11.12.13

Poor excuse for a tourist

Woke up at 9.40am, 10.30am and 12.40pm. Time to get up and size the day or whatever's left of it.
Went down town to the Central Market, which is huge, encompassing market type stalls with fruit and veg, market food stalls and foodie shops but also random stores.
One thing's for sure, don't go hungry. Well, or do and eat there but you will want to eat everything. I think it would be good to pick up picnic fare and go to the Botanic Garden. I saw this pop up Reverse BYO. You bring your own food and they supply the wine! I started thinking what kind of stuff could one bring and do they cook it for you and oh dear I'd have to bring all the condiments, too and I almost despaired til I realised, wait there's no kitchen here! Oooh but I can bring everything else I've bought that's ready to eat but is craving for a good bottle to go with; namely all the cheeses and antipasto types of food. What a great idea!
I strolled to the South Australian Museum next and checked out a bit of the Aboriginal exhibition. In the entrance there's this awesome map of Australia with all the aboriginal tribes' names and areas. It's quite something. It'd make a fantastic poster to contemplate on.
After the museum closed I hanged a bit outside with the yoof practising their sk8r and parcour skillz. I walked over by the University of Adelaide, which by the look of the site map, looks massive. I saw this guy with a clipboard pointing some girls to the University and to his t-shirt. Couldn't read it and didn't want to stare but he was standing near a massive info board so maybe he was part of some sort of student welcome team? But universities have broken now for summer so who knows.
I walked over a square and sat in the sun a bit and read the history chapter of my Lonely Planet guide. The weather was marginally better today. I think locals are pretty stumped by it, too.
I braved the fucking cold again tonight to catch the sunset at the pier because it wasn't as cloudy as other nights. Perth would be happy to know Adelaide has got nothing on it.

10.12.13

So much wine, so little time.

Today I went wine tasting in the McLaren Vale. It was an early start and after all that wine I'm knackered.
We started early on the drink, which was a bit overwhelming til I was introduced to the concept of the "spitter". I poured a lot of wine down there.
I tried all sorts. I don't favour any wine over other so I was open to new things. Good things come to those who drink. No, wait. I meant, good things come to those, who dare.
My winner of the day is' Goldilocks’ Moscato by Hugh Hamilton Wines. 
Cheers!

9.12.13

rAdelaide

Today felt a bit disappointing. Having woken up in the afternoon there was very limited choice as to what I could do. Given that Mondays are usually a day off here (strange choice of day) and almost everything note-worthy closing at 5pm I was left with visiting the Botanic Garden with iffy weather, too. I'm glad I did because it was wonderful. I spent a couple of hours walking around and some time on a bench in the sunshine reading my book.
I rode the bus back to Glenelg to catch the sunset and froze my arse off at the windy pier. The sea was wild but some local yoofs jumped in regardless. Crazy.

8.12.13

The road to Perdition

Sara came picked me up and we drove around Peppie Grove, saw black swans and then we did a coastal drive. Finally got to see Cottesloe beach! We then had a hipster, good and cheap coffee in her hood on Mt Lawley.
She then persuaded her husband to skip watching F1 racing on the telly and cook us all a barbeque lunch. My first Aussie barbie!
They then very kindly dropped me off at the airport' too.
The flight to rAdelaide was early and got home alright but late due to the time difference and jet lagged. 2.5hrs ahead of Perth. And a half!
My hosts have an adorable 6-month old chocolate Labrador. We're in love. I might smuggle him on my way out.
I went down Moseley Sq to find something to eat and the only two open places were Makis Yiros and Souvlaki Bros. Oh my days. I came all the way to Oz to have souvlaki. Well it was either that or MacDonald's.
The most unpleasant thing was to see an ambulance and two police cars on stand by on the square. Welcome to rAdelaide. Or it could be London or Faliraki. Which brings me back to what I said about them drinking loads. Most of them were kids anyway. There was a crowd at the fast food place. Most were drunk. Some were shouting at each other, swearing and having arguments. One dropped his underwear and stuck his arse in his mate's face. That totally wetted my appetite. Apparently, that's a normal weekend night out so I'm happy I'll be in Tasmania for the weekend!
It's 3.30am, 17C and it's raining.

7.12.13

Fremantle

Today I visited Fremantle. A southern suburb but also historical site. The economic boom of the mining didn't reach it hence there are more colonial buildings than anywhere in Australia. This was Victorialand proper with High Street included.
I took the "Doing Time" tour at Fremantle prison. It was built by the first convicts shipped over from HM's land. Enter forced labour. UK first. *slow clap*. It was completed in 1855 and ceased to operate as a civilian prison in 1991. During this time 350,000 people were incarcerated here. 44 were executed on site.
The tour itseslf was quite sobering and the stories and actual prison quite depressing.
While we were there, they were setting up one of the divisions for a - wait for it - 50th birthday party celebration complete with ball and chain on each table. I'm lost for words with that one.
Forgot to mention that yesterday I saw quite a lot of people being trollied by as early as 9.30pm. Completely off their faces. One guy emptied his entire night's worth of booze on the station platform.
If I can make a generalisation it would be that it appears as if the Australians have developed the best and worst of the British. Nobody's perfect.

City of Perth

Arrived a day late. The Connect bus service from the airport was having a three hour break so took a $62 taxi to my Airbnb hosts place. Great. They welcomed me reluctantly then I realised why. They didn't know how I  ended up being late so I explained and apologised and I mentally relinquished my right to any refund from them for the first night of accommodation that I missed. Which sucks but hey.
The first evening I just took a picnic by the beach and watched the sunset and swatted flies. Thankfully someone said to me "the flies are bad tonight" so I didn't feel like I was the only one attracting them.
People generally talk to me and to each other, which is a bit different to what I'm used to. A lady who had taken her five or so dogs out for a walk in the local golf club in her nighty said "Beautiful evening, isn't it?" and then we started chatting. She told me her husband was Greek and his name was Stavros. Ha. She did speak of him in the past tense but I didn't pry. She started talking about being against immigration and how "well off middle Eastern men come here and get everything the states give them and get plastic surgery on their face" but she was for immigration "for the Cambodian people because they really need it, you know". Then she suggested I contact the Greek expats so they could show me around. I said, I wanted to meet Aussies, not Greeks. "But they're Aussies, you know!". She said she'd drop her business card in my hosts' letterbox so she could take me for a coffee. Hope she hasn't and I'm not mentioning this to my hosts.
There's all sorts of animals here that are out of the ordinary ranging from the dog of the house that guards me sleeping outside my door and wants a belly rub when I'm home to the crows that are abundant like nobody's business and go meow. Yes, they do. Meow like a cat on heat or one that's having an argument. Most amusing.
What's amusing me also is the plastic currency notes that have Lizzie on them. I keep thinking of them as pounds but they're dollars.
A not so amusing thing is how dark the streets are out here in the suburbs. There are big arse houses with gardens front and back, a strip of pavement right outside then a massive trip of grass and then the road. I mean it's nice and all but there are no street lights at night so it's kind of like a scary adventure getting home even from the station that's diagonally across the road.
Let's talk about city-wide WiFi. Yes, you read that right. Perth wins the internet so far. Perth City Council offers free WiFi across the city (OK you won't get it everywhere but it's still a very nice thing to have!). A* from me.
I went to an Indian Vegetarian restaurant last night by the river that's run by volunteers. It's an eat as much as you want buffet and pay as much as you feel it's worth. They had aubergines. MY FAVOURITE. It was delicious.
I've named Perth a "Victoriana theme park" with a healthy dose of skyscraper. It really looks like Disneyland. Well, Victorialand. All these colonial buildings that would sit well either in seaside England or far West. And then the skyscrapers next to them reminding you where you really are. My host told me there's plenty more near here in Peppermint Grove (or Peppie Grove) and I'm going to visit tomorrow.
When I visited Kings Park, which is pretty amazing and set atop a hill, I went up steep Mount Street. I saw some girls running down and an elderly gent really giving it his all uphill on his bike. Little did I know, they were using this stretch as exercise terrain! The girls starting running upwards and the man run down on his bike and started climbing again. And to top that off, around the corner, there was a set of stairs that were being used for the same purpose. People going up and down; running, walking, holding dumbbells. CRAZY.
Perth is nice. 

4.12.13

The one where what can go wrong goes wrong

I overslept my check out time by 20', which resulted in me chucking a load of things in my bag one of them being the fan remote control. I then arrived at the airport to find out that I had missed my flight by about 24hrs! Then I couldn't buy a ticket for the flight I thought I was on because it was too late. Then a transferred from the LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) to access the Plaza Premium Lounge for free with my Lounge Club card courtesy of AMEX  only to be told that its after immigration but I "can access the one in LCCT which is before immigration". I had taken the last transit bus from LCCT. The next bus back to LCCT is at 5.30am.  I'm now sitting on the floor charging my phone and typing this on my new Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Like a boss.
In other news, KL Komuter trains have women only carriages, which you may or may not be pleased to hear I used willingly and are not only patrolled but also the rule is enforced. No couples allowed but women with male children yes.
You're also not allowed to chew gum, which even though excessive I can see the reason why. Enter London public transport. That is all.
KTR trains are well nice and clean BTW. Much nicer than LTR. Indecent behaviour is not allowed either though not sure how they measure that.
I climbed Batu Caves for my daily exercise. 272 steps or thereabouts leading into cavernous Hindu temples. It was OK. If you've seen caves with stalagmites and stalactites before it's not revelatory. But it's free and it was fine for what is was. I had a nice lunch at one of the Indian restaurants at the bottom of the stairs. More roti for me. And a fresh coconut to drink. Yum.
It's 2.39 am. Maybe I should eat something.

3.12.13

Tourist proper

Today it didn't rain so I ventured out to the Central  Market. Had a look around. Bought some red envelopes for Chinese New Year (of the horse, by the way) and had some lunch.
I walked around in the stifling heat wearing my scarf around my neck and chest because frankly I've had enough of being starred at. I'm not naked! You're just a perve!
Had a look at the mosque, which looks very nice indeed from the outside. Couldn't be bothered to get in.
Went into the Petaling Market and I'm glad I went early as it wasn't busy at all. I had read some horror stories of women being groped due to the tight squeeze and I was apprehensive. It was fine. Walked in and out in a jiffy. I was genuinely surprised by all the counterfeits. Gucci, Lacoste, Chloe and Cath Kidston amongst others. If Calvin Klein uses children to make his genuine articles what do you think the fakes king pins use? Well, judging by the quality I'd say small animals... *rings PETA*.
A few sellers tried to sell me DVDs. I always smile and say "no, thank you". He said "maybe for later?". Those of you in customer service roles take note. This is what we call "anticipating client needs". A* from me, Sir.
I then returned back to the Central Market area for a pit stop at a mamak restaurant. Apparently, Restoran Yusoof Dan Zakhir does the best roti canai but personally I think the first one I had in Sentul was way better.
I walked around the Colonial District. Loved all the buildings. Hanged out with the cats in Merdeka Square. Visited Little India briefly til I was weirded out by the dark alleys and the homeless who also looked under the influence of some or other.
One more tip about KL. There are no pedestrian traffic lights that actually work. You'll have to jaywalk the whole nine yards. It's scary but see if you can find the rhythm of the traffic first before attempting suicide because that's what it feels like. Or just tail on a local. Strength in numbers.