Thursday, 31 May 2007

Scones, Cream Tea and Monkeys

"Tea and scones old chap? Splendid idea old fruit. All rather civilised what what?"

"My God Cecil, there seems to be a lot of monkeys in those trees, I'll fetch my rifle"

Perenthian Islands, Malaysia. Pulau Kecil.

Sweets with a comical name. Always a classic.

Sunset on Ko Pha Ngan

Why does cross dressing come so naturally to us these days? Lesser men would be worried.

Feeling self satisfied about having not been ill so far is always a dangerous game to play. You're just tempting fate, almost willing it to try and make a dent on your health. Well, that is the foolish game I played and have been rightly repayed with an infection of the intestines, how's that for a good smiting? A bit over the top if you ask me but then maybe it's my dose of the Aborigine curse as well.

Anyway, as you see from the top photo we've been living the high life, like all good Englishmen (and Canadian ladies) should. Ridiculously over-priced tea and scones at the top of a hill over looking Penang, just like the "good" old days when the colonial rulers would sit high above all the peasants below and wonder which plot of land to buy next. Splendid.

The reason we donned ladies clothes (again) was that we are now on Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand and while we were at the beach yesterday were told of a cross dressing pool party. Possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity, and a good excuse to make tits of ourselves, how could we say no? Although, when we got there, there was in fact hardly anyone at the party or it was closed or something. Either way we carried on to Haad Rin, the party beach and turned up as a group of about 12 male and female transvestites, greeted by the stares of lots of those stern traditionalists who choose to dress in clothes of their own sex.

Right, that's your lot for now, I need to finish on t'internet, I've been leaking money the last couple of days like a rusty bucket. With lots of holes in. Which leaves me no time to shed light on some of the disgraceful stories of events that have occurred over the past week, but hey maybe one day you can buy me a pint and I'll keep you entertained with stories of other people's alcohol induced misfortune...

Monday, 21 May 2007

Almost 6 months

Above is a map of the world. Click on it and take a ganders at the distance we've covered so far. It's a lot. Especially when you consider that Australia is like a normal country but stretched like plasticine to about 10 times the size it needs to be. Which means it takes ages to get anywhere. Still, I think someone said that the getting there is the best part of travelling. Obviously they hadn't spent 12 hours on an overnight Greyhound coach from Sydney to Melbourne but there you go. I'm sure they were just trying to be profound.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Return to Asia

He made it!

Sir Thomas Stanford Bingley Raffles surveys Singapore. I wish I was called Sir Thomas Stanford Bingley Raffles
Joy Juice. Leaves itself open to all kinds of innuendo but I'm not that crude, obviously

Laura makes us sew bags together and sells them to rich tourists. Or here's us sewing Canada patches on our bags

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil

Quite simply, a massive beetle

The Cameron Highlands

Just before we left Australia, a Didgeridoo guy plays 4 at once at the night market in Darwin

So, it's been a while since we began in Malaysia, almost 6 months ago but we are back with a vengeance. We've had a few days in Singapore, where we picked up some fresh meat, Tom and Laura. Now we're back in Malaysia on our way North to Thailand in time for the Full Moon Party in Ko Pha Ngan on June 1st. That promises to be a fun night...

So, at the moment we are in an area called the Cameron Highlands, an area famous for acre upon acre of tea fields. You can go to one of the tea plantations and eat tea and scones, how rather awfully lovely. Talking of eating, now we're back in Asia I can eat like a king again! The good old British pound and un-balanced world economics ensure that I can get a massive noodle soup or curry for less than a pound. Sweet.

Nick's more or less recovered from the Aborigine curse now, he is still wary of what can happen if you upset them though. Let that be a lesson to all.

While in a city called Malacca a couple of days ago we went fishing at a local commercial fishing pond, which was a new experience for me. Firstly because I've never done much fishing. Secondly because at 6pm they release a load of fish into a massive pond and then it's kind of a race to catch them because there are only so many in there. I say race, although that implies speed, and this lasted about 3 hours. In which time the local guys next to us caught all our fish. I blame the bait. Or the weather conditions. Or the fish.

Also, back on food, had a meal in a restaurant called Capitol Satay, where you choose a selection of different skewered foods and then dip and cook them in a massive vat of boiling satay sauce in the middle of the table. There was such a variety of skewered stuff that I couldn't even tell you half the stuff I put in my mouth but I could tell you that it tasted good.

Next we're heading for Penang, then the Perenthian Islands off the North-East coast of Malaysia as we have decided that Tom is so pale that it scares little children. ('Do they have sun in England mummy?') The Perenthians are your standard, run of the mill tropical islands with white sandy beaches so we'll bum around there for a few days I should think, maybe do some snorkeling if such a whim takes us.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Nick finally gets herpes

Australia wouldn't have been complete without it really

Every now and then Nick got a bit delirious, he might have just thought this was another fun ride at Movieworld on the Gold Coast.

Ok, firstly this blog might not come out right because everything is in Japanese and I am going on memory as to what each button does.

Either way, we've finished Australia with what some might call a logical conclusion after just over a month of partying our way up the East coast. From the pictures you will see Nick ended up in hospital! Unfortunately it wasn't herpes as the title may have led you to believe, that would have been much too funny.

Instead, it was a rather powerful case of food poisoning that meant Nick hurling up just about everything in his body and a midnight trip to Darwin A&E. We have decided that it was probably some dodgy bread that we requisitioned from our trip to Ayers Rock as shortly after eating some of it and noticing that it tasted a bit odd, Nick then spotted some yellow mould on the next few slices. The wise man say: Only thing worse than finding a worm in your apple is finding half a worm.

As we waited in the reception of our hostel with Nick slumped on the floor most people naturally assumed he'd had one too many, I put them right the first couple of times but after that it seemed easier to let them look at him disdainfully. He doesn't remember much of this anyway.
So, after a course of drip treatment and all kinds of injections, Nick was discharged at about 7.30am and given a bus ticket by a helpful German doctor and is now on the road to recovery with a week's worth of antibiotics.

So, the lesson here is not to take inappropriate pictures at Uluru or you will get the Aborigine curse. So far all that's happened to me is I lost some deodorant, which is mildly irritating but not worthy of hospitalisation. We didn't even climb the rock, who knows what would have happened if we had. (They strongly advise you not to as it is sacred to the indigenous people and so deemed disrespectful. Yet at the same time a handrail is provided to anyone who does want to. Hypocrites). We might have sprouted feathers or contracted leprosy I guess.

Thursday, 10 May 2007


Reminds me of the views over the Solent. Honest.

How many shades of blue can you see there? Have a good look...

I think this is called a Goanna. Either way, big lizard thing also sums it up

This would be a picture of a turtle if it hadn't ducked back under the water. It's ok, I saw a couple up close when I was scuba diving so they were a bit 'last weeks news' by this time anyway

Whitsunday Sunset. Maybe I should stop taking pictures of sunsets but they always look so good. Especially from a yacht off the coast of Australia.

Even the moon looks good

This has nothing to do with the Whitsundays, it's just for the comedy value.

Been a bit behind on my blogging recently, not because I have been getting to the internet any less but because we've been cramming so much in since we left Melbourne. I'll get some pictures of the Whitsunday Islands up soon, can't at the moment but when I do you'll probably hate us anyway. Leppard has already threatened to beat the smug smile off Nick's face when we get back so we'd better watch our back for any menacing looking eco-wenches.

We spent 3 days and 2 nights sailing round the Whitsundays on a yacht called Summertime, about a week and a half ago, so technically this blog should come before the red centre one. Our boat was captained by a guy named Chris and 'first mate-d' by a Kiwi called Harry who told us an impressive number of obscene, offensive and utterly immoral jokes. E.g.
"How many babies does it take to paint a wall?
Depends how hard you throw them".
That is one I could put in my blog and not cause people to never read it again.

I scuba dived a couple of times, making me think that I might do a scuba course in Thailand. We were diving on the outer fringes of the Great Barrier Reef, a better place to dive than the main reef apparently because of the higher variation of coral/fish there. Saw some pretty massive turtles while we were down there and I also held a 'sea-cucumber' a slimy cucumber-esque thing which is apparently a delicacy in Japan. As well as scuba-diving there was a bit of snorkeling and some sea kayaking, all in all beating the hell out of working.

Another tropical beach here, another completely unique and jaw-dropping view there, this backpacking is a real struggle against the constant obstacles life throws at you sometimes.

The Red Centre

The Olgas. Also called Kata Tjuta. Look a bit like a scene out of Jurassic Park.

Team Uluru

Kings Canyon

Uluru (Ayers Rock) Sunrise. Mmm pretty

The sky is on fire. Possibly one of the best pictures I've taken so far, if I do say so myself

That's about how far away we are at the moment.

There's no need for such inappropriate behaviour at The Olgas...

...Or at Uluru but we can't help it. Just for this photo we're going to be cursed by Aborigines for 10 years.

Striking a manly pose

Sauce, our guide. See those shorts? They're the kind of short shorts that real men wear

So, not long left in Australia now, this will possibly even be the last Aussie blog. Coming at you direct from Alice Springs, the middle of Australia, we are soon to be making our way out of here, on to Singapore this Sunday night.

You may have noticed we have finished Australia on something of a mad flourish of activity, up the East Coast, into the centre and the flying out of Darwin, the Northernmost city. It's been a lot of fun this past month or so, definitely worth the pounding my credit card has taken.

The last few days we have been on a camping trip to Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, slap in the middle of Australia. When we first got to Australia we always said we were going to see the big red rock but we never actually did anything that could be called 'planning'. Such lack of organisation (Also called 'blagging' and 'winging it') have been a recurrent feature of our trip so far. Most of the time this has worked out fine, down to sheer dumb luck as much as anything, I imagine. The last few weeks we've actually had to book things such as Fraser Island and the Whitsundays and we don't like it. Not having any concrete plans is the way forward, and the way we intend to spend a good few months in S.E Asia. So, we jammed in a last minute trip to the outback, the centre of Australia, where the nearest beach is about 1500km in any direction.

I'm not sure what there is to say about Kings Canyon, The Olgas and Uluru other than attempting to describe the once-in-a-lifetime views that you get. I could slip in a mention of the fact that we went on some pretty big walks, at least 8km each day. Normally such a distance would seem excessive and make a fop such as myself catch a bus instead. But walking through the Olgas, also called the Valley of the Winds you don't notice the walk because of the scenery and other-worldliness of it all.

I've even become acclimatised to getting up pre- 6am, I'm not saying I like it but to get up for some stunning sunrises it has been necessary. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not, ever, a mornings person. But what's even worse than early mornings is early morning people, the kind who will spring out of bed when it's still dark outside and whistle a merry tune with the happy knowledge that today's another glorious day. They are what is known as bastards.

Anyway, can't wait to get to Asia partly because there's lots of new countries to explore and partly because it means we'll be rich again. No more bargain hunting in supermarkets for us, we can eat like kings again, like we did when we were in Malaysia all those months ago. And in Singapore on Tuesday we double our numbers with the arrival of Tom Waterman, our mate from college and Laura, a Canadian girl we have taken pity on along the way and enlisted to do all our cleaning for us. She doesn't know this yet but she'll be fine with it, girls love all that cooking and cleaning stuff...