Perth, 29 January 2001
The future is hard to predict. So my most frequently used motto is: I don't lack planning, but enjoy a maximum of flexibility.

Rottnest Island

Monday 29 January 2001
The plan Cycle around (rottnest.wa.gov.au) on a mountain bike, in shorts and T-shirt.
Reality Sign at Rottness island, steep decend The sun shines bright. The bikes are perfect. It looks like this plan is going to work.

The one and only thread to the bike tour are the many beaches. The cool water is tempting. The sand is white and soft.

The gap in the ozon layer does an excellent job. My neck, the back of my legs, arms and hands get sunburnt rapidly. Being quite pigheaded, I did not slap myself with a sunblocker.

On the very first beach I have to put on my long trousers, and I'll keep my arms covered as well.


Tuesday, 23 January 2001
The plan Go down the coast to Augusta, a place where you can swim from the Indian Pacific to the Southern Ocean.
Reality My legs are as red as cooked lobster. They won't be able to take some additional sunshine.
Plan 2 take the train to Pemberton, into the forest.
Reality 2 Pemberton does not show on any train schedule or ticket vending machine. Not a single counter is open, here at Fremantle (fremantle.wa.gov.au) trainstation.
Plan 3 take a local train to Perth, than an intercity train to Pemberton.
Reality 3 This is going well. The counters of Westrail (wagr.wa.gov.au/timetble...) have plenty of traintickets, coach 1, reserved seats. Plenty of time. The train is not leaving for an hour and the journey will take about 8 hours, quite a long trip, longer than I expected. So, some extra transit time in Perth first. I'm happy with it. It gives me an opportunity to explore the city a bit.
Plan 4 take the local train to East Perth, continue with the intercity train to Pemberton.
Reality 4 There is no intercity train at East Perth. The information counter informs me that this intercity is not a train, but a bus. Oops.
Plan 5 Spend eight hours shaking in a bus, all the way to Pemberton
Reality 5 The bus is not that bad. The southwest coast is very pleasant indeed, a kind of Riviera without the French but with pleasant Aussies. Several villages pass by. It all looks very inviting. Later in Pemberton, it will be an arrival in the dark. That's less of a joy, but the villages probably has plenty of hotels.
Plan 6 Find a hotel in Pemberton, have dinner
Reality 6 Bus stops at a deserted parking lot, next to a quiet tenniscourt. The whole village is in the dark. No signs of hotels whatsoever. Most fellow passengers have booked in a youth hostel (yha.org.au), about 10 kilometer out of the village, in the middle of the forest. Sounds good too, and they even have space available. A downer: There is nothing to eat here.
Plan 7 a room in the youth hostel
Reality 7 All rooms are fully booked. Only the dorm has some space, but there will be a room available tomorrow. It's to late at the moment to find an alternative. Well, if things don't go as they have to, the way they go has to do.

To my surprise, it's quite cold in the forests. For the first time in weeks I put on a jumper. The fellow dorm members are enjoying a pack of wine. These folks are a bit of a different company than what I'm used to. Younger, less experienced, and with a childlike enthousiasm about everything.

Their conversations and discussion is not for me. I seek some tranquility in the kitchen and repair my small daypack with needle and thread. The orange juice lacks to make a screwdriver (.../drinking/...).

So, for keeping warm I have to drink pure wodka (finlandia-vodka.com). What a misery. The backpack has been repaired, time for a book. The discussion in the living room is running towards the end. Everybody heads for the dormitory.

The wodka is doing a fine job. I feel warm, and the characters start to dance before my eyes. I stuff in my earplugs, and fumble in the dark for my own sheets. Sleep well.


Wednesday, 23 January 2001
The plan take a nap, move to a twin-room.
Reality The combination of jumper, wodka and earplugs did a marvelous job. I've had an excellent sleep.

Ingrid, my cousin and travel mate, has suffered a cold night, even with wodka and sweater. Lacking earplugs, she was forced to listen to a couple sharing a bed and not just to stay warm.

The reception gives little hope for improvement.

  • All rooms are fully booked.
  • There is no breakfast.
  • The car to the village has left already.
This joke has lasted long enough. I don't like the rubber truth of available rooms. An empty stumach is not too motivating either. So it's time to move, to a better night's rest, a place where dinner and breakfast are wellknown words. It's allright to alter a planning, but this grumpy bear does have his limits.
Plan 2 to the tourist bureau, find some comfort.
Reality The tourist bureau in Pemberton (permbertontourist.com.au) is most helpfull, books a twin in the Gloucester motel (phone 08 9776 1266), and offers a ride by car because it's more than a kilometer walk.

Comfort is back. The room is excellent. The brunch, spaghetti with beer tastes very well. The bakery and supermarket are open. Well, it's time to strech my burned legs, into the forest for the Gloucester Tree (mountains.net/...). With some food in the repaired daypack it sounds like a plan that can't fail.

Till next week, from Malaysia again!