So we spent our last full day in Tokyo exploring around Asakusa after a much needed lie in and two laundry loads. It was a nice enough area to be in, but there was less to see than our previous stops, although we did make the effort to walk towards the Tokyo Tower (actually it's called the Sky Tree, but we got it muddled with the Tokyo Tower which is their replica of the Eiffel Tower) which we could see from our hostel. Transpires it was a lot further away than we had thought and we couldn't even go up it as it's still under-construction, but earnt ourselves a Mountain Dew and my fave chocolate covered macademia nuts as rewards for our efforts. That night we ate at a very traditional restaurant and then explored a bit more, managing to come across a 5-a-side football pitch and a crepe wagon!
The next day we didn't need to check out until 12pm so we slept in, re-packed our bags (mines already managed to spil into Edd's!) and spent a fair bit of time going through and uploading my photos as we didn't need to leave for the airport until 3pm. We also popped out to my favourite Mister Donut restaurant and had some final noodles before embarking on our journey to the airport. Check-in etc was fine as we had already done most of it online so we had plenty of time to grab some food and peruse the shops although we did not buy anything as the likes of Hermes, Tiffany and Bulgari are not really our cups of tea.
We then got on our massive plane and flew down over the Phillipines etc towards Sydney. 9 hours, 4 films and 2 meals later we were shocked and disheartened to arrive to a miserable and grey Sydney. We then had a delay on our connection to Perth so had to waste time in the Domestic Departures building where the Aussie dollar/Pound conversion began to really hit home = a sandwich was $9.95 which is over £6. After what seemed like ages we finally got on our flight and 5 hours later arrived to a not so grey Perth (although the weather was still not living up to our expectations, however it is still the tail end of their winter and it wasn't exactly cold, just a bit blah.)
Our taxi driver informed us that the queen was due to arrive in an hours time so we were lucky to be out of the airport before her, and enroute to our hotel we noted a large police presence and a number of helicopters circling the city. It transpires the reason we'd had such trouble finding places to stay in Perth this week/weekend was because of her visit and CHOGM = great timing by us! So the city has spent an extra $16 million on security and razzamatazz for this big event and we're going to check out some of the events taking place this weekend.
Anywho we checked into our City Stay Apartment which was a really cool room option as we had a living room/kitchen then a separate bedroom and bathroom so a big and spacious step up from the hostels in Japan. We then did our usual reccy of the local area, inlcuding visiting the awesome outlet mall across the road from us and walking around the CBD (central business district) and main streets of Perth city centre (where we found a Target!). Interestingly Perth is far smaller than we'd imagined and has quite an old school American vibe about it. We also checked out the bus station and bus routes to ensure we knew how to get about to the various destinations we have planned. Our rumbling tummys then guided us towards a very 'beachy' burger bar that resembled a smaller scale GBK in terms of the burger combinations you could order. We both ate heartily and loved the herby fries we shared, but still managed to fit in some popcorn back at the apartment as we partook in the lobby's movie night deal, which consisted of a DVD rental, microwavable popcorn and a drink. Then it was off to bed and up earlyish to check-out and head over to Scarborough, the beach town we are now staying at.
Scarborough is about 40 minutes by bus from Perth city centre and despite initially missing the street we managed to find the location of the place we had found online to rent a room quite easily. We are now based about 15 minutes walk from the beach in a lady's spare double bedroom with our own bathroom and the chance to actually unpack a bit and not have to worry about moving around or picking up our bags for five whole days. After meeting her and getting acquainted (she's a lovely South African lady) we went off exploring, had some fish and chips, chilled out on the beach, watched some kite srufers, explored some more, saw a beachside wedding, shopped for some groceries and managed to find our way back here....oh and we both acquired some sunburn too as the weather has picked up so despite there being quite a breeze the sun is still strong.
We then settled in a bit more as the owner was out and got acquainted with the large TV then, as recommended by our host, we headed back out to a huge shopping mall about 10 minutes walk in the opposite direction to the beach to get a few more things in as tomorrow (Friday) is a holiday for Western Australia thanks to the Queen's belated birthday celebrations so the shops will be closed. We then cooked ourselves some noodles and chicken pies for dinner (fine dining!) and chatted with Cindy our host about the next phase of our travels and got some good suggestions as to places to see etc.
Now for four more days of staying put and beach life = happy days!