Cost of living is a big issue here in Perth. There seem to be many causes for the city's general expensiveness -- with the mining boom being often cited. The most obvious (and alarming) price rises have been in the housing and rental market along with utilities. But there is also much anxiety about the cost of other goods and services.

Dining out, for example, is getting increasingly pricey. I eat at restaurants rarely so haven't noticed this much. But I did catch up with some old school friends recently and we had a feed at a modest little Vietnamese restaurant in Northbridge.

There were four of us and we just ordered a few different meals to share, as you do. We certainly didn't pig out, and while the food was nice it was pretty run of the mill, as was the service and decor. Going on my last experience of such a communal meal I was expecting to pay maybe twenty five bucks, tops. But the dinner cost $160 between the four of us.

Now if a basic little place like that was hiking up its charges to such an extent, I dread to think what's happening at higher end of that market.

Coffee, too, is getting pricier, with some people grumbling about it. As far as I'm concerned you shouldn't have to pay more than four bucks for a basic cup of java. But you do get hit for that (and sometimes more) at quite a few cafes here. I don't complain, of course, but have certainly reduced the number of times I'll go to such places. That is disappointing, because there's nothing I like more than reading the paper in a nice cafe.

Being a big time caffeine addict I do have to get my daily hits. That's why I'll go to Gloria Jeans and even Maccas instead -- which I suspect is what a lot of locals are doing now. Of course coffee snobs would roll their eyes at such places (particularly the latter!) but they certainly meet my needs. And as well as the lower prices they have rewards cards that give you a freebie every ten purchases. I suspect a lot of people are taking full advantage of them in this city.