Monday, January 28, 2013

A Whole New World

Right off the bat in Perth we almost had a huge disaster.  Trevor wasn’t thinking as usual and left his laptop in the trolley at the airport.  Upon realizing this, we raced back to the airport and luckily the management had it.  Very close call which could have been devastating given there is a tremendous amount of valuable information on that computer. 

We spent a good 3 full days in Perth before hitting the road.  The down time was spent mainly assembling the bikes, sewing and picking up a few things here and there.  I liked Perth, pretty relaxed and laid back.  I guess a bit reminiscent of Vancouver.  Both are also located in remote corners of huge countries.  Both are situated next to water, and that is quite important to me.  Being next to water is something I like very much.  Perth though has nicer beaches but doesn’t have the mountains like Vancouver. 

So far I am enjoying Western Australia even though the rolling hills and nagging wind can be a bother at times.  It feels like a new world to me with the new flora and fauna around.  I have seen a lot of the world but haven’t done any justice to Oceania.  Unacceptable it has taken me this long, I know. 

With so much wilderness, it is very easy to pitch a tent as there is bush everywhere.  Still a bit paranoid though I will step on a venomous snake or a nasty spider will crawl into my tent.  Probably wasn’t a good idea to watch National Geographic’s World Most Dangerous Animals Australia edition on the plane ride over.  But most animals flee the scene when they see or hear us coming their way.  
In random news, we stopped for a break at a roadhouse called Munglinup where this domestic dog was looking for handouts.  He parked himself in front of me while I ate some oats and then after a while became frustrated and left.  Before he strolled away he gave me this look of disappointment and a ‘hmmph’.  Then he lifted his leg and pissed on my front pannier bag.  Cheeky. 

We are now in Esperance which is our last stop at a town that has a large supermarket before the Nullarbor.  This next section of Australia will likely be the toughest and possibly of the entire trip.  No supermarkets until somewhere in South Australia.  Now that is roughing it!

Trevor does his thing assembling the bikes while I pretend to be doing something productive but really am just taking it easy.

Lots of interesting birds here in Western Australia including these which I do not know the name of.

Instead of the arduous task of finding someone to fix our tents, Trevor had the genius idea of just picking up some thread, needles and Velcro and just sewing it ourselves.  After watching a few Youtube videos I quickly learned how to do the back stitch.  Very proud of myself.  Took the better part of a day but we both have Velcro on our tents and they are working fine.  No more creepy crawlies getting into our tents anymore.  Just hope it holds…   

Me, Grant and Holly (a fellow Canadian!) before we cycle east across Australia.  A big thanks to both of them for letting us stay a couple of days at their place.  We cycled around the Big Island of Hawaii with Grant a few years ago.  Good times, except at the end when Trevor crashed racing down Mauna Loa.    

Kind of feels like Canada all over.  Here I am at the starting point of our Australian leg at Kings Park overlooking the Perth central business district. 

The stunning Hamelin Bay.

One of the draws of Hamelin Bay is stingrays are present in the shallow waters.  Pretty cool.

I had this grand plan of swimming from the Indian Ocean to the Southern Ocean but that was a major fail.  We got to Cape Leeuwin only to find out you need to pay an entrance fee to get on the grounds.  We were not keen on paying so we just took this photo.  Turns out though it wouldn’t have been wise getting into the water as it was very choppy and the swells looked pretty rough.  Definitely not a place for swimming. 

I always presumed that Australia was pretty flat.  I was wrong.  Up and down rolling hills galore in the Southern Forests.  Nice scenery but you have to work for it. 

This bird I know, an emu.  It just wandered around aimlessly in this grass field.  

Back in Denmark!  Well, sort of but not really.  Never knew this prior to coming here but there is a Denmark, Western Australia and it is a quaint little town where the forest meets the beach. 

Trevor going back to his 2 litre ice cream binges.  The food situation isn’t the greatest as the price has gone up dramatically.  At times, my jaw has dropped to the ground seeing how much certain things cost.  So I am basically doing a muslei, spaghetti out of a can, bread thing right now.  Coles and Woolworths are our go to supermarkets.  

The flies can get pretty annoying around these parts, constantly in your face and just buzzing around for no reason whatsoever.  So to combat these irritating insects we picked up a couple of mosquito head nets as modeled by Trevor here. 

Before we leave Esperance it is absolutely vital we do a proper stock up and some before hitting the Nullarbor.  A German cyclist we spoke with the other day told us one can get a loaf of bread at a roadhouse for $5.  Ouch.  As Woolworths and Supa IGA were both closed today due to the Australian Day holiday falling on the following Monday, we had some time to burn in Esperance.  So we cycled along the Great Ocean Drive which is a loop of 36km or so passing many pristine beaches.  The one shown here is called Twilight Beach.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Delicious Singapore

Proud to say we are officially done cycling through the largest continent of Asia!  We got into Singapore and it sure felt great to be back.  Cycled to the southernmost point of continental Asia and declared it at that spot, the end of our Asian leg. 

We did not do very much cycling after that as we had the bikes at the shop for servicing.   However, when we did cycle we were absolutely rocked by the rain.  It came down like crazy and we were drenched from head to toe.  Brought back some good memories though. 

These past couple of days in Singapore have been superb.  Met up with friends, ate a lot of delicious hawker food, downed ice kachangs, drank bandungs and engulfed many kaya buns.  Just good times all around.

I am sad to leave as I do not know next when I will return.  Who knows what the future will hold.  That said, I am quite excited about cycling in the next country on this trip… Australia.  Trevor certainly is looking forward to the scorching heat.  Me, not so much.  
Oh and in other random news, I finally uploaded some more videos to Youtube.  A lot actually.  Again, if you do have a look they are just raw footage of me rambling in the countries we have traversed through and they are a one shot deal so nothing spectacular.  Sound quality can be crap at times.  I would eventually like to put something together when this is all said and done.

At Sentosa Island which officially marks the end of Asia!

Had a big hawker session out with Samantha and Su-N.  Big thanks to them for treating me and Trevor to this feast.  Pretty neat spot there as it had this 60’s theme going on.   

One of my personal favourite skylines in the world… Singapore by night.

Ever since I left Singapore in 2008 there have been so many developments going on.  The city just keeps on evolving and the skyline changing.  The latest addition I had never seen was the Gardens by the Bay.  Very cool to see lit up at night. 

The Merlion by night.

Another hawker session!  This time at Chomp Chomp with Lovyshia who kindly treated us to some delicious hawker food.  It was very kind of her.  If you don’t know, that manly pink drink I am about to chug down is bandung, one of my personal favourites.  If you don’t have them in your area don’t stress, don’t stress.  Just make them yourself much like I did whilst in London.  Rose syrup, evaporated milk and some water is your friend.  Go wild. 

Spent a fun day at Universal Studios with Samantha and Jerlyn.  Good times.  Later checked out the new Oceanarium and then went for an all-you-can-eat session at this Korean BBQ place.  In that one sitting, I think we now have enough protein in us for the next leg and some.  Thanks to Max for treating us to that delicious feast. 

My quest to hunt down my favourite ice kachang with kaya didn’t quite pan out.  They used to have them at Lau Pa Sat but they no longer make it unfortunately.  However, I was introduced to a new tasty dessert: snow ice.  And yes, they were delicious.  Flavoured ice is always good in hot climes. 

We spent a few nights camping in Singapore at Pasir Ris and they were quite pleasant.  I was somewhat surprised to see so many others camping overnight.  Didn’t know it was a big thing here. 

Had some stress packing our bicycles this time round.  We got a couple of free boxes from this bike shop but they were a bit small.  As such we packed them to the max but still had to check-in a bag.  Flying budget they of course ding you quite hard if you do not prepay your excess baggage so I was a bit stressed out.  Luckily the flight attendant was super kind and let us check-in our bags at no charge.  The kindness never ends here in Singapore.   

It doesn’t take much to put a smile on my face.  An ice kachang…

… some kaya toast and bandung and I am a happy.  Thanks yet again to Samantha who sent me packing with this delicious breakfast much like she did in 2008 just before we set off on our bicycle trip to Tokyo.  I salute you!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Welcome to the Jungle

As expected it had been pretty smooth sailing through Malaysia.  The food continues to be great as well as the drink but I must admit I do miss the 7-11 of Thailand.  We had to tackle a few hills crossing from the west to the east coast but aside from that it has been pretty much flat as a pancake.  

Being monsoon season in these parts we also had a few days of getting drenched.  It came down like cats and dogs on a few occasions.  As a result we don’t smell that great.  But then again, nothing new there. 

The only downer in Malaysia occurred last night after we put in a big day of cycling and couldn’t find any accommodation in this town called Kuala Rompin.  It is low season but a number of hotels we have approached have been full for some reason.  Anyway, it was dark and started to rain so we booked it for a park and decided to camp.  This was the first time we set up camp in Southeast Asia.  Not the brightest of ideas.  It wasn’t a fun experience and I didn’t get much sleep at all given my tent as well as Trevor’s tent do not zip up properly.  As such, many mosquitoes easily got in and had a field day on our skin.  I kept getting up throughout the night trying to kill these annoying insects. And just when I thought I cleaned house a few more would show up and pester me.  It ended up being a rough night but a lesson was learned: it really sucks to not have a proper working tent so we must get them fixed up before we start camping in Australia!    

A bit surreal to think we are almost done the largest continent of Asia.  We are currently in Kota Tinggi and will enter Singapore tomorrow! 

When we cycled from Singapore to Tokyo back in 2008 Trevor took this exact same shot of me in front of this big rock in northern Malaysia.  I don’t know why but the rock reminds me of a turtle.  Anyway, this time going in the opposite direction, I had another picture taken for old times’ sake. 

The main mosque in Alor Setar.  Quite nice at night.

Here I am roasting after climbing to around 1,000m above sea level in the Malaysian jungle.  Being in the tropics any hill climb will get you pouring sweat in a matter of moments.  It certainly was a good thing that most of Southeast Asia was flat for us. 

Always nice to be snug against coastline.  We changed up our route from our 2008 trip and went along the east coast of Malaysia.  I think it was a good call.  Try something new is what I say. 

Nothing to see here…

Thick jungle.  Heard a lot of strange noises and saw quite a number of lizards and monkeys jump in and out from the jungle en route. 

Today while cruising in Johor, Trevor’s gear cable all of a sudden snapped on him.  Having never replaced one before, he managed to successfully get the job done.  

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