Experiencing Perth, the Gateway to Western Australia!

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Sometimes when I close my eyes, I could almost see Perth’s blue skies in my mind.

It was also a specific time and place when I could pinpoint the exact moment when I felt like I could stay in Perth forever and not leave. The last month of winter, my last day in Perth. A lush green park, just one of the many in the city. A little past mid-noon, amazingly blue skies dotted with cottony white clouds. A grandfather and his two young wards taking a leisurely stroll, a vision right out of an Enid Blyton story.

Perth - Queen's Park - Grandfather with grandchildren

It was also where I fulfilled an unexplainable desire to see a black swan in the flesh. For unknown reasons, it almost became an obsession for me to see a black swan in Perth, perhaps for its significance in and association with Western Australia.

“What do you want to do?”
“I want to see a black swan!”

And so we hopped on one of the CAT buses in search of a promising sounding stop where we would then hop off and then venture on foot in our search for the black swan. We found them and there were so many of them! I was glad.

Perth - Queen's Park - Black swans

I had an entire day to spend with Val who had arrived at Perth a week earlier to further her studies. By now she’s the Perthian, having been there for 3 years now. But back in July 2007 we were newbies to the city, so to speak and wished to explore. So we went to see The Swan Bells.

Perth - On the way to the Bell Tower
That’s the Bell Tower on the far right! Walking all this way around Perth City before I started working out was a feat by itself

The Swan Bells are a set of 18 bells hanging in a specially built tower. Twelve of them date back to before the 14th century (from a church in Trafalgar Sq in London) whereas the rest were cast in recent times. I don’t remember if we managed to be part of the bell ringing demonstration (it was many months ago…) but I remember the scenic view of the city from the top of the tower.

Perth - Suanie and Val at The Bell Tower
Val had a fear of heights, would not venture past the more steady observation deck

Perth - Suanie and Val at the Swan Bells
Taken by the kindly-looking guard at the Bell Tower’s observation deck

We also made it to the Perth Zoo. Looking back, the admission price was more than worth it as we ended up spending so many hours there and had a great deal of a time (both people and animal watching :P )

Perth - Suanie at the Perth Zoo
Haha, I love this shot!

Perth - Perth Zoo - Suanie and Val
Spot the animals

Other random or not so random memories of Perth:

Kings Park. By the time I could get there, it was after 6pm and rather dark. I remember it being a chilly evening – then again I cannot take even slightly colder weather than usual. As I wrapped my jacket tighter to my body, I saw a guy in a tank top and shorts running past us. My first thought was, “ARE YOU NUTS?!?!” Heh but now that I’m slightly, uh fitter ( :P ) I’d like to try that some day. You know, jogging in Kings Park on a winter evening.. sounds whimsical in a way, doesn’t it?

Perth - City night view from Kings Park
Perth city night view from Kings Park

Swan Valley.

Perth - Swan Valley - empty vines

Empty vines because it was… uh, winter, heh. I think we stopped by more than a few wineries and got rather tipsy. Well there are so many along the Swan Valley, we couldn’t be biased and just visit one or two, right??

Perth - Swan Valley - Suanie with wine
Look what I found!

Fremantle. The seagull that tried to steal our fish and chips dinner.

Perth - Fremantle - Seagull

The highlight of my Perth trip was going to see the Wave Rock in Hyden, about 200++km from the city. It was not the destination but the journey for we crossed through the Wheatbelt region. The road we were on looked pretty much like this for 200++ km…

Perth - Road to Hyden

… and it was one of the most exciting road trips I’d ever gone on :) You tend to notice and appreciate every other little details that pop up like a bare tree on the side of the road. Or a lone sheep separated from the flock. Or patches of rusty brown intermingled with fields of green. Finding a kiosk after miles of driving to share a piping hot sausage and cheese stick. A steak and onion burger that was fried up last century but still tasted good because… well, there was nothing else. But it was still good :) Discoveries like these makes this my preferred mode of traveling.

Perth - Suanie in Corrigin
I made my friend turn around so I could have this photo taken

Perth - Hyden - The Wave Rock
Say hi to the Wave Rock. Sorry but it can’t say hi back.

Perth - Hyden - on top of the Wave Rock
Literally on top of the Wave Rock

Perth - Hyden - Park at The Wave Rock
My favourite photo so far. Makes me think of The Shire in LOTR and I was there

As the Hippo’s Yawn, another famous rock formation was just nearby, we decided to drop by and check it out. It is all very literal, actually. It’s a massive rock that looks like a hippopotamus yawning.

Perth - Hyden - Hippo's Yawn

Well I’d like to return, especially after reading about The Extraordinary Taxi Ride.It is a journey that embraces all the attractions and to-dos in Western Australia, a 9-week adventure by taxi that includes World Heritage Listed locations and the largest fringing reef in the world.

Driven by taxi driver Doug Slater, the more than 10,000km ride sees 11 couples from Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Germany taking part in the journey. The Malaysian winner of the Extraordinary Taxi Ride, Dr Ling recently explored the Great Southern Explorer route which took him and his brother Shaun through the deep South West of Western Australia.

I can see myself doing just that. Really, I could. Get on the off the beaten paths, you know, backpacks and all.

Now, who wants to go with me? :D
(You may have to know how to change a 4WD tyre, I can’t do that yet)

AirAsia flies to Perth regularly! Check out the website for the best value air fares to get to Perth, the gateway to Western Australia.

For more information on Perth – where to go and what to do, check out Experience Perth.

For info and updates on The Extraordinary Taxi Ride, click here. I think you can spend hours here with journeys and blog posts and photos and videos and route maps. I sure did!

ABSOLUT ROCK party @ Solaris Dutamas

One of the good things about taking a break from Original Bootcamp (hey, I’m still kind of injured you know! :P ) is being able to party on Friday nights until you’re absolutely plastered. Well, not that I do that all the time but it’s nice to have options, heh.

We RSVP-ed to Eric’s invitation to the launch of Absolut Rock at Blackbox, which coincidentally marked my 2nd time going to Solaris Dutamas. It is still a very confusing place for me, especially the entering/ exiting basement parking part.

Absolut Rock launch - cocktails Absolut Rock launch - Mike and Deep
Michael with loads of Absolut Vodka cocktails, and bromancing with Deep

There were models parading around the place dressed as different versions of David Bowie and Robert Pattinson. There was also a Spock-lookalike right down to the spacey shoulder pads. It was a bit surreal for me but I have to say that I had a fantastic time! Of course, the company was the numero uno reason other than the free-flowing cocktails and awesome DJ action by Twillight Action Girl.

Absolut Rock launch - Horng and Mike Absolut Rock launch - Suanie, Kerol, KY
Mike abusing Horng, and me giving some loving to Kerol

Absolut Rock launch - Nigel and Suanie Absolut Rock launch - Reta and Suanie
Me with Nigel and glam Reta

At some point during the party, Mike went on stage to win an air guitar competition. His prize was of course a bottle of Absolut Vodka, which he later opened with gusto to spike our drinks. Something about saving time from having to go to the bartender to ask for more vodka shots? Hmmm…

I loved this backdrop at the event which FA asked me to take a photo of. With her in the shot, of course.

Absolut Rock launch - FA poser
FA posing

All in all we had a blast of a party! Did I say that already? Can always repeat myself one, right? We had a blast of a party!! Thanks for having us :)

Absolut Rock launch - Group shot 01
Mike, ShaolinTiger, Terence, Kim, KY, FA, Haze & Ruby

Absolut Rock launch - Group shot 02
Terence, Elfie, Mike… argh you know everyone else!

Xtreme Martial Arts – Kickboxing @ Plaza Damas

Asha from Original Bootcamp does kickboxing at Xtreme Martial Arts at Plaza Damas in Sri Hartamas. She kindly organised a trial session for a bunch of us so we could have a taste of their sessions.

AVS Bathi led us through our session. Bathi, a World Kick Boxing Champion is also the Founder and President of the Malaysia Kickboxing Federation (WKA). Having represented the country many times for TaeKwon-Do and Kickboxing (and won several medals at that), you know that you’re getting the real deal here.

Xtreme Martial Arts - Kickboxing - 01 Warming up Xtreme Martial Arts - Kickboxing - 02 Warming Up
Stretching and warming up

Indeed, Bathi was an excellent instructor. Even with my poor coordination (AND poor comprehension of coordination), I found that I could understand what he was teaching, which is the mark of an experienced teacher. He was also rather strict, heh.

Besides going through some really basic kicks and punches (emphasizing on postures and stretching), Bathi also made us do lots of sit-ups, plank holds, burpees… Felt a bit like being at Original Bootcamp without the grass and mud, quite a thorough workout!

Xtreme Martial Arts - Kickboxing - 03 Learning to stretch Xtreme Martial Arts - Kickboxing - 04 Learning to punch
The steps before learning the basics

Very much enjoyed myself even though I was a bit dizzy from slight dehydration, but that’s another story. If you’re looking for a place to get your kickboxing kicks, I do think that Xtreme Martial Arts is a good place to learn your stuff. They also have other classes, e.g. TaeKwon-Do. As we were leaving, a bunch of guys were just about to begin their Russian martial arts lessons. They had large sticks, hmm…

Xtreme Martial Arts - Kickboxing - 05 Group photo
Us with Bathi

Xtreme Martial Arts - Kickboxing - 06 Group photo
Us posing…

From what I understand, public classes are inexpensive. Something like RM200 a month and you can attend as many public classes as you want. Quite a good deal for what you’ll be getting, actually! If you have a group of 10 or more, you could arrange for private classes. For more information, you can contact them at…

Xtreme Martial Arts / Kickboxing
A-2-2 (A003) 1st Floor, Plaza Damas,
Parklane Walk Shopoffice,
Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel/ Fax: +603-6203 4749
Mobile no: +6012-232 6749
Email: contact@kickboxingmalaysia.com
Click here to view Google Map

Woman follows Google Maps directions, gets hit by a car, sues Google because it was dark…

A prime example of how technology makes you stupider, forgoing all common sense. Assuming if there was any in the first place. Because you’re supposed to fully rely on technology, even on in Beta mode.

You should really read the articles at Techdirt here and the follow-up here.

The day KY and I nearly died side by side

Sometime last week I had lunch with KY in town. We then walked back towards KLCC — him back to work and me back to where my car was parked. As we crossed the final main road to get to KLCC, suddenly there were lots of motorbike honking. We turned our heads to our left in horror … 10,000 motorbikes were headed towards us!!!

… okay, it was not 10,000 motorbikes but it sure felt like it! What happened was, I guess both of us blanked/ zoned out and didn’t realise that the traffic light had turned green. So you can imagine both our horrors as we were momentarily stunned there and could not move an inch as the honking motorbikes came nearer and nearer…

I looked at KY, KY looked at me and suddenly we both just RAN for our lives! The photo below is an almost accurate presentation of what transpired…

Suanie & KY & lots of bikes

Scary. Had the ‘life flashed before my eyes’ moment. We could not speak about it for a while. Could not stop laughing because we were rather shaken. Human reactions can be odd.