Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A stranger in the Land of Oz

My sister's wedding has called me back to my hometown of Perth, Western Australia for a two-week burst of summer amidst the onset of German winter. The contrasts are clear: enroute to Frankfurt Airport, dressed in uncountable layers, scarf and hat, my train meandered along the green Neckar Valley, a gentle fog half hiding castle ruins and tall-roofed villages. Twenty-seven hours later my father drove me away from Perth airport past brown scrubby bush, a big empty sky, and stripping down to my long-sleeve shirt still left me sweltering.

I haven't seen a Perth summer (and it has barely begun) for five years, and the dry countryside made a big impression on me. These pictures show scenes along the Albany Highway, south-west of Perth, and are the landscape I yawned past four or five times a year as a child on the way to visit my grandparents: this time I sat with my camera poised, regularly asking my mother to pull over (in between anxiety attacks that she was driving on the wrong side of the road - I have definitely been in Europe too long!).

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