Roadtrips and a bit of luck

Our Mazda is now insured (full coverage), so the car has been used several times for the purpose of going surfing. Here’s an early morning shot before heading off to the beach, the boards are neatly fitting on top.

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So with pretty high expectations based on the forecast from pages like Magicseaweed we’ve set off to spots as far as an hour and a half north of Perth. We’ve been to Scarborough beach, Trigg point, Yanchep, Derrs, and Lancelin. With only one exception (Scarborough), the swell forecast has not been even close to right (unfortunately Scarborough was also completely blown out that day). The forecast sites keep telling us it’s like 3-6 foot swell, but when we get there it might be 2 feet, and the spot’s not working. So, a little bummed out about the surf here so far. We sometimes go in anyway though, just for the heck of it, and like here in Lancelin it was at least partly working.

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Looking at the bright side of things though, being sent on a wild goose chase by Magicseaweed and its likeminded, we get to see a bit of this huge country. And we get to test out our car a bit, like here on this backroad on the way to Derrs. Good thing we’ve got 4WD!

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We also made a stop at the Pinnacles situated in Nambung National Park. The Pinnacles are limestone formations scattered across a large area of desert, and make for quite a special sight.

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Going to the Pinnacles had a catch though, as there’s like a quadrillion flies out there! I’ve never encountered a more annoying type of fly than here in Western Australia. It’s like they’re always trying to get into your mouth or ears, quite distracting! And with so many of them, there was no wonder one sat on the camera lens when we were trying to get pictures!

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Going back from the Pinnacles towards the town of Lancelin, we had a bit of luck. We knew we were running low on fuel, and as the petrol-indicator went on about 30 km from town we realized it was going to be tight. About 4 km from town, the engine stopped. We were rolling down a hill as it happened, so we just kept on until the vehicle stopped. After a few attempts (and after turning off the air-condition, the radio etc), we were able to start it again. We drove on for a bit further, then the engine stopped again. By a strike of luck, we were able to restart once more, and drove another bit, before the engine died on us, this time for good most probably. We could actually see the petrol station coming up ahead, and luckily the road was going slightly downwards, so we literally rolled into the station with the engine off! Here’s a photo of a couple of happy campers in front of the Mazda, Eivind to the left and a German fellow named Franky on the right, who tagged along for the roadtrip. As a true German obsessed with quality control and routines, he was clearly shocked to find we didn’t bring a can of spare petrol! πŸ˜‰ So now we got a can containing 20-litres in the back πŸ™‚

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Got our hands on a set of wheels

Well, the journey continues and has now brought us to the land down under, more specifically to Perth.

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As part of the master plan we set out straight away looking for a car to buy. And after only a couple of days we now have our hands on a set of wheels! Despite our intention to look primarily for a stationwagon like a Holden Commodore or a Ford Falcon, we came across this Mazda Tribute that caught our eyes. It’s a 2002 model, and the mileage is close to 193.000 km, so should have plenty of laps in it still. The condition is supposedly good as it has been to numerous services initiated by its previous owner, a TV-producer from Finland. It has a 3 litre V6 petrol engine and 4WD, not to mention a rack on top of the roof which will be perfect for our surfboards. We were able to negotiate in a “new” set of tyres, but it turned out to be almost new tyres… The salesman called them 98 percenters, I’d say they’re more like 90 percent. Bridgestone though, so that counts for something, and they are a whole lot better than the old wheels. The pricetag for the car: $5.000 (Australian dollars). Then registration came in addition, that was $157, and we need to get insurance for it. Hopefully we didn’t get screwed over too bad… πŸ˜‰ At least the owner of the hostel we’re staying at said we made a pretty good deal.

Here’s the autoshop we bought it at, Central Motor Company:

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Here’s Eivind and the owner Allan getting at it with the paperwork:

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And here’s the beauty parked in the driveway next to the hostel πŸ™‚

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Lunch with my coach & Singapore Sling

By coincidence, my track&field coach (Arild Busterud) happened to be in Singapore with his wife (BjΓΈrg) while we’re here. So, we were able to coordinate lunch one day πŸ™‚ This took place on the 55th floor of the Orchard Tower, quite spectacular view and the food was nonetheless spectacular. Tea smoked quail as an appetizer and a large chunk of Aussie beef as a main course was on the menu. It said something about the cattle beeing grass-fed for 300 days… Not sure what else you would feed cattle, but it sure made a tasty result πŸ˜‰

I think Arild, as a thrower coach, was happy to see there was nothing wrong with my appetite, as I’ve actually lost six kilos since I left Norway in July (from 100 kg to 94 kg). I guess it’s a result of zero weight lifting (I’ve surely lost some musclemass), quite a bit of surfing (burned off some fat), and just in general having a higher level of activity than I do back in Norway, such as walking a lot more (burned off even more fat). Arild said he almost didn’t recognize me, but that could also be due to my new haircut πŸ˜‰

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Other activities in the past few days was a visit to Sentosa, an island right next to the island of Singapore packed with fun acivites and attractions such as Universal Studios and a zip-line park. We spent most of our time in the waterpark though, having a go at those waterslides! And we also spent some time on the beach, soaking up the sun.

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We also paid a visit to the classy Raffles Hotel, and found our way to the bar looking for the famous original Singapore Sling. As you may know, Singapore Sling is a drink that you can buy all over the world, but it originates from Raffles around 1915, and the one that can be purchased here has a secret ingredient that the others around the world lacks. So it’s the real deal. And with a pricetag of USD 29 (including tax and service fee), it felt even more real πŸ˜‰ A delicious drink & good atmosphere in the stylish bar.

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From Manila to Singapore

After having spent a few days in Manila, we’ve now arrived in Singapore. On top of our wish-list today was to ride the Battlestar Galactica, an infamous rollercoaster. Sadly, we found that it was closed due to repairs, so we had to replan. We decided to go for a more gentle kind of carousel, the Singapore Flyer, a giant Ferris wheel with a height of 165 meters. So we went over there, only to find it closed to due to a thunderstorm building up…

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It might have been a good idea to stop the ride, because the thunderstorm surely became a reality. We had the “pleasure” of experiencing it first-hand, and it left us soaking wet and did permanent damage to my umbrella.

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As we had to seek cover from the weather, we found ourselves in a very high-end mall down by the harbor. Having visited and seen the poverty in Manila as late as yesterday, the contrast to the luxury found in this place really struck me. Enjoying the comforts of the hightower of capitalism is surely a world apart from how many people live their lives. Quite thought-provoking. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

From Manila:

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To Singapore:

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So we got a little wet but soon enough we were dry again, and could continue our stroll through the metropolis.

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Surfing & chilling in San Juan

For the past nine days we’ve been up here in San Juan in the county of La Union. It’s been a chill and good time in a quite sleepy town. Our days have pretty much looked like this:

  • Get up for breakfast
  • Surf
  • Shower
  • Have lunch
  • Chill
  • Either go for a second surf, a run along the beach, or just chill some more
  • Possibly a second shower
  • Eat dinner
  • Chill, maybe even read a book (!) πŸ˜‰
  • Sleep

One of our favorite restaurants/ chill-out places has been the Flotsam & Jetsam, here with the chef (making fantastic pizza) posing for the camera.

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Our biggest field-trip this week was to the nearby town of San Fernando to get some small supplies and some cash from an ATM. We rode what is known as a jeepney there. The jeepneys are everywhere up here! They are rebuilt and extended army-jeeps left by the Americans after World War II, that now make themselves useful as public transportation. No jeepney look the same, each and everyone are painted, decorated, and named in the most creative and splashing way. The fare for about a ten minute ride is ten peso, and the money is simply passed forward from passenger to passenger until it reaches the driver. Gotta love the casual style here! Here are a few samples:

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The surf up here has been decent. A few days were too flat, one was too messy, but the rest have been all right. With water temperatures around 28 degrees centigrade, heaps of sunshine, not too big of a crowd (only a couple of days were crowded), and nice sandy beaches San Juan can surely be recommended. There are a few spots around here located close to each other, but we’ve been sticking to Sebay pretty much all the time. Even though the spot doesn’t offer very long rides as the waves break pretty close to the beach, and tend to close-out sometimes, they’re also not too powerful or fast, and make for good fun πŸ™‚ It has definitely been a good place to practice on our surfing.

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