Wecome to Asia!

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Apr 16, 2007

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Hi all.... Happy winter back home!! Sure you are all loving the cold! Afraid weather like that is a distant memory for us. Having to tackle 30 degrees plus on a daily basis is a real tough task. Another task is sending these dam travel pods... We just don't seem to get the time these days! Ha ha. Plus the longer we leave it, the more you have to read! It's difficult to comprehend how we could ever slip back into normality in the UK. We've been away for nearly 8 months and it will be great to see everyone, however depressing it may be back in beautiful England! Anyway, enough of all that... Onto all the latest on our trip, even if it is, once again, a tad overdue! 
We sadly left OZ on the 15th of November and headed for the unpredictable claws of Asia. It was a fairly soft introduction to the undeveloped world, being that Singapore was our first stop. It was a fairly uneventful couple of days and Singapore isn't a massive tourist trap in itself. That said, it is a decent place to stroll around and explore. For those who have not visited this city, it could possibly be one of the cleanest and most shopping orientated cities going. The amount and size of the Malls, would put anywhere in the world to shame. Some are the size of a small town! When we first arrived it felt strange as all the Christmas trees/lights were up and it was over 30 degrees! Strange Christmas feeling..... The sheer effort that goes into cleaning the streets of rubbish and chewing gum etc, make Sheffield city centre look like a land fill site! We pretty much did a bit of shopping, had a stroll along the river and did the token glance of the few sights of interest. If the lack of things to do and the terrible humidity were not a reason to leave quickly, then the cost of staying there certainly would do the trick!
After 4 days here we booked ourselves onto a bus, to head to Kuala Lumpur! Even our bus ride was not of any poor standard! It had seats, which any first class section  of an airline would be proud of. Along with the luxury seats, we had the welcome pleasure of air-con. Kuala Lumpur  (Malaysia) was a slight downgrade compared to Sing, but they certainly were jumping on the... 'Developing' band wagon. We were pleasantly surprised with the city. It was the beginning of the quirky things that are expected of this part of the world. For instance the taking off of ones footwear, before entering most establishments, was enforced here and the lack of shops selling alcohol was very much a factor! We had a good look around the city and got to go up the very tall, KL Tower. We didn't get the opportunity to get up the famous 'PETRONAS' (Twin Towers), but had a good look around and took some cool pics. Dan also got a claim to fame! He got interviewed by the local news station whilst we visited an annual festival....Dan was actually lost for words and when asked what the best part of the day was.....all he could say was "The Elephants!!"Claim to fame!! It was a really good day thought and was great to meet some orphaned elephants that were all playing together. Interesting!The Indian food on offer in KL was fabulous and we had no problems with finding veggie food. Some restaurants were quite unique, in regard to the fact that the curry was served on a banana leaf and was expected to be eaten with hands only. We were the only western people in the restaurant at this point. After looking at our feast for a few moments, we wondered how we could tackle the feast before us.... After receiving strange looks, not to mention laughs, we were kindly supplied with a knife and fork and tucked into one of our better meals of the trip, all for a bargain price of 2, for the both of us.
             We were pretty citied out by this point and our visit to Bali for a 10 day break, was very much welcome. We flew from KL to Bali with Air Asia. Not a bad flight until we discovered, to much disgust, that the airline didn't serve any form of alcohol! Another cracking Malaysia trick!! But we had the upper hand however and quietly supplied our own Gin, previously acquired, quite luckily, from within the back streets of Kuala Lumpur. Our arrival into Bali posed no major problem, other than the usual irritating taxi drivers. This was quickly cured by the arrival at our fantastic (by our standards anyway) hotel. With Air-con, a balcony, a huge bed, normal toilet facilities, all was sweet, especially at 14 a night. Believe me, that was very much a treat for our budget! The happiness was reflected by Dan, as he got blind drunk and did Karaoke (TWICE), with only a debatable keyboard player as back up. The rest of the hotel clientele had mixed reviews of the performance.  So far Bali seemed like a potential easy going place. Only after taking to the streets on the first day, did the reality become apparent! The sheer hassle and being potential victim of scams and cons was rife. We remained calm and on the ball at all times and found we were certainly not pushovers. We had the gobby Northerner, as the secret weapon. Dan is from the south by the way! It was fairly ironic, that it turned out we ended up getting them to sell things at rock bottom prices. Families probably didn't get fed due to our tightness! It is fairly sad for them though. The two bombings that have occurred there, has crippled the once thriving holiday destination. The Ozzies that used to arrive in their thousands, no longer make the trip in such numbers and tourism in general is down by 70 %. This makes any shop owner's, bar owners and cab drivers go to great lengths to earn money. Then again these under hand tactics to earn more money from us, seem to ironically prove to be their own downfall, as tourists appear apprehensive to even shop. The memorial of the people who died in the bombs is in the centre of the tourist area and is a sobering reminder of how a great place can change in just a moment. All in all it is a nice place and we got some great deals for things. One day on the beach, we had a massage each, a pedicure, a manicure, bought several gifts and the grand total was under 8. The nightlife was not as promised and found that many bars were lacking of any form of atmosphere, or 18 year old backpackers were wrecking any of the other. Yes, we are becoming old and this behaviour is not acceptable!! We took to the balcony of our hotel on a regular basis and developed a cheap routine of Gin and tonic from the liquor store. The in house movies and air-con were certainly another favourable option, than to taking to the streets after dark!
             Ten Days later we were back into Kuala Lumpur, ready for our next day flight to Phuket (Thailand). Just to keep us on our toes, the airport hotel we had booked became a fairly interesting night. The check-in began with a fairly rude introduction by reception staff. The first room we were taken to was not the superior/double we had booked into, but a scabby twin room. After a brief debate we were moved (apparently upgraded, even though there was no other option anyway), to a deluxe room. Not a bad abode, all but for the air conditioning system than streamed out copious amounts of water onto its electric section. We had already called room service by this point and eventually received our food. Low and behold the food was incorrect and had to be sent back. When the food did eventually arrive again, Lou's being a salad sandwich, turned out to be a piece of cucumber in two bits of stale bread. The high point though was eating our food whilst the engineer attempted to repair the 'Niagra' of all air con units. It seemed too much of a job to repair, so were once again moved/supposedly upgraded to a 'super' deluxe room, which amazingly had an un-canny resemblance to the one we just left!
    So it was a farewell to Malaysia the following day and the arrival into Phuket (Thailand). We had previously learned a few days before, that Mr and Mrs Turner (good friends from the UK, but they are lucky to have us really! ha ha Love you guys!!) were in Phuket for a holiday. This inevitably led to a bizarre get together of people from home and what lead to be a very fun and messy night out. The usual chit chat, catch up and laughs occurred. Somehow the night turned to other, more seedy events. Nat and Andy unduly touched up Ronald McDonald outside his own restaurants of all things! Then Nat put on a mask of a pig for purposes of a funy picture. Then quite 'innocently' (thanks to Andy raally), we strolled into a show that consisted of various objects being ejected from a Thai lady's vagina. The high point of the show was probably a dart being firing into and popping a balloon. On the other hand, the disappointing side of it was the ping pong section of the show. The poor ball was supposed to propel through the air at speed. But in the end it turned out to look more like a duck laying an egg! Difficult to watch...!!! Can't beat a get together of friends in Thailand!! Night out in Phucket.....We have been in Thailand for about 15 days now, but you'll all have to wait for the next pod for that, as you will probably all die of boredom.
Anyhow all! It's time for us to go and grab some Thai food and have a few beers on the beach   ............Well hope you are all getting into the xmas sprit and ready for Santa emptying his sack onto you all!!! J!!! Dan being crude!
No doubt the xmas staff parties were as messy as usual! We will think about you as we lay on the beach at 30 plus degrees with a bloody cold beer! We are going to be on the island called Koh Lanta, it's very weird we only walk past the odd bar that has a Christmas tree, but apart from that it feels like we are in the middle of summer!
Well we wish you a merry Christmas!! And a happy new year! Make sure you take a look at our photos..........Have fun get pissed and remember you got away with the piss heads being present this year!!!! Take Care x x x x
p.s - As we write this we have very pink towels on, sat on our balcony drinking gin and tonic  in lovely blue camping cups that Lou's mum got free from the catalogue!!! Nice hey! But it's bloody warm and we would not change it for the world!! Bye Bye all for now, have a excellent crimbo!!                
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