My feature in the September edition of Just Urbane is about an adventure for my son Tom and I on Rottnest Island. If getting there by seaplane wasn’t enough, exploring the island and exploring the sea above and below the waves had both of us exhilarated and exhausted.
If you can’t get your hard copy from your favourite newsagency in India, you can get an online copy of Just Urbane from Magzter.
Thank you to Swan River Seaplanes and the Rottnest Island Authority for the opportunity and hospitality.
Since March of this year, the list of things we miss not being able to do because of Covid-19 is very often led by overseas travel.
For me it started out with thoughts about the destinations I wouldn’t be seeing in 2020. It was also about the missed adventures, the exploration and discovery of new things I wouldn’t be able to do and maybe a bit of the pampering, food and luxury as well.
I guess they’re the big things about overseas travel that we miss the most.
What I’ve been thinking about more recently are those little things I miss about travelling abroad.
This all came about recently as I watched my son drive off with a friend’s family for a birthday party. As he waved out of the window of a luxurious people mover, I was reminded of those vehicles you use for transferring from the airport to your hotel, particularly in Bali, Phuket and other holiday resort style destinations.
So here are my top ten little things I miss about travelling overseas:
Packing bathers: I love packing things for the weather you’re going to. In the depths of winter it’s so good to pull out the bathers, hats and thongs for the sunshine at the other end of your flight.
Working out what you’re going to watch on inflight entertainment: Do you like a movie marathon or a tv series? I like to start with a tv series because there’s always a lot of flight announcement interruptions. Then as the meal arrives settle into a movie. For the full inflight entertainment viewing pleasure, make sure your kids know how to use it before you plug in to your own.
Seeing your name on a sign: You’ve cleared customs, collected your bags and there in Arrivals is a sign with your name on it being held up by your driver. I love that. I wish I got that wherever I went. When I go to my favourite café each morning for coffee, they should hold up a sign that says, ‘Mr Parry’.
Vehicle transfer: As the inspiration for this list, the vehicle transfer is close to my heart. I love those luxurious people movers with seats that the manufacturers describe as ‘captains chairs’. The really swish vehicle transfers will provide a drink and a cool towel. It’s the first time you really get to relax. The flight and airport queues are over. Recline the seat, sip a cool glass of Jamu and rest that towel over your face.
Getting your pool towels: The pool towel hut is sometimes staffed, sometimes not. There’s normally a little sheet to fill out to list how many towels you have taken and each towel is neatly folded, stacked and warm. I miss signing for towels.
Speaking another language: I may not be a local but I am a yokel. I love the little giggles from locals when I drawl out what I think is perfectly pronounced ‘hello’ and ‘thankyou’.
Fruit from other parts of the world: I grew up in a small country town where you’d walk down laneways infested with the horrible prickly pear. Walking through the village streets in Puglia, Italy, I learnt that the fruit of the prickly pear is delicious.
Supermarkets in other countries: I think I get more joy exploring the aisles of an overseas supermarket than exploring the galleries of the L’ouvre. I miss not seeing the variations in confectionary and the different descriptions and colours on the cereal packets. It’s not art but it is culture.
Foreign Currency: If I’m ever burgled, I feel sorry for the burglars who think they’ve hit the jackpot with the jar at the front of my house. All those little coins from far flung corners of the world are worth the world to me but probably don’t amount to much more than a couple of Australian dollars.
The inflight magazine: In fact even better than the inflight magazine, with its route maps and advertisements encouraging me to buy Breitling watches and Maserati’s, is the inflight shopping magazine. I always start out thinking I’ll buy a g-shock watch for myself and end up buying the cola flavoured lip balm set. For the kids, obviously.
Radio Melayu has a new studio and I recently had a great opportunity to have a look around and also have a chat about what I’ve been up to.
We had a great discussion about staycations in Perth at the new Ritz-Carlton Perth, travelling through the Wheatbelt and catching yabbies and walking through woolsheds. We then settled into some descriptions of Sunway and E&O Residences in Kuala Lumpur and some of the trends and issues we might face in the coming year or two.
Tune in when you can. It’s Malaysian radio right here in Perth!
Chris Parry discussing the amazing Ritz-Carlton Perth. Luxury and Location.
Photo Credit: Tom Parry
E&O Residences are self-contained, spacious apartments in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. As well as the luxury and space for a group or family, they also represent an emerging trend in the new world of travel. As self contained apartments, you have the opportunity to make your own meals and not rely solely on eating out.
As travel restrictions ease and we look towards travelling again, we will also look for ways to watch how much contact we have, particularly in busy cities. While KL is the city of food, perhaps cooking something yourself using ingredients delivered to your room could be a new culinary adventure to discover!
Sunway Lagoon is an extraordinary resort in the heart of KL and was on Toms bucket list ever since he heard there was a Sharknado experience. With amazing shopping malls, a range of luxury hotels and a theme park full of adventure its not just a kids bucket list item, its a theme park for all ages. Where else can you speed around a race track with your son alongside you?
Pic Above: Good looking rams of Narrogin
Narrogin is in the heart of the Wheatbelt, about 190 kilometres south east of Perth. Find some sheep, catch some yabbies, do some bushwalks and enjoy a counter meal at the pub for dinner.
After exploring Narrogin head north and discover little and slightly bigger than little towns along the way, including Cuballing, Pingelly, Beverley and York.
Get out and get stuck into a Wheatbelt Weekender and discover in the post Covid world that there are lots of great places you can travel to that aren’t congested and have lots of discoveries to be made.
I recently spent a brilliant evening on Radio Melayu chatting about my recent adventures and how we all need to find a way to get packing and escape winter by getting overseas or embracing winter and snuggling into a gorgeous resort down south.
The link below features descriptions for a few of my new favourite things, including Bali’s spectacular new resort the Apurva Kempinski Bali, Hong Kong Star Ferries and markets, Hong Kong Disneyland, Pullman Bunker Bay Resort and amazing airlines for travelling with children, including Malindo Air, Batik Air and Cathay Pacific.
In the 1984 comedy movie, Top Secret, the French resistance group has a member whose name is De Ja Vu. There is a scene in the movie where he is introduced to another character and he looks at him suspiciously and says, “Haven’t I met you somewhere before?”
Like deja vu, the sense of nostalgia can be triggered by an experience we are having. I was reminded of this recently when I saw an Instagram post of a Sydney ferry. Immediately I was taken back to 1983, pressing play on my red Sharp QT-12 cassette recorder to listen to Reckless by Aussie Crawl. The line in the song about the Manly ferry cutting its way through to Circular Quay came straight back to me just looking at the Instagram post of a Sydney Ferry.
It reminded me of how our senses are heightened when we travel. It works both ways as well. When I travelled through South Africa with my daughter we noticed the Jacaranda trees in glorious purple bloom and it reminded us of the streets around our home in Perth. Now when I see Jacaranda trees around Perth I’m reminded of travelling through South Africa with my daughter.
There’s so many other ways this can happen. Like the Instagram photo, I read a travel article the other day that included a photo of Polignano A Mare in Pulia, Italy. The photo was of a particular part of Polignano A Mare that I swam at, ruining many tourists photos. It’s one of the great joys of travelling; the years afterwards when you see the places you have been to in movies and the news or read descriptions of them in stories.
Ah! Cream buns. For me the sight and the smell reminds me of the Rottnest Bakery on a summers day. Perhaps it triggers a memory for you of the Dunsborough Bakery or the bakery in your local town.
The sights and smells of our travels throw us back in time and similarly, the joy of travel will be triggered for the rest of your life as you smell a cream bun or pad thai, check your friends social media posts or watch the latest blockbuster at the movies. Revel in it! Enjoy what travel can do to your senses and your memories!
They make movies here. It’s a land that gave birth to one of the worlds greatest crooners and one of the worlds greatest songs. Below are some links to my story, published in The Starfish and also by Have A Go Newspaper. This is a love story. This is a story about Puglia, a land with towns that one junior reviewer of my work described as, ‘being full of towns with funny names’. He’s right. Puglia does have lots of towns with names you just want to keep on saying, not just for the memories but for the mood it puts you in, just like humming a few bars of ‘Volare’.
A vibrant, elegant and delicious way to spend time with my daughter and a Malaysian community so proud of their culture
I recently had two wonderful reasons to attend the Malay Fashion and Cultural Show.
Having just returned from an opportunity to travel to Johor with the Consul-General of Malaysia, Mr Nazarudin Jaafar, I was keen to catch up and discuss some of our experiences. I also needed to spend some time with my daughter Matilda and to take her along to this event was great for both of us.
The afternoon promised cultural performances, live entertainment and a delicious meal. It certainly delivered that and a lot more.
We began our afternoon with a cool glass of bandung and met some of the guests who had been invited, including representatives from Tourism Johor who had looked after me so well on my recent adventure.
With the show about to begin we were escorted to our tables. It wasn’t long before music and dance from Cempakasari, Yayasan Warisan Johor and other groups completely absorbed us in the vibrant culture of Malaysia.
Strong vocal performances by Shahnizam Omar and the very popular Liza Hanim ensured that the audience were inspired and proud.
The fashion parade was extremely elegant and I only wish there had been some men’s fashion on display. Surely next year the Consul-General can model one of his tailor made suits.
With food that was authentic and delicious, Matilda and I made our way through curry, spicy rice, satay and some delicate pandan sweets before making the difficult decision that it was time for us to go home.
The hard work by Makan Angin Perth, Radio Melayu Perth, the Johor Heritage Foundation, Pelangi Biru and of course Imran and everyone else involved made sure that this was an event that was spectacular and inspiring.
In the car on the way home, Matilda couldn’t stop talking about the music, the costumes and the food but most importantly she had a great big smile on her face and said that everyone was so happy and friendly and she wants to go to Malaysia for her next holiday.