Last post from the DownUnder – VI/VI (Perth)

I am supposed to complete this blog in Perth 2 days ago but I have decided to spend the rest of free time with them at night. It takes a lot of time and effort to vlog and blog. I only do that during the wee-hours of the night when the family is asleep. Reunion time is precious to us and I try to stay away from my computer as much as I can.

Day 8 – After a night at the creepy foggy town at Hyden, we embarked our longest drive back to Perth City. It was super foggy and visibility was at only 100m. Unfamiliar with such road condition, Felicia took the wheel and drove cautiously.

We made a 20km detour to visit the Mulka Cave (thanks to Floyd’s recommendation) where we explored a tiny cave with many cave paintings. Elkan led the exploration and guided me to the top of the cave where we saw an enchanted forested garden. It was like walking on the surface of the moon except it was textured with colourful emerald and amber moss and with numerous sparkling pot-holes. The cold air and foggy forest mist made this place so refreshing calm. If we weren’t rushing for time, I would sit here for hours.

The drive to Perth took us 5 hours. Just outside the town Corrigin, we stopped by another unusual attraction – a cemetery solely for men’s best friends, dogs! It all started back in 1975 when a man by the name Paddy Wright buried his dog here. Soon after, more dog lovers came here to bury their deceased dogs. A cemetery care-taker by the name of Alan Henderson erected tombstones and decorated the site for a fee. This dog cemetery has then became the town’s most unusual tourist attraction.

Our final pitstop was at Fremantle where we rested for 2 days. I booked a 3-storey terrace house right at the doorstep of Fremantle Marina. It was our best stay in Western Australia so far. We had 2 really big balcony overseeing the marina and a 2-bedder attic on the top floor! Elkan was at first thrilled with such a big house but he has developed this fear for attic after 5 days of horror-movie watching on the road trip. He refused to sleep in the attic no matter how we hard we tried.

We spent the last 2 days (Day 9 – Day 10) walking around Fremantle. At Fremantle Markets, Felicia even bumped into her old friend whom we last met 20 years ago! What a small world indeed!

The weather was fantastic and I flew my drone around Fremantle Railway Station, the Round House, Fremantle Prison and Cottesloe Beach.

Later in the night, we visited the Fremantle Prison. This was Elkan’s most favourite activity of the entire trip. Geared with only a small torchlight, we followed a small group of tourists and explored the 161-year-old prison. The night tour was filled with lots of suspense and haunted tales. During the tour, Elkan was selected by the tour guide to lead the group into a small dark cell. Thankfully, he was brave and he did not panic. If not, his cries and mental breakdown will be too much for the poor tour guide to handle.

Just before we headed to the airport hotel, we met up with another old friend, Lambert and family. We spend a short afternoon with this fabulous family at their newly-built bungalow (where I took an aerial shot of his home!). Tracy and I had an embarrassing moment when we convinced Lambert that we spotted penguins along Mill Point Road. Despite being doubtful, Lambert was kind to lead us to the area where we had our sighting. The two families drove to that specific spot and we walked for 15 minutes before we realised our mistake. From the highway, it sure looked like penguins. From my super-zoom camera, those were normal birds (the colours and postures resembled the penguins) resting on a rock. What a laugh!

11 days and 12 nights of adventure finally ended yesterday. Time to wrap up all these happy moments and head back to office tomorrow. It is a short June reunion but full and complete.

Perth is indeed a very special place for both Felicia and I. It was in my first trip in Perth when I decided that Felicia was the one I wanted to marry. Felicia and I came back to Perth the second time to have our honeymoon and now we brought our son along to trace back the same route we took before 14 years ago. Who knows what happen in our 4th trip back in Perth?

Early Sunday morning, we took 2 separate flights out and we planned the departure time close to one another. Their flight was 30 minutes before ours. It was difficult to say goodbye, especially after so many days of intense fun, noise, chaos and love. At the departure gate, Elkan held back his tears and waved us goodbye. It was dawn and the sky glowed beautiful.

Distance and separation do bring us closer as a family. We treasure every reunion time.
I hope my son remembers and cherish all these adventures. He is becoming a teenager soon and by then, he won’t enjoy going out with his old folks. For me, my memory is fading off slowly but I have a rich vault of blogs and vlogs for us to enjoy later.

Time to plan our next reunion. 

The Road Trip Begins – Part II/VI (Evedon Park)

We left Perth City yesterday morning. We were extremely excited and nervous. It was pouring heavily and my 2 lady-drivers were feeling a little worried about the long drive down-south. We will be taking a long 11-day drive looping the western and southern coast of Australia. Being super kiasu, I planned a very relaxing itinerary with no more than 3-4 hour-drive a day. In total, we will cover a distance over 1400km in the next 11 days with 6 pitstops.


The 1999 horrific car accident in Margaret River haunts both Felicia and I till today.
It serves as a reminder to us not to take anything for granted. Whenever and where ever we drive on foreign roads,  we remind ourselves to take extra care. Many traveler-drivers lost their lives overseas because they were unfamiliar with the local driving conditions. Since 1999, we never drive overnight and in bad weather. It is just not worth the risk.

So far so good, the weather has been really kind to us. Tracy and Felicia drove smooth and well. The ladies took turns to drive. I played “Vehicle Commander” and guided them on the direction. Thanks to the advancement of GPS-road guiding technology, navigating the roads is such a breeze! Compared to what we experienced 14 years ago, I had to bookmark all the pages in the thick street directory and flipped pages as we crossed from one county to another. Looking back, I was impressed how amazing we were. We were so young and daring!

Our 1st Stop – Serpentine Falls

Felicia and I were here 14 years ago! Thankfully, I just got my first digital camera back then (the 2002-photo was taken by Mannc). Luckily, I managed to retrieve the old photo from my iPhone and candidly replicated a similar shot at the very same spot! Tracy was our photographer and I must say she directed the shot very well! Our 2016-photo looks fantastic!

Next came my drone-therapy. After losing my DJI Inspire 1 mysteriously in New Zealand last June, I suffered from acute drone-phobia (a fear of flying + losing the damn expensive drone). Tracy strongly advised me not to take the drone to Perth. With recent successful flights in my last 3 trips (Xiamen, Bali and Bintan), I decided to tempt fate again in Perth. Honestly, till this day, I still believe the lost-drone incident was due to DJI’s hardware failure. Never my error.

Anyway, I flew in full confidence and ….. it was the smoothest ride ever! The new Phantom 4 is so responsive and good. I did had a very small accident though, I forgot to calibrate my 4th flight and it crashed into our rented car. Hahah. No damage, fly on!

 At 4pm, we arrived at our first pitstop at Evedon Park. We had a duplex lakeside cabin and it was beautiful. Tracy and Elkan loved the place so much. They dropped everything and headed out to the lake. It was so cold, there wasn’t any heater in the cabin and Elkan lighted up his first fireplace with dry woods. Later the evening, Felicia, Tracy and Elkan prepared a very nice home-cooked dinner. Overlooking sunset by the lake, it was just so cozy and peaceful. Sitting by the fireplace, we spent the rest of the night watching Zootopia projected from my Apple iTune.

This is life and I am loving it every second! Always make time for your loved ones. Live, discover, laugh and love! Next stop – Margaret River!

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