Location: Rushden, UK
Well, first I will tell you about Singapore...
Arrived about 8pm, found my driver and got in the Van to the hotel. Walked into the foyer in my flip flops, combat shorts and crappy T-shirt and immediately felt like a tool! Nice 5* hotel lobby with me and my scummy backpack!
My room actually got upgraded, so I had this huge room about the size of my house back home! One of those computer control panels that opened and closed the curtains, controlled all the lights etc! Woohoo!
Anyway, that night was Chinese New Year. But feeling quite tired and not actually having a clue where I was in relation to anything, I just went to bed rather than try and find the parties.
Next morning I got up and went on a half day tour of the city. Was quite interesting. I quite liked Singapore, very clean, all these huge shops (that were sadly shut due to the New Year) and no crime (they have the death penalty and flog you). But it felt a little bit soul less. Kind of like Milton Keynes feels if you know what I mean.
In the evening I went on the night safari. Which is basically a ride around the huge zoo on a tram, but the animals are free to roam up to the tram (except anything dangerous like the tigers!). There was also a really good show, that showed off various animals of the night. Was quite good fun, if a little touristy!
The next day I just had to hang around the city. Which I wouldn't of minded if all the shops were open and it wasn't raining! But there you go! Got picked up for my flight back to Britain at 7pm. Flight was not until 11.30pm.
As I hung around the gate I noticed some chunky blonde Aussie guy that looked familiar. Sure enough it was Shane Warne. Looking around the gate for people to recognise him! He was in first class on my flight home.
Being a bit of a chubby bowler I was worried he might unbalance the plane, but worked out ok!
Flight home was as expected, long! Nearly 14hrs, I managed to get about two hours sleep. But that was it. Busying myself watching every film I could!
Sure enough at the baggage reclaim was Warney, picking up all his cricket gear with his wife. My parents said when he came through the arrivals he was waiting for people to recognise him, and all the people were like, oh look dear, its that horrible man from the cricket!
Spotted my parents pretty much straight away! My Mum had a little tear in her eye, bless! To me, it just felt like they had dropped me off 5 minutes ago!
I really don't know where the time has gone! The first weeks did drag, but New Zealand and Oz, just seem to have flown by in a blur!
The thing when you have been away fro a long while, is you don't know where to start with the stories. If you have been away for two weeks, you know you have a few that are fresh. I have been away for so long, I have too many to tell! You end up saying nothing! It is very weird!
My Sister brought my little Niece Mia and my new Nephew, Ellis over to see me yesterday. Mia has grown no end and is a little chatter box now. Ellis is very sweet and very well behaved!
So I guess now, it is back to reality. The job interviews will be falling into place, but I am in no rush. I will make sure I pick a good one rather than take the first.
So soon, my adventures will be at an end! Just another Brit in a suit, chasing the pay cheque and living for those Friday Night Lights of the Weekend! Well, I can console myself with the knowledge that for some, that is as good as it gets and they never get to experience anything else!
It may have been for a short while, but at least I can say that I have done something different, that I stuck my head above the line and had a look at what else is out there!
So, thanks very much for all the comments, emails and messages! They were much appreciated! I hope you enjoyed reading my diary as much as I enjoyed living the experiences that I have written in it! If it has given you even the slightest feelings of wanting to go away yourself, then I would pursue it with everything! What you leave behind will still be here when you return and the memories you get, well, those are yours to keep!
Until next time.........
Location: Kuta-Bali, Indonesia
Well, there was a beginning, a middle and so there must be an end!
I will try an get to a computer in Singapore, but this will probably be my last entry whilst I am actually overseas! So suck up that sea air one last time!
The mossies found new places to bite me last night. One place you wouldn't put mossie repellant is under your watch strap right! But it seems one of my friends managed to make it under there and leave me itching all day today!
So, I guess you need to all dust off your best china, have a hoover up and roll out the red carpets, because I am starting to make my way home!
Over the last few months, I've found myself in one conversation time and time again. Basically it revolves around the idea that we would never quite be able to explain the feeling traveling gives you, to someone that has never been. Even someone close to us.
Over the next few weeks, I am sure I will bore many people with my tales of this and that. But I think that it is true, I will never quite be able to explain it truly to you all.
In some people's eyes I was a fool to go on this trip! I had a well paid job, a house, a nice car and family and friends who looked out for me. But for all that, I still felt fed up with life. That surely something better was out there! Well, I was right, there is something better out there, you just have to be brave enough to find it!
Sure enough the life I have been leading whilst I have been away is not sustainable. My bank manager knows that! But, look at the things I have done in my time away....Skydived, bungy jumped, walked on a glacier, ridden over mountains and through rivers, swam with dolphins, quad biked, snorkelled on the great barrier reef, had Christmas Day on Bondi Beach and New Year at Sydney Harbour the list goes on, add to that the friends I have made along the way and you may begin to see the point I am trying to make!
Which is this! It may only have been for a short time (god knows where it went!), but for that short time, I lived the life I wanted to lead! I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and it felt bloody good!
I strongly recommend to anyone sat bored at their desk, or doing whatever, if you have the slightest urge to go see a bit of the world and see what is really out there, then go for it! You will be scared, I certainly was, but will you regret it? I highly doubt it!
Well, here endeth my preaching!
As they say in New Zealand.. "Go hard, or go home!"
Well, I have gone pretty hard over the last few months, so maybe it is time to go home!
Look forward to seeing you all soon!
Location: Kuta-Bali, Indonesia
Not done much today, bit of shopping for gifts, but as I have no room in my rucksack, that is very limited! So sorry everyone, you either do not have a present or it is very small and tacky!
Woke up to the now usual raft of new mossie bites! They always seem to find a spot I have missed with the repellant! Today it is the back of my thumb! Which is now very itchy! Thanks a lot!
I have developed a don't bother asking me look with the hawkers, but some are still not getting it! The type I hate are illustrated by one guy today, who crossed the road, blocked my path, when I walked past him he grabbed me on the arm. I am still walking and he is telling me how he has great sun glasses, billabong T-shirt just like the one I have on (given it was a special edition only available in Hawaii, I doubted it) and shorts just like the quicksilver boardies I had on. I replyed with, well if they are just like the ones I have on, I don't need to look do I , as I already have them! He pondered this for a second and then said, oh well what do you want, I bet I have it! Given I was on my way to lunch I asked him if he had a decent hamburger! The taxi driver near me laughed at that one, before asking me if I wanted transport, to which I replied no thanks I have feet! Oh, bet they were calling me all sorts as I walked away!
Well, last full day in Bali tomorrow which will be spent by the pool and trying to force all my stuff back into my bag! Saturday I am leaving at 2.30pm for the airport, the hotel are letting me keep my room late and not charging me, which is nice of them and they take me to the airport for 2 quid!
To be honest, I just want to get home now. Looking forward to seeing Singapore, but I feel like the end is near!
On the travel front, Nic and Laura are now home, Angela lands the day after me, Matty has another month and Ruth is also home just after me. So lots of people I know have all come to the end of their trips at the same time! Dave though is now so in love with NZ he is thinking of coming back to Oz, and getting a working visa for NZ and doing the ski season! Jammy git!
He and Matt are due to do Nevis on Saturday! So I look forward to hearing about that!
With regards to the diary, I am unlikely to have time to update it from Singapore. But as I am going to try and stay awake for Tuesday to get used to UK time, I will put some photos on from home. So please keep checking to see those as some of them are very good!
Location: Elephant Park-Bali, Indonesia
Hey, thanks for all the Happy Birthday messages! Much appreciated!
Woke up in a foul mood! Didn't sleep at all well and was fair to say I was unimpressed at being 26! So sorry to my parents, who got the brunt of it! Pleased to say things picked up!
Bus to Elephant Park was o.k, young Ozzie couple that I got talking to and a couple of Scottish ladies that once they had established I was English didn't want anything to do with me! Good to see Racism is alive and well North of the Border!
Ran over a dog on the way to the park! To be fair it did run straight at the mini bus and the driver had nearly stopped! Was only a minor collision and it got up, barked at the van and slinked away! Van 1- Dog nil!
The Elephants name was Ramona, I could see she was going to be trouble straight away! She was 10 years old and therefore a lot smaller than some of the other elephants taking people, but she made up for it in cheekiness! Before I even got on her she had collided with one of the other elephants.
Once in the seat we headed off, with my guide telling me about her and that he loves her as she is so cheeky! She was grabbing at anything food wise she could reach and trumpeting loudly when ever the guide tried to steer her away. The Ozzie couple in front, Luke and Tracy were laughing at me because they could see she was playing about!
Then it happened, the elephant in front stopped and so did we. Obviously easily bored Ramona spotted a nice bush about 10 yards across the forrest off the track and we were off! I was grabbing hold of my seat like a man possessed and the guide was clinging onto her ears for dear life. To be fair, it looked like a tasty bush and eventually we made it back onto the path!
Wandered around a bit more for about 30 minutes and then waded into the lake. Was a bit worried was going to get wet as she was a lot shorter that the others, but we stuck to the edge and I was spared the elephant dung infested water!
Was really enjoyable experience, made all the more fun the Elephant was a little devil!
After the ride I fed her some bamboo and then she picked up a wreath of flowers and put it on me. Which was funny!
Had lunch in the park restaurant and then watched the elephant show. Although this was a bit tacky, it was a good example of illustrating just how smart the elephants are! They led each other over obstacles, sat down when told, stood on each other. Slam dunked basketballls and took penalties (to be fair they were better than England, with only one of them missing from the spot and that hit the post!).
After that had a look around the park, shop and Musuem before leaving about two for the hour or so trip back. Thankfully we didn't run over any more scabby dogs!
Luke and Tracy said they will be out tonight after their valentines dinner so may go grab something to eat and head down to the bars to see if I can spot them.
So despite being in a bad mood this morning, I really enjoyed the visit to the park. Tick another box, another memory for the pile! After all, that is what this trip was about!
Location: Tannah Lot, Indonesia
Guess I had another insight into how slow the tourist trade is over here and also just how strong our currency is in relation to the rest of the world today.
Got picked up at 2pm after melting this morning in the sun to go horseriding. Only me in the bus, so I thought ok, the others must be meeting me there.
Wrong, it was actually just me! We pulled into the yard after the hour or so drive and there were two horses ready to go. A grey and a chesnut mare. Thankfully as those that know about horses will appreciate I got given the grey! I had realised on the way there that no one had asked when I booked, whether I rode lots or what height and weight I was. Which is a bit unusal, they must just play roulette to see who gets what steed!
Got sat at a posh dining table and given a mineral water and then one of the grooms asked some questions about what I did back home and proceeded to tell me how he is too busy to take holiday's as the horses always need something doing to them. Those out there that have had horses will no doubt know that feeling well!
So I was introduce to my horse, which was called Grease/Greece. Not sure if it was named after the musical or the country. But as I am a fan of John Travolta and Greece should never of won the last Euro Champs I tend to lean towards Grease! I also need to realise how tall I have become as I thought Grease looked huge on the ground, but in my photos I look a bit leggy on her. Makes me realise just how big Alaksa, the excellent horse I had in N.Z really was!
I got on and then the other lad who was wearing just thongs on his feet jumped on the other horse and told me to follow him. I found this confusing as the other groom had Jodphurs and riding boots on, all to bring me some mineral water! Anyway, seems to be the way things work down here.
So we headed out of the yard and straight onto a huge black sandy beach. We walked on this for a bit, then the guy asked if I wanted to go faster. So off we went into a trot and then a canter. Grease was gaining fast on the other horse so I tried to reign her in a bit and basically nothing happened. Which I found a little unsettling to begin with, but after a little battle of wills she decided to ease up a bit.
We then left the beach via a stream and rode up into a village. This was a glimpse at real Bali life. The houses were very poor and people we at work in the fields. Kids came out of the houses to point and wave at the white bloke on a white horse with a funny hat and sunglasses. But was actually quite good fun. When I said hello, they said hello back. They were happy for me to wave at them and not just hold their hands out asking for money like the kids do here in Kuta. We spent the next couple of hours or so meandering through other villages, with various states of amusement at me along the way, both by kids and older villagers!
Then we got back onto the beach. It was too rough to take the horses in the water. The waves were dumping quite badly and he didn't fancy my chances of staying on, so that was a shame. But instead we decided to let the horses have their heads a bit and went for a gallop along the sea. Was great fun! We had to dodge the villagers who were picking up the dead fish on the sea front.
This was one thing I noted when we were first on the beach. There were dead fish everywhere. Not just little ones, but puffa fish and some that would have the avearge Brit screaming Shark if the saw it out in the water. My guide said it was because of the rough sea's, but I wasn't so sure.
Once we had galloped a fair way and walked back, the sun was coming down. So they took me to the beach front hotel where I was to have dinner and watch the sunset. Was quite weird. They took Grease off me then. Was worried how I was going to get her back in the dark!
I then walked into this 5* Hotel complex where I was met and taken to the dining arear, which sat high up on a mound. Apart from a couple of Korean girls I was the only guest insight. So I had dinner, by myself on this terrace overlooking this huge beach watching the sun come down behind the clouds of the massive thunderstorm that was brewing! Very odd! That said dinner was very nice! Just felt a bit of a tool up there, with the villagers scavenging below!
After dinner, my bus was waiting to run me the hour back to Kuta all on my todd again!
Very enjoyable, I love riding and galloping along the beach was great! Just a bit odd having all that done just for me!
One thing I will remember from today was a Mum carrying a little girl of about two who was staring at me. When I waved, the Mum was so pleased I had noticed her and her child amongst all the fish gatherers I thought she was going to explode! She grabbed the little girls arm who was laughing at me and waved it back so hard I thought it may come off!
Nice to see that being a piece of white trash on a horse can make someones day!
Tomorrow I am going to try and get some gifts, without being ripped off. There is definitley a white persons price policy here!
The Wednesday it is my Birthday! That is right, my Birthday! Cheques in the post please! So I am off to the Elephant Park!