Okay, so Jas had a crazy idea. Well, that woman is always full of crazy ideas. This time it was, “Laily, let’s go to Perth on my end posting!” And her end posting was like in a month away.
Keep in mind that I had just done Dubai, and KK with the whole family, so I was a teeny tiny bit reluctant. But after triple checking my bank account that I wouldn’t be left to eat meggi for the rest of the month after the trip, I agreed. It was all very hasty, I was busy with tagging in Paeds & calls, she was busy with end-posting presentation. Both had barely had enough time to book flights and whatnot. We managed to grab a couple of cheap seats from Tiger Airways, but grumbled when we had to pay a hefty price for Airasia from out of Penang to Singapore. But can’t win em all, can we? On the eve of the departure date, I was post-call, half-dead (since my call was pretty jona, what’s new?), and still backpackless. Vikki was horrified, and went into giggling stupor. Jas almost wanted to kill me, but she was sweet enough to drive me to Gurney.
- Penang International Airport. I miss thee!
So on 7th of May, we left for the beautiful city of Perth. Had a switch flight in Changi, all good. Arrived in Perth at 9 pm. It was brrrr cold. Collected our rented car, and drove to domestic airport to fetch Safiyyah, Jas’ cousin. Bought a Western Australia map and we began charting our route…
8th of May began smoothly. The weather was awesome, our mood was awesome. Departed from Perth after a hearty breakfast and began trekking up the Indian Ocean Drive. Jas was the driver, I was the co-pilot. The view was spectacular. It was an alternate between the ocean and the desert. Made a pit stop at Cervantes and detour to the Nambung National Park to see the Pinnacles. It was alright. But after seeing the Gunung Mulu punya pinnacles, err.
- Middle of nowhere…
- Tak tauuuu la mai mana batu pelik-pelik ni…
Put a night in Geraldton, which is a modest city abt 500km north of Perth. Thus 9th May began. Visited the Sunday Salvation Army flea market and got ourselves breakfast in the form of some awesome doughnuts. Continued our journey up north, with Kalbarri as the first detour. Totally worth the detour time. Goodness gracious. God is great. Reminded me of Cinque Terre, but more ethereal and spiritual and calm. Maybe it was the fact that not many people were crowding this part of the earth compared to that of its Italian lookalike. I would have loved to just camp out there and watch the sunset, but being a measly HO with limited time off, we settled for overlooking the cliff and admiring the blue ocean.
- Middle of nowhere again before Kalbarri
We left Kalbarri after a hearty lunch (nasik goreng, props to Safiyyah) feeling wistful, but with a great hope of more spectacular scenery ahead. Started out the long stretch of highway with a full tank. Ada susah hati jugak la cause the next town would be in 200 kms called Billabong. We were praying the the petrol would last. Kiri kanan pasirrrrrr. Kiri kanan batuuuuu. Ada la dua tiga dozen roos dok lompat-lompat.
- Syomel kan? So much for a ‘small town’ kan?
Turned out Billabong was only a roadhouse with a petrol station. Tak kesah, janji ada petrol. I noticed petrol prices in Australia are not controlled. Another thing to be thankful for in Malaysia. We set off again to another detour: Shark Bay. It’s a World Heritage Site, and since we are noobs like that, it happened.
Shark Bay was beautiful, smelly, lacking sharks but plenty of reptiles. Random but I think it described that very random detour of ours perfectly. Natural landscape made it gorgeous, stromatolites (google that) made it smelly, the absence of sharks might be due to the dolphins population (diorang tak kawan…), reptiles cause the beach borders a vast padang pasir.
- These are stromatolites, y’all!
- Snapped right after lari lintang-pukang selepas mendengar the tell-tale hissing and rattling noise of a rattlesnake.
After running away from potentially poisonous reptiles and smelly rocks, we pushed off towards Coral Bay. Passed by the Tropic of Capricorn! Wahhh sangat teruja! Jas was, “WTF is Tropic of Capricorn??” Kawanku sayang… I forced her to stop and snap photos. After explanation of it being adik beradik tu Garisan Khatulistiwa, she went, “ohhhh…..”.
Berhenti makan dekat Carnarvon dulu. Met a friendly Australian couple, who were shocked to hear us driving the rural road at night. “If I were you girls’ father, you all would be so grounded!” Hahha. Chill, pakcik. Yes, it’s very dangerous to drive at night in WA. We banged into roos, wombats, birds, ntah hape-hape lagi. Sib baik takde kerbau ngan unta je tengah padang pasir WA ni. Finally at midnight we made it to Coral Bay, checked in into our motel and began kononnya our snorkelling adventure…