence but, as the story has been told, Merlin went on a holiday with his parents to Denmark and there he met the Danish Ditte, who bewitched with ease.
She decided to move to Australia to live there with her fiance. They bought a small house in one of Perth's dreamy neighborhoods, Mount Lawley, in the middle of garden villas, arranged among shady trees. Merlin spent his time in the office devoted to his multimedia animation projects.
Alone, for most of the day, Ditte was still looking for a job that would match her qualifications.
All these characters had just arrived. All of them ended up overcoming the initial difficulties of adaptation and would soon share the famous perth host with millions of other newly migrated fellow citizens.
Australia's Opening to Immigrant Australians
Even if some of the descendants of the pioneer settlers continue to disagree with the over-openness of the Aussie nation, at one point the remote location of the big island and the vast desert domain of the interior were strong reasons the authorities had to address the obvious stagnation of the population. .
More than two centuries after the start of British colonization, the sixth largest country of the world it now has a little more than twice the population of Portugal (23.400.000), the 110th country, in terms of area.
These numbers, considered only acceptable, were only made possible by the intensive admission of emigrants with different origins. Perth, in particular, soon became aware of his forced retreat in Southwest Australia.
The capital of Western Australia is less than Timor, Singapore or from Jakarta than from Melbourne or Sydney. The closest city worthy of the name, Adelaide, is a modest 2104km away. No wonder, therefore, that Perth had to attract residents.
At the end of World War II, waves from dozens of European nationalities flocked in in search of a new southern life. Recently, the spectrum has broadened.
A new asian invasion has been consolidated as immigrants and temporary students from the Middle East and from countries like South Korea, Chinathe Japan, Indiathe VietnamThe Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Among others.
And even some African countries - with emphasis on the South Africa, Somalia and Sudan – are now represented among the 1.6 million people who make Perth Australia's fourth largest city.
During a train journey from Mount Lawley towards the center or a short walk through its streets, we detect countless exotic and disparate visuals and the same amount of dialects.
Among the turbans, saris, slanted eyes and skins as black or blacker than that of the marginalized Aboriginal Noongar – who before the arrival of the Europeans were lords of the region – or at the table of countless ethnic restaurants, the genetic complexity of this one can easily be seen. melting pot but also the advantages with which the city holds you.
In southern summer, in the good Mediterranean style, the sun warms the Australian Southwest every day. And although the Freemantle Doctor is almost always blowing hard, maximum temperatures are often over 35ºC.
Coming from the outside, we soon realized the importance of warmth and leisure. We found the city to be a kind of economic miracle that Mike and Ditte were also determined to be part of.
The Pragmatic Productivity of Lone Perth
Each year, Perth's GDP grows significantly faster than the national average, but the city shows little sign of commitment. It is true that the mirrored skyscrapers of the CBD (Central Business District) rise well above the predominant stain of ground-floor houses.
In general, the population seems more concerned with relaxing and having fun than with producing and making money. As in other parts of Australia, shops and services do not open until nine in the morning.
However, around four-thirty, the employees are already focused on ensuring a punctual closing, even if they interrupt customers' meals to do so, as they did to us more than once: “Sorry mate, it's time to go surfin'.
From the end of the afternoon, the shopping and service areas are deserted, with the exception of a few playful refuges where, as part of celebration for the recent stampede of jobs, sloppy executives collide countless mugs of beer.
Bars and restaurants in the center and on the long Esplanade remain open, overlooking the blue waters of the Swan River and the yachts and speedboats where the luckiest heirs, entrepreneurs and speculators explore the Australian Indian coast.
After Work, the Inescapable Ritual of Sport and Well-Being
Even before the obligatory socializing, some residents have the habit of spending an hour or two on the nearest beaches or simply playing sports.
The banks of the Swan become an authentic lane shared by cyclists, athletes and skaters. Right next door, the Jacob Ladder (a stairway that cuts the way to the heights of Kings Park) is the challenge chosen by the most radicals, including the always in shape Ditte.
When we walk through it, in the middle of jogging rush hour and like other conventional users, we have difficulty reaching the top such is the amount of masochists that go up and down until exhaustion.
Kings Park's lawns and panoramic balconies are, for many, the reward that replaces Jacob's biblical heaven.
With or without the contribution of sport, it is the general well-being of the population, in symbiosis with the financial health of the city, that makes The Economist magazine place Perth, year after year, in the Top Five worldwide for quality of urban life , something that also helps to attract thousands of new potential immigrants.
Australia and remote Perth have had the luxury of selecting them with exacting criteria.