Sunday, November 29, 2009
Having jet boated around the island and flown over it, today was time to cycle all over it before getting the ferry back to the mainland in the afternoon.
Did about 40km exploring every road and seeing every bay, and other than the odd bus each hour and 1 snake sunbathing in the middle of the road, there was bikes only.
The weather wasn’t so good today and in the afternoon it really clouded over and the winds got up making for rather a rough ferry ride back to the mainland
Today 3 of us from the hostel did a scenic flight over the Island and over the sea to Freemantle and then right over Perth City Center itself, was the perfect day for flying with not a cloud in the sky and the views were absolutely stunning, heres a shot of the city centre with King’s Park, and the Swan river in the background with it extending into the ocean in the distance.
After the flight we had a little cycle round a few bays and had to make a tough decision of just which beach to goto. We eventually settled on a stunning beach called the basin near to one of the Island’s lighthouse which had been awarded with the title of Australia's best beach, and spent the afternoon there.
It was Friday night and we went to the islands bar which was very lively tonight and after several beers rode our bikes the 2.5km back to the hostel with the knowledge we had no worries about any traffic, the only obstacles were having to dodge loads of Quakkas on the road and with myself being the only one with light had to stay in front and shout out Quakka warnings!
Today I was heading to Rottnest Island for a 3 day 2 night trip, It’s is a stunning Island that’s an A Class reserve with a lot of history just 18km off the coast of Freemantle which is itself 18km from Perth. There are no cars allowed on the Island and the only way to get around is by bus or as most people do cycle.
Upon arrival I checked into my accommodation Kingstown Barracks a former army barracks now converted to a hostel then went back to the jetty to board a jetboat for a wild ride around the Island with the promise of also seeing some wildlife and possibly Whales!
Met some other people also staying at the Hostel and we had a wet and wild time saw some sea lions but was no sign of any whales until just as we were about to give up and head back to the jetty someone saw one in the distance, we turn on the power and head towards it and indeed it was not just 1 but 2 whales that regularly breached they were a stunning sight and stayed around for about 15 minuets, it was very difficult to be quick enough with the camera to get any good photos but then I got very lucky and got a great shot of one of the whales tails lined up with the skyline of Perth which is over 30km away! After this photos we got a lot closer and I got many more great Whale shots, which I will post in a separate Gallery later.
That evening I cooked myself some Pasta, and took that and some Strawberry’s and cream to a beech which was only a 5 min walk from the hostel, while eating got joined by a local – Quokka which is a rare unique animal that’s been described as a cross between a kangaroo and a rat (The Islands name Rottnest is actually Dutch for Rat’s nest) They are very friendly though especially when there’s food about! After dinner I met up with some others from the hostel at a pub on the Island about a 2.5km bike ride away for a couple of beers to complete a fantastic day.
Friday, November 27, 2009
DAY 67 - A DAY AT THE RACES ON THE HOTTEST OCTOBER DAY EVER IN PERTH – BUT THE BEACH BALLS WERE ALL BACK IN THE UK CAUSING MY FOOTBALL TEAM TO LOSE!
Today the mercury reached 37.2 degrees C (99F) which depending on which source you read was either the hottest or perhaps 2nd hottest ever October day in Perth! It was also the first day of racing at the Ascot racecourse and was free entry so the place was packed, unfortunately I think all the horses I backed were feeling the heat and were not even close to getting me a win, so despite the free entry wasn’t a cheap day out. The day got even worse for me when I went out in the evening to watch Liverpool on TV and we lost after a beach ball intervened!
Another pic taken at Cottesloe beach yesterday this time of their new sign warning patrons that there is water! This has to go down as one of the most stupid signs anywhere!
The weather is really starting to warm up and today was the perfect day togo to the beech for a few hours, got this nice shot from Cottesloe beach jetty looking back on the beach with a kitesurfer in the foreground. I then cycled the 24km or so home.
Decided to go for a cycle near the airport again but this time went to the opposite end of the airport to my previous trip and found a great field near the end of the runway where the planes were taking off from, here a nice shot of a Thai airways Airbus A330 taking off for Bangkok
A quietish day, went into the city to do some shopping and struggled to get on the train due to a drunken aboriginal couple who had both passed out and fell asleep on the floor right by the door! After several passengers stepped over them to get on and off the train some security guys appeared and manged to get them semi conscious enough to get them to leave the train! By the way the picture is not an aboriginal but as alpaca taken at the previous weeks Royal Perth show!
Got invited back to the Lodge where I had previously stayed for a big BBQ, was a good night until we went to Northbridge the nightlife area of the city where some of the bars insist on ID’ing everybody no matter what age and only allow a passport or Australian driving license some then take it further by photographing you on entry.
I had found out about this policy the previous week so reluctantly carried my passport on me, got in the queue for the bar and waited for ages as several 30 and even 40 something’s argued with the door staff
A 40 year old British guy almost came to blows with the doorstaff after being told not only to produce ID to show his age, but then that a British driving license was not acceptable!
I’m all for combating underage drinking, ( mean after all I didn’t have my first drink in a pub till I was 14 :) But quite frankly demanding a passport or Australian driving license whatever you age (I guess they even turn pensioners away) then demanding big brother has to take a still picture of you before you can enter has all got rather ridiculous and stressful when you just want to chill out and have a good night out.The arguments in the queue show it is more likely to cause more problems than do good, decided myself, I’m not carrying my passport on me again for a night out again with the risk that if you lose it it’s difficult to replace easily so that’s that the last time I’m going to such a bar with that policy in place.
Anyway no new pics today (I wasn’t going to carry 2 valuable items) so heres another from the Royal Perth show last week, It was sunny day and I forgot to take my hat so ended up buying a hat to look like a Aussie bushman!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
No Pics taken today so heres another shot from the Royal Perth show, where before the fireworks display horses ran around in bright lights and the riders carried flares and the Aussie flag, the result was quite spectacular!
Cycled to Guildford a nice historic superb only about 8km from where I'm living. After having a look around the suburb I found a field that was on the approach path to Perth Airport’s runway, got this nice shot of an Emirates Boeing 777 coming in from Dubai. Was a nice afternoon combining 3 of my hobbies cycling, Aviation and photography!
Went to Cottesloe beach around lunchtime was a lovely morning but once I got to the beach it cooled down and started clouding over so what do people do in Australia when the beach weather turns not so ideal? Head to the pub of course! Went to a pub that was celebrating Octoberfest with some great German beer and a Bratwurst BBQ, my Flatmate joined me and we had a decent night out until Liverpool played football against Chelsea and a bouncer nearly chucked me out of the pub because he mistook my shirt for a Rangers one who’s fans were apparently banned from the pub, I think he was getting his beers mixed up as Carling sponsor Rangers while Carlsberg sponsor Liverpool, thankfully the boss realized his bouncers mix up and come rushing over to sort the situation out telling the bouncer he’s got his beers, sorry football teams mixed up and apologized to me, He could of have given me a free beer as an apology though!
Went to watch the Australian A League football (Soccer) game between Perth Glory and North Queensland fury. The away team was of more particular interest to me as Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler is now playing his football down under for them, He had a very poor game and just after being substituted Queensland scored a very dodgy equalizer when it was clear the goalkeeper had been shoved over the line, but the goal was given and the game finished 1-1
Went to the Royal Perth show an annual agriculture and entertainment show, was a stunning day for it with bright blue skies with even brighter skies in the evening when a spectacular fireworks display finished off the day.
Got so many great photos from today it’s hard to decide which one to use decided on this spectacular fireworks shot, expect to see some of the others soon when I don’t have a new photo of the day to post.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Amazingly for the 2nd time in 3 months I was to fly on a plane with my own initials as the last 2 characters of the registration 9V-TAB a Tiger Airways Airbus A320, at just over 5 hours flying time this is one of the longest flights carried out by such an aircraft and was pretty uncomfortable for such a flight. The highlight of the flight was a stunning sunset out of my window about 2 hours into the flight but annoyingly my camera battery had died so could not take my usual out of the window in flight shots, so as I couldn’t get a pic of or from my AB registered plane here a pic of my Church instead, St Andrew’s Church in Singapore.
After rather a late start after the night before dragged ourselves out of bed and went to Sentosa an island just a mile or so off the Singapore and connected by road, tram or cable car. After spending ages to find the entrance to the cable cars we found that they were closed due to refurbishment, so had to take the tram, which took us ages to find. Finally got to the island and chilled out on a beach for a while, then I noticed the luges looked fun, you took a cable car up a steep hill and came flying down the hillside on something that resembles a tea tray on wheels, we bought tickets for 2 goes and I won the first race quite easily.
James was really up for the 2nd race desperate for revenge, and I made a really bad start giving him a huge lead, but I picked up some momentum and started closing the gap by taking some corners very fast, on the last corner I somehow avoided crashing by millimeters and the momentum gave me enough speed to attempt to overtake which James tried to block but at the last minute before the finish line I pulled off a fantastic manover that even Michael Schumacher would have admired, to overtake and win again! It was amazing how something so simple could be so much fun, who needs an expensive powerful car to race when you can just put wheels on a tea tray and coast down a hill!
For our last evening in Singapore we went on the Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel which is 165m (541ft) tall making it the tallest Ferris wheel in the world 30m (98ft) taller than the London Eye the previous record holder, it was difficult to get to as was inside where the grand prix track was and they were currently dismantling, we got there in the end after a quite a walk and it was worth it as it was so quiet we even got our own private capsule, and the views over Singapore all lit up was fantastic as this pic shows!
We finished off with a nice meal at an American themed bar and had a good chat with the friendly local barman.
Woke up feeling much better than the previous few days, I went out in the morning to have a walk around Little India that was very interesting place to see.
Then it was time to head to the circuit for the main event the Singapore F1 Grand Prix!
The race wasn’t quite as fast or exciting as previous races I’ve been to but it was quite an atmosphere with it being at night in the middle of a city, the atmosphere was great and was a great result for the Brits with Lewis Hamilton won while the other British driver Jenson Button and world championship favorite drove a great race to finish 5th after starting only 12th which improved his chances of winning the championship.
We were allowed to walk on the track after the race and I picked up a souvenir, a little piece of rubber off someones tyres.
We then headed to Singapore’s main nightlife district Clark Quay right by the river and had a great night out, found a good microbrewery bar with a fantastic Pale Ale which reminded me of Minnesota's Summit Pale Ale.
Spent another quite morning and early afternoon at the hotel then we went to the circuit for the qualifying
Decided to just go straight to our grandstand seats today got there while it was quiet and got this pic taken of us with the circuit, marina bay and the stunning Singapore skyline in the background.
Once it came to Qualifying just as it was hotting up in the final session we were denied the grand finale due to Baracello crashing just as everyone was starting their last flying laps so the current standings stood as the final qualifying result, it was great in some ways for us as it was British driver Lewis Hamilton on pole, but was also rather an anticlimax.
Scottish band Travis were playing live after the qualifying so we wondered over to where the stage was and saw them play, they finishing off with their best know song “Why does it always rain on me” but amazingly the rain stayed away!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I still wasn’t feeling well so had a quiet morning and early afternoon at the hotel while James went out to do some sightseeing of Chinatown and little India,
After a good rest I felt well enough to goto the 1st day of the Grand Prix.
We had a good walk around the track during the 1st practice, but for the 2nd Practice took our seats in the grandstand. The seats didn’t offer us a huge view of the track, nor were they of the fastest part but what it did offer was a great view of the cars as they were charging toward a sharp bend entering a tunnel that went under the grandstand below where we were sitting all with the stunning backdrop of the Singapore skyline in the background.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen got it all wrong on the corner ran wide and hit the tyre wall by the tunnel. It was perfect timing as I had just got a spot up front to snap some quick pics and got this great close up shot, you can see the lights from the dashboard reflecting in his visor along with the lights from the floodlights reflecting off the cars bodywork
We both had at least 11 hours much needed sleep although I woke up with rather a dodgy stomach.
We had a little walk around outside where the F1 circuit was set up before going to collect our tickets, near the ticket collection was a Haagen Dazs and not feeling like eating much for lunch just decided to have an Ice Cream. I forgot my dodgy stomach and went for an ice cream sundae while James settled on a single scoop, the single scoop ending up arriving looking ridiculous and rather lonely in a huge bowl not to mention overpriced at $12 and that didn’t include the bowl To keep!
My Icecream sundae was better value but it certainly didn’t help my stomach, we went to walk around the famous Raffles hotel public areas and while I don’t look to bad here 15 minutes later it was a different story as we were wondering around I turned very white and came so close to being sick all over the famous hotels plush courtyard, thankfully I wasn’t and after rushing to the toilet still wasn’t, I guess there was no way I was going to allow myself to bring up an Icecream I’d just paid $15 for!!
After a few minutes I felt a bit better so we walked onwards past the old part of Singapore and then reaching the river, which we walked alongside for a while before doing a rivercruise.
After only about 3 hours sleep I somehow managed to stagger out of bed, snapped some shots of the view from my room get checked out and make it to the bus station in time for my bus to Singapore.
The fare was again only about £3.50 and was amazed to get on the coach and find that it was a luxury coach with only 30 seats in 1 by 2 configuration giving a wide comfortable seat. It took nearly 4 hours to get to the Singapore border where we had to get off and take our luggage to clear immigration & Customs, remembering to bin any chewing gum as it’s strictly not allowed into the country! I rejoined the coach on the Singapore side of the border and it wasn’t long before we were underway for the final 40 minuets into the city of Singapore.
After checking into the hotel and getting some lunch I went out to the airport to meet James who was flying in from England on a Singapore Airlines A380 superjumbo, I found a viewing mall to watch it land and taxi in.
After dinner we both needed an early night James was jetlagged while I was just beerlagged from the previous night!
DAY 42 – MALAYSIAN TRADITIONS AND CULTURES
Today was one of the best days I’ve ever had travelling anywhere, met so many people and did and saw so much or various different cultures.
It started with going for a traditional Malaysian Dim sum breakfast with the owner of the bar down the road and other drinkers from the bar the previous night. It was certainly a very different breakfast to what I’d ever had before some of the items I liked, some not so much but was a fun time and great experience.
Then the bar owners taxi driver friend offered to drive me around Malacca and show me the sights for only £8 per hour, This was a great idea as I had my own personal tour guide and got to see so much more than I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, first off we went to the Portuguese settlement, then onto Arab & Chinese settlements including a traditional Chinese cemetery where they use giant semi circular stones as gravestones.
Then it was onto the Eye on Malaysia a 60 meter tall Ferris wheel, which offered great views all over the city and straights of Malacca, which is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world as ships head to and depart out of Singapore to all over Asia and Europe.
Got to meet a lot of locals as he took me to a public Malaysian house where the family show you around their home and tell you all about Malaysian traditions including the marriage tradition that they insisted we had to act out while they took a photo! Then had the owner put on a lunch of Malay pasties and cakes!
Then did an afternoon cruse up and down the river on traditional old Asian rickshaw boat.
Was planning to have a quite night ahead of an early start to travel to Singapore the next day, but there wasn’t much chance of that as had a great night back at the bar meeting a lot of people from different places in the world and also some friendly Malaysians, I eventually staggered back to my hotel sometime after 2am.