Location: Cairns, Australia
Home. Arrived back two weeks ago. Have been getting vehicles back on the road and catching up with friends and family. Been great riding my motorbike again and sleeping in own bed for a change. 'Have set myself a little project at home building a wooden deck and chill out area out off the pool and laying some sandstone around. Not rushing back to employment, have agreed to do some work through a mate's environmental consultancy. Maybe do quick trip to Thailand in Jan?
Came home a little sooner than originally planned. Was only to spend few days in Vancouver before heading to visit mate near Miami then onto Mexico. Couldn't get flight out of Vancouver on my ticket for 10 days and was cold and wet so couldn't do much there. Miami mate was still in Australia. Hurricanes were headed to Mexico. So I decided enough was enough and got a ticket to LA then back home. Had a great trip and met some fantastic people. Thinking about where my next trip will take me. Cheers!
Location: Czech Republic
In Prague. Nice place with it's grand old buildings, prostitutes and drug addicts. Decided I'm a beach and warm weather type man. Flew in from Instanbul yesterday, 'am missing the gang I went on the boat cruise with. Ended up travelling with most of them for another week. Had great time in Capadocia (central Turkey). Went hot air ballooning, exploring underground cities and hired a car to check out the interesting rock formations that people hollow out to make houses etc.. Had a Turkish bath in Instanbull. Interesting to have the dead skin slouthed off you but they could learn a thing or two about massage from the Thais. 'Am off to New York tomorrow via London. Will be a long haul. Need to get my finger out if ' want to be back for Xmas. Still have USA, Canada and Mexico to visit. All's well, hope the same back home.
'Left anchorage early the other mornıng and sıttıng on the bow sprınt of our 23M yacht, gazıng up at the thousands of stars I got to thınkıng, Bugger goıng back to work I'm stayıng here. So ıf you happen to be cruısıng the Medıterran_PR_html_entity_#305
_an past Turkey, pop ınto Butterfly Gorge. If you see a large blonde bearded man wıth a young saronged lady by the name of 'Sky Apollo Waterfall' or the lıke; come and say G'day. And Yeah, please brıng a jar of vegemıte as ıt goes well wıth bananas on toast.
All's goıng well. Just fınıshed a four day yacht cruıse and are now ın Olympus. Went to see eternal flames last nıght. Natural gas leaks out of the hıll and ıgnıtes ıtself. Thınkıng of headıng to Cappadocıa tonıght (central Turkey where they have underground cıtıes). Sorry cannot download photos as thıs ınternet connectıon works through pıgeon courıers.
In Turkey at a place near Selcuk near the ancıent cıty of Ephesus. Plannıng to stay a lıttle longer than expected as ıs a very nıce here. Have been stayıng at a hostel type place run by Australıan Turks. Is very relaxıng place. Have been to look through old rıuns around here (Epheseus), ıs old stuff everywhere around the hıllsıdes datıng back over two thousand years. Thıs area was part of Alexanda the Great stompıng ground . The Vırgın Mary ıs apparently burıed near here. Been through small vıllages on wıne tastıng and eatıng expedıtıon
s. Trekıng around the mountaıns. Went for a Turkısk shave today wıth the old cut throat razor. Couldn't stop thınkıng of the 'Man from Ironbark' poem. Was fantastıc though gettıng lathered up and shaved Twıce! head arms and back massages ıncluded. Fantastıc. 'Am leavıng soon to go down South and do a four day cruıse on a bıg yacht whıch ıs supposed to be a great trıp. Tryıng to upload photos but havıng dıffıcult_
Location: Paros Island, Greece
Kicking back on Paros Island in Greece. Happy to be away from cities for a change. Is beautiful here with the bright white buildings and aqua clear waters, ouzo and great food.
'Stayed one night in Barcelona in Spain. Very nice city with grand old buildings, bustling cafes and street performances. Aware of pickpockets there, I left wallet at home and only took some cash for a night out. Met some old Aussies and Scottish folk at the pub and had a great time.
Leaving some other pub in the wee hours I wus jus'a liddle bit tupsie, walking down the street a 'lady of the night' jumped in front of me, ripped up her top and bedazzled me with a large pair of breasts. Then six of her friends quickly surrounded me and cunningly emptied my pockets. Fending off six pairs of hands I managed to keep my phone and cigarettes. They got about 30 Euro off me which didn't bother me too much as I was on my way home anyhow. Thirty Euro for a group hug wasn't too bad even though one of them looked like Barney Rubble in a blonde wig ('cannot be too particular where you get your lovin' when on the road). Almost back at my hotel I noticed they had also got my sunglasses. Knowing I would be needing them big time in the bright sun in the morning, I went back to find the lovely ladies. With some sweet talking and my last 3 cigarettes they were kind enough to hand back my sunnies; I was not that stupid to ask for the money back.
Took the train to Zaragota where I was going to stay overnight, looked particulary boring so just had dinner and caught next high speed train to Madrid. Nice place, similar to Barcelona with grand buildings and busy streets. Great Tapas bars everywhere with terrific food and wines. Had nights out drinking Mojitos etc.., done tours around city in open air double decker buses, museums and botanical gardens. Flew to Athens, but over big cities for now so went straight to ferry to Islands. Got there at 12:30 AM so just stayed up reading at coffee shop to catch ferry at 7:30. Needless to say I was ready for a little nap on the ferry and when I booked into motel. Borrowed some snorkling gear and was in the water refreshed in the afternoon. Had to buy new sim card here as could not find anywhere to top up Virgin card. Greece (003?) 6948435926.
Back in London today. Have been up around Petersborough to the North. Didn't get to the drag racing meet as ' pissing down rain. Finally got to sample some typical English weather. 'Slowed up play at the cricket thus ending up in another draw and giving the ashes back to the poms. They'll be smarting about it so ' good thing I'm leaving soon. Off to Spain Wednesday.
Was good to catch up with friends here and meet some more however ' will be happy to leave. Is all a bit boring here for me. Many old folk mopping around and little houses jammed together. Interesting to see the countryside and old buildings but I prefer the wilder open frontiers. I'm sure to find some of the rawness I desire in the backblocks of Spain. Still can't upload photos, maybe sort tomorrow.
Still down at the caravan near Southhampton. Good weather, best they had all summer they say so I have timed the visit well. Quite pleasant here, been down the beach most days, beach is pebbles no sand. Many crazy poms in swimming, I can wait till I get to Spain and the Greek Isles before braving the water.
Have been to see motorbikes at the speedway here, again this Wednesday. Good night out. Went to a big motorbikes museum here with over 300 old classic british bikes. 'Could have spent all day there. Is nice country side around here with wild ponies wandering around, rabbits, squirrels, pheasants etc.. Off to do some site seeing tomorrow. Plan to go North to visit some friends on Friday and go to a big drag racing meet. Having problems uploading photos. 'Will keep trying.
Staying with friends just outside London. Have met up with mate from Cairns who is over visiting his girlfriend from here. Before here I was staying in Bath (township here with old roman baths; not a bathtub), with Ungkana's aunty. They could not do enough for me and showed me around everywhere (stone henge etc..) and cooked all my favourite Thai food. Weather here not too bad, although changes very quickly. Feel a bit claustrophobic here as houses are small and jammed together. Nice place to visit but not want to live here. We are heading down to the ocean soon to stay at some holiday caravan, will be good to have some wide open spaces again.
Before here I was in Stockholme, Sweden. I caught this big ferry across from Finland. Was a great trip over with good viewing of all pretty islands and houses along the way. Had big party on board as well. Caught up with a Swedish bloke I met in Thailand who showed me around and took me to a soccer match. Was an experience with evryone yelling out and singing. Will try and upload some photos soon.
Very pretty place with some old russian style buildings and surrounded by ocean. Have been out to old fortress island, walking around many parks, car museum, beach etc.. will head off to science center today. Read in the brochure about this beach ´half kilometere of sparkling sand and clear water much frequented by a melting pot of body builders, old folk etc..`they obviously have never been to Australia; strip of dirty grey sand with a few walrus type dotted around with water cold enough to keep your beer in. Down testing the water and wondering what crazy would ever brave it, this old asian lady wanders down to do the same and asks, where I from? "Australia" You? "Thailand" ´spent half an hour having a rakka´in Thai.
Many kids still dress as ´Swampies`here (all black gothic types) even the blokes wear matching lipstick as their girl friends. The things you do for love? They still ride skate boards here too. I thought Australia was behind the times. Anyhow must get going. Ám on the ferry to Sweden tonight.
Sorry Sandi, somehow deleted your email. Yes finally hit Europe. Helsinki, not too cold at all. Is all good, just need to shake the asian out of the system. I am used to everyone smiling all the time. Not the case here. Happy to help with the shed building if need be on my return. Cheers JP
Location: Hong Kong
Beijing is huge. 18 million people. Many projects on the go getting ready for the next olympics in 2008. Have some of the worst drivers here and some of the worst roads. Not sure if the word maintainence in any form appears in the chinese dictionary. Had a quiet first day here getting over big days travelling. Went searching for phone card but lack of mandarine language skills didn't help. Next day checked out Tian'anmen Square. Was stinking hot and filled with thousands of chinese tourists, no tanks though thankfully. Met some english (chinese) students there. They like to practice their english with tourists. Ended up going around with them to tea houses, various restaurants, museums, the emperor's old summer palace, up huge TV tower, parks with music and dancers etc. over the next few days. Was a hell of a lot easier to get around with some english speaking hosts. Went on a tour of the Great Wall, Emperor's tombs, jade carving factory, chinese herbal medicine hospital, enamel pot factory. Was over tourist type activities after this. At night I would buy some beer at seven eleven and sit out on the street as many of the locals did chatting, walking dogs, smoking. China is a huge strange place and well worth a visit. Will be interesting to see how thier current economic boom pans out. I get the feeling the average joe on the street and the environment will lose out on the deal.
Location: Hong Kong
Back in Hongkong. Getting over my friend Alec's buck party we had last night. Will be heading back to Thailand tonight. Hopefully alec's head will have cleared by then as he flies the plane. China was great. Difficult to communicate though as not many are big on speaking any english.
I flew into Chongqing, central China, where trips down the Yangzi River normally depart. Is very smoggy city that is lit up like a xmas at night. The central square fills up with hundreds of dancers (waltzing) in the early evening to burn some leather. All are welcome but I resisted. Took me most of the first day there trying to find a travel agent to book ferry trip down through the 3 Gorges. Crowds would gather around as I attempted to get to places marked on my (english) guide book map of the city, the old point and nod method came in handy at restaurants.
Booked a trip down the river on a nice luxury cruise boat but due to recent rains the boat couldn't beat the current to get to Chongqing. Had a 1.5 hour bus trip to meet boat downstream. Travelling down the river with huge mountains either side was awesome. Some spots have the new water levels marked for when the 3 gorges dam is completed. Millions of people have been relocated back from the river's edge, complete new cities have been built. Every day we stop to look at something along the way. Ghost city temple (walk up over 700 steps) has many little tests on the way to maintemple full of various statues. Trip up smaller scenic gorges of the main river, change into smaller and smaller boats as it narrows, see old hanging coffins on the side of the cliffs. Tour of the new dam project. All good.
Trip ended in Yichang where I had half a day to kill waiting for the one flight to Beijing. Found taxi that would turn meter on (they like to rip off tourists by negotiating a fixed, very high, fare) and found coffee shop and internet. This lady taxi driver came back an hour later as I wanted a tour round the city. We ate lunch at nice restaurant and she drove me around everywhere then out whoop whoop to the airport. We couldn't understand a word the other was saying but was a pleasant day out. Had to force her to take some money for the trip in the end.
Location: Hong Kong
In Hongkong, or just near it on the mainland. Am staying with Friends Alec and Verity (Alec is a pilot and used to fly me around the Cape when 'working with Ergon). Has been fun and relaxing here. 'Have been organising visas and flights around China; will head off to trip through Three Gorges (big new dam area) this Sunday then up to Bejing and back here for Alec's Bucks party.
'Been out wake boarding around the bays here, is very nice with beaches and views, as nice as anywhere I've seen and the weather has been just magic. Surprised this is all so close to busy Hongkong. Alec has flash M3 sports car which is much fun to burn around in (wouldn't mind one myself but the $ 130K price tag may slow that down a bit). Been out sipping cocktails at penthouse bar overlooking harbour and Hongkong city, eating out, and laxing round the pool. Tough job this holiday stuff.
Just returned from Ko Somet Island. Little quiet place about 3.5 hours South Bangkok. Went with mate who had the week off work. Very relaxing few daze. Bit of swimming, fishing, drinking and eating fresh seafood. Has to be done. Off to China this Friday for a couple of weeks. Could not find any tours that suited what I want to do there (do not think I could cope with 2/3 week regimented tour in any case). Hope to do some 2 -3 day tours and make my own way to places I want to check out. Will see what happens. Still bloody hot here.
Not been up to too much exciting. Have just been going to the beach and kicking back. Didn't enjoy Pataya much as too many tourists. Some of the most unattractive ones I've ever seen. Went to a quiet seaside town, Ban Chang, just south of Pataya for my friends new restaurant opening party. Stayed a few days as very relaxing without the hordes of tourists and people hassling you to buy something or other. I'm in BNK and going back to the beach for a few days with my friend who has some conference for work close to Pataya. Next week 'thinking of going to Ko Chang, largest island in Thailand just near Cambodia, should be quiet there with some good diving. Off to China next month. Chat soon. JP.
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Off to Pattaya (beach 2 hours from Bangkok) tommorrow for some rest and recovery. Have have mate from Aus here who insists on dragging me out on the town every nite. He goes home tommorrow so my liver should get a chance to recover. Is still hot here (like you're born on the sun) with huge thunder storms in the evening. Traffic here is horrendous at the best of times as there is no such thing as road rules. When it rains it gets worse. So timing is everything if venturing out anywhere. I have seen many of the back streets of the city with adventerous taxi drivers trying to avoid the 'grid lock'.
Trip to Burma went well; bought a few wall hanging thingos and the latest CDs for $1.50 each. Surprised they are such good quality when I played them at home. Stayed at Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai (check the atlas if interested where these places are, Northern Thailand) for a few days on the way back to Bangkok. Friend took a heap of stuff I have accumulated back home for me; a blessing I don't have to lug it the rest of the way round the world.
Nothing too exciting to report? Mate had a knife pulled on him the other nite by a Thai guy in a minor scuffle. Some flooding from the klongs (canals) overflowing. Klong water is none too pleasant as all household drains go straight into them.