Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Memorable Perth Trip

9th Nov 08 (Sunday)
This is the day where I began my travel journey alone for the very first time of my life for a business trip. And it was my first time to Perth. Woke up around 6am to get ready to the airport. I was exited and nervous at the same time. Having the company of a girl from Guangzhou (who worked for my company as our prefered partner) does helped me eliminate all the worries I had about traveling alone. Her name is Tracy. At 9.40am sharp, our plane departed from the Main Terminal of KLIA and arivied at Perth airport 10 minutes earlier than the stated time of arrival at 4pm Perth time. Perth is an hour a head of Malaysian time due to daylight saving time. The flight experience was a blissful one.

We both took a taxi to our hotel called The Outram, located at 32 Outram Street, West Perth. The taxi driver who is a black man that has this weird English accent which sounds nothing like an Australian English, doesn't really know where our hotel is. But he has a GPS system in his taxi so we trust that he will get us to our hotel quite easily. Apparently, every taxi there has a GPS system.

Above photos taken of the hotel. It's small and cozy place. Didn't know that this is a luxury hotel until we saw what was written on the outside (pic with me in front of the hotel). No wonder it cost AUD345 for a deluxe twin bedded room per night with breakfast included. A single room cost AUD315. The hotel located in the city area about 20 minutes walk to the Perth CBD (Center Business District) area.

Our hotel room. It's smaller than we expected as we are sharing a room together. There's a jacuzzi (yippie!), two wash basin and one shower area in between the two wash basin. Enterance to the shower cum jacuzzi area is without doors to keep our privacy. How exiting is that eh? The toilet with a toilet bowl in it has a door to it though. Although there's no door to our bathing area, we kept our modest and made promises not to peep at each other when either one of us taking our bath. While one is taking bath, the other have to stay put sitting in the middle of the room, on the bed watching TV. Well, there's nothing we can do about it so we just have to trust each other. LOL... I am still laughing thinking back on the expression we had when we first discovered the hotel room having no doors to the bathing area. The jacuzzi is there to use but throughout the 5 nights we spend together, neither one of us uses it because it will force the person to "be naken and be seen..." (but I spent the 6th night alone - read below to know what I did that final night). Hey, we're Asian and we both are not that open minded yet, okay. And the room has all the amenities that we had in our basic stay at home.

After keeping our luggages at the hotel room, we headed down to the Club Lounge to have our complementary dinks. The hotel's complementary drinks is served dalily at 6pm - 7.30pm free of charged. There are selections of liquor, beers, champagnes, wines and very few non-alcoholic dirnks. Those who likes to drink would love having this free drink everyday. After quickly had our drinks, we head out of the hotel to have our first day tour around the area. The sky is still bright and sunny at 7pm or 8pm. We had a bit of a culture shock as the streets and main roads looks deserted. It was a Sunday and so most of the shops and restaurants are not open on Sunday. On weekdays, shops/ restaurants closes between 5pm - 6pm (just like office opening hours). Around the hotel vacinity, there are a lot of private specialist clinics, lawyer services and accounting firm who uses buildings that looks like bungalow houses turns into an office building. And there's a lot of luxury service appartments and high class condominiums too. I think this area is a rich man's shack.

The evening was quite windy, we walked towards the CBD hoping to find a nice restaurant where we can have our dinner and we welcome the cool breeze throughtout the journey. We were not sure of the way but the small little map provided by the hotel is very helpful. We got lost a little but we could easily find our way back because the road structures are very systematically built. We walked all the way on foot. Because it was a Sunday, it was hard to find a car passing by, hence no taxi/ buses around. Hard to find a people walking around too. Anyway, we prefer to walk so we can enjoy the beautiful scenery. There is quite a lot of churches around. Would love to be getting married in one of those beautiful churches (picutres above). We walked and we walked and we walked until the sky turns dark and we were very hungry then. Unfortunately, most of the restaurant not open on that day. The first restaurant we saw operating were Tony Romas. Oh no! We determined not to have that no matter how hungry we were as there's Tony Romas back home. So we walk further up to the CBD and found a whole stretch of fast food joint situated next to each other. They are McDonalds, Hungry Jack's and KFC at William Street. It's already 9pm so we were left with no choice but to have fast food as our first meal in Perth. Among the three fast food joint, we had choosen Hungry Jack's. You bet we were hungry!

We both ordered Grill Chicken value meal (small size cost AUD6.80 only). It was one of the best fast food I had so far. The grill chicken meat is really tasty with the savoury sauce. There are quite a lot of people in there. Three good looking guys sitting next to our table. One of them is really good looking (Ryan Seacrest kind of looks). They had the courtesy to say goodbye when we left. We just smiled and walked away because they look so silly doing that. By the time we went back to our hotel it was already 10pm. I spent a few hours preparing training material that I had not had the time to do before I came to Perth. I wished I don't have to go to work the next day.

10th Nov 08 (Monday)
Woked up early to allow time for breakfast at the Club Lounge in the hotel ground floor. They do not serve buffet breakfast but they have the same breakfast menu everyday. The service is quite slow but maybe I am not used to the laid back Australian lifestyle. However, the breakfast contains very healthty selections and is always very tasty.

We both had Homemade Toasted Grain and Nut Cereal, Mango and Yoghurt Parfait. Don't be fool that it looks like a very small portion. It was actually very filling due to the creamy yoghurt taste. I can still taste this savoury dish as I speak. Too bad we could not slowly enjoy our breakfast as we have to rush to work starts at 9am.

The office located very near where we stayed. Just 2 minutes walk from the hotel. We could even see the office building from our hotel balcony. The first day of work in the Perth office is not as bad as I thought. The staff are all very friendly and helpful. Both me and Tracy were there for different agenda. I was there for observations, meetings and conducting training whereas she was there to attend training (different sub division). We had our lunch at a cafe called IN2GO located just right below the office. I ordered Bacon Fritata with Garden Salad (AUD9.50) and English Breakfast Tea (AUD3.80) for my drinks. The food is really yummy! I was too shy to take a photo of the food because of having office colleagues around. Hehe...

Tracy was sick on our first day of work. She had fever hence she went back early to the hotel for a rest. And I finished off work quite late, left the office around 8pm but the sky were still so bright and sunny so I didn't realize how late it was. People there went home really early and it's very seldom to see them work overtime. Around 4.30pm we can see people leaving the office. If they came in for work early, they can leave the office early too. By 6pm, the whole office seems almost empty and looking out the streets at 6.30pm I felt like I'm all alone and the streets looks deserted again.

Back at the hotel room, Tracy had already ordered Mutton Curry and Green tea from the hotel room service. It was a very large portion, so we both shared a meal. The curry doesn't taste like real curry but I had that anyway. After dinner, I continued on with my work in the hotel room. Went to sleep at the wee hours in the morning, same as the night before. I was very tired but can't leave my work behind.

11th Nov 08 (Tuesday)
We woke up half an hour earlier than the day before so to have more time to had our breakfast before heading off to work. It was a very nice sunny weather same as yesterday. I can see most locals wearing sun glasses. Noticed a lot of good looking Australian guys around too. Was it generally guys there are better looking or was it because of the sun glasses? Darn! I was too overwhelm to be there to notice the difference. Everything looks too nice and clean to me.

For my 2nd day breakfast, I ordered Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs on Toast and Asparagus. The smoke salmon taste is really yummy! Instead of tea, I had mix fruit juice. What a healthy meal to start off the day though I wished they would add in more than one piece of asparagus.

Tracy is still sick so she ordered this Seasonal Fresh Fruit with Ginger and Lemongrass Syrup. I love the deco and the colour combination. It taste as yummy as it looks!

2nd day of work was a pretty busy day for me. Whereas Tracy had quite a relaxing one because her trainer was too busy completing a project that she doesn't have much time for Tracy. We went to a near by chinese restaurant for lunch. The restaurant is small and packed with people. Maybe this restaurant is quite popular to people working around the area. For the rest of the day, I had been very busy and worked overtime again. Left the office around 7pm. As usualy, most of the staff already went home.

Too bad Tracy was still not feeling well and she doesn't want to go out for food hunting. I was "forbidden" to go out alone at night so I am stuck with her in the hotel room odering room service again for our dinner. I had Prawn Risotto. Tracy ordered House Garden Salad which looks like a pile of green leaves pluged from one of the bushes outside (picture above). I didn't expect the Prawn Risotto to taste any better but it taste nice. I finished the whole dish and continue on to do some finishing touch to the training material that I am preparing for the next day. The night is late, but I got to presevere to make a good impression. After all, I am representing my office to conduct the training to the team in Perth.

12th Nov 08 (Wednesday)
It was the 3rd day going to work there. I was amaze at myself for still having the energy to go to work after two tiring days and having three nights lack of sleep. But I was really looking forward to have the breakfast because the breakfast served at the hotel is really tasty and appetizing.

The above picture is Tracy's breakfast. It's called The Outram's Express Breakfast. It contains Homemade Toasted Muesli with Athena Youghurt, Fruit, warm breakfast Tart, and a choice of tea or coffee in a ready to go box.

I ordered this hefty breakfast meal called The Outram. Contains Eggs cooked to my liking with Bacon, Mushrooms and slow cooked Tomatoes on Sour Dough Toast. I ordered this with poached eggs (the white ice-creem looking thing on top of the bread) and Mix Fruit juice for my drinks. This was the best and my favourite beakfast dish there. I decided to have this again on my last day in Perth.

My stomach still feeling full during lunch time after the heavy breakfast. So, I bought some healthy snack bar and fruit juice to eat during the afternoon.

After two days of sickness, Tracy finally had the mood to go out for dinner. We had Thai food at a near by Thai restaurant called Tim Thai Cafe located on Hay Street. I had Spicy Chicken Fried Noodle and Tracy had Sweet and Sour Chicken with a bowl of white rice. The noodle is really spicy and has a really nice flavour. I didn't know that Thai food here in Perth is that spicy. I love the amount of chilies and spicy sauce that goes well with the noodle.

13th Nov 08 (Thursday)
I hate waking up so early in the morning. By now I noticed that the only thing that I am most looking forward to in the morning is having my beautiful breakfast down at the hotel Club Lounge.

I am drooling at this food picture as I recall how good it tasted. This is Poarched Egg Choukchouka Pot with Grill Bread and American Style Bacon. The soup in the pot taste like tomato soup with some carrots and some other ingredients which I can't recall. It taste good and very appetizing. Nice to dip the toast bread in the soup. Having the eggs there make this quite a heavy breakfast. But I love it till it's last bit. Tracy having the same breakfast ordered from the day before, The Outram's Express Breakfast. I guess she has found her favorite too.

After breakfast, off we went to work of course. While enjoying our walk to the office, I saw there's people jogging or cycling along the pathways - things where I can't see here in KL. The air and the environment in Perth are so clean has made it very conducive for people to enjoy outdoors there. I would like to just skip work for the day and sit down at one of the coffee shop, buy myself a cup of local coffee while enjoying a fresh bagles, looking at the morning scenery of local blitz. But of course this is just a wishful dream that can't be made a reality while I am there for business purposes. So, back in the office is as busy as usuals. Due to the heavy breakfast I had in the morning, I had a light lunch for the day - Teriyaki Chicken Salad bought from Take Away Yamato Japanese Cafe located at Hay Street, just a few shops away from the office building. Picture on the left taken durig lunch hour. There's many cars parked at the side of the road and many people walking around - a sight that you can never see along this road after 6pm or during weekends.

For dinner it's at the hotel again because Tracy do not want to go out again. Sigh... I hoped she were more adventurous. She ordered Creamy Prawn, Bacon & Pesto Pasta and I ordered Beef Lasagna. We both got a complementary Custard Pudding for dessert. The food is not very nice because the cook is not working at that time so the staff just reheat whatever the cook had already prepared. No wonder the food served during dinner time is not as good as the food served during breakfast.

14th Nov 08 (Friday)
Friday always feels refreshing to me. Our colleagues in Perth will be treating us for a nice lunch later that day so I have choosen not to have a heavy breakfast.

I had a Savory Breakfast Tart whereas Tracy had Toasted Sour Dough Bread with a Selection of Condiments. The tart is very small in size but it's yummy.

As mentioned earlier, our colleagues there brought us out for a nice luncheon that day. At a TableSeventyEight Restaurant we had oysters, 2 starter dish (I don't know the name of the dish), and each of us ordered our own main course meal. I had Steak Sandwich (very large portion) with my favorite french fries, the best sandwich I ever had so far. I was too busy chatting and savoring to food so I have forgoten take any photos.

Later that night Tracy's friend, Tony, who is working and staying in Perth, brought us out for dinner and a tour around the city at night. Tony introduces us to this popular Korean restaurant, Tookbegi Korean Restaurant located down the east side of Hay Street (Hay street is a very long, commercial and famous street which stretches a few kilometers). We had to wait for about 30 minutes before we had a place to sit. The restaurant is quite small but it's very popular because it is opened by a Korean. So the food taste really original. I had Hot & Spicy Tofu Soup with mix veggie and seafood (the dish with red colour soup is mine). I can't recall the name of the dish which Tracy and Tony had but it taste really nice as well. The seafood omelet or they call it Korean style pizza is very tasty too. The seafood with prawn and squid is really fresh. This is the best dinner I had there. The long wait is really worth it.

Picture of the three of us (looks like we are wearing uniform due to coincidentally wearing almost the same colour outfit). Later that night, Tony sent Tracy to the airport for she had a flight to catch. She went back to Guangzhou via Sydney. So, I were left alone for another night. I do not feel scared at all being alone there as I had quickly acustom to living in Perth. I was feeling ecstatic to be left alone for that short little while in a foreign country.....

After the nice dinner and back to my hotel room alone, I finally get to enjoy my self indulged spa treat. I had enjoyed the jacuzzi and bubble bath using the expensive L'Occitane products provided by the hotel. When I saw the brand of soap, shampoo, conditioners, and body lotion they provide in the hotel room, I was in like.. Wow! I don't even dare to buy myself such expensive product except The Body Shop brand which is not that expensive compare to L'Occitane. No wonder it's called a Luxury Hotel. It was the most relaxing and fun bath time I ever experienced. First time taken over an hour for my bath... haha. After my relaxing bath, I spend time watching TV and only went to sleep at 3.30am because it was my last night in Perth.

15th Nov 08 (Saturday)
I woke up very early in the morning dispite that I do not have to go to work on this day. I had planed to do some sight seeing before I left for the airport. Thank goodness got a later flight back to KL which is at 5.30pm (Perth time). So I have about half a day to enjoy my last day in Perth. Not to waste any time, at 8.30am I quickly had my favorite breakfast in the menu, which is called The Outram (till this day, I had tried almost all of the dishes in the breakfast menu). Checked with the receptionist, they could not extend my check-out time because the room were already booked for the next occupant. I've got to checked out by 11.30am. So, after my breakfast I went to the famous Kings Park & Botanic Gardens which only takes me 10-15mins walk from the hotel. I plan to take some pictures there during the day time as I had went there for a very short while during night time 3 days ago, I did not managed to take that many pictures during the first time I was there. For my sight seeing, I have had everything planed out already.

Below are some of the pictures I took during my trip to Kings Park & Botanic Gardens.

The landscape of Kings Park & Botanic Gardens is very large. I only managed to visit about 20% of the place. I think it probably need at least half a day to fully explore it. There is a tourist bus that you can register when you are there, to take you for the tour. Too bad I did not have enough time to join that tour.

(Night and day scene) Dedicated to the memory of the men and women of the Australian defence forces who served with the British Commonwealth occupation forces in Japan from 1945 to 1952 and to those who died as a result of that service.

There are a lot of monuments and memorial statues being built around the park. I only managed to snap a few pictures of it.

Victoria, Queen and Empress (1837 - 1901). During her reign, Australia was colonized and federated.

Along the main enterance road to Kings Park, there's Trees of Fraser Avenue (read the information on top left picture). There's Conservation Garden and the Western Australian Botanic Garden. Really beautiful trees and garden they planted there. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time to go in to see more of the majestically beautiful garden. So, I only managed to take pictures of the infromation board at the enterance to the gardens.

There's Lotterywest Federation Walkway where you can take a walk in the treetops. Too bad, I really do not have time to take a walk in this walkway. Now I can only read through the internet review about the spectacular views that can be seen along the walkway. I would really love to come back here for a visit again to fully experience it if I had the opportunity in the future.

(Left picture) Aspects of Kings Park, a very small shopping mall where I purchase most of my souvenirs for my love and family. I spent AUD190 on the gift purchased here. Things sold here are quite expensive but it's worth to buy it for all those dearest to me. (Middle picture) Fraser's Restaurant, it's a high class restaurant. (Right picture) A nice garden just outside of Fraser's Restaurant and in between Aspects of Kings Park.

I saw many people taking their dogs out for a walk in the beautiful park. This reminded me how much I miss Jojo (my beloved dog). I am sure she would love having the opportunity to have a walk there and she will sure be very happy and contented about it.

(Left picture) A beautiful mansion along the left side of Kings Park enterance and a nice beautiful house which I would love to own (Right picture).

Just some random shots taken while I was in Kings Park. There's the Swan River in between the settlement (middle picture).

Night and day view of Perth city. I purposely went back to the same spot where I took the picture of the night view 3 days before. Really spectacular view can be seen from Kings Park.

I hurriedly went back to the hotel for check-out and had my luggage taken care by the hotel concierge after visiting Kings Park. Around 11.45am, I head out to another destination which is to the Perth CBD, Murray Street and Hay Street Mall. Every states in Australia has a CBD. It's were the center hub for all public transport is located and so there is where the center commercial and business area lies too. I went there all the way by foot in the hot scorching sun. It was a very long walk, took me around 30 minutes to arrived. Throughout the journey, I had enjoyed looking at the buildings architectures and shops along the way. As I walk towards the city center, I can see more and more people and cars on the roads. As it was a Saturday and it's near Christmas time, there were many people shopping and out for leisure with family and friends. Though the city looks busy as it may be, the place will be quite empty again after 5.30pm on Saturday as most of the shops and restaurant ended their operating hours by then.

Below are some of the pictures I took during my trip to Perth CBD, the well known Murray Street & Hay Street shopping area.

Restaurants, malls, individual shops, all located along both sides of Hay Street Mall and Murray Street Mall intersection with Barrack Street at one corner. There were season sale going on. I was really tempted to go for shopping there but I was running out of time.

This picture of me taken with the statue of Percy Button. He was a local street entertainer and one of Perth's best known faces from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Christmas decorations along the streets all around Perth CBD area.

The Jacaranda trees can be widely seen almost everywhere in Perth. Purple is my favorite colour that's why I love this trees too.

After a walking and sight seeing, I stoped by Dome Cafe to have a break, drinking Chocolate Shakes and eating a dessert which looks like muffins called Sour... something (I forgoten the name) which has some kind of strong spices in it. I did not finish the dessert because I do not like the taste. Actually this was my lunch for the day.

After my light lunch, I headed back to the hotel to wait for my pre-arranged taxi to take me to the airport. The taxi came very punctual at 2.30pm sharp. I took one last look around, trying to capture and remember every details I had experienced, vowing to kept it as a memories not to be forgotten.

Checking in for departure at Perth International Airport.

Waiting for my 5.30pm (Perth time), MAS flight back to KL at Gate 5. Goodbye Perth...

Memorable photo taken with my colleagues in Perth office. (from Left to right) Mark, Jai, Gil, me, Daphnie and Shane. They are all wonderful people.