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Monday, June 4, 2012

The journeys end......for now!!!

 Its our last night of our travels, we left our island paradise Lembongan this morning and came to Kuta near the airport for the night and this time my pre-booking skills payed off the guesthouse I’ve booked for our last night is lovely and is just round the corner from the airport so big lie in for us tomorrow!!! So different to the one we last pre-booked for the night we landed here 3 weeks ago!!

Our last 2 days on Lembongan were spent chilling. We rented canoes but then got stuck in a bit of a drift so quickly went back to shore!! One night we went for a “posher” meal, which was lovely and on our way back we saw a performance taking place in the village so we went to have a look. We later found it was a show put on by the local school and as I looked around the packed audience gathered there I noticed there was only one other western woman. It’s been the things like this that we’ve stumbled on that we’ve loved the most. But unfortunalty only part way through there was a power cut so the show had to end!!!! We went back and sat on the sea front outside our room and drank beer in the dark while we waited for the power to come back on!

Our last night (last night) we had our last fish cooked on Reggie’s special BBQ and watched the sunset.

This morning we said our sad goodbyes to mr and mrs Reggie (our lovely hosts on Lembongan) as a present for us both mrs Reggie gave us a kg bag of salt (could look very dodgy going through customs tomorrow) and presented us with the biggest papaya I’ve ever seen, its as long as 2 rugby balls put together!! How the hell are we meant to fit that in our backpacks, also she obviously hasn’t noticed that every time we’ve ordered a fruit salad (most days) we’ve left the papaya as we don’t like it!!!! But the gesture was lovely and we both were very touched, they told us we are like family now! Mrs Reggie then tied little string bracelets on our right arm, which Mr Reggie had got when he went to the temple to pray yesterday. As she tied them on us she said a little prayer and Mr Reggie told us they are holy and from Lembongan because now we belong there.  We were very sad to leave but it’s been the perfect ending.

Well that marks the end of our travels for now and what an amazing 6 months it’s been, exploring 29 different places in 6 different countries; from elephant trekking to moped riding, sky diving to scuba diving, drinking out of buckets and dancing on tables on the beach to running in the sunsets, from frozen cappuccinos in Ho Chi Minh to Luwack coffee in Bali, Erewan falls in Thailand to Peter Andres Mysterious girl waterfall in Oz, getting lost in towns and cities, walking round markets, learning to cook Thai style, eating in the street, insect bites, food poisoning, weird effecting malaria tablets, learning more history and culture than in any school lesson, the longest most uncomfortable bus rides ever, overnight trains, feeding a baby tiger……. The list is endless. And through it all Mister Al’s been right there beside me, experiencing it together. It’s been truly magical, the memories will stay with me forever- bring on part 2!!!!!! J

But now I’m so excited to be coming home and to…. Have a hot bath, mums cooking, English tea, chocolate, chocolate biscuits, sitting on our sofa watching a film, a bottle of wine, Sandra’s Sunday roast, walk Meg, fish and chips, get a hair cut…… but most of all I’m excited to see everyone, I cant wait- we really will “SEE YOU SOON!!!”

Lots of love to everyone xxxxxxxx

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Hunter Gatherer!!

We came to Lembongan for the last three weeks to relax and chill out before we head home, back to work for the summer. This has meant plenty of panic tanning and fruit shakes. But the other day miss Alex suggested maybe we could do a fishing trip. The hunter-gatherer inside me got the better and I agreed.

The plan was to catch a fish each and let Reggie our guesthouse owner, cook them on the barbeque that night. I said to miss Alex that we could sell any extra fish we catch. So we turned up eager as punch, even setting a challenge with miss Alex to see who caught the most fish. On arrival the skipper told us that he didn’t have fishing rods, and handed us a small wheel about the size of the original Wagon Wheels (remember them?) with a line wound around it, and a dead weight and a hook on the end.  I was still optimistic at this point, besides how hard could t be to catch a fish?? Then next to were we sat he put a bag of bait. The bait was “fresh” slimy Tuna.

Miss Alex’s face was a picture as she was a bit squeamish to the rotten bait next to us. So we headed out to round the island to find a perfect spot to drop our lines and catch some fish. We had virtually gone round ¾ of the island when the skipper decided he’d found us the perfect spot. About a mile off the coast he told us to drop our lines. No other instructions just drop our lines. So we unwound our lines held in one hand through the middle of the wheel, and we unwound and unwound until there was only a couple of turns line left on the wheel. In the clear water we could see the tide was catching the weight and bait and carrying it off into the distance. We must have let over a 100 metres of line go. The skipper also had a line, and as he kindly gave no instructions on what to do, miss Alex and I watched him closely to see what the next step was. He seemed to be sat there pulling on his line backwards and forwards, so we both starting copying. Pulling backwards and forwards and backwards and forwards for a good while, half expecting my arm to snap at any time then a wrestle would break out to retrieve the fish. NOTHING!! Then I remembered the amount of line I’d let go and I didn’t fancy fighting to pull a fish over 100 metres so slowly I started to pull the line back in then every so often stopping to pull forwards and backwards to feel for any snag that would tell me I’d caught a fish. Eventually or it seemed like an eternity my line was at the surface of the water and I could see that my bait had been eaten. I couldn’t believe it. The fish were teasing me!! Miss Alex had pulled her line in and some how managed to lose her weight.

This was not going well, but we didn’t give up hope. The skipper set us up in a new spot a little bit more round the island, again about a mile off the coast. He put a new weight on for miss Alex and “fresh” bait for me. So this time I decided to count the amount of turns on the wheel to help me, when the moment came for me to battle with a fish and pull it in. Another 30 minutes of pulling forwards and backwards on the line and nothing. My battle with a fish never came. I was starting to get bored now and felt a little sea sick, the long deep swell in the sea didn’t help.  The skipper took us to 2 more spots, each time a little closer to our beach resort. By the end of the 4th attempt I couldn’t wait to finish and get back to panic tanning on our sun loungers. I’d decided fishing wasn’t for me. So much for selling our extra fish. Upon arrival back at the guesthouse Reggie asked us were our fish was. We had to ask Reggie to go and buy some fish for our barbeque that night. 

Sat here in our room, in the guesthouse no more than 4 metres from the crashing waves, the realisation that this will be my last blog on this trip is finally setting in. After 10 Air flights and 3 more til we reach home next week, we have stayed in 29 different cities and towns, some of these we’ve passed through more than once like Bangkok. We endured long bus rides. Miss Alex and I have clocked up more miles than Judith Chalmers. Miss Alex or Mellman as I now call her, you know …….  the hypochondriac Giraffe from the film Madagascar has been to the chemist more times in the last 6 months than I’ve been in the last 29 years of my life. We’ve had tablets and cream for all sorts of infections. The funniest time being when she sent me to buy some Imodium in Laos for an upset stomach, 4 days later I was sent to get fybergel as the Imodium built up barriers much better than the Hoover Dam. Eye irritations, infected mosquito bites, migraines and food poisoning strange rashes, have all gripped miss Alex over the last 6 months. I on the other hand have escaped with only a cold that was kindly brought over from the UK by miss Alex’s dad, when they came to meet us for 2 weeks in Bali.

We’ve both clocked a few miles running, one of the more memorable times was in Laos when we ran through a wedding reception in the middle of the street. We’ve ran in the middle of the mad rush that is Ho Chi Minh City, along the beautiful beaches, bare foot in Koh Lanta. My running trainers will not be coming home with me as there is a huge hole along the full side of my left shoe.

Now we can look back and laugh at some of the accommodation we’ve stayed in, and can only thank the lord we didn’t once get bed bugs. Although for every Ying there must be a Yang and every bad guesthouse we’ve had good. It’s hard to believe we have done over 6 months away from home.  That’s 196 days, all of them have felt like a Sunday.

To finish off I would like to thank every body for making this happen. Our friends for sticking by us, and the support from both our parents and the encouragement to go out and see a bit of the world. The friends we’ve made along the way, some of them we’ve travelled with, and some we only shared a single night. Lastly I would like to thank Miss Alex for being the best travel partner I could ask for. We have done it brilliantly and I would not change a thing. If I could go back 6 months to do it again I would and I wouldn’t change any part of it. (Even that night in the slums of Bangkok) I love you xxx

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back on Lembongan

We’ve been on Lembongan for a week now and it’s been just as nice and relaxing as we remembered. The weather is gorgeous and the only rain we’ve had so far has been overnight. One night there was a massive electric storm, which was a bit scary; the whole sky lit up with the flashes!
When we got here we came straight to Pacific Inn even though we were a day early for our booking we thought there might still be room for us but we were wrong they are really busy so our first night we spent in another little guesthouse down the beach.
We’ve changed rooms from the one we were in last time we stayed here we decided to spend a little bit more and are in the room right on the beach front, 2 of the sides are panels of glass with big sweeping curtains so we can lie in bed and see the sea with them open, its perfect! Mornings begin with Mr Al going to the gym while I make the bed, sweep the room and pull back the curtains (like a very good little house wife!) we then have breakfast sat on our little table and chairs outside our room- banana pancakes, banana shake and a Nescafe each! Then we head to the internet café to catch up on the latest back at home before spending the day chilling on the loungers outside our room, reading, swimming, going for walks. Every other evening we go for a run (we’re in pre-going home get into shape mode!) Then alternate diner watching the beautiful sunsets either fish cooked at our guesthouse, chicken kebab and a cocktail at Scooby doos down the beach or the old favourite fried rice or noodles at the cheap local places.
We rented a moped again the other day and headed back to the jumping point but again the swells were too big to jump, we heard someone jumped yesterday and it was fine so we’re going to go back over the next few days. Yesterday we rented big stand up paddle boards, we were told it was easy but not for us! We both managed to stand up but not for long; we both ended in the water, most of the time we spent paddling on our knees!!
Today we went on a snorkelling trip to see manta wrays. The spot where they were had really big swells and the waves were crashing onto the cliffs. We were a bit unsure about snorkelling there but got in anyway as we really wanted to see them, they were massive and it was quite scary being so close to them; 4 swam right past me but they weren’t interested in us. We didn’t stay long in the water, it felt like the current was pulling us towards the cliffs and the boat was far away so we got a bit worried. The second snorkelling spot was a lot calmer but there wasn’t any wrays there just lots of fish and coral. The dive group that were with us saw a massive Mula Mula fish apparently rare anywhere else but in Bali and they can grow to be really big. We were disappointed we didn’t get to see it but made us more determined to do our dive padi next time. Because we spent so much time on the boat waiting for the divers after we had snorkelled and the swells were big we both came over feeling not too peachy. Still 4 hours after we got back were both still swaying, think we might lay off the bintang beers tonight!

Lots of love, cant wait to see everyone soon xxxxxxx

Monday, May 14, 2012

After 25 weeks we stay in the worse accommodation so far!!

 We landed in Bali 30 minutes earlier than expected at 23:00 on Sunday. We flew through arrivals, our bags were virtually the first ones off the conveyer belt and as soon as we walked out the airport there was 2 men holding a sign with my name on to take us to our accommodation!! Wow everything was so easy! We’d booked our accommodation online when we booked the flights, we tried to book into the same guesthouse we stayed in the night before we flew to oz when my parents left but that was fully booked so settled for one in Denpasar called Bali Rama Homestay. It was quite cheap but the pictures online looked nice and with it being on the internet and not many places in Bali being on the internet we thought it would be fine for a night. We were so wrong!! After about a 20 minute drive we turned onto a bumpy gravel road and passed what looked like building sites leading into the middle of nowhere. We finally stopped outside a big Balinese house and I thought this could actually be alright. Nope, the room we stayed in was the dirtiest room we’ve stayed in so far and we’ve stayed in some rough places!! It looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for years! The sink to wash in was full of black dirt, the shower and toilet looked like something out of a prison the toilet had stains all in it! I took some pictures in the morning but they don’t really show the grime as realistically as it was. I immediately wanted to leave but rightly so mister Alex told me what could we do at now 1am in the morning. We didn’t know where we were or where we could go. We slept with no blanket over us that night as we were scared of getting bed bugs!

Luckily in the morning we woke with no bites, yes we had escaped bed bugs again! We were both really thirsty but they didn’t have any bottled water at the accommodation! We asked the girl to ring a taxi for us but half an hour later there was still no taxi so we set off with our bags on our backs to walk to the main road and flag a taxi down. I’ll just tell you we hadn’t showered since the Saturday night at my Aunts and Alex had refused to use the water in the guesthouse so he hadn’t brushed his teeth for over 24 hours!! We were honking!

We had decided when we knew we were coming back to Bali that first we would go to Ubud again and stay one night and then the next night do a sunrise trek up a mountain tour that we had seen last time we were here and then we would go back to Lembongan island and stay back at pacific inn. So we flagged a taxi down and asked him to take us to Ubud. The traffic was terrible, we were going at a snails pace and all we could think of was getting some food and a shower. But after an hour of driving I recognised the road we were on as on the way back to the airport. The taxi driver had misheard where we had asked to go and instead of taking us to Ubud was taking us the complete opposite way to the airport!!! We were fuming!! So we turned around, agreed another price and got back in the traffic going back to where the taxi had picked us up! Two hours after we had got in the taxi we passed the spot where we had first got in it and actually set off for Ubud.

Another hour later we pulled up at Ubud centre just as the skies decided to open up and hit us with one of those tropical downpours that soaks you completely after 2 seconds of being in it! So we ran from the taxi to the nearest hotel, it was more picey than we normally pay but to go and look for somewhere else in the rain would probably mean all the things in our bags getting drenched so we decided to stay. At last we had some food and drink and a well needed shower and teeth brush!

We woke this morning to find it had rained all night and although the suns actually out now it’s actually forecast downpours for the next few days. So it looks unlikely we are going to do our mountain trek tomorrow morning; walking up a mountain at 2am in the morning in the pouring rain really doesn’t sound that much fun. It’s a shame but I don’t think it’s worth it. So think we are going to get some lunch and head to Sanur for the night where we can get a boat to Lembongan island tomorrow morning. There’s also storms forecast there too, hopefully they don’t last long as we are now in our last 3 weeks we want to panic tan!!!

After a bit of a shady start to our last 3 weeks in away hopefully it’ll brighten up from here.

Lots of love xxxxxxx

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Miss Alex's Great Auntie Sylvia

My Great Auntie lives in Melbourne so ofcourse we couldn’t go to Oz without seeing her. I felt bad that we gave her such short notice when we decided we are going home and doing Oz after the summer last week. So we decided we would just stay 3 nights and next time we come away and do Oz properly we want to stay for 2 weeks but gave her more notice to plan for us.
            We got the flight from Cairns on Thursday where we left the hot weather behind!! Melbourne is south on the East Coast and gets 4 seasons like at home. At the moment with it being May it’s their Autumn, after being in the heat for so long it was beautiful to see all the leaves from the tress scattered on the floor, it really felt like we were back at home in October time! Only we have limited clothes suitable for cold weather so we were back to living in our Hanoi outfits! With a bag full of bikinis and shorts me and mister Alex are defiantly sun worshipers!
            It was lovely to see my great Aunt again, I haven’t seen her since I came to Oz 2 and a half years ago. She loved Mister Al and we told him tales about our family and we showed her photos from our travels and of course our skydiving dvd’s, which mine again had us all in hysterics!! I think all 3 nights we were there ended in us being a little tipsy, my auntie has a fab sense of humour and all 3 of us had a good laugh!! Last night we went to an all you can eat buffet restaurant (right up mister Al’s street) we all had eyes bigger than our bellies!!!
 I wish I hadn’t worried so much about giving her little notice of our arrival and we had stayed longer especially as, unknown to me beforehand, today (the day we left) is the Australian mother’s day. But we will be back, and the weather will be better so we can spend more time with my auntie and also see the sights of Melbourne.
I’m writing this in Kuala Lumpa airport on our stop over to Bali our last country on the 2 Alex’s abroad part one. It’s weird because we were here sat in the same café about 2 weeks ago after we said bye to my parents in Bali and we flew on to Oz, how our plans have changed since then. I’m really excited to see everyone at home (and my gorgeous doggie although have a feeling she will not be talking to me straight away for leaving her!) It’s going to be lovely to spend the summer with everyone and get some pennies and plan part 2 of our travels, I’m excited for it already J.

Lots of love to everyone at home

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sky Dive!!!

For as long as I can remember I have always talked up the prospect of me doing a sky dive. Miss Alex from the word go has always said she wants to do a sky dive. I Stupidly thought the day would never ever come when I would have to do the most unnatural thing and fling my body out of a plane 14,000 feet above earth. Then miss Alex and I both go travelling and it comes into our conversation more and more. Until we hit Australia and then miss Alex even enquires about prices. At this point I was still stupidly thinking the faze would pass. On the outside I was still talking positive about it, inside I was dreading it. Miss Alex is the also girl who bottled out of getting a tattoo last minute, so how would she be able to handle a sky dive!!! Miss Alex has done a sky dive before, as she gets older miss Alex will tell any one that she becomes more “wimpy” I honestly didn’t think she’d be up for it again. I found myself making excuses like “I need to transfer the money over from my bank to pay for it, we’ll book it later” or “lets book it tomorrow I’m hungry now, lets go for tea” Eventually I’d ran out of excuses and it was time to book it

The night before the jump could have lasted for eternity and I’d have been happy. Miss Alex was very confident she’d be fine, she wasn’t expecting any nerves as she’d done it before, Miss Alex sensed my nerves  and was telling Lucy and the others that she was looking forward soooo much to seeing me attempt to jump out of the plane, she was telling Lucy and the girls that she couldn’t wait  to watch my video. That night I stayed up as late as possible to delay the inevitable. Miss Alex however wanted an early night. I went to a bar til the early hours to watch a football match that I had no interest in. I needed something to take my mind off it. When I eventually got to bed the pair of us couldn’t sleep. This was another one of those “worst nights sleep” that miss Alex has.

We had a decent breakfast and then waited for the bus to pick us up and take us to the airfield. The drive was about an hour. During the bus ride we had disclaimer forms to fill in. This bus ride was my turning point for some strange reason. I felt more and more ok about the sky dive and I just wanted to make sure I enjoyed it. I convinced myself that it was all going to be ok. A DVD of Sky Dives was also played on a small TV on the bus and surprisingly this really relaxed me a lot. I was looking at the expressions on the faces of the people and they looked like they loved it, so this helped settle me. For the first time I was looking forward to it. Miss Alex giving my a little squeeze of the hand every now and then. I sensed the tides were being turned and as I was starting to enjoy it she was slightly going the opposite direction.

Once we arrived at the location we were briefed and told instructions on what to do before the jump, during the jump and after. The plane would be making 3 trips with jumpers. We were on the 2nd. About 15 minutes after the plane took off with the first load of divers, we could hear the planes engines in the distance in the sky. The thick cloud cover kept it hidden from view but we knew this meant that anytime soon we’d see the parachutes burst through the clouds. When they did appear it was a matter of minutes before they landed on the ground. The plane just about beating them back to the airfield.

This is it, our moment was here. Miss Alex’s and my name was called out to put the harness on. This is the moment the cameras started to roll. I can honestly say I was a little nervous at this point but the nerves were definitely out weighed by my excitement of what we were about to do, together.  Miss Alex being camera shy giggled nervously on the camera. Harnesses on we were told to make our way over to the plane. As it was my instructor was first on, I had to follow him. This meant we’d be last to jump from the plane. Miss Alex and her instructor were next. So miss Alex would be jumping right before me. I could sense she was nervous now asking the instructor how many points would she be attached to him at. The answer is 4 points, 2 at shoulder height and 2 at waist height. “Is this enough?” she’d ask.

The plane is taking off and there is 8 people on board. The conversation is lacking, not sure whether this is because of the noisy engines or people genuinely are scared. At this point I was ok with the thought of a sky dive, in fact this was the best I’d felt about it since I passingly mentioned to miss Alex 18 months ago that I’d do a sky dive. As the plane was going through the clouds the instructor showed me his Altimeter, it read 6,000 feet, so we were roughly half way up. The clouds cover was so vast that it almost looked as if we were in the Antarctic. The clouds fluffy and pure white. 12,000 feet and my instructor tapped me on my shoulder an shouted 2 minutes!! He then clipped me to him, at all 4 points!! I double checked, looking over my shoulder as he did this. All of a sudden the plane door swings open and the first jumper dives straight out as though he was diving into a deep swimming pool. This was it no turning back now, one by one divers were jumping out the plane at about 10 second intervals.
After the night before miss Alex saying she was going to laugh at me squirm jumping out the plane, I did raise a little smile, which is caught on her video, as she begged her instructor to check if she was properly attached to him. Then in a quick flash she was gone. As I write this now it makes me Laugh Out Loud, having seen her video and me being totally oblivious to her mid air Les Dawson face impressions and mid air dance moves, this is the moment I’m preparing myself to jump out of a plane and I don’t have a clue what she is going through at this point. (air aerobics) If I’m honest, once she left the plane she didn’t enter my mind again until we passed parachutes. I’m sat on the door entrance and it’s freezing cold and really hard to breath, just as I’m thinking this WOOSH!! We were gone and free from the plane. In the roll I caught a last glance of the plane leaving us and within seconds we were in the freefall position. It was an amazing sight, but the noise was so loud with the wind rushing past our ears as we were heading towards the ground at a rate of 200mph. I remember thinking that if it was to go terribly wrong from here, then I didn’t have a care in the world, the sight was so beautiful that if the parachute failed then I didn’t care. The clouds were slowly creeping up on us and then all of a sudden I felt a great big pull and the noise level instantly fell to deafening silence. The parachute had opened. Bonus!!! As we went through the clouds we were hit with dampness moist and a freezing chill. Then the ground appeared below us, My instructor asked me how miss Alex would have been and I told him she’d have loved it, once again as I write this, her video enters my mind, and I’m laughing out loud again. He then pointed out there parachute and we each did a fly by past each other. I waved at her. It must have taken about 5 minutes from here to land. Once on the ground the adrenalin is still pumping through the body. I was absolutely buzzing and miss Alex approached me and told me not to tell anybody at the sky dive centre that she had already done a skydive, “why” I asked, “because I don’t think the video went too well”

I would just like to say how proud I am that we both did this together. Miss Alex’s video is an all time classic and we will be watching it for years to come. My instructor said to me as we landed “so would you do it again?” I replied “Definitely!!” or am I just confident the opportunity will never arise again

Speak soon xxx

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Change of plan

We’ve been in Cairns now for a week already!! The first few days saw us go into panic mode looking for work, re-wording c.v’s and handing them out and then worrying about the cost of everything, it’s so expensive here!!! After some good chats and thinking about things we’ve changed our travel plans; mister Al had been contacted by the firm he worked for last year on the windfarms and we decided it was a good idea for him to take the work to keep his foot in the door for the future. We then had to think about what I should do, while I could apply to work here waitressing (I haven’t done the paper work to nurse here as I wanted to do something different while away and also thought that if I wanted to do it I would sort it when we were here) I don’t really want to be in Oz without mister Al. So we are both coming home on June the 6th for the summer until Mister Al’s job finishes. Then we are going to commence on part 2 of “2 Alex’s abroad” which will be made up of driving ourselves up the west of oz in a van, certain stop offs at different points on the east, New Zealand, Fiji and most likely a little cheeky stop off back in Thailand to get our spicy curry fix!!

So now we have a plan we are chilled once again and going to make the most of our last month before our “pitstop” at home. Very excited to see everyone again and have a good catch up, plus it means we will be doing Oz when the whole country is hot not just the North!

On Thursday we did a little tour around the rainforest near Cairns with Lucy (my friend from home who is travelling Oz at the moment) and a group of other girls we’ve met. Mister Al had a massive bromance for the aussie driver he didn’t stop laughing at his comments all day! On the way we saw little wallabys just chilling at the side of the rode. We went to 2 waterfalls, one being Milla Milla falls the famous background to Peter Andre’s Mysterious girl video. It must have been a much hotter day when he was there as there was no way I was prancing about in the water it was freezing!! Mister Al got in though, Peter Andre eat your heart out!! And the girls we were with all did their impression of the girl flicking her hair back in the Timotei shampoo advert as that was also filmed there. The other waterfall I was persuaded to get in, the water was freezing though think we’ve been too spoilt with the water temperatures in Asia! We swam across the pool and climbed over the rocks so we could slide down the waterfall, I found myself screaming my new favourite line since we’ve been away “arrrr I don’t like it!!!!!!!” coincidently the same line my mums always said when we’ve made her do things she’s a bit unsure about, I’m so my mother’s daughter!!!

The day also included bacon and egg sandwiches cooked up on the free bbq/hot plates found all over for free, yummy!!!  A spot of platypus spotting, but they weren’t playing so unfortunately we didn’t see any, a massive curtain fig tree whose roots went from the top of the tree into the ground, it was very impressive and we went to see an old volcanic hole that has been filled with water and is about 50 metre deep in the middle. It was gorgeous and would have been so much fun to have a swim in but again the water was so cold, plus it started raining when we were there.

We’ve defiantly taken to the local cheap alcohol swapping the buckets from asia to goon here! Goons like cheap wine (about the only thing that is cheap here) 12 dollars for 4 litres! We had a good night out with Lucy and the girls we’ve met last night and my dancing routine made an appearance! It’s been fab to see Lucy and it’s going to be sad saying bye when we leave but hopefully she’ll still be here when we come back and we will meet up again.

Today we’ve chilled round the lagoon and booked a skydive for Monday!!!! I’m really excited, as I’ve done one before but think mister Al’s a bit nervous!!! It’s going to be awesome!!!! The hostel we are staying at is lovely, it’s called Caravella’s and they offer a free meal every night at a local pub and it’s also cheap to upgrade to different things like steak. My stomach is defiantly loving being back on the western food again, toilet habits are all back to normal J plus there’s no more smelly squat toilets in oz and we have a hot shower every night!!! Yey!

So the plan is to stay here until Thursday when we fly to Melbourne to stay 3 nights with my great auntie then we are going back to our favourite little island Lembongan in Bali until we fly home.

Very excited to see everyone and get ourselves all sorted and refreshed before we continue our adventure! Can’t believe where the times gone though, we will have been away for 6 months and they’ve just flown but it’s been the most amazing time, when I think back over what we’ve seen and done it takes my breath away and it’s been so more special to have shared it with mister Al. Yet again I can’t believe how lucky I am to be doing this.

See you all soon, lots of love to everyone xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ariving In Australia

After a fantastic 2 weeks with miss Alex’s parents in Bali, miss Alex and I arrived in the Gold Coast on the 27th April. A quick glance out of the window upon descent had me questioning whether we’d actually boarded a flight back to Manchester in the UK. The rain clouds were dark and thick. I started praying that the windows on the plane were dark tinted to block out the bright sunlight, it was only once we left the comfort of the plane that I realized the windows weren’t tinted, it was dark and miserable and the rain falling was that fine rain. You know that fine stuff that gets you soaked!! We didn’t expect any marching bands playing the famous Men at Work song Down Under upon arrival, or a welcome handshake from Harold Bishop, but the rain gatecrashed my big arrival down under in sunny Australia.

We had fully embraced our selves for a tough grilling from the notoriously tough Aussie custom guards. This however was a slick and easy process. In fact miss Alex and me slipped through without any checks what so ever. We made a quick decision before we’d even left the airport to book the next flight up to Cairns. The weather being considerably hotter and sunnier up here.

The next flight up to Cairns was the following morning. We booked a flight and headed up north. As soon as we landed the sun was shining and it was warm. Our hoodies were shoved back into our backpacks. We met up with Miss Alex’s friend lucy, from back home in Scarborough. Not long after checking into the hostel miss Alex, lucy, Robyn (lucys mate) and me headed into the city for a bite to eat and a bit of a look around. Instantly the difference between SE Asia and Australia in prices was obvious. A bowl of museli, beans on toast and 2 fruit shakes cost us $24. My jaw hit the floor so hard that the tremor must have been felt back in the UK.

The first couple of days in Cairns had the feel of a holiday. Miss Alex and me both fell in love with the city. Everything is centred around the out door life style. For instance in the park there is a fitness corner, push up bars and pull up bars, free of charge. Next to the fitness corner is a BBQ site, with a hot plate to cook food on, free of charge. If this park was picked up and moved to the UK, I found myself questioning how long before the fitness corner was vandalised and the hot plate became a nice garden feature in some louts garden. A lagoon (outdoor swimming pool) is very kindly provided by the local authority for people to use at leisure. Free of charge. This is because the sea water and the beach is a no go area in Cairns, because crocodiles hang about.

A quick shop in the supermarket could be described with one word. EXPENSIVE. A tin of tuna will set you back a handsome $4.50. A pack of cooked turkey will sell for $26. A standard Dove deodorant spray is $6.50. Also no alcohol can be found in the supermarket. There are specialist Alcohol shops called BWS. The expensive pattern continues with alcohol, apart from Goon! Goon is very cheap “wine” it comes in a 4 litre carton ($12) nobody is actually sure what the ingredients for goon are. Most backpackers have come from a University background and will drink anything cheap so not many questions about ingrediants are raised. after a night on the goon, you will wake up feeling like Mike Tyson is constantly slapping your head.

Lucy has introduced us to new friends. Rachael, Robyn and Louise, and we have managed to meet up with the 2 Sams, for a bit of a SE Asia reunion. Without saying too much on here we are currently making plans for our next step.   

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bali Holiday

The last 2 weeks in Bali with mum and dad have been lovely. We’ve had a really relaxing time sharing our time between mum and dad’s hotel and mine and mister Al’s accommodation. The second week Mister Alex and me moved into a private lodge we pre-booked ages ago as a special treat. It was gorgeous; styled like a town house with 3 floors with a kitchen (not that we did any cooking) a living room and a bedroom, we were looked after so well by the owner Sari and her staff with lots of free little extras (shampoo and Bali soap) and the house was cleaned spotless every day. We wanted to be able to lift the house and move it back to England for when we get home!!

We did a few day trips while mum and dad were here but they all seemed to go against the grain; we went to dreamland beach known for surf and beauty but unknown to us it was the locals school holiday so the beach was crammed with college students, we went to Ulu Watu one of the worlds best surf spots but the day we chose to go there was hardly any swell at all to see, and we went to Nusa Dua for water sports only we went on a Saturday so again was full of local children. That was pretty mad though it was chaos out on the ocean with all the different companies cramming as many people in as possible to do the activities. We thought we would have lunch before doing some activities not realising that they cant do the activities when the tide goes out as its too shallow so we left it too late!!

Mostly we’ve really chilled out and relaxed, playing in the sea, reading books and eating on the beach while watching the sun go down.  We’ve all gained a new love for corn on the cob smeared with chillie butter (even if it does burn our lips), for blueberry and pineapple bread, banana bread, Bintang beer (that do give you a hangover) freshly cooked fish and established Mister Alex is the champion of the card game rummy!! Mum and Dad had their first experience of a massage; this wasn’t the best experience for my dad who at the time was streaming with a cold this meant lying face down on the massage table with his head in the hole caused snot to swing from his nose like a bungee! Sorry to write about that on here dad but it was funny!!!

We went to the “Rock Bar” one sunset, which is apparently voted to be in the top 10 bars in the world. It was very flash but cool to go and see. It was based in a very posh looking hotel (we had to dress up that night; men couldn’t go in beach shorts!) The bar itself is accessed by an outdoor lift going down the side of the rocks and the bar is overlooking the sea, set into the rocks with different levels. It was cool to have a drink and watch the beautiful sunset, we then went to one of two of our favourite Italian restaurants for tea.

We just said goodbye to mum and dad, they’ll be arriving at the airport now as I write this. It was horrible saying bye again even though we don’t think it’ll be that long till we’re home.  Thank you for a lovely time guys, it was so good to see you, love you so much cant wait to see you when we get home, lots of love, hugs and kisses.

So now Mister Al and me are in our fourth (and final) accommodation in Jimbaren, unfortunately we couldn’t keep the lodge an extra night as new guests were booked in so we’re in little home stay. We fly to Australia tomorrow, our flights to the Gold Coast (as that was the cheapest ticket to Oz) and we have no transport or accommodation booked so when we arrive at 07:30 on Friday we could end up going anywhere!!  The plan is to hopefully find some work for a little while to enable us to travel a bit more before home so fingers crossed.

Lots of love to everyone

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

hello miss Alex's mum and dad (and pink bed ted!!!)

I know mister Al talked about our 24 hours in Ubud but there are a few little things I wanted to add; the dance we went to see was the weirdest show I’ve ever seen, it was a little bit like a dream and I wasn’t sure what was going on for any of it, but the girl dancers looked really pretty in their costumes!!  The day we did the tour we got in the taxi that was taking us everywhere and as it was really hot we asked for the air con to be turned on but after a couple of minutes a funny, gassy smell filled the car and I noticed a whitish vapour coming from the air vents so I pointed this out to the driver whilst opening my window telling him it was probably best to keep the air con turned off! The day trip was fun, the volcano and rice fields were beautiful sights to see and it was interesting to find out about luwak coffee, although I wont be in a rush to go out and buy a bag when we get home!!!

My mum and dad arrived last Thursday evening and as they walked through arrivals my mum only had my pink “bed ted” waving high on the air in front of everyone!!! They’ve been here 6 days now and we’ve had a really good 6 days with them. As my dad has been full of cold L we’ve spent a lot of time chilling on the beach (topping up our tans even more), swimming in the sea, playing Frisbee and catching up. Evenings have been spent watching the sun set and eating in little restaurants right on the beach, it’s been lovely so far. We’ve been staying in a homestay round the corner from their hotel but move to a little private lodge we have treated ourselves to tomorrow for their last week and our last week before Oz.

Today we went to check out some beaches near ours, we went to a well known surf site called Ulu Watu this was cool as to get to the beach we had to crawl through a cave and then came onto a beach surrounded by a cliff with beautiful blue water. It was so hot here though as there was no breeze so after a quick swim we went to another beach called dreamland. This was full of local teenagers (we were asked to have a picture with one again, swear the kids think I’m a celebrity here!!). There was better surf here and my dad and mister Al had a good mess around in the waves.

It’s really good to see my mum and dad again and to have a good catch up. We are staying in an area called Jimbaren and it’s really chilled out and relaxing so perfect for all of us.

Lots of love xxxxxxx

Friday, April 13, 2012

Whistle stop Tour of Bali

Last Tuesday we headed for mainland bali, a town 30 miles inland called Ubud. This was meant to be a look at the real Bali and how the Balinese people lived. As sad as we were to be leaving the island of Lembongan we were looking forward to Ubud. Unlike South East Asia Bali doesn’t offer the cheaper than taxi Tuk tuk, so we had to make our way to the guesthouse on the back of a motorbike. This would normally be an easy trip but as we had 2 big backpacks and 2 rucsacks and a Cath Kidston bag used for smelly dirty laundry, this was a 2 trip job. Miss Alex went first with her backpack on and her day bag. Very relieved and impressed when the driver came back for me as it meant miss Alex was safely waiting for me at the guesthouse. My bag weighs 20kg plus my rucsack weighing 7kg and the Cath Kidston full to the brim with smelly washing, must easily have weighed 5kg. Using only my legs to balance on the bike this was a tough 5 minute ride, at one point I contemplated rolling off the back of the bike and giving in, as my backpack would have taken the heavy impact of the fall. It really was an endurance test but somehow I managed to make it to miss Alex. Once settled into the guesthouse we took our usual investigative walk around to orientate ourselves, and get some lunch.
That evening we went to a traditional Bali dance. Imagine the big theatrical Demon costumes and the ladies dancing. It was all spoken in Balinese which is ok, as it was a traditional Balinese dance but there was 2 characters on stage all the way through who played the part of narrators, with the whole audience not understanding a word they spoke. They also looked like a pantomime act. Think the chuckle brothers in Aladdin costumes and you’d have a very good picture in your mind. Not quite sure what the morale of the story was meant to be as in the end, the Demon had fought off and killed the 7 warriors sent to save bali.
The next day we took a tour in our very own private taxi which would finish and drop us off in Jimbarran. Where we’d meet miss Alex’s parents the following day. The tour covered 5 temples, a coffee platation,  amountain view of a volcano and rice fields.
First stop was an ancient temple called elephant temple. Once we arrived our tour guide kindly informed us we’d both have to wear sarongs. I was not impressed, I had the picture of David Beckham all them years ago looking like a right muppet in a sarong. Needless to say we didn’t have sarongs on us to wear, but in the car park of the temple there just happened to be a dozen market stalls all selling sarongs. Miss Alex asked the driver if we could borrow one from the ticket office, yes that’s right we had to pay as entrance fees was not included on the tour, another thing we found out after we’d booked the tour. We managed to scavenge a couple of sarongs and headed to the temple. I honestly have not got much to say about the actual temple other than it was ok. We headed back to the driver unimpressed and told him “no more temples” this meant a much shorter day but after 5 months of temples I am well and truly templed out.
Next stop on our whistle stop tour was a coffee plantation. 6 little complementary cups of coffee and tea waited for us. All grown on made off the plantation. There was Bali coffee, Ginsing coffee, Cocoa, lemongrass tea, Ginger tea and one other that couldn’t have made a big impression as miss Alex and I have both forgotten what it was. Also as an optional extra to purchase we could try Luwak Coffee. Luwak coffee is made by feeding the Luwak coffee beans. A luwak is a little animal. You don’t have to be brilliant at biology to remember what goes in the mouth comes out the …………….. Once it comes out the other end of the Luwak looking like a nutritious nutty cereal bar, it is then slowly roasted and ground down. The procedure of making the coffee is the same, teaspoon of coffee and hot hot water, splash of milk and it tasted great!!! Luwak coffee actually sells in London for £50 a bag. Now this is not some really big bag like a sack of cement, this is your normal sized bag of coffee.
Next stop was Mount Batur. It last erupted in 1994, and the landscape is still covered in a blanket of black. The view looking over to mount Batur was stunning. The biggest lake in Bali sitting at the bottom of the mountain. There is a sunrise tour up the mountain that we plan to do if we ever come back to Bali. This would be an amazing sight, overlooking the south of bali and the surrounding mountain ranges. We also had to pay for the privilege of driving through but the money was well worth paying.
Our last stop was a stop at some Rice Paddies. These look like giant green steps in the hillside. Another brilliant sight and some great pickies taken here. If your not sure what rice paddies look like, google image them after reading this. Just as miss Alex and I were about to get back in the car a bloke in uniform hit us with another entrance fee, just for simply parking the car on the side of the road and taking a couple of pictures. There seems to be entrance fees all over the place in Bali, even on roads leading down to beaches.
Miss Alex’s parents arrived on Thursday and we look forward to couple of fun weeks spent with them, chilling out before we hit Australia.

Speak soon xxx

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Paradise island with the best boyfriend ever!!! xxx

 As Mister Al said we came to Lembogan island off the east coast of Bali on Wednesday. The night before we stayed in Sanur where the boat leaves to come to the island. The place we stayed was horrible, as mister Alex said it’s surprising neither of us got bed bugs the bed felt like it was crawling!! We had a day in Sanur before the boat the next morning, mister Al wasn’t feeling very well so went for a nap while I hit the beach. It wasn’t long until I was interrupted; firstly by a man trying to get me to get a tattoo, he left when I said I didn’t want one but his 2 and a half year old son sat with me playing digging holes and burying feet until I left the beach 2 hours later! He kept trying to talk to me; he must have thought I was a crazy lady with all my “wow weeessss!!!”  Late in the afternoon the beach got swarmed by all the local high school students who had obviously finished school and were hitting the beach before going home. Suddenly I was getting crowds of students around me asking me to have a photo with them. I had all these teenagers stood around me passing their cameras to each other, I felt like a celebrity!! After a while I thought well if they’re all getting a photo of me I want one of them so got one to take a picture of us all!

To be honest Bali started out a little bit shady but as soon as we hit Lembogan island we were sold. We’ve spent the last 5 days in a gorgeous guesthouse for £10 a night right on the seafront where we can hear the waves crashing onto the beach while we sleep. We’ve been looked after so well by the older couple that own it, serving us big cheap breakfasts overlooking the beach. It’s Easter Sunday today, originally we were going to leave today but that soon changed to leaving tomorrow and now, while we ate our breakfast of banana and honey pancakes in the sunshine, we decided to stay another night until Tuesday! To be honest we could easily stay here until my parents arrive on Thursday but we think we need to see a bit more of Bali while we’re here!

We’ve been spending our days really chilling out, walking around the island and seeing how everyone lives here. The main source of income is from the seaweed farms, apparently used to thicken ice cream! Yesterday we hired a moped for the day and got lost round the island. There’s a rickety wooden slated bridge that joins this island with a little neighbouring one.  There’s a point on the other island that is a well known place to jump off the cliff into the sea and also known to be able to see manta rays. We went to check it out but, due to the massive swells that have happened over the last few days, there was no way we were jumping off the cliff. I think if anyone did it yesterday they surely would have died. The waves were enormous, crashing over the rocks and swirling around in the pool below the cliffs. There’s a little bar on the cliff where people jump off but due to the waves over the past few days a lot of the bar has been demolished. There were concrete stools that were sunk in the ground that had been uprooted by the waves and the owner had lost his house on the cliff. Apparently the recent waves have been caused by a tornado in Japan but we haven’t seen any news about this.

Our time here has been fantastic, we’ve spent the evenings going for a run and then sitting looking out at the waves crashing along the beach underneath the sunset while the owners of the guesthouse cook us full fish on a bbq on the side walk. It’s all been a little bit like a dream and I don’t think it could get any better than this, this has become our romantic part of travelling and it’s just perfect.

Plus I’ve never eaten a full fish before but I loved it here it was so tasty!!!

Today we have no easter eggs and we couldn’t find a chocolate bar in the shops on the island but we have found a café that does snicker milk shakes and we are treating ourselves to a chocolate cake after tea tonight!!!

Cant wait to see my mum and dad on Thursday, it’s going to be fun!
Got to go now, the waves are crashing against the sidewalk next to the guesthouse, which is fab to watch!

As always lots of love to everyone xxxxxxxx

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Arriving on Lembongan

Today we landed on the beautiful shores of Lembongan Island, just off the coast of mainland Bali. Miss Alex and i took the 10.30 am public boat from Sanur and battled through the very deep, very long swells over to the island. On approach to Lembongan we both got very excited, it looked like we’d arrived in heaven with 3 to 4 metre waves rolling through. Picturesque cliffs in the distance, waves crashing in against the cliffs and sea mist in the air. The main source of income on this island apart from a secret 12% tax on your meals, is seaweed farms. Literally there are fields of seaweed grown in the shallow surf and local ladies work in the fields all day, picking big basket loads. This place is surfers heaven!! Australia has a place called Surfers Paradise and it must be something special to top this place.
Once onshore, a local man offered us a room at his guest house for a lot cheaper than what we were prepared to pay, in the past we’d have took him up on his offer and probably ended up staying there, regardless of the condition of his room, even if only for one night then moving on the next day, but we’d made this mistake last night and stayed in one of our worst rooms yet!! I’m still surprised how, either of us didn’t end up with bed bugs. Anyway I think we both sensed another crap room and made our excuses and headed off in search of a decent room. We looked at 3 guesthouses right on the beach front and each one got better than the last. Pacific Inn was our chosen destination. Even now as I type this I can hear the waves crashing onto the beach just 10 metres from the room. The room is a cracker.  It has air con, this may not sound much to you as you read this but the walls were concrete. This is a must for me as wooden bungalows often invite unwanted little guests through the gaps in the nucks and crannies.
This afternoon miss Alex and I took our usual first day tour, we both thought a little afternoon stroll to burn off lunch would be a good opportunity to look around the place. 4 and a half hours, countless miles and hills, an hour were we got lost, and 2 cwoffees later we got back to Pacific Inn exhausted. Having looked at the map tonight, we walked around the island in a full loop.
Tea was cooked for us by our guesthouse owner and his wife. Fish slowly cooked on a tiny BBQ right on the seafront, rice and vegetables prepared by the guesthouse owners wife. By time we finished eating our fish, its remains looked right out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, just the spine, tail and a full head, (including eyes) Miss Alex is not the biggest fish fan but even she loved every bit off it. We asked the wife what fish it was and we got the famous “Dime Bar” look. I’m guessing it was Snapper.
Whilst on our walk today I stumbled across a gym, which I ll be hitting hard first thing in the morning. Teach these Balinese how to lift some weights.
Slightly gutted we didn’t bring a couple days more money. The island has no ATMs and our supply only takes us through to Sunday. But we are really looking forward to our stay here on this island.

Speak soon xxx

Monday, April 2, 2012

Goodbye Thailand......Hello Bali......

Our last night in Thailand was spent in Phuket as we flew at 6:45am yesterday morning to Bali. As we had such an early flight we decided to stay close to the airport so went to a place called Nai Yang, 10 minutes drive away.  From our previous experience of Phuket we weren’t expecting much so decided to get the later boat so we arrived at about 17:30. But Nai Yang was lovely; it was a small town on the beach with gorgeous white sand and restaurants on the beach. We enjoyed our last Thai red curry whilst watching the sun set over the sea with me drinking my white wine and mister Alex his mojito!!! The perfect way to watch the sun go down on our end of Thailand. Sadly we then watched Liverpool lose to Newcastle after diner, shame they couldn’t have won in tribute to the end of our milestone!!!

As we were leaving early we wanted to stay somewhere cheap, finding somewhere for 500 baht a night (£10). It was a basic room with no windows and a shared bathroom but we thought it would do the night. It wasn’t until we came back in the dark and realised the walk to our guesthouse was like walking down the red light district (no longer a surreal experience after spending so long in Thailand) but when we turned the light on in our room and it created a red glow we realised maybe we were even closer to the red light district than actually just staying on the same street, we think we were actually in it!!! (check the picture out on facebook, the room glowed red!!!) Only in Thailand!!!!

At 11:30 yesterday morning we arrived in Bali. Our initial thought of it was “oh shit!!” We hadn’t realised how expensive it was!!! But turns out we just got done over by the taxi driver form the airport (£20 for a 15 minute journey!!) who also then took us to expensive hotels even though we told him we wanted cheaper, think he got commission from them. We’ve come to Jimbaren on the West as this is where my parents have booked to come for 2 weeks on the 12th so we wanted to find their hotel and book a guesthouse for ourselves. We’ve sorted a lovely little homestay (what the people here call guesthouses) for their first week and we’ve pre-booked a little lodge for the second week they’re here. Plus we’ve been reassured that it’s not that expensive here; tea last night we ordered 2 cocktails, a water, chicken satays and grilled chicken but what they didn’t tell us that included in the £8 of what we ordered we also got a soup each, salad, potatoes, a big bowl of rice, selection of sauces, vegetables in some kind of spicy sauce, peanuts, and a fruit plate to finish!!!!! This was at a candle-lit restaurant on the beach, amazing!!!!

So with our plans for my parents visit arranged we are going to Sanur on the West today and then maybe onto some islands near by to explore. It defiantly feels like we’re in Bali with the dark stoned temples, friendly people with flowers in their hair and the waves crashing onto the beach!!!!  Think we’re going to have a lovely time here before hitting Oz!

Lots of love


Friday, March 30, 2012

Under water world

On Thursday we went diving!!!! We were going to do our open water Padi course but as we’ve over spent and its been a while since we dived last in Egypt we were unsure if we would use the Padi in the future so we booked to do a morning dive around Phi Phi made up of 2 fun dives. It was fantastic!! So much so that we are defiantly going to do our Padi at some point, as we both will defiantly use it on holidays in the future.

We were up early ready to meet at the dive centre at 7:15 where we were given an hour or so of theory. Our trainer, Cas from Brazil, was an excellent coach. We got on the boat at 8am and set out to the first dive spot. Getting kitted up made me start getting nervous, even though I’ve dived before it feels like ages ago and I couldn’t remember what it’s like. When I had the weights and tank on I could hardly walk. Jumping from the side of the boat into the water was daunting but Cas was dead supportive. When we first got in the water we spent a little while getting used to breathing through the mouth piece just on the surface, breathing through your mouth and not your nose constantly is weird, try it without using your nose for any of it, it’s weird right??!

We then went down, we were told to kneel on the ocean floor so we could do 2 basic skills but unknown to Cas I was getting bitten by 2 fish that wouldn’t leave the backs of my legs alone, I was shuffling around like crazy! We both did the 2 skills required; taking the mouth piece out of our mouths and then back in again, emptying the water out with a kind of suction pump on the mouth piece and emptying our masks of some water. This is the beginning stage of the Padi so when we do it we will have some money off because we’ve already achieved step one! I was chuffed for mister Al, I’d been nervous but mister Al had really wanted to do it but wasn’t sure. He ended up doing fab and loved it J.

Finally we could move away from the biting fish and could explore the under water world. As we are unqualified the deepest we could go down was 12 metres but this was good enough still. We did 2 dives; on the first we enjoyed swimming round the coral getting used to being under the water, we saw lots of fish and right at the end an octopus coming out of a big hole in a rock. We saw it change colour to the background it was against, which was cool. The second dive we felt much more at ease and as we were swimming around I realised why I liked it so much; it’s so peaceful, floating around down there and also it’s really calming that all I could hear was myself breathing, it was cool being able to see the other people I was diving with but not having to talk to them or think of anything to say! On this second dive we saw 2 turtles!!! And a big eel like thing like one of Ursula’s badie helpers in the Little Mermaid! The only bad thing was when I was so preoccupied in seeing one of the turtles I accidently dragged my leg on some coral which was a bit painful for a little while!

When we went to pick up our certificates last night to say we’d completed the first stage of the Padi Cas told us about the dive centre he works at during the summer in Majorca and said that if we don’t get round to doing our Padi while we are away now or if we do it and want a holiday in the future to contact him and he’d sort out some cheap accommodation and some dives for us. We talked about this last night and think we will defiantly be taking him up on that offer for a holiday when we’re home. Its joined a list of loads of other things we want to do when we’re home, which is exciting!!!

We have 2 more days after today in Thailand and then it’s on to Bali. Think we’re going to spend it on the beach, going out tonight and maybe treat ourselves to one last foot massage (we’ve been running loads recently and my legs ache!!!)

I want to go diving again already!!!!!

As always miss everyone lots, lots of love xxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Saying goodbye to Lanta

From Bangkok to Trang on the train was all in all, a long but good journey, it may have arrived 2 hours later than advertised but after 4 months of travelling around  South East Asia, the odd loose snake and broken down boat, this was a breeze. Miss Alex will testify to it being a breeze as the air con was too cold for her to sleep in, me being the hot blooded male it was heaven. As soon as we stepped off the train we had to brace ourselves for the usual clutter of touts ready to offer us our mini bus ticket to Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta was still 2 hours away but we didn’t mind as we were just happy to be back in the South of Thailand. Koh Lanta is one of our favourite places in Thailand. As the mini van driver was dropping off passengers to their destinations and also packages, miss Alex told me she really needed the loo. This confirmed for me that all my pre bus journey toilet stops, to relieve my bladder wasn’t such a crazy thing after all. Meanwhile our mini van driver seemed to stopping at every other shop to drop off another package. The only thing our very own Postman Pat was missing was his black and white cat Jessie!! We finally arrived at our guest house. We’d stayed here before on our first and second visit to Koh Lanta. The Green Garden is a great guest house with basic Bungalows but the location is the deal clincher. The reception area and restaurant/bar hover over the beach on wooden stilts, also private beach huts available to hide from the intense mid day heat.

Whilst back on Koh Lanta we enjoyed a couple of beach runs, miss Alex and me love a good beach run, the only down side to running on the beach with no trainers on is the tiny shells that can fell any man!! So the break dancing moves were back along with a couple of friendly dogs wanting to play chase with us on the beach. These are the same dogs that stood like naughty school boys whilst miss Alex told them off for running along side us on our last visit to Koh Lanta. Its funny really because miss Alex and me love to people watch, over our 3 day stay  we noticed several joggers getting harassed by the dogs.

We decided to hire a motorbike one day and spent the morning driving around the island. Koh Lanta is a big island but still we managed to ride more miles in 2 hours than we did in one day during our last visit. This is progress on miss Alex’s part as I didn’t have the usual screech of “SLOW DOWN” or “CORNER!!!” or my favourite screech, “THERES A CAR COMING THE OTHER WAY” The key to the bike we hired had a habit of coming out of the ignition. I was lucky to see this happen the first time, pull the breaks, park up on the side of the road and find the key behind us in the middle of the road. The bike was still running without the key, by the way. After watching plenty of Bear Grylls the survival expert I (miss Alex really did) came up with an idea of using string to tie the key to the bike so if this happened again it wouldn’t be lost in the road. The string came from miss Alex’s shorts.

The rest of the time on Koh Lanta was spent on the beach chilling out and catching some vital sun rays. We even treated ourselves to an oil massage one evening. 3 times Weve been to Koh Lanta and I can honestly say I think we’ll be back some time in the future. We really do love the chilled out feel about the place.

Now we are back on Phi Phi, this last week we realised we’ve hit a few landmarks. This week marked our 18th week away from home, Yesterday we had 6 days left in Thailand before we bid a farewell to Bali. Also the day before yesterday was the one month countdown to our flights to Australia. Miss Alex and me have talked recently about loving this part of our travels. I personally love every day as a backpacker being a Sunday, we never get the Monday blues!! But I’m so excited for the next chapter. Australia will be a different kind of travelling. We’ll have to work to subsidise our travels and our return home, but I think I’m ready for that now. Were going to miss South East Asia and in particular Thailand but a closed door will always lead to an open door.

Speak Soon xxx