We took this wild trip around the world to Perth with a layover in Dubai (and back). The photos in this post are mostly maps. Better pictures of all the fun can be found on my Instagram.
Seattle to Dubai was around 14 hours. We left around 5pm Saturday from Seattle. It was around 7pm on Sunday in Dubai when we landed. During our 8 or 9 hour layover (from 7pm to around 3am local time), we went into the Burj Khalifa, which is basically the world’s tallest everything, as far as I can tell and is oddly evil-looking.
Dubai to Perth was around 10 hours. We arrived on Monday evening in Perth (Monday morning at home), checked into the hotel, walked around the city a bit, grabbed a very quick bite to eat (we even took this back to our hotel rooms), and hit the hay.
I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep at around 3:30am on Tuesday, so I went for a jog along the waterfront in Perth, around 2.5 miles. This trend continued throughout the trip. I also stocked up on SPF50, sunglasses, and water.
We met up around 7:30 or 8am to head to Fremantle (a town around 30 minutes away) to catch a ferry to Rottnest Island where we saw Quokkas, fishies (my first time snorkeling!!), crazy clear blue water, lakes (which are apparently sometimes pink), Galahs (a type of bird), a lighthouse, a sea slug, and (probably) a really big spider (we didn’t get a great view). We ate dinner at a local brewery in Perth.
On Wednesday, the first official day of the conference, I woke up too early (again) and went for another ~2.5 mile jog along the waterfront in the other direction.
We met up at 8 something to head to the conference center for the keynote and several sessions. We left before lunch, walked around Kings Park and ate lunch at Swan Brewery. I had a charcuterie board that included duck pate, which I only later realized is made of liver (sounds gross, was delicious). Then we went back to the conference for one more talk, recovered in the hotel for a bit, and then did some work (reading papers, napping) in the Supreme Court Gardens. I was able to show Yoshi the rainbow lorikeets I’d seen on my morning run, and we made plans to tackle a long run the next day. We ate dinner with Danny Huang from UCSD.
On Thursday, I dragged Yoshi on an 8 mile run starting around 6am . At the time, we thought it was closer to 6. We saw black swans, pelicans, purple swamphens, and more on the opposite side of Swan River. Apparently, if we’d taken a detour around Heirisson Island, we might have seen kangaroos. Darn.
The rest of the day was filled with conference stuff, fun lunch conversations about possible future research directions, and souvenir shopping (Australia is known for opals, so Yoshi got an opal necklace for his wife, and I got one for … myself). We took a couple of hours to recuperate in the hotel before the conference gala. The gala involved chatting to accessibility researchers from universities in the Perth/Western Australia area who helped organize the conference and happened to be sitting at the same table, delicious food, and an awesome performance (dance + didgeridoo) by men who belong to a local indigenous tribe. Although there was more music and dancing, we barely made it past dessert — we’d actually stood up and gathered our things already when the dessert was brought around, but I can’t turn down sweets.
On Friday morning, we went for a 5-ish mile unsuccessful kangaroo sighting expedition around Kings Park. Even though we didn’t see kangaroos, I feel better for having tried, and we ran on some cool sandy paths. After checking out of the hotel, I gave my talk, and we attended other presentations (we skipped the keynote this day). I ran into an woman I did a DREU with in 2009, Sana Malik, who just finished her PhD at University of Maryland and now works at Adobe Research and chatted with her over lunch. After another session of talks in the afternoon, we took a train back to Fremantle since we’d only been there to catch a ferry on Tuesday. Yoshi caught up on work in a coffee shop while I wandered around, hit up the main tourist attractions, and stocked up on Australian candy (and vegemite – eww) at a grocery store. We took the train back, ate dinner at the restaurant attached to our hotel, and then left for the airport.
Our return trip was shorter in total, since the layover in Dubai was only 4 hours. Ok, so not that much shorter, but I did get a lot more sleep since I was so exhausted. We tried vegemite on the plane on the way back since it was included in our breakfast meal, and now I know for sure I won’t be hoarding the jar I brought to share with friends and lab-mates. We landed in Seattle a little after noon on Saturday, and I was home by around 3:30pm after customs and waiting on luggage.
It was a crazy trip full of lots of walking, running, exercise, sightseeing, bird watching, conference-ing, awesome conversations, and more!
Other conference recap posts cover:
- Keynote talks.
- What I took away from technical sessions.
- How my talk went, and what I learned about giving better presentations or asking better questions at conference talks.