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. 

CNY Reunion in Bintan – Can’t believe my old dame did it!

The Wong/Cheng/Chua Family CNY tradition continues. From Sentosa to Desaru to Kukup, this is our 4th CNY staycation tour. Despite organising this 4 months ahead, we had the smallest turnout. Due to the bad timing, Uncle Asty and my sister’s family couldn’t make it.

The weather was terrible. It was cold, stormy and windy throughout our 3-day stay. What a waste, we booked 2 big villas by the pool and beach! It was impossible to do any sea sport, the waves were huge and choppy!

The ferry ride from Singapore to Bintan was quite an adventure. The sea condition was really bad. Just 15 minutes into the ride, things got chaotic pretty quickly. The ferry rocked violently and many passengers vomited. A Chinese man who sat beside me went berserk. Frantically, he unlocked the emergency door and went out to the open deck. He was spotted by other passengers who alerted the captain.

Stranded inside the villa, there wasn’t much to do. Everything was exorbitantly expensive here – food, shopping and activities. We came well-prepared with lots of food and booze. For some strange reasons, UnionPay Debit Card holders at the resort enjoyed 30% discount! That was quite a substantial saving! Thankfully, cousin Leon from Xiamen has his China card with him! We enjoyed a very sumptuous CNY dinner at the Kelong!

Bored and grounded indoor, I flew my drone out to take some aerial footage of our villas. The wind was too strong for the DJI Phantom but I managed to control the drone within range. However, there were 2 gigantic broadcasting towers beside our resort. Out of the sudden, I lost all transmission to the drone and it drifted away. The wind took it higher and further. It was horrific to see my drone drifting away and I couldn’t do anything about it. Somehow, the towers interfered and blocked my signals. For a good 20 minutes, I lost total contact with the drone!

Elkan and I ran out to search for the drone. Chester saw us running out of the villa and joined us. Thankfully, I managed to reconnect with the drone. From the live view on my iPad, I piloted the drone back to us just minutes before its battery ran out. What a scary nightmare!

On the second day, we went out to the Activity Centre. We had so much unexpected fun! We did archery and air-rifle shooting. Felicia and Elkan were sharp-shooters. It was Felicia’s first attempt on the air-rifle and she hit the target!

The highlight of the day was my mother. While we were leaving the Activity Centre, we saw a couple of kids soaring down the flying-fox. Surprisingly, my 70-year-old mother wanted to try it! (Even my timid boy wanted to play too!) The staff thought we were joking when we bought the ticket for my mum. They said my mum could be their oldest customer ever! They were expecting my mum to back out at the last minute but my old dame proved them wrong. She leaped and soared! What a joy to see her doing the flying-fox. We were very impressed! My mum rocks and she has balls!

What an unusual CNY reunion! No sun but we had so much fun together! It was a great break for me, to be away from work and having quantity time with my relatives, parents, wife and our little monkey! Enjoy the photos and Vlog below:

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