Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Only 3 days away...

So I'm back off on my travels... decided it was time to check out southern central asia, and based on the fact I studied India in my third year of uni, have always wanted to go, got time of work, a sweet travel deal, AND Jenny my friend to come with me, off I go... The plan is to have no plans!

Initially we fly into Mumbai at 3am and just muddle our way along from there, things to think about now... tickets, passport, visa, insurance... check, packing, money etc etc... not check! Lots to do before I leave!

India... here I come!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It looks like asia, it feels like asia but it`s not....

Its Japan.. and its expensive! Arrived here at 1pm today and went to withdraw some $$$, how much for 1 day I wonder... 10,000Y around $230 NZ sounds do~able in fact sounds like a lot... the smallest amount the machine gives out is a 10,000! Imagine that in NZ, no no 20`s 2day only 200!

Armed with my 10g`s I jump on the subway to my guesthouse, and in between lunch, accomodation, dinner and a little frivalous spending, 7,500 gone! nearly 180 NZ! Cant beleive it, inet at airport $15 per hour! Wow... this is not the asia I know!

My guesthouse is $50 per night, dorm room share with 5 other females, I have the floor mattress, next to the window, its a little cold, the place lacks decent heating but does have a warm shower, only $7 to borrow a towel! haha Not to matter though its not full!

Head out to find somewhere to eat, apart from your standard convenience stores on eevry corner all I can ssem to find is Diana love shack, and Be mine beer house... hmm wondering exactly whih part of town I had gotten myself into I find a cute little place with yum pictures outside, rock on in...KONICHIWA... blank faces.. well not exactly, but it was a korean restaurant!

Just where I`ve come from! Never mind food was great, people lovely and I could practice my korean... which is coming along nicely! However we had a misunderstanding at the hot drink stage, I guess hit chocolattu didn`t get thru instead i got a strong black coffee! Doh just when I was wanting to sleep!

Never mind, it has given me a little inspiration to write this and now im off to bed, up early to wander to a temple and get lost somewehere in tokyo, before hitting a plane to OZ...

Am definately looking forward to being home, travelling has worn me out!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

South Korea - Welcome to winter

Arrived in South Korea, only to land from 30 degree weather in Cambodia, to be told by the captain well folks its a chilly -5 outside this morning! Waaahat? crazy! Snow on the ground, wind chilly as, I quickly found my bus, and settled done for a snooze.. this was not to be unfortunately as an awesome indian guy jumped on next to me and insisted on chatting the first 2 1/2 hours!

Eventually I made it to Daegu, and met up with Ed, who insisted this was the first time it had snowed like this... but I think really he just never got up before 3pm to know!!! First thing we did was set out on a walk to a lake just behind ed`s house, it was nearly completely frozen over, and the wind chill so cold my lips got stuck together and started bleeding when I tore them apart :(

Luckily ed`s neighbour lent me his big wooly jacket and Daph from Cambo lent me a ski jacket so I at least had something!

That night while ed was at school, he teaches between 4pm and 10pm, I had a quick snooze and then after work we all went out for beer... not just any beer though this is a yard glass of beer! With a refridgerated table to put it in and a built in drinking game.. hit the button and wher the light lands you drink.. pretty simple until you`ve had a couple of thos yard glasses!

Also a breathalyser... normal with ~~ eyes.... drunk with ^^ eyes... and danger with @@ eyes! Ed blew danger staright away!

So with all of us at danger stage we hit the kareoke!....

Buh Bye Cambodia...

Wow packing was a mission! I didnt realise just from staying in this room and having kubes not with me to carry half my luggage actually how much stuff I have, although it was easier than daph who had 8 months of things to sort!!!

Made even harder by the fact that we had both gone out for a final night of goodbyes before starting packing and our 5am wake up to leave by 6!!! Around 3 stumbled into bed and jumpped up and made a final batch on pancakes before waving goodbye to svay rieng again.

Goodbyes are always hard, I had a final lunch with my khmer family and will miss them a lot again, although I didnt stay with them this time because they had a fully set up house and I didn't so much feel like crashing with my sister! Next to say goodbye/mend friendships was the hairdresser people, the lady on the left in the yellow is the owner, then her niece and nephew in spiderman suit, next to me is Sothea who is what the khmer people now as gay, and nz "trans" basically a guy who wants to be a girl and dropped outta school early to work in the hairdressers, he/she is amazing at hair and styles and who I was hoping would have cut my hair! Next is the actual witch who did it! Poor lady i really embarrassed her, so went back for a final straighten and to make amends before I left.

Final day consisted of rush rush rush, straight from hair to Lekena's house for an amazing lunch her and her mum cooked for Daph and I, it was typical Khmer food loc lac, basically fried beef, lettuce, tomato, onion and french fries eaten with rice - delicious!

This is Minnieroat, Lekena, Pi (lekena's mum) after lunch before Daph and I had to zoom off to Reda orphanage to catch the kids before they went back to school.

And at REDA again, with some of the kids, it was so wonderful to go back and see all the kids many of them in my mind looked significantly happier than when I first arrived at REDA, all were better dressed, better housing and I think better fed. The only one child I was worried about is Sokha, who is the slightly older girl in the picture, she is the only girl aged 13, the other 2 girls are 5&6, her friend who was the same age as her had to move bck to the village to live with her aunt, so unfortunately sokha is on her own, and I think very lonely.

From REDA kids, to NZ kids, this is Hannah and Lucas who are Shane and Gaylenes children, the NZ family I was staying with, I taught Lucas how to play dodgeball, and Hannah is very arty and right into mozaics.

Final English class, I didnt actually do any teaching this time as Daph pretty much had it covered but it was nice to return and see some familair and new faces at english class, which has expanded to nearly 80 students, sometimes we thought the floor might collapse, people sit outside if there are not enough chairs, its amazing!

Yay, for Borey and Thea who are two of the best english students and Borey like a little brother to me, stayed behind afterwards to say goodbye and then came back first thing in the morning for my pancakes and to wave goodbye!

After final English class, about 30 of us went out for desert, so we decended upon this poor little desert shop completely took over and ate rice and ice, jelly and other weird yummy khmer deserts, these girls are mostly around 16-17 but have amazing english considering they have not been learning for that long!

And my final and saddest goodbye to the IT crew again, Smooch on end in the black singlet I saw quite a bit and although he has not kept up with english class still makes awesome company and heaps of laughs hes such a joker! Next to smooch, is rathana, who I saw a lot and his english is really improving, always so friendly calls me 'girl' and won't stop smiling whenever I see him. Pisey dissapointed me this trip we used to be best of friends but I hardly saw him at all, and when I did see him, he hardly spoke to me, hasnt kept up his english and seems to be more into boozing than studying, but hey boys will be boys! Next is baby sey, who has now got a job and kept up his english so is doing really well for himself we def got closer this trip.

The two guys missing are Sambath, who I saw just briefly and is not allowed out so much, and sothun who is awesome still best mates with him, he even got up early to see me off, many tears and will miss him jong ngoap!

Final goodbyes in PP, Michael and I, (my alaskan peace corps girl) we joked you know I probably will never see her again, but hopefully one day I make it to alaska or her to nz, will be amazing to have her!

After saying goodbye to Michael went and met up with a girl Thida who I am friends with from svay riend but has moved to the city to study banking, we drove along the river front and I took some final snaps, went and had ice cream, took some asian photos and that was it.... I was outta there!

Jumped on my plane from PP international/domestic slash small airport! It was a crazy cheap vietnam airlines flight, people were chatting on their cellphones right out onto the tarmac, hopped aboard the plane smelt like cigarettes... as we were taxing off down the runway, someone stood up to adjust hand luggage and a cellphone rang... awesome! Plus no security screen, which meant when I reached Vietnam got straight through to the intl terminal with liquids in my bag and no one stopped me!

Stopped at Ho Chi Minh - made it, hungry as though I thought I might get fed on the plane but no such luck and a small soup with noodles was close to $10US!!! So found a small dark corner and tried to sleep the 3 hours til my connecting flight to Incheon, Seoul South Korea!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The New Year, welcome 2009.

Making my way out of Thailand caught this huge boat with loads of people on it and tried to sit up the front to watch the movie or at least not get the rocking motion, unfortunately this did not work so well!

But made it onto the luxury bus... where the seats recline 2 inches further than the standard bus and it is a requirement to provide you with blankets as they blast the air con at 15 degrees, and drive through the night arriving BKK at 4.30am! on jan 30... wondering if they would charge me for 2 nights me and a fellow traveller set off into night to look for open guesthouses, all were full, or very $$$! So we settled on one, that was going to charge us for 2 nights, or make us wait until 6am check in, but after some gentle persuasion, 1 night agreed upon and i threw myself into bed with a nasty cold!

Next day had no dramas at airport and flew back to Cambo, where I cleared immigration no problem and fought of the vulture taxi drivers, hopped on a moto and went and met daphne for new years eve! Alas arrived at the hotel only to have the price of my moto ride significantly increased! oooo I was so angry, didnt pay and stormed upstairs!

Daph and I went and grabbed dinner, and settled in for the night watching the pirates of the carribean trilogy, until i fell asleep at 10pm! So missed welcoming in the new year, but had an enjoyable night all the same.

Back down in Svay Rieng, been trying to quickly tie up loose ends and see everyone before I leave, a new restauarant had started up so I met up with Terri and her boyfriend but (pronounced like it would rhyme with put) for dinner, as well as heading out with my IT friends and watching copious quantities of dvd's with daph, reading lots of great books and booked my flights to korea, japan and back to nz! Because Im flying standby still not exactly sure of my return date yet.

And then....  the worst day ever.....

I decided that it was time to get a haircut, its that much cheaper here and i know a lady who does it and should be pretty good.

When I arrive at the hairdresser, she wasnt there, and so I settled on just a wash, but she arrived and I thought I would explain to the other lady exactly what I wanted... "just a little... a tiny bit off the end please oh and please shape around my face..." 

Sweet as it was that easy, she starts combing it down, and then picks up a fine tooth comb with unbeknown to me a razor! CHOP from my eyebrow length down to the very back of my head, I now have a short fringe and a pointy feathery type layering style all down my head! Chop goes the other side, I burst into tears, tell her to stop. and leave.

This is the result, it dries, curls and poofs up everywhere! - something straight out of the 80's!

On closer inspection of my fringe and my straightening irons out I am able to see the extent of the bad cut, and exactly how uneven it is!

With a few bobby pins and many hours later, I realise that I will just have to make the worst of a bad situation!

Immediately after I got home i needed a distraction, so grabbed my xmas present, my skipping rope and did 1552 skips! and have been paying for it with seized up calf muscles ever since.

So the next little while consists of preparing myself to leave in 4 days time, buying presents and updating blog!

Also have a special mention for Miss Caroline Jackson, and her winning the young designers award, Congratulations!

And on a sadder note, RIP Jim Ertel, much loved father of two very good friends of mine, David and Emma and their brothers. Also best friend of Chris, my nearly father. Best wishes to the family and friends and everyone involved.

Love and Kisses 


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thailand - BKK to Koh Phangan aka Party town!

Arrived in Koh Phangan from the bus ferry combo extremely shattered! Made it through the taxi drivers and found the bungalows Logan and his friend Manuel were staying at, unfortunately they were all full, so wandered down the beach to 'Charm resort Bungalows', where I checked in for the discounted rate of 330B a night (approx $17 NZ) so quite pricy given I only had a bucket shower and toilet!

First night out we went to Haad Rin the party beach it was unbeleivable! Just people everywhere! And cheap drinks and signs saying "Fucking cheap Fuck buckets" or "Cheap Fuck buckets, get pussy" or something equally as crass as that, selling these buckets with a hip flask of vodka or spirit one red bull concerntrate and a can of soft drink all for about $5!

Partyed on the beach til around 3.30ish when we stumbled home, and slept most of the day away! I did lose my shoes on the beach also though for some reason Logan and I thought it a good idea to go for a 1km jog! Upon return no shoes! But I bought some fairly gross black ones the next day for cheap so no biggie, except that I also left my sunnies on the bus and my soap in the gusthouse DOH!

2nd night I decided I wanted to go watch some Muay Thai kickboxing specially coz they had some international acts. It was so intense! 8 rounds and about 6 of them were knockout, it was crazy to see.

After kickboxing Logan and I decided to head to a shiva moon party, basically a random area in the jungle all decked out with UV lights and a dj and a bar charging way overpriced drinks, and lots of drunk people... the minute we walk in a thai guy approaches us and says pill pill pill? trying to sell us some ecstacy or something, and then again about 1min later another one approaches us, and so it went on all night, until i decided that i was bored and needed my beauty sleep, so we descended on my moto down the tricky dirt road and thru giant puddles, but made it back ok.

Logan and I and the party.

Some of the crazy UV stuff the put up, also a lady came around and painted my arms in UV paint some shiva symbol of peace or something I think.

Our moto ride home.

This was my beachfront bungalow location and it was mint, well the setting not so much the room. For a lot of money you could rent the treehouse, but really just living on the beach was enough!

To entertain myself during the day I decided to go and check out kiteboarding, for a mere $1500 I could get 3 days of lessons! Decided against it and thought I would go check out wakeboarding something i can actually do and will not need lessons... even still for 15mins, or three times of wakeboarding I was looking at $150, and an hour was going to set me back close to $350, so I also bowed out of this option, given the weather was not great either.

In fact it rained nearly every day I was there, however I did manage to get out up to the top of the island one day and sat on the end of the pier, thinking wow this place is beautiful and i wished i had of had someone to experience it with!

This is me looking out to NZ, just sitting staring!

After this, I drove around the western part of the island and stopped at a promising waterfall called Wang Sai, "most beautiful scenic tranquil" or something to that effect in thai-glish... so parked up my moto and began trotting up the path. I had heard about these giant centipedes which if you get a sting are in complete agony for days but never thought I would encounter one, it was about as long as your thumb to little finger hand span and i thought had well over 100 legs!

Luckily I avoided it and it avoided me... so I continued on to find this waterfall, and then after a few precarious climbs over rocks, there it was! to be fair it was a little short of one of the worlds great wonders, but nice all the same and very peaceful as I went around 9am, no one else was there.

Next and final stop of my tour around the Island was a bay called Haad Salad, it was the most beautiful place on the whole island, gorgeous beach, nice accomodation, yum food, and awesome friendly people. Stopped here for lunch, and then zoomed back round to the south coast where i was staying for my final night of partying.

On the last night on the island hooked up with an English girl and a couple of guys and Logan and I went out and drank away the night, all good until i realised how early I had to get up the next morning to catch my 2 1/2 hour boat to the mainland, then an overnight bus back to bkk! 

A combo of feeling hungover, tired, and the a/c on the bus freezing I managed to catch another cold, and so spent a final miserable day in Bangkok before flying out that night new years eve back to Cambodia.