Friday, October 05, 2007

5 October - still in Perth

Yesterday was a bit of a sh** of a day but today was much better thank goodness. I hadn't slept at all well last night wondering how I would get on with DHL and the customs folk - would I get my elusive parcel without which I can't start the tour etc.

I was on the phone at 0610 then to DHL's overseas office in Sydney (0810 there and they open at 8) but got little decent advice to be honest and I got a bit of a gloomy picture about possible outcomes - none of which seemed to include getting the parcel today, but all of which would entail paying everyone involved lots of money - grrr!!

So I queued for a taxi, cheered up with an interesting chat with the affable Afghan driver who used to be a doctor in his home country, but could not unfortunately secure retraining funding from the government due to his age (late 40's) and was out at the DHL office a little after 9; I grabbed a 5-page form and headed across the road to the Oz customs office and filled it in. The customs lady was very friendly and I started to feel more optimistic of a positive outcome to my day. An Australian lady seemed to be having trouble getting hold of her imported Balinese cigarettes, but I was doing really well - in fact within 15 minutes, including an examination by, no, in fact a chat with the ubiquitous (and friendly) Quarantine officer, I was home and dry and staggering in the rising heat to get the 15kg parcel to where I could flag a taxi down to head back to the city. And it didn't cost me an Oz cent! Another interesting taxi driver too, 10 years an Oz citizen after leaving Yugoslavia. He was keen to get new qualifications and improve his lot, and he quizzed me about my own job as an environment officer and about environmental work in general, a really nice guy who deserved better than his 12-hour shifts driving around the streets.

I dumped the box in the now midden-like room (hundreds of my possessions strewn asunder wall to wall) to do some serious shopping - $1000 had to be quickly spent on tent and other camping equipment. Well, I got everything I'd wanted without any fuss and so celebrated with a huge $7 frappe-iced-fruit drink thing, and a peach and coconut muffin the size of a large Australian house(well, it was Friday, and where I work we always have a cake party on Friday mornings, so nerrrrrr to SEPA Thurso staff - I've had mine thank you!). Ny euphoria subsided sonewhat whem I got back to my roon and saw the ness. (explanation: most of the keyboards at the YHA Perth City are so worn that many of the letters are illegible and adjacent keys are easily interchangable).

Well it's now 2200 and everything is packed in the panniers ready for the BIG OFF tomorrow. I have been advised by one of my local cycle-touring groupies that the cycle path by the Swan River is a pleasant and traffic-free route out of town, so I may give it a go and see where I get to. It'll take me several days to get used to the extra weight - about 45kg for the bike and all the gear - so I won't be going at all hard. There are a few couchsurfers ( listed on the way south that I may call to see if they're free next week.

Amd so to bed, and hopefully a PROPER SLEEP tomight.......(no pics today, too busy....)