We gave the landy a final clean, made some final tweaks, said goodbye to everyone in KL and had a final dinner with Albert Kon (who has been a great friend and help to us while there) before heading off towards Singapore. We arrived on Tuesday morning with all our documents in order and feeling pretty confident. After all, it was just another border. But no. Despite the fact that the AA of Singapore had told us to buy insurance in Malaysia and despite the fact that the insurance document said it covered Singapore, apparently it doesn’t if you are in the Singapore Land Transport Authority and so we had to buy insurance on arrival for 50 dollars. This is to cover you for the 30 minute drive to the port. What a bunch of tubes. Oh, and you have to buy a 10 dollar autopass, which is a little card for paying tolls even though you are supposed to get a 5 day exemption and you won’t actually go through any tolls on your way to the port. It suddenly becomes clear why Singapore has the reputation of being a bureaucratic bottomless pit that it does. Still, we got in, drove to the port and handed the beastie over to the stevedores possibly never to be seen again.
The next day we sorted out the carnet down at the port, took a few promotional shots of the landy at the ship and booked a flight to Perth for Thursday. Well, I did. Richard decided to go back into Mayalsia for some crazy reason.
So on the 12th of April, I finally arrived in the big O Z. Perth is an amazingly clean city and has a nice relaxed charm. People are genuinely friendly and they speak passable English aswell. However, the shock of the prices nearly had me back on the plane to Malaysia. 8 dollars a pint! 3 dollars for a canned drink in a 7/11! 5 dollars for a sandwich! 20 dollars for a hostel bed isn’t bad though. Soon after arrival I got the train out to Cottesloe beach where I met up with my old friend Richard Clayton who has been out here for about a week.
On Friday and Saturday we wandered around the small port town of Fremantle (quaint - nowhere near as exciting as everyone says) and explored the streets of Perth. Friday night revealed the Aussie drinking culture which is very much of the Liverpool variety. Drink too much, stumble between a few pubs then at closing time spill out onto the streets and start a fight. This would explain the heavy police presence around the nightlife areas.
A visit to Kings park in Perth revealed great views over the city and confirmed the impression that I’d initially had when coming from the airport. There are only suburbs. Everyone lives in the suburbs. There’s the city centre, then suburbs, all of which are very nice and well laid out. Everyone has a garden and a car and a bbq out the back. There doesn’t seem to be a big difference between areas like in other cities. Maybe this will be different in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Landy won’t be arriving until next weekend so we decided to hire a car on Sunday and head down the South West coast. The first stop was the Ngilgi caves which were very impressive with stunning shawls, mites and tites. Afterwards, we hit the small town of Magaret River for some local wine and cheese. By the time we reached Nannup we were knackered so settled down for a rum nights sleep in the car. Tomorrow we were going to see the famous “Tall Trees” of South Australia.