Minted!

I ended up in another new room when I got back to the Witch’s Hat, this time sharing with an Irish and an English girl. They went out about the same time I went to bed, but I slept rather soundly and only heard one of them doing her best to be quiet when she crept in at I don’t know what time.

Fortunately, I don’t think she realised I’d stirred as she undressed for bed. Nice bum! I hasten to add that it was pretty much near-darkness and I didn’t realise what I was seeing until it was too late to get my camera close my eyes.

At 6am, the same girl was crawling back out of bed as she had a flight to catch back home, poor sod. She was, again, as quiet as could be but it didn’t matter as the bin lorry arrived as she was packing. Ever heard three lowly paid council workers emptying several wheelie bins full of glass bottles? It’s loud. Even I couldn’t sleep through it.

After breakfast, I got talking to Margaret the Irish girl in the room. We decided to wander down to the Mint in town which I’d been planning for about 6 days. It’s definitely worth the visit if you’re in Perth. It’s the oldest currently functioning mint in Australia, though it produces bullion bars and coins rather than general currency. All that is now made at the new mint near the airport.

If you do go, check any kind of discount card you may have. They take a lot, including YHA/VIP and it gets you 10% off or thereabouts. I also found a voucher in one of the tour guide books which got me a "free silver coin" – an old 1960’s three penny bit! It’s only tiny, but a nice souvenir.

There’s not a huge amount to see at the Mint, but what’s there is fascinating. Every hour there’s a gold-pouring demonstration where a staff member melts around $160,000 worth of gold them pours it into an ingot. The whole procedure is described and some history of the building is gone into. When they decomissioned it from full-time gold production, even the soot on the ceiling was refined – and $20,000-worth of gold retrieved from it!

In a sealed perspex box there is a gold bar you can try and lift up. It’s darn heavy. Also, a set of scales linked to the current exchange rate will tell you your value in dollars if you were made of gold.

All in all, really only an hour or so’s wandering but enjoyable enough for our $8.80.

I picked up two tickets for Ghostrider tonight at the Piccadilly. Toni has checked out of the hostel, but as I type the person who was supposed to collect her and put her up for a few nights hasn’t appeared. Oh dear. And the hostel’s fully booked now. Oh dear, oh dear. Well, we’ll kill some time with the film tonight and see what transpires!

Later…

Toni is now checked back into the hostel in the same room I was moved to. The guy who was supposed to be putting her up has gone utterly AWOL. As for Ghostrider… if it were any cheesier, it’d be for sale in the delicatessen at Asda. Superb special effects, plot-by-numbers, painful dialogue.

As I’m typing this up, I’m enduring Walk the Line and forcing large qantities of free date/walnut pudding and caramel sauce down my neck. I wonder which will be the first to make me ill.

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