At home with the Junior Anchors!
Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
99Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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Take yourself back to March 31st 2011 and I was in Panama with Ed and Solange Anchor. Roll forward almost 8 months, and I'm at Perth airport being picked up by their son Alex Anchor, his wife Laura and their beautiful, very cute and happy 4 month old Emma Louise.
I first met Laura in 2005. Back then, corporate Tony took a while to come out of his shell at the flagship branch in the North East. But, a certain 'sparkle' week (while the branch is being refurbished you spend a week training and team bonding) let the entertaining and less serious gingerman show himself.
I remember Laura's leaving do in Newcastle in 2007. We hit a Tapas place on the quayside, over 40 people attended! I put the bill on my credit card for the airmiles and walked around Newcastle with a couple of grand in my pocket! The coins never made it home!
I was very fortunate to be invited to their stylish, intimate and stunning wedding in 2009. A wonderful day, this is where I met the families of both Alex and Laura. While wearing my fancy suit from NYC, I neglected to apply sun tan lotion to my face. So, the limo ride to Brisbane city center and the four hour booze cruise on the Brisbane river, involved a very red faced and burned gingerman! It was a wonderful occasion!
It has been almost three years since then and I am happy to say the couple have had their first child, Emma Louise Anchor. Laura and Alex are always so kind and welcoming in saying I can go visit, so, I was very happy to take them up on the offer.......apparently there was a washing machine in it for me!!
As three planes landed at the same time in Perth airport, Alex and Laura had to wait a while, constantly on the look out for something ginger appearing from arrivals. I like being met at airports. No, I love it! So often I arrive at an airport and look around at arrivals, just in case someone did fly to Seoul to meet me!! It's mentioned in the film Love Actually, but there is no better feeling than seeing someone you love and care about and getting a big hug!! So, thanks to Alex, Laura and Emma for coming to pick me up!! Dave boy, I'll be giving you a big hug in Bangkok very soon, well, before the ladyboys do!!
Alex and Laura have been living in a new build for a year now, in Beeliar and it's recently been completed. The only things left over were garden and a post box, sorry, a post pillar! A single storey house, with double garage, 4 bedrooms, open space dining room, lounge, kitchen, study, 2nd TV room and an outside patio and BBQ next to a pool. I had my own room with a Queen size bed, comfy sheets, en suite bathroom with a hot shower. Even though it averages over 30 degrees C in Perth, there's nothing better than getting clean after a hot shower!
The first night, I enjoyed the company of a young couple who also have a young son, he's a few weeks younger than Emma. We sat outside, drank beers and enjoyed a delicious BBQ! Perfect!!
I slept like a baby the first night and each and every night! In the mornings, little Emma likes to have a chat. Whether she is talking to the bunny in her crib or just chatting to herself, it's so angelic to hear! Reminds me of a little monkey I shared a room with in Canada! We chilled for a while on the Sunday morning then headed into friendly and cosmopolitan Fremantle. It's Western Australia's chief port and is situated at the mouth of the Swan river, just 19 kilometers from Perth. Fremantle is like an architectural time capsule. You can walk down streets that have virtually been untouched since the 19th century. We grabbed some lunch (under the shade!) and I thoroughly enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and positive vibe that the town holds. After lunch, we visited the Little Creatures Brewery and enjoyed a 'cold one'!
Later that night, we joined a host of the couples friends at a Carol service in a park. It was a very sweet event, lots of kids and parents singing along to Christmas carols. It felt so unusual to be in 30 degrees heat and for it to be December 19th!! I would have to point out that there were few Xmas decorations in various towns and cities, but I think that is a good thing. Sometimes we go overboard in the colder climates. Maybe we need cheering up with the decorations, where I bet if the sun was out in the UK, we wouldn't need as many decorations. S.A.D.!
My third day came and went. I think I went for a swim, I held the fort for Laura, lol, did some planning, did some chilling, maybe some washing. It was perfect. I did tell Laura, I didm't need looking after, and after Boracay, I was certainly ready for a rest.
On my 4th day, I pulled my finger out and went on a little adventure. Alex and Laura were extremely generous and trusting to let me borrow a car for the day. Luckily, down under, they drive on the same side!! It had been about 6 months since my last drive from DC to Delaware and back, but it all came flooding back. Brake pedal......on the right....oh wait!! I also got in touch with a local couchsurfer. Well, local in proximity to Perth but actually from Germany. Her sister lives in Perth and she came over to see her birth of her first nephew and is soon to move to Sydney to study. Her name is Sarah. We met in Subiaco for breakfast. Located just 5 kilometers from Perth CBD, it's the premier hub for shopping, markets, restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs. We enjoyed a tasty and pricey breakfast at The Dome.
There was no real plan except to drive north up the West coast and find the Indian Ocean Drive and go see the Pinnacles. But the day was early and we drove off with little expectations. Sarah brought along a sat nav that died after 5 minutes, so I just followed roads north then west and found the coast road! The Indian Ocean Drive recently opened up between Lancelin and Cervantes in 2010. After a couple hours of driving we were in Lancelin. We wandered off to a small fishing pier, dipped out feet in the deep blue ocean and wandered along the soft sandy beach. We observed some kite boarders for a while before setting off back on the road.
We drove past the Pinnacles to go to Cervantes. Very similar to Lancelin. A small beach side town, very peaceful, tranquil and picturesque. We dipped our feet again and headed back over to the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles Desert Discovery is a unique and spectacular experience within Namburg National Park, roughly 250 kilometers north of Perth. Rising mysteriously from the dune sands are thousands of limestone pillars, a landscape in eerie contrast to the surrounding heath. We had fun walking around and driving around the pillars. Many, reminded Sarah of a phallic shaped object, she seemed very keen on picking out the ideal shaped one!!
The day was so hot, my feet were burning, but I remembered to put on sun block (thanks Laura) but Sarah did not. We headed back into Perth, we were going to stop for dinner somewhere along the coast but without sat nav in the dark, it didn't seem the best idea. We parked in Perth CBD and hit a Japanese restaurant for dinner, ahem, another curry!! What?!
We wandered around Perth shopping area a little bit and I dropped Sarah back home. We did plan to go the the Penguin park the next day but she got home and realised how burned she got! Oh dear!
My last day was perfect, Laura connected their hard drive of movies to a big screen and I watched a few movies. Oceans 13, The Hurt Locker and a film recommended to me while I was travelling, Into the Wild. A true story and a story I could very much relate to. A quote from Christopher McCandless 'The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences.'
A perfect lazy day for me. I got to spend more time with Emma as well and enjoyed Laura's home cooking! I'm totally getting spoiled!
My last day, before my flight, Laura and I met a friend of Laura's from Zimbabwe for coffee. She has a young son and a little dog. We managed to take a picture of the two little ones holding each others hand, so cute! I also finally told Laura my Boise story!!
Sadly, I had already said goodbye to Alex and later in the afternoon, Laura and Emma drove me to the airport and I said my goodbyes.
Thank you so much Laura, Alex and Emma for taking such good care of me. I had a wonderful time and can't wait to revisit when Emma is a little taller and maybe another little one has arrived? Laura also kindly let my family and friends send xmas cards to her place, already my mouth is salivating at the prospect of some Minstrels. So many thanks Laura. I'm so happy to see your life in Perth, meet some friends and enjoy your hospitality.
An AirAsia flight will take me back to KL where I will stay the night at the airport, again!!
Next stop, KL, Malaysia.