March 20th, 2006:
Sadly the Perth leg of the trip has come to an end and I'm currently in the departures lounge of the airport awaiting the flight to Brisbane.
I had to check out this morning from my accommodation at 10:00AM and I suspect I had temporary insanity when I was booking the flight as the flight doesn't leave until nearly midnight, nearly fourteen hours later: groan...
I spent the day at "Kings Park" in Perth which is a picture perfect park perched in the hills over Perth. Despite the pleasant surroundings, its surprisingly tiring doing nothing all day and having looked at all of the trees by 4PM I was bored out of MY tree(!). Walking around Perth was out of the question as I had my main backpack with me and it was a bit warm today (37C) to bring it around. Still, it gave me plenty of time to be a handy photographer for fellow tourists, who asked me to take pictures of them using their cameras...
On the way to the airport I found myself experiencing something unexpected: for every previous flight there had always been anticipation, but this time around I realized that I might actually miss living here. In an attempt at performing a living-in-Oz-test-run, I had rented a self-contained one bed apartment at Scarborough. I found the grocery shopping to be cost-effective and was soon whizzing around the city on the public transport: all-in-all it just worked and its good to know that if I do end up living and working here that it should work out ok. However, now that I'm leaving I'll have to skill-up for a new city again (Brisbane) over the coming days.
Incidentally, my 100% record of being randomly selected for additional tests/questions when departing from a major airport is holding up nicely. It all started in London when out of a queue of over 100 passengers, the interrogator made a bee-line straight for me and proceeded to ask me questions about the airport experience (I must have had my approachable-face on that day). In Singapore I was selected from amongst my fellow passengers for an additional bag check (must have been my shifty/suspicious expression). Today, in Perth, I was randomly selected and taken aside for an "Explosive Substance Analyzer" test. This consisted of my clothes and bag being swabbed and the swab was then analyzed for trace chemical elements which may indicate that I had been around explosives. I say "may" because many common household cleaning products (such as bleach, if I recall correctly), contain trace elements of chemicals which can be used in explosives, so you may be unlucky enough to be flagged as a potential problem if you cleaned anytime before flying wearing the same clothes as you are flying with. According to the security dude, a positive match results in your main bag being taken off the plane, each item inside being examined, then your carry on bag gets the same treatment and finally you get interrogated to see what you know. The obvious solution: never clean!
Well, onto Brisbane. I'm just thankful I'm not going to Cairns which was just hit by a category five hurricane. Hopefully the weather in Brissy won't be as extreme(!)