Australia - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 327 (137)


Saturday 29th January (2005)

We’ve not yet started to explore Perth or immediate surroundings at all so far. Perhaps this has also contributed to the lack of any need for us to get out of bed each morning since we’ve been here. Whatever it is, we’re both enjoying the ability to lie in as long as we please. I’ve a funny feeling we should enjoy all of this while we still can.

Other than the odd day trip out of town, we really aren’t planning on going anywhere whilst here in Perth. As such we had arranged to stay put here in this hostel for the duration so as to take advantage of the cheaper weekly rate. We’d already paid for the first three days but the reception staff had told us that we could still get of that juicy weekly rate and save around AU$100 (€61). When I went this morning to make the remaining payment for the week, however, I was told that they would not be able to backdate the rate after all. This would mean that we would receive no savings and I was quite put out by this. I told him that the only reason we would remain here was to take advantage of the cheaper weekly rate and that we would leave immediately is that were no longer the case. Unfortunately, the drone behind the desk was a temporary myrmidon that only had the capacity to repeat the same ‘rules’ over and over so I decided not to give them the benefit of our continued custom. Accordingly, we packed and left. As we left, I told the doe-eyed myrmidon to give my compliments to the boss and to tell him that he had just lost five days rent as a result of this policy. Whether or not that message made it all the way to the boss remains doubtful.

And so, with all our bags and foodstuffs now packed and locked safely away in the boot of the car, we sat and went through the backpacker’s budget accommodation section of our guidebook in search of another place to stay. With Sandy now getting up and going to the bathroom fourteen thousand times a night, not to mention her comfort to now bear closely in mind, I wanted to make sure that whatever place we stayed at had at least an ensuite bathroom as well as air-conditioning. I quickly exhausted all the listings the guidebook had to offer and then sat there wondering if I hadn’t been a bit too hasty in getting out of the previous hostel. It did, after all have, have almost everything we needed and was a decent price, judging by what some of these other places were now charging. Our only option now was to drive aimlessly around the backstreets of Perth in search of another place to stay. Fortunately, Perth is riddled with backpacker’s budget accommodations and we tried everyone that we past. None had everything we needed and those that did were fully booked. Bugger! We eventually stumbled into an extremely up-market looking place that looked like it might cost an arm and a leg – which it did. Indeed, at a whopping AU$78 (€47,60), it was well and truly outside of our grasp. To give credit where it’s due, the extremely friendly and helpful woman manning the front desk did go out of her way to try to call around at various other places to try to locate us a room. She made half a dozen or more calls, after each of which she repeatedly told me that she was very doubtful about our chances to find any available rooms here in Perth at this time. Putting on my most pathetic and downtrodden look, I asked (begged even) about any discounts for staying multiple days that she might consider. The absolute lowest she could come up with was AU$70 (€42,70) – which in any case was still well outside of our range. I was intrigued by just how modern and new the entire place looked, however, and so I took up her offer to ‘take a look around anyway’. Apparently, this place was purposely built from the ground up to be a top-class hostel. The rooms and ensuite bathrooms are well appointed and have much more in common with four-star hotels than grotty youth hostels. Their kitchen is truly huge with all modern appliances and plenty of smooth, metallic work surfaces. Hostels are usually converted from a building that previously had a different purpose but this place really does look like it was designed from the outset to be a hostel specifically. There is a spacious Internet section with modern computers, scanners, memory card readers and so on. There are comfortable TV rooms, one of which is equipped with a large, flat screen, wall-mounted, plasma TV complete with DVD and VCR and lots of comfortable couches. There is a dining area, relaxing area, outside courtyards (one for smokers and another for non-smokers), laundry room with plenty of modern machines and to top it all off, they even have dedicated car parking spaces around the back of the building (parking here in Perth can be a nightmare so this was a definite bonus). I was so impressed with the place that I asked Sandy to come in from the car to take a look around also. Whilst we were admiring wide-eyed at all the nice mod cons in this airy facility, it suddenly hit me that we haven’t pampered ourselves for a while. With that in mind together with a strangely emerging sense of wanting to protect and take care of Sandy in her condition, I suggested that we eat the additional expense and choose the remaining time we have here in Perth to splurge a little in a more comfortable setting. This idea grew on us until breaking point struck and I took up the receptionist’s offer to take the room for five nights at AU$70 (€42,70) per night. Done! We moved in and haven’t looked back.

A habit that we seem to be getting more and more into now is buying several different kids of fruit and chopping them up into a fruit salad for lunch or a quick snack. Today’s batch consisted of watermelon, papaya, grapes, a banana and an orange. Lisa is going to be so proud of me.

Amongst the arsenal of stuff that we carry around with us on this trip is the Apple Powerbook laptop on which I’m now typing. This little gadget provides me with the ability to do three main things: write my daily journals; manage our ongoing travelling budget; and manage our digital photography library – which is quite extensive. For the purpose of the later, I use a program that came with the Mac called iPhoto. Even though it has its flaws, I find the integration between iPhoto and our photo web site is extremely handy given the nature of our travels. We’ve become quite fond of this little photo management program and Apple, in their infinite wisdom, have just released a new suite of products, iLife, which includes the newest version of iPhoto. Eager to get our hands on the new software, we walked into the city to find the same Apple retail outlet we passed yesterday to see if they might have the new software in stock already. It’s due to be released here in Australia today. We played with the software for a while in the store and asked plenty of questions. Unfortunately, we both seemed to know much more about the software, both old and new, than did the store staff. It was actually quite embarrassing. Due to some sort of supply problem, however, there were no copies of the new software available to be sold so we had to leave empty handed. Perhaps we can pick up the new software when we get to Melbourne in a week or so.

We had thought about visiting the local botanical gardens sometime today but finding and relocating to a new hostel drained a lot of time and so we decided instead to just relax for the rest of the day instead – we’re getting good at that now. We collected some provisions from the supermarket on the way back to the hostel. Armed with the steadily growing knowledge that we’ve been extracting from the various pregnancy books we’ve been reading, I found we were both shopping more from a nutritious point of view for Sandy’s health more than anything else.

When we first went to the supermarket on the day after we arrived here, we bought some puff pastry and minced pork to make our favourite snack of homemade sausage rolls. The lack of an oven in the hostel in which we were staying, however, had meant that we weren’t able to make them. This new hostel has several ovens and so Sandy cooked up a batch, which formed the basis of our dinner this evening. After polishing off dinner, we spent some time talking to relatives online. I have to say that the urge to tell everyone of our little secret is growing apace and I found myself unintentionally dangling carrots in front of Ree-Ree as we chatted over the Internet. Sandy thinks that women have a special in-built radar that they use to discover that people are pregnant and thinks Ree-Ree might very well be onto us by now. We’ll see. Now that we’ve had an ultrasound that has shown everything to be as it currently should be, we are rapidly running out of excuses to keep the secret going. Sandy wants to break the news on Valentine’s Day but we will be back with Ree-Ree for a whole week by then and I doubt we will be able to hide it, intentionally or otherwise, for that long.

The rest of our day consisted of generally lounging around the various rooms in our new hostel, continuing to extract more and more information about what makes a pregnant woman tick from the volumes of books we’ve now accumulated.