So I've been in Perth a week now. When I first got here I was totally jazzed about the great selection of food as compared to New Zealand. The area I'm staying in, Northbridge, has tons of Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, and Indian restaurants, many of them with meals for $5-$6 AU, which is about $4 US. And there's several shops that have loads of European goodies - they cost a bit more but it's great to have the option to splash out a bit on some good food. It's amazing how access to good food can affect your opinion of a place, without even realizing it.
A bit of a downside to my stay in Perth has been the overwhelming amount of Brit tourists. I can honestly say that some of my best friends are Brits but something about a group of them on holiday makes them form into annoying cliques. If you're not British, then it's almost like you don't exist. Anyway, I think I'm ready for a change of scenery and hopefully I'll run into a wider variety of travellers as I go.
Speaking of which, after researching various transportation options - buying a car, sharing a ride with someone, or splashing out on a tour, I finally bit the bullet and decided. I was all set to share a ride with an Irish guy who's got his own car and has driven across from Sydney already but he was looking for passengers going farther than I wanted to and found some before we were set to leave. I might still hook up with him later on, though, as he's driving all the way back to Sydney. So I finally got tired of farting around and dropped a small fortune on a couple of tours up the west coast and across to Darwin. It's probably gonna cost me about $2000 US for three weeks of travel but that includes 3 days of diving in an area that many say rivals the Great Barrier Reef. It also includes a lot of 4 wheel driving in the outback, again said to be among the best sites in Australia. Some of that hype is coming from the travel agents, who are experts at getting you to part with your money, but I've also heard it from independent sources as well. Hopefully it'll be worth it, though, cause that same amount of money could last me several months in SE Asia or India. I'm definitely gonna have to be a bit more frugal after these tours if I can ever hope to make it out of Australia with any of my savings intact. With any luck, I'll be able to pick up some more work for clients back home to help replenish the savings a bit. Stay tuned and I'll try and keep you posted on how it turns out.
DJ 45, that was my flight number to Sydney, which I thought was quite auspicious. I've made it to Perth now after a long day flying. It's not as warm as I was hoping. It was cold and raining a bit when I arrived. But it's clear and sunny today so things are looking up. Looking into doing a rideshare up north instead of buying my own car. Sent out a couple of emails to people going that way, so we'll see.
OK, I know I've been promising some commentary. There's a bit mixed in the captions of the photos but I've got lots more I'd like to put down. We'll see how much I get around to doing. At the very least, I'm hoping to keep my current location up to date on the site. We'll see. For now, I'm headed to Perth, Western Australia tomorrow (actually later today, by now).
Got an unbelievable fare on sale from Virgin Blue for $200 NZ from Wellington to Perth. Just found out they were having a 48 hour sale with domestic tickets for $48 but unfortunately I missed out on that one. Oh well. Apparently sometimes Qantas fights back with their own ridiculously cheap fares. It's pretty amazing that I could have conceivably gotten a flight from Sydney to Perth (almost the same mileage as crossing the USA) for about $30 US. Crazy.
So anyway, I'm off to my next country tomorrow. Thinking about maybe trying to buy a car or hook up with someone who has. We'll see how it goes. In any case, I definitely plan on doing some diving, maybe even getting some work as a divemaster if I can swing it. Should be interesting to see how feasible that is, considering I have never done it before and don't have a work visa. Probably gonna spend close to the 3 month limit I have on my visa. I'm really looking forward to getting to Asia, but Australia is so huge, I definitely wanna try and do it properly.
Just a brief note of sadness (No, not about the Iraq situation, that's just fucked up beyond belief). Coxsone Dodd, the founder of Studio One records in Jamaica, died last Tuesday. The music he helped to create had a large impact on the world in general and my life in particular.
Loads of new pics and a few dolphin videos!
Stay tuned for some more color commentary coming soon (hopefully).