Tuesday, January 04, 2005

P Minus Twenty.

Approximately twenty days before I leave for Perth.

How this trip came about is a story of convenient timing and good luck. The SO had air miles that were expiring in December. I am unemployed and hence my travel schedule is not at the mercy of any employers. Have to enter Australia to validate the PR visa grant before August 2005 anyway.

So I took the 'free' ticket and ended up paying S$189 in taxes and surcharges. Seats to Perth were available as early as second week of January, but I specifically wanted to avoid the holiday crowds which should hopefully disperse by around late January. I want to see the city in her naked beauty sans tourists. Hence late January it is. The SO cannot join me on this trip (much as I would like it) due to work commitments.

As an additional bonus, I have two good friends and their partners who may be headed for Perth around the same time - so we can sort of make a holiday of it.

Initially the ticket into Perth was booked to arrive in the wee hours of the morning. What I could figure out over the internet was not too encouraging. The trains do not run to Perth's international airport. The buses do not run in the middle of the night. Taxis are going to cost me A$30 upwards to get into the city. And I have no idea if the car rental desks at the airport are even going to be open, or how much of a tourist premium I would have to pay for a on-the-spot rental. And outside of the posh hotels, most of the other options for accommodations would have to wait till morning.

A bit of history. My first experience in the UK was landing at Heathrow in the early hours of the morning after a bumpy 14-hour flight and having to rent a car without prior reservations, then having to navigate the M25 in a French (Peugeot?) car of unfamilar configuration, in 2 degree Celsius London peasoup fog, to reach a customer meeting after breakfast. And that emergency trip had truncated my beach holiday in sunny Pangkor!

So obviously, I feel downright blessed to get the flight to Perth changed to a redeye landing in the early morning! Flying into an unfamilar city 'blind' for the first time and without local assistance even when you know the local language is hard enough. Without having to increase the difficulty level by arriving at an unearthly time when nothing and nobody is working.

In terms of getting to Perth, things have been going well so far. Have got a bead on a backpacker-type place that could give me a single room (shared toilet facilities) for about A$30 a day. Location should be quite central since it is near where all the big expensive hotels are. No idea on facilities or conditions of the rooms though.

This is going to be one unusual trip for me. This trip is not on behalf of any employers. This trip is not a chill-out roadtrip (favourite destination: West Malaysia!), nor a laze-around holiday (favourite destination: West Malaysia again!). This one is - as SAF calls it - going to recee the place. Reconnaissance and research. Tentatively for two weeks.

It feels really strange because often when travelling on business (especially on the weekends), I am in the back of my mind surreptitiously evaluating the local living conditions. Comparing and contrasting against living in Singapore as a local. Not out-loud of course, it would be very rude and very insensitive. But now I am actually going to a place for the primary purpose of collecting information and evaluating it as a potential home.

And in case anybody is wondering: London is a terrible place in winter to have to make a home if you are tropical, sun-loving, culture-deficient, literary-unrefined boor like myself. And very expensive as well if your income and savings is in Singapore dollars.

I am hoping my half-year experience in Sydney would give me sufficient background to constrast against Perth. Sydney is a wonderful place to live. Even more so than Singapore, in my opinion. Unfortunately it is also a very expensive place to live in (also more so than Singapore).

I wonder how Perth stacks up to Singapore and Sydney?


Blogger sngck said...

You should recee Melbourne too. I'm somewhat biased against Perth...its too far away from anything except Singapore!!!

January 05, 2005 1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I came across your heartlander v. cosmopolitan article and I find myself nodding vigorously at it. I transited from heartlander to cosmopolitan due to my travels, studies and work overseas.

As someone who comes from a heartlander family and who spends much of everyday arguing over Singapore issues (recently, I have grown cynical and apathetic...), I can understand how you must feel when your friends misconstrue your reasons.

The world is large enough for you to find your niche somewhere... I find it amusing when people tell me I will never fit in the States and wil lcome running back to Singapore. Maybe I will, but there's still Taiwan, Korean and China which I love =)

Friends.Knowledge.Urban Living

January 05, 2005 8:44 AM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

The expiring air miles available for redemption can only get me to Perth, no further east than that. Was initially supposed to be a quick in-and-out trip over the weekend. See previous post:

I'd like to be able to recee Melbourne if I get the chance as well. However resources are limited.

Another one of my posts mentioning why I am not actively considering Melbourne at this point in time:

January 05, 2005 12:54 PM  
Blogger sngck said...

Ah, if you don't like clubbing and culture then perhaps Melbourne could be a bummer, but surely you like some sort of arts??

I guess for me the pluses of Melbourne includes its proximity to the Great Ocean Rd and Tasmania. And Adelaide as well...

But don't let my/our comments put you off Perth or anything. Take your time, recee the country, and I'm sure there's someplace you will love in Oz. It's big enough. :) For all we know you might like the outback (it's too hot, too far from the sea, but otherwise quite alright).

Have fun!

January 06, 2005 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, just wanted to comment on the general sentiments you've expressed with regard to migrating. I've realised that we should live for ourselves and not what others think. Of course, as long as we hurt no one. Since you've thought this out and have tried to be tactful when explaining to your friends and family, no one should be able to make you feel guilty.

However, I just want to add that if Sydney and other large countries are nicer than S'pore, it should not mean that our country is pathetic, but that we have transformed ourselves such that S'poreans, wishing to seek greener pastures, have the ability to do so. Not many people have the luxury of doing so, and that is the Singapore legacy. We are mobile and relevant in other societies, to be able to seek comfortable jobs overseas.

January 07, 2005 1:08 AM  

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