Monday, January 16, 2012

Perth 2011, Part II: Leaving Berth

It is also a lot better than a day spent in an airport. Getting hit by a tsunami would be more comfortable.

This post is a continuation of Making Berth in Perth 2011, though my saying that probably won't matter since most of you reading this (assuming you are) won't bother clicking on the link to see what that post is about. Luckily that doesn't matter much here, since the events described in that post have little effect on what I'm going to regurgitate from flawed and dated memory (since I'm too lazy to go upstairs to pick up my diary at the moment). On the other hand even if you do read anything from top to bottom odds are you're a lurker, and as such there's not much point in me rambling on and on on this point, so I might as well save myself the trouble and get on with it... one warning: be prepared for a lot of photos.
The photo below was taken in the arrivals hall at the International Terminal. Due to some last-minute planning, I was forced to wait for my cousin- I think he arrived sometime around ten at night. Hooboy. What fun. Remember that movie where Tom Hanks got stuck in JFK (ah yes, The Terminal)? I only stayed there for some 16 hours and it was as close to hell as I've ever been. Nobody in their right mind would want to wait in an airport for more than an hour- I only chose to as I had to lug my huge bag around and didn't want to trundle around the city with it, not to mention being unsure even of how to get to the airport.

Unlike Tom Hanks I did not meet a lovely Catherine Zeta Jones. I did not get an illegal job or befriend any of the airport staff. What I did was park myself on a seat near the washrooms pictured above, since I didn't want to pick up all my stuff with me every time I needed to take a leak- no thanks to that rather sensible rule requiring guests to not leave baggage unattended. So what I did was zip in and out occasionally. My bags were unattended alright, but I sure had my mind on them.

I passed the time by reading Enigma by Robert Harris (purchased from Elizabeth's in Fremantle) and my pile of Rurouni Kenshin manga snagged in Perth. Somehow I managed to finish Enigma and 5-6 volumes of Ruroken before finally giving up due to fatigue. I had a pack of cloyingly sweet chocolate cream biscuits in my bag, which I'd placed on the floor- a sniffer dog and his/her handler came along and the dog sniffed away happily for ages- I was too stoned to volunteer to open my bag up, and just gave them a glance before burying myself in Enigma.

You'd never have realized that this was an Evolutionary Chart if I didn't tell you, no?

Once my cousin arrived- from Hong Kong, via Cathay Pacific, which recently weathered a rather randy scandal involving a stewardess and a pilot- I decided to call it quits. Threw my sandals off, and pulled a hoodie over my head. It wasn't much help. I couldn't sleep a wink, despite being so tired- no thanks to the public service announcements blaring forth every 30 seconds and the occasional bumping and crashing on my erstwhile personal row of tin (or whatever metal) seats.

The second group's flight touched down around 6am. After the customary greetings (plus gasps of aren't you cold?), visits to the toilet, we made our way to Perth, to our first hotel- surprisingly one I'd walked past without realizing it a few days ago, when I went on my ridiculously long-winded hike to King's Park. We couldn't check in though. Here's what's irritating about Aussie hotels: standard check in time seems to be 2pm. Sigh. Dumped our bags and headed out to town.
Leave it to the Aussies to be rude yet funny. The joke's on me if this was designed and made in China.
Here's the point in this post where things get messy. Like I mentioned in the preceding post, my sister messed all the photos up before I managed to get hold of them- as such I have no idea where we went and when we did what we did, and only a vague recollection of what goes where. I'll try my best, but don't expect legal precision here. Legal misdirection, on the other hand...
It cascades down your throat. Wombat not included.
Ginger beer. I got it at Caversham Wildlife Park- the highlight of the place being the kangaroos and koalas. Quite a pretty bottle for mere ginger beer... good enough to determine the presence or non-presence of decomposed snails within. Law students will know what I'm talking about. Leave your answer in the comments section (cite the case properly) and there's an imaginary brownie for you.
Bend over.
Sexy soap boxes. Taken in a Fremantle boutique where my sister got a shirt. We didn't spend as much time as I'd have liked in Freo... rush rush rush. Gah.
"after ego is gone, true essence is left/me as I am, the world as it is, just are"
Japanese ramen restaurant in Freo Market. Probably the best Ramen I've ever had, perhaps better than even Tenka Daiichi back home. I think we were there a little too late (no thanks to the market having different closing times for different days- also, the aforementioned rush. Rush. Rush. Sigh). They didn't have what I wanted- specifically, anything with chicken in it. I settled for (as best as I can recall) gyoza ramen. Lovely.
Instant sex.
Spotted somewhere in Perth. Insert your credit card, make a payment, and a hooker of your choice pops around the corner. Nothing as kinky as that, really- it's just the name of a bank. Sheesh, check a dictionary before naming your business, guys.
Macarons at JP Sancho.
Breakfast at Jean Pierre Sancho. This place is famous- why I'm not sure. It could be due to either it's age (established 1904); advertising (travel writers love them); their food just being good; or all three. It was good, alright- though not good enough to have me jumping in joy with a Pavarotti tune pouring from my bread filled stomach.
Too much is too much.
Strawberries. Dad went bonkers over the price and bought a few boxes. We ate them while walking, while resting, while waiting, while lazing in the hotel... we really pushed ourselves, and somehow managed to finish three boxes. One was brought back home- they shrunk a little, and pink strawberry blood was all over the place.
And this was just the first plate.
Part of the seafood platter we had at Cicerello's in, ah, Mandurah. What stinks about the place is that they charge for condiments. I'm pretty sure they don't belong to a budget airline... at least we didn't have to pay to use their toilets.

There wasn't much to see in Mandurah itself, though. There were some Venice-like canals, but most of the buildings and shops in the area were new (and closed). We did manage to spot some dolphins swimming in the river though.
...chocolate sardines? What? Let's just move on. Taken at some weird candy stall in Freo Market. We didn't buy any.
"Alright, who knocked 'crepe' out of position?"
Spoiled for choice: the menu at a crepe restaurant, just next to the ramen outlet in Freo Market. The chef in the picture looks a little like a creep deciding whether to hit you with the frying pan or the plate of crepes, but don't let that distract you if you like crepes. The others weren't too impressed, but I quite enjoyed mine. That being said, my impression of a crepe is now no more than that of a pancake with stuffing...
French Murtabak!
The aforementioned stuffed pancake. I was fascinated by crepes for ages, but having had one I now feel a stronger attachment to simple home-made pancakes drenched in honey (this despite enjoying the meal, go figure).
A mess.
Mexican mixed platter for lunch, at one of the outlets in the food court under Hay Street Mall in Perth's CBD. Filling, this one.
Epic naming.
Nudie juice. What more can I say? Drink one and you will feel like streaking. Drink two and you will streak. Don't ask me what will happen if you go beyond that.
Ever felt like racing a train?
That's if for the food pics, I think. Now we move on to utterly random pics of random boring things, like this quaint little train station, with a bicycle road running alongside.
Bang bang boom.
A small procession outside Freo Market, just after it closed for the day. I didn't ask what the occasion was. It was cheerful and all, but they kept repeating the same short tune, which got a little irritating.
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream...
A ferry to get to the other side of the Swan River. I could have taken it on my epic walk back on day one. I didn't. I didn't see it, anyway.
Roos, frozen in time and steel.
In retrospect this shot reminds me of Shadow of the Colossus (I'm reading the book). Then again, after reading that book, any grayish sculpture will remind me of it...
There's a Chick in every can. Her name's Cecilia. I take it she's the best produce Australia has to offer. I don't think she's genetically modified either, so no worries there, if that's the sort of thing you like to worry about. Oops, gotta run. I see a lot of Aussie farmers in the distance, and they don't look too happy.
Why Pirates? Pirates are cool! GRR!
Oh look. These guys. The ones who tried pirate maneuvers on the Japanese whaling fleet. Or was it whaling ship? Whatever. I don't think these guys were on the crew though.
One of the canals in the ghost town of Mandurah. OK, that wasn't very fair. Maybe the place was just new. Seriously, you wouldn't know it just looking at the tourism literature...
Add Your Own Caption.
I like this picture, even though the blurry lens screwed it up somewhat. Don't ask me for a reason. Right now I'm sniffing every 5 seconds, and I don't really feel like digging through my memories for a reason. Memories, in case you don't know, are stored in the brain. The brain is perilously close to the nose, in which two cavities known as nostrils are located. It is these two cavities that are the source of this sniffing, and if I go too close... you won't ask for a reason? Oh how sweet of you. Moving on... *sniff*
Lonely sight.
A rickety little pier at Rockingham. We wanted to go to Penguin Island, but get this... it was closed. Mating season, I suppose. We weren't to distract the little fellas from humping each other. Makes me wonder whether this could be done for human societies as well- especially places with declining birthrates and aging populations. Singapore, Japan, for example. Oh dear. I just know that some porn director is going to read this and have a brilliant (if non-original) idea...
Fancy a swim?
Closer up. Lovely hue to the water. Almost makes one want to jump in- if not for the ridiculously strong winds buffeting the beach.
Stoned, waiting for the bus. Lesson learned from this pic: Jeans and sandals don't mix, at least not in photos. It couldn't be helped, though, no thanks to a little problem with my foot which effectively ruled out socks and shoes for the time being.
"If you see it, or hear it, tell us about it. Yeah, we got bored."
Spotted on one of the trains- a reversal of the 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' monkeys. My problem with it: just what exactly constitutes anti-social behavior? Not replying when the stranger next to you says hi? Practicing the Karma Sutra in the aisle?
Nice tree.
Our next hotel was out in some suburb in the middle of nowhere. We stayed there for the convenience of it being closer to the airport. The trouble of course, was that getting there was a pain.
Identity crisis.
At Caversham Wildlife Park. I have no idea what this little guy was doing. Playing possum? You're a kangaroo, for Irwin's sake!
Can't. Get. Head. Out.
Can't remember what this thing was called. Don't think it was a wombat, though. Maybe some sort of giant rat. Cute little fella, though.
Emperor KUZCO!
Multiple choice question: Is this a horse, a dog, an emu, a giraffe, or a camel? OK, so I cheated. It's a llama. Though you wouldn't be entirely wrong if you answered 'all of the above'...
*poke, poke*
Don't go 'aww'. Just you try. Stare at this picture, and tilt your head sideways 45 degrees. You will go 'aww'. It's scientifically proven that you can't resist it. Especially with your head at 45 degrees.
"Just cooperate. I did."
Sheep shearing demonstration. Somewhere along the way he sheared his head too, just for fun. Alright, I made that up.
One big piece.
The end result. It stinks pretty bad. It took quite a while and was an interesting sight, though the sheep looked rather pathetic at the end.
Whatcha looking at?
Here's where you get to relive all your Harry Potter fantasies. Stand beside her and pretend she's Harry Potter and that's Hedwig. You can be Voldemort.
Baby bottles are universal.
Feeding a baby roo. I think this one was found oprhraned- momma got killed by poachers or hit by a car or something. Greedy little tyke.
Nothing's going to pry me from my tree
Shy chap. Ever seen nature-lovers or conservationists who hug trees to stop people from cutting them down? They learned the art from koalas, but never mastered the skill.
And that's the end of this messed up travelogue. Next up, ancient Constantinople (Istanbul)!

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