Travel Blog: Week 17

Australia

Week 17: 04.03.2013 – 10.03.2013

Monday:-

I didn’t wake up until 9, grabbed a glass of water and went back to bed. Finally surfaced at 11.

Ange, Nigel and the boys had been up for hours and were now having elevenies – it’s a national holiday today. So breakfast was a hot cross bun and a cupcake. Not particularly nutritious but bloody lovely.

Strangely I didn’t do much until around 2 when we went to the flicks – “I give it a year”. Really funny of you want a laugh.

I walked back to stretch my legs and feel like I had at least done something constructive.

Barbie for dinner. I read for the rest of the evening.

I can’t do late nights anymore!!!!

Tuesday:-

Ange’s day off which meant a morning class at Arena. I look forward to these, challenging as they are. This morning was spin class #2. I’m getting used to the format of these, how to use the gears and pace myself. We both left feeling pretty much on top of the world.

Home, quick change and out east bound to the Swan River area. We were in search of Bells Rapids. We found it but at this time of year it’s more like Bells Puddles. It was so dry there was little water but the views were still fantastic from ground level and from the look out (complete with onlooking goats). As an added bonus a heard (the infectious sound of laughter) and saw a Kookaburra.

  

  

  

  

  

A great view of the city from here too.

Next stop the nougat store where they make and sell the nougat – sorry Dad I did buy some but I’m not sure it will last long enough to send some home to you. No stop here was complete with a nougat ice cream and a side order of homemade florentine.

 

We dropped in at a couple of vineyards – this is the wine region after all. Just rows and rows of vines (no shit!).

  

  

Then the chocolate shop. Watched the chocolate being made but no purchases this time. There were however bowls, yes bowls and with spoons, of free samples. I loaded up and made a quick exit. Currently there’s a tub of chocolate in the fridge but that too may not last too long.

  

Time to head back and grab a quick lunch before heading to Joondalup. A look around the shops and a chance browse which serendipitously revealed the t-shirt I’d been looking for. I’d seen a girl wearing it when I first arrived. The message on the back was ‘when was the last time you did something for the first time’ – this has rung in my head ever since and I have to say I lived this whilst being here.

Another first – I got the bus home. The Smart Rider system works like Oyster in London. If only I could remember to swipe out. If you don’t swipe out you get charged for the longest trip on that route – arghhhhh!

Home, pasta for tea and out. Tonight was Zen Martial Arts lesion #2. It’s all about fitness and being able to defend yourself was the opening line of the one hour lesson. Oh god, help me get through this. Mark, my partner in crime, was there again – phew. We are both new starters. Lots of running around, push ups, sit ups, blocks, kicks, falling properly etc etc. I think I’m getting better but it’s testing.

I ran home and was pretty much done for the day.

Wednesday:-

Could not get out of bed. Eventually had breakfast, some chores, wash and out. I walked to Currambine station – today I was going to Mandurah. I swiped my Smart Rider card – thankfully I had only been charged $4 for yesterday’s bus trip – and got on the train. Another beautiful day. Sorry those of you in the UK – shorts, t-shirt (my new one – still get excited over silly things like that), hat and sandals. Oh, and a huge smile.

I made it to Perth and got off the train only to find that train was going straight onto Mandurah. So I got back on. Another 50 minutes and I’d arrived at my destination. The bus to take me to the foreshore was waiting and within 5 minutes I was out in the sunshine.

Mandarah is a quiet little place and not really what I was expecting. I wandered around a little, chatting to an elderly gent who was sketching – he was going to enter a 2 day art competition and was getting some preliminary ideas together. He was actually AUSTRALIAN. Most people I speak to have come from the UK. He was a through and through Aussie. And I booked a canal cruise. There was the chance of seeing dolphins.

  

I spent the next hour getting to know the place.

    

The hour before my cruise whizzed by and I was starving. Luckily I could put my cruise back by an hour so I could stuff my face at a fabulous storefront restaurant. I ordered too much food so left with a doggy bag.

    

Straight onto the canal cruise. We’d only been out in the estuary for 5 mins when the dolphins appeared. There were four of them including a diddy one – And they were playful. They stayed on the bow for a good 15 mins before we turned into the canals.

  

  

 

 

The canals were lined with mega bucks homes – they were mahusive. Really!! Back out to the estuary and the dolphins were back and not only leaping out of the water but turning over as they did. They were having as fun as a time as the grinning humans on the boat. Best $28 dollars I’ve spent for a while. AWESOME. Hope you like the photos. I can’t easily load videos on here but will put some on FB.

  

  

  

I walked around a bit more and checked out the marina, Dolphin Quay and the markets. All a little cheesy but worth a nose around.

  

    

I dozed in the sun then back on the bus to the station and onto Perth – I travelled on a different line than usual so saw more of the station and some of the Aussie advertising.

  

I had a movie date tonight!

Thursday:-

Body pump first thing – jeez I ached from Tuesdays Martial Arts – the class was good and I was definitely improving as I could take slightly more weights.

Today Ange was taking me to the Northbridge area of the city. We had dim sum for lunch (OMG I’ve missed it – Ann I raised a tea cup to you). It was a different experience to my usual. The restaurant was full of ladies pushing trolling around. The trollies were ladened with baskets of steaming dim sum – some I recognised and some I didn’t (not even what they could have been made of). You were shown a dish and agreed, or not, to take it. Anyway, the lunch was great, even if I’ve learned what dishes to avoid in future.

  

We walked down Williams Street- very bohemian. At this stage Ange left me and I spent the rest of the afternoon having wonder.

  

  

The WA museum was worth a look. A discovery section, where I got to have a rather large stick insect walk up my arm, a natural history section (with stuffed animals and some marine exhibits) , and a exhibit following Aboriginal history. The latter was brilliant and a real eye opener. Although I have read Rabbit Proof Fence so I had some insight.

  

    

  

I spent the rest of the day browsing the shops, sight seeing (the bell tower), sitting in the park and having a beer – not the friendliest of pubs.

    

  

  

    

Back on the train*, with a short detour to Joondalup for smoothie ingredients, and then home. I was done – if I ever needed reassurance that this trip was the right thing to do I got it today. I sat opposite a lady on the train. She was obviously coming home from work after a long day, and was pouring over PowerPoint packs, stats and reports, trying to make sense of them. She looked tired, confused and frustrated. I used to be like that, but here I was in shorts, t- shirt and sandals after another amazing day. Say no more.

Friday:-

And relax! No plans for today apart from haircut, well over due.

I headed for Joondalup found ange’s recommended hairdresser and within 30 mins was done. All the sun-bleached ends removed I looked like a new woman. And to celebrate I had a 20 minute ‘relaxing’ reflexology session. ‘Relaxing’ may not be strictly accurate under trading standards. Anyone whose ever had reflexology will know what I mean – it can be a tad uncomfortable. However, I felt even better for it.

Home for lunch and some sun bathing. Have I mentioned before – this IS the life.

Over dinner I embarrassingly found out my naked sun bathing had been seen by the family. Note to self, don’t lay out late in the afternoon.

A quiet night in as tomorrow is a day trip to Rottnest.

Saturday:-

Not used to waking up to the alarm!! 6 am seem to come round really quick.

Quick dress and out. Ange very kindly got up early too to take me down to Hilary’s to catch the ferry – that’s true friendship! I met up with Lisa and Toni, 2 girls from the New Zealand basket ball team, and their coach Adam, who is friends with Nigel and works with him at Challenge. They had invited me along on heir day out to Rottnest. We got the 7am ferry and were on our way – I met a really interesting lady called Cathy on the ferry and we talked the whole way, so the 1 hour crossing flew by.

First stop was the I formation centre for a map and then onto to bike hire. We headed off in search of Little Salmon Bay, Salmon Bay, the lighthouse and the gun hill. Rottnest was the first line of defence for Western Australia in WWII. It was a cool and overcast morning but as you can imagine cycling with such fit people, all of whom had much longer legs than me, was quite a challenge. I’m happy to admit I got off and pushed up a couple of the steepest hills. Thank goodness I’d done a few spin classes beforehand. The island is beautiful and well worth the effort of cycling round. As the weather and temperature improved we headed for the shade and some food. A healthy steak pie!

  

  

Now we went in search of the beach and found an almost deserted one. I did a little snorkelling but there wasn’t much to see on this side of the island apart from the most massive Southern Stingray which cruised by me – it had to be 3 meters across and it was in water less than a meter deep so I got pretty close. A few ciders and some sun bathing then we were off again. We found shade, used the communal showers available here and parked up at the bar. It was heaving and not surprisingly. This was a trendy place to be. It was also entertaining watching a large hen party undertake dares – some of the guys in the bar were roped into all sorts of fun.

We caught the 4:30 ferry back and during this time the offer of cheap Guns n Roses tickets came up for that night.

  

After a bit of umming and arrhhhhhing I went for it. I just had to get there – by now it was 6 and the concert was just starting. A quick beer in the Breakwater bar and then I got a lift home with Adam, Lisa and Toni. Changed and waited for a lift into the city with Matthew. My friend from Future Music. We didn’t get to the Perth Arena venue until 10 and for a while, from the look of the people leaving, I thought the concert had already finished. Thankfully it hadn’t but it took nearly 30 mins to get in – I’d bought preferential tickets which are strictly for Challenge staff. Adam should really have been the only one to be let in – security gave him a call and eventually we were let in. There was about an hour left but it was well worth the effort of going. I’m not a GNR fan but I knew most of the numbers.

  

  

Stayed until the end then went into Perth in search of a bevvie. We went to the very trendy Tiger Lils for one drink and a boogie and then got the 2:15 train home. In Perth the trains which run between 2 and 4am are free – bargain.

It had been a full and long day and I was ready to crash.

Sunday:-

Had breakfast around 10 and then went back to bed until 1:30. I really can’t do late nights. I had THE most lazy day.

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