Back in Sunny Singapore

September 18, 2010

I am back in Singapore! I think I need another holiday to recover from my holiday to Western Australia! I am feeling so exhausted currently, as if I had just disembarked from a 24hr flight, when it was only 5 hours. I hope it’s not because I am falling ill.

This holiday has been, for the most part, fun and enjoyable.

For the 1st time in my life, I played golf in a temperate climate. It was a totally exhilarating experience with the cold crisp air in my face, even if I did lose a few balls in the bushes and even if a few of my fingers felt frozen towards the end. I could have gone on longer if not for the fact that the sun was setting. This is so unlike playing golf in Singapore where I just want to whack the balls as fast as possible and get back into the shade. I managed to enjoy some beautiful views, such as the one on Prevelly Beach. Even the views and the sound of the gusty winds from Secret Harbour Golf Course was nice.  I especially loved the farm stay, where I had free access to all the pet farm animals, with nobody else there to rush and block my way. I hugged a sheep, I waved madly at the alpacas and I hand-fed the ostrich (whose mouth-eye coordination could really be improved upon). The farmer said that ostriches have no teeth and the bills are like ducks, except they are rougher than sand paper!@# Did you know that Alpacas always look at you when you’re taking their photos? If they don’t, then attract their attention and they’ll definitely pose.

We stayed 2 days in Perth City, followed by 5 days of driving in the South-West region of Western Australia. While we were at Perth City, we covered the City Centre, Subiaco, Fremantle, Harbour Town, North Bridge and King’s Park. Perth City has changed somewhat since my last visit 10 years ago. For one, Aherns mall is no longer there, now it’s David Jones. (OK I just googled and apparently Aherns was acquired by David Jones in Feb 2000, so that means when I was there in June 2000, they hadn’t changed the signs yet! I remember asking a staff member how to pronounce Aherns!) The city centre seems more vibrant, more people milling around, more cafes and more shops. But one thing has not changed in the last 10 years, and that is the fact that the stores slam shut at 5pm!!!!! Even the supermarkets close at 5pm (or 6.30pm if you’re lucky). Don’t the Australians need groceries? Or do they skive on the job and shop during working hours?

Once out of Perth, we drove down all the way to Margaret River, stopping along the way at Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton before finally reaching Margaret River. At Margaret River, we signed up for a winery tour that brought us to 4 vineyards as well as a chocolate factory and cheese factory. The Partner had a wild time tasting all the wines and also drinking those that I hadn’t finished. I had a wild time at the chocolate factory. After Margaret River, we made a mad dash back up to the historic town of York (1st inland town apparently), where almost the entire town comprises of buildings built in the late 1800s. I have to admit it really did feel like I’d stepped back in time, if not for the modern cars reminding us that we have not. From York we moved to Toodyay (pronounced 2 Jays), Swan Valley and finally spending our last night in WA at Burswood Casino.

In terms of accommodations, I think I’ve covered the gamut:- Hotel, Service Apartment, Golf resort B&B, cheap-ass cabin, farm-stay. I think one thing’s for sure, I’ll probably never choose to stay in cheap-ass cabins anymore. They are decent, no-frills cabins, but they do provide cooking facilities which is something I like. It’s no fun to delight in buying local produce if you aren’t able to cook it. But, if we had just paid like $30/night more, we would have been able to get a room at a nice B&B.

The Partner and I love staying at B&Bs. Each one is unique with its own character. One of the best ones I stayed at was in the Blue Mountains Sydney. The living room had a roaring wood fire going on each night and it was such a wonderful experience to sit there in the evenings playing checkers or just drinking tea. And it’s cheaper than staying in nondescript hotels! The old couple manning the Secret Harbour Golfer’s Lodge B&B that we stayed at were friendly and funny. They are so anxious for people to enjoy their stay there that they have pasted a sign in the kitchen warning people not to clean up! And I tell you, the room we had looks even better than a hotel room! Nice accommodations help add to the collective holiday experience, and after having tried it all, I know what I’ll do the next holiday.

The not so fun parts of the holiday was the driving. I am officially sick of long drives! If I have to endure long drives, I want dramatic scenery along the way (all the way) like in NZ. We’ve agreed that if we ever go back to Western Australia, we’ll book a 1 week stay at  Secret Harbour Golfer’s Lodge and just play golf there everyday. The farmland scenery was also not as nice as those in NZ and UK. Unfortunately WA has been experiencing some sort of a drought. It is supposed to rain a lot during winter, but it hasn’t, and the grass looks pretty dry when it’s not even high summer. The farms have had to harvest the hay already because the grass is dying. This is spring time for god’s sake!

Ok enough of country laid-back living. Next holiday for me will definitely have to be USA (California) or UK/Europe! Gimme some city buzz, dramatic scenery, architecture and 24hr supermarkets!

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