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Tuesday, February 12, 2008


And then we were off to Perth. More Flickr photos are now up!

Perth was the first of our "Family Stops". Alex's step-sister Sarah (who I'd met before) lives there with her husband and two girls (none of whom I'd met). Lovely folks, one and all, and their house (which is actually in Fremantle, about 20km away from Perth itself) is great. The lounge has a massive peaked roof with floor-to-ceiling windows leading out to the yard area. The house really revolves around this massive old tree that dominates the property: what I might describe in a slightly romantic manner as its heart. In addition to Sarah and family, Alex's mum and step-father were in town having visited for Christmas. A proper family reunion!

I should also mention that the flight from Hong Kong to Perth was the absolute worst flight of the holiday. Turbulence the whole bloody trip. Seriously, we had maybe an hour and a half of calm air the entire time. So another lost night of sleep for Andrew. In fact, I had to crash out for a few hours after we arrived just to feel human again. And for "feel human", read "less inclined to rip the head from anyone who dared cross me". No kidding, I'm like Dr Salmond and Mr Fuckyouasswipe.

Anyway, Fremantle is a lovely town. Like all places in the area it's a little on the drought-stricken side. Serious water restrictions and brown verges as far as the eye can see. We had just missed a heatwave actually, so things had settled down to a pleasant 35 or so. My first holiday realisation (of many) that I'm just not equipped for the heat. But it has a good character, feeling like a town in it's own right rather than just suburban sprawl. Nice cafe culture going on, plus lots of bars and restaurants. Plenty of good beaches nearby as well. On the whole, recommended.

Would that I could say the same for Perth! Sorry Perth-ites, but as much as I appreciate your surrounds, the city itself is a big snore. Oh sure, the public transport is free. Free to carry you from one boring shopping mall to the next boring shopping mall down the boring roads, perhaps jumping off to take a drink in one of the boring pubs. No heart, no soul, no character. Arguments to the contrary can be written on the postcard and sent with the half a pack of no-doze you would need to stay awake an entire day in the place. Pass.

Fremantle was nice though!

Carry on reading...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Hong Kong!

I've just put a bunch of photos up over on Flickr of our stopover in Hong Kong. Go see!

As an initial destination on our trip, HK was great: somewhere fairly different from our normal day-to-day life, with lots to see and do for the three days we were there.

I'm sorry to say that, contrary to my expectations, my anxieties about flying have not eased after more than 50 hours in the air over the course of this trip, let alone on the first flight to HK (and my first flight in over a year). So by the time we arrived I was in a slightly dazed state of exhaustion, something which stayed largely true throughout our stay. In fact, it's a state I am currently revisiting, not helped by the fact that the UK has seen fit to slap me with some kind of bloody head cold upon arrival.

But Hong Kong...

It was great. Very busy, very colourful and very much a financial hub. Though the latter doesn't wash as much character out of the place as it does in, say, Singapore. The remnants of it's colonial history are still in evidence, but are fast disappearing under the weight of it's modern role as the financial jewel in China's crown, although presumably thanks to that it is still largely bilingual. It's also obviously a top Chinese tourist spot, the waterfront teeming with tour groups.

Things of Note:
- It's very heavily regulated. I don't know if that's China's influence coming in, but there are signs everywhere telling you what to do and what will happen if you don't, and on several occasions we saw people being stopped and having their papers checked.

- On the other hand there were many open protests against Chinese rule which I assume you wouldn't see on the mainland.
- Lots of markets selling every bloody thing you could hope to find.

- Downtown Tsim Sha Tsui at night is like daytime. I swear, you never saw so much neon in your life.
- Claudia and Morgan were there for a day or so while we were! So we met up for dinner and a wander through one of the night markets.
- Our hotel room was very nice.
- Oh, and we took Fish, our stuffed Gorilla, with us.

Blah, my head is gummy. I'll stop there. In summation: Hong Kong is well worth seeing. We had a great time there, and didn't even really take advantage of the shopping, which appears to be excellent. Go and see the photos!

Carry on reading...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Nice to See Ya

To see ya, nice!

Back from six weeks of holiday and in the process of adjusting to new sleep patterns, internet access on tap, lousy weather and (as of today) work.

Can't complain though, the trip was absolutely amazing. I will be updating here and over on my flickr account as we get through all the photos, so keep an eye out!

In other news, the wedding is now only 25 weeks away! Holy Moses....

Carry on reading...