The following four days I attended the ECSA conference while David adventured around Perth. On Monday we had breakfast at the hotel and then walked into the CBD (central business district) where we did a little bit of souvenir shopping and touristing. We enjoyed another sunny day and walked around just enjoying the views. Towards lunch time we went to an adorable coffee shop where I had avocado toast and David had a quinoa/salad bowl and we shared chips and toast with hummus, avocado, and pesto. It was delicious, and we ate outside and enjoyed the sun. We walked back to our hotel and departed ways at 1:00 when I headed to the conference and David headed into the Kings Botanical Garden to do some hiking on trails we missed last time we were there.
The opening ceremony at the conference was amazing. They had an Australian Aboriginal recite a welcome speech in his native language, followed by a performance on the didgeridoo. It was my first time hearing one in person and it was so cool!! Following this, there was a government official who talked about the importance of scientists communicating their science to the public. This especially touched me because I see all of these researchers doing incredible ground-breaking science but there is no outcome or policies put into place to conserve and protect the marine ecosystem. Many scientists I think are too caught up in their research to take time and speak up for the cause they are passionate about. But I genuinely believe that science isn’t half as important unless you spread what you’re doing with not only the scientific community (ie conferences) but also with the public through social media, blogging, and article writing without any jargon or specialized scientific terms that only a small percentage of people can actually understand. Anyways I was very glad that this politician made this point and I hope a lot of the scientists here will take his suggestion and start being a better advocate for the ocean and the subjects that they study.
In the afternoon there were several sessions of talks. There were five rooms with different topics, and each room would have a speaker give a presentation for 15 minutes so you can choose which talks you want to see most and plan your day like that. After about three hours of listening to talks it was time for the poster session at the welcome reception. So after chugging a few beverages I was ready to tell the world about my research. I met a bunch of nice people on the first day from all over the world. It definitely made me excited to know that people have research jobs all over the world, so there’s so many different places I could end up.
After the conference David and I planned to meet up at the room at 7:00 he apparently ran home after hiking 20 km, so he was exhausted by the time it was dinner. We had another Asian meal and then watched a movie in the room.
Day two of the conference I attended talks all day and gave another poster session. I even met some turtle researchers in Malaysia who were interested in collaboration and offered for me to come study turtles at the their research center on an island which I’d totally be excited to do.
David went to Caversham Wildlife Park this day. We went via public transport which cost $12 unlimited for the day and took 1.5 hours each way. The animals he saw were a fat wombat, snakes and lizards, emus, ostrich, western eagle, kestrels, buzzards, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, possums, bats, parrots and cockatoos, spiders, crocodile, echidna, quokkas, water buffalo, sheeps, cows, goats, pelican, and turtles. It was $29 AUS and you can take photos with the wallaby, kangaroo, wombat, and possum. He had a blast and came home super excited showing me every single animal they had, he must’ve taken 1,000 photos. I was a bit jealous cause I wanted to see some of these animals but it’s okay, I’ll see them in the wild someday. For dinner we just ate at the hotel because our house had a kitchen. Although David ended up wanting to go to the pub and I ended up ordering a veggie burger that was really amazing, with some French fries that we shared. Noms!
Day three of the conference was good, I went to a talk on sharks which I enjoyed. Although he ended up saying there is a sustainable fishery of shark in Western Australia which I hardly believe, sharks around the world are declining I don’t understand how killing them could possibly be considered sustainable. Anyways, in the afternoon I watched presentations from other KAUST people (there were four of us total from KAUST at this conference). David spent the day on a wine and chocolate tasting tour. He apparently tried over 35 different wines and 2 beers and 3 liquors. I definitely would have been drunk off one so I’m glad this was an activity he did without me. The tour was in Swan Valley, where the wineries included Windy Creek Estate, Sitella Wine, and Chester’s.
By the time he came home I was taking a nap, so I woke up and convinced myself to get out of bed and we made our way into Perth. We wanted to walk around and do more sightseeing. We found ourselves a grocery store where I was overwhelmed with all the vegan vegan options and low prices, so I bought a bunch of food and then continued our stroll around Perth. David got hungry and we walked back towards our hotel stopping at a Korean restaurant on the way. I got some delicious veggie dumplings while David got beef stew. Then we headed back to the hotel to watch a movie and I ate guacamole and far too many tortilla trips.
The next day was my last conference day, so it ended a bit earlier (around 4 PM). David spent the day doing various hikes and didn’t return until 6 PM. He walked more than 20 km. He used public transportation from the city center to stirling station where he caught a bus to Scarborough Trigg beach. He hiked the heritage trigg hike (a loop of 7.3 km), had a lovely picnic lunch on a rock with seagulls, then came back to the station where he caught another bus down to Herdsman Lake, a splendid bird sanctuary and home of a few tiger snakes (missed them unfortunately). The lake is about an 8 km circle where countless birds can be observed.
When he returned I was napping (typical) and I decided to eat some of the falafel and hummus I bought the day before. David has a weirdly large appetite and decided he wanted to go out to eat something more substantial so we headed to a Japanese restaurant not too far from the hotel. He had a veggie tofu ramen and I had a green tea ice cream (#healthyliving). That was a joke by the way I have a crazy sweet tooth. In the evening we started packing up our belongings to begin our west coast Australian adventure the following day!