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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