i can't claim to be a prolific traveller but i like alternative holidays, lying on a sunbed is boring. i want to be seeing amazing things, experience the culture, meet interesting people, be a bit outside my normal comfort zone, do things i've never done before, and if there's a story to tell i want to remember it, so the notes and observations i make on each trip can now be read here by anyone who has the patience.

Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur

November 2016
THAILAND AND MALAYSIA
Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur


It's been 10 years since we first visited Bangkok.  It was our first experience of Asia in 2006 when we did a few days each in Hong Kong and Bangkok and then a week in Koh Samui.  After our first night I think I described it in my travel diary something like "a mad, brain melting, surreal experience".  It was a culture shock at first but one that I liked, the way of life seemed so fascinatingly weird at first but on subsequent trips to similar regions all those sights that were really really weird become more normalised. I never quite recaptured the wonderment of that first clash against my comfort zone but on the upside I think we've become more travel wise, knowing what to expect can help you get more from the overall experience.
Anyway, Bangkok.  10 years have passed and we're staying in a different area than last time with a completely different list of activities we want to try and do so I'm expecting it to seem like we're visiting somewhere completely new.....

31st October 2016
Arrived in BANGKOK

Got to Hotel Trang at night, a bit travel knackered but in need of food so dropped our bags and went straight out to get food and a quick drink.  The well known backpacker tourist area around Khao San Road is ram packed full of bars, food stalls, neon signs and busy full of tourists from all over the world and of all different ages.  Bangkok doesn't attract a particular type of person, it seems to appeal to everyone and have them all mingle together.  Back to the hotel to crash out and start proper in the morning.....
Things I noticed today;
*An array of deep fried insects on 'food' stalls down Khao San Road.  Scorpions, cockroaches, grubs, crickets and so on.  Shame I'm veggie eh?
*Paid too much for the taxi from the airport despite being determined not to get ripped off before we arrived.  they're good at it and they know we're too polite and tired when we first arrive.


JAVA & BALI

 A journey across the island of Java.....

15 October 2015
Day 1

Jakarta, Java, Indonesia

Have got that timid first day polite foreigner feeling.  Despite over charging us the taxi driver from the airport asks if he can keep the change from his fare, obviously I say "erm... Yes no problem, keep it", where as in 2 weeks time when I'm into the swing of things I'll likely be haggling and moaning about the price.  It was night when we arrived but not too late so Bec and me went and found a street food stall at a local market area to get a drink just as an excuse to sit and watch life go by away from the tourist area and hotels.  They didn't understand my English so I asked for a drink by acting out and miming what we wanted which I thought went quite well and avoided the language barrier problem but we were both handed some creamy mashed banana gloop in the bottom of a beer glass with ice and a spoon and a bottle of soda.  We shyly and politely pretended to be delighted and look like we knew what to do with it and paid 22000 Rupiah having no concept of whether that was cheap or expensive (but it's only about £1 anyway).  We sat taking in the street life for a while and had a wander around, it's much like other Asian cities I've been to with food stalls on many of the streets, busy traffic, lots of mopeds, choking traffic fumes and holes in the pavement you will disappear into if you're not careful!

16 October 2015
Jakarta day 2
Happiness is free!

Today was a very interesting day, we went to see the hidden Jakarta, an illegally self built town near the harbour in North Jakarta.  Having been there I don't like to call it a slum tour as some would but maybe a back street shanty town tour.  Whatever you call it, for me it was a very privileged, thought provoking and uplifting experience.

Costa Rica & Panama

A journey through Costa Rica and Panama
November 2013














04.11.2013, San Jose, Costa Rica

We arrived yesterday but a bit too late to go out and do much so we set off out early this morning
to explore downtown San Jose. I wouldn't say there's a lot to see and do in San Jose but I also think it doesn't really matter. The easy going, laid back way of life here seems to appeal to my unstructured approach to meandering around the city. The city as a whole seems very social, there's not the tense urgency you get in most big cities. The streets are very much lived in rather than somewhere to inconveniently dash through. A traditional Costa Rican rice, beans and fried banana for breakfast and then spent a good 10 hours wandering between parks, markets and cafes. Had a nice moment in a tiny little local drinking hole we stumbled upon, it was the kind of place you think "is it wise to come in here?" as you walk through the door. There's graffiti all over the walls and the seating is a bench made of upturned beer crates. There's a few locals in there drinking beer and knocking back tequila, the tequila probably helps them to override the stench of fish wafting through from the markets next door. I flex the full extent of my Spanish vocabulary by asking for "dos cerveza por favor" but then the barman won't take my money because the fella next to me at the bar has decided to pay for me in an act of random kindness. I could see no motive or reason to do so except he was a nice fella and he just felt like it, he turned round and nodded to us, finished his drink and buggered off.

Poas Volcano, 05.11.2013

My only disappointment today was that the volcano didn't erupt while we were there.  Imagine how exciting

Delhi and Rajasthan

INDIA
Delhi, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar, Agra
November 12th, 2012
Adventuring in India with a backpack, a rough plan and an open mind
Day 1 - Delhi

If I said our first day in India included homeless street children, queuing for train tickets, dodging fireworks in the street, getting lost, hassle from touts and beggars and surviving on 3 hours sleep then you'd probably reply "I thought you were on holiday?!",  well I missed out the worst parts, they were the highlights. Three hours sleep was all we had time for when we arrived in the early hours of the morning at the strangely named 'Hotel Cottage Yes Please' but Delhi has a gift for keeping you awake and we don't want to begin our trip by spending all day in bed.....

NEPAL

Adventures in magical NEPAL
Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bhaktapur, Patan and trekking the Ghorepani circuit

Sunday 13th November 2011
yeti sightings - 0, currys eaten - 2
I've been obsessed recently about the possible but improbable existance of the Himalayan Yeti.  Maybe I can be the first person to find conclusive evidence that its not just a mythical creature but so far on this trip the Yeti is proving to be elusive, its early days yet  though and to be fair Doha airport is unlikely to be their preferred habitat.

VIETNAM




HO CHI MINH CITY  15.11.2010
Lost Luggage and motorbike madness

Crazy place! Just had our first chaotic taste of HCMC made all the more crazy by the fact that our luggage is still in Heathrow! Yep, so our first mission was to go and buy clothes to wear and not knowing where to go or how much to pay was similtaneously stressful and enjoyable. We got pulled about in Ben Tanh market and haggled in a few shops which is interesting on your first day when your not used to the money and have no idea whether we're being ripped off or not. I thought we kept relatively calm considering we had only the smelly clothes we travelled in and the contents of my wallet which did cause Bec and me to argue a bit* (*a lot). Singapore airlines did give us some compo of 800,000 dong each to keep us going so 1.6 million then! millionaires? sounds good but i worked it out to be about £50 which to be fair will keep us in clothes, food and beer for a little while it seems.

THE GAMBIA

Adventures with forest monkeys, gunpowder tea, boat trips, crocodiles, tobaski festival, biking and some amazing people
click to read the journal of an amazing trip to the gambia

river gambia

 November   2009
 The Gambia

Sat. November 21st  FIRST DAY
Got here all good no probs, no delays at airport but had the usual scramble with the porters to carry our bags 20 metres to the coach, its easier to just let them- a pound coin keeps them happy and saves the hassle.

FAR EAST

diaries made in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Koh Samui

Hong Kong - Bangkok - Koh Samui

THE FAR EAST DIARIES
December 2006
hong kong
First day in Hong Kong 05.12.06
A mad, brain melting and at times surreal experience. Not made it to Hong Kong island yet, dont even know where it is, we are staying in Kowloon and spent our first few hours walking around the busy streets until night with wide eyes not knowing or caring if we were lost or not.  We have lots planned and will start exploring more tomorrow.....

KENYA

Ramblings from the travel journal.  Searching for big cats on safari, getting lost in Mombasa, biking forest trails and dancing with the locals at Bob's Bar.  click to read what else we found in Kenya....


Ramblings from the travel journal
KENYA December 2008



Day 1 – Monday
Arrived at Mombasa airport. Stepped off the plane to briefly experience some hot hot sun before entering the airport to pay the immigration tax, this took ages as you could only pay in US dollars and nobody had any so it meant listening to people huff and puff but no problem I thought. Bus drove through the outskirts of Mombasa to the Bamburi Beach Hotel where we are staying, the people here are very poor I think, they live in basic shacks and don’t seem to have many possessions or luxuries, I feel sad and also very lucky, as well as having a bit of an uncomfortable conscience driving through to our nice hotel. One other thing I feel is very white, the heat here seems seering and humid especially as we were slipping on ice yesterday in Crewe.

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