Published: November 30th -0001November 1st 2010
City Beach, Perth
We took the tandem for a 30km shakedown ride after rebuilding it. This is as far west as we got.
2010 has not been a very good year; the lowest point being Vernon's father dying in September. Before he died he said "Tell those buggers to live their dreams, they mustn't worry about me." So this one's for you Mick, you're with us in spirit(s) mate!
Since we got back last time we've been making plans for finishing the RTW trip, plans which have grown bigger and more extravagant as time has progressed. This culminated in the purchase of a Santana Fusion SE tandem from JD Cycles in Ilkley, we picked the bike up on 6th September and have been learning tandemish slowly since then.
Due to personal issues we hadn't sorted our flights by the time we had to move out of our flat in Southsea, so we were homeless; all our possessions went into mum's loft and garage (and at times were spread liberally around all available floor space) and we split our time between holiday lets, hotels, mum's spare room and Julie's spare room while we sorted flights, visas, insurance and accommodation for the first few days travelling. At times it looked like we would never make it to the airport let alone anywhere further but
Qantas A380 "Nancy-Bird Walton"
The before photo!
We took this plane on the QF32 flight from Heathrow to Singapore. Six minutes after taking off from Singapore it made the news by blowing up an engine.
we got ourselves sorted out and on 02/11/10 we shifted the comedy luggage pile into the Holiday Inn at Heathrow and finally we were off.
03/11/10 That was lucky!
We got to Check In with oodles of time to spare, straight through with no queue and no excess baggage charges (hurrah for Qantas Club members getting higher baggage allowances), through security with no hassle and into the BA Club lounge for free food, drink and wifi (Qantas Club again!)
At the gate we got our first view of our plane - an A380, they are massive! We were quickly loaded and taxied towards the runway where the pilot informed us "Well we're at the runway, but i can see at least ten other planes here as well, so God knows when we'll actually take off." It wasn't too long before QF32 was in the air and we settled down to watching films (LHR-SIN is a four film flight) and trying to sleep.
At Singapore we changed to a much smaller plane for the final leg to Perth where we quickly cleared immigration, customs and 'is your bike clean? We don't want any of your strange foreign bugs here.' and
Perth CBD from the Swan Tower
The Swan River Diwali festival is in the foreground
got ourselves onto a transfer bus to the YHA, there was a report on the radio of an explosion on a Qantas A380 over Indonesia, it turns out that it was the plane we flew into Singapore on, the explosion happened shortly after take-off on it's onward leg to Sydney. Looking at the photos in the papers on Saturday morning we could see that I had previously been sat at one of the windows nearest the damage site.
We checked into the YHA, showered, changed into clean clothes and headed out to find some food, this came in the form of a Belgian beer bar on King Street, Frites, mayo and lambic beers (including a £10 one) the only downside is that I have developed the traditional flight cold that I always get, so we headed back and slept the sleep of the dead even though our room faces the adjacent train line and level crossing.
On Friday we took a walking tour of the city, sort of following one listed in LP Australia, but we kept detouring because of "Oooh, look, what's that?" "Let's get a coffee" "Where does that go?" and other such deviations.
The Swan Bell Tower
This was built to house the bells donated from St Martin's in the Field in London.
Our route leads us past the Swan Bell Tower which houses the old bells from St Martin's In the Fields which were either a gift to the city of Perth from the city of London to celebrate the bicentennial, or a swap - twenty tonnes of bell metal in exchange for a bunch of old bells depending on who you speak to. Anyway, whatever the truth is, the bell tower is amazing and has the most terrifying viewing platform six floors up giving views across the Swan River one way, the CBD (central business district) the other, or my preferred option - the insides of my eyelids whilst maintaining at least four points of contact at all times.
Once back on solid ground we carried on towards King's Park, reaching it via Jacob's Ladder a 242 step stairway up a cliff face, as we crawled up it at a sedate pace we were continually passed by people running up and down the steps as part of their training routine - madness, madness I tell you.
We stopped at Woolies on the way back to pick up supplies and got shouted at for following the instructions on the self-service machine!
Night view from Perth YHA
Note the train in the foreground - these run very frequently from about 6am to after midnight
On a lighter note we were accosted by a confused looking lad in the biscuit aisle, he had a party pack of chocolate biscuits in each hand and said to us "Guys, which would you choose?" "Depends what for" "Stoner food man, stoner food like now man." "Those!" we both said simultaneously, pointing at the triple chocolate chip cookies. He looked relieved as he wandered away decision made.
We spent Saturday wandering around Fremantle (Freo) where we kept seeing bagpipers but Vernon assured me it is open season and there's nothing that can't be fixed with an elephant gun. We wandered around the markets, picked up a picnic lunch which we ate on Esplanade Reserve whilst laughing at the seagulls' antics and then looked around the shipwrecks' gallery of the maritime museum where, amongst all the obvious exhibits such as cannons, lumps of ship, galley ware and the odd skeleton there is a tiny piece of bobbin lace which was found in a lump of concretion from the Batavia wreck and carefully restored. It is amazing that such a delicate item has survived at all and it is so well preserved that Rosemary Shepherd has managed to produce a
Gulls squabbling over lunch
Throw one crumb and watch the free-for-all.
pattern from it which, of course, I buy a copy of. We were then directed to the main part of the Maritime Museum where there is a rather fantastic textile exhibition at the moment, it's a wierd thing to have at the Maritime Museum but well worth a look around.
Back in Perth in the evening we head down to the riverside for the Divali festivities where we enjoy wonderful curry, music and dance plus some spectacular fireworks, before deciding we really are rather knackered and need to sleep. We get back to the YHA just as all the young types are leaving for the evening - we are sooooo old.
Sunday was spent building the tandem and writing this up. in the afternoon we finally got out for a ride, taking the cycle route to the beach to ceremoniously dip our feet in the Indian Ocean, the bike stayed dry, salt water and Columbus CroMo? I don't think so! We still managed to get sand in the rear mech and could hear it crunching for the first couple of miles, that'll need cleaning out! after dinner Vernon finally got his 3 dongle unlocked and we discovered that bars
This is one of the exhibits in the free fashion exibition in the WA Maritime Museum.
shut at 22:00 on a Sunday in Aus, time for an early night then!