Baby Stephanie and I have gotten to be quite regular visitors to The Dancing Goat, a small cafe in Cottesloe between our house and Ellie's school. There are lots of reasons why I love it there. It's small and comfortable. It's low-key and kid-friendly. Although there isn't much space, no one seems to mind busy babies, baby noise, or kiddie mess. The owners (Annie and Rob) are my age, which I love! And Annie has remembered our names from the very first visit...a trick she seems to manage with everyone, which never ceases to impress me. It's cash-only, and I discovered that a few visits in when I was cash-less. We'd already had our drinks and snacks, and it was time to pay...only no $$. Annie just shrugged and smiled, telling me to just bring it next time. She knew there would be a next time, and it pretty much clinched the deal in my book! This morning, I tried to snap a photo of Stephanie enjoying her babycino and muffin (raspberry-white chocolate! yum!), but she was having none of it. In the only non-blurry photo, you can clearly read her lips: "LET ME SEEEEEEEEE!"
I also enjoy this photo because it gives you a small glimpse into life in Perth. Cafe culture seems pretty huge here. Almost as huge as the beach culture. In the morning, the two combine, resulting in lots of bare feet or flipflops and beach clothing (exhibit A: the young couple in the background). That's no biggie of course (although I always notice the bare feet). The bigger adjustment for my expectations is that no one bats an eye when someone walks in dripping wet and wrapped in a beach towel. When I say dripping, I mean wetter than I would want to be when I get into my car, but a lot of people seem to walk out of the ocean after their morning swims, get in the car, drive to a cafe, and then wrap the towel around the wet swimsuit so they can go order. It's amazing, and it's not limited to the cafes. I've seen people duck into shops this way, too. My all-time favorite "what the?" moment was a few months after we arrived. I was shopping in the grocery store, and at the check-out was a woman in her mid- to late-40s wearing her beach towel and very obviously nothing else (nope, not even shoes). It's like she'd been sunbathing in the nude and ran out of Perrier, so she dashed to the grocery store and did her weekly grocery shopping. She had a very full cartload of the usual grocery items. And no one seemed to notice her attire (or lack thereof) but me.