Popular Posts

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.