A Travellerspoint blog

Sri Lanka- Easter 2012

A little trip to Sri Lanka 1st-14th April 2012.

overcast 30 °C

Day 1-2 2/4/12
We left for our flight to Colombo at 6am from holiday inn heathrow. We were slightly delayed so ended up taking off about 11:20am. After a flight with the most rude cabin crew ever we arrived in Colombo at about 2am. We got a taxi and went to the hotel Nathalyia, not far from the airport. It was fine for our stay for one night. We got up in our own time and went down for breakfast, we used a spoon as a knife which was interesting! I had a bit of cereal and some toast, James was onto the eggs and spicy sausage!! James spoke to his uncle and soon Dilanjan his driver was at the hotel to pick us up. He drove us into Colombo which took about an hour. We got dropped at the Fort and had a wander around. The police station was very interesting as the officers sleep in, so you could see all their bunks in the window. We had a walk round, saw the old lighthouse and went for a coca cola and a cake. Of course I ended up with the wrong cake, but it was chocolate so all good!
After we went to their world trade centre and had a look in the gem shops and went to the loo as the toilet in the cafe was Out of order. From the trade centre we jumped in a tuk tuk and went on a city tour. I love a good tuk tuk ride! I loved the sites, particularly the temple on the lake where I could take lots of lovely photos. We then stopped at various places around the city.
We then went back to the fort area to meet David at the Cinnamon grand hotel, before we met we fitted in a cheeky massage. James went for the back energiser and I had a foot scrub. It was A-Mazing! I felt like I was then walking on air, think we'll go again the day we leave!
We met David and his driver and we drove a little out of the city centre and went to a restaurant called the Bayleaf. David kindly treated us to dinner. J and I both had squid to start and then pasta for main. It was delicious, however the evening was spoilt by those mozzies that seem to love me. At the moment my ankle is all swollen and I have a great set of bites down my leg! We headed back to David's, it took over an hour. We met the dog and cats and the mountains of boxes ready for their move to Bangladesh, I can't believe how much stuff they have. We chatted and went on the net to sort accommodation for next couple of nights and then David generously gave up his bed for the night, it was baking in that bedroom!

Day 3 3/4/12

We got up at 7am and got sorted and David's driver was ready for the road trip to Kandy. We headed out of Colombo and stopped for an elephant ride and we gave Pooja (our elephant) a bath in the river, we scrubbed her with a coconut shell. After this we climbed on her back in the river and went for a short ride. The keeper wasn't impressed with his tip! We looked at the little museum and then got back into the car and drove to pinnewala elephant orphanage. We walked down to the river and were presented with loads of nellies having fun in the river. The baby ones kept laying down and rolling, so cute. We had a drink and watched them over the restaurant balcony. They the herded them up, set off the sirens and then they all walked up the street back to the orphanage, so surreal! We followed them up the street and had a little look around. We sore the poorly ones, one didn't have a full leg and another had sores on his tummy. We then got back in the car and headed to Kandy. We arrived to the rain and struggled to find the hotel...when we did find it they were very friendly. We got a tuk tuk down to the lake area, went to a restaurant and had mountains of food, James had traditional curry and I had noodles. There there was so much! We then walked along the lake, the rain cleared a bit so we went into the temple grounds. It was very beautiful. For 5:30pm we went to the dance show, Kandian dance. It was good, dancing, fire show, walking on hot coals. We then walked the streets of Kandy, bought some Barft (Sri lankan sweets), tasted like barf (sick) as it sounded! We went to the 'pub' and had banana fritters and a drink. We were exhausted, so ready for an early night.

Day 4. 4/4/12

Got up about 7ish and took time getting ready, had a shower and then had some scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. We headed off in Ravi's van for the long mountainous journey to Ella. First we went to the pharmacy to get some tablets for my swollen chankle and then onto the cemetery. That was beautiful. From there to the gem makers where we felt very awkward and were nearly persuaded to buy a ring, it was hard walking away saying 'no'!
I struggled to stay awake at all during the journey. We stopped at a tea factory, looked at how tea is made and the different types. We then had some lunch. Same as yesterday, I had noodles again and James had the curry. It was very good.
We finally arrived in Ella about 4ish, and had a cuppa as it was chucking it down with rain. When the rain calmed down we then went for a walk around Ella, only took about 5mins as its only tiny. We've tried traditional dishes tonight, I had masala thosai with veg curry and James had Chicken koththu rotti. Tomorrow we plan to get up early and walk to mini Adams peak and make our way south to Tissa, ready for the 4:30am get up on Friday for Yala safari!

Day 5. 5/4/12

I ended up sleeping with socks and joggers on as I was pretty chilly in bed. The fleece blanket wasn't enough. Before we went to sleep we could hear gun shots which was pretty scary and then was woken about 3am by howling dogs. We got up just after 7am and had breakfast and then went on a little walk/trek up mini Adams Peak in Ella. It took about an hour to reach the top and was a little risky for me in flip-flops, but I made it! Everyone else walking was wearing trainers or boots. On the way back down I was bursting for the loo, thankfully I made it to the little cafe half way run by a 16yr old boy who liked cameras and i phones! We walked back to our hotel 'sooraya' and got our stuff together and left in the car. First we went back on ourselves to Dowa Temple, carved from rock. 15monks live there and it's 2500years old. We left and headed towards Tissa, stopping at Rowana waterfalls. There were some really cool monkey's hanging around near the waterfalls. On our way there was a huge monitor type lizard wandering across the road. Couldn't believe the size of it, I've never seen a lizard that big in the wild before. It was incredible! We arrived in Tissa about 2pm, got showered as it was sooo hot and then decided to head to Kirinda. We got in a tuk tuk and he took us to a temple, we were hoping for a restaurant as we hadn't eaten since breakfast. Instead we were blessed in a Buddhist temple by karishna, yes, that's right, the Hindu god! The temple looked over the ocean which was beautiful, but it was a bit random and we were starving. We headed back to the hotel in Tissa and hoped to get some lunch. The hotelier sent us to the hotel across the road and we ordered some water, we then decided there was no Sri Lankan food on offer so we left...we ended up with some tuc type biscuits and lemon puffs and waited for the restaurants to open at 7pm...got a little holiday snooze in ;-)
We set off for dinner, with a big language barrier between the tuk tuk lad and us. We drove around the town twice and then reached our lonely planet restaurant recommendation! I had ginger fish and James ordered a selection of Sri Lanka curry. There was loads of food, not enough however to refuse a nutella pancake for dessert. We went back to the room and got sorted for the safari in the morning.

Day 6 6/4/12

We got up at 5am, jumped in the jeep, still in the dark and headed towards Yala. We were driving around a while, we saw a crocodile cross the road, lots of birds, lizards, cows bathing. We came across a male elephant hanging around! We stopped off at the sea for our breakfast back up that consisted of 2bananas, honey sandwiches and 2 hard boiled eggs. The driver told us that 47 people had been killed right where we were during the tsunami. From there we drove away and saw the most amazing scene, an elephant bathing in a lake if lillies, it was wonderful. I was feeling so lucky, what an awesome experience.
On the way out of the park we saw more iguanas and birds. Back at the hotel we got showered and then we were picked up and driven to Unawatuna. On the way i got the driver to stop along the road side, there were stalls selling wicker bags, so i bought 2 bags. I gave the lady her first asking price for the bags and told her to keep the change. The smile that stretched across the young girls face was such a pleasure to see. We arrived at the hotel Flower Garden and we have a nice cabana in the gardens. As it is called 'the flower garden', its really colourful with flowers and plants all around. We relaxed by the pool for a bit and had a drink. In the evening we walked along the road to find somewhere to eat, I had lobster, it was very nice. This was followed by our traditional holiday game of travel scrabble!!

Day 7. 7/4/12

We got up in our own time as we'd had an early morning previously for the safari. We had breakfast, starting with a delicious fruit platter of papaya, watermelon, passion fruit, banana and pineapple. We then got eggs and toast too, I had an ommette and James had fried, it came looking like a pair of boobies! We sat around the pool for a while, it was too hot in the sun though. We met a couple from the Uk who live and teach abroad in Qatar, sounds great...got me thinking again!
We then went down to the beach and had some lunch. We sat right on the beach front, it was beautiful. The waves were coming right up to the restaurant and up to people's sunbeds. A load of people had their shoes washed away which was pretty amusing! We had a drink and then strolled back to the hotel. A couple of hours by the pool and then we went in...but there was a power cut for a while. We got showered and changed, sprayed up with mozzie stuff and headed out. We went to a place called Neptune Bay. I had devilled crab, it was lovely, but a bit of a devil! My lips and mouth were on fire! We had a pancake and another drink and then wandered back to the hotel. We had a little wifi check up before heading to bed...

Day 8. 8/4/12

We had the breakfast of fruit and eggs that I think we'll be getting for 6days, lovely as it is! We came across Trevor and Linda, they were going to find somewhere to snorkel for the day. I decided to go to the excursion shop to find out about seeing the turtle sanctuary, and they were in the shop. Soon we found ourselves going to Hikkadua with them and going on a glass bottomed boat. We got sorted quite quick and at 11am we were on our way. We had to bargain for the boat trip, later to find out the man I booked the trip with was a victim of the tsunami. We went on the boat, saw lots of colourful fish through the glass bottom and then went snorkelling. We swam with the turtles which was truly amazing :-)
We had a bit of lunch with Trevor and Linda and I interviewed/recorded the man who survived the tsunami, an unbelievable story. He spent 2years in hospital. A broken skull, legs, ribs, as he was carried under the wave. He's so lucky to be alive, fortunately for him his family live in land so they were fine. We headed back to the hotel in the car, about a half hour drive and sat by the pool a bit. It was pretty cloudy though and soon it began raining pretty heavily. James was in the pool while I had a milkshake in the dry!!
In the evening I put on my nice long black dress only to find myself sitting in a shop eating 'cutti' off a local food trolley! It was pretty hot, I didn't manage it all. We then drank mojitos in the local surfers chill out bar sitting on cushions. It was very relaxed and the mojitos were fab!

Day 9. 9/4/12

I got up early as the bed is hideously uncomfortable, so I did the underwear washing and hung it out in the morning sunshine, I felt like a local washer woman!
We got sorted and went for breakfast....the lovely fruit platter is losing its novelty now! We hung around the pool, chatting to Linda and Trevor and read our books. We had some lunch in the hotel, we ordered burgers...but they were no ordinary burgers. They were delicious and came with veg, no bun, but tomato and a sauce on top. It was really good. We continued to read and the clouds came, both of us finished our books within about 5mins of each other! We decided to visit the turtle hatchery. It was pretty cool, saw the hatching ground, held a baby and looked at the turtles. One had a missing front leg/flipper. The tuk tuk man then easily persuaded us to visit a local lake, it was very nice, then we ended up on a boat! Easily conned tourists! It was good though, the lake was huge and we stopped at 2 islands. On the first was a man making cinnamon from the trees. It was a tiny island with a little house and he had he homemade canoe so he could get to the mainland. He got the cinnamon from the tree, crushed it and made us a cup of cinnamon tea. It was very nice actually...but we didn't buy it! The next island was a Buddhist temple where 25monks live, we wandered around and saw a very young monk, he's only 7. I can't imagine living away from parents with nothing on a tiny island at the age of 7, bad enough being an older monk. We headed back off on the boat and then onto the tuk tuk and headed back to the hotel. We then sampled lots of different fruits at the fruit stall next to the hotel. We tried 4different types of mango!
In the evening we went for dinner at 'The Villa', we tried the fish curry. It came with dhal and other veg dishes and mango and lime chutneys. We were sat just behind a Very irritating English girl, she loved herself and did not stop talking...so annoying when we wanted a nice relaxed meal! We had a fairly early night.

Day 10. 10/4/12

I got up fairly early and sat outside reading my book...the uncomfortable bed is getting to me! I waited for James to emerge from the cabana...of course, he didn't until he was nagged! When he dragged himself from his marathon sleep we went to the restaurant for breakfast. More fruit and today we chose poached eggs. We decided to have a change of scene so we headed down to the beach. We saw a turtle in the sea swimming around, James went to buy goggles to catch a better glimpse. There was a nice breeze on the beach, but the beach sellers became a bit annoying! Trevor and Linda walked by whilst we were with the monkey gypsy. The man with a small monkey who wasn't doing it for money!...Hummmm, of course not. So, we took photos of the monkey and so did Linda. I thought I'd offer him 50rupees as a gesture, he laughed and said 1000!...£5...cheeky man. We then ended up in an argument as he'd said several times that he wasn't there for money. He said 'your life will change'...we're now waiting for the bad gypsy spell to be put on us!
We had prawn salad for lunch, sat with Trevor and Linda...then as if like its timed the clouds came over. We decided to get showered and then go to Galle. There's a little downs syndrome man in the hotel and he has no shoes. He showed us a note which we couldn't understand, but the guys in the hotel said he wants some slippers!...so the tuk tuk man took us to the shoe shop on the way to Galle and we got him some flip flops. We got dropped off at the Fort and had a wander around, it was a really lovely place. We stopped for an ice cream under a tree as it was raining at the tuk tuk ice cream van and looked in the antique and jewellery shop. I bought a garnet stone (my birth stone). We saw the lighthouse and then had a fish pedicure, James and I couldn't stop giggling to start with! There was some bigger fish, 10times the size you get at home for a pedicure. We continued on as it got dark, it was lovely seeing all the old buildings. Then came the thunder and lightening, we were walking down a pitch black street. I gripped James' hand as I was scared, the wind was blowing, thunder claps and the sky lit up. Thankfully we then came across a tuk tuk to take us back to Unawatuna. The drive back was eventful as we were caught in a horrendous storm. The rain was coming down in sheets and the road was like a river. The tuk tuk man was totally soaked through and couldn't see through his little windscreen. Water was coming through the roof and the sides even though the cover was down. We got back to the hotel safely, however, from the tuk tuk to the restaurant we were drenched! The hotel entry was like a swimming pool, we had to wade through the water. The staff were great and on hand with towels though! We had a delicious dinner in the hotel, they give you starter and dessert in the price of the meal...the tomato soup was amazing and then I had a prawn curry and James had a calamari curry...very spicy, but really lovely. The rain just about died out by the time we finished our dinner, so we decided to go back to the room. We found a big puddle on the floor and a wet bed, the hotel were great and they moved us. Within minutes (not enough time to pack) the little men were waiting at our door to move our cases to our upgraded super deluxe room! We settled in rather quickly and then went to bed.

Day 11. 11/4/12

We laid in too long, being very lazy...the bed was more comfortable :-) James popped down to the surf shack and got a surf lesson booked for tomorrow and I went and got a table for breakfast. Another fruit platter, and today I chose fried eggs...I got tits on toast today! Peppercorns as nipples! We relaxed around the pool until about 2pm when we had some lunch. As we sat down to eat our lunch the ground started to move. It made me feel a bit sick, when you feel really drunk! We watched the pond water move from side to side, it went on for about a minute...we then joked about a tsunami! Within minutes we heard about the earthquake on the radio by the pool, measuring 8.8, then a few mins later mention of a tsunami warning. The hotel manager came round and informed us, telling us we'd be safe. I'd got a back massage booked in, so I went up to that...but he didn't give me the full 30mins as he seemed a bit panicked! We then hung around the hotel waiting for something to happen. Most people went upstairs, but we just sat and had a drink wondering whether we should really be upstairs! A bit strange, but being a geography teacher I was feeling a little more excited than I was scared! The hotel guys all secured mopeds away to protect them and we could hear sirens in the street, and a person speaking on a loud speaker which I can only guess was the evacuation notice. James and I naughtily walked out down the hotel path and looked down the path. We were asked several times of we were safe or needed a ride to safety....tuk tuks, bikes. Everyone was heading away with everything with them. We sat around for about an hour, kept checking the news, but nothing was happening. Everyone started emerging from upstairs. We sat by the pool and then went up to the room. I read my book on the balcony and watched the monkeys. James then said he was going to look for monkeys...I started to panic as he didn't come back for ages and took no phone or anything with him. I was really worried, but I knew he'd be fine. As I waited in my towel he wandered in having been swimming!...relief!
We got showered and headed out when we knew it was safe as the warning had been lifted. We walked down the road, everything was closed apart from one jewellery shop and the surf shack. The guy told James his surf lesson would be cancelled and the jewellery man said that in 2004 he lost 7 siblings in the tsunami...these poor people...
We came back to the hotel for food, I had butter fish, veg and rice and James had a mixed seafood pasta, both very nice. I wanted to get some souvenirs from here, but all is closed and tomorrow is a holiday...not looking good for shopping! The only plus point is that I can save some cash!

Day 12. 12/4/12

We got up to a lot of dampness, no sunshine. We went down for the usual breakfast and then had a wander down to see if any shops were open. There was a few open so we bought a few souvenirs and I got a lovely sapphire ring :-) By the time we got back it was time to check out and settle the bill. We've had a lovely stay in Unawatuna, it's now time to head up to Colombo. Tomorrow it's home time :-(
We went up the new road to Colombo, it took just over 2hours to reach the hotel. It was a very cloudy day. We went to our room, which was absolutely huge and left our bags. We were quite hungry and we wanted to see if we could get a massage like the one we had on our first day. For our last couple of days it was the Sri lankan holiday so lots of places were closed, as the massage place was...bit gutted, was looking forward to that! We went to the mood cafe bar for lunch, although it was about 4pm by then. We then got a tuk tuk to a mall, which was rubbish and most of the shops were closed. On our return to the hotel we enjoyed a milkshake on the chessboard in the gardens. It was really beautiful. We went up to the room and almost fell asleep. We had to force ourselves to get showered and changed for the evening...couldn't be bothered! We did in the end and went down and had lightbites in the garden. Cashew nuts and salad. Then it was time for bed...there was no alcohol being served as it was requested for the new year celebrations by the president.

Day 13. 13/4/12

We got up early ish to make the most of our last day. We made sure we had everything ready as we'd have no room from 1pm.
We went down to a magnificent buffet breakfast, there was so much to choose from, fruit, cereal, pastries, meats, doughnuts, full English, curry, pancakes...although we made a poor effort as neither of us had the best stomachs for eating lots!
After our small breakfast we went and sat by the pool, which also looked over the sea. A great place to be....in the whole trip we'd had a real mixed bag of weather, sun, clouds, haze, rain, storms etc. On our last day was the hottest, it was baking! There was no way we could sit out in the sun. The brolly was up and the shade bathing went well! We had a break to check out of the room and have some lunch. We went to the hotel patisserie and had a wrap and some lovely cake! We had éclair and cheesecake, the Sri Lankan's do well with cakes. I'm impressed! We then went back down to the pool...I finished my second book of the holiday. Well done me on the book front! We moved to the lawn, played scrabble and had a drink. Then a big black cloud approached very quickly! At that point we had a shower in the pool changing area (which was actually better than the shower in our room).
We then waited for David and Shelagh to arrive. After debating going to a restaurant somewhere we found that everywhere was closed because of the holiday. We stayed at the hotel. We sat on the lawn listening to the waves. It's a shame as the service was awful! We waited ages for our food, the Sri Lankan's are very laid back when it comes service! After dinner it was time to leave, David and shelagh's driver dropped them home, we said goodbye and then we continued onto the airport. We checked in about 11:30pm and flew at 2am.

Day 14. 14/4/12

Back to reality!...we landed safely at Heathrow after an 11 hour flight. Unfortunately Sri Lankan airways don't come much higher than Easy jet in my airline rankings!!

Posted by faith8069 12:07 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

The Gambia February 2012

The visit to Penyem Village with Kingswood School

sunny 29 °C

I haven't updated this blog for sometime, but I thought this trip in particular was worth reading about....

Tuesday 14th February

After a very early flight and a flight of just over 6 hours (with no onboard entertainment) we arrived to the hustle and bustle of Banjul Airport (The capital of The Gambia). We got our cases and charity boxes and met with Andrew and Dan, our guides for the week. Andrew is a native of Penyem village. We were all given a fan in arrivals and the students made a lot of use of it on the journey to the hotel. We arrived at the hotel Djeliba within half an hour. The entrance was colourful and it seemed a very friendly place to spend our week. We checked and made our way to our rooms, after a freshen up we walked to Senegambia to change our money and to get some dinner. Most of the students chose pizza (not a traditional Gambian dish!) whilst Mr Tristram chose the local ‘butter fish’. After the very early start everyone was ready for an early night, but the Gambians were disappointed that we didn’t want to party!

Wednesday 15th February

We got up and went for breakfast, it was quite breezy and the sun wasn’t out. So, we cloud bathed waiting for the Village Chief to welcome us to The Gambia. In true Gambian style he was late!...everything tends to take a long time in The Gambia. He arrived and he was introduced. The students then chose to go and explore. Coincidently they strolled upon ‘Par’, a guy running a juice bar on the beach who happened to be from Penyem. He was very impressed with the work the Northampton Trustee Fund (NTF) are doing and equally impressed with the Kingswood Students. The cloud bathing took its toll on Becky Liquorish, as she ended up with lovely red stripes down her legs! The students had a game of volleyball in the pool, there was mixed reactions about entering the very cold pool, but soon there was lots of fun going on. In the hotel we were able to get some culture, with traditional African drumming and dancing. We then went to the Poco Loco beach bar for dinner. The girls ended up dancing whilst still wrapped in fleece blankets as it was a little too windy on the beach front. On the way back home we stumbled upon a rather large stick insect just sat in the road!

Thursday 16th February

An early get up, ready for the first visit to the village. On the way to the village we stopped in Brikama, the last tarmac town before dirt tracks to the village. We had a walk through the market, Kelsie McIntyre was very uneasy and looked horrified at everyday life for the people of the town. There was lots of screwed up faces as we walked through the fish section of the market. We made sure we had all our sweets ready for the children (minties). As soon as we hit the dirt track there was screams from children shouting ‘twobob’ (white person) and ‘minty’ (sweets). Every dwelling you pass there are waves and screams…already it was overwhelming. As we reached the village straight away there was ‘Andy, Andy’ (Andy Butler, the founder of the NTF). It’s amazing that everyone knows of Andy! We pulled up at the house of one of Andy’s first connections with the village. A lady had knitted 100 bobble hats, so Andy gave those out to the family and friends there and delivered them a bag of rice. My eyes were starting to leak as the smiles stretched across the children’s and adults faces receiving a bobble hat. Eleanor Springham an ex student of Kingswood was greeted by a huge hug from the child she sponsors…the tears had certainly set in by then. Already so emotional. We climbed back aboard the trucks and drove around the corner to see hundreds of small children in purple checked uniforms and paper hats lined along the dirt track. We jumped out of the trucks and walked along whilst the children chanted ‘Welcome Andy, welcome Andy’ over and over. This continued right into the school yard as the children clung to our every limb and spare finger. We sat under the tree in the shade and the children just climbed all over us.
At this point there were welcome speeches and we handed over the gifts of stationary and equipment for the school. Unfortunately less than usual as we were denied double baggage by the airline. There was then a tour of the nursery school and the village. Seeing the bee hives and developments that the NTF have done since 2004. Andy was very happy to see the doctor in action as the heat got to Becky and she conveniently and luckily fainted and fell into Eleanor’s arms. Thankfully she had a rapid recovery. We had a lovely lunch of Benechin ( a local Gambian dish), topped with chicken. Back under the tree we were provided with traditional entertainment of drumming and dancing and we were each dragged up to join in with the dancing. We left the village and had a chilly journey back to the hotel. Showered and changed and then we went out for dinner, I sampled ‘Yassa’, a very nice Gambian style curry dish. The students sampled some Gambian nightlife with our guides, they were very impressed with their dancing.

Friday 17th February

A nice early breakfast in a small suntrap with a stray cat that parked himself on top of my bag while I got a coffee! A day of excursions….we set off at 9:30am and went to the monkey park. Some people more enthused than others! I don’t think Mr T was too impressed. But, Ashley’s champagne moment of the day was feeding the monkeys! The were pretty cute, liked the baby ones! From the monkey park we headed towards Banjul, and stopped at the Crocodile Pool. I was very scared at the thought of being around crocodiles, but I was assured it was all safe. This one was down to Mr T!...It started with a very interesting history museum and a large circumcision tree, we then strolled around the corner and there they were. Two crocodiles sat in our path and loads huddled around the pool. We went over and shook the hand of a crocodile, everyone managed it…some with more fear on their face than others! Again, the baby ones looked more appealing!
We survived the crocodile pool, then it was time to survive the market hassle in Banjul. We headed into the market, and straight away we were all drawn in and being asked to ‘look, look, only look’! We managed to buy some great items between us all, and some were better at bartering than others! As we were leaving we were caught in Friday 2pm prayer. The men were rushing around trying to line up their mat on the street. The main street was layered with men praying, it was magnificent to see. A moment I have never seen in my world travels.
Back at the hotel we relaxed by the pool, until it was a little too chilly in the wind. Heading out for dinner, I decided to carry on the testing of Gambian food, this time, fish Damoda…very nice. We went for a little dance, but by the time the 90’s classics had gone, I realised very quickly it was bedtime!

Saturday 18th February- The Gambia Independence Day.

Initially this was the day that we were going to Penyem, but we had to change because of the Independence day. It was a day to relax, the majority of the day spent by the pool and the students going to the beach and the craft market. Andy Butler knows everyone!... David, Andy and I walked along the beach to see some of Andy’s tourist guide friends that he has known for years, before our walk commenced we had a fruit juice at Par’s juice bar and a Mr Kipling Cake! It was a beautiful walk, seeing the horses on the beach, herons, until I almost stood in a rather large carcass! In the evening we went to Poco Loco, but it was far too windy and cold to sit outside. We had some food and then had an early night to prepare ourselves for the next two days at Penyem.

Sunday 19th February

It was an early start for a very important day in the village. On arrival at the village, again greeted by hundreds of children, the tears still trickled down my face as the children were so excited to see us. As we waited in the school yard the teachers gathered together the sponsored children. Gradually each of us walked away with our translator, sponsored child and their family. This was my second visit within a year to the Nyassi family. It was fantastic to see them and they were so grateful for the gifts I bought for them. I was dreading the visit to the hole, aka as a toilet at the school, so I thought I’d go at the family home instead. I’m not sure which was worse as ‘Lala’, the mother of my sponsored child led me into their yard and just pointed to the floor!...and no water to clean the area afterwards! I bought the boys some toy soldiers which they started to play with straight away whilst the rest of the children enjoyed trying on my sunglasses!
Eventually everyone returned after having a great time in their home, it was an even bigger insight into the way the people are living. Gemma Jackson (a sports coach from Northampton accompanying us on the trip) arranged some fun sports for some of the children. Our students and the Gambian children took part in the races. Bean bag, egg and spoon, sack races, all of the children and our students thoroughly enjoyed the races. The Gambian children were totally elated when they received their medal for taking part. The smiles on their faces were just magical to see, and again brought a tear to my eye.
At this point it was time for the grand opening of the new school building. We were all grateful to receive a certificate for our efforts in supporting the village. After a few speeches, Andy, David and I cut the ribbon and officially opened the new building. It was then time to get motivated for the Kingswood V’s Penyem football game. We jumped in the trucks and drove to the football field, the village children ran as fast as the tricks drove down to the field. The team turned up, and was the Upper Basic girls team, all dressed very smartly. Our kit was donated by Long Buckby Football Club (the village where I grew up). The Gambians lined up very neatly and our line was a mess!...then the handshake took place. Due to the heat it was a very short game, joined in defence by a goat, a flying shoe by Kelsie and the first goal scored by Ashley Church. We confirmed our win by a goal by Joseph Dixon. We drove away from the field, the children chased the trucks as we drove into the dust! By the time we arrived back at the hotel, a late meal was on the cards.

Monday 20th February

Another early start, in the trucks for our drive to the village. On arrival we briefly went into the nursery school and then had to tear the children away from us so we could walk to the Upper Basic School. We met with Mr Bah the headteacher and had a tour around the school. We went into a few classrooms and looked at the boys doing woodcarving in the outside woodwork area. He then showed us the only access to water that the school has, which is a well. Currently the pump for the well is broken so they have had to build their own dangerous contraption to get the water out. The headteacher told us that they have no money to fix it. We stood as a group straight away trying to come up with ways to raise the £250 to fix it. Can you help? We then split ourselves up and went into various lessons, our students learnt about agriculture, clothing fibres and technical drawing, whilst I ended up doing some teaching as there was no teacher in the class we visited! The students were just told to get on, but they were doing exactly that!
Shortly after we left the upper school and walked back to the nursery, I was amazed for the second time that 70 2-4year olds were left in a room on their own. I could hear singing from one classroom so I walked over; again water filled my eyes as a huge sense of joy washed over me. Such happy obedient children sang and stopped silent when the teacher conducted the close. Those students who had sponsored children at the nursery were able to allow them to come and eat lunch with us, but I felt a little sad as I hadn’t seen my boy ‘Musa’ as he was at school at the lower basic. We had a very tearful goodbye; our truck was a blurry eyed mess. It was so emotional. As we drove past the lower basic school all the children came running out of the school grounds to the trucks, I was looking in the blue sea of children in their uniforms for Musa. My hope was running out, but then there he was running like lightning after the truck…he called ‘Faye’ and held his hand out to mine. This was the most overwhelming thing as he is such a shy boy and had never mentioned my name before. Our truck was a tearful silence as we drove into the distance.
On the way back from the village we went to Tangi fishing village, the coastal village where the fishermen bring in the fish and the fish are smoked and preserved for transportation. There were mixed opinions on the village, mainly due to the stench even on the approach, but it’s an interesting and must see experience. We managed to relax for a short while before our final meal.

Tuesday 21st February

A rather hectic last morning, due to the unfortunate illness of Joseph. However, I managed to get the local transport mini bus to Serakunda market. It was about 15p return…bargain! I figure you have to spend money to make money, so I bought some jewellery to sell, so we can start over with fundraising again.
As we waited for the bus to the airport everyone was very quiet, sad faces as we didn’t want to come home. We said goodbye to our Gambian friends, as just a few more tears appeared! We headed to the airport in Banjul and were fortunate to check in very quickly. We had a 3 hour wait until takeoff, 6 hours 15 mins in the air, then the drive back home from the airport. A long journey, but we all arrived home safely.

A truly amazing week, and I hope that more students will be lucky enough to enjoy the experience next year. The work Andy Butler and the NTF, as well as Kingswood School is outstanding. However, there are still many children and teachers that need sponsors and money is required for everyday living. Our first fundraising will go towards fixing the water pump at the Upper Basic School.

Posted by faith8069 13:38 Archived in Gambia Comments (1)

Bangladesh and Nepal

August 2008, a short adventure to visit Maeve working in Bangladesh.

all seasons in one day -17 °C

As usual I was having a panic that we'd miss the flight, little did I know that the flight was actually later than I originally thought!

31/7/08
After a fairly pleasant 9 and a half hour flight we arrived in Dhaka. Got through customs and got our bags and walked outside to see Bangladeshi people climbing at the rails of the airport.Bang_and_N..era_005.jpg Maeve was there to meet us and we took her car to her apartment. The roads are absolutely crazy, like bumper cars. All the cars are dented and scratched all over. Maeve had bought us all a camise and a scarf to wear as your have to cover bottoms and breasts in Bangladesh! Bang_and_N..era_007.jpgWe had a sleep for a couple of hours and then got up and had our first taste of Bangladeshi food of Kedgeree and lamb, it was very nice.
We went out on the rickshaw and after going to the glasses shop we headed for the orphanage in Old Dhaka. We got a taxi, which didn't have enough petrol to get there and then we squeezed into a CNG, which then fell down a hole in the road, so we all had to get out and push it out....whilst almost getting run over in the process! Hilarious!Bang_and_N..era_016.jpg
We spent a couple of hours at the orphanage, giving babies cuddles, changing little cotton nappies and entertaining the disabled children. It was really sad to think that such beautiful children have nobody.
We got a CNG back to Maeve's, it took ages and we were followed home by 3 boys which hung off the back of the CNG for several miles. Bang_and_N..era_028.jpgWe got back to Maeve's, had a quick shower and then went out to the Bagha Club for dinner and drinks. Bang_and_N..era_036.jpgWe got back to Maeves and played scrabble...I won by loads of points! Wahoo!

1/8/08

We got up early, I didn't feel to well. We headed for the Radission Hotel for breakfast which i really didn't feel like eating. I force fed myself, as I wanted to at least try and get my monies worth! Bang_and_N..era_038.jpgAfter the Radisson we went to the Bagha club and spent the afternoon by the pool, it wasn't until about 5pm when I started to feel a bit better.
We then got on the rickshaws and went to the supermarket and then to the beauty salon. Rose, Caz and I had a thai massage while Maeve had a body scrub, we had a detox facial too which was awesome. Maeve opened a can of tonic in the salon and it sprayed directly in my face and all over the waiting area, it was so funny!
On the way back from the salon we went for a Japanese, it was new to me, but I really enjoyed it. We dropped by for a drink in the Nordic club, which is the Scandanavian club on the way back to Maeves. I was totally shattered and headed straight for bed when we got in.

2/8/08

We got up early and headed out on rickshaws to meet Maeve's friends and their cars to take us to Savaar to get on the boat owned by 'Friendship' an NGO. Bang_and_N..era_078.jpgWe cruised along the river from 10am-4pm, again I felt ill all the way to the boat, but luckily I felt much better by about 11am. Bang_and_N..era_070.jpgBang_and_N..era_081.jpgThe weather was great until the boat returned and then it absolutely chucked it down, we were drenched running 5 metres to the car off the boat. People in the rural areas around the river really are living with nothing at all.
From the boat we headed back to Dhaka and saw a nasty accident on the way back, a car was underneath a lorry. It's hardly surprising though after the way people in Bangladesh drive. We went for a quick drink in the Bagha club and then went back to Maeve's. We stayed in and ordered pizza for tea and got our stuff ready for the next adventure to Nepal.

3/8/08

We got up about 8:30am and got ourselves sorted. Maeve sent a random man to get some eggs and then we had scrambled eggs before going to the airport. Amazingly for a Biman flight it was ontime, although it did end up being about half an hour late. We got on the Fokker 28 and which was pretty scary as it was such a small plane. The food on board was absolutely horrible!Bang_and_N..era_117.jpg
We arrived in Kathmandu, got our visas sorted and then Mohan was there with the car to pick us up. They greeted us by putting big flowers around our necks, which is Buddhist tradition for good luck. They took us to the Samsara hotel where we were staying for one night and then we went straight out again to the monkey temple.Bang_and_N..era_141.jpg We drove around Durba Square on the way back and then stopped for our first taste of momo's in a cafe in Kathmandu. We stayed around the town and bought some socks and trousers for the trek, and then had a drink and a shiesh pipe in a shiesh cafe.Bang_and_N..era_166.jpg

4/8/08- Up to the Langtang Valley

We got up at 6am and left the room and headed in the car up into the mountains. Bang_and_N..era_187.jpgWe stopped at 10:15am for our lunch...little early and we had to eat Dalbaht.Bang_and_N..era_197.jpg We continued up the mountains until about 3pm when we had to get out and walk for a few hours because of landslides.Bang_and_N..era_219.jpg We arrived in Dunche about 5:30pm, it was raining so we were very wet, but because of no sun, meant no hot water. We stayed at the Hotel Himalayan Legend and Lodge. It wasn't too bad, apart from being a bit damp. I ordered lasagne for tea and when it came it was tagliatelle with onion chicken and bacon, really nice but nothing like lasagne! We headed to bed pretty early, the first of many very early nights!

5/8/08

We got up at 6:30am and had some porridge, which I realise I don't like and then headed on our way just after 7am. We stopped at about 10:30am for tea and biscuits which were much needed! The village wasso cute and so were the people there. We saw all the children on their way to school and then walked through the school. The children were so sweet! We continued walking and then we stopped for lunch and Mohan made us a potato curry.Bang_and_N..era_295.jpg Up until lunch time the weather was nice, but then it started to cloud over.Bang_and_N..era_316.jpg A couple of hours later we came to our place of rest, we had a look around the teeny tiny little village. played with a cute girl that stank of goats, bought lots of yaks scarfs and went to a little monastry on the hill. We had dinner in the tea house, it was a bit chilly, but I had omlette and chips which was great! Bang_and_N..era_331.jpgThe electricity kept going out, so we went to bed about 8:45pm, I didn't sleep too well though as I was cold and the Nepalese villagers were rather noisy!

6/8/08

We got up at 5:30am, had some Tibetan bread for breakfast and then we started trekking. We trekked down hill for quite a long way and my legs started to shake (Shakey Stevens as we called it). I slipped on a big rock and feel down and when I tried to get back up my legs wouldn't hold me so I fell down again. It was really horrible at the time my legs giving way, but I look back and it was rather funny!! From there we had to walk through a fast flowing river and our feet were soaked, there was a beautiful waterfall. We had Dalbaht lentils and rice for lunch. Maeve ripped her shorts so had to sew them up, then we continued....it was up hill from there.Bang_and_N..era_371.jpg There were a few leaches around, I got my 3rd one! Leached!!Bang_and_N..era_357.jpg
It was really hard up the millions of steps, several times I thought my legs might give up. We arrived in Rimche to a warm shower! Yay! We had a shower and then sat in a room with a log fire, it was so lovely. We got our shoes, towels and clothes dried off so it was nice to not feel so damp. We played cards and then headed to bed at the ridulously early time of 7:45pm!

7/8/08

Got up at 6am, had some breakfast and then started walking. We stopped for a cuppa and then it started raining. We waited at the teahouse, but then just had to continue on in the rain as it wasn't going to stop. I'm glad I had my brolly in my bag! We ended up losing our porters as they'd gone on too quick and Mohan was way behind at the army base check point, so we stopped at a little teahouse for potato soup. It was lovely.Bang_and_N..era_403.jpg
We arrived at Langtang, was really damp and spiders in our room. we met some Spanish guys staying in our teahouse too. There was no electricity, so again a particularly early night with the spiders!

8/8/08

We had a little lay in until 7:30am as it was only a few hours walk today to get to our highest point of 3800m. The sun was shining and we could see the snowy peaks of the mountains.Bang_and_N..era_429.jpg We headed off about 8:30am and arrived at lunch time to a rather chilly Kyangin Gumpa to the 'Hotel Super View'....again no hot water though. We were unable to head up to the glacier, as there wasn't much point as it was too cloudy. We sat in the Kitchen to keep warm and then had some lunch. Bang_and_N..era_449.jpgThe lady cooking and looking after us was called 'Keeper', she's so sweet. We put warm clothes on as it was pretty chilly up there, the yak scarves came out!
There was a 6 month festival in Kyangin Gumpa. People were singing and dancing and then men had made bows and arrows and were doing archery. There was four everywhere and many drunk Nepalese people!Bang_and_N..era_462.jpg
We watched the crazy people and then headed back to our rooms. I had a major headache, think the altitude had got to me. We had a knock at the door and Keeper was inviting us down to their festival celebrations. They had pastries, biscuits, crisps, coke, all with yak butter on it....I think that's a sign of wealth. Bang_and_N..era_466.jpgWe were then offered yak curd, I had to refuse it as I thought I could possibly throw up if I was to eat that!! We then ended up staying downstairs and watching the ladies dance...and then I ended up joining in with the dancing. It was a cold, but funny afternoon.
I had tomato noodle soup for tea and we were in bed before 9pm again.Bang_and_N..era_476.jpg

9/8/08- heading back down the valley. Mum's Birthday.

I didn't have a very good nights sleep and was awake early as the villagers were building a house next to our guesthouse. Looking out the window the man was outside milking his yaks....amazing. I had chipati and honey for breakfast, it was pretty nippy in the hills even though the sun was shining.Bang_and_N..era_484.jpg We had a fairly easy walk back down to Langtang, stopping for lunch...tomato noodle soup again. My legs were feeling pretty tired. My calves and my knees were beginning to hurt from the downhill walking.Bang_and_N..era_519.jpg We arrived back in Rimche, although it wasn't quite so pleasant the second time round. We were sharing our room with some rather large spiders. We spent ages murdering spiders with hairspray and deet. Caz and I didn't sleep too well even after moving our beds into the middle of the room. It was raining so hard and we woke in the morning to another massive spider when I moved my rain coat....we just had to get out! Mohan killed a chicken for our tea and cooked up chicken dalbaht and lentils, had fresh bamboo in it too. Latest night, as couldn't sleep for spiders!

10/8/08

Pancakes for breakfast then we headed on our way for the hardest trek so far. We stopped near the bottom of the hill for lemon tea and cookies. We carried on and trekked up hill which was really hard, we stopped in a nice place called Safrubesi for lunch, I had potato omlette. At this point we were all in so much pain, Maeve with broken boots, Caz with a painful archy, Rose just being very good at not moaning and my legs really did want to give up on me. Bang_and_N..era_544.jpgWe walked up some roads, one of which turned into a river...so wet feet again. We then reached the hardest part of the trek and the most challenging thing I've ever done. the steepest up hill and steps, I really thought I was going to collapse. I was lagging behind a lot and was in so much pain, blisters were setting in. I had an opportunity to stop when a little girl wanted a pen. It was great that I had an excuse for a small break! We reached the top of the steps and then it was still about 2 hours unitl we were to reach Dunche. We finally arrived about 5:30pm, it was a very long hard day.....but so rewarding. I can't believe I did it. We all had such sore feet and legs, but we were able to have a lovely warm shower and put some clean clothes on.
We had a late tea and went to bed about 10pm. We had a good chat with Mohan, Depak and Baulo.

11/8/08

Had a bit of a rubbish sleep as there's a festival on in the village so the guesthouse was full and people were very noisy. We rushed out of bed, had breakfast and then headed for the roof of the bus! Bang_and_N..era_569.jpgBang_and_N..era_568.jpgWe should have been picked up by the car, but because of the landslides we had to go about 20km, on two different buses, walking over the landslides. The bus was so much fun, but rather scary. A great experience.
After the landslides we got back in our landcruiser after having fun on the top of the bus with Nepalese guys. We travelled back to Kathmandu, stopping in the same place for curry and lentils as we did on the way up. We arrived back at Hotel Samsara just after 3pm. We had a quick shower and then went around the shops.
We then went to the Everest steakhouse to meet Mohan and his family for dinner.Bang_and_N..era_613.jpg We bought them dinner and gave them all a tip. We left and went to the Shiesha bar, but no Shiesha, so that was disappointing! We had a fair few beers. It was great to get into a bed and have airconditioning for a change.

12/8/08

We all got up fairly early and left the hotel about 8:15am to go and continue our shopping. i got a few presents for people and got a silver chain and pendant and a little jacket. We had a breakfast in a nice little cafe and then stopped for a drink and a cake. I had an apple iced tea...it was sooo good. Bang_and_N..era_624.jpgWe went back to the hotel where Mohan was waiting to take us back to the airport. He gave us each a Buddha and some Nepalese tea. He also gave me some little booties and mittens for Eva. The plane back to Dhaka was delayed by an hour, but we had a lovely piece of pizza while we waited. We also waited with some people from Bhurma that were migrating to the USA, it was crazy they all had their documents in plastic bags, many of them refugees.
We got back to Maeves after being offered an upgrade to business class on the 45minute flight, by an air host called 'Happy'. We went straight out to the glasses shop to get Kenny's glasses and to the pearl and antique shops.
After there we went back, got changed and went out for a Thai meal. It was so delicious, but I got so full so quick.

13/8/08

We were up early for Maeve's wateraid car to take us to the slums. We got the car across town which took over an hour and Rose wasn't feeling too well. We stopped at the NGO office to get some people to take us around the slums. We were greeted by lots of dwellers, wanting to see us. The president of the slums showed us around and showed us the plans and improvements that have been made with sanitation in the past few years. Bang_and_N..era_698.jpgThey were so kind to us, making us feel really welcome and an old lady fanned us, which was terribly embrarassing. This particular slum was built over water, so whenever it rained heavy, people are living in sewerage.Bang_and_N..era_648.jpg
We moved onto another, a project by the PSTC. We went to their office and had tea with the director. He was explaining some of the work they've been doing. Kanise then took us around the second slum, built along a railway line. Most were welcoming and again we saw the plans and Maeve showed us the water pumps and the privacy rooms, of which are shared between 25 families. One lady said in Bangla 'You come here, you look and you do nothing', that was very sad to hear. It's the corupt government of Bangladesh which means NGO's work is made more difficult.

We left the slums and then stopped at Nando's like true westerners! Had chicken burger and chips, it was fantastic!! We headed to the beautitians and we all had a body scrub and massage which lasted 2 hours, it was absolutely awesome.... We went to the International Club for dinner, the Wednesday night BBQ. Caz and I enjoyed some fish. Then it was time to go back to Maeves and pack. Went to bed about 1am for a few hours.

14/8/08
Bang_and_N..era_777.jpg
Up at 5am to get to the airport for just after 6am. we got checked in. Flight on time. 10 hours to get home listening to screaming kids and kids running up and down the isles banging into me. Arrived in Heathrow at 2pm, greeted by Justin and then a surprise of Charlie for Miss Hall.

Posted by faith8069 07:11 Archived in Bangladesh Comments (0)

Back in the Shire!

Settling back in....

rain

I arrived home and spent the weekend catching up with family and friends. Sunday morning I went to watch Becky and Lizzy run at Kelmarsh hall in the daffodil run.Home_007.jpg They both did fantastic, Bec coming 4th woman in the 10k and Hannah was fantastic in the 15 miles completing it in 2hours 20 minutes, so proud of my friends, I feel like I must get fit!Home_012.jpg
I spent most of the week rushing around getting things sorted. Spent time with Fliss for her birthday. Prepared my lesson for my interview, I got the job and will be teaching at the John Cleveland College in Hinckley from 2nd July. Had to take a photo of Long Buckby's beautiful sunset while I was doing my work. Popped into Guilsborough to say hello to everyone, was really nice to see people and some (not all) of the kids! It was a successful visit as I'm now going to be doing 2 days a week supply until I start at JCC. I planned to spend Thursday sorting myself out and getting my room into some kind of order, but I had a phone call at 7:30am and I was in Daventry doing some supply by 8:15am. No sorting for me! I then did supply on Friday at Guilsborough, so still no sorting done! Home_026.jpg
Yesterday I spent the day car shopping. It was pretty stressful as loan companies were messing me around and I couldn't decide what car I actually wanted. By 5pm I was signing on the dotted line....I bought a new Seat Ibiza. I'm now even poorer! I think I did ok though, got a good deal, I had my car geek with me....thanks Alex!
So, continued rushing around as had to get ready for the big girls night out. Nice to see everyone and catch up, although I need to see people more often as once or twice a year isn't enough. Photos are below. Think the blog really does have to come to an end now, but you never know, I might be back with more after Bec's hen do to Spain...another country to add to the blog!
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Posted by faith8069 07:28 Archived in England Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Around the World with Ronald and Blog Uncovered!

Whilst away I had lots of McDonalds and this is my tribute to all the fast food that I ate!

all seasons in one day
View Around the world with Faye & Thailand on faith8069's travel map.

Ronald In Australia
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Bali
Bali_Faye_005.jpg
Singapore
Singapore_Faye_096.jpg
Koh Samui
Phuket-Samui_052.jpg
Chiang Mai
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Ronald seemed to have the same pose in a lot of places which was disappointing, but I wouldn't want to over do it anyway.

There's a few things that happened while I was away that I didn't blog at the time as I didn't want people to start worrying about me. The first week was the worst of all in Rio, I was with 3 American girls walking to get a tram to Santa Teresa when a guy came up and grabbed Leah's head and whipped her bag. To cut a pretty long story short, after 4 police vans arrived and about 30 police officers with massive guns, they caught the guy and Leah ended up getting her bag back. It was pretty scary though, especially in the first week of my trip. The guy is picture below and would get 5 years for taking the bag.IMG_0090.jpg
I heard lots of stories in Rio in my hostel, people having bags and cameras taken. When I arrived in Copacabana about 10 days into the trip to meet my Gap tour group. The guy that was supposed to be leading the tour had been mugged and beaten into a coma. He'd been in a coma for 2 days, the ripped off all his jewellery, including earings...he looked a state. So, he didn't run our tour someone else had to be flown out to do it. When I met my group, one of the girls had had her camera taken out of her hand on the beach.
We went to iguassu and the second night I was there there was a drive by shooting outside our hotel. Luckily we weren't there, on a night out at the time, but walking by in the morning was horrible as there was still a pool of blood, thank god the body had been removed! Two of the girls in my tour group had walked by that spot about 5 minutes before the guy got shot. Lucky...although apparently it was all to do with drugs. We were staying on the border, bit of a dodgy area really.
In Chile, we arrived at a hotel and all went out for dinner as a group. While we were out two girls in my group had their room broken into and had passports and money etc taken. At this point I was thinking someone must be on my side as quite a lot had happened so close to me, but fortunately it hadn't happened directly to me. That was South America and since then I heard no bad stories and nothing bad happened.
I did a couple of silly things. I bought a purse and thought I'd seperate my cash cards out so put my natwest card in the new purse in a different part of my bag. A week or so later I had a panic and couldn't find my card. Emptied the whole of my bag (annoying), to remember that I sent a parcel of stuff home. In the parcel was the new purse that I didn't want to use until I got home!...Silly girl, I was then one cash card down. I managed to refrain from losing another until about 2 weeks before I came home. We flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and then I got some cash out. When we arrived at the hotel my card wasn't in my purse, I must have left it in the machine or dropped it. So, from then on the only cards I had was Ian (by transferring money to him) and my credit card. Lucky it was so late on in the trip.
I managed to lose a few items of clothing while I was away, left a jacket at the skydive centre. I was looking back at some photos the other day and thought what a nice blue vest I was wearing in Rio, didn't remember having it, or that I'd even lost it until I got home and looked at the photo!! I obviously had far too many clothes to miss it. I came back with less clothes than I took.

Posted by faith8069 06:59 Archived in England Comments (0)

Hong Kong

last stop:(

sunny 29 °C

We left our hotel at 6am, unfortunately we couldn't fit in my favourite mode of transport so got a taxi to the airport.IMG_0052.jpg
We arrived in Hong Kong about 1:30pm and got a taxi into the city which was a bit naughty as it cost lots of money!...but with the amount of stuff I have I was about to tackle the public bus service after bruising my arm with my bag on the last public airport bus I got on! Arriving at our hotel was a bit strange, walking into a shopping centre. We squashed into the lift and I almost winded some poor man with my huge rucksack! We made it up to floor 3 where we were shouted at by some man, I was pretty scared and nowhere even mentioned the 'Oriental Pearl Hotel'. Anyway, the guy had us on his list. He went around the corner and I went to follow him as I thought he was showing us to our room, but he turned around and shouted at me and told me to wait. If it wasn't for the fact that we'd booked in and paid I would have walked out. So, it took us to a room...realised it wasn't clean, had a shouting match with his wife which wasn't nice and then he finally found us a room. Thankfully he apologised for shouting, customer service! We got into our room which you can't even swing a cat in, it's like a cabin, but it's fine for what we need it for.
We went out and explored, had a sit in the park for a while and in the evening we went to the famous temple street market. It was full of tack, nothing like the nice stuff that you get at Thai markets. We had something to eat, Ian ordered chinese sausage and rice, which was just as nasty as it sounds and my meal wasn't much better either!
Hong Kong is a huge city and made for people who want to shop, just like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Sydney. So, what more than to spend the day shopping! I phoned Dad for my credit card pin and the picture below is what I viewed when I called.IMG_0067.jpg Well, spent a couple of hours looking around the shopping mall, but soon got fed up as I can't afford Armani, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Cartier, Burberry and every other expensive designer that you can think of! Ian and I sat on some steps to eat a doughnut outside the shopping centre and got told to stand up and move on! We went and sat in Kowloon Park, Kowloon is where we are staying rather than Hong Kong Island. We sat in the sun and read our books, but in Hong Kong you are not allowed to sit on the grass in the park! We sat on a conrete bench by a fountain in the park and I decided to lay down as my back was hurting, a security man came and asked me to sit up. I couldn't believe it, this place is pathetic! We went to a different market in the evening, the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, IMG_0069.jpgfull of tack again and treated ourselves to a meal at pizza express...why not, nearly time to come home and earn money again!
Wednesday we got up late again, becoming a common occurance now. We went to the nice sandwich place in the mall next door and then headed down the road and caught the ferry over to Hong Kong Island. We wondered by statue square which was very unexciting and then made our way to the peak tram station. We got on the tram up to the peak. IMG_0123.jpgThe tram was very steep in parts and as we went up the views were amazing, and even more spectacular when we got to the top viewing point. The only bad thing is that Hong Kong has a haze over it all the time, so the photos aren't great.IMG_0116.jpg Deciding that we'd stay at the top until dark so we could get some night shots we hung around, looked around the shopping centre, sat and had a drink and read our books. We were sat on a bench and I needed a back rest so Ian told me to lay down....yes, you guessed it I got told off again!! Before we knew it the clouds were coming in and by the time dusk came you could hardly see any of the buildings below, so again the photos weren't great. We got the tram back down, that was after having a panic as I couldn't find my ticket and then having to play teacher to all the Japanese people that were fighting like school children to get on the tram. They are so bloody impatient! I was so annoyed by the time we got on the tram, I had to calm myself down a bit! We walked back to get the ferry and then managed to catch the light show on the buildings on the way back over, little gutted that my camera ran out of battery! It was pretty late by the time we got back to the hotel, so we just had a much needed quiet night.Faye_009.jpg
Yesterday we got up late yet again and went to our usual delicatessen to get our panini, we then went to the park and went to the swimming pool. We spent the afternoon there. After we'd got showered back in the room we went out, I bought another pair of shoes, actually lost count of how many I have in my bag now...but Hong Kong is for shopping. Mum, you can feel happy that I've found plenty of things to buy!!Faye_027.jpg Faye_031.jpgWe then went down to the harbour front and watched the light show that they put on each evening at 8pm. It was pretty cool. We went for some food and then for a drink, can't believe it was our last night!
We've checked out of the room and now I am updating my blog..as if you didn't know! We've got a long wait today as our plane doesn't take off until 11:35pm, 4:35pm UK time. Wishful thinking that we might actually get upgraded and have a lovely flight home, but i doubt it. 13hours in BA economy, not looking forward to that! Well, this is my last blog, for now anyway, I'm actually going to miss logging on and telling people what I'm doing with my life! I might have to blog my trip to Spain in 11 days time for Bec's hen do, can't wait!
I hope to see you all very soon, land at 5:30am at Heathrow so it would be nice to see you!!....Mum, Dad and Helen xxxx

Posted by faith8069 05:47 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (3)

Koh Chang

Keeping dry! Back to Bangkok

rain 26 °C
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Well, after the terrible journey from Cambodia, Koh Chang was the place for us to stop and relax for 5 days and get some sun before leaving Thailand. The rain decided that we would be doing that!
Basically the time in Koh Chang was spent, sleeping, cloud bathing, reading, using the internet and having a few drinks with by the beach in the evening. We met a few people on our journey from hell and stayed up chatting to them a few nights.IMG_0919.jpg
We had a nice hut by the beach, it was just a shame that nearly everyday we woke up to the rain and went to bed in the rain. Most days we managed to get an hour or so on the beach, but would watch the sheet of rain some in from the sea and run....most of the time we made it under shelter before we got soaked through!SamuiBangkok2_003.jpg
There wasn't a lot to do on Lonely beach....was very lonely, so we did get a little bored with not being able to sun ourselves.
On Thursday we did role play and Ian was interviewing me for my interview I had on Friday. I spent Friday morning preparing for the interview, it paid off as I got the job!
We left early Saturday morning for our last journey on a bus in Thailand. Everything went smoothly, you'd never believe it. It took 10 hours from door to door, but this was arriving early. So the last journey was the best!SamuiBangkok2_020.jpg
So, we're back in Bangkok. Did a bit more shopping last night and had a drink in the local petrol station (honestly). During the day it's a petrol station and then it's a pretty cool bar in the evening. SamuiBangkok2_024.jpgThis morning we went to the Grand Palace, although we were too tight to pay the entrance fee to see even more temples!SamuiBangkok2_044.jpg SamuiBangkok2_046.jpg The weather's still rubbish so we're just hanging around now. Going out tonight to meet the people we met on the journey from hell and then we leave at 6am in the morning for Hong Kong.

Posted by faith8069 01:16 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Cambodia

Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

rain
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We got up early yet again and set off in the pouring rain to get our bus. We walked to the hop where we booked it, we were told we'd be picked up from there. A guy turned up late, on foot and we had to walk in the rain to the bus...my bag's to heavy for walking!! Finally we got on the bus and then it took 45mins to actually move anywhere and it was nearly 2 hours after that we made it out of the city. It took ages to get to the border and when we got there we were dropped off at a restaurant for an hour, ripped off for our visa and had to buy the food as that was all that was around. Not only that we were told there was no cash machines in Siem Reap, so ten we got ripped off big style for changing some money! Anyway, after getting off the bus we trudged through the border.Cambodia_015.jpg It was hectic and busy and there were lots of people and children begging, it was quite sad. As soon as we got through customs straight away you could see the poverty all around. Cambodia is a lot different to Thailand. The border was crazy, people charging around with huge wooden carts, ad loads of people on motorbikes and push bikes. We had to wait and then get on a bus, which dropped us about 2 minutes away. We then got on another bus to take us to Siem Reap. The bus was small and there was no space for the luggage. They piled seats with bags and then we piled in, it was very hot and sweaty. We were told it would take 4 hours to get there. The road was just mud and extremely bumpy, it was going to be a long four hours. After stopping after 4, we soon realised the 4 hours was going to be longer. After sweating and looking out of the window at the poverty, people sitting in candle light in their wooden huts we arrive to 5* Angkor hotels on the outskirts of Siem Reap. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be staying in one this time! A guy had travelled all the way to the border and back with us, caught up in another scam we ended up staying at his guesthouse as we finally arrived at 10:30pm and weren't about to go out in search of somewhere. We stayed one night and left in the morning.
We got to a much nicer guesthouse, in the town centre and then spent the day having a look around Siem Reap, which is a really nice city. Parts of it have a real European feel...apart from the many children walking around trying to see you things, or one little boy collecting cans and plastic bottles. He was so cute, got 3 cans out of me, empty of course!Ian_Bangko..dia_024.jpg The fashion in Siem Reap is pyjamas for the girls and spider man caps for the boys. People actually walk around all day and night in Pj's!
The evening was nice, I sampled the local Cambodian fish curry which was lovely. Had a couple of Caprina cocktails which brought back memories of Brazil.
Saturday we got up early and got in a tuk tuk (different than that of Thailand, is like a horse and cart, only the horse is a motorbike!).Cambodia_093.jpg We drove to the area of Angkor, first going to the Angkor Wat Temple. It was huge, with a massive moat and just amazing. The expanse of it was incredible, kind of lost for words trying to describe it.Cambodia_109.jpg We spent a couple of hours looking around the temple and got bugged by people to buy stuff. We got back in the awaiting carriage and went to Bayon temple. Cambodia_161.jpgThis temple was just as amazing, loads of huge faces calved out of stone. Think this was my favourite. We then went around a few more temples and the Angkor agricultural site to, Elephant temple, Lepard King and also to Kleang. After our lunch we went to Preah Khan and Ta Keo. All of which were superb and i especially liked Prhom which was in Preah Khan with trees growing through and around the stone. Cambodia_099.jpgIt was a long day as we left at 8am and we walked a long way as well as having our own driver! We had an easy night, although I did stay up until about 1:30am to watch Villa win!
Yesterday we got up early again and got a van to our bus on the other side of Siem Reap. We were told it would take about 5 hours to the border and in total 12 hours to get to Koh Chang in Thailand. It took 7 long muddy hours to get to the border, the road was terrible and as it had been raining (again) the road was thick mud.Cambodia_326.jpg I felt so sorry for the people as their motorbikes were stuck and they had to wade through thick mud for miles, pushing bikes piled with stuff. Even the 4x4's weren't doing very well...might be because they have about 30 people in the back of them! They like to fill cars, vans, buses and trucks to the brim with people. Our bus was full, no seats spare...but no luggage space. It was under seats, on top of people and piled high in the isles...not to safe. Cambodia_339.jpgAfter looking out the window for 7 hours looking at the strange way of life and pigs, skinny cows, chickens in the road we finally got back to the border. We got dropped off, got on another bus to the border, and then had to walk across. No easy process, it took 2 hours! We didn't get into Thailand until 5:30pm. Luckily our mini bus to Koh Chang hadn't gone anywhere! Although we would never do a 4 hour journey in half an hour to get the ferry to Koh Chang! So, we were stuck on the mainland for the night. 11 of us in another min van, Ian and I sat on the very hot engine and we were taken to a hotel near the ferry port for the night. (Was this a set up too!!??) We stayed in the hotel and managed to kill about 30 mozzies before giving up and going to bed! The good news we managed not to get bitten, the bad news Ian is poorly and was up in the night being sick. It must have been the noodles he had for lunch yesterday as that's all we had on the horrific journey.
So, we got up this morning, back in another van to take us to the ferry. Got taken to another restaurant and waited there for an hour, then another van to the port, waited there, a boat to Koh Chang and then another van on Koh Chang. So we were supposed to get here last night and we arrived about 11:30am today. Ian isn't very well and I had to go around looking for somewhere to stay. The 1st place had no nice rooms, I walked up the beach everything was huts falling apart with no bathrooms. Got back to the Nature Village where Ian was with the bags and then a room became available. Thank the lord! We got into the room about 1pm, now Ian is trying to get better. Well, I have to say the last 30 or so hours have not been the best and I've lost my patience several times. Now we're here, it's been raining and isn't looking any better. Don't think I'm moving again for a few days!!

Posted by faith8069 01:21 Archived in Cambodia Comments (6)

Bangkok

Chucking it down again!

rain 30 °C
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We got up early yet again and made our way to the airport in Chiang Mai, got our flight, paid more again for the luggage and arrived in Bangkok about 9:30am. It was throwing it down so we thought we might go to Cambodia, but there wasn't a bus early enough. I managed to bruise my arm dropping my bag as it's near on 30kg now! Too heavy! We made our way into Bangkok in a taxi and then went out for the afternoon. We walked down the famous Koh San Road, which isn't like I thought it would be. I imagined it to be far more lively than it is. We wondered down to the palace but couldn't get in as needed trousers on. By this time it was starting to rain again and I needed a wee! (Just for you Lizzy, I know you like the details!) So, we'd refuse the con tuk tuk, but then ended up getting in one anyway. They entise you in and then take you to shops to try and get you to buy stuff. Anyway, for 15p I got to go to the loo, 4 temples and yes, a few shops...but we didn't buy anything, hence why we think the man just ditched us at a temple! Anyway, after a long wet walk, getting lost and getting into another tuk tuk we got back to the hotel!!
In the evening we went back along the Ko san Road, still wasn't particularly busy and then we stayed up to watch the football. We got talking to a guy from Kenya, he was teaching English in angkok, really interesting talking to him. I ended up going to bed about 4am ish before the extra time of the football started. Ian arrived in on his birthday at 7:30am.Cambodia_006.jpg
As you can imagine ian didn't want to get up on his brithday, he was rough and it was about 1pm before we got out of the room. We got a taxi to the Siam shopping centre which took ages as the traffic in Bangkok is rediculous. I got Ian a present, I had already bought him a market tshirt! I carried a cake and candles with me as I thought we could have a nice lunch, but Ian was too ill to eat! We came back in a tuk tuk and then went out for dinner, i gave Ian his cake then. We then had to sort our stuff out for the move to Siem Reap, Cambodia.Ian_Bangko..dia_017.jpg

Posted by faith8069 00:55 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Chiang Mai

I like it here!

overcast 42 °C
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After exchanging some more books to read Ian and I started our mission of a journey to get to Chiang Mai. It started off with a taxi to the port, a bus to a different port and had we been even a minute later we would have missed it and all our connecting transport! Got on the ferry to Don Sak, and a bus back to Suret Thani. We waited around for 4 hours in Suret Thani, we were told the bus to Bangkok would pick us up from the tour agents...oh no, we were bundled into another tuk tuk and off we went, half an hour later than expected. Our bus left Suret Thani at 7:30pm and having no sleep at 5am we arrived in Bangkok. We got a taxi to the airport in order to get our flight to Chiang Mai...it was the worst taxi ride of my life. The taxi driver was either drunk, or completely crazy! I hope the latter! Anyway, we got to the airport kind of safe and then found out we were at the wrong airport. So, picked all our bag back up and got in another taxi to the right airport. Got there abouy 6am and had to wait until 11am for check in...I did the airport tramp sleeping look for an hour!!...don't worry Mum, Ian watched the bags while he read his book that he couldn't keep his head out of! Finally we arrived in Chiang Mai at about 4pm at a cheap guest house with rooms which was lucky! We rested for a while in our lovely airconditioned room. In the evening we went to the night bizarre and had some more street food, price going down...only 35p!
Wednesday we got up late and then went for some food, we decided to ask a tuk tuk to take us on a city tour. Only it was his own special city tour...he took us to the jewellery shops of Chiang mai and all the handy craft centres. After we reluctantly walked around those places (not in the city)Faye_Chiang_Mai_022.jpg I then showed him the map and told him to take us back to the city! He did! We went to see some more temples, Ian was delighted with that! The weather was scortching, about 43 degrees, that's why we didn't just fancy walking around the city. It rained in the evening, and when I say rained, the heavens actually opened! It was much nicer though, really cleared the air. Thursday we just chilled out and sat by the pool after being lazy and getting up late, the weather really closed in again and it went really cloudy and hot. Each evening we've been to the night bizarre, it's so cool looking around there, see something new every night. We've also been going to a pancake man after our cheap dinner, I asked him for lemon and sugar on Wednesday and Thursday night and he didn't have it, but Friday we went back and he had the lemon and sugar for me!
Friday we went on a one day trek tour, first we went elephant riding, that was really cool.Faye_Chiang_Mai_070.jpg When we were on the elephants one of the others got loose, this elephant was running wild...so guess whos elephant man went to the rescue??yes, ours! So we had no man on our elephant for a while, it was pretty scary, but he was very obedient. We then bought some bananas and fed our Nelly as a treat!Faye_Chiang_Mai_091.jpg From there we went to a small village and met some locals, there was some small children playing in a concrete hut, they were so cute. We walked from there to Maewang waterfall and had a swim, much needed. We walked from there to Kareng village, another small village, the children were running up asking us to buy bracelets, I was soft and bought one, but then they all wanted me to buy one! Faye_Chiang_Mai_124.jpgThe people in the village were all weaving and making scarfs, they were really nice. The coolest thing were the chickens and pigs and the little piglets! We left there and went for some lunch, traditional Thai soup, more rice and fruit! We left after lunch and went bamboo rafting which was totally hilarious! We were going down the river in the rain and then we hit a really rocky rapid!...our raft got stuck while Ian was trying to steer the back and paddle, we were almost in! Was funny! The boy guiding our raft was only about 10, and he was incredibly strong. As we went by all the local people were splashing us...as if we needed that, we were already soaked from the rain and the bad paddling of John! Then what can I say, I just sat in the middle and enjoyed the ride! We left there and headed back to Chiang Mai.
At the weekend, we spent the days by the pool, on Sunday we had Thai massage which was pretty cool. Lady was concerned about my back. It cracked enough though so I think she made it better! We went to two different night markets, both of which were really cool and cheaper than the night bizzare that we've been to the rest of the week! I had my portrait done on Saturdau night, although I don't think it looks like me at all! Ian thinks it looks like Steph off Neighbours. It was quite embarassing as loads of people were watching and then another artist sat down and started to draw me too. So, not sure if the portrait will make it back home. Today we've been to cookery school, which was lots of fun and I managed to burn my hand...not so fun! It's ok though, no need to worry! I do need to worry about how much I ate though as we HAD to eat everything that we made. So at 11am I was eating Pad Thai, at 12:30pm I had my very own Spring rolls and Tom Yam soup. By 2pm we had made a green curry and stir fried chicken with cashew nuts and rice, so we ate that. I was collapsed on the floor about to give birth to something Thai at that point!! We had some different fruits and then at 3pm we had bananas in coconut....I was so so full! Had a good day though, and I'd love to come home and cook some thai food, only thing is there's so many ingredients and at home I won't get someone handing the ingredients to me and then doing my washing up too!!
We packed our bags when we got back, bough more stuff in Chiang Mai, so more money on excess baggage...oh well! We're off back to Bangkok tomorrow, we were going to head straight to Cambodia for a few days but think we may struggle to get all that way tomorrow. Therefore we're going to stay in Bangkok for a couple of nights and then head to Siem Reap in Cambodia about Thursday. It's Ian's birthday on Weds (getting old!) so don't really want to be travelling all that way on his birthday. Heard some not so great reports about Bangkok, so a bit sceptical at the moment, but we'll see how it goes.....
Chang Mai Internet and tours:http://www.travelhubchiangmai.com

Posted by faith8069 03:34 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

Koh Samui

Phuket left well behind!

sunny 35 °C
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We got up and left Phuket in mini van about 7am, we drove in the van to Suret Thani where we waited for an hour to get our bus to the port to reach Koh Samui. Well, we thought a bus would arrive. Instead we got a tuk tuk and squeezed 13 people into it, bags on the roof. Phuket-Samui_042.jpgIt wasn't very nice and I had a dead foot by the time we got dropped off again....and told to wait for another bus. So off we got, and then waited again, until we got a big coach downt to the port.Thankfully when we got to the port we were just in time for the ferry, got straight on board and off we went. On arrival at Koh Samui we couldn't find our taxi man, shortly after a nice thai man found him asleep in his van! So, we got into another van and went to Lamai beach to our hotel. The room was absolutely baking and it stayed that way for the 4 nights we were there. Trying to budget we got a room without a fan. Other than the room, the hotel was great, right on the beach with a pool aswell.
On Friady and Saturday we basically laid by the pool during the day and then walked down into the town in the evening. We've taken to eating at street vendors rather than restaurants as the food is so cheap, less than 50p a meal and it's really good and fresh too. So we've had food and then Saturday night we watched 3 games of football! Joy!! Sunday we went on a trip around the island of Samui, first visiting Mother and Grandfather Rock (photos I will not publish!) and then onto a monkey show.Ko_Samui_019.jpg We got fresh coconut and watched the monkey climb the tree for coconuts. Then the sariest bit was holding the monkey!...I have a bit of a forced smile as I thought he might bite me or something! Ko_Samui_026.jpg
From the monkey show we went to the Khunaram Temple where we saw a mummified monk, it was horrible, had been mummified the way he sat to meditate over 20 years ago. Ko_Samui_029.jpgWe then went to some waterfalls, we walked for about half an hour to get to them and I have never sweated so much. It was so so hot. When we got to the falls, they really weren't very impressive, so the sweating really wasn't that worthwhile! Seeing the elephants and the littel playful gibbon where we got dropped off were much more satisfying! the gibbon was so cute, he just kept jumping around allover everyone, his face was so sad when we left!Ko_Samui_049.jpg
From there we went to Nathon Town, had some lunch and a little walk around. There wasn't too much there apart from a few shops. I bought a lovely big sunhat, which is already getting annoying to carry around!
We then went to see big buddha, and big it was! Ko_Samui_075.jpgOutside the temple was a pile of bricks, you could donate some money and write your name on a brick to help fund building the temple. So, Ian and I wrote our name on a brick. Our last stop was the Plai Laern temple, a big huge statue with lots of arms,Ko_Samui_087.jpg the area was in water with thousands of catfish in it. They were all coming to the surface for food. When we visited they were also in the process of building a huge laughing Buddha. The temple was really beautiful.Ko_Samui_090.jpg In the evening we into the town back to the food carts and then watched the Villa game, why can't we win!!

Posted by faith8069 22:20 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Ko Phi Phi

Phuket

overcast 32 °C
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We left Krabi and just aboard this strange open bus and bus surfed down to the port to get the boat. There were hundreds of people jammed onto this tiny boat to go to Phi Phi. It took about 2 hours to get there,and the 2 hours weren't very comfortable. We arrived in Phi Phi, found a room and then a little man put our bag on a big wheely thing and took them to our Up Hill Cottage. Sounds more special than it was! We were in the tsunami evacuation zone, so at least we were safe.IMG_0437.jpg Phi Phi is just like a little island village, small tourist resort with shops, restaurants and bars. There was a lot of construction going on there and seeing the pictures of what it was like after the tsunami, they've done well to get it looking like it is so fast. We went for some food, sat on the beach IMG_0400.jpgand then for a couple of drinks to watch the football...great! Met a couple of Villa fans in the pub who live right next to my Grandma and Grandad, which was random, small world!!IMG_0429.jpg We went to bed and were woken at 4am by the loudest thunder I have ever heard, it was so scary, I wondered what was happening. I thought the building was going to fall down! The next day the weather was beautiful and we had a wonder around the town and then sat on the beach for the afternoon, it was really hot. In the evening we met up with Kaz and Nikki who we met in Krabi, had a few drinks and watched some more football!
Monday the weather was pretty dull but we booked to go on a boat trip. Kaz and Nikki decided not to go because of the weather, but we had to as it was our last day on Phi Phi. It turned out to be a good day really as it would have been too hot if the sun was blazing. We first stopped to see some monkeys and did a bit of snokelling, I sat out the first snorkel as Ian went in and said it wasn't great. We then went off in the longboat to Bamboo island, we threw rice at white crabs and watched them carry it along the beach. I went snorkelling and got a little scared as I was surrounded by thousands of small fish. Everywhere I looked or swam they were there. I soon got out of the water, but went back in to combat my fear! We cruised then to the north of Phi Phi Don, the island we were staying and jumped in the sea for a snorkel. The coral and the fish were amazing, loads of colourful fish and one which was huge. I got a bit freaked out by the long tailed black sea urchin with illuminous orange eyes, I was scared it was going to prick me! I was getting so close to the coral and the fish, it was great. From the really good snorkelling we went to Phi Phi Lay, this is the island where 'The Beach' is filmed. We went by some caves, which people had set up home in.IMG_0451.jpg The sea was crystal clear, it was beautiful.IMG_0491.jpg We took a little walk around and did some more snorkelling which wasn't even close to being as good as the last place. We watched the sun go down and cruised back to Phi Phi Don.IMG_0519.jpg It was a good day out, great to do some more snorkelling. We went for some food and then chilled for the evening.IMG_0438.jpg
Left Phi Phi, the man wheeled our stuff down to the port and then when we got there it started to pour with rain, we made it just in time! Only got a bit wet. The boat to Phuket was far better than that from Krabi, it was actually a proper ferry. We arrived in Phuket later than scheduled, but got a van to Patong Beach. Arrived at a hostel and luckily managed to get a room, I didn't fancy wondering around in the rain trying to find somewhere. We had a walk around Phuket and my first impressions weren't very good! It's really touristy and full of retired men and common people! (to put it nicely!) It's expensive too, which is not how Thailand is meant to be. When it stopped raining we sat on the beach for the afternoon and stayed and watched the sun set. The evening in Phuket was even more bizarre, it's very hard to even put the place into words. People joke about old men with Thai girlfriends, well we sat outside a bar in Patong beach and just watched the world go by. Phuket-Samui_036.jpgCaberet shows, lady boys, thai boxing and white men walking down the street with up to 3 Thai girls on their arms. It's crazy. We sat at breakfast this morning and apart from Ian and I there were just single guys in there or with their Thai lover, I just can't understand it. I'm actually getting very irritated by it all, I don't know what's worse really, the ugly white men with the girls, or the sad Thai girls. Anyway, I would only recommend Phuket to people just to see the strange goings on, otherwise the place is not nice. It's like being in Magaluf, but a lot worse! Thankfully we're leaving here tomorrow, I can say this is one place I won't be coming back to! The one thing that is interesting is the photos around of the tsunami and how this place was destroyed, you'd never know it had happened. Tonight I'm sure we'll spend the evening in disbelief again watching all the strange people (I don't know, maybe I'm the strange one here!). We're leaving here at 7am to go to Ko Samui on the eastern side of Thailand.

Posted by faith8069 22:42 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

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