...'tis the season so it is!
...for those that haven't got spammed already lol! this years cheese-fest of a 'v-card' from the both of us.
much love to you all,
err...backpacking...rtw...here's me whaa?!
...'tis the season so it is!
...for those that haven't got spammed already lol! this years cheese-fest of a 'v-card' from the both of us.
much love to you all,
...long eared j-j-jerboa!
sick. as. a. parrot! caught a bbc world news piece on how the long eared jerboa has just been caught on film for first time (in gobi desert). well yeah, thats right, thats only one of the little furry fekkers right there in the above pic, outside our ger camp in the gobi, 2 MONTHS ago ffs! aaarrgh! (think i mentioned the night we went out marmot hunting, on the ol' genghis khan vodka?).
props to fellow drunken marmot abusers on the night, mr. minsaas and mr. kahler.
...for Loaf and Ulster...he he!
What a week! From celebrating the King's Birthday on Kho Phangan (great night! free muay thai boxing, street food etc...and a chance to really see the Thais let their hair down), to the crazy streets of Bangkok (again!) where we are sat right now, the craic's been 90...so it has!
It takes a while to get under your skin, but there really is a tangible buzz to this city that's quite addictive. Great to walk the streets again and get hit square in the boat-race by all the food stalls (smells to die for! killer on an empty stomach!), deranged hawkers and the really quite insane tuk-tuk drivers!
Btw, couldn't resist getting a tattoo. I'll post of it in next blog or something, when it heals up a wee bit. (...well, maybe a bit obvious actually to a few people, i know i'll get the piss ripped outta me for this...lmao!).
Anyway, I'll post some of what we were going to previously, which kinda succinctly sums up what we've been doing for over a month (or not doing. think i actually put in a 7 hour shift on the beach one day without a single thought passing through my head...which crossed my mind is exactly what a dogs life must be like...mmm).
Here goes (the usual rambling mess):
...maybe this blog has the wrong title? As pointed out by others, we have indeed just realised that we are in fact not intrepid backpackers, but actually consumate loafers! This was of course worked out over a few Chang beers btw..lol! (for the uninitiated, Chang (thai) beer rocks! held in same esteem here, as bucky is back home (including usual urban legend surrounding difference in strength from bottle to bottle, due to brewing method), and weighs in at around 6.5 percent! grrreat!). Also, (lol) you know you're getting it tough 'backpacking' when you...PUT ON weight! wtf?! Seriously, as if to back up the 'loafness' of this whole trip, i've somehow managed to put on 7 lbs from leaving Belfast!
Anyway, we thought we would drag ourselves out of our beachlife sloth existence for at least 5 minutes, and update the blog a wee bit (and prove the above...ahem!). Been nearly a month since we seen nothing but sun, sea, sand... (and the rest). The first few days of December were spent sticking in a (now scarily usual) 7hour shift under the sun (Can't seem to remember the last time we did this in Norn Iron...). I hope that doesn't sound like rubbing it in btw, but we really hope in some small way our pics of tropical beaches can help brighten up your day back home. If not, feel free to assume we're rubbing it in...ha ha!
So, we left Khao Lak, and headed up the peninsula for Khao Sok national park. Didn't really get into park to see much though. Recent floods wiped out bridges etc, and also there was several tourist deaths in the cave systems, so most of the place was closed. BUT, we did do some extreme hammock-ing! Hung out in our jungle bungalow with our 'roomies' the rats (introduced themselves in person on the second day after keeping us awake all night on the first). You can imagine Sarah's bake lmao! Also attended a Thai cookery school. Really cool experience actually (hangover nearly caused cancellation though lol), and resulted in a few deadly curries getting knocked up! Grreat! Oh yeah, and we located a 'Rasta' bar. And well, as they say, 'when in Rome...get rastafied' ...ahem!
Ditched the jungle after a few days (beach withdrawal), and headed to Kho Pahngan. Unfortunately, it was only the fekkin' full moon party weekend ffs! I kid you not we were looking to chill. Sarah even suggested crazy stuff like, eating healthy, and running on beaches...nearly choked on my chang! Anyway, so again, 'when in Rome', & we ended up partying down at Haad Rin (too many spazzy dancers for our liking, but was fun observing the wildlife), then we bailed out up the east coast to Ban Thong Nai Pan (nice small beaches, nice surf) for some serious r&r.
home of original full moon party, paradise bungalows, haad rin beach.
keeping ourselves busy, inventing new buckets...lol! (the infamous thai bucket. stalls everywhere knockin' these out. for around 2 squid or so you buy the bucket, half bottle of thai whisky, 2mixers and loada ice! here's me whaa... these things were responsible for some quality carnage down at Haad Rin btw...lmao)
anyway, after some diy experimentation...voila...the green zombie/green mountain...
'downtown' (lmao) ban thong nai pan noi...
...spending our time devouring thai cuisine (shrimp tom yam there...mmm!) - really CANNOT get enough of this chow. and btw, we seem to be developing an unhealthy immunity to even the most killer chillies...
...the famous mr handsome's, 'downtown' ban thong nai pan noi. quality! not only do his t-shirts make you handsome, but his petrol makes your bike go faster, his laundry makes you smell clean forever...and you aint lived 'til you necked a handsome sandwich! this dude got it dooown! (and mrs handsome a complete muay thai boxing nut - took us to the fight above).
...loving the way you get random beautiful buddhist statues etc. in the middle of (seemingly) bugger all.
leela. quality beach...
sarah. on a swing. beach life is tough...
seriously, the above pic may come as much of a surprise as the horse riding pic from mongolia, but yes indeed that is sarah, CARRYING A RUCKSACK! lmao, in almost 3 months this is the first time we've had to actually properly carry the fekkers! (well 100 metres up the beach to our bungalow...cough) mark our words though, it will NOT happen again...
And here we are then...as mentioned back in Bangkok! Sorted the visas for Laos today, because get this, we are going to spending xmas in Laos - Huay Xai to be exact! Hurrah! Seriously, we are made up about the fact that we managed to get ourselves places on a Gibbon conservation project up there. For those that could be arsed, check out this link-
Gonna have to get used to taking a dump out of a tree...ha ha! Anyway, the plan (plan, wtf?! there aint been a plan from Belfast ffs!) is to meander on down to Luang Prabang, then Vientiane (Laos capital) for new years eve, and perhaps continue on via Mekong river into Cambodia, taking the itinerary into first few weeks of January '08 (don't think we'l make Vietnam now ffs because we have to catch a flight to Australia on the 28th...we will see).
So for now, it's 4 days of loafing around Bangkok. Leave next week for Banchanaburi (the 'real' bridge over the river kwai), and continue heading towards the Laos border via Chang Mai, Pai and to be honest, fek knows where in between ha ha! Need to be at Huay Xai for Xmas day.
Ok, this nonsense must stop!! Until next time then, as always, much love to you all from the both of us! Being in all these Buddhist countries means Xmas hasn't even registered (which tbh has been great avoiding the associated onslaught), so seasons greeting aswell! (strange saying that whilst the air con is on max inside, and it's about 30 outside). we will try and knock up a v-card for yous or something?
Oh yeah, thanks Dave for the pics of wee norn iron! was good to get a glimpse of the Belfast eye! Must be a great view of those dead pigeons on the roof then? he he!
So it's goodnight from us,
...absolute quality! snapped in the fisherman's bar, khao lak. blinder, so it is! lmao... (particularly love top right corner. just how many incidents were there before the sign had to go up?)
anyway, we're finally chilling right out tae fek after all the mayhem. 10 days into married life and all is cool and the gang. day 8 saw a minor (well, almost catastrophic - for my nuts that is!) 'hiccup' when i lost my wedding ring snorkelling off the similan islands. un-fekkin-believably one of the dive instructors found it (luckily in quite shallow water at the time)! so thank you all at similan dive safari, and i hope that rioja went down well.
today's main event was my camera biting the dust ffs! (sand and cameras don't mix apparently) about to attack it right now with the trusty leatherman...just to make double sure it's never gonna work again he he. so no pix until we get outta khao lak and pick up a new one.
realised today it's just over 2 months since we left home - really cannae quite believe it pal, and for the first time in those 2 months we don't have an itinerary. the only thing we do have (apart from the next few nights accomodation), is a flight ticket to sydney australia on 28th january next year. quite a good feeling actually. do we head north/south/east? islands & beaches? jungle? (plus we gotta head into laos (ciarda, you got any info yet on the gibbon community project?) and cambodia, maybe vietnam). do we plan it, or wing it? mmm...think i know which one of those options gonna be the reality lol!
so right now we're in khao lak, andaman coast, thailand. left the sarojin resort after 6 days and decided to take in the authentic thai bungalow experience. been in a few up to now, but right now we're staying at nom's (father and son), in this bad boy:
then who turns up? only mr stu (innishfree festival) c! lol..was good to see ya hombre, and hear a norn iron accent for a few days! managed to get some ulster scots in too. yir gonnae get banjoed ya wee daftie! he he.. was good to hear an eyewitness account of the 'belfast eye' aswell. what in the good name of fek is that all about then? (oggy, thought you were yankin my chain when you mentioned it!). is this privately funded or whaa? i mean, i thought bcc spending 15k on rachel stevens turning on the xmas lights was out of order, but this on a whole new level...
back on track, here's the real deal:
which in reality we should be staying in (budget) but haven't because we aint shook our ocd with air-con etc. yet (...and haven't developed the nuts to share sleeping space with tropical wildlife!).
tbh, staying in khao lak has been quite a sobering experience. this few km stretch was the worst hit by the tsunami in 2004, and any thai person we've talked to has been affected in some way. thousands were killed along here, and the struggle of people still putting their lives back together is everywhere. in perspective, our bungalow right now sits 500m from the beach, yet up the road a police boat rests 2-3km inland, right where the sea dropped it - now kind of an informal memorial. just impossible to grasp the enormity of what happened.
the randomness too, of how people were or weren't hit by this event, was again outlined to us by the fact that this building still stands (the sea only making it to a few metres from rear window - see pic below), yet others were levelled 2-3km inland from the next beach up.
view from rear of bungalow:
as we were looking out at those rubber trees the owner asked us were we superstitious. upon replying no, he said that was a good thing because of the amount of bodies that ended up there...hence ghosts! as you can guess, sarah slept well the first night...lol!
500m through those trees lay this:
oh yesss...finally after 2 months mental-ness we get to do fek all, all day every day, for as long as we can be arsed, but lie about on the beach. after the non-existant norn iron summer 2007 this is better than a lottery win! -think you might just be able to make out stu and sarah loungin in that pic. (on a serious note you can find touching little personal memorials to people killed amongst those trees - pictures pinned to trunks, flowers and shells arranged around...really moving).
again another reminder of where you are:
finally decided to take our fat lazy white sodas off to the similan islands for a days snorkelling (one of the top10 dive sites in world). 60km off the coast, but got there in no time thanks to a twin v6 engined speed-boat...god bless sea-sickness tablets! (seriously though how do these things work? are they just placebos or whaa?...).
crystal waters, bit o' coral, tropical fish and the finest white sand we have ever seen! i mean, this stuff was pure white powder (and the reason my camera is fekked now tbh!). can think of worse ways to spend a sunday in november he he! so here's me and stu risking life and limb...
...scaling the granite, to bring you a shot of quite frankly the best beach we've ever set foot on:
leaving was a bit o' a kick in the plums. could easily envisage spending a few months here doing bo diddley. btw, the island chain is all national park property, so not sure how feasible it actually is to stay in places like this out here...research needed asap!
the weather really has upped the ante today. pure blue skies, well into the 30's...hitting any shade possible is essential around mid-avo, unless of course you are aiming to resemble david dickenson! lol. so now that we got more important things to do than update blogs etc, its good-night from us! where we go from here is anybodies guess, as is when this blog gets updated/postcards get sent etc etc. (does anybody 'do' postcards anymore? i mean, is that like sooo early 90's/pre interweb? have i lost touch with 'the kids'?). so for now, here's some more random pix, in fact the last pix around here until a replacement camera appears.
from the both of us, love to all,
s&s (well, mainly steve this time.. ;-))
halloween night, bangkok:
spent the night at bed supperclub. laughed our legs off at all the hookers dressed as witches hawking the streets on our way there. they are RUTHLESS!
the most insane shop dummy i ever seen, bangkok. i swear i read somewhere that p-diddy had a clown phobia, god help the tool if he dont like shop dummies either, and clocks this:
riding the long-tail river boats, bangkok:
got the smile wiped clean aff my bake when a healthy splashback of that river smacked me upside the head!
drunk as a skunk in hotel. night before wedding legalities, bangkok. you gotta take this stuff seriously you know...he he!
you know somethings up when you start wearing these:
aaarrrgghh! i fekkin hate sandals too! this is it now, next thing ya know it'll be fisherman trousers, tie-die poncho and day-glo dog on a string! heeelp!
raj dropping off the whistle at the hotel, bangkok. ch-ch-check the miami vice'ness of this shizzle:
oh yeah, and the pammi anderson stylee wedding. shorts, flip flops and truckers cap. grrreat:
(actually that pic looks far more respectable than the reality!)
some other non-thai randomness:
the capsule hotel (tokyo) i think was mentioned previous. forgot to post it up. spent the night in this bad boy watching some insane jap wrestling. kinda reminded me of the stuff that was on in u.k. - sat avo's when i was a little 'un. pure comedy...
oh yeah, and here's the view from the tub in the hyatt:
thats a double suntory whisky on the rocks right there at my left foot. oh yesssirr! (typed with tear in eye as i think of the mozzies i share my cold shower with now in the bungalow...boo-hoo!)
off the ponto-cho, kyoto. where we saw the fekkin geisha:
shops in kyoto:
wtf? dont wanna know...
again, wtf? was an asian hip-hop store..eh?
natural hot spas (onsen) everywhere, shimihara:
obviously not the one i got naked in, but they are literally at the end of every street. get all the locals out at night taking a wee dip, and chewing the fat. did wonder how long one of these would last on a street corner down in good ol' belfast city. lol.
and man these asians love their kites. even got lights an all on 'em (caused confusion a few nights. thought extra terrestrial invasion was imminent) from china to here, and everywhere in between. kinda liked this shot from the huang-pu river:
aw well. epic STEVE-O blog post over. again, if ya made it this far give yerself a round of applause!
rice 'n peas...'til the next time!
...monks on yee!
ok, the pics gonna lead this thread. btw, the wedding was in khao lak, not phuket as steve stated in another post, and the ceremony took place at the sarojin (check it out here- http://www.sarojin.com/ ), where we are now officially on honeymoon..yee-haa! day was perfect (ahhh... no tears at the back there! lol!), in fact just could not have been any better! so here goes...
(sarah in a tasty Pucci number!)
(steve sporting the handmade italian cashmere suit, tailored in bangkok. btw, check out the catalogue pose...mmm...niiice!)
(sarah waiting on the groom - a thai thing. (steve: and quite correct too in my opinion..ahem!) )
(btw, that one in the middle is a complete raker! spent the whole ceremony laughing, had us in stitches! was actually really cool 'cause it lightened the tone, and took the heat off us bumbling our way through a buddhist ceremony..lol!)
(no, steve's mum isn't asleep there btw!)
and awaiting us in the room-
btw, many many thanks from us both to all family and friends, for all the cards ('real' & virtual) and prezzies, you were in our thoughts, and much love goes out to you all!
..so now we're on a 8/9 month honeymoon, get in my son! we think we'l hang about south e.asia for the next 2/3 mths, then oz for 2/3 mths, then s.america for the same. something like that. decisions, decisions, decisions...life is tough, eh?! ha ha.. (we do apologise for rubbing it in there, couldn't resist it!). oh yeah, and we still haven't even started backpacking yet! god bless the wheeled baggage...you really do get what you pay for, and we payed through the nose for that berghaus gear. well worth it!
ok, got to go. we've an appointment at the bar! daqiris all round...
ps: rambo & the bubbettes, get yer arses into gear and get out here. and mazetron too if ya reading this! oh yeah, and gavin, drop us a line on the ankle-biter situation! ha ha..