Running in the Perth City to Surf 2013

After weeks of anticipation and (pathetically minimal) training, Perth City to Surf was finally here! There were options to participate in the 4 km walk, 4 km run, 12 km walk, 12 km run, half marathon, and full marathon, so everyone could definitely pick their fancy! Apparently 50,000 people registered!

with Puneeta at the start of the run

at the starting point

V and I met Puneeta and her husband Deepinder at the starting point. For all of us, this was our first running event! Deepinder, V, and I would attempt the 12 km run, while Puneeta chose to run the half marathon! The girl is very fit and runs 10-15 km on a daily basis, so 12 km would be such a yawn. The half marathon started about half an hour earlier than the 12 km run, so Deepinder, V, and I watched from the sideline while Puneeta joined the throng of people eager to take off. The countdown was called and off they went, 21 painful km ahead of them!

start of the half marathon

start of the half marathon

At about 9:30 am, it was our turn. 12 km runners filled the street, the countdown was called, and we took off! The energy in the air was incredible!

12 km runners ready to go

starting mark

sea of 12 km runners

I won’t lie, I found the 12 km course really hard. I’d only ever run 3 km at a time before, and my training plan didn’t really pan out due to circumstances and plain laziness. Mostly laziness. V could have gone ahead and completed the course in a better time, but he stayed beside me as I walked more than ran, and cheered me on. We didn’t have a shortage of support: people watched and clapped us on from the sides of the road, a group of policemen played the drum and bagpipes, a group of cheerleaders danced, people on the balcony yelled encouragement and waved posters! Not enough support that I didn’t feel the pain in my untrained legs though, damn it!

sprint to the finish line

It felt like the course went on forever, and there were hellish hills and grassy patches, but we finally saw the ocean ahead of us (the finish line was at City Beach) and pushed ourselves to run to it. We did it! If my legs weren’t screaming bloody murder and my stomach weren’t rumbling, I probably would have felt a strong sense of accomplishment, but it was matter over mind this time. We collected our medals and headed straight to the BHP Billiton marquee, where we were promised hot food and foot massage! The photos below were taken after we had a period of rest, some fruits, sausages, bacon, and eggs, so we looked more like our normal selves again.

V and I with our medals

Puneeta, Deep, and their medals

finishers of the 12 km run

finishers of the half marathon

with the BHPB folks

This run was a great experience, but I was definitely outside my comfort zone. Next time we attempt something like this, we’ll be less ambitious and go for a 4 km or a 5 km course. Have you done something like this before? Go out there and give it a try! I guarantee you a lot of pain and fun!

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Flora in Perth

When it comes to friendship, I’m sincere and loyal to a fault, but I’m really bad at keeping in touch. That’s why the friends I keep are the kind who, after months or years of absence, can connect with me like no time had passed at all. Last week Flora was in Perth for work, and even though we hadn’t talked for half a year, she’s still the same sweet and kind girl I remember. It was her first trip to Perth, but she only had one weekend day to spend here before she had to fly to Brisbane, so V and I took her to Kings Park in the morning, Jamie’s Italian for lunch, Fremantle in the afternoon, San Churros for their signature churros and hot chocolate drinks, Cottesloe beach at sunset, South Perth to see the cityscape and lights from the other side of the river, and Victoria Park for dinner. The weather wasn’t in its best behavior that Saturday, but Flora had a good glimpse of what Perth had to offer, we had a great time, and caught each other up on what had been happening in our lives. The next time I see her will be when I’m back in Singapore at the end of August, but I’m sure it will not make a difference.

me and Flora at Kings Park

short walk at Kings Park

Flora

deciding what to order at Jamie's

in front of City Farmers

at Fremantle

at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour

exploring Fremantle

overlooking the beach

windy beach

Fremantle Round House

great spot for a wedding photo

at San Churros

Perth Zoo

Considering that Perth Zoo is located very close to the city, it’s baffling that V and I didn’t get to take the ferry and go there until recently, and that was only because V wanted to give the new Canon EOS 6D a workout. Despite enjoying our walk around the zoo, we learned that animals are quite tricky to photograph, as one cannot ask them to pose, and this being the middle of winter, they were lazier than usual to get out of their cozy hiding places. V managed to get some nice shots, nevertheless, and I realized that no matter how good the zoo is, I am not an animal person at heart and after 3 continuous hours of looking at these confined creatures in the cold, windy Perth day, I couldn’t wait to go home to our warm apartment.

zoo animals 1

zoo animals 2

zoo animals 3

zoo animals 4

my outfit for the zoo

waiting for the ferry

Petite Cupcakes bib dress / Big W red beanie / Sportsgirl coat / ASOS patterned tights / Ecco boots / Sembonia leather bag

Jamie’s Italian

It’s been a few months after Jamie’s Italian opened in Perth, and V and I finally got to try their food. We’ve already been there a few times before, but after being told matter-of-factly by the reception of the prospect of waiting for 2 hours before getting seats in the restaurant, we just went “Pfftt… No food is that good.”

That Saturday morning, though, we arrived at the restaurant ten minutes before it opened. There was already a long queue (I thought only Singaporeans love to queue on the weekends!), but thankfully they opened at 11 sharp and the restaurant was big enough to accommodate about 100 guests, so the queue disappeared very quickly and yay, we found ourselves seated! Inside the restaurant! On a table with two chairs! With a view of the kitchen! They gave us menus and everything!

queue outside Jamie's Italian on a Saturday morning

There were also some tables outside, for those of us who like our food with the elements. I choose eating indoors over al fresco almost every time because I think food tastes better in a cozy, well-decorated, climate-controlled environment.

tables outside

setting the table outside

The restaurant has a casual, industrial setting. V pointed out that it was a bit noisy in a good way. People seem to be chatting merrily and enjoying themselves.

inside the restaurant

assorted bread, amazingly good

We were given assorted breads while we waited for our foods. They were really good and I almost asked for seconds! Thankfully our foods then started arriving.

sardine bruschetta

We ordered sardine bruschetta for appetizers. This was a miss for us. They were very fishy.

the mains

We were very happy with our mains though. I ordered rabbit pasta, while V ordered the special dish of the day, the suckling pig! Both were delicious, but I made a mental note of ordering a half portion of the pasta next time because I got so full after a plate we didn’t have any space left for desserts. Which was a pity. The server advertised the chocolate brownies like they were slices of heaven. There will be a next time, I’m telling you.

Hillarys Boat Harbour

at the Hillarys Boat Harbour

on the boardwalk

a hot cup of classic Spanish chocolate

AQWA

at AQWA

at AQWA

On my dad’s last weekend in Perth, we went to the Hillarys Boat Harbour. If you haven’t been there, the place was perfect for casual alfresco dining and hanging out in the weekend, with restaurants, cafes, and shops overlooking the ocean. We’d had our lunch before we left, so we sat at San Churro enjoying hot chocolate and of course, their famous churros! And since we were already there, of course we couldn’t leave without a visit to AQWA, the Aquarium of Western Australia. Guess who was ecstatic to see the beautiful sea creatures, the sharks, and the manta rays!

Family Reunion

I’m very close to my family, so having my dad and sisters visit me and V in Perth was a huge treat! Too bad my sisters could only be here for a weekend. Their first day here was spent in the city: checking out the Swan Bells at the Bell Tower, strolling along Hay and Murray Street Malls, and of course, enjoying the view from Kings Park, where we sat on the (wet, as we soon found out) grass and took some threesome photos.

at Kings Park

at Kings Park

No touristy trip to Perth is complete without a day in Fremantle and trying its famous fish and chips! We met my cousin and his family at Cicerello’s and ordered the family meal, only to find out that it included what looked like enough fries to feed a small army! After we stuffed ourselves full of greasy, deep-fried seafood, we walked to the Fremantle Market for some souvenir-shopping. Little Dave was clearly overwhelmed by the attention he was getting from his two high-pitched aunts, so he sought refuge in my dad. Fremantle Market was bustling, as always, but there my sisters got the perfect souvenirs… boomerangs!

at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour

us three at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour

at Cicerello's

Dad and Dave

Dave on Dad's lap

boomerang-shopping

Dinner was hearty bowls of pasta at Ciao Italia! Perth does not impress me in terms of food, but Ciao Italia is possibly the best Italian restaurant I’ve ever been to in my life. I’m not exaggerating. We then went to my cousin’s house in Booragoon for post-prandial games. My sisters busted some moves on the Wii, and we finally got to play Ellen’s hilarious Heads Up together!

in front of Ciao Italia

post-prandial gathering

We hadn’t made plans for Sunday, but decided to go to Penguin Island at the last minute, somewhere V and I ourselves hadn’t been to. To get there, we boarded a ferry from a jetty in Rockingham. The crossing only took 10 minutes, and we arrived in time to see the penguin feeding. The island and its surrounding is a natural habitat for little penguins, a wide variety of birds, and regularly visited by male sea lions when they weren’t busy mating.

at the Rockingham jetty

crossing to Penguin Island

little penguin

little penguins

penguin feeding

sea lion

other island inhabitants

us three

There are so many other places V and I would love to take them to, but they had to fly back to Singapore the next day, so we left it at that. We made plans for them to visit again in August though! Now that the three of us are working, it gets harder to schedule family holidays, but I hope it happens!

Lazy Afternoon at Perth’s Adventure World

Though I feel like I’m too old these days for thrilling rides (I felt nauseous after my few last roller coaster rides), I’m always up for a visit to the theme park. When my cousin said he was taking his family to the Adventure World for a fun afternoon, V and I quickly invited ourselves! We only tried 2 rides, and they weren’t the adrenaline-pumping type we usually went for, but it was a nice, cool afternoon for taking things slow and easy.

hovering above the pool

side view

V