Day 4 - 6 in Perth: Last few days stay with Sylvia (8-10th July 2007)

Sunday, 8th July: Check out this rainbow over Sylvia's house this morning:

We followed Sylvia to her Sunday church service at Faith Community Centre today around 8.30am. Cynthia came along with us too - she stayed the night at Sylvia's but the poor woman didn't get much sleep due to the snore symphony by Jan and Sandra (mum got away with it as she was sleeping in my room but I couldn't sleep much from mum's snoring!). FCC is a charismatic church - a band on stage, lots of singing. We listened to an interesting sermon given by Senior Pastor Benny. Almost everyone there was Asian, mainly from Singapore – first time I’ve ever been in a church community with almost all Asians in a foreign country AND the service conducted in English.

After the service, we went for yum cha at Emma's in Victoria Park. Ooo, they serve really nice dim sum in lots of variety. Very authentic – they even serve stir fry clam, 3-layered roast pork and of course, who can forget the egg tarts to conclude the yum cha session! Photo of us at Emma's:

We said our goodbyes to Cynthia after brunch (Jan and Jenny leaving tomorrow, Sandra the day after) and the rest of us went to Harbour Town for some bargain shopping. Mum and I couldn't shop since our luggages were already overweight :( Half of us went back to Sylvia's place first - I tagged along to get a short nap to catch up with last night's sleep.

Dinner was at Terrazzo in Applecross – a lovely Italian restaurant where we got to try a bit of everything. An old schoolmate of the girls, Patti Chong, joined us for dinner. She's currently one of Perth's most prominent prosecutor, well-known for her spectacular hairdo. Here's the group at dinner:

No dessert, you ask? Oh no, we will NEVER have no dessert at Sylvia's place! Came home for more chit-chat, coffee and Sylvia's kuih lapis (layer cake) and tau fu fa (bean curd jelly in clear syrup). Sylvia, is there anything you can't make? You seem to know them all! :)

Monday, 9th July: Jan left for Melbourne today but ended up missing her flight! She had the wrong check-in time in mind and by the time she got to the airport, it was too late. Oh no! Not to worry, she did arrive in Melbourne safely – she just had to take a later flight.

I got up around 8am, had breakfast and went back to my room to update my blog while waiting for Angie to come pick us up. Kitty, Sylvia’s dog (and 3rd daughter), came in to get a morning pat and sat next to me for awhile. The cute little thing got its name because it looked much like a kitten when younger. Here’s a photo of her wearing a dog sweater and another with me:

Mum, Jenny, Sandra and I went to Angie’s house and dropped Jenny off at the airport after lunch – she had flown back home to Singapore. The rest of us headed to Kings Park for a short walk. It was a nice, sunny day and the park reminds me somewhat of the Wellington Botanical Gardens, just flatter and has more bushland. From here, you could see a panoramic view of Perth city. As you drive into the park, there are huge eucalypt trees at both sides of the driveway, each holding a plaque honouring those service men who perished during action or from wounds received during war times. The trees are so smooth to the touch. I tried hugging the tree but the trunk is too big for my size...

Lily took over Angie’s tour guide shift from Kings Park and took us on a drive to see some million-dollar houses in some of the richest suburbs in Perth, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park. Some houses are valued up to 15 million! Wow…Apparently Perth has quite a number of wealthy people living there. The most expensive mansion once there was the Prix d'Amour, formerly owned by one of the richest man in Australia, Lang Hancock (deceased) and his ex-wife Rose Porteous (re-married). Today, the mansion has been demolished and the land divided into 10 blocks, each selling at the market for 4.1 million. And there used to be tours to this area just to see the house from the road!

After ogling at so many houses, Lily took us back to Fremantle for coffee. We briefly stopped by at Cicerello’s by the harbour to see an old high school friend of the girls who works there but he was on leave. We had coffee at another shop in Fremantle and mum had her ice-cream (again!). Lily has been a fantastic guide – she knows all the nooks and places to find little treasures! Photos of our day out:

Jan and Jenny, you girls missed out on a very yummy bak kut teh (dark mixed spice with tea soup cooked with pork ribs) that Sylvia made for dinner and the apple strudel Lily bought!

Tuesday, 10th July: We stayed in today and just chatted with the remaining girls over our Teochew lunch (porridge i.e. watery rice with salted chicken egg made by Jenny and a few supposedly simple dishes turned extravagant lunch – even had pizza and salad thrown in!). See what I mean:

After almost a week here, I think Perth is beautiful but one needs a car to get around. It’s like a bigger version of Christchurch, so vast that it takes time to go from one place to another. I’m not sure if it’s the weather or just being in holiday mode - Mum nods off all the time when she gets into the car. The weather forecast has been very accurate and predictable. I’ve experienced so far temperatures sunny up to 20 degrees, lowest 4 degrees at night and some scattered showers. Missing Wellington a lot though especially friends and salsa dancing...

Ah Mike (this is what I address my aunt – she is dad’s sis) came to pick us up at 3pm from Sylvia’s place. I probably haven’t seen her and her family for over 4 years and boy has Ivan (her son) changed so much! My memory of him was still of a chubby kid – oh, he’s nothing like that now :) They live on the south side of the Swan River, which is about 25 minutes drive to the city.

Thanks to the Perth girls for everything! You ladies have made this trip for us visitors feel very much welcomed and at home. Rest assured we’ll all be back again soon for more good laughs and food :)


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