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Roadtrip to Broome (17.05.2009)
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Singapore & Kuala Lumpur 11 . 06 . 09

First stop in South-East Asia - Singapore.

1) Technology comes from here. Wifi is literally everywhere and it’s free. Electronic gadgets are cheap and best you can find from the market. Everyone you see in the streets have the latest cell phone model or a PSP to play around with.

2) It’s an ultra modern city. They have touch-screen everything. Nice public transport. Very clean streets. Lots of skyscrapers. Not a single car is older than 10 years. Electronic gadgets for everything that makes their lives easier.

3) Although ethnically it’s mainly chinese, a bit of india, malay and bit of everything else, the first language here is english. Which makes things actually complicated. Why? First off, their accent can be terrible to understand (but I guess you can get the same shock when first arriving in Australia also). Secondly, they have developed their own language called senglish which is like a mix of all the languages they speak around here (whichever chinese dialect, malay, english mixed into one pot) and it’s like.. impossible! Luckily they use it accordingly how they speak with

4) Architecture is great. A fascinating mix of modern and asian that combines into something completely different.

5) Every single person I met and talked more than few words was friendly, open-minded and kind. They didn’t have this superficial shade that I encountered in US and Australia. They actually look into your eyes while you talk to them.

6) They value their green culture which can be measured in enormous taxes for cars (can you imagine paying $60k for a new Toyota?) and seemed like they had set up a minimum number of trees or bushes to be planted on every street, cause there were a lot of them, everywhere.

7) Chewing gum is illegal

8) Shopping-malls. Everywhere. That’s their biggest hobby - shopping.

9) If you spend a bit more time here and observe these different details then you get the feeling that they’re playing safe on everything - lots of rules and regulations for everything. They might check your trunk when entering into parking lot. Or have these safety videos playing in metro that tells them to report ’suspicious people’ to the staff (I mean, this is clearly discrimination - how can you determine if a person classifies as a ’suspicious?). Or have marked lines and arrows in the subway telling people to go straight from left side and come back from right side (to avoid the mess of people struggling against each other).

10) It’s very safe here. Not a worry in a world when walking in streets.

10) I love Singapore!

Streets on daylight.

Shopping street on night time

Clearly I’m too tall for this country

Night Safari.

Underwater world in Sentosa island

Probably the only negative side of it all. 360 degree radius sea full of ships, ships and more ships.

Overlooking the city area. Continuous construction, cranes, something new being built in every corner. I guess I like their views on progress and creating something new all the time. Constant change is what it seemed like.

And person who made my time in Singapore a worthwhile - ms Foo.

2nd stop - Kuala Lumpur.

1) After Singapore, KL didn’t seem that much anymore. It’s like Singapore, but poorer, less maintained and just not that of a city as it wants to be.

2) But nevertheless, it has it’s own character

Totally random place and you get this sculpture. ???

Sitting in this small chinese food court where people had their morning coffee or breakfast.

Monorail! Monorail!

The famous Petronas twin towers.

And view from somewhere in the middle of it.

On the left, mr Escobar from Chili who promised to visit Eesti in winter. Lets hope he makes it.

And airconditioners are the main thing here.

Next stop - Thailand.

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Oz III - grande finale 06 . 06 . 09

Getting closer to the end of Australia now. Seen above is just a sunset walk in the gorges of Exmouth. Simply beautiful.

Exmouth is west coast paradise of snorkelling. That polaroidish quality of the picture above is not photoshop but a cheap underwater camera i bought. Didn’t get many good pictures with it cause of lack of light on these days, but just take it from me - if you’re patient enough, you can see everything starting from sharks, tortoises and finishing every fish seen on the Nemo movie.

There are colorful fish beneath my arm. You just need to look very hard..

This one above is a regular humpback whale doing its thing in the water.

And the king of it all. A whale shark. Without exaggerating it’s a 20 feet beast who’s ready to eat! And me (..and 20 other wealthy tourists who paid more than $300 to encounter with this one behind me..) no more than 3 meters from it. I guess there’s not many places in the world where you can see something like that.

And next day after leaving Exmouth we found this awesome track that wasn’t mentioned in any tourist booklet or guide. It was like a walking track along the tip of the mountains. I mean.. wow! We have to take it, said all the estonians.

The sign didn’t stop us for a second.

After a decent 2 hours of walking on the edge of the world I think we all felt that this was like a walk of a lifetime. There’s just something thrilling about doing this on a half a meter wide rocky track, having a decent 500m of fall on both sides without any fences or any other touristy things that would keep you alive. Just you and your two feet leading the way. Super cool!

And this is where our tanking saga continues. Smile on Kalle’s face is from the fact that this is the point where we found out that the gas tank for our Commodore isn’t actually 60 liters, but definitely more than 63,75 liters. Fuel indicator had been below 0 level for the last 80km. Lucky? yes.

Serving my gratitude towards Morris dry white. Hope you Ines and Craig still remember that from our nights in Melbourne.

Followed by local nature in Karijini National Park.

These red gravel roads have something very australiash in them. Can’t explain.

80 mile beach. Plain sand and shallow Indian Ocean as far as your eye can see.

And somewhere in the middle of nowhere we finally needed our spare can of fuel.

Next stop - the Kimberlys. Most talked about and presumably most beautiful region of WA. With a small note - most roads considered 4WD only. Khmhmh. Problem for us? Mk-mm.

Beacause these 4WD roads take you to places where the aboriginal ancestors had once done their cave-drawings for example.

Or into the shallow waters together with fresh-water crocs.

Or bring you the views like this.

It’s kind of place where you are really in the outback. No cell coverage around 500km. No traffic at night-time and maybe few cars an hour in daytime. If something happens to you here - let’s say an unpleasant encounter with a spider or a snake of deadly kind - then you’re.. in deep shit (of deadly kind also). Life can be fragile here if you think about it. So it’s best if you just don’t think of it.

I was told that it was not healthy to take photos of aboriginals, so this one is probably the only decent one I managed to get. From our car or course with 300mm tele-zoom focal length.

A bush-fire!

After our last night in Broome (keywords Cable beach, Passion Pop, Tooheys Extra Dry and australian fine wine). Our last hangover. Our last common breakfast with Ele’s copyrighted very special pancakes, Homebrand bacon, tomato, sour cream, jam and freenut butter (kind of healthy version of peanut butter, a classic!).

Cable beach in Broome.

Our last sunset.

And this is it. Australia is done for me. Finished. Over for this time. To sum it all up - nice trip, nice people, will come back here!

Next stop - South-East Asia!

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Oz III - Deeper outback 26 . 05 . 09

Still on the road.

After a rainy day we decided to take a look at local sights. And this seahorse farm was one of them. They were breeding seahorses there. These funny small fishlike things that live in water and look like horses.

Don’t have a clue where this picture was taken or why or why we would have stopped there and why did I take out the camera. The wind and light games that sun is playing here with clouds is ..nice. I reckon.

A must have tourist photo in this place (above).

In another national park (Kalbarri was it?). Decided to take a closer look into the valley. It was a good choice cause we spent an hour just sitting there. Listening silence and occasional birds passing by and just enjoying the place without any other persons but us in sight.

Following night spared us a bit of rain I guess

Cause, in the morning it was like this again.

Then. The beach of seashells. No sand. Just seashells.

Everything that looks like a sand here is actually not. Seashells.

Somewhere on the road we must have entered the tropical latitudes. Heat was taking over.

So were straight roads and fellow backpackers

And just a spot with a good view where we spent the night camping between sand dunes.

Picture above is significant because it marks another jetty that I was unable to finish to the end.

Termites. And their big nests. Some of them over 2 meters. The story behind it is quite complicated actually. Apparently these small insects have unbelievably strict hierachy and system how everything works. As always, most of the termites over there are workers. These guys have no eyes and just do the dirty work. Heaps of them. And then there are handful of them who have gone to the gym a lot and are double the size. They are the guardians of the masters - a king and a queen. Royal family rules the place, live in their huge rooms with best views overlooking everything you can see from the top of the nest. They haven’t got a care in the world except reproducing. The good life.

More camping under the stars. Acutally I must say this here now that how amazing it was here how much you can really see the sky here at night. One can clearly distinguish the milky way from bundled strip of stars going from east to west. And as the night goes on, how everything turns and somewhere at midnight the picture is completely different. And how bright everything is. And how many of these falling stars there are all the time. You could wish all the things in the world after spending few weeks in the outback and looking for falling stars. Something completely different to the picture we see in these warm Estonian summers.

Beware of emu crossings in the middle of highway.

The gang. Happy with what they see.

Our first encounter with these orange creatures jumping on two legs. Came out of nowhere, took an unfriendly greeting from our bumper and vanished. Luckily the car was fine. Not sure about the roo though..

Life is ironic here in outback.

More to come..

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Oz III - First peak to outback 21 . 05 . 09

What happened, was that through incredible coincidence and common plans 4 estonians, from who 3 of them didn’t even know each other, ended up in a group for a 3 week road trip from Perth to Broome. That is Kalle, Ele, Karl and Me. And for the vehicle - a golden Holden Commodore from early nineties in which Kalle & Ele had already traveled from Sydney to Perth. Everything seemed like just set up by the nature that it was just us who had to get together for that trip.

So there it was. I was saying goodbye for the place i had been living in for the last few months. Pulled my stuff together from closet into the rucksack again, and there we were - on a sunny Sunday afternoon starting this 20 days of journey into WA’s nature.

We began from the wineries just beside Perth. Must I say that we tried lot of wines there? But yes we did.

There was something in the air already on that first day. That this is the beginning of something really good. In a way this was also a beginning of the end of “the trip” for me because after this one I would have few weeks in South-East Asia and that would pretty much be it. Nevertheless, it was a good start for it all.

By the nightfall we hadn’t got much further from the wineries. Time flies in these places!

Next day followed by a set of sand surfing in a remote place with white sand, blue skies and good spirit.

Accidentally after applying too much wax on the board, it became quite challenging to finish that small hill on both feet. But in the end we all managed. Without injuries.

These are famous pinnacles. A rare form of nature that you cant see in many places of the earth. But here, somewhere in middle in nowhere they were. A lot of pictures followed.

In fact they were that awesome that we decided to visit them twice - after sunset and again in early morning.

Then we found these caves called Stockyard Gully.

Road that lead to them was a 4WD only. After a small test whether we can manage that with our reliable commodore and getting stuck, we decided that hey we’re here, so lets walk. So we did. For 5 km there in 30 warm with sun gently on our heads. And countless amount of flies with us.

Disregarding the signs noting everyone to have a decent torch before entering (as we did 1 lousy one for four of us that occasionally dipped) we didn’t hesitate to take this journey into darkness. And it’s a good thing we didn’t. I reckon these caves were one of the highlights of our trip. Maybe because we had to make this “walk” to really get to there, maybe they were just amazing. Doesn’t matter. It rocked.

Somewhere on the way I saw my first salt-field.

And this one is significant for two reasons. One: this is the place where we were able to fill up our tank with 59,xx liters while knowing that our tank was 60 liters. Two: later came out that tank is not 60 liters. And thank god it wasn’t.

“If you take this one down, we’ll have enough fire for t’nite”. And so we did.

This is pretty much how we spent most of our nights. Good Company. Food. Fire. Drinks. Waterpipe.

However, usually next mornings weren’t like this. An hour before taking this photo it was raining, most of the stuff was just randomly around the car taking heavy rain and roof of our tent had been blown away by the wind. Surely I was only one who wasn’t wasted enough to clear this mess up. Charming.

This especially was a tough morning for Kalle. What happened? I remember you sayin something like “i dont remember morning that bad since highschool”. Well.. :) It was a night to remember then

Seemed like the weather was leading the way how we felt after last night.

That’s how the outback welcomed us on these first days. End of part one in there.

But more is to come. A lot more.

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Oz II - my life in Perth 15 . 05 . 09

Following post briefly gathers up the two and half months I spent in Perth working. We are talking about the same amount of time that was covered with ALL of the previous posts in the blog.

It’s not that these 10 weeks were boring, but it’s hard to actually do interesting stuff when you live in Perth and wake up every day 5:something AM. That’s what I needed to do for working in Kings Park. And I find it more interesting to cover stories from adventurous trips from different places that I came to do here in the other side of the globe, than just talking about Perth.

So what was the job about? Hmm.. in a way it was a lot of stuff. And in a way it was empty as a hot air balloon. I can say that I know few things more about construction then I did before. And I can also say that it’s the kind of job that is just not for me. Basically it was all about doing things in one massive city park (with ~100 employees) that would put the dot to an i, cherry on a cake etc. It included painting, oiling, cleaning, fixing, building, driving, dismantling and fair amount of just being steady-steady (it means just killing time or not wearing yourself out, depending on the perspective).

I really appreciate Jamie and Barbara’s effort in making me feel home as they were my hosts for the first few weeks while I was just settling down. And Russ and Tanya for their room that I rented afterward for few months.

And a picture-story of these 10 weeks follows.

This is Perth. If you are not familiar with it then FYI it’s the capital of state WA. Top 5 of the most livable cities in the world according to wikipedia. It’s a nice place if you wanna set up a family or something. It has well advanced, clean and modern public transport, friendly people, nice parks, Sunday sessions (every sunday they gather in a pub to have some beers and see the sunset), beaches, river, quiet and safe suburbs all over the city etc. But it’s also very conservative place. Shops close at 6pm, most stuff is closed on Sundays, pubs close at 10 and they said NO for daylight savings public voting for the fear of climate changes and more road-accidents (I might be over exaggerating here though, but that’s the case).

In one sentence. Not a city for me to stick around for much longer than the time spent.

Although, you can’t say nothing bad for the silhouette of the city. It’s just glowing in the night.

And I had a few nice grill parties in Barbs/Jamies place. This is one of the first ones with Priit and Madli both still in Oz.

An example of these Sunday sessions I mentioned earlier. There you got a pub, beers and sun setting into Indian Ocean. And Jamie for company.

The book about Australia I got from you guys for the trip. It was a good companion for the times. And helped me a bit in my english-writing skills for the blog as well.

I will explain this picture for you estonians. You see the queue of people there? And where it’s heading? Into the bus stop is the right answer.

I find this a definite candidate into top10 of weird things to encounter while traveling.

A part of my everyday morning route to work. CBD of Perth. Even in very early mornings, it was surprisingly crowded out there. Lot of people start their work before 7 AM. It was like a whole new world to me that I didn’t know even existed (but don’t get me wrong, when I return to my usual life, I still plan to sleep till 9 or so).

Big-city-like feeling

The bridge I crossed every morning with my push-bike. The traffic never stopped on this highway. Never

There were couple of great things about this job I had. The location, the beauty of the park itself and sunrises in the morning. So every morning we started our day, we took the scenic route that overlooked the city on top of a mountain with a million dollar view as the sun was coming out and pretended that this is the route we have to take for whatever we were supposed to do.

That was my last day at work on the picture above. It’s a good thing that you can’t really see me. The uniform wasn’t very bad, but the jumper was more less from the 80s with old botanical green color and the jeans were close to 10 cm short for me.

Don’t have many pictures of Kings Park itself, but take it from me - it is the best park inside a city where I’ve been. If you go to Perth, go there. Spend half a day there, see the botanical gardens, have a picnic at daytime in some grill areas or take couple of friends there after sunset when you can just sit down and enjoy the view while having good conversation with a nice goon aside.

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Oz I - Goin’ down south! 28 . 02 . 09

There we go. It was in the end of february and 3 estonians and yellow Ford Laser were heading towards the great south of Western Australia. It was still pretty much in the middle of summer down there with 30+ degree days as I recall. Now I feel that I probably should have written this post down just a bit earlier. Memory after 4 months isn’t just the same anymore I guess.

Anyway, our target was to hit Margaret River and back to Perth again with 5 days (or was it 4?). This trip would be the end of Priit’s time in Australia and the last trip for a while for me and Madli just before starting working as maintainance persons in Perth’s Kings Park.

After first day on the wheels we find this adorable place for camping outside. Just next to self-made junkyard from horror movie (the one where the freaks come out after dusk, cut you up with a chainsaw or similar and then dump your car there).

Unfortunately, night goes as planned. Making a bonfire (shouldn’t be telling you that this was still at the ‘total fireban’ time, but how can an estonian camp without one?), celebrating Priit’s birthday with precious estonian spirits and without any suspicious voices from the bushes.

Next day. Visiting the local beach where sudden waves surprised the photographer not just once (shown clearly on the pic above, captured with Priits brand new Canon EOS)

Followed by the visit to local caves.

And sightseeing of local wildlife.

Next day. Hired couple of surfboards and headed to local beach. I’d like to say that it was fun. But it was utter crap really.  Waves were shit and 3 wannabe newby-surfers on the boards as well. So after a brief 15 minute time well spent on the waves I decided to take a little nap and sunburnes on the following day.

Before nightfall, a trip up the treetops and back again. Picture above is made by being attached to the tree somewhere 20 meters from ground. How exactly is that possible? Well, you can ask me when we meet okay ;)

Followed by the night in caravan park and waking up around 6 am for the reasons that our yellow Laser has only 30L tank and somebody forgot to check the fuel level in the last town with gas station. It was on this field (behind me) where we saw our first kangaroos while driving and decided to make a quick stop. I can’t be sure, but if I recall correctly (you may make a note here, Priit) then this is me on the picture after a 30 minute car-ride (me driving). I can’t really believe that I was such a mess. I mean, why was I driving?? I’m almost still sleeping on that picture??

This is a big tree. And me inside of it. The zen thing is just a showoff.

And here’s the crew. All inside the tree.

And big stones called ‘elephant rocks’. They were quite big indeed.

Okay. And on the day before our last day. We hook up with Priit’s mates in Albany and heading to the mountains. I’m sorry for my ignorance, but till that day I didn’t think any mountains existed in western Australia. Man, was I wrong (wait till stories of my last road-trip).

Too bad you can’t see the movement of the clouds. They were really like boiling there. Truly awesome spot that was.

Towards our last night. A lot happened on that night as it was still our last night on the road and the situation didn’t uncomplicate itself by having some irish and wales guys in the hood. From most of it you will find no written stories or pictures on facebook.

Oh yes, and somewhere on the way we dropped by from some wineries (I didn’t find any pictures from my own collection and therefore had almost forgotten it). Had some good wine that we didn’t pay for of course and managed to get away with heaps of chardonnay and pino grapes, which were actually as good for eating as they were for wines over there.

There it is. Hoping to get the second part of OZ written down while I crash somewhere in Sihanoukville’s (south Cambodia) beach-hammocks.

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