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Mike & Nikki's World Tour

This page is all about our 2007 World tour. Here is where we'll be keeping a record of our travels for everyone to read. Please feel free to leave a comment, and we'll reply to as many as we can. Enjoy!

Diary Entries

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Location: Koh Samui, Thailand

Before Mike tells you all about our final week I would just like to point out in case you missed it or are looking at this months from now but I am on the front page of planet ranger!! I have waited 11 months for this moment and finally it has come!!

Ok read on!

So, a week to go. What to do, what to do...?

...I know, spend a bloody fortune in a beautiful 4star hotel right on the beach on Koh Samui Island. 80 quid a night at the Amari Palm Reef Resort & Spa is not usually the going rate in Thailand (our last place was a fiver and the 20 quid place wasn't good enough - snobs!), but it gets you into a place that would easily cost over 400 quid/night in London (according to Lonely Planet, I wouldn't know). You get half bottles in our double mini-bar, not the usual shitty little things - definately the sign of a classy establishment I say!

We've emptied the backpacks into the cupboard (yes, a cupboard is a luxury item for us) hoping gravity will drain away 11 months of un-ironed creases. I've even taken a shine to throwing my t-shirts in the bin after a day (or two) wearing them - there will be a whole new wardrobe bought in Bangkok when we get back there the day before we fly...

And it'll be genuine copy (ie fake) Gucci handbags and Jaccob & Co watches gallore for all at Christmas upon our return! I am currently wearing Diesel sandals, Billabong boarie shorts and a Jeep T-shirt, yet my most expensive piece of current attire are my 11 month old George boxer short - Thailand is fantastic!

So the detox is on, except from the massive cooked breakfast every day - they have a huge buffet with everything you can think of, plus noodles and even sushi! We're on the NON-alcholic cocktails, sipping gently as we laze by the pool (or the beach just 2meters away). This will all be put right following our return, I'm sure.

so we're blowing the budget this week but who gives a flying! See ya all soon!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

That's right folks, we're coming home! Don't worry neither of us is pregnant!

Truthfully, we're just tired of travelling. The appeal of turning up in a random place after a gruelling journey, finding a hostel bed in a swealtering box room, and sleeping with the window and curtains open till the sun comes up at 6am and you have to wake up and close them - has started to fade. And then there's living out of a backpack for the last 11 months...

It was always going to be difficult being away at Christmas so if the scales tip in favour of coming home, why put ourselves and friends an family through it - we can always come back, infact we can always go anywhere we like really, if the funds allow it!

So, on Thursday 6th December 2007 at 10.10am we'll be on the sun-drenched tarmac of Aberdeen Airport runway - and we can't wait. Well - we're a bit scared actually but I'm sure everything will be fine.

Before then, we ARE going in a long haul bus after all - but it's to the white sandy beaches of the Samui Beach Resort in Koh Samui for 6 days, spoiling ourselves in a Superior Ensuite Double room for the dizzy price of 10 pounds each per night (We are currently in a place costing 2.50 each/night in the middle of Bangkok). We deserve the excess me thinks, and we've heard of a great tattooist there - we're getting eachothers names down the inside of our forearms (you'll love it mum) :D

The best bit about going away is coming home, and although we've had quite a few best bits we can't wait to get home and begin a new chapter of our lives together with all the friends and family (and pets) that we've missed. We're delighted to have made it to 11months. It's time to come home.

See ya all soon,

Mike & Nikki x

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Welcome to Thailand!!

We arrived in Bangkok late on wednesday night and have loved it from the minute we arrived! We had no hostel booked when we arrived so we just headed straight to Backpackers road formerly known as Th Khoa San where we walked around avoiding tuk tuk drivers looking for somewhere to stay. We only walked for 5 mins before we found a great cheap place to sleep! There are hostels everywhere in this area along with Markets, Internet shops, great places to eat and most importantly loads of street side cocktail bars selling punch in buckets!!

The first thing you notice about Thailand is how incredibly cheap it is. Its amazing! It takes a while to get used to the money though not used to dealing in thousands I get easily confused!!

We spent our first day wandering around the Banglamphu area in Bangkok. We went to the national museum to find out a bit about the Thai culture and history. We went to Wat Pho where the giant reclining Budda is. It is giant. It is amazing to see all these temples and there Ornate roofs and symbols everything is covered in gold and so intricate!! We did try to get to the palace but it was already closed and were met by armed guards gestering that we couldnt pass. We didnt argue!

The traffic in Bangkok is intense you cant move for tuk tuks and taxis. And everyone in the street is trying to scam you somehow. They tell you attractions are closed so they can take you to tailor or gem stores, they chuck pigeon food at youas you pass then some dude stops you up the street to get you to pay for it. They are constantly trying to sell you stuff in the street and everywhere you you go you hear "Hey you" all the time! Even with all that though it is a great place to be it is alive all the time and so vibrant!

Yesterday we started our day at 6.30 which was difficult! We went to the floating market first. It was great. You get a long boat down the canal to the main market place. When you get there you get in a paddle boat and they take you around the market. It is a tiny small canal and the boats are about 4 in a row you have to keep your fingers away from the edge or you loose them! All the market traders have hooks and they hook your boat in to get you to buy their produce. If you want something and they cant reach you they put it in a basket on a pole and lift it over everyone. It is so busy and load and just a fantastic atmosphere. After avoiding the guys along the side with pythons that they kept waving in your face we got back on our bus and headed to the Bridge over the River Kwai. This is a railway bridge built during the 2nd world war by POWs. Over 100 thousand men died building this railway 16,000 were British. The bridge was bombed a couple of times by allied forces and is now only in use as a tourist attraction! We had lunch here and walked over the bridge thinking that its coming up to Xmas so the film Bridge over River Kwai will be on at home followed by the Great Escape as it is every xmas! Then we had to get back on the bus and head to the main attraction of the day.

Next was the Tiger Temple. The Tigre Temple is a monestry that in 1999 recieved 6 tiger cubs rescued from poachers. There were 4 males and 2 feamales. The monks decided to raise the cubs as they were unable to survive in the wild. They soon realised that they didnt have the funds to provide for the tigers so they opened up the temple to tourists. Due to the fact that the tigers were hand reared and have no fear of humans and that they are nocturnal creatures and so fall into deep sleeps during the day tourists are able to go and sit with the tigers and pat them! I had heard about this place before we arrived and had to see it for myself. It is unbelievable. You walk into this small canyon and there are about 6 tigers just laying out sleeping. No cages, no wall, no ditch around them nothing. There are however alot of people there. You queue up for your chance to get photos taken with them. Someone takes your camera and another person walks you around the tigers you have to be silent! They then sit you down with each tiger and tel you to stroke them by gesturing towards the tiger (no talking aloud)! When i hesitated the first time the guy grabbed my hand and slapped the tiger with it and I thought it was all over I was about to be mauled to death. But the tiger wasnt bothered and just lay there. Occasionaly the big guy would yawn show us his teeth just to remind us what he could do if he could be bothered!! It was an amazing mix of fear and excitment to be so close to these creatures!! As we wandered around the rest of the monestry we found a monk with a tiger cub and we were aloud to sit with it and play with him. He liked having his belly scratched and he had a chew at mikes watch and his fingers. It was sureal to be sitting there with a tiger cub hitting your face with his paws and being really playful!

What a day!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Location: Singapore

Our time in Singapore is coming to an end again. We are off to Thailand tommorrow! It has been nice to spend some time with Mikes cousin Mark and Jenny and to get to know them better. We are so grateful to them for letting us stay with them.

Since we arrived in Singapore it has rained and rained and then rained some more! We had free passes to the Zoo thanks to Mark and so went there our first day. You guessed it it rained but it was still really good. There were plenty of shelters to run between and all the animals were stil out. We have been to China Town, the Quay Side and to Little India all in the rain! We have been out for loads of great food with Mark and Jenny. They also roped us into a charity walk on Saturday morning which involed getting up at 6.30 am which is the middle of the night to us! It was really good though and we met loads of their friends and believe it or not there was a rare glimpse at the sun!

On Saturday night we met Mikes friend Cranner, his Girlfriend Jane and Janes brother Ross and his Wife Jenny. Who got a new job today congratulations Jenny!! We headed out for some noodles and then on to a few bars in town. The boys headed home early to watch the Scotland v Italy match (you all know how that turned out) and the girls stayed out for a girlie night! It was such a laugh. It was great as it turned out that we all kinda knew each other from Aberdeen but hadnt realised it!

Sunday was spent incredibly hungover by all! Thank god we stayed in all day as there was a huge thunder and lightning storm. It was great to watch but a little bit to close for comfort at times. The lightning took out a tree just down the road, it ended up across the highway!

So today we picked up our extended Thailand visas and are off to spend the next 7 weeks there. No plans as yet but there never is. Hopefully catch up with a few friends we have met along the way there!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Location: Singapore, Singapore

We are so glad we spent a few days staying in Kuala Lumpur (KL). Our cozy little hostel was right in the middle of the Golden Triangle i.e. Nikki heaven! Six massive shopping centres - and massive is an understatement - were within a two minute walk away, and there were loads of Malay, Chinese and Ex-pat restaurants all over the place.

We wandered around and ended up at the KL Tower, which is just like the towers in Sydney and Auckland that we`d already been up (and jumped off in my case). Nikki`s fear of heights is so much better now than it was over 10 months ago when clambering up ancient stone steps in Maccu Picchu, or when up either of the other towers (although there`s no way she`d be jumping off anything)!

A bit further of a walk were the twin Petronas Towers (and shopping centre, surprise surprise) - the symbol for KL and kinda for all Malaysia too. We sat in the shade in the gardens behind the towers and looked up at the blue sky between these massive pinnacles of engineering. (You`ll have to look at our Bebo page for the pics coz we can`t put any more up here yet. We will soon though...).

Moving on from KL we spent a couple of days in Melaka. You might have heard of the Melaka Straight, which is the bit of water between Malaysia and Indonesia. Imagine two funnels with the small ends placed together - the narrow bit is the bit of sea off the coast of Melaka and historically it was the bussiest shipping lane in the world as all the ships had to cram through this little funnel bit - Lesson over for today ;-) It`s still really busy.

Melaka has been owned by the Portugese, Dutch and the British, and there are still remnants of each dotted about the place, which is now Malay owned. Everyone was really friendly, especially the rickshaw drivers who were more than willing to give a bit of banter through their toothless grins.

A 4 1\2 hour bus ride later and we are now back in Singapore living with my cuz Mark and his wife Jenny (and puppy CeCe). We`re meeting up with my football teammate Cranner and his other half Jane here to watch Scotland v Italy at the weekend - should be fun, much carnage is on the cards. Off to the Zoo now as Mark has given us free corporate passes, woohoo!! Bye x

Friday, 09 November 2007

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Well since relaxing on the beach in Pangkor we have been to Cameron Highlands, Taman Negara and Cherating and back to KL.

We have been having fun driving around Malaysia in Nicks car which is an Audi A6 in which Mike can smoke even the locals with! We learnt all the Malaysian rules of the road which include only overtake when there is something coming in th opposite direction, any side of the road will do for driving on especially if your on a moped and never only go the speed limit always go at least 20 km/hr more!! Oh and I almost forgot you speed up around corners and go slower on the straights! Once you have mastered these then you are all set. If you have trouble with these rules then always follow the golden rule and that is never ever be curtious if you see a space you take it!

The Cameron Highlands was a welcome break from the heat and they served great tea and scones everywhere! WE went to the tea plantations and strawberry picking and had a nice cool couple of days. Then it was off to Taman Negara which is a national park that is 130 million years old! It was great to get there you took a 3 hr boat jorney up the river to Kuala Tahan. From here you can explore the park. We trekked up Bukit Teresik which is a short trek but all up hill and hard work in the heat, we did the canopy walk which is 40m up in the trees and really tested my fear of heights and we visited an orang asli village. The Orang Asli village was really interesting, they are the original people of malaysia. The young girls ther get married at 10 and we saw a young girl of 7 building her own house to live in. The kids of about 5 or 6 were running around with mini Parangs chopping down shoots and branches one of the local women made me a ring while we were there and agian I was better at shooting things with the blow pipe than Mike! From Taman Negara we went to Cherating for the night and spent some time once again at the beach and by the pool. We sat and watched a great lightning storm there!

We have now returned the car to Nick and Tracy after Mike had some fun driving on the highway although would never be able to keep up with some of the crazy drivers on the highway doing at least 180km/hr! Stocked up in Tesco although they never had Marmite gutted!! We are staying in KL for the next few days to see the sights and of course go shopping!

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Recent Messages

From Debbie & Rob
Hi Guys, welcome home, back to bonnie scotland, well you've had an amazing journey, and im sure you'll do it all again, can't wait to see you x x x x
From Louise Bruce (nee Al
Welcome home what am i gonna read on my lunch break?!
You may have heard Ive left the cooncil...woop woop but i think u have me on bebo so pls get in touch for a wee drinkie!
Response: Hiya...will def get in touch. Congratulations on movin to the posh end o the toon, and gettin out of that shit hole. Have you left Jamie all by himself? :)
From Gpop.
All good things must come to an end. Welcome home!!
Response: Just checking this now...bit late really.
From aunty soosan
guess u two will be back before my postcard even arrives!! c ya thurs xx
Response: It's in the post...honestly! They all are :-) Just you wait, it'll be like Harry Potter and the Owls.
From Uncle Gary & Mr John
Hello Guys, well as the saying goes, everything passes, and very shortly you will be returning to the frozen north. I'm sure you've both had a wonderful time and just think when your a pair of oldies, you'll be able to look back and reflect on your adventures. We look forward to seeing you both on your return. Enjoy the rest of your stay and have a safe trip home. Bye for now, G & J. xx
Response: Hello! Yes, you will see us far too often as we will be in Aberdeen all the time. I hope you've stocked up the drink cupboard and made up the spare room! x
From G-Pop.
Just heard that you are coming home. Have you been away? I hope you went somewhere nice!! Great news.!!
Response: Yeah we went somewhere nice! One day we will tell you all about it! We might even bring you a souvenier back! xxxxx
From ak
really cant believe it....homeward bound...what an experience you have had and such great can do it all is too short!!!! xxx
Response: Life is to short thats why we are comin home early! WE can go away again whenever, we have the rest off our lifes to do what ever we want. Right now what we want is to be with our friends and family for christmas and I cant wait to see you and Dave xxxxx
From Leigh-Anne
Can't wait to see you guys, it will be great to have you home for christmas xx
Response: I just beboed you. Can't wait to get home. See ya soon x
From Jenny
Yay I can’t wait to see you both, I had actually signed on to ask you that very question – when are you coming home, if truth be told it was really to see if I could hold off on buying Nikki’s Christmas prezzie till the January sales – Only joking. I glad you’ve enjoyed you travels but I’m even gladder that you’ve missed home enough to come home early – this potentially means your less likely to disappear in the future! Anyway, enjoy your last few weeks and I’ll look forward to seeing you both in Dec.

Lots of love Jen xx
Response: Hey Jen! We have had an amazing time but we are looking forward to being back so much! We did think we were gonna get out of christmas pressies altogether this year but its not to be! We are gonna top up the tans while we can and detox before all the christmas drinking begins!! Will see you in Dec soooo excited!!! xxxxxx
From martin
I think that u two must be very very brave to go in beside these tigers. Oh I didna see the chains - thats allright then. I am excited that you will soon be home so that we can swim in the pool or you can swim Michael and I will ride on ure back. x
Response: Hi Martin. We can't wait to see you when we get home - next week it will only be 50 days away - Wow. You will be a year older and I'm sure you'll be much taller than when we left Elgin a year ago. I bet you're a great swimmer, and we can both splash auntie Christine in the pool. By the way, has your mum got a postcard yet? No? Maybe in the next few days then :-) Bye bye x
From Mum D
Just managed to escape from the children for 2 mins. Very educational blog I'm impressed!! Have fun, mum D xx
Response: We`ve just been in the middle of a lightning storm! 15 floors up at Mark and Jenny`s and the lighning was hitting the building. Proper sidways rain too and stuff was smashing (not in the flat though). V exciting!
From Debbie & Rob
Hi Guys,
Well i passed my driving test, & Ive got a weekend job, so things are looking up, Jake's fine, sorry i haven't sorted any fotos on bebo, me & computers don't mix, but i'll give it a go, i'm now going to catch up with the latest on your travels & look at the pics, take care, bye for now x x x x
Response: Hiya. Nikki's watchin telly so your stuck with me to reply, sorry! Well done on the driving test - they are the worst things in the world - Nikki would tell you that. Hoped you enjoyed our pics, we have about 2000 now, might take a while to look through once we get home. Cya, @;-)
From FM Ma B
Hi we agree with MA D you should write a book on your travel experiences. A factual/light hearted affair. If others experience half of what you have they will be very lucky people. keep having fun. lots of love dad & mum B x x
Response: Thanks. we are still having a great time and loads of new experinces! Love sharing them with you all! love you Both us xxxx
From Mum D
Nikki/Mike You must write a book about your travels...seriously. I'm sure you could add to all of these pages and I love reading all about these amazing places and all about the great people you meet as I'm sure others do too. I will miss this page. It's been such a bonus listening to all of your travels. Thank you both. Your efforts are really appreciated xx
Response: Cheers mam, very deep and meaningfull. We could keep updating it once we're home but, since we'll be in the same house as you, you'll probably know what we're doing anyway, despite our best efforts to keep you in the dark. Ha ha. It's really hard work seeing all these amazing and beautiful things and telling you all about it :)
From Leanne
Hey guys, just catching up on your latest news, always a good way to get through a Monday morning at work! Loving the pictures......Gus is absolutely gorgeous....can you take him home with you?? Looks like you're both still having a fab time, can't believe how quickly time has passed though. Some good news for you & Malcolm got engaged on Friday night.....very romantic proposal & the ring is stunning! I'm over the moon!! Anyhoo, keep having fun & take care. Love Leanne. xx
Response: Wow that is such good news!!! We are so pleased for you both! Cant wait to see the ring I bet it is stunning!!! Big kisses from us we will have a drink for you tonight (any excuse)! Will see youboth soon to congratulate you in person love to you both xxxxxx
From Uncle Gary & Mr John
Michael, you seem to have adopted a monkey look, you must be spending too much time with them, at least Nikki has escaped so far. Its also good to see that you continue to focus on the cultural elements of your tour, you can give a presentation to The Friends of Aberdeen Art Gallery on your return, I'll plant the seed with them anyway. TTFN, Gary.
Response: Ha ha. I'm surprised at how good our pics are on our little camera. Can't wait to get a proper one once we're home and learn how to use it! Borneo was amazing and I think you two should go there @;-)
From Mum D
Your face looks funny...maybe its melted!! LOL. Does it smell there? I don't fancy being stuck there with all those monkeys!
Response: No, doesn't smell. They have people who follow the monkeys round and scoop up their shit and put it on the compost heap. And volunteers go round wiping all the dirty leaves to make the clean. And there's a Redox Freshener plugged in to the bottom of every tree. Pretty sweet really! Why would it smell? It's only just a load of trees, a beach, some sea and a few animals.
From Uncle Gary & Mr John
Hello You Two, its a while since I read your diary so I thought I'd have a look see. You've certainly been waxing loquacious since you arrived in Malaysia and its certainly a trip of a lifetime; a real learning experience. You'll return to the frozen north so much more worldly wise. Got myself a new job so start in 5 weeks time, a fresh challenge. Enjoy your time in Malaysia and be safe. Love G&J. xx
Response: Hiya. Yup, granny said you had gotten a new job - before you had been for the interview! Well done. No holidays for you to come out and meet us then. This place is great and we're having a ball. Take care and love to John too, Us x x x
From G-Pop.
I can see that I would loss weight very quickly in KL. Is there no mince and tatties. or even stovies.??
Response: Not unless we're cooking! And Tracy and Nick haven't let us loose in their kitchen yet. Probably a good thing. Love to you both, x x x
From Mum x
Found this.... looks good! I would love the food! Mumx
Response: thanks. Got lost driving in KL without a map for 3 hours today! ha ha
From ak
WoW you guys that last blog about fraser Island sound amazing....totally outta this world!!!!
Response: It was great and we have so many cool things still to do. Am so excited!!! love ya xxx
From Mum D
Nikki. I actually read this and heard you telling me this story as if you were here. It sounds so fantastic and the great weather will just have made it. Wish I was there !
Safe trip on Monday guys xx
Response: thanks. No time to say anything else. xxsxxx
From Debbie & Rob
Love the photos, im so jeolous of the one's from the neighbours set, wish i could of been there, got my driving test on monday, fingers crossed, Jake's a little monkey as ever, looks like your having a brill time, we all miss you loads & can't wait to see you again, Bye for now x x x
Response: hi. Will keep my fingers crossed for you on monday! just remember you wont have to do it as many times as I did!!! We are having a great time. It is passing so fast. Jake will be so different the next time we see him. love to you all xxxx
From Lynn(GI)
Hey you two, how are you both? I have been catching up on all your travels. It is great to see that that you are having such a great experience! The pictures are really good to see(for non travellers like myself). I can pretend I know what people are speaking about now! Anyway, hope you are both having a terrific time. Take care. Luv Lynnx
Response: Hi lynn so good to hear from you. we are having a blast still. Hope all is well with you and the sreets of aberdeen are being kept crime and Gi disorder free!! keep in touch take care luv us xxxx
From Carol Rob & Sarah
how are you both, Sarah has the travel bug shes off to the USA ON 6th oct for 2 weeks, wish we were going, or joining you could do with some warm weather, love to you both xxxxxxxxcarol rob and Sarahxxxx
Response: hey guys. WOW the big US of A sounds great! I checked the price of the ugg boots here and they are at the most expensive end just 100 pounds ish! you should come and visit us sometime but less than 4 months left to go boo! love you all M & N xxxxx