Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Hello family and friends
Sorry we haven't wrote anything in awhile. We have been rather busy, getting transportation (Gertie the van), applying for tax numbers, getting bank accounts and moving into our own place in the sunshine coast. We are busy looking for jobs, but now we have our own place, (we only moved in yesterday) we are getting much more serious in our search.
I will try and write a bit more tomorrow and I promise I will bring in the cord and camera in and you can see our new van and also our apartment. We have moved in with a friend of Darrell's. It is a lovely place. It has a pool, spa, steam room and gymnasium in the complex. So now time for me to get off that excess flab and get into shape for the long hot summer haha.
Location: Byron Bay, Australia
Hi sorry it has been so long. It has been quite a journey trying to get a van. We found one and thought it was going to be quite simple, but it didn't have a warrant or registration. So it took us a few days trying to organise that. I have taken a photo of the van but forgot to bring the cord to put it on here, I'll do that next time I am on line.
It is an old van a Nissan E20 about 1976. It goes good tho, although it is a bit hard on the arms turning as no power steering. It has a pop top roof so that we can stand up in it. Also came with a tv, fridge and lots of plugs and things. Unfortunately we can't get the fridge to work. But everything else does.
We went up to Sunshine coast for a couple of days to visit D's friend while we were waiting for the van to be repaired. It was lovely, we stayed in a lovely apartment and went to the beach. Then we headed off to Gold Coast to visit my daughter. She has a lovely apartment with sea views. Had a lovely couple of days with her, it was a bonus that it was her days off.
Then we set off to Byron Bay. It is awesome and I felt like I had come home. I think it is because it is so much like Golden Bay. The people ar very much the same and they are very friendly. We also went further south to Lennox Heads and Ballina to have a look. We have decided to look for work in Byron first and if we have no joy here will start heading back up North.
I was wrong in my last diary entry. The rain has followed us to Aussie. We have just had a week of it. D and I are thinking of offering ourselves to drought stricken countries, as wherever we go the rain seems to follow Tee hee. Didn't think we would need sweatshirts and rain coates in Oz.
Location: Brisbane, Australia
We are in Australia and it is beautiful. Survived Thailand LOL. On the Saturday we went for a look around. We started walking but then got in a tuk tuk. That was very exciting, they are like a three wheeled motorbike and you sit in the back and the driver in front. They whiz around the city. We went and looked at some budha's, they are really amazing. Also the driver took us to some jewellary wholesalers as they get petrol vouchers for taking us. We only went to 2 and then said we had had enough. It is so hot in Thailand, the heat hits you as soon as you step out of hotel. It doesn't matter what time of the day or night it is still really hot. So nice to be warm.
We walked around the streets, lots of stalls and shops to look in, but after awhile it is all the same. I had a Thai massage every day, 180 Barht for an hour which is about $6-00 NZ. On Sunday we got picked up from Hotel at 6.30am and set off to Pattaya, it is about 2 hours from Bangkok. We were in a mini van and only 4 other people with us. It was a bumpy ride but one couple were from Perth and they were lovely. When we got to Pattaya, we were bnlown away by the beauty, gorgeous beach and palm trees.
Then we jumped on a ferry to take us to Golden Island. The ferry stopped half way out and we got on a big boat with a platform on it. For 500 Barht you could get hooked up to a parachute and they took you on a circuit of harbour. Lots of people were doing it. As on came in they unhooked the person and hooked the next one on. We have photo's will try and put them on today. It looked fabulous but we were not ready to do it. Next time we will. We both would like to come back to Pattaya and just have a week in the sun. It is like Hawaii but cheaper.
So then we go to the island. It was gorgeous and we had 4 hours to do what we wanted. We just lay on the beach on luxury deck chairs under umbrellas and went for swims. The water was like bath water, no matter how deep you went. I got a leg and foot massage, manicure and pedicure. I thought I was in heaven. My nails have never looked so good, with gorgeous pattern on them. I felt totally decadent and thought this is the life I was born to live haha. The whole thing came to the grand total of $25. They gave us lunch on the island which was part of the package. It was an awesome lunch, fish, chicken and vegetables in a lovely batter, stir fried veges and rice, then water melon.
We very reluctantly climbed back on board the boat to go back to the mainland. Back on the mainland and they took us to a jewellary place, it didn't matter if we bought anything, but we got a free drink and got to use their lovely clean toilets. So we were keen to do that as all day we had had to use toilets that had no seats, you had to squat over them.
Well the jewellary place was fantastic, you got on a wee train and they took you round a display that showed the history of how gem stones made and how they had been mined through the ages. It was incredible and me and a sri lankan couple opposite us were taking photos and videos, then taking photos of each other in the place. Then a man came out and asked me not to use camera as it was not allowed. Apparently they had said before we had set off, but none of us in our cart had heard, whoops. Got same great shots tho tee hee.
Darrell and I were both tempted with a ring and got a token to remember our stay in Thailand. Then we got to sit in a nice bar and enjoy a drink before setting off back to Bangkok. I slept all the way back, as had had only 30 mins sleep the night before. Unfortunately our hotel was opposite a night club and it was very noisy until 4am. The first night we were there wasn't too bad as European music, but every night after that it was like very very bad kareoke.
Next day we went to a shopping mall which each floor was bigger than Northlands and there were 6 stories. From there we took a sky train and went to find a market we had been told about. We got to the place and all there was was girly nightclubs. After walking around for awhile we found out the market only goes in the evenings. We couldn't really go back that night as we had to be up at 2.30am the next day to get the plane.
We arrived in Brisbane late Tuesday night and by the time we got to our hotel it was midnight. The hotel was fully booked and had no record of our booking. Apparently it was some bogus booking place we had found on line. This hotel had had 4 people that week that had used it. So they kindly found another hotel and booked us a taxi and then went back to bed. After 20 mins the taxi had not arrived and so we went for a walk trying to find one, eventually flagging one down. We got to our hotel at 1am phew. It's a hard life travelling haha. It was a lovely hotel right in the city.
So now we have got a rental car and we are looking for our own transport. We are staying with some friends. The weather is gorgeous, a bit cool in the evenings, but gorgeous sunny days, only need to wear shorts and singlet, bliss. So glad the rain didn't follow us from England. Will put some photo's on later today, better go and check out some vans.
Lots of love to all
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Hi sorry guys, our last week in UK just went so fast and we didn't have any time to put in something to our blog.
We are finally in Bangkok, but we will try and fill in the last week for you. The last time we wrote we were in a lovely village called Totnes, I loved it as the people were so like Golden Bay people. I could easily have lived there. The weather was showery tho, which has been the case with most of our time in UK. D bought his first ever umbrella and used it often and I bought a raincoat.
That night after checking into a nice camping f\ground in Peignton we went to see a lovely model village called Babbacombe. It is an amazing place and has a small city, cricket ground, wembley stadium, a thatched cottage village and so much more. It was lovely as it was getting dark when we got there and all the lights were on and you could see what was happening inside the houses and buildings too. We both loved it. I had seen it a few times before but as it changes all the time there was lots of new things to see.
The next morning we went to a village called Cockington. By the way we caught up with our laundry last night so all smelling sweet again haha. Cockington is gorgeous, a quaint village where all the houses are thatched, they have a smithy there that you used to be able to pin your name on for luck. They had all gone and the blacksmith said that OSH made him take them down as they are a fire hazard. In over 200 years people have been doing it and never was there a fire from it. OSH is as crazy in UK as NZ, in fact I would even say crazier. Darrell really enjoyed seeing the cricket pitch as it is in like a bowl. So when the ball is hit out, it rolls back in. We sat at the manor house and had another devonshire tea. With our Pot of tea and lovely scones, jam and clotted cream (this is to die for, wish they had it in NZ). We felt like we where living in the land of luxury and wondered what all the poor people were doing tee hee.
That afternoon we went along the South of England, driving thru Christchurch, D said just another town, but we took photos of the road signs. We went to a gorgeous village on the coast called Mudeford. The weather was beautiful and lots of people doing all sorts of activities, on and beside the sea. We got to see the Isle of Whyte from there and the needles. I would have liked to go over to the island but not enough time left.
After staying in another camping ground we set off for Dover. We drove through Brighton on the way and it was so sad, it has become such a dump. About 90 percent of the houses and hotels were run down and had For Sale signs on them. We just drove all around the coast until we got to Dover. Had to pay $7.50 to see the white cliffs of Dover haha. Darrell says just another Pay and Display. He has been mortified here as everywhere you go you have to pay to park. Also if you want to use an air pump at a garage it costs 20p. D did it relecutantly and by the time he had got to the fourth tyre it had ran out. So he could put air in but didn't know how much haha. He is saying just another rip off. He has found a real difference in UK. You pay for everything, but I guess thats the difference between having 4 mill and 60 mill people in a country.
So Saturday morning we went in search of Darrell's ancestors home time, a small place called Minster in Kent. He found the cottage I think would have been where his great great grandfather lived before coming to NZ in 1863. It used to be called Black Cottage, but had a name change to Tudor cottage. It was actually quite a large Tudor home with a thatched roof. We took some photos. We also went around the graveyard and found 3 head stones with Fright on them, one of them a George Fright. Also another William Fright.
We then drove for 2 and a half hours, backwards and forwards, east and west, north and south, looking for a camping ground. We finally found one about 15 miles from Dover. We went nearly a complete circle, but had a lot of laughs. During that time we went thru Canterbury, it is a lovely city and has a University called Christchurch.
Sunday back to London for my Aunt's birthday party, via the Motorway ring road of London. It is an experience. It is so huge. It took us hours longer to get to my Aunt's than anticipated. We did stop and have a lovely lunch in a quaint cafe. D looked on in horror as I devoured a huge plate of Liver, Bacon, Onions, Gravy, Peas and Chips. It was the best meal I had had here, yum.
Got to my Aunt's and her family were all there, so that was lovely.
We thought we had sold our van in London back to the original owner, so gave him a ring and he said ring back Monday morning. Well we rang an rang him all morning and no reply. So we had a mission of a job driving across London to his house and he wasn't there. He finally text us and said he realised he had too many cars and would buy it back off us at half the price we had paid him. We were shocked as thought it was a done deal. Poor naive kiwi's. We could have been advertising it on the net.
That really knocked us back as the MOT on the van ran out the next day, so we managed to find a garage that would do it the next day and then headed into London. So Back on the tube again We went to Covent Gardens market which was awesome. Then watched a very funny busker for awhile. We then headed to Shaftesbury Avenue as my cousin told D it was full of music stores, we didn't find one.
We went back to the garage to find the bad news, we needed a few things fixed which they could do, but we also needed a new seat belt retractor. They couldn't get one so we had to hunt for a wreckers. Found one thanks to my Aunt and that was a wonderful experience in there. The guys were hard cases and very entertaining watching them smash the cars up to get parts, sometimes smashing the parts as they went. Luckily ours came out whole.
Next morning we took the car back, had a bit of a mishap. My Aunt said she would come with us and pick us up. She was still asleep so I said to D quick we will take off and be back before she knows, haha. He said she will be angry, but I assured him I would take full responsibility haha. Off we went, then went to jump on the tube back and found cos it was peak time it would cost a lot more. So we decided to walk. In the meantime my Aunt had woke, thought the little bu**ers and come racing after us. Luckily I spotted her or she could have been wondering where we were.
The upshot is we got an MOT and my cousin is selling it for us. While they were working on car, we went and checked out Buckingham Palace and St Paul's. St Paul's is an amazing cathedral, I thought it the best we had seen.
So we arrived in Bangkok today, we managed to sleep a bit on the plane as we had 3 seats between us. But we are feeling a bit jaded now. We are trying to stay awake so that we can get into there time frame. We have been walking around the streets, it's really different. We might grab a bite to eat of something and then have a Thai massage before bed. Darrell said they are selling food on the side of the street everywhere, mmmmmmmm he hopes its nice LOL. I can't see him trying anything, but we are here a few days he might give it a go. He reckons he saw McDonalds.
Goodnight sweet people all our love to you all. Unfortunately our cell phones don't work here so we will be incomunicado beside e-mail or this until Tuesday (in Oz).