Harvey Hills (Day 1)

Like Singapore, Perth isn't really a hilly region. Sure, there are some hilly places around but Bukit Timah Hill or Lesmurdie Hills isn't in the mold of the high altitudes located in parts of some nearby countries we are familiar with, such as Malaysia, Taiwan or Hong Kong. 

When Jen told me we were going to Harvey Hills for a short vacation during Christmas, I didn't expect too much. Shops would be close for sure, including "24 hours" or "Open 7 days" joints. Christmas in Perth is an exception to most, if not every thing. It is even bigger than the first day of Chinese New Year in Singapore. Where the town is dead, the homes are alive. I think that's a fair game. An absolutely dead town, a decent view from a hill with animals roaming around and a peek of the lake at horizon, would I take it? Yes. How about a couple of night's stay? Absolutely.

Like many of these chalets or farm stays in the regional areas, checking in was in the no-frills manner which I appreciated. Years ago when we arrived very late at night at Rose Garden in Albany, the staff already long knocked off. We were tired and even slightly frightened due to a challenging rainy and dark drive through the countryside with the fuel tank almost empty. If we had to wait till the next day to check in to a shelter, it would be memorable indeed. Fortunately, the staff left our keys in the letterbox and we were through. Later through the years, we found that a common practice in the industry. The ongoing trust is heartwarming.

Our house was unlocked. On the dining table was the keys and a hand written note (left). I felt good already.

This was the sight that greeted me when we drove Ugly Green into the port. The little decked ramp led us to a veranda with a tea table at the corner. From there, I got the full view of the opening picture. It was beautiful, even though the Summer heat had taken a lot of greenery out of the picture. I was greeted by the whines of free-range roaming cattle grazing idly close by. If only we came during Autumn. I would have laid down on the grass and sleep the afternoon away.

It was obvious that the house was designed to accommodate a family with kids. There was a double bed in the living room and 2 sets of bunk beds in a room. The classic parents + 4 kids set up. Not surprisingly, we met an Aussie family in the next house the next day. Parents + 3 kids. These places were built with families like that in the mind. A walk outside the area confirmed it.

They even set up little playgrounds around the place for kids. Needless to say, Albany was running towards it before I could stop her. I didn't know about her but if I were to experience that when I was a kid, it would remain as a terrific memory in my mind till my adulthood. Hopefully, Albany would grow up not to take things for granted. All that we fought for, I hope she will pay it back by being a considerate, thoughtful good person. That's all. I don't really care what grades she churns out in school or what job she will undertake in the future.

Albany is turning 3 later this month. Where it comes to education, we have done nothing for little Albany so far. No lessons, no enrichment class whatsoever. That must be unpardonable in Singapore. She can't do maths or write or draw. She doesn't play with electronic gadgets and prefers toys. 2 years old was a big year for her because we finally moved to a place and live by ourselves instead of co-renting. As a result, we manage to get Albany to be potty trained at 2 years old, feed herself by the table every meal and sleep in her room by herself. At late, she insisted to choose and wear her own clothes and learnt to spell colours because I refused to give her anymore treats unless she spells their colours correctly. We still operate in an unstructured games-and-challenges environment. Will that hinder her development? I honestly do not know. Or care. She'll be alright.


  1. Happy New Year to you and your family. Are you still on GW 2.

  2. In NSW you need special permit to open retail shops like grocery or cooked food on Xmas day and the owners have to work out the economics to see if it is worthwhile staying open, even many of the 24 hours drive in maccas closed on xmas day but open boxing day with no penalty to pay