There's an awful lot of FUD here about Perl. One thing I've noticed is that Python folks seem to have a bit of a thing for bashing Perl, but you won't see that so much in reverse. The insistence that you can't write maintainable Perl is pure bullshit. Maintainable code comes from good developers following good development practices, and that can be done (or not done) in any language.
As a Perl guy myself, I have nothing against Python. It seems like a pretty good language with a strong community.
Both Perl and Python are fairly mature and featureful languages. I think Perl's CPAN beats Python's libraries by a fair bit, but OTOH Python has way more standard libraries, so you don't need to go looking for 3rd party libraries as often. Also, CPAN's expansiveness is a downside, as there's often many overlapping libraries for a given task, making finding the best one harder.
I'm surprised you didn't mention Ruby. I think it's another worthy language. It's less mature than either Python or Perl, and definitely slower, but it's got a lot of pluses too, including being "truly OO" in a way that Python isn't (and Perl isn't even trying for).
FWIW, if you're interested in Perl I'd strongly recommend checking out some of Perl's highlights on CPAN, including Moose, DBIx::Class, DateTime, etc. Of course, Python and Ruby also have particularly excellent packages that people will point to, like Rails, Twisted, Django, etc.
Disclaimer: I'm a Moose core dev and the creator of DateTime. But they do rock, and I know lots of people in the Perl community agree.
This actually gets to a secondary point. A language is much, much more than its syntax. In fact, syntax is the least of what makes a language. It's an ecosystem, and to truly appreciate a language you also have to take some time to learn about that ecosystem. Perl has a really amazing ecosystem and community. I bet Python does too.
To a large degree, you need to find the tool that fits your brain best. Perl and Python can do basically the same things, but they do them differently. Try both out (and try Ruby) and see which one works for you.