While Jenny continued traveling through Vietnam and into Cambodia, I opted to backtrack a little and revisit Perth. Our 2 months in SE Asia left me exhausted and homesick and I was ready for a return to routine and “normal” life as I used to know it. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to get from Nha Trang, Vietnam to Perth, Australia, so I spent about 24 hours traveling back to the land of Oz. Most of this time was spent on long layovers in Saigon and Kuala Lumpur.
I hopped on a flight from Nha Trang to Saigon on JetStar, then collected my bags, changed terminals and checked in to my AirAsia flights that would take me to Perth. I had about a 9 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur as part of this series of flights. Luckily my Priority Pass Select lounge access came in handy and I got to spend a lot of time in airport lounges making the most of free WiFi, Jenny’s Netflix account, free food and drinks and also people watching.
After leaving my hostel in Nha Trang at 5 am on Thursday morning, I finally made it to my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Perth at about 6:30 am on Friday. I threw my bags on the floor of “my room” and immediately fell asleep for a good 4-5 hours. Feeling slightly rejuvenated, I got up and ate a healthy breakfast of homemade brownies and hit the mall with my Aunt and Uncle (Jill and Jerry) for some much needed retail therapy. Then we came home, cleaned up and headed out for a nice dinner in the CBD.
Dinner was filled with laughter, great food and even better conversation. We enjoyed steaks and wine, giggled about Aussie words for different things, discussed travel and debated what speck might be. After we were fully stuffed we headed home to take it easy.
Soon after I got to Perth my cousin Sarah arrived from Alabama as she is on summer break from college. We spent a lot of time working out, enjoying the nice weather, eating amazing foods, doing more shopping, pampering ourselves, taking the dogs on walks and to the beach and even an impromptu emergency vet visit for Ellie.When the following Friday hit we started off the weekend with a bang. We had a lot we wanted to do and wasted no time. Friday morning we got Sarah signed up to get her scuba certification so she can dive the Great Barrier Reef. After that we headed to Caversham Wildlife Park where we got to hang out with koala bears, feed kangaroos, watch shy penguins and see a bunch of other adorable Australian critters.
Next we headed to Swan Valley, a region near Perth that has a lot of wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, chocolate companies and more. We powered through many different places in the area and sampled all kinds of delicious treats and bought several more to bring home with us. One amazing thing we discovered here: Chocolate Covered Red Frogs. They instantly made me think of my co-worker James… hopefully I can find a way to get these back to him in the US to experience!
On Saturday we went to Fremantle Prison for a Tunnels Tour. This involved suiting up in some sweet gear, throwing on wellies, climbing into a harness and life jacket, strapping on a helmet with a torch and heading down into the tunnels below the prison. We climbed down 18 meters below the prison and walked through a variety of tunnels that got more and more narrow, just like in Alice in Wonderland. Then we took small boats through parts of the tunnels that still had deep water and pushed our way through the dark tunnels. Once the tunnels tour was done, we scaled the ladders to get out of the tunnels and cleaned up to head out!
Sarah and I also made the most of a local gym membership and tried out a variety of group exercise classes. It turns out when I combine workout classes with climbing ladders I end up with incredibly sore shoulders. But that wasn’t going to stop me from another day of adventures. Sunday we went to Yanchep National Park and went for a small hike, enjoyed a lunch and then enjoyed a cave tour. After leaving the park we went by a beautiful beach (Two Rocks) to take in the views and breathe some ocean air. By the end of the day we were all exhausted from an eventful weekend and ready to sit around and take it easy!
Another big day was ahead of us as Sarah and I took surf lessons on Monday. Neither of us had ever surfed before and we prepared ourselves for the embarrassment and laughter. Luckily our instructor, Remy, was patient and super helpful. We did a brief check of the surf (it was a very rough day) and then learned a few basics and we were in the water in no time. I had assumed we’d spend 30 minutes of the 1 hour on the sand learning about what to do, but we were working our way out through the surf within 10 minutes. Since there were pretty big swells and a strong current we didn’t go out too far and instead tried to learn to surf pretty close to the shore (thankfully!) Each time we worked our way out it was quite the struggle, but once we made it out and hopped on our boards it was fun to try and very amusing. By the time our lesson was up we were both comfortable hopping on the board and riding waves to shore, but standing all of the way up hadn’t happened yet. I’m hopeful that I can get there soon! There may be another surf lesson in the near future.
After we got all of the salt and sand out of our hair and eyes we headed to Kings Park in Perth. It had a botanic garden and also amazing views of the CBD. We wandered around and enjoyed the nice weather before heading home for some much needed rest.
The remainder of my time in Perth was spent tormenting my family, eating way too much amazing home cooked food (thanks Jerry and Jill!!!), waking up early to go to group exercise classes, making frequent visits to Farmer Jacks and the mall, playing with Ellie and Kosmo, lounging by the pool, doing laundry, drinking wine (oh how I missed good wine) and planning upcoming adventures.
I am beyond grateful to have family in Australia that was willing to take me in for awhile and spoil me. It’s been wonderful to feel at home and super relaxed. But it’s time to venture onwards… Jenny and I meet up in the Philippines in a few days. We’re excited for the beautiful beaches and some amazing diving!