Perth, Australia: G'day From WA

Trip Start Jul 28, 2013
Trip End Feb 06, 2014

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Thursday, February 6, 2014

Well here we are - Perth, Western Australia. With one very happy set of parents rejoicing in my return after 13 years abroad and another set of parents in cold blustery England no doubt cursing me for having taken their son away. Sorry!! It was Sam's idea!!

For those of you who have followed our travels I hope you've enjoyed it. I've tried my hardest to make it witty and entertaining but not being an overly funny person I've probably failed miserably! Although I'm sure even the greatest of comedians would have had trouble seeing the funny side on some days.

Besides from seeing family, friends, earning some money and starting a life downunder I am also looking forward to:

Climbing into bed without having to think about bedbugs.
Sleeping on sheets that look like they've been washed in the last decade.
Eating food that doesn't make you shit yourself.
Drying myself with a towel that smells of comfort rather than damp.
Brushing my teeth over a sink rather than a toilet bowl.
Having hair that looks more Pantene advert than birds nest.
Not having to gas out the room with Baygon to lessen the chance of getting malaria, dengue, japanese encephalitis or any other illness spread by the tiny but deadly mosquito. Seriously, is there a point to them being alive?
Not having to wake up at 0530 to sit at a bus station for 2 hours before leaving.
Showering in fresh water rather than saline solution and having the option of hot.
Not having to lug around 17-24kg on my back plus another 7kg on my arm.
Ditching the flipflops and slipping my feet into a comfy pair of Louboutins.
Having decent internet with wifi that doesn't cut out every 5 minutes.

Recapping on this trip the countries we visited were:


In answer to the ever pressing question of "Which was our favourite?" that's a hard one. Central Asia was incredible and a huge surprise for both of us. It was a lot more modern, friendly and much easier to travel than we had anticipated. Architecture was futuristic in some places and ancient in others. Accommodation was plentiful and clean. Food was tasty, cheap and didn't make you ill. So if we were to rave about any place that's it - go to Central Asia! It's a place of wonder that will leave you speechless.

Focusing on other aspects:

One we most want to return to - Norway, beautiful and so much more to discover.
One we are most likely to return to - Indonesia, due to it being so close and affordable to get to from Australia.
Most expensive - Norway, £10 a pint!
Cheapest - Indonesia, hard to beat A$8 per night rooms and A$1 meals.
Best scenery - Tajikistan for snowcapped mountains & Norway for the incredible fjords.
Best architecture - Russia for it's grandiose buildings and intricate churches. Uzbekistan & Iran for mosques and ancient towns/bazaars.
Best local food - Georgia surprised with Khinkali and Khachapuri. Yum. Thailand for variety and spice.
Nicest people (not including friends) - Iran, they love tourists and were by far the friendliest and most welcoming.
Friendliest local - Ulzhana from Kazakhstan. What a legend.
Most interesting place - Chernobyl, fascinating place that needs to be seen to be believed.
Best accommodation - Bali villa in Seminyak, but not without cost as one night's accommodation would have usually bought us seven!
Worst accommodation - Batumi Hostel, what a hell hole.
Where we felt the most ill - Indonesia, uurrgh sick of feeling sick. Take us back to Iran where we didn't feel ill once.
Worst public transport - Indonesia, one word - infuriating.
Safest - Iran, amazing what happens when alcohol is prohibited.
Biggest disappointment - Indonesia, I had hoped to find paradise but was sorely disappointed.
Biggest surprise - Georgia, WOW beautiful country, great cities, towns and wonderful people. Very impressed.
Country most likely to rip you off - Indonesia, without a doubt. They will rip you off any chance they get.
Easiest place to travel - Thailand, so easy you could do it with your eyes closed.
Comfiest public transport - Iran, their recliner lazy boy buses rock.

As for a few little individual experiences:

Number of things lost - Nothing!! An umbrella but that doesn't really count. Good effort, especially for those who know of my tendencies to lose things.
Accidents - Slight mishap with the hire car in Norway which involved a ditch and a tow truck.
Injuries - Where some people collect tattoos, I collect scars and this trip has resulted in four of them. One on my arm that looks very much like a cigarette burn but is in fact the result of a pesky wasp sting whilst sitting in Princess Gardens, Edinburgh sipping coffee with my cousin. The second is on the same arm from having to clamber around a coconut trunk in order to get on a boat on Koh Ngai, Thailand. I have two lines near my ankle from falling off a surf board glued in a concrete wave in Bali. It was a simple task when sober and dry, not so when drunk and raining. Finally, as an added reminder of our raucous night out on Phi Phi and my epic fail at trying to ride a mechanical bull, I've been left with a scar on my shin. Ahhh memories.
Tantrums - Karakol, payback for Sam dragging me to a shithole of a town in Kyrgyzstan.
Tears - Just one set of tears through drunkenness rather than upset or frustration. It was that fateful night in Bishkek where we got home at 5am and I dropped the hotel key down the lift shaft. Oops.
Biggest disappointment - Not getting Turkmenistan VISA in Mashhad, Iran. Worst day of the trip.
Funniest moment - When I trod in a steaming pile of cow dung in Riung, Indonesia. Made Sam's day.
Most uncomfortable night's sleep - For Sam it was every night camping in Norway having invested a whole £3 pounds on a 1mm thick mattress. For me it was probably the night we spent on the port office floor waiting for the cargo ship in Odessa, Ukraine.
Most number of days without showering - 4
Number of days spent without hot water - 35
Best travel buddies - Maaike and Marc, without them Indonesia would have sucked even more!
Best beach - Koh Lipe, white sand and clear turquoise water. Charlie's Beach on Koh Mook was also very nice.
Worst toilet - Arslanbob, a squat toilet overflowing with poo and urine is NEVER a good thing.

So what else is left on the list now?

Burma and Papau New Guinea are both high up there.
Being a lover of the cold I've been long fascinated with Alaska, Antartica and Iceland.
Trekking in the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan would be amazing.
Mexico has always called to us as has the rest of Central America.
Cuba we definitely want to visit and Columbia which is meant to be beautiful.
Trekking in Tibet has been a long favourite.
Japan to visit some friends and go boarding.
Phillippines although Sam's already been there so might take some convincing to go back. As with Hawaii.
With so much to see in America I'm sure we will make numerous trips, starting with Miami.

Then of course we've got the big beautiful country of Australia to explore so I'm sure there will be many more adventures to come. Let's just hope they don't involve a news story of "Englishman taken by crocodile/shark!".

Until our next adventure we bid you farewell and say goodbye, ha det, adjö, näkemiin, nägemist, do svidaniya, do pobachennya, nakhvamdis, sağolun, kodafez, hayeer, cихату саломат боши (sikhat-oo salomat boshee), jakshuh kalgula, cау болыңыз. (sow bo-ly-ngyz), sa wat dee, selamat jalan, dadah and finally too-da-loo kangaroo.
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