To sum up the whole load of things I miss from those two weeks of freedom in Perth, Australia:
1) Having one entire house to ourselves, and having the run of the place. Cleaning was a bitch considering the vast amount of space, and we had to clean the floor without a mop – but it was still fun, nonetheless. D threw a pail of water on the ground and soon after, we were slipping and sliding around on towels. Wheee.
2) Cooking together. I wasn’t much help because … I can’t cook as well as the others so I ended up washing dishes most of the time. I didn’t mind, though. Seeing clean dishes drying next to the sink actually gave me a lot of satisfaction, strange as it sounds.
3) Long drives along the Kwinana Freeway to and from Perth City from our place. Especially in the mornings and evenings because the view of the sunrise/sunsets were just to die for!
4) Stormy nights. The storms in Australia were nothing like Singapore’s. The wind would howl all night long, making me snuggle deeper into the blanket, with the sound of hailstones occasionally pelting our rooftop. I still wish I got to see a tornado, though.
5) D’s singing. Well, not his singing per se – but more like the fact that there will always be a noise-making machine in the vicinity when the house becomes too quiet.
6) Grocery shopping in the local supermarkets, where we would gawk at the wide assortment of Tim Tam chocolate biscuits, and the fact that the prices of our favourite junk food were so much lower than that in Singapore.
7) Having to pile on layers and layers of clothing each time before we leave the house, and having to strip all those layers upon re-entering the house.
8) The cold weather. Singapore is effing hot, period.
9) Street malls. Meaning shopping-dedicated streets which are no-entry to cars and other motor vehicles. Wide pavements, pretty streetlamps with rows and rows of shops lining the street on both sides. There would occasionally be bands and other performance groups busking there which livens up the street-shopping atmosphere – proper performers – not those harmonica-yielding uncles and aunties we see in Singapore.
10) Looking out of the window during a drive around Perth City (and the suburbs) and never failing to spot something interesting.
11) Having instant pasta. Especially the microwavable nacho cheese pasta. Speaking of which, I still have two packets left over from the trip. Nom nom nom.
12) Meeting friendly Australians every single day. Well, almost. There were a handful of salespeople we encountered that had attitudes of raging buffaloes but the bulk of them were really affable. Not to mention how there were some really good-lookers around. Hrrmmm.
13) Packet milkshakes. Looks like an ordinary milk carton but packs a punch once you shake them really hard for at least a minute. The milk within thickens and froths. Yummy instant milkshake!
14) Picnics and barbecues. The barbecue pits provided at public areas are electric. Place yer food on the metal heating element, press a button and you’re ready to go. No need to grabble with messy (and dirty) charcoal and having to put up with black, sooty smoke. The Australians are an environmentally-friendly bunch!
15) Having two people screaming into my face every single darn morning to “wake up, already” … because they are morning people and I’m not. (I think I was the last to wake up every single day. Yikes.)
16) G’s aunt and her interesting use of language. She would mix both English and Mandarin together in a way where it sounds really jumbled up. I will especially remember the most CLASSIC example, when she was asking us to get into the car.
(And because ‘car’ sounds like another word in Mandarin, we were all wondering “she wants us to go WHERE?!“)
17) The slow-paced lifestyle. I went there and promptly forgot about everything that has been bugging me when I was in Singapore … like my health problems. And escaping from doctors for two weeks was a breath of fresh air.
18) Waking up to “Lucky I’m in love with my best friend. Lucky to have been where I have been” every morning – the song that was set as G’s phone alarm.
19) Us attempting to stargaze out in the dark in the dead of the night at 1 A.M. with a simple camera and tripod set-up. (ZOMG, Australia’s night sky is really full of stars!) Then, the sprinklers got activated by nobody knows what, which sent us scurrying and shrieking while initially thinking that it was a wild animal.
There are actually a lot more but my memory has somewhat faded considering the sheer amount of time that has elapsed since the trip until now.
Let’s stop at nineteen. It is a nice number.
It still feels like yesterday when my friends and I were practically crafting a brand new life on our own for two weeks in a foreign land. It makes me want to jet-set somewhere all over again.
Anyway, I shan’t ramble on – and get to the main point.
A plus about having people sleeping in the same room as you is, the opportunity to hold conversations while you’re not yet sleepy until you eventually drift off to sleep.
Only that the conversations being held are occasionally … not verbal. Rather, certain body parts will converse with one another by emitting strange bodily function noises.
Think stomachs growling and arseholes farting. Yes, these were the two causes of the usual midnight hysterics … at least for the two girls.
The only guy suffered. As usual.
The above comic strip was hastily drawn on board the plane en route back to Singapore from Shanghai last week. It is one comic strip that actually transcended through half the Asian continent and the Pacific Ocean … and turbulence as well. Ooh, the excitement.
The weather on eclipse day was dark and gloomy. It was overcast, with the clouds threatening to burst with rain any moment.
Despite escaping the rain belt in Shanghai which was threatening to ruin eclipse viewing, it still dealt us a glancing blow in Yangshan. (The latter supposedly to be the best observation area in China.) As a result of the clouds, I only managed to witness less than 15% of the eclipse in progress.
The clouds broke every now and then to provide me with glimpses (and photo opportunities) of the eclipse.
About 40% obscured at 9.09 A.M.
I am however, slightly miffed that I didn’t get to see the eclipse during totality. An extremely thick bunch of clouds decided to move in at the last minute (and it wasn’t as if there weren’t enough clouds to begin with) and thus the majestic sun corona was completely obscured from view despite the sheer length of totality.
The atmosphere was terrific, though!
I was amongst a whole flock of avid eclipse chasers with really bizarre, advanced equipment which made me really envious.
However, the weather was so bad that it was really beginning to look as if I’ve flown all the way here for nothing. It made me grouch for a while. Then, a gap suddenly appeared in the clouds and everyone started screaming with joy. (That was when I captured the above photo.)
To put it in my dad’s words – “This is one eclipse that will really make you shit in your pants.”
The rest of the eclipse viewing was erratic. I was staring at a patch of grey clouds for most of the duration, occasionally sitting up, alert when I spot a potential patch of cloud-free sky heading in my direction. The fact that there were so many people around with the same goal, and looking out for the same thing felt … good. It was as if we were all united against one enemy – the clouds.
I spent most of the time just sitting around and soaking up the atmosphere.
The period of totality was especially amazing despite not being able to see the sun. It suddenly became extremely dark (and rather eerie) really quickly, and I was surrounded with cheers and shrieks of delight.
The period of darkness lasted for slightly more than five minutes before light soon flooded the area again. Bloody awesome feeling, really.
I am really happy we made the decision to drive down to Yangshan for the eclipse. Based on what I’ve heard (and seen in the news), it was raining heavily in Shanghai throughout the eclipse duration and hardly anyone managed to even catch a glimpse of it.
More photos within. ;)