6 Months in Perth: Abridged. | 1st - 8th May 2012



1st May
  • Met up with a friend
    • Met at a hostel
    • I'm too old for hostels
    • Drank a drink at the hostel
    • Realised drinks in a hostel are really rather cheap
    • Drank a few more drinks at the hostel
    • Realised I'm not too old for hostels after all
Day's Verdict: Still dislike hostels.

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2nd May
  • Guys night watching films
    • Evil Dead II
      • Didn't remember half of what actually happened from the first time I watched this tongue-in-cheek horror
      • Still a great film
    • The Losers
      • Modern tongue-in-cheek mindless action film
      • Another great film
Day's Verdict: Grooooovy.

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3rd May
  • Last day of work, forever.
  • Final drinks at The Royal
    • Seemed fitting as that was the first place I had drinks when I got to Perth
  • Final Champagne Thursday
Day's Verdict: Emotional.

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4th May
  • Day in Freo
    • Rained
    • Ate breakfast at the Mussel Bar
    • Grabbed a brilliantly thick hot chocolate
    • Watched a film
      • The Avenger
      • Was freaking amazing!
  • Evening in Subiaco
    • Tasty woodfire pizza
    • Swanky Llama Bar for swanky drinks
Day's Verdict: Long and eventful.

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5th May
  • Another day, another film.
    • Hangover II
    • Reminiscing over Thailand
  • Clarences for meal
  • Experiences a taste of Perth's comedy fest
    • Saw a trio of musical funny people called Tripod
    • Funny
  • Watched the FA Cup Final
    • Disappointingly boring.
Day's Verdict: Another long and eventful day.

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6th May
  • 50ml for breakfast
  • Watched TV with one housemate
  • Went for a family meal with another housemate
Day's Verdict: That's Sunday for you.

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7th May
  • Breakfast overlooking the beach and overly aggressive sea at Cottesloe
  • Drive to Swan Valley
    • Sampled a bit of wine
    • Played mini-golf
      • Won mini-golf
  • Back to Leederville to relax at Greens & Co.
    • Played Connect 4
      • Won Connect 4
  • Irish Pub for a few drinks
  • Home for some good ne' fashioned home made Chilli
Day's Verdict: Perth's best offerings in a day.


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8th May
  • Packed
  • Cleaned
  • Burrito for lunch
  • Walk around Lake Monger
    • Saw a tortoise!
  • Burrito with friends
  • Driven to the airport
Day's Verdict: The End!

6 Months in Perth: Abridged. | 12th - 30th Apr 2012



12th Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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13th Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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14th Apr
  • Mini-road trip down to the Serpentine Valley
    • Brilliant forests
    • Great roads
    • Roadside fresh fruit stalls
    • More reservoirs than you can shake a stick at
    • This area of Perth was a nice unexpected surprise.
  • Late afternoon walking dog at the beach
  • Evening Fondue party
    • How VERY grown up!
      • and a tad 70s
    • Drinking games until 2am
Day's Verdict: Fantastic times and day had by all.

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15th Apr
  • TV
  • Dog Beach
Day's Verdict: Done.

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16th Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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17th Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.


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18th Apr
  • Thai food
Day's Verdict: Pad Thai.

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19th Apr
  • Shopping mall fun at the food court
Day's Verdict: Hmm.

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20th Apr
  • Authentic Italian at a small, always packed place called Il Ciao
    • Nice yummy pizza
Day's Verdict: Bella.

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21st Apr
  • 4pm drinking
    • Beer pong
    • Promoted to beer and rum pong
    • Then just rum, no pong
    • Other drinking games happened, I think
    • Not overly sure.
Day's Verdict: Messy.

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22nd Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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23rd Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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24th Apr
  • Out with friends to an Indonesian food place
  • Went to a small bar called Frisk with a million types of gin
  • Tried a club but the fights, the queue and general scum-bags, caused us to make the right decision
    • Not going
  • Walked home to Leederville, lost most people
  • Found people
  • Went to someone's house for post-food-drink-drinks
Day's Verdict: Drinky Drunky.

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25th Apr
  • ANZAC day
    • Remember the war and it's people
  • Breakfast out at some chilled place reading papers
  • Watch an AFL match on TV, thrilling game between two teams, one in one colour and another in a another colour.
  • Cider, much much cider.
Day's Verdict: Over-exhausting.

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26th Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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27th Apr
  • Pad Thai night
  • Watched Johnny English
    • Funny
  • Watched Thor
    • Very very good
Day's Verdict: Blissful.

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28th Apr
  • Day spent in the city, mooching around
  • Night spent at Raffles for a 30th
  • Later night spent at house party for someone's leaving event
Day's Verdict: Mixed.


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29th Apr
  • Day in Northbridge
    • Yum Cha for breakfast
      • Quite a sight to be experienced
      • All these carts of steamed food doing the rounds of all these random bits and pieces
    • Watched acrobatic comedy
      • Surprisingly good for what seemed like an amateur event planned by the city
    • PICA Art gallery
      • One of my favourite art galleries, so was going to enjoy it even if I didn't understand half of this 'art'
  • Sunday Session
    • Mount Lawley to a very nice bar called 5bar
      • Drinking this incredible red wine
      • Quaffing down on amazing oysters
Day's Verdict: A bloody great Sunday.

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30th Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

6 Months in Perth: Abridged. | 5th - 11th Apr 2012



5th Apr
  • Champange Thursday
Day's Verdict: Fizzy.

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6th Apr
  • Hired a boat in Mandurah
    • Boat, more like a floating couch.
    • Set sail across the Peel Inlet down to an old mill
    • Drank beers and ate food in the sunshine
    • I took the helm and got everyone wet.
    • Wasn't allowed to drive anymore
    • Saw a dolphin
  • Evening picnic at King's Park with friends
    • Fell asleep and woken up by guy telling jokes
      • at 2am
    • Went home to sleep proper.
Day's Verdict: A very great day.

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7th Apr
  • Meal.
Day's Verdict: Ate.

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8th Apr
  • TV.
Day's Verdict: Watched.

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9th Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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10th Apr
  • Dog sitting
  • Friend round for a plate of beige food
  • He never came round again
Day's Verdict: Urgh, beige.

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11th Apr
  • People
Day's Verdict: Chatted.

6 Months in Perth: Abridged. | 29th Mar - 4th Apr 2012


29th Mar
  • Outdoor Cinema
    • Watched The Rum Diary, thought it was a great film that didn't really go anywhere.
    • It also rained.
    • Chairs were also uncomfortable.
Day's Verdict: OK.

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30th Mar
  • Night in downtown
    • Cheeky sparrow, typical alcohol/food place for people with too much money and not enough fashion sense.
    • Amplifier Bar, typical alcohol/music place for people with too little money and not enough fashion sense.
Day's Verdict: Fashion seems to be a problem in Perth.

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31st Mar
  • Watched Synchronised swimming.
    • Tiny Malaysian robots were incredible
    • The rest were a bit shit
    • Saw Australian team that are going to London Olympics
Day's Verdict: I didn't feel the over-need for a shotgun to the face.

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1st Apr
  • Breakfast at my new favourite place, 50ml.
    • Chilled-ish
  • Paddleboarding afterwards.
    • Energetic-ish
  • Cooked pesto stuffed mushrooms.
    • Tasty-ish
Day's Verdict: Just a day-ish.

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2nd Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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3rd Apr
  • Drank a hot chocolate
Day's Verdict: Action packed.

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4th Apr
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

6 Months in Perth: Tourist Edition. | 15th - 28th Mar 2012

My mummy is making a gigantic trip from one side of the world to the other on her lonesome to some see me down-under. Ahh, how nice and how pleasant!

This also means an action-packed fun-filled road-weary scenery-overloaded itinerary that has been planned by me over the next couple of days, as I drag my mummy around Perth and surrounding areas, we both explore this place together for the first time.

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15th March
Mum arrived and had a Chinese with my housemates, to be what I consider an explosive start to the itinerary!


16th March
I had to work during the day leaving a blank space of events until I returned, to hear my mum getting ready to go out to The Garden in Leederville with the girls from home and work, which oddly I wasn't formally invited to, as I'm sure these devious girl were just after getting gossip on me, I duly put it upon myself to gatecrash the event therefore regulating and stopping any vicious lies and rumours from being spread about me.


17th March
Going for a walk in the car, I drive us through the 'burbs from Leederville down to Matilda Bay and along the Swan River to end up at Cottesloe Beach for a late tasty breakfast of, blah on blah with a side salsa baked beans.

The annual event of sculptures by the sea was still going on so we walked along the bustling beach in-and-around the various indoor and outdoor displays, looking at and deciphering metal steps, ambiguous bodies, sandbag living rooms, fabric things with trunks, shoes made of maps, multicoloured cars, red pigs and rods of perspex.



Leaving Cottesloe, we drove up the coast past the scrub dune land, to City Beach to spend the afternoon, soaking the sun while walking along the sand and partaking in a little bit of swimming/not drowning.

From there we drove back in land towards Perth's Downtown and to East Perth to take a late afternoon walk from Claisebrook Cove along the riverfront, passing the WACA we spot some dolphins, which was met with lots of verbal ecstatic liveliness, continuing to the Lucky Shag by Perth's infamous bell tower for a post-walk lager cooler. We finish the walk going through the gardens near the council building and getting a CAT bus back to East Perth.



Evening brought entertainment in the form of an Aussie BBQ by the pool, hosted by a Scottish friend, cooked by an Englishman, and mostly attended by everyone else, though mainly Scottish...


18th March
Morning walk on the Dog Beach down near North Fremantle with my housemate, always a good spot when you're feeling a little dog sick to help realise that your own dog would probably panic kill most of the dogs here, if placed in this situation.

We drove north to Matilda Bay so my housemate and I, could teach mum how to paddleboard which considering her timid and stiff scared paddling and balancing technique managed to accomplish half hour of getting out and back without falling in, very impressive!

My housemate and I ditch my mum on the shoreside as we went for a proper paddle to annoy some pelicans. We returned back to shore and sat on the riverside looking at the other energetic people, then, we spot some dolphins, which was met with lots of verbal ecstatic liveliness.

After a early afternoon rest and recoup, we drove back down the Fremantle to experience the joys it has so that'll be a packed Little Creatures brew house, a look at The Roundhouse and 'umming' and 'ahhing' at old building in the vicinity.


The evening we had a meal at Clancy's Fish Restaurant at City Beach as we (I'm sure there were other there, not sure now) all watched the sunset.


19th March
Driving north to Caversham a small out posted village in nowhere's ville, we eventually find in amongst all the oddly placed attractions, namely the steam engine train museum, the Wildlife park, where we enjoyed looking at animals from all over Australia, which was a pleasant experience, though anything behind cages, especially birds is a bit awkward, regardless the main reason for being there was to see kangaroos and that we did, in a central enclosure we walked amongst them as they bounced, lied and poop'd around us as we coaxed them to come near us with free food.


Driving further north, we enter the Swan Valley and experienced a few wine tastings, though mostly enjoyed the chocolate factory snooping, overwhelming coffee tasting and information overload and the unbelievably serene and tasty lunch overlooking the vineyard of River's Edge.

We continued our exploration as we aimed the car towards the Perth hills, where we were greeted with hazy views over Perth and (personally fun, probably less so for mum) empty country roads, we stopped off at Kookaburra for a small walk into the forest the treated us to a spectacular view over the Mundaring Reservoir and neighbouring hills.


As we began our long way back drive to Perth we passed the dam we'd saw from above and walked along it, and admired the old pump station and further views through and over the hills on one side as still wind tampered surface of the water adjacent were reflecting the tree line and sky almost perfectly.


20th March
Today we head south, deep south, not that deep, but deep enough, to Margaret River.

The drive was typical with long brick walls, motorways with the occasional deviation through to the Scenic Tourist Drive, which was both scenic and a drive, not much in the way of tourist though, we stopped off at Bunbury to take in the panoramic view of Bunbury from the aptly name Rotary View, before grabbing a quick coffee from some social club-on-sea

Arriving into Margaret River, we check into our unbelievably amazing apartment, with its high bright ceilings over an open planned layout with a large balcony overlooking the forest, which was a little bit unexpected.

We head out to stretch our legs and get our orientation as we walk through town and down along Margaret River itself, stopping off along the way to ask some commoner with a regal attitude where the path for the walk begins.



The walk along the river was so calming with the sights and sounds of real nature, snapshots between gaps of the trees as the river created a jungle-like view with small sand islands with dead Karri trees poke out of the water, with kookaburras flying around as mum sang the accompanying theme song for them.

Crossing a quiet part of the river over a dam, we were treated to something I found, so incredible and calming; the sun was beaming down on the mirror like river onto our faces, a cloud above started to gently burst with soft raindrops that floated towards and around us like gentle cherry blossom, the wind meandered and rippled in between the trees leaving long rippled footprints on the water's surface, all the while a duck was idly swimming and quaking along, unaware of all this goings on.



Walking back into town, it was happy hour so we stopped off at Corners Bar for a drink outside as we feigned a intellectual conversation to really bitch and judge other people that were coming in and out of the bar. The evening was spent relaxing with a Goodfellas salmon pizza while watching a film or documentary on the telebox.


21st March
Expedition today of Margaret River's Cave Road. Starting off at Edward's wine makers which was closed, but wanted to show mum the story of the owner who flew an old bright yellow plane from Bristol, UK to Margaret River.

Next we drove further north, to Gracetown a small hilly village situated on the middle of the this South-Western Australian peninsular, we parking up after a small bit of off-roading and a lizard sighting, we arrive to a brilliant outlook of the ocean and surrounding cliffs, we walk down a few hundred steps to the beach to walk along the sand and get a better look at the surfers carving wakes into these massive waves.



Driving back south through the landscape of farming, cattle, deer and grapes we stop off a the Historical site of Ellensbrook a farm, or something, a small white building surrounded by burnt trees and the like.

Continuing south, Surfer's Point at Prevelin Beach was our next destination where the Margaret River Pro Surfing Competition was on, we didn't stay for long, but long enough for me to see prolific surfer and world champion, Kelly Slater.



Our drive south to Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta saw us blown away by a truly spectacular and unbelievable section of the Boranup Karri Forest, that was magical and out of this world, a look beneath the canopy and behind the bushes as this section presented you with an endless view of seemingly bright white bark, it's hard to explain it as anything but, awesome. Lighthouse was OK.



Taking a scenic drive back up north via Flinder's Bay to learn about whaling and Hardy's Inlet to admire the kite and windsurfers, we spot some dolphins, which was met with lots of verbal ecstatic liveliness.

Venturing back into the forest we stop off at Jewel Cave to be guided through the largest/biggest touristic cave in the world, which was both large, big, wonderful, errie, informative, very impressive and when the lights are off, dark. Probably could've been made better had our guide been less concerned about the animals that were trapped down here years and years ago and more about something else like, rock.



Afterwards we head to my favourite spot, Hamelin Bay a large open sandy bay with a shallow reef and magnificent mysterious limestone cliffs, walking towards said cliffs passing the remnants of an old shipping pier, there was something in the waves. A big bastard of a stingray, that's what, which took mum by surprise.

Walking along the beach as the sun began to drop, the clouds come to cool the place off, we decided to try and get to a prime spot to admire the sunset at its best, Boranup Outlook, driving a Toyota Corolla getting semi-lost in semi-offroad conditions in a forest at nightfalling probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had.



The reward up top was more than enough, worth the danger for me, with panoramic views over the top of the forest canopy streaming down to the ocean as the sun, hidden from view by a slither of clouds sitting on the distant horizon, was a murky orange explosion as it eventually got dark and the first stars started to come out, it was time to head home.


22nd March
Margaret River is food and wine country, so obviously that calls for a wine tour and being guided around some of the estates to see if their produce is up to standards.

Starting off at the big beautiful estate of the Watershed, where we were taught how to appreciate and drink wine as we worked our way up and down the reds and whites, then we off we went to Leeuwin estate tucked away in the forests, famous for its outdoor festivals that pulls in 'the big names' and it's extensive and expensive barrel room art gallery in the basement. Voyager estate for an amazing lunch and tasting, based on a South African villa with fantastic a rose garden kept by 7 gardeners.



Afterwards, we visited a boutique establishment that specialised in not just wine, but nougat also, obviously food was appearing more into our schedule to help sober us up, as we then visited the chocolate and cheese factories, before continuing the liquid testing at another boutique place that made lots of sweet wines and very seemed knowledgeable about alpacas and pigs. We finished up at a brewery, where I got a paddle taster of 5 or 6 different beers.

That evening was a little bit humiliating as I pretty much passed out on the sofa while mum kept on trucking and being lively.


23rd March
Our last day in Margaret River, we grabbed a very good coffee to start our day at McHenry's and drove north to Bunker Bay, stopping off at beaches and various interesting points along the way from Moses Rock beach, Injidup Point with it's amazing deep sanded empty and serene beach, Super Tubes beach, Canal Rocks, with it's impressive display of water smashing and coursing through the rocks, Yallingup village for watching surfers at it's big busy beach and Cape Naturaliste where we were bombarded and swarmed by flies, then at Bunker Bay enjoying another peaceful sunny beach walk before grabbing a drink at a nearby beach side cafe.



Leaving there via a short and scenic Eagle Road we begin our drive back to Perth, stopping off at Busselton Jetty, the longest jetty of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and yes, they'd be right, it was long, very long, pretty though.

Deviating from the highway home, we snuck into a very atmospheric and quiet Tuart Forest, wide unmarked roads bordered by big established trees with the occasional small farm building, one of an historical importance as the forest mellowed away into marsh land, following the road from here to a small village attached to an endlessly long narrowish calm beach called Peppermint Tree, tranquil was is the only word that comes to mind with this area.


Driving back onto the main highway and the sun was dropping deep, we get ambushed by hundred of Kangaroos as they littered the sides of the roads and near-by field.

Time was getting tight but we managed to reach Bunbury again and complete our holiday-within-a-holiday at the social club-on-sea to have a drink and watch the sun go down, marking the end of an incredible trip down to Margaret River.




24th March
After an energetic trip the last few days, taking it easy was definitely on the agenda for today, and there's nothing more relaxing than a 15 mile walk around Perth, from Leederville to Harbour Town and into Perth City, exploring the Barracks, shops, historical buildings and eventually making our way to the lacklustre King's Park, though the war memorial and the view over Perth was interesting.


Heading back to Perth and stopping off at The Aviary for a late, late lunch we cross Horseshoe bridge into Northbridge and explore the more creative Asian side of the area, stopping off at the pretentious but actually quite good PICA, before heading back to Leederville to collapse.


25th March
Exploration of the North today, as we drove to Scarborough (OK), Trigg (Quiet) and North (Good) Beaches before stopping off at Hillary's to explore the harbour area and see all the British ex-pats annoyingly enjoying themselves.

Continuing up Ocean Reef Road to Burns Beach and more sedate, still British heavy beach, surrounded seemingly moronic mass of tightly compacted large gardenless villas and to be greeted by a man on a giant motorised parachute floating up and down the coastline.


Reaching Mindarie Keys Harbour, a low key and relaxed area, with houses close to the calm waters with accompanying large boats, and a long section of bars and restaurants, all naturally filled up with British people speaking loud inane nonsense about the weather and Spam ruined what would've been a nice pit-stop. Heading back south, to see what Lake Joonadlup was all about, seeing as it was dry and filled with British people having BBQs with their kids, not much of any interest was going on.

The evening we had a rather pleasant BBQ in suburbia with real certified Australians!


26th March
Exploration of the South today, as we drove to Mandurah and enjoyed a cruise through the canals and estuary, admiring the intriguing war memorial, even more intriguing mostly ugly large manors and seeing lots of wildlife and being told lots of history about the place.


Heading north to Rockingham and Point Peron for a small beach walk then through to East Rockingham for an ice cream break, overlooking the causeway to the military base on Garden Island.

Afterwards, we went spent some time reflecting at the giant war memorial at Kwinana and going 'wow' a lot at the top half of a submarine, before exploring the industrial side of Perth with its oil refineries, marine centres and various other things that were going on there, even though it sounds a bit bleak, I found it to be quite marvelling, as I'd never seen anything like that, on that scale before.


Getting back to nature we became one again with the countryside as we took a quick stop at Woodman Point in Coogee to walk along the pier filled with fishermen, tame inquisitive pelicans and we spot some dolphins, which was met with lots of verbal ecstatic liveliness.

The sun was starting to set so, we decided to get a sundowner at the Left Bank in Fremantle, watching boats and traffic pass us by as we recalled all the photos that were taken, albeit were forced to take.

With the sun orange remnants on the horizon, we drive to one of my favourite spots of Perth via the suburbs of impressive houses to, Point Walter, a parkland that has a spit of sandy beach that reaches out into one of the corners of the meandering Swan River, as traces of the sun truly disappeared.



27th March
A quiet relaxed day, as it was my mum's last day, starting off with a spot o' shopping in the morning and driving the wrong way and ending up being way inland and up far north (instead of west and south) but we did see some large satellites, so ever cloud...

Arriving at our intended destination, City Beach we spend a few hours, soaking in the sun, body surfing and general relaxation and recouping.

We leave City Beach and drive to Downtown to have lunch at the C Restaurant, a revolving restaurant with great views over Kings Park, Swan River, Downtown, surrounding suburbs, with great visibility that day, we could see for miles all around us to the Hills, Fremantle, Ocean and beyond.



We walk around the shops and take an (accidental) drive down the river and spend the afternoon doing nothing.

The evening saw us back at City Beach with housemates, friends etc. basically everyone, to admire one last sunset and tasty food at Clancy's, before driving mum to the airport and making sure she gets on that bloody plane out of here!


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Busy, immensely fun and very rewarding time spent with mum, exploring all that Perth and its areas has to offer, amazing scenes, tastes, sounds, information and just beautiful, something that I will treasure forever, if not, a fairly long time until a better experience comes along.

6 Months in Perth: Abridged. | 4th - 14th Mar 2012


4th Mar
  • Explore Fremantle
  • Saw a museum with lots of boats
    • Boring
  • Found a brewery called Monk's
    • Ate fresh paella, was very good
    • Drank a paddle of beer, various taste testing. very insightful
  • Found a cafe
    • Ate some cake, was what is was.
Day's Verdict: Freo in a nutshell.

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5th Mar
  • Ferry down the tame Swan River and across the wild ocean to Rottnest.
  • Walked around to a few beaches
  • Snorkelled within the water of those few beaches
    • Though conditions were a bit rubbish
    • Fish were a bit sparse
    • Fun all the same!
  • Saw a Quokka
    • Tiny rat Kangaroo thing
    • Fed it, seemed appreciative.
  • Ate pizza at Little Caesar's
Day's Verdict: Rotto in a nutshell.

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6th Mar
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.


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7th Mar
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.


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8th Mar
  • Clancy's fish bar at City Beach
    • Woo, sunset and food!
Day's Verdict: Delightful.

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9th Mar
  • According to my notes we had a house party?
Day's Verdict: ?

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10th Mar
  • 25 mile bike ride around beaches, towns and river
    • Didn't see one single soul
      • Both lovely and unnerving.
  • Saw the sculptures art exhibition at Cottesloe beach
    • Probably the best art installation I've ever seen and enjoyed, if not ever, in a really long time.
      • Was weird seeing a piece of art that was borrowed from Vancouver
  • Evening Jazz
    • Except that it wasn't jazz
    • It was in fact, very full on soul
    • Not that enjoyable as I was expecting jazz
    • Is a little bit of jazz too much to ask for, at the jazz club?
Day's Verdict: I just wanted jazz!



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11th Mar
  • Paddleboard session in the morning
    • Saw a freaking dolphin!
    • It went right under my board!
    • How freaking cool is that!
  • Went back to Cottesloe
    • Looked at the sculptures again, still interesting
    • Went for a long doggy paddle
    • Lunch at the beach hotel
  • Swim in friend's pool
Day's Verdict: Dolphin.


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12th Mar
  • R and R.
Day's Verdict: Nothing of interest happened.

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13th Mar
  • Farewell to a visiting friend's
    • Poolside BBQ was the order of the day
    • Great fun
Day's Verdict: Sizzle and swim.

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14th Mar
  • Steak salad with friends
  • Relaxation featured highly
Day's Verdict: Ahhh.

Thailand. Part VII. | Mar 2nd/3rd

Time to leave Koh Phangan and everything would have to run smoothly as my friend and I, only foolishly gave ourselves 3 hours, between arriving into Bangkok, get across the urban sprawl, check in and our flight taking off for Perth.

Setting off at 11am, we get a taxi to the ferry terminal and greeted by a hoard of backpackers standing around, some were like dead-expressionless animals grazing in a field others were enthusiastically measuring dicks to see who'd had the most rewarding experience through beer.

After some confusion of why our ferry wasn't here yet, we found out it was delayed a few minutes, this is off to a good start, taking shade from the sun and its heat under a tree we wait 30 minutes until the pack of backpackers start shuffling along the pier towards a boat, we put on our blank expressions and follow them.

We find some outside on the boat and sit down with our legs dangling over the edge and let the boat do it's thing, as everything is out of our hands for the time being, taking in the scenery as we rock through the waves of distant islands experiencing the wet cooling of a cloud burst.

Arriving at the ferry we're ushered onto our patiently waiting coaches and start our long drive to the train station, looking at the normal life these people live and how they're unaware of our tourist eyes looking upon them thinking it's a fairly strange and tough way of life. Then you see a £50,000 pick-up truck roar past someone selling fruit on the roadside, then you think 'Well, it can't be that bad'

As this journey went on, the health of the coach deteriorated rapidly, apparently something to do with the clutch, until eventually we pulled over and stopped. Our driver then decided to start a fight with the gear stick, accelerator pedal, and whatever else he could fight with from his seat until the coach gave up being a dick and started up again and off we went.



We got to the train station and after much bundling and running around the area to get food, snacks and supplies we got to the platform to find out the train was delayed 70 minutes. Well, that's just fucking grand!

Waiting around on the platform as the sun set and darkness covered everything, I dashed off to the toilet and I got offered a sexual act by a Thai boy in a Chelsea top, I said no and left there as fast as I could. Thankfully it was also at that point the train arrived late on time.

Settling into our quarters we ask the conductor what time the train is planning to arrive into Bangkok to be met with a reply of 'On time, we make time up, over night', we could now relax.

The train was comfortable as we opted for first class this time round, so we were gifted with our own room to spend the night chatting, playing drinking games and reminiscing.

...

First class was a rough noisy uncomfortable sleep, looking at our watch it was Blahblugh o'clock, I knew whatever time that was displayed on my watch didn't look good to making our arrival time into Bangkok, and as the train got closer and closer to the city, it was getting more and more delayed. Not an overly relaxing morning wake up call.

We were, however, treated to a wonderful sunrise over Bangkok that helped relieve some of the stress, even though there was nothing to really worry about, as our airline made 3 flights a day from Bangkok to Perth and we were catching the first one of the day.



The delays were getting ridiculous as stops at each station were getting longer and longer, we decided to jump out at the next stop, wherever it was, and risk our success of getting to the airport in a taxi.

We pile out of the train and say a swift goodbye to our friends as we ran down the street to try and hail a cab, this process seemed to have taken way too long, it felt like 15 minutes when it was actually just a few. We eventually get a one by running further down the street and more-or-less running into the taxi.

Bundling in, we say something to effect of 'Airport, and step on it!' then we looked at our driver and realised that wasn't going to be possible as he's older than the moon, but we should've of been so dismissive as all motor vehicles in Thailand are built with potent accelerator pedals and without brakes, asking 'How long it would take?', 'Not long, only 5 minutes' We relaxed, again, on this journey.

Problems seem to arise when we relax, because 5 minutes in Thailand seem to equate to around 30 English minutes, and mild panicking started to set in, especially coming so far to fall at the last hurdle.

Getting to the airport, we run into a chaotic mess of lost wandering people with large bags and confusing screens of flight information, none of which seemed to really relate to our flight, my eyes suffering from rapid eye movement didn't blind as I was trying to digest and process all this information, none of which made any sense in my panic, it all looked like hieroglyphics in English.

Then, Yes! There you are! and we ran, nay galloped through the crowds, contorting our bodies around others as we were sliding under pulled luggage, jumping over midgets, it felt like a extreme live-action version of Frogger.

Getting to the check-in area, I spot the woman who was just about to close the counter, dashing over I slapped my passport on the desk, followed shortly by a second slap of my friend's passport. “Hello, we're here” we say in an exhausted, flustered, cool kind of way.

We walk over to the long line of security and customs and check our passes, the boarding time was exactly the same as what was being stated on my watch and the line didn't appear to be moving.

I grab the attention of a security girl and point at the time on the boarding pass and at my watch and let out a small pathetic yelp, she got on her walkie-talkie and we were processed through the VIP entrance.

After a thousand thank yous we sprint to the gate and sat down on the plane, 2 minutes later the doors were shut, as we prepare for take-off.




We arrive into the ever-welcoming shit-heap of Perth airport and get a taxi home, this journey door to door took 37 hours, shattered I do the sensible thing, go out to the pub and meet with friends for a few drinks.

Thailand... Large Chang fuelled fun.

Thailand. Part VI. | Mar 1st

Late start to the day, arising at around 1, as others were nursing their zombie-like ways me and the previous night's nurses hired some snorkelling gear and went off to explore what was under the water's surface.

It wasn't that interesting, at first, just a long expanse of shallow water and sand with many many sea cucumbers, boring.

Things did get interesting when we crossed paths with these black long-spined sea urchins that looked menacing as these dark black spiky balls slowly moved themselves into position, on top of one another to create some sort of urch-double-chin.


As I'd never been snorkelling before, I was fascinated by that for way too long, we continued out further to open water and the sand shelf felt like it suddenly disappeared and we were confronted with this amazing reef, it literally blew me out the water, how incredible it was.

Fish of all shapes, colours and sizes bustling about in their own little underwater city in packs, with coral buildings swaying in the water, I could only best describe it as, it looked like a mixture of the film Shark's Tale and The Warriors.

I had an amazing time diving down into the depths of water to get a closer look of these strange and unusual animals I've never seen before, I couldn't get over how this looked like someone exploded a massive fish tank into the water it just spread everywhere like poison ivy, it was that good, if not better!

Thailand. Part V. | Feb 29th

Today was going to be a long day, thankfully most memories are hazy so it shouldn't be long to recollect.

It started out sensibly enough, with the need to explore off-foot, we found a taxi outside our resort who would turn out to be our own personal chauffeur for the whole day, I can't remember his name so I'll call him Lloyd McKenzie, he was extremely friendly and helpful.

Lloyd McKenzie drove us on the northern stretch of road passing villages, road-side shops, homes, jungle forest, avoiding various street furniture such as scooters, people and dogs to our first destination a Chinese Buddhist temple.

It was a very modern concrete heavy temple, that looks like it had just been freshly repainted set within the hills with a great view, and ignoring the fact that it didn't look overly aesthetic, it had a very quiet and serene atmosphere. Looking around the statues of the gods and admiring the Taoism used within the architecture, we left the temple.


Lloyd McKenzie took us to a village that we'd passed on the way there called Fisherman's Village, as the name suggests a village, with a lovely long bay beached area, with hills descending down into the horizon into the crystal clear water and a few fishing boats moored up on the beach front, this place was majorly unexpected and a chorus and repetition of 'wow' could be heard as we all grabbed our cameras to savour the scenary.

We went to a beach-front bar and relaxed lying down in its lounge area, while sipping on drinks we have probably the only ever conversation that's been had at that bar to the effects of 'surely it can't be that hard to open a bar here, on the beach, listening to awesome music, with cold beers. It would be awesome!' - it was about that point the power went out, it didn't deter us of our dream though.



Lloyd McKenzie drove us back to Smile Beach and some of us relaxed lying on the grass outside our rooms reading or sleeping and generally saving energy for the night ahead, the half moon party.

Time was getting long in the tooth and we an idea was planted that tonight's event required vests and fluorescent face paints, so the group stupidly sent off the two people to pick our vests for us, as a 'fun surprise'.

They returned with the look of naughty children, this wasn't going to be good, and instead of unveiling the vests there and then we decided to wait until later... Lots of tense moments passed as we got ready for the night and we all convened again for the big presentation ceremony.

They started off strong with bright 80s head and wristbands, but then it was instantly learnt that you don't sent off two buffoon douchebags to do the work of sane thinking people; they, of course, got themselves respectable vests with black and white obscure photography on it, another two had Rolling Stones lips and a fish or something and another two, were what could only be described as, shite. One said 'No Money, No Honey', another 'Sex Instructor, First lesson free'.


After mourning the death of giving a good idea to idiots, we sucked it up, got a few pop-band photos and went to the beach for nice relaxing meal to build up on stodge, I got the meal, but not the relaxing.

Due to the set up of the restaurant's tables on the beach, they seat everyone to look out on upon the water, but as there wasn't enough room on this particular table, someone would have to sit on the opposite side of the table with their back to the water facing everyone. That person was me.

I can cope looking at my friends for a duration of a meal, I don't find that too stressful, I do find being singled out by our waiter on the other hand, very unnerving.

His over-affectionate verbal nature of wanting to carry me to my room when I get drunk and his hands touching me with belly rubs and hugs, saw the smile from my face being wiped off as it was replaced blank friendly endurance to end this situation as soon as possible without violence.

In order for that to happen, he made a deal with me, he would give me a free large bottle of Chang beer if I downed it straight away or I would have to buy him two. I was hesitant at first, because I am rubbish at downing drinks, it's not something I can do, but peer-pressure saw me accept.

After a few minutes of blissful silence as he went off and got the beer, he quickly returned with the bottle and opened it up. I took in a deep breath as a stalling tactic while I prayed the ground would swallow him whole, I take the bottle and I slowly chug away and after what felt like hours of drinking this damn beer, I was done and I could finally relax.

Not so, as our waiter was over-enthusiast that I drank a whole beer, he felt it appropriate to be more over-affectionate than he was before. I was not in a good place at that moment.

The waiter eventually fucked off and the alcohol surged through my veins and I cheered up a little, as we met Lloyd McKenzie who drove us to the south of the island for the Halfmoon Party.

...

Arriving at 9, the place was empty.

Hm, that's a little crap, though for an all night event you don't want to get there too early, still gave us a good opportunity to look around; it was dark, but from what I can remember, the venue was set in a big open space within the jungle with a stage at one end, a dancing platform in the middle of the dance floor with a giant pole holding up a large canopy, opposite end of the stage was a large wooden structure that housed one of the many bars that looked over the main dance floor, in and around the main space were waterfalls, sitting areas, food stalls, paint shops, etc. etc. Also the whole place was lit by UV lights.

While it was empty we put on the fluorescent paint on our faces, representing our beings and self-awesomeness in our fuzzy drunken state and to be honest I can't remember seeing anyone enough to register their decals, I was like a douchey Hulk Hogan though, if that gives you any direction of mind imagery of what was going on.


Time passed and we left at 430am, what happened in between?
- One friend drank too much, too quickly and ended up having a good ol' sleep in a flower bed by around 11.
- So, two friends looked after him and nursed him as best as they could, leaving him for dead every-so-often enjoy dancing and the like.
- Another friend went into a manhunt mode, but hunting for girls with bear hugs, he randomly disappeared, only to be found later when we got back asleep in his bed.
- I was on the stage, hand pushing the air for pretty much the entirety of the event, occasionally being stopped by people giving me much love for my body paint.
- Our last remaining friend disappeared until 1030 the next morning, not knowing much of what happened in the last 12 hours.

At the end, a very welcomed Lloyd McKenzie was waiting outside with big grin and walked us to his taxi where we had a tranquil drive, like being in rally car during a race, back to the resort.

Thailand. Part IV. | Feb 28th

Elephants, they tend to be fun. We're going to find out today if that's true or not, we found our nearest Bureau of Experiencing Elephants on a dodgy tourist map and decided that it didn't seem that far and it was the ideal day to walk and explore the area on a comfortable 30-something full-sun day, not taking into account the hilly-nature of the area nor the lack paths. After a little struggle all was well, we got to the place and booked a ride for the 6 of us for a few hours later.

After killing time, by walking to a nearby waterfall, which was more like a waterstand, with its collection of stagnant looking pools and getting a drink, it was time to take to the elephants and fly away, or something.

Climbing up some concrete stairs to reach the heigh of the elephant, I gingerly put my foot on the elephant's back, which was a little weird with its mixture of firm, soft and loose feeling underfoot and sat down on the basket which felt as secure as leaving your bike near a gypsy camp site.


We were escorted through this well-beaten jungle track, as the elephant with a sense of slow majestic boredom, idly followed his trainer as it swayed and jolted from side-to-side, forward-and-backward as it negotiated the terrain.

Halfway through the trek we were allowed to sit on the elephant's neck, which can only be described as riding a freakishly tall saddle-less horse and you could feel the muscles of his neck and every heavy footstep reverberate up through your body.

There wasn't much scenery to be seen, except when it was time to turn around and we had a great view looking over the top of the jungle canopy down into the water in the far distance, though most of the time we were all fooling around; singing 'I'm on an elephant muthaf-ker' and acting like rappers, doing child-safe elephant impressions and being an unamused emotionless sultan, looking back on it now, it seemed like a good idea at the time that you had to be there for. Highlight would be laughing at a set of friends that got the renegade baby elephant and spent the whole time looking frightened and struggling to stay on, essentially fighting for their lives.

As we were returning back to base, our elephant trainer stopped us and enthusiastically pointed and told us to look left, at which point I did.

It took me a while to adjust and see what I was actually looking at, until my friend next to me pointed out this huge spider, it was about that exact point when I completely lost my cool and freaked out to the Nth degree, from memory, this thing had a body the size of a tiger's head, legs as thick as an octopus's with a white skull marking on its back, it then scuttle off up its web, which was even more disturbing cause I knew it was real. It then, seemed to point at me and say 'you're next Rupert'.



Well that's ridiculous, it obviously didn't say that, spiders can't speak English. He telepathically sent it to me in Thai.

People laughed at my disgrace and karma's a bitch.

...

Later on, We grabbed a late lunch and I calmed down from my brush with death with another beach massage where all my knots from yesterday's massage had magically reappeared.

It was turning out to be another amazing sunset so a friend and I hired kayaks and took to the water paddling out into the calm bay, to get another perspective of Smile Beach and watch the sun slowly fall behind some distant clouds and smashed into the horizon.

Thailand. Part III. | Feb 27th

7 o'clock and the morning sunrise streams through the windows, filling up my closed bunk area with glorious unwanted sunshine, I look out the window with sensitive eyes to see that the high sitting light grey clouds gives way to the sun's rays that get interrupted and flicker as palm trees block the ray's path, we appear to be in a jungle and it has just rained.


Looking at most people on the train, they looks a little worse for wear as they've, instead of sleeping, decided to go through a few rounds of boxing in the night, we laugh deliriously as some people are having early morning moments and next thing I know we have about 5 minutes to pack and get off the train.

We're escorted off the train by random people pointing in different directions, through the platform, through the car park and on to some coach, like dumb blind sheep with rucksacks, we (mainly I) only knew it was the right coach, as after 2 hours of driving on roads through rural Thailand (I imagine it was rural, as I was asleep for most of the journey) we got to a place that sounded like the word everyone had been uttering that we'd be getting a ferry from, my biggest clue was that it was a ferry terminal called Dansak.

Boarding the ferry we had another few hours to amuse ourselves before we got to the island we were aiming for when we left Bangkok 8 weeks ago, Koh Phangan. Getting a taxi to our hotel, located at the north-west of the island, we made it to our accommodation, Smile Beach Resort, at whatever late afternoon time.


After some mild language confusion with deposits, paying and general what the fuck was going on, we get led down a garden path and shown to our wooden shacks where we'd be sleeping; actually shacks isn't fair as that implies we were roughing it in some dodgy Thailand outhouses, these shacks were comfortable with a decorated verandah, air conditioning, hammock, outside wet room (with typically foreign “No toilet paper in toilet” ruling) and a few beds. The setting of these shacks were great as well, 2 to a shack and set out quite far apart from each other in amongst this fairly well maintained garden, located underneath a tree covered hill and 2 minutes walk from the beach, it's all you could ask for when you're paying £Sod.All a night and we spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach.




Smile Beach was set within a wide bay, sheltered by tree-heavy hills on all sides (except for the side with water) with houses and lowrise hotels breaking onto the sand and spitting away from the jungle at occasional points, the sand was yellow and fine with a calm and clear mirror like water lapping up on it and the water drifted and expanding out into the unknown, coming to this spot would feel refreshing, even if you'd seen it a million times.


We swam in the shallow waters of which was slightly disturbing with it's small infestation of sea cucumbers or as they looked like, alive crawling poos and afterwards, I went off to get an hour's full body massage on the beach where I had all my muscle knots abolished from beneath the surface of my skin, while I was being picked up, bent-backwards and swung around in all different directions and having my fingers pulled out, which was surprisingly, incredibly calming and soothing.

I rejoined my friends for an incredible sunset and later, enjoyed well-deserved cocktails and fine beach dining looking out on a fairy-light lit horizon as many fishing boats calmly overfish and destroy local fish stocks.