Location: Bukittinggi, Indonesia
Well well back on line once more!!
The trekking in Tamen Negara was, for me, FANTASTIC!! Spent a few days there by the river and exploring the rain forest etc etc between washing out my bag which had had a carton of full fat milk explode in there and then proceed to go off for 24hrs whilst travelling in 30+ degrees of heat...the smell took several washes (vigorous washes) to get out, it wasnt too pleasant let me tell you.
The first day trekking around, I visited the canopy walk through the tree tops. This wasnt scarey, but more unnerving than anything, the height was 45m and the bridges had a good sway/swing on them. Whilst there luckily there was no one else on them, by the looks of all the benches they has set up, you normally have to wait for some time before going up as only a few people at a time could be on each bridge, but for me it was empty and so I could take my time and get some good pics (to follow on facebook). After the canopy walk I/we continued to walk through the forest and find a nice river to swim in and cool down. The following day we set off on our own to go deeper into the jungle. We stopped off at the tourist information centre to TRY and get info, but as soon as we said that we didnt want a guide they were about as helpfull as a chocolate teaspoon in the firey depths of hell, the only thing they had (surprise surprise) was a map to sell me. They got $ for setting up guides, so instead I took photos of a map and set off they weren't getting anything off me, typical money grabbing wankers!
After the first 5mins of walking the sweating began and after a good 20mins your wet through. The sun might not penetrate throught to the ground but the humidity meant that your literally dripping in no time at all. I have never sweat so mnuch in my life. After half an hr you could wring out the T-shirt and my shorts honestly! I did say the trekking was 'to me' fantastic...this is because Liz who I was with had several (un-countable) hissy fits to say the least! within the first half hr there were tears. This was due to the fact that there were Sooooo many leaches it was unreal! during the 2day trek, I alone had well over 100 leaches either on my shoes or sucking on my body. Now then Liz didnt like leaches...this was made apparent within the first hr (half hr really) and we had another 7hrs trekking to go!! It was insane, everytime you looked at your shoes...every few mins, there would be 2-5 on there, by the time Liz caught up to me and I'd leached her, I'd have another 2 on me from out of no where, it was like that for hrs, we had to stop on fallen tree trunks etc to get off the ground where it was safer. Anyhow we took a detour and went to see a view point where I stopped and wrung out my T-shirt. I managed to miss a track of ants and got my shoulders arms and neck covered in the things, on the way back down I saw where they were and immediatly realised that it could of been much worse, there were thousands of them!! All pics will be on facebook asap trust me. Anyhow after 7.5 hrs we got to our 'hide' in the middle of the jungle used to spot animals during the night and rested up. I had actually could smell my own T-shirt so HAD to give it a rinse and leave it to dry out. Ohh boy did it have an aroma, so much so that I decided that I would wear it the next day to save possibly ruining a 2nd T-shirt!!! Yeh Jungle trekking is hard going and takes a hell of a long time, even longer when wet. It must be said that I prefer mountain walking...you have more of a sence of achivment once you reach the top where as in a jungle/rainforest you can only see 10-20m in any direction if your lucky! After 7.5-8hrs the second day we got back to base had a quick (MUCH needed) shower and caught a bus back to some population. Tea that night consisted of a raw pot noodle...Mmmmmm that hit the spot!
After Tamen Negara we headed for the quaint town of Penang and rested up for a few days there eating good street food before getting a boat to Indonesia.
We arrived in the afternoon and immediantly wanted to get the hell out of Medan the capital city of Sumatra...the place is filled with 2.5million people and it was a bit of a shock after Malaysia as its much poorer and everybody wants a piece of your wallet again (something I DIDN'T miss in Malaysia) so we managed to get (after much a piss around by 3 different taxi muppets) a 3hr leaky minibus journey up north to Bukit Lawang through swamped roads and torrential rain to the home of an Orang-utan sanctuary where they are looked after and released back into the wild.
I shall leave it there till the next time, I dont want to bore anybody now do I!
Are you sitting comfortably? Ok then, I shall begin!
I have been in KL for a week now and am looking at leaving for Taman Negara in the north tomorrow morning first thing for a spot of trekking for 4-5 days. This place is meant to be 4343 sq km of primary jungle over 130 million yrs old. Its also meant to be home to the oldest rain forest on earth. There is a canopy walk walk which is the longest of its type at approx 450m long and 40-45m up off the ground, so this is a place I am looking forward to visiting to say the least.
KL has been good fun, its been nice getting in amongst everybody, it still tickles me to see the muslims fasting for ramhadan, because when they break their 'fast' they'll go to special markets and buy food etc etc from the street stalls and sit there not touching their food or drink and wait till the sun has set. Its just a little strange seeing all that food and all those people yet no one is eating, then when the sun sets everyone tucks in. You do feel awkward walking around with water or food in your hand whilst trying to hide it occasionally.
Anyhow, I really must try and catch up spme what with what I've been up to over the last 2 months or so...the last time I did this I lost everything and I have only just got the 'will' to try once more!
So, Hoi An was a great place, met up with some friends and had many a drunken night and early mornings around the morning markets. From Hoi An I went to Hue and got a peddlo from a Mr Hue no less (tourist gimmick I presume) for a good 4hrs in the baking heat of the day (2 of us together) all around the Citadel then the Imperial Enclosure and also some Royal Tombs. Hue was ok but only spent a night there after which I got a sleeper bus all the way up to Hanoi.
Location: Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Hello once more peeps! I have passed through Thailand for the last time now, en route I stopped off at Koh Phangan for the full moon party which was a good laugh. Randomly met up with a couple I met in Cambodia so spent the evening with them catching up. I will catch up with them once again in Oz when I crash at their place till I get sorted...nice. After the full moon got 2hrs sleep then travelled to Koh Tao and spent a few days days there playing with a bike on the dirt roads there, although they had done a suprising amount of work since the last time I was there. Also caught up with a friend who is now a dive master after the time I was travelling through Cambodia, Vietnam, china/Honkkong and Laos, she's now done over 200dives and is more experienced than me. Well I'm currently in Malaysia on the Perhentian Islands. After travelling right down through Thailand on a train. Its meant to be a no go route but it was cheaper than any other way, and cheap is the name of the game now! It became apparent that it was a place of unease when on/in every carriage was an armed soldier with an automatic and even the ticket collecter was armed! At the stations groups of police and soldiers stood around armed to the teeth and at a couple of places there was an area made secure with sand bags and a guy stood behind with a bigger caliber gun, so that was nice! I have done a couple of dives - a ship wreck yesturday and a coral dive this morning first thing. Weather is H.O.T!! The tan is getting a good top up once again. The beer here is expensive as...over a pound for a coke can sized beer, so I'm off the booze at last and also the dirty ass smokes! Its a perfect opportunity to try and gain some fitness if I want to climb Mt Kinabalu, the highest mountain in S.E Asia I just hope I can get there cheaply. Prob is food is also dear and so cutting down on eating would be nice but that means even more weight loss, bugger!! Well its yet another short and sweet notice, I really want to catch up but its not going to happen here as its expensive. I hope all is well with everyone and dont forget you can leave messages!! Take care all.
Love me xxx.
Well, Ive just been typing away for a good 45mins and this bastard computer has for some unknown Godly reason has lost everything I've just typed...Pissed???? You could say that!!!! The frown marks are coming forth once more, Grrrrrrrr!!!
Well what I'll say for now is: -
a) I'm not best pleased.
b) I'm soooo behind its not funny (especially when I've got to start from scratch).
c) I'm not going to do it here in this poo place any more.
I'm currently in the south of Laos in a place called Pakse after a hellish night bus from Paksan. Even though I was shattered, for some reason I couldnt get to sleep, perhaps it was to dreadful music they blast out all the way. Anyhow got here at 5am and after trekking all over the place finally found a guesthouse to stay in, got some noodle soup and mananged to get some rest. Tomorrow I'm getting a bike (prob a scooter its cheaper) and exploring the sights/waterfalls etc etc in the area, after which I'll be heading back into Thailand in the next few days and from there I will have a good crack at getting updated. Sorry for the lack of comms, Laos has been fun, crazy, drunken (whilst tubing down rivers) and at time extreamly remote with no vehicles what so ever let alone internet!
Hope eveyone is well, I'm going to sink a beer to help me get over the loss of my hard typing!!
Till the next time
Location: Various, Vietnam
Now in Nha Trang. I left the big smoke that is Ho Chi Minh a while back and headed to the coast once again to a little place called Mu Nie. There had been talk about heading straight to Nha Trang for my B'day (for those of u that sent messages, ta very muchly, for those that forgot dont worry about it).
It was a nice quiet spot having spent a few cold nights in Da Lat in the central highland region. Wasn't use to the cold and on the first night in De Lat and woke up several times, made a refreshing change to be honest. Did a cooking course there, I say cooking course, could of done it reading a book the only thing practical I did was roll the spring rolls but on the plus side when it came time to eat (at 10:30am) the bottles of Mullberry wine were cracked open (5 between 4 of us, pretty nice odds). Learnt a lot about the culture talking to the guy who 'tought' the class but the biggest thing that stays in my mind is that they dont like blacks! He was saying that farmers (who are poor) obviously work in the fields all day and are therefore tanned to high hell (much darker). People you see in the streets wear long sleaves, gloves and face masks to stop getting tanned. They even have whightening products to make then look whiter. When asked "what do you think of Africans?" he actually laughed and said "Ohhhh we no like!!!!" plain as day. He said that children point and laugh, we couldn't believe our ears. They're well strange, they like the opposite to us in many ways. They find pale, white, fat people with big noses and over sized eyes to be more attractive. If your white and fat chances are you work in an office or (something like) and are therefore percieved to be wealthy. They also dont like Cambodians because they're poor. If your born with like two teeth coming through from your K9's then thats beautiful and lucky. We were like if thats the case at home its straight to the dentist! Sadly on the whole I've found the people here to be rude as hell. We visited some waterfalls and at one place there was a miniture rollercoaster, we went on it and when we got a lift back up we had to wait, so obviously we did the 'British' thing and waited in line. Then a family of about 7/8 people came up behind and actually pulled us back to get infront. We were stunned, it was adults and kids and it instantly pissed me off but let it go all the same. Then another group tried the same all smiling ect...You can 'F' off was the attitude now and so stood our ground and played em at their own game. Sadly thats not the last of it, over the last 4 weeks there have been plenty of other occasions which makes me (us) feel the way we do. As with everything there are exceptions, I've had a suit made up in place called Hoi An and the family who did it fed myself and Luke and several occasions, let me use their phone and gave us free beer and water every time we popped in. They even helped clean up some infected bites and cuts on my feet (which are getting worse still) but on the whole they are rude as!!
Phew rant over (for now)
Location: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
I am currently in the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). After leaving the chilled out slow paced life of the south of Cambodia, I was worried that city life wouldnt be for me, but I am glad to report Im enjoying it, although I have been here for 6 days now and I need to be moving off. Whilst here Ive visited some of the tunnels used during the war (Cu Chi Tunnels). Went down into 1 tunnel and did a huge 90m crawl. When I say huge I am or course being sarcastic as there was over 250km of tunnel networks that were dug. It was only a half-day visit but I did learn a number of things, which means I can switch off again for a few more weeks! After the tunnels I was dropped off at the War Remnants Museum and I had a walk round there. Seeing some of the images of Agent Orange victims wasnt particularly pleasant, they also had deformed babies preserved in jars etc that took the sheen off the day in all fairness. Also included were the tiger cages, tiny little cells with 25+ people crammed in. All in all, the museum wasnt a place for Americans to visit, I went round with a Ozzie who had the same sentiment, pictures on the wall had notations below simply slating them, like propaganda
but hey, you cant really blame them.
Anyhow theres been a lot missed out in Cambodia. After getting over the shits in Siem Reap, three of us (Glen and English guy called Luke) headed to Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia. Here the lifestyle was totally different. Once again got off the bus and walked into a barrage of Touts, screaming Tuk tuk, Moto etc etc. Once we found a guesthouse and walked round the difference became apparent almost instantly. With every 10m or so in certain areas the questions began.
Smoke, I have good marijuana!!
No cheers and it just went on,
Opium? I have opium. Ice, coke, pills, yabba?
Listen Im fine no, I dont want anything!
Massage? Boom boom? Machine gun?
f--ks sake NO! I dont want anything, if I do Ill see you yeh
You finally get away from 1 person whos been following you down the street, and, like I said 10meters later after shaking off 1 person the next starts
Moto? Smoke? Pills Opium, Yabba, machine gun, boom boom massage etc etc.
The 3 of us spent 6 days in Phnom Penh, the guest house (GH) was really chilled out, set on Boeng Kak Lake, hammocks everywhere, big chill out chairs, great food (again) it was hard to motivate ourselves. We visited the Killing fields of Choeung Ek and the S21 prison where people were taken for interrogation, tortured and executed by the Khmer Rouge. In 4yrs some figures state that 3million people were executed. At the killing fields and indeed the museums, skulls with bullet holes could be seen along with skulls with slash marks and huge holes where they had been brutalized. Not a particularly nice atmosphere especially at the S21 prison but it had to be done to appreciate the scale of what went on only 25yrs ago.
We befriended some locals just outside our GH and ended up drinking Muscle Wine and smoking with them. We ate firstly crickets (which werent too bad) pull the wings and legs off and munch away. Then came the duck embryos, hard-boiled duck eggs
peal off the shell and its a duckling all curled up in the fetal position! Must admit I didnt fancy eating then at first (obviously) but when in Rome
That evening I went for a massage (NOT a Happy Ending one might I add). I went to the famous Seeing Hands place where theyre all blind. Damn good, $4.50 for a full body massage, head to toe for an hr! At the end I asked if she felt anything odd and shed noticed that my shoulder wasnt right
give that girl a gold star! I wasnt quite sure what to do when seeing them bump into things, i.e. doors, or tables etc it was a little strange, but they knew their way around so I left em to it.
We also got invited to a wedding and to eat dog curry, but the night before the wedding we had a big one and didnt make it and as for the dog, it never materialized.
After Phnom Penh we all headed to Sihanoukville on the south coast and got some much missed beach action. Sadly on the way down via a coach, someone thought it best that they relieve me of the burden of carrying my camera, so that is now long gone. Luckily I did transfer the pics onto a pen drive a few days earlier so I only lost a couple of days, but they included the museums and the embryos etc.
Thats it for now, I hope Ive not bored you and Ill catch up further in a few days.