Sunday, 24 August 2008

"If you think Thai foods good you should try Malaysian"

We have now completed the treacherous journey from Thailand to Singapore. I say treacherous, it was actually very easy considering the lying planet told us stories of peering Toms, brothels disguised as hotels and general harassment in Malaysia. In some areas of Malaysia we did feel rather uncomfortable with the constant staring. And one day when I walked to get my washing a man asked me if he could have me. Rank!

From Thailand we went to Lang Kawi in Malaysia then Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, then to Singapore where we are now. Melaka probably being my favorite, reminding me a bit of Mexico.

The Thai food was really good but then we got to Malaysia, where the food was even better, especially the curries. Also the chicken rice balls and Cendol, an iced coconut dessert, although it would have been better without kidney beans.

Today we took our very last long haul bus journey here to Singapore, I think if I added all the bus journeys up from the last 6 months it would probably be at least a weeks worth of travel.
Oh how i'll miss those meat coolers on wheels.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Flying Spiders

Arrived in Thailand, to humid, busy Bangkok. Me and Briony were suprised at how un-hassled we were by street venders, commenting that Turkey is much worse. Which was true until Tom arrived and suddenly every man and his dog wanted us to use his tuk tuk or come to his bloody taylor. They must have seen his friendly face and knew he would stop and listen, unlike me and Brionys "piss off" faces. So we spent quite a lot of time standing on street corners waiting for them to off load their problems or latest fake t-shirt to him.

We decided as we were in Bangkok that we should go to a ping pong show, you have to really dont you? Yep they manage to stick a lot up there thats for sure, and one part of it was basically live sex on stage, where I spotted a lot of pink faces english guys rushing out with their hands firmly in their pockets. I think we were all a bit disturbed, or at least pretended to be :)

We spent 2 nights in Kho phangan, where we rented a jeep to get round the island. Now in Kho Samui, where our bungalow is right on the beach. Iv never been in such warm sea before, its more like bath temperature until your in the deep bit.

Toms photos are here:

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Elevator Music

We're back in Sydney after traveling right up the coast to cairns, 3,500 km all together. The greyhound was pretty good without too many delays.
So after travelling such a way I thought you would notice a big change in scenery, after all our flight back from Cairns was 3 hours which is how long it takes to get to Turkey which is a total change from England.
Well it was hotter, more humid, but apart from that there wasn't much of a change, I guess some of the trees were different too. But the houses and buildings are really plain, and I actually miss pretty, old buildings in England.

As for the culture thing....what culture, Australia could have been 'created' 50 years ago and you wouldn't know. The Aboriginal culture is ignored and denied as far as I can see.
In New Zealand we were always being told nice Maori stories, about the waves in the sea, being a giants heart beat and Maori women creating sand flies to keep the people away.
I learnt Maori songs at the school and colours. If we went to the pub, we'd get talking to Maori's and they loved talking about their culture.
The Aboriginals keep to themselves, someone said to me that the Maori's had been more naive when Cook came along and believed that they would get a fair deal, which they didn't but at least they dont get the sort of racism now that the Aboriginals do. The Aboriginals knew Cook was up to no good and stayed away, but maybe it's better that they can still have their tribes and keep away from the western culture now. Sure some of the Aboriginals you see are alcoholics or tramps but I dont know what the Australians expect, im sure they'd be alcoholics too if there babies had been taken away from them.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Bobbing The Briny

We had a brilliant 3 days, 2 nights sailing the briny sea of the Whit Sunday islands. The Snorkeling was amazing, with the fish just swimming around your face and the coral being all pretty.
Everyone on board was really nice and included one guy from Brighton (who wasn't particularly sociable) and two guys from Guadalajara in Mexico who were really nice and couldn't believe I had been there.

One night, I woke up, (no the Irish man hadn't come back with a vengeance) but I found myself up an unused staircase with a door at the top leading out to the deck. I was very confused, it was pitch black so I stumbled down to find my bed (top bunk) I had to switch the light on to get back into bed so I couldn't work out how I had made it down in the dark without waking the girl underneath me up AND got up some stairs.
I never sleep walk, trust me to have my first go on a boat in the middle of the South Pacific, I'm just glad I woke up when I did. I didn't think much of it at the time but in the morning I was like "oh my gosh!!"

In Cairns now, which is very grey and humid, flying back to Sydney on saturday morning.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Bad night g'day

So after having a very bad sleep I woke up and went to put my washing out, but the lovely guy from last night had taken it out and already hung it on the line for me.

We then all headed out to the Bushtukka pampering tour, which involved a bush walk seeing spiders, lizards, lots of trees and caves etc. Then we got to a beautiful beach and had a swim and got covered in mineral mud.
The tour guide was very into his conspiracys about sun block giving you cancer, UFO's and the end of the world in 2012, I just though it was the bloody olympics!
I had to hold my tongue abit, some of it was so stupid.

We got back to the hostal,ate lunch then got picked up by 'Chopperoo'. A tour on choppers, which was so much fun. The flyer said "licence needed but no need to show" perfect! So we all chose a chopper (mine a nice Auzzie flag number) and head out on the highway, looking for adventure. For $50 we got an introduction and 3 hours on the road driving round Agnes waters and 1770, stopping at a pub for wedges and a nice sunset.

When we got back to the hostal, the owner gave me dinner and free drinks and money off my stay, anyone would have thought he had pissed on me!

So it ended up being a really good day, and I would recomend this hostal to anyone!

Rain drops keep falling on my head

Sometimes you get to a hostal and it feels like home, cool bananas was definetly one of these with cosy out door seating with candles and a fire, some good raggae beats and a long haired hippy cooking nutritious $5 meals every night.

Everything was going well until I woke up at 4am and could feel and hear something dripping down on me, once i had woken up properly I realised what it must be, being on the bottom bunk means gravity takes its course right on down.

I waited for the mini Niagara falls to stop (which took a good 5 minutes) and climbed out of bed, knowing i would get more wet if i made a dash for it staright away. With one very wet side, I shone my torch at the guy above me, hoping he would have a leaking 2 litre water bottle next to his crutch. No, this was some drunk Irish mans piss all over me! I didn't really know what to do so I woke up Briony and Becky for some moral support.
Which they gave saying nice things like "Oh my God your so calm, I would be FREAKING OUT!"
One of the house keepers was up and he was so nice, putting my stuff in the wash and taking out the matress etc.

He woke up the guy who firstly said "oh fuck" followed by "this isnt my bed, i just got into it"
How thick does he think I am?? Apart from the fact his sleeping bag was soaked. Briony set him straight.

The hostal chucked him out so when I walked back in the room he was packing, I kind of expected him to be on his knees begging for my forgiveness, nope nothing....he literlly didnt say anything. As he left the room i said "thats it piss on my leg, then piss off" then i realised it sounded comical and just laughed, didnt have the effect I really wanted. At least he had to do the walk of shame with all 3 of us glaring at him.

I didn't know you could create so much pee, It had gone through his sleeping bag, his matress, me and my matress. It got on my PJ top, trousers and even my pants, I have never washed with so much soap!!

So in the end Briony kindly let me share her bed, as the hostal was full, and i dont no what happened to the pee man, I almost felt sorry for him...almost, actually no he didnt even say sorry he deserved it.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Sunny side down

Briony and I are really starting to get this traveling buisness, the first sign was when we get to a new hostal, we would always have a good rummage of the free food/stuff shelf. And it always made our day if we found something good. I was very happy with my half full, rather muddy bottle of contact lense you know how much that stuff costs??

We realised that a good way to save money driving round the south island would be to buy a thermos and make our own tea and packed lunch, we looked like little old women sitting there with our cups of tea and our easy on the teeth jam sandwiches.

Said our goodbyes to everyone in rainy Wellington which was sad and headed to sunny Sydney. Went to Byron bay, which was really nice, walked to the lighthouse and saw more dolphins and about 6 whales, which was amazing.
Today arrived in Surfers Paradise and are hastily leaving tomorrow, its what I imagine magalufe-or whaters like with big towers blocks of hotels. Yuk!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

"If you don't go when you want to go, when you do go you'll find you've gone"

After leaving Motueka last week, well after running out of battery and having to jump start the car, we set off for Fox Glacier.
To get to the glacier we had to first walk through rain forest for about an hour, and then once on the ice you feel like your in a different country. Its really strange how you can see rain forest, glaciers, mountains and almost sea all in the same place. We had a group of about 15 with a guide and apart from that the ice was pretty much empty.

We picked up some hitchers and made our way to Wanaka, a very pretty ski resort, then to Queenstown where we did Milford sound, which is actually a Fiord but when they discovered Fiordland they didn't know the difference.
Milford was amazing, with mile high mountains going straight down into the sea. I think the best bit was the dolphins though, really close, swimming alongside the boat. Funny how you forget the main attraction once you've seen dolphins, what fiord?

So one of the hitchers turned out to be a bit of a psycho telling us (if he had a girlfriend) he would never let her go traveling. Me and Briony were kind of shocked and wanted to know exactly how he would stop her, apart from chaining her to the kitchen sink. Jeeeesus no wonder he hasn't got a girlfriend! All was explained when we found he'd just got out the army. I thought he was a bit intense. Another weird thing about him was how he'd stare at you and just carry on when you caught his eye, really scary especially in the rear view mirror.
He's really put me off vegetarians!

Got to Oamaru today, where we went and saw blue penguins, very cute. Unfortunetly we couldn't take photos as the flash hurts their poor little eyes.

Heading up to Christchurch tomorrow to meet an old Wellington friend.

A sweet Kiwi film is 'worlds fastest Indian'.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

On the road again

On Friday me and Briony and Rachel got the ferry to the south island (where we saw dolphins and a whale on the way) we spent a lovely few days on Susie and Kev's farm. We did lots of farmy things such as milk goats, go to the market, eat goats, herd sheep, watch make goats cheese, bread and eat lots of yummy homegrown, organic vegetables. I miss having someone tell me what was from the garden as I ate my dinner, although it was more like what wasn't from the garden.

We decided the cheapest and easiest way to get round the south island is by renting a car so we have our very own (for 3 weeks) Mitsubishi lancer, which has electric windows and power posh. Unfortuently i'm the sole driver but Briony does a very good job of feeding me cashews and pointing out the way.
The roads are so easy here, you barely see anyone and if you pass a farmer he's so excited he does a little jiggle on the spot and gives you a cheery wave, us english were very confused and just thought he was crazy until others did the same.

So on monday we drove over the windy mountains to Takaka where we visited Farewell Spit, which is a big sand dune, like a desert where we got lost. I paniced a bit as I just couldn't see how we could get out without walking for days and dieing of thirst, every point in the distance seemed to take hours to walk to and over every hill was just more sand. Anyway we made it and even had time for Pupu springs on the way home.

The scenery driving around is amazing!
We're now back in Motueka ready to do the Abel Tasman National park tomorrow.

Brionys photos are here: if you want to see more of my ugly mug.

Friday, 16 May 2008

The kids arn't alright

I am now back in Wellington and last week started working at 'I-Kids' a pre school, one class is for 3 month to 2 year olds and the other for 2-4 year olds, which is where I have been working. I think the parents are rich business types, well thats the only excuse I can think of why they would leave there children in a pre-school for 9 hours a day (a lot of them anyway) I mean what is the point in having kids?? Some are tiny babies, poor little things.

So I can't work out whether the children are all little brats because they have never been taugh morals and how to behave because there is only so much the teachers can say do or whether its because they are all spoilt by their rich parents.

I dont remember the kids at Steyning pre-school biting (drawing blood), fighting, throwing paint pots at childrens heads and shouting back at the teachers. Not to mention the constant crying!

Either way it's made me decide that the only way forward is to bring up kids being poor, then they might end up being nice, yay no more career worries for me!

Oh and its made me realise I definetly don't want to be a primary school teacher, wow this trip is making me realise all the things I don't want, maybe it will be a process of elimination.

Other than that I am staying in a hotel, posh huh, well not really i'm staing in an eight bed dorm room which is costing me $19 a night. Which as you can imagine, im really popular in, getting up at 6 or 7am every morning :)

Had a really good night out in Wellington friday, It was one of the guys im staying with last night, Wellington on a friday night is so cool, really packed out with good musicians on the streets playing jolly music. Friday nights are so much better when you've been working all week too.
Last night the english were teaching the others english sland while we got taught Hebrew by an Israeli. Iv never met an Israeli before, he was very good at the english slang too, saying "she is well fit mate" in a London accent.

Something else I have noticed about NZ is how crap the news is, I mean im sure you know im not one to sit down and watch the news every night but when I heard about the earth quake in China, about 3 days late I decided I should. well, I had to sit through 10 minutes of news about the biggest cow in england to finally hear about 1 minute of news about thousands dieing in China.

So all's really well here apart from catching a cold off one of the slugged nosed little brats at school.

Briony arrived here ok, at the moment she's doing the north island bus trip while I work.

Going to the south island on the 30th May, staying with Susie and Kev for a few days and then traveling the south island for 3 weeks before departing New Zealand :(

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Gin is spelt with a G, not a J... erm Maddy Gel is also spelt with a G....

I am now a full time apple picker! Its nice to be in the great New Zealand outdoors but it is quite boring and I am eternally grateful to my ipod. The annoying think about apple picking is that you have to concentrate to a certain level so that you don't slip off the ladder, pick a bad or unripe apple etc but it's not a level of thinking which keeps you entertained and you can't really think about anything during the bad apple thinking. My boss has already told me to pick them more carefully because there were little finger print bruises all over loads of mine. So if your in Asda in about 7 weeks and you see NZ 'pink lady' apples, they will be from my orchard and if you see ones with funny bruises on them then I probably picked them!

On the Orchard we have a Brazilian who likes to sing all day which is really entertaining and a Cheque (or is it Check) who askes me really funny questions, the English are a bit of an alien race here (Hastings) so I get many strange questions such as:

"Is it true you put vinegar on your chips? Oh my god that is DISGUSTING!"

"Is it true you put eggs in hot water (poached) you are crazeee"

"Whats better, English McDoanalds or NZ?" to which I replied "Well I havn't eaten McDonalds out here so I wouldn't know" ...."Whaaaaat? What DO you eat?"

"So what did you parents say when you said you were coming out here on your own? They must have been really mad?"
I think he must have thought I had really awful parents for letting their vulnerable DAUGHTER out of their sight, he really couldn't understand that I was perfectly ok, he seems to think NZ is really dangerous.
The low point of the week was getting thrashed at ENGLISH scrabble by two Germans and a Dutch guy, about 10 times. JESUS! And I have a horrible feeling the Argentinians are on the case tonight.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Things that go bump in the night

I hope my photos have explained what I have been doing because I have lost track. I am now back in Wellington after having an amazing 2 and a half weeks exploring the north island. I cant quite believe how much I managed to pack into the time.

Staying in hostals is not for everyone, although I really enjoy it- strange things happen, and sleep is not always possible. Oh and who invented metal bunk beds!?
One night consisted of, a girl being sick in the bathroom for hours (shared by our room of 10) we managed to find other ways to brush our teeth and all went to bed. We got woken by some very loud, harmonious singing at about 2am. It sounded like a very jolly group of south Americans but they were singing our national anthem, this went on for hours, they were in the dorm opposite so nothing could really be done. I finally got to sleep with the singing apearing in my dreams.
At about 5am I could hear Carly screaming "theres a man in my bed!!!" I turned over and thought she must be having a good dream. But sure enough there really was a man in her bed, a strapping Maori guy, half naked.
She pushed him out of bed and he stood there for a few minutes looking dazed, everyone shouting at him. He then just sat back down on her bed.
Dara, a nurse from Scotland was having none of it and marched him out of the room, locking the door behind him. He wasn't even from our dorm.

Another sleep filled night was in Auckland, when 2 of the lads I was sharing a room with came back and got into bed very loudly. They then realised they had just missed an oportunity to get laid so put the light on, got re-dressed and scrambled around trying to find their key, I then had to get up to give them my key. And spent quite a long time explaining why I didn't want to come with them.

In River valley where the dorm had around 40 people in, all sharing massive bunk beds, the public school boys got a bit excited and started throwing spaghetti around, Poor Carley got an apple thrown at her head (she's the one with a man in her bed)
I dont remeber it being this bad in Mexico, although I do remember Jamie saying he had a near miss by choosing the top bunk rather than the bottom, when a girl got wee'd on.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Kia ora!

On Wednesday night we went to a Maori culture night, this included the bus to the Maori village, an introduction ceremony, a look round their village, a haka and singing. This was the highlight, the dancing was really intimidating and the singing was amazing too. We had a huge, delicious, Maori feast where we could eat as much as possible (for the travelers anyway)
The traditional way of cooking food is underground on volcanic rocks with earth covering it. Also a goodbye ceremony, and even the bus home was entertaining. We had to sing lots of songs including 'the wheels on the bus' where one of the choruses was "the driver of the bus has no li-cence" we also had to pretent to be rownig the waka (maori canoe) the whole evening was really good!
We went for a drink at the hostel bar when we got back where I got ID'd, Iv never got pissed off about being ID'd before but when you have traveled half way round the world by yourself buying a corona seems kind of out of perspective.

Had a dip in the boiling Rotorua hot baths which was nice and relaxing, I couldn't handle the 42 degree one for long though.

I am now in Aukland, when we arrived the bus driver was telling us what was on offer, his first tip was "the best thing to do when you get to Aukland, is to leave Aukland".
I decided I would make my own mind up but I think I have to agree with him.
My Northern trip seems to be going far too quickly so I decided to book a bus trip up to The Bay of Islands for a few days. This is seperate to my Kiwi Experiance one.
Went out clubbing with a few people from my hostel last night, the night life is better than the day life.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Tongariro crossing

I am now in Taupo, central to the north island and famous for it's giant lake.
Today i got up at 5.30 and went on a 18km walk, the bus dropped us off at the bottom of the hill and we "tramped" and sometimes had to climb over volcanoes. The terrain was changing all the time and it was VERY hard work. One part is called the Devils staircase and their not wrong about that! The volcanic, bubbly rocks were everywhere and you could really imagine how it all formed. We walked over the crater which was yellow and sandy. Unfortunetly the weather was quite bad for a lot of it and the clouds made it harder to see the amazing views, i think it would be stunning when its sunny. It's actually where parts of the lord of the rings was filmed. All the volcanoes are still active so you had that funny egg smelling gas floating around.
It reminded me of woodcraft because everyone was kind of trailing after each other and then we stopped and had a packed lunch, i could also see who's personalities were like those of woodcraft, old enthusiastic hippies at the front, and the moaning "why did we come on this walk" white trainer wearing types.
It was supposed to take 8 hours but our little group did it in 7 yay!

I'm off to Rotorua tomorrow for a night of Maori fun and have a relax in the natural baths.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Good Vibrations

I survived the 4.6 earthquake that shook the land last night. To be honest the sensation reminded me of when your upstairs at the bookshop and a lorry goes past, where the windows rattle and the house shakes a bit.

Yesterday we caught the cable car up to the botanical gardens where we gazed at trees, sniffed roses and drank a nice cup of English tea.

Rachel and I went into Wellington on Saturday night, which reminded me of a European country (or any country other than England) where everyone was sitting in the streets being jolly, all night funky cafe's and dancing to buskers playing Bob Marley. It was very relaxed and al fresco.
Part of the wellingtons art festival is an installation where massive lights shine on a building, you stand in front of them, and the distance you are away from the lights depends on how big your shadow is, this kept us entertained for ages. One couple got really into it and kept thinking of funny things to do (photos on flickr).

Iv also visited the beach this weekend where I got rather burnt, not realising how hot it was.
Hope everyones well xxxxx

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Stuck in the middle with you

Im here! Wellington is lovely, very varied from one bit to the next and its sunny! Had a day of wandering and window shopping.
My flight was fine, I was sat next to a nice, rather geekey astronomer from bolton. I couldn't quite work out if his stutter was neres. He did say it was the longest flight he'd been on, that, and the accent i had to do quite a bit of smiling and nodding. To my right i had a couple who didn't talk, we were right cosy all there together.
Views flying over Sydney and New Zealand were amzing, I saw the opera house and sydney harbour bridge then the masive mountains of the south island.
Off to cook macaroni cheese now, you can tell Im missing home