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Sunday 2 Nov 2003
Perth, Australia

In Perth!

I arrived in Perth yesterday after leaving Geraldton in the morning. I took the scenic route down along the coast... not really much going on there. I drove off to a national park that features "The Pinnacles" (large unusual limestone formations on a vast sandy plain) but when I got there I saw the price for admission was 9 dollars?!!? Despite the fact that Id probably used about 20 dollars of petrol to get there and back, I still didnt want to spend that much moola on something I didnt really know much about... ah well live and learn.

Perth is beautiful. In my humble opinion, its on a par with Sydney in terms of vastness, variety entertainment on offer, cleanliness and general beauty of the buildings. There is also a large highway over-bridge with plenty of interesting large malls on either side that reminded me exactly of the great malls in the upper-class areas of Bangkok.

The central mall areas are very well designed and quite pretty with some street lanes akin to the Tudor-period of architecture.. its also aided by the copious amounts of Xmas decorations they have up (ALREADY?!?). Would look really pretty if it ever snowed.. yeah like THATS gonna happen, Perth is permanently in sunshine!

Perth is also extremely big... a lot of long straight streets that seem to run on for miles, rather like those in Madrid, Spain. And, like most Aussie cities Ive encountered, it also suffers from having a really complicated road system.. quite often Id spend 1 hour trying to find my way back to where I left off, only to find myself in an outer suburb across the river!!

I parked outside someones house last night near the centre of town - parking in Perth can be an expensive business if you park in designated places!

Drove off to Fremantle this morning to see what was on there. Id heard people say that Fremantle is much more pleasant than Perth, but given that I find Perth extremely pleasant I was expecting to be astounded.

Not quite as impressive as Perth, Fremantle proves to indeed be more relaxed and much easier to navigate the streets than in Perth. Not much going on, but a lot of interesting colonial architecture is on display plus various good restaurants overlook the esplanade to an empty white sandy beach.

It was here, at the esplanade, that I found my HOT public shower.. thats right: HOT! I havent found hot public showers since the lagoon in Cairns, but even there they were on a limited-time system and often crowded. But the toilets I found today had a normal hot stream which I enjoyed for a good half-hour! A lucky find considering I thought I wouldnt find any public showers in Perth since its not a resort like Cairns, but a normal working city.

Yet again, the van is giving me a bit of trouble: very slow, jumpy acceleration, plus the engine timing is off again so that the whole van rattles badly when in neutral. Why oh why cant I get someone to service this van properly???!? I had no problems getting good services on the east coast! Im thinking of dropping it into the Toyota garage. Itll be probably twice the price of a normal garage, but at least they will know what they are doing!

Ive decided on a general plan for the coming months. My sisters wedding in May is a major element in my decision-making process. I plan to get to Sydney in about 4-6 weeks.. drive there taking in Adelaide, Melbourne, Coober Peedy and possibly Tasmania (if not too expensive). I want to drive there, thus achieving my main aim of "driving around the coast of Australia and to the centre taking in every major city". I cant wait to finally complete this journey since its getting quite tiring always on the road... plus I want to sell the van before it completely blows up!

After this 6 week period Im going to try to find some work... doubtful that I will get a good IT job in the short time I have, but possibly barwork or some sort of menial work to save up for my NEXT leg: New Zealand. I will go to New Zealand for 3 months: Feb, March and April. Then Ill head off to Spain (via the USA to complete my other ambition of "travelling around the world") in May for the wedding and might use this as a point to start travelling/working around Europe...

who knows?!?

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