Trip Start Dec 10, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, September 9, 2006

Wayne & Gem's European Vacation - Diary Update 9

Day 174- Sunday 6th August - 2006 continuation.....Germany
The rest of the day was basically spent ringing the insurance company to see if they would cover our flights to return home for the funeral... as the time difference is so great we could not get onto them so we decided to keep driving towards the south of Germany and ring them as soon as we could. We found Fusen which is a gorgeous town near Schwangau where King Ludwig II famous Neuschwanstein castle is (this is the castle that Walt Disney based their famous fairy tale castle on). We have never seen a town full of so many motor homes, there were literally hundreds everywhere and obviously the town gets a bit pissed off by it as there is no motor home parking signs everywhere. We found the castle but by the time we arrived it was too late to go inside so we found a spot to park for the night... in a car park with about 15 other motor homes but the catch was there was a big no camping sign after 8.00pm... so we were all taking a risk of illegally parking. Well it was pouring rain and just as we went to sleep at 11.00 some little German parking jerk came and woke everyone up and told us all to get out as we could not park here (they really are serious about no one parking over night as it was pouring rain and we did not think anyone would be bothered to be out in this bad weather). We felt really sorry for the people next to us with two little kids. Wayne tried to delay leaving as we wanted to stay near a phone and the other problem was that our driving lights were not working as a connection has gone somewhere and they only work on high beam.... But the parking jerk became agro and Wayne started purposely winding him up telling him we could not move because the lights were kaput!! I stayed in the car and looked up the German dictionary how to say piss off you arse hole in German but by the time I found it Wayne had had his fun and decided to move... we spent the next two hours waiting in the pouring rain in front of another phone box so that we could wait until 1.30am to ring the insurance company.... Good news they will cover our flights... but can we really ever trust them as they won't pay upfront but only when a claim is put in... so we have to fork out the thousands with the hope that they won't screw us over by finding a loop hole !!. We then could not find anywhere else to park for the night so we went back into Fusen as we would have to get up early to try and book flights!!

Day 176- Monday 8th August - 2006 - Fusen
After only a couple of hours sleep we woke up to find that between the hours of 3am and 7am some little jerk had been out in the pouring rain and decided to graffiti Misty while we were asleep inside !!! Lucky it was raining so it did not take too well and Gem was able to get most of it off with nail polish remover. The rest of a day is a blur trying to deal with travel agents to get flights... somewhere between walking in between walking between travel agents and topping up the parking meter we managed to see the gorgeous but very busy little town of Fusen. Well we changed our tickets and we need to get back to London by Wednesday!! not before we drive 700km to Berlin so we can get our bags and leave Misty at Christina and Holgers !! So tonight we drove and drove and decided not to stop and keep driving even though we had to piss off a huge number of people by driving with our high beam on!! We had a bet how many times we would get told off by beeping or people flashing their lights... we stopped counting after 45 times !!

Day 177- Tuesday 9th August - 2006 Berlin
Arrived back in Berlin at some ridiculous hour in the wee small hours of the morning. As Christina and Holger are away on their cruise we organized with Heike to get the key off the neighbor and after a little bit of sleep we woke up to meet them so we could get into the house. Rest of the day is a blur organizing packing and cleaning Misty etc. Tonight we headed off into town to catch up with Nina before leaving early in the morning.

Day 178 to 180 - Wednesday 10th August to Friday 12th 2006
Well the next two days are a blur of flying from Berlin to Luton, making our way from Luton to Heathrow, having a 13 hour stopover in Heathrow airport.... which by the way is an absolute dump of an airport with crap facilities... you would think that for one of the biggest airports in the world it would have sleeping rooms, showers available etc like all the Asian airports... but no such luck!!! Did we also mention the lackluster security that did not even bother to look at our hand luggage as it passed through the x-ray as they were too busy talking... unlike Germany where we basically got stripped searched and Wayne nearly had to take his pants off !! The security really was poor and we both said that this would be the place for terrorists to get stuff on a plane... well what do you know we arrived in Hong Kong airport to find out that in 6 hours after we jumped on our plane there was a terrorist scare in Heathrow and the entire airport got shut down....we were fortunate to get out when we did!! After another grueling 5 hour wait in Hong Kong we got onto our second flight and eventually got home on Friday morning... yeah we get to see everyone but we also have to say goodbye to pa on Monday at his funeral!!!

Gem turned 32 on 24th August!! Eggs are now officially old and no children for us!!!

Wayne & Gem's European Vacation - Diary Update 10 Bangkok

Day 181- Monday 28th August - 2006 Australia to Bangkok
Here we go again... another plane trip but this time we at least get to have a stopover which is good as Gem has tonsillitis and is total snot factory!! This time we were flying Thai airways and we must say that we had heard good things about them but compared to Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines their planes suck.... Not even the little television screens where you can watch your own movies and play games, just one big one with suckful movies!!! We finally arrived in Bangkok and managed to avoid most of the insistent offers to get taxis from inside the airport (the ones where we had been told where you get ripped off!!) and found a spot to get a metered taxi. When we arrived at the hotel we were very pleased to find that it was indeed a 6 star hotel and the service was superb as was the massive massive room (again the bathroom was larger than the entire motor home) with an amazing view over the entire city as the State Tower is the tallest hotel in Bangkok. We slept well tonight in our massive king size bed!!

Day 182- Tuesday 29th August 2006 - Bangkok
Well we got up to go to the buffet breakfast and my God was it good! Even Wayne the master chef was very many choices... did we mention the pancakes were the best we ever ever tasted... so good we wanted to take the little Thai man home with us! Off to explore the city. We wanted to really experience the culture so we decided to try and find the water bus. We walked the streets near the hotel and took in the atmosphere... Bangkok is fast paced, people everywhere, jam packed traffic, smelly and dirty and all the streets are lined with people selling weird foods and all types of goods. We found the water bus and jumped on with about 20 other people and crammed into a very long narrow boat with about 80 other people and some monks wrapped in their orange robes. We were amazed to see that the river was lined with slums and makeshift houses and then next door would be the Hilton etc... such a contrast in living standards. The boat ride was about half and hour and cost 26 BAHT for us both... that's about 90 cents....we could not believe it !! Our concierge had been trying to get us to do a boat cruise for 1000 BAHT ($35) each...little scammer. We found our stop and made our way through the local markets taking in all the smells (some not so good) and all the food and black market items (DVDs, handbags etc) on sale. As we were making our way to the Grand Palace but before we could get their Wayne was being harassed by a Tuk Tuk driver who said the Palace was closed to 3pm and that he would take us around the sites for 50 BAHT (under $2) for 3 hours. I knew it was a scam (the Palace was not closed) but we had the time to spare so we thought we would check it out. Riding in a Tuk Tuk was an interesting experience as we honed our way through the traffic and backstreets. First stop was the Lucky Buddha temple... we checked out the big Golden Buddha inside and were approached on two separate occasions by two very nice Thai men who wanted to talk. Gemeah not trusting anyone knew that they must be up to something and when both of them mentioned that we should visit the "Jewelry Expo" as today was the last day where they sell to the public tax and duty free and some crap about not mining for rubies and sapphires and then being able to sell them for double the price in Australia or Europe.... Gemeah was very suspect as while they were very nice... it was unlikely that two complete strangers would give you the same information within 15 minutes of each other... Wayne being Wayne was very trusting and just thought they were being nice. Well what do you know... next stop our Tuk Tuk driver took us to was the Jewelry Expo... but it was not an Expo but just an ordinary shop... here they tried to get us to buy jewelry and I kept telling Wayne we had been scammed by the Tuk Tuk driver who would get a kick back for taking us there and the guys at the Lucky Buddha temple!! Anyway despite Gemeah finding an absolutely gorgeous sapphire ring, the tax free price they quoted was extremely high and Gem just laughed and left... not going to suck in this little black duck!!! The rest of the journey was basically the Tuk Tuk driver dropping us off at tailor shops, more jewelry shops etc as he told us if we bought something he would get a petrol voucher... well after the third tailor shop where we were harassed to get suits made we started to get pissed off and told the driver that we wanted to go to the Marble temple and no more shops or he could forget it! He took us to the marble temple and it was beautiful but then he begged with us to go to another shop and dropped us out the front of another tailor shop... we walked in just to please him but Gem being Gem (and on top of being her usual straight forward take no crap self was also feeling sick as a dog) basically told the pushy Indian to shove it and walked back out!! Yeh like we need suits while motor homing through Europe. We finally got back to the Grand Palace and had a great time exploring all the different areas inside... it was very beautiful. We went back to the hotel for a while to get out of the heat and then went to the major big shopping centre (BMK or something)... it was huge and you could get everything... parts of it were like a market it that there were little stalls crammed in everywhere like a maze. We had an interesting time trying to work out how to order dinner at one of the food outlets that all only Thai people were eating at. Wayne bought some army pants (he actually found some big enough and not just for Asian midgets) and it was good to get an idea of prices as we are heading to the markets tomorrow night. It was funny to see the big movie theatre on the top floor, then next door an "illegal DVD shop" selling the same movies that were on in the cinema.

Day 183- Wednesday 30th August - 2006 Bangkok
After another great breakfast (we never need to eat lunch afterwards) we explored some of the local silver shops as Gem has a passion for silver jewelry... she was very controlled though and will wait to purchase some on the stopover back to Australia. In front of the hotel we also stumbled across just what we were looking for... a little man with a sewing machine (on the pavement of course) and we got 2 pairs of Wayne's pants and his man bag re-stitched and repaired for 60 BAHT ($2) ... this would have cost about $40 at home... our budget loves Thailand !!! Tonight we explored the Patpong night markets... which were great fun and we barter our little hearts out... we bought 76 DVDs for about 2.50 each and now have all the latest and not even released movies to watch as we go around Europe...We restrained ourselves from buying anything else as we have limited room and it will have to wait for next time... oh but the handbags, the shirts, the shoes.... We went back to the hotel to enjoy a great night of room service and to enjoy our bottle of wine and chocolates that we were given on arrival.

Day 184-Thursday 31st August - 2006 Bangkok
Gem really sick today so spent till 2.30 sleeping while Wayne watched DVD's and had a foot massage at the hotel spa. Gem ventured downstairs at 2.30 for a foot massage which was supposed to take 45 minutes but got talking with the staff and it turned into a 2.5 hour massage (I think the guy liked my feet) and then on top of that a pedicure, highlights to the hair and a manicure... Wayne came down at 6.00 and joined in for highlights to his hair (he had a very gay male hairdresser that did a fantastic job) and pedicure and manicure... we eventually got out at 9.00pm feeling very relaxed with beautiful hair!! Gemeah has decided that she now wants to take home and employ the little man who did the pedicure as he is also a hairdresser, masseuse, nail therapist and said he used to work as a maid... and he wanted to go to Australia as he has never been outside Bangkok... that's it on the way back we are taking him with us !!! Then we had more room service and then ruined our hair do's by taking a TUK TUK ride to the night bizarre which is another big lot of food and shopping markets. The ride home in the TUK TUK was hilarious as we had a young guy who kept racing off all the traffic at the lights and then popping mono's all the way home... with us pair of fatties in the back he could go for ages sitting in the air.

Day 185& 186- Friday 1st September to 2nd September - Bangkok to Heathrow to Berlin

Next couple of days basically consisted of flights from Bangkok to Heathrow, overnight stay in Heathrow, bus to Luton, flight from Luton to Berlin. Our plane got delayed in Luton as all the luggage belts broke down and this caused utter chaos!! Arrived in Berlin about 2 hours behind schedule but all our luggage arrived as well, including the double bed foam overlay that Gemeah has dragged with her from Australia...(everyone kept asking us what it was as it was wrapped in non see through plastic so we kept telling them it was a dead body in a carpet as we got some very strange looks). We managed to speak enough German to give the Taxi Driver directions to Lichtenrade (our German really is getting better). Got back to Christina and Holger's (they are away for the weekend in Nurnberg) so tonight after saying hello to Misty again... we crashed after going to our favorite kebab shop to grab some dinner!! Did I mention how comfortable the bed was for my bad back now that it has the overlay... beautiful... and despite the fact that Wayne paid me out for dragging it from Australia to Europe, I even let him share in it's comfort for a few hours before kicking him out for snoring !!

Day 187- Sunday 3rd September - 2006 Berlin
Lazy day today trying to get Misty re-packed and ready for another trip. Wayne has gotten a lot more comfortable with his German and headed off to the shops to so he can cook dinner tonight... he succeeded in speaking only in German and getting the correct stuff!! Christina and Holger arrived tonight and we spent time catching up and looking at photos from their cruise to Scotland, Norway and Iceland and also from our last journey.
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