Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ten Months

 
Khalish has now been in the second week of the eleventh month. Development galore. Nonetheless, this post is about Khalish at ten months old: 
+
Although he loved to stand up while holding to an object or a person, he had always been comfortable maneuvering from one end to another in combat crawl. Not until he turned ten months old on May 12 did he explore the ground on all fours. 
+
A master of peekaboo game by then, he has also mastered the peekaboo book that I got for him months earlier. Whenever anybody read the story to him, he would wait until the reader asked him the question at the end of each page, "could you find the baby?", before flipping open the fabric that hid his infant friend. 
+
He understood what "peekaboo" was, but he would say a spirited "cak" if he played that game. Perhaps, the word preference was rooted from our Kelantanese version of the game, cikucak.
+
If Kamal and I needed to be out of Klang Valley for less than two weeks, we would book Rembau Inn for Khalish. He loved it there, surrounded by his maternal grandparents, the three bachelor uncles, and the maid. Nevertheless, according to his number one guardian after the parents, my mother, he was his most active self around the two of us. For example, upon seeing us in Rembau after our return from Perth, Khalish flaunted all his latest skills simultaneously, refusing to stop until he was extremely exhausted.
+
The stairs were his gymnasium. He could ascend the stairs up until the final case if we let him. His fitness trainers, namely the ones who would closely follow his every step, were the grandfather, the parents, the bachelor uncles, and the maid. 
+
This guy was always on the move that we did not know whether or not he could sit on his own. Therefore, it surprised us when he finally sat, on his own, for more than two minutes. Yay.

+
He loved apple, banana, yogurt, or biscuit, or any two, combined, in between the main meals. He loved Yoplait yogurt for baby. I have yet tried Calci-yum.

+
He might choose to flaunt the physical skills later than other infants his age, but he surely speaks like a toddler, albeit in Khalishese dialect. Humour him with a conversation on the latest political hu-ha, and he could yak a response as though he was a guest on Suhaimi Sulaiman's show. That vocal.
+
According to his maternal grandmother, a speech trainer once cured a child's speech problem with tongue exercises, which were similar to Khalish's moves. For the record, neither Kamal nor I, nor our family members, could roll our tongues like Khalish did. No wonder he has developed a complex dialect by then. Heh.
+
His tongue exercises might have frightened the tooth fairy. At ten months old, he only had one lower central incisor. A funny image, if you ask me. But then again, Khalish is a funny boy. A happy-go-lucky one, too.

 

Around Western Australia: The Finale

 

 

 

 

Sir James Mitchell Park, South Perth.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Around Western Australia: Day Seven

 
A farewell to Perth Ambassador Hotel.
Our final day in Western Australia. No, check-in at 4:00 a.m. at the airport the next day does not count as a day. To maximise our time in Perth, we checked out of Perth Ambassador Hotel right after breakfast. Everybody was very punctual that all of us were ready at the lobby by 8:30 a.m., early by half an hour. Enough time for a photo session. 
 
Amusements during the Farm Show, at Caversham Wildlife Park.
Our tour guide drove one of the Taragos, leading the other two to Caversham Wildlife Park. We managed to secure seats for the 10:00 a.m. Farm Show. Entertaining. Mainly because the little adorable lambs reminded Kamal and I of Khalish. Particularly, while they were being fed with milk. When the show ended, we explored the rest of the park.

 
The animals around the wildlife park.
Animals were aplenty, but our time was not. Therefore, we chose to see only the animals that were unique to Australia, with goats and ducks being in the way. The favourites among us were koala and kangaroo. However, my father had a vengeance against the latter for troubling him during the road trip. Funny. As cute were wombat and tasmanian devil. About tasmanian devil, the creator of the popular Looney Tunes version deserved a pat on the shoulder for transforming a common rat-like animal into a likable monster. 

Fascinated with the kangaroos, still at the wildlife park.
Of course, the kangaroos were the stars of the wildlife park. My father, whose initial reason of entering the park was to tell the kangaroos that he detested them, eventually melted. He fed them. His daughter kissed one in white. Everybody was eager to see a joey, but what we saw was merely its foot sticking out of the mother's pouch. We doubted it could still be called joey. I later read that there are more animals at the park. Next time, with Khalish, Insya-Allah.

Chocolat. Margaret River Chocolate Company.
Being tourists, we visited another attraction. A compulsory visit: Margaret River Chocolate Company. Ja received a package here from Azley, for her birthday. Aah. I would love a serving of fruit fondue or hot chocolate, but we were pressed for time. Yes, perhaps, next time, and, yes, with Khalish around. So, I kept myself contented with the free samples of white chocolate, milk chocolate, and my favourite, dark chocolate. So did everybody else. Now, we know why it remains a compulsory visit. After the chocolate company, we were supposed to proceed to Kings Park. Nonetheless, the golden hue from a grape plantation across the aforementioned compulsory visit tempted us for a quick stop. Next stop, but a long one: Kings Park!

Panoramic view at Kings Park.
The breathtaking and historical Kings Park. Wikipedia would tell you what the park is comprised of, so I will rave about what my friends and I did there instead. We went wild with our cameras, first and foremost. Who could resist romantic poses with those 100-year old trees and the endless greenery? We walked and talked, which, by that time, were what we did best. More importantly, we connected to each other.  

Appreciating the park.
In the case of a fellow traveller, Jack, a little boy approached him, and would not go until the latter peeled a banana in the former's hand. Photos of them at the photo collage below. It was amazing how the child reminded us that life is simple. Smile, and others smile back at you. Be nice, and others would be the same. The only thing is, life is simple only if everybody's mantra is in sync.

Appreciating the people, at the park.
At the court of contemplation, we tested whether or not a whisper at one end could be heard at another far end. We decided to share our life mantra. In the hope that it would reach those who were listening. 

Portraiture session in the greenery.
Towards the end of the Kings Park visit, Kamal and I suggested a portraiture session for each couple, each individual. It was surely nice seeing the more reserved couples sportively pose for the cameras, for the sake of documentation. Their merry laughter echoed throughout the park. The mantra was actually heard. It sounded like this, "appreciate life." A form of life appreciation: more sightseeings. At Harbour Town, we had lunch at its food court, and later, explored the complex and the surrounding area. The items were economically priced, but they were aimed at the locals. Converted into RM, the Nike clothings that I was eyeing fared similarly with the ones in Malaysia. I only bought a wool hat because it warmed my face in the chilly winter weather. It might also be useful for other overseas trips one fine day. 

(S)hopping at Harbour Town.
The evening was spent at Sir James Mitchell Park, but the photos there will be featured later. To conclude Around Western Australia series. For now, here are the photos as well as the summary of our last activities before going to the airport: 

 
Automatic car wash and little trees.
As we were going to return the vehicles that evening itself, they were thoroughly washed and vacuumed. Just like their condition when they were handed to us. One of them suffered from a minor accident during the 3500km road trip though. From my father's vast road trip experience, such accident would be covered by the car rental company's insurance. Nevertheless, two weeks after coming back to Malaysia, our tour guide informed us of her credit card reduction, done by Avis for the damages. A lesson: do read every word in the rental Terms and Conditions as each continent may carry different details.
 
Makan-makan at Makan2.
Dinner was at Makan2, a Malay restaurant that was also preferred by the locals for its good food and beverages. They might not be as delicious as the cuisines in Malaysia, but considering the difficulty to get certain ingredients in Perth and the cosy ambience, Kamal and I gave them a thumb up each, which made two thumbs up. We loved its Roti Telur, whose recipe was our tour guide's husband's legacy, and the Mi Sedap goreng. The Nasi Bariani that both of us tried was almost as good as the ones served at JM Bariani. Three of our friends were not as satisfied though for their rice was not properly cooked. Better service in the future, we hope.
By 10:00 p.m., we reached the airport. Our tour guide and her husband waited until everybody and everything were nicely settled. A number of us chose to sleep right away, while a larger number of us sat over black coffee or hot chocolate to share our respective views on the trip and the important matters back at home. Kamal and I slept at 1:00 a.m., three hours before check-in time. Sleeping on a stretch of hard seats was not a problem for me, but the chilly wind that seeped into the hall every time the doors opened was challenging my physical, and at a point, my mind. A sleepless night in Perth, with a deep-in-sleep beau. 
To compensate for his lack of accompaniment through the ordeal, Kamal bought me a plain Moleskin at the departure hall. I suspected that he would like to finish the AUD coins in his pocket. All in all, I loved every single thing about the Around Western Australia trip.
(A tip: if you are flying on Air Asia with booked meal, choose a menu familiar to the country you are departing from. For example, if you are flying from Perth, do order Western food instead of Asian dish.)  

Around Western Australia: Day Six

 
Mandurah, Mandurah. I love the name, I love the place. So do the others in the group, that we are thinking of buying a property there once we become billionaires. Heh. 
We spent the morning walking around while waiting for our respective turns to use the bathrooms. Those who were done packing prepared breakfast. Again, we had fish, freshly caught by the so-called enthusiasts the previous evening. Other items in the menu were bread, grilled chicken, and my favourite, skim milk. Always a hearty breakfast for us as we knew what was waiting ahead.

 
So, what was ahead? Lots of walking, and, to some, shopping. Kamal and I skipped the latter, as usual. Instead, we hunted for photo opportunities. From E Shed Markets to Fremantle Markets, we walked and walked, and met interesting subjects. They included people. One of them was an independent photographer, Michael, whose passion for Rottnest Island led to an opening of a gallery at E Shed Markets. The gallery featured works by him and his wife on Rottnest Island, ranging from books and photographs to paintings. 
Inspiring. Aside from being a port city, Fremantle, or Freo to the locals, is a pot for arts. A very, very eccentric city. Too bad we only had three hours to roam around. 

 

 
My personal favourite place in Fremantle was the Fremantle Markets. I remember buying an antic hairbrush for my mother during my first visit here. I would love to try the local fruits, but my hands and Kamal's were already full with our photography kits. 
Quaintness aside, the markets were full of talented buskers. The one with the most audiences was a man who ate fire for a living. Perched high on a pole, with historical buildings in the background, he surely appeared dramatic. 


Out of the markets, Kamal and I traipsed through aisles after aisles of buzzing activities. Fairy-themed party, more buskers, family picnics, church wedding, and a lot of fathers tending to their respective children while waiting for their respective spouses to complete shopping. Lovely, aren't they?
We had tremendous fun photographing the nitty gritty of the city that we hardly realised how time flew by. Too fast. Therefore, we rushed to the designated meeting point, the railway station, only to find three persons there. The rest must have enjoyed the city as much as we did. 

At 3:30 p.m., one by one appeared at the waiting area, bearing with them loads of souvenirs for those at home. They asked Kamal and I the whereabout of our shopping bags, if there were any. We said, "the photos are our souvenirs".

I actually took a long time to update my blog with these travel stories because of the time spent to complete a 78-page photobook, with write-ups. Of course, there were fitness training, editing work, Khalish, and more travellings in between. Back to Fremantle, we were thankful that the souvenirs could fit into the limited luggage space of the Taragos. Heh.

At Perth, we stayed at Perth Ambassador Hotel. A twin room for the eldest couple, and quad rooms for the rest. The four single men exchanged their room with Zam & Ita and Kamal & I because it was divided to two sub-rooms, with a queen bed in one sub-room and two single beds in another. Truly thoughtful of them. 

For dinner, each of us was given AUD15 from the group's overall fund. Kamal's friends from Malay College Old Boys Association, Redza and Farhan, came to the hotel to accompany us to dinner at Old Shanghai Food Court. An interesting fact: Kamal only knew Redza and Farhan through Facebook prior to the meeting that evening. They turned out to be friends of our tour guide and her husband, Ammar and Nurul, too. Thank you, guys, for the hospitality. Not to forget, the scrumptious kebab. The evening would have a great ending if Ita and I did not sleep too early that we missed the trip to Burswood. Kamal bought me a bar of our favourite dark chocolate to compensate for the missed outing. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Around Western Australia: Day Five

Amusements at the last pit-stop along the North West Coastal Highway.
Another stop at another roadhouse marked another Subuh in Western Australia (and the end of stray animals). Our initial plan to spend a night either in Coral Bay or Shark Bay was cancelled as Mandurah seemed to be a more ideal stop because of its proximity to Perth. 
  
Swaps. The countryside for the city, and one vehicle for another vehicle.
As soon as there were more patches of greenery, we knew we were nearing Perth. We first stopped at Fremantle though. Not to tour the city, but to fuel up. There, the main drivers for 1CQF 133 reported a malfunction. An hour later, a representative from the car rental company arrived at the petrol station with a replacement vehicle. While waiting, we shopped for f&b.

 
The launderettes. Yes, including the lady.
Reaching Mandurah, we settled down at Dawesville Caravan Park and Holiday Village. Three motels for all of us, with each motel accommodating up to seven guests. I volunteered to sleep at the open attic. It would have been a great value for money if the heaters functioned well. Nonetheless, we slept like logs despite the chill. Must be from all the activities that evening. Kamal and I volunteered to launder the group's dirty clothes, with my father tagging along just to see the town center. There were a number of us who chose to relax at the motels, but most went fishing. 
In the last photo collage are photos of a camerawoman who was happy that someone offered to photograph her. Mainly to kill the waiting time at the launderette. Thanks, Kamal. My father bought us fish and chips dinner at one of the joints which only catered for take-away orders. 

Around Western Australia: Day Four

A farewell.
The morning that we were to leave the town, the locals dropped by Mr. Kamal's place to bid farewell. The ladies brought with them ingredients for Nasi Lemak that we planned to cook for the upcoming journey. Among the lauk-pauk prepared was Ikan Berlada, courtesy of the fishing enthusiasts' catches the previous day.
Final words by both parties were followed by handshakes and hugs. Three days of new camaraderie in Port Hedland were to flourish with each other's promise to meet again. Insya-Allah.

New definitions of beauty.
For the journey back to Perth, we decided to use the North West Coastal Highway for its postcard view. Oases in the form of creeks running through the savannah. Flocks of exotic birds dancing in the sky. Full moon in broad daylight. And more. Even the electric towers were unique, resembling kangaroos. 
Roebourne was one of the pit stops that all of us will remember for its lack of people despite the complete facilities. Such towns were built with travellers in mind, we summarised. The only local we met was a drunk Aborigine. 
Roebourne.
North West Coastal Highway was 300km longer than the Great Northern Highway. Nonetheless, the journey seemed to be shorter because of less anticipation. To maximise our time on the road, the drivers only stopped by the passengers' requests. Hence a snacking session at 3:00 p.m. 
Our friends in Port Hedland were very generous to pack various types of biscuits and chocolates for us. Nenek Maznah fried her famous curry puffs. Sodap. Oh, she hails from Rembau. She also packed along persimmons. We decided to save her chicken wings for lunch. 
Fortescue Roadhouse.
The so-called tea time took place at Fortescue Roadhouse. There, we met fellow travellers, like the husband-and-wife bikers in the photo collage above. They shared road trip tips with us. One of them being "enjoy the scenery." Ayah Soh once advised us to minimise sleeping while travelling on the road, particularly at new places, as one would benefit more from the journey by appreciating the surrounding. Yes, we did heed the advices.
For our lunch, we decided to stop at one of the most scenic spots along the highway. Nanutarra. Here, we had the opportunity to meet the roadhouse's owner, Mr. Allen. Malay faces reminded him of his two-year national service stint in Penang. 

Nanutarra.
We stayed there for the sunset. Magical. Kamal and I had a misunderstanding earlier on that we decided to minimise any contacts between us. The aforementioned magical sunset broke the spell. Kamal mellowed down and sat beside me for lunch. I was so relieved for the broken spell that I asked him to pass me a chicken wing just for the communication. I dislike chicken wing.  
We continued the journey throughout the evening, and the night. Those behind the steering wheels must have been kept awake by the kangaroos that would leap onto the road once they sensed a flicker of vehicle light. For once, the signs 'Stray Animals: 200km' came to live. Fortunate us, the floodway signs remained as they were, signs. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Around Western Australia: Day Three

 
Lunch like a king. Have I told you how we loved the backyard concept?
More stories were shared between the host and the guests the next day. Hearty lunch for such heartfelt accounts. What else than everybody's favourites, lamb chops, bought by the group's chefs at a nearby market, and fish, caught by Mr. Kamal. Now, the question was "where did he catch the big fish?". Once that was answered, the next question was "shall we?", coming from the host, and followed by vigorous nods from the enthusiasts among us.
Fishing time!

A secluded beach, which was one of Mr. Kamal's preferred fishing points.
 
I shall say that it was one of the best activities for a vacation. Surprise, surprise. Perhaps, the statement came from my photographer persona who was charmed by others' passions. At the beach, those who did not fish, watched. Not for long though. 15 minutes afterwards, everybody was up on their feet, cheering for the first catch. Some chose to celebrate by jumping into the cold water. To make them warmer for more celebrations, they said.

 
There, we bonded with the nature, as well as with the people.
Yes, more celebrations ensued as one after another fish was brought out of the water. We had Mr. Kamal to thank for the big catch. He lent the enthusiasts his collection of fishing rods, taught them the tips to fish at one of his favourite spots, and even shared the baits.

This particular outing inspired the ladies to hold a picnic for our next gathering, where the enthusiasts fish and the others do what they love best - catch up with each other, swim, cook, or play games. All of us headed for South Hedland again after Asar.

South Hedland Mosque.
For Maghrib, a congregational prayer was performed at South Hedland Mosque, which was built solely with the Muslim community's fund. Following the prayer was a majlis ilmu. Too bad most of my lady friends and I had to stay at home because of menstrual cycle and the need to prepare a number of dishes as a courtesy for our dinner co-hosts.

A farewell dinner that introduced us to wonderful people.
There were more locals at Mr. Joe's for dinner this time: Mr. Rizal, his wife, Mrs. Norfadilah, and their two sons; Mrs. Rose's daughter and her baby; and Nenek Maznah and her close friend. Mr. Joe and Mrs. Sarina's sons helped Mr. Rizal at the barbecue pit. Sate Kambing was the special menu for the evening. Other special mentions: trifle as well as yogurt and ice cream with fruits as desserts. To perfectly conclude our last dinner there was the warmth of Port Hedland malay populace.

Around Western Australia: Day Two

 
Sunrise, Auski.
Partly because of fatigue, and partly because of the so-called miscalculation mentioned in the previous post, the drivers agreed to rest at Auski Village. It was 2:30 a.m. when we reached the place, only three hours away from Subuh. Too short a time to spend precious AUD on a proper motel. Hence an overnight in the vehicles. 
Subuh was welcomed with various activities. The ladies were first to be at the restrooms. The men checked the vehicles. Those with video cameras interviewed the refreshed fellow travellers. Those with still cameras documented the surrounding. We proceeded for Port Hedland as soon as everybody had stretched themselves ready for the finale of National Highway 95 route to Port Hedland.

 
Port Hedland, eventually.
At 11:00 a.m., Port Hedland greeted us with a stunning view of the longest train we have ever lay our eyes on. Soon after, we oohed and aahed at yet another of the town's icon: salt mountain. We later learned that the train transported iron ore, and the salt was produced for industrial consumption. We digested more information on the town, gathered from the information center, over fish and chips brunch. All the while, everybody thought, "finally" for eventually seeing Port Hedland, and for having a proper meal after a long journey.
Our contact person in Port Hedland was Mr. Kamarudin, also known as Mr. Kamal. He welcomed us at the eatery outlet and from there, led us to his place in South Hedland. Din's story was very accurate. Our host was beyond amiable, treating strangers like old chums from the first second we met. The most cordial welcome, that was. 

At Mr. Kamal's place.
As Mr. Kamal insisted, we made ourselves at home in his place. His brothers were travelling for the week, so he also insisted we slept there. Settling down, the food enthusiasts among us shopped for meal items, while the rest stayed at Mr. Kamal's place for shower, which was another 'finally' moment, and a dose of satellite television, which was airing endless Manohara. 
Then, there was a cosy backyard to enjoy. The guests and the host exchanged stories. We shared with him our objectives of the journey. Mr. Kamal enlightened us about the Malays' hard work to establish themselves on a foreign land. He himself has been there for almost 30 years, after his family migrated to Western Australia from Christmas Island. 

 
Home is where the hospitality is.
The Imam of South Hedland, Tuan Haji Dhat Kalzee, whose house was next door to Mr. Kamal's, dropped by our host's backyard after being told about the visitors from Malaysia. We were indeed living Din's story, the one that inspired us to commence this visit, when Mr. Kamal extended a dear friend's invitation to his place. 
That evening, after Maghrib, Mr. Kamal's dear friend himself came to the former's house for a more formal invitation. My, he was handsomely attired in batik shirt and songkok, which reminded all of us to bring along our respective traditional attires when we travel in a group to other places next time. Just in case any occasion requires us to don them. 

At Mr. Joe & Mrs. Sarina's place.
At Mr. Joe's place, his wife, sister-in-law, and good friend, namely Mrs. Sarina, Mrs. Lina, and Mrs. Rose, had cooked up a feast. My favourite was the Asam Pedas and the mini chocolate bars served for dessert. Perfect for the chilly evening. 
Again, we immediately felt at ease with our new friends. Mrs. Sarina, on behalf of the others, recounted to Aiza, Din's elder sister, how they first met her brother and his friends at the hypermarket they were working at, invited them for a dinner to introduce them to the rest of their respective family members, and became close friends since then. Mrs. Sarina even helped them to launder their clothes. That, aside from almost daily home-cooked meals. Aiza then told us that she was going to migrate there. What a merry dinner.

Us.
Thank you to our dinner co-hosts, Mr. Joe & Mrs. Sarina, Mr. Omar & Mrs. Lina, and Mr. Suhaimi & Mrs. Rose for the lovely evening. Our appreciation for Mr. Kamal, too, for introducing us to his amazing friends. We had a little something for their keepsakes, but, the friendship they offered us was more precious, more memorable. 
We went back to Mr. Kamal's house at midnight with the next day's breakfast, thanks yet again to our dinner co-hosts. No, we can't thank them enough.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Around Western Australia: Day One

A journey commenced.
The journey around Western Australia commenced with a friend's story on how amiable the Malay populace in Port Hedland was towards him and his colleagues when they were stationed there for work. Thank you, Din. Fascinated, a father figure within a community that Kamal and I are part of, suggested a visit to Port Hedland.
So began the adventure for 18 travellers. We boarded Air Asia X to Perth on June 1, 2009, at midnight. Five hours later, we found ourselves being welcomed with curiousity by the Australian immigration, who, we concluded, was paid to be curious, by the way. Tourists, according to them, rarely chose Port Hedland as a destination. The officer who ransacked my bags and Kamal's only softened her voice after seeing our gadgets, and failing to find any suspicious items in our laptop and the inside of our cameras. My father, whose bag was filled with Bali materials from our travel agent in Malaysia, to be passed to her daughter in Perth, was heard regaling about the Indonesian state as though he was promoting it. The group was let go only after they had sniffed my father's shoes. That lifted their mood as they cheerily wished us later, albeit under their breath, "enjoy working in Port Hedland". Ah, so, that was the base of their suspicion. Lessons learned: honesty is not the best policy.

Elaborations, and please, take them with a pinch of salt:
1. It is best not to declare yourself as part of a big group, particularly if the destination is not a popular tourist spot. An individual is seen as less of a trouble, compared to a group.
2. If possible, state a familiar hotel address in a popular tourist spot. You do not want to end up being a historian, explaining to an immigration officer how the person in the unfamiliar address is related to you, particularly if he is not closely related.
3. It is also best not to give any hint of your proficiency in the native language. "How is he related to you?". You say, "uncle". "Paternal or maternal?". You say, "uncle". "Is he your father's sibling, or your mother's?". You stick to, "uncle". Do remember to put a confused expression. It would be fun for you to watch the immigration officers struggle to achieve their mission.
4. If there was an officer who could converse in your native language, change your strategy: speak in a dialect. Thick Kelantanese dialect, as an instance.
5. Do as the Romans do. In our case, a number of us were uniquely garbed upon arrival. Long coats and gloves, for Australian winter could be rather cold for some, particularly, for the older generation. I also believed that packing them required too much space. So, just put them on, they thought. Such eccentricity aroused the immigration officers' suspicion at each level of entrances. They were even held longer for questioning.
The incident was also a test of our emotional intelligence, which we passed with flying colours. Exiting hell, we entered heaven. Cooling breeze, and a pair of cool travel agents, Ammar and Nurul. In the three Taragos that we rented were a pack of fried rice for each of us, two long loaves of bread, a container of cooked sardine, a container of cut cucumbers, and four jars of jam. Thanks to the aforementioned travel agents. We had those for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a number of roadhouses along the Great Northern Highway. One of the roadhouses were Paynes Tavern:
Paynes Find, the first coffee, milk, chocolate,  cigarette, or to Kamal and I, photography, break.
There were at least three capable drivers in each vehicle and they took turns to be behind the wheels throughout the 1600km road trip. The rest of us enjoyed the beauty of a foreign land from the windows. We shared our findings at various pit stops over coffee, milk, or chocolate. Or even cigarette.
Once, after only half an hour of rest at a roadhouse, the vehicle in the middle of the pact signalled for a stop and quickly swerved to the right. The drivers in the vehicles in front and at the back followed rather hesitantly. It was too soon to rest again. It turned out to be an emergency case and a blessing. Hidden behind the bush where we parked was an untouched oasis, appearing ethereal despite its simplicity. Maybe because we found it by accident, although according to Oogway in Kung Fu Panda, "there is no accident." We ended up lingering around for the sunset.
The Accidental Lake.
Aside from coffee, milk, chocolate, cigarette, or camera breaks, pit stops also allowed us to discuss about the unanticipated. An initial plan to rest and fuel the vehicles at certain all-facility roadhouses had to be scrapped as we might have to do so earlier, at different places, to accommodate to certain people's immediate needs.
Then, miscalculations did happen along the planning. At Kumarina Tavern, we arrived an hour after its closing time. However, the owner was around. My father, as the tour leader, negotiated with Jill, as she introduced herself, for fuel and coffee. God bless her, she ended up opening her shop again as well. We grabbed the opportunity to stock up on food and beverage. We would have shopped for those before starting the road trip if the supermarkets in Perth were open by the time we arrived. To bring them from Malaysia for 18 travellers was too much a hassle, we concluded. Moreover, we have agreed to travel light. Moreover, none of us was fussy about the menu.
About miscalculation, it was also the reason the whole group could enjoy the starry night and the dawn in Auski. The travelogue will continue from there. Until the next post, Around Western Australia: Day Two.
Kumarina Tavern, which the group much associated with Pak Kassim for a certain reason that cannot be disclosed here.

Star-lit Auski.

The map from Perth to Port Hedland. 
Credit: http://rac.com.au/