Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sydney, Australia 20th-28th May 2009

The flight to Sydney was GREAT! There was hardly anyone on the plane so me and Sara enjoyed having a row each! They even bought round ben and jerry's ice cream which i took advantage of and ended up feeling a bit sick but was fine once we landed in drizzly Sydney!
After getting on the metro, we found our hostel, WAKE UP! which was as far as hostels go, pretty amazing. Every one in the room was really nice and we ended up going out with them on the first night. We didn't do heaps of sightseeing whilst we were in Sydney, obviously went to see the Opera House and The Harbour Bridge. We were lucky to see Vivid Sydney as well which began on the last night we were there. It was basically a music and light festival and we saw the Opera House and the Museum of Contemporary Art lit up with amazing projections! Whilst we were in Sydney we also met up for dinner with my sisters and my friend's James and Tim and James' girlfriend Diana. It was so nice to go somewhere different in the city instead of the usual touristy places. We ended up in a lovely pub and had such a fun evening.
One day we decided to do the Coogee to Bondi beach walk with a couple of girls from our room, Nishma and Laura. We picked such a sunny day for it but when we got 5 minutes into the walk, there was a big road block up and the path had been closed for maintenence. We did manage to get to Bondi in the end and had a sunny but bit chilly afternoon lazing on the beach!!
We also visited the Museum one day with Nishma but we were all so tired from being out the night before i don't think we appreciated it enough!
Soon, the week was up and we were on another plane to Christchurch, NZ!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thai Islands-Samui, Ko Phangan, Ko Tao. 30th April-16th May 2009

Soooo, we have been terrible blogging. 1. because we are lazy and 2. internet is expensive! But it is our last night on Ko Phangan and EVERY bar is playing the football so i thought i'd come and update you as to what we've been upto! The Cambodia blogs are on there way, we promise!

Ok, so we landed on Ko Samui what feels like aaaages ago now and we just spent one night on Big Buddah beach. The next day we headed for Ko Phangan and to a really pretty beach in the north called Thong Nai Pan Noi. Is really cool, quite quiet but there are some good bars if you venture in land. We stayed here at Star Huts for about 3 nighst and went to the beach club next door at Baan Panburi practically every night for dinner and yummy cocktails!! We had one funny day when we bought a bat and ball, then the bat decided to break so we went back, exchanged it only to find that had no balls! We couldn't be bothered to go back again that day so the next morning we went to explain but the woman in the shop was convinced we had stolen the balls and just wanted to return the bats! After about 20 mins of conversation via a translator we managed to get 2 bats and 2 balls. We never actually used them and i left the bats in Koh Phangan in the end...wooops!
So, after Ko Phangan it was off to Ko Tao for 4 nights. Most people go there to do diving courses but we decided that wasn't for us and found other ways to entertain ourselves!! We went for a day out on a boat around the island and did some snorkelling! It didn't start well as Sara has such tiny feet, they couldn't find flippers for her but they did eventually and we were on our way! It was quite a challenge for Sara too as she has a bit of a fear of water (actually quite a big one, she doesn't even like putting her face under the water in the shallow end of a swimming pool!) but as soon as we got to our first snorkelling spot, in she went and sometimes without a lifejacket, i was very proud!! Having never been snorkelling before, it was so amazing! We saw lots of zebra-fish, the second spot was the best i think it was Ao leuk on the East coast of the island. We didn't see any sharks or turtles but at the end of the trip we stopped at Nang Nuan which is 3 small islands all joined by a sand bar, really pretty. One of our other days on Ko Tao, we went for a walk upto a viewpoint in the north. We should have really hired a bike for this as it was a bit hilly and we got VERY sweaty but it was so cool when we reached it. There's a resort with a restaurant that looks out over to Nang Nuan so we sat and sneakily ate sandwiches we bought. Later that night we met up with 2 german boys we had met on the boat over from Phangan and played some cards with them, but it decided to pour with rain so what else could we do except go to the ladyboy cabaret show!!! This was HILARIOUS!! Songs included Annie Lennox, Anastacia, Madonna, Tina Turner and these boys (ladies) had studied all their moves! Was so good, me and sara decided to go back the next night!!
For the last day on Ko Tao, we decided that Sara should go to Ko Phangan early and secure us a room as it was the day before the full moon party and places seem to fill up pretty quick. Was very handy that a friend of hers from school and some of her friends we already there. Was weird to spend 24 hrs apart but sara had people to meet up with and i went for dinner with the 2 germans we met earlier in the week.

Ok, this is costing me heaps, so will blog more about my birthday and full moon soon!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday 25th April 2009. Phnom Penh, Cambodia-Siem Reap, Cambodia

We had booked a bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap which left at 10 in the morning. There where some funny Americans on the bus who said "I just love Asian buses!" Her enthhusiams slowly wained after the 5 hour journey! The journey wasn't at all bad and was quicker than we expected. We got a Tuk Tuk to our hotel called Jasmine Lodge which seemed really nice. A room with air-con and two beds, which we defiantly appreciate!
After settling in we got a Tuk Tuk into town and looked round the markets. We went to there night market which was nice but each stall selled the same stuff. We had a drink at this lovely bar while it was raining loads. Then we headed to Bar street where all the restaurants are and went to a place called The Red Piano. Most famous for Angelina Jolie eating there, and there is a cocktail named after her. I ate an amazing prawn dish and Caroline had this beef dish called Lok Lac which was also amazing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monday 13th-Wednesday 15th April 2009. Bangkok, Thailand

Well, we awoke in our super squishy bed and ventured out for breakfast. We soon learnt that Songkran was in full flow and would stay that way for the next 3 days! We got in a rikshaw to try and find the S.T.A offices (which we later discovered were in the Pingpong show area!) We wanted to go and try and sort a visa out for Vietnam which we had planned to go to on the 15th but the offices were shut. It was pretty much impossible to get anything done in the city without getting soaked and as we wanted to do some (dry) sightseeing, we decided to stay a few extra days, miss out Vietnam and spend longer in Cambodia. There was one good thing about venturing all the way to the STA office and that was that there was a Boots accross the road which made us very happy. Dripping wet, we entered the shop and stocked up on facewipes, suncream and insect repellent-all vital for the travellers backpack!

The next couple of days were also spent pretty soaked and/or covered in talcum powder (which formed a lovely paste!) We went to china town one night and had some AMAZING food at this seaood restaurant on a street corner. Was so yummy. On the Khoasan one night there was also some beauty pageant/contest thing happening so we stopped to watch that for a bit and a white girl one it, which was weird considering all the other contestants were thai!
After 3 nights in our hotel, we decided to move, so on the wedesday we packed our stuff and went about 200metres down the street to a place called 'D and D' which had been reccommended to me by a friend. It was so much nicer than the other place, had a pool, breakfast included and the bed was HUGE! We had a room looking right onto the Khaosan road which was great during the day to watch all the Songkran action without getting wet, but not so great at night when the music went on till 4am....we're such old ladies who need our sleep!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday 12th April 2009. Mumbai, India-Bangkok, Thailand

Up early to catch our flight to Thailand with Thai Air who were very nice. We pre-ordered meals as a joke but they actually turned out to be quite yummy! I got a nice steamed fish dish and Sara had a stirfry pork with egg fried rice. Much nicer than any food i've had on BA!

Once we arrived in Bangkok it was around 6pm so we hopped in a taxi to our hotel on the Khaosan Road. We were aware that Songkran (thai new year) was due to start the following day, however it had already begun in some areas including the Khaosan so we had to walk to our hotel as the road was shut! Luckily we avoided the water and the talcum powder that was being chucked around! We saw some poor people later on who didn't quite manage to avoid it though!!
We made our way to our teeeeeny tiny room (literally the smallest room ever) with a super squishy bed which meant me and Sara would probably role into one another in the night and decided to venture into the madness of the Khaosan. We bought a water pistol right away but it was a bit crappy. Some people had shelled out about a tenner for theirs, mainly the men who thought it'd be funny to zap you right in the face with water! We got soaked, had a few beers and then headed to bed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday 11th April 2009. Mumbai, India

Well today was Sara's 23rd birthday and we couldn't have been waking up in a ranker place! After a little gift giving, we packed our stuff and were out the door by about 8.30am in search of a new place to stay. After a few hotels that were full, we came across Hotel White Pearl which was in Colaba near the market so that was handy!
Once we got to the room, we both had much needed showers and set out to explore Mumbai. First stop was a cafe called 'Leopolds' which was on the main Colaba market road, it served good toast so we were happy! Next we headed to India Gate via taxi which was silly as it was only a few mins walk away but we didn't realise this till after!! It wasn't the most impressive monument we've seen plus it was covered in scaffolding. Opposite was the Taj Mahal hotel but this also had scaffolding on it, most likely where the terrorist attack damaged the building. I had read there was a good market not too far away so we hopped in another taxi and went there, the traffic was so bad but we were glad when we arrived...that was until the taxi driver told us the market was shut. Er, HELLO why did you take us there then you wally! After a few more attempts to find good markets and alot of walking in the hot hot heat we decided we had tried hard enough with no luck and headed home :(
We went back to Leopolds where it was MUCH busier and hotter for some spring rolls, naan and beer. After that it was to bed, ready for our flight to Bangkok the next day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday 10th April 2009 Goa-Mumbai, India

Last day in Goa-we were up about 7am to get a taxi to Madgaon train station for our 12hr train to Mumbai. When we got onto the train there was an Indian couple who were about 50 sharing our 1st class compartment. They were very sweet-the man was very funny and kept doing voice exercises in hindu, literally for like 12 hours! As it was a day train we didn't sleep loads, but did manage to get a few hours kip. Lots of men kept coming by with chai, samosas, chicken lollipops (?), coffee and all sorts of other treats but announced it very loudly so that was a bit annoying!
Other than do some reading and sleeping we didn't do much on the train, but surprisingly it went quite quickly!
Once we arrived at Mumbai CST, we hopped in a taxi to our accommodation-The Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel. BIG MISTAKE! This place was horrid! Seriosuly gross, no bed sheets, sandy matress, sickly people in the beds next to us, no loo role, shower/taps didn't work. Most rank place i have ever stayed! We just about managed to get a few hours sleep....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th April, Goa India

I have put all of theses days together as we basically did the same thing every day. We sunbathed on Palolem beach. The beach itself is really pretty and beach huts and restaurants line the sand. There are a few shops and the usual people trying to sell you things. We spent our days on the beach and then at night went out to a restaurant. We really liked the fact that we could get food which was not curry in Goa. There was lots of fresh seafood and most traditional Goan dishes have some form of seafood in them. We also had pizza and some salad which was really yummy and tasted even better seeing as we had not had any in three weeks! It was also nice to see our selves getting a bit of a tan, however the last day it must have been atleast 40 degrees and it was too hot to sunbathe!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sunday 5th April 2009, Goa, India

We got off the train in Ahmedabad at 4.30am after a lovely 8 hour journey from Udaipur! We had to find a taxi to the airport which didn't take long as sooo many people want to take you. Once we got to the airport we had an 7 1/2 hour wait for the plane to Goa!! We didn't do much as the airport was so small, we tried to sleep in uncomfy seats, did some people watching, ate some samosas...
Finally we were allowed to go through and wait for the bus to take us to the plane. The plane was pretty empty and the flight was quite short. We got off the plane in Goa after nearly 24 hours of travelling, where the temperature was a cool 36 degrees! We had already arranged an airport transfer to our beach hut, so the taxi driver was ready and waiting for us, the drive was only about an hour.

Once we arrived at Palolem Beach in the South, we headed straight for the sea! The Beach is meant to be the nicest in Goa and as it's not high season it wasn't very busy which was nice. The next 3 days were pretty much spent sunbathing! The sea was super warm, like a bath! Couldn't quite believe it! We had breakfast lunch and dinner right on the beach. The first night i wasn't feeling very well, but Sara had a Goan Fish Curry which was very tasty!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday 3rd April 2009. Udaipur. India.

Today we went and looked around the shops and then to the city palace. We decided to get another audio tour even though Caroline had met a guide the night before! Half way through the tour I started feeling sickly again so we headed back and felt guilty as Caroline was enjoying the audio tour so much!
Later after a rest we headed back to the shops and spent quite a lot of money but we did buy some good presents for people. My favourite purchase was my new love note necklace and Caroline bought yet more rings, an anklet and my birthday present. We got back to the lake in time for sunset and after that we headed to the roof top for some dinner. When we got bakc to the hotel room our curtain rail fell down! We were given a key to another room but we decided to stay put.....BAD IDEA. At 4.30am we were woken by drums and chants in the street, there must have been some sort of festival happening but we really wished they'd shut-up!

Thursday 2nd April 209. Jodphur to Udaipur. India.

Well I was very sick during the night and bitter that Caroline was not! We asked the driver to wait a couple of hours before we headed of to Udaipur but by half nine I was feeling ok. It was a really scary journey as our driver was driving like a phycopath! We stopped to have a drink in a little family run restaurant which was really nice and very peaceful.
We got to the hotel at lunch time and went to see our room which had the most amazingly comfortable bed ever. I stayed in bed as started to feel ill again but Caroline ventured into town. She came back about an hour later with some jewelry, which I was very jealous of. Udaipur itself is really pretty situated by lake Pichola with mountains in the background. When I was feeling a bit better we decided to sit by the lake, where there were millions of giant bats.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday 1st April 2009. Jodhpur, India

Got up and went to the Mehrangarh Fort and got the audio tour which was really interesting. Then we headed over to Jaswant Thada which is known as the Taj Mahal of Jodhpur. Once we got back into the city we decided to find a place that sold Indian sweets as Jodhpur is known for making good sweets. The ones we had were not to our taste! they tasted very strange but looked good. After the sweets episode we got a rikshaw back to the hotel were we hung out for a bit before going out for dinner at a place called 'On The Rocks'. We had a weird green curry and some Indian icecream for pudding but this did not turn out to be such a good idea as I got very sick from it. When we got back to the hotel we watched 'Step up'.

Tuesday 31st March 2009, Jaisalmer-Jodphur. India.

We got up and travelled to Jodphur but our driver was in a really bad mood. When we arrived it was very hot and dirty but we decided to venture out to the market. Bad idea! We found a grubby internet cafe and looked up places to eat, we decided on a place called Bollygood. Meal was nice but we were the only people in the restaurant.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Monday 30th March 2009. Jaisalmer Deset, India

Had an interesting nights sleep as we were in the middle of the desert with the sound of Camels munching, it was a bit hard to drop off! Once we were out of the tent, we were very achy but happy to see that breakfast was ready for us; toast, jam and our new favourite biscuits 'Parle-G' which are like malted milk biscuits!!
Once we were back on the camels we weren't happy bunnies as our bums hurt sooo much and I was grumpy the whole ride back and didn't really talk to sara! We were so happy to be back in the car and on the way to the hotel for a shower as we smelt a bit like camels!
After cleaning ourselves up, we met the camel safari boss and he invited us to his house. As it was a bit of a walk away we decided to go on his motorbike through the streets of Jaisalmer which i found quite fun but sara liked the camel ride more! Once we got there, we had some tea, met the family and he got out heaps of photos and postcards to show us the extent of his camel business throughout the years! This was all quite fun until he started talking about tips!
After the tea and the camel chat, we headed to the fort where the Maharaja was coming out to ride through the town. There were hundreds of people there all wating and some very fancy dressed camels! We heard that the Maharaja was a bit of a drinker though, so he came out late and looked like he was going to fall off his horse.
Had dinner and early eve as we were off to Jodhpur in the morning.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday 29th March 2009-Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Woke up feeling a bit aprehensive as we had a camel safari booked later that day! After breakfast, went for a look around the market and to the Fort in Jaisalmer. Heard some very funny lines to try and get us to look at certain market stalls like "Hello, come make your eyes happy, sweet lady" very amusing! We got a bit lost in the fort and as always nearly run over several times by motorbikes/scooters/cows. I bought a new ring from one place for 200rps which is about 2.50, not bad esp as it's real silver (well it hasn't turned my finger green yet!).
We went back to the hotel after lunch in our fave restaurant "the trio" and got ready to go on our camel safari! Our driver, Raj, drove us a bit out of the city to meet our camel owners, Dirga and Drumo. I chose the smaller camel (as i am petrified of horses and all things you ride with 4 legs) and Sara got the bigger older one. The journey was quite fun at first, we chatted to the Camel men, learnt some Hindu-Atcha means thankyou, Namaste is hello and Swagaat is welcome! But after about an hour we had sort of had enough as our bums were getting a bit achy plus is was super hot! After about 2 hours we stopped at the cousins house of the camel owner, a brick open walled house which felt like it was in the middle of nowhere! We had some chai, and it was nice to have a rest. After about 20 mins there, we headed over to our camping spot, collecting firewood on the way and once we arrived the boys started cooking dinner for us. The boss of the camel safari company all drove out to meet us on his motorbike and brought us beer and diet coke which made us very happy! After a yummy dinner of dal, mixed veg curry and chapatis, the boys put a tent up for us and we settled down to what we thought might be a comfy nights sleep...

Saturday 28th March 2009. Pushkar-Jaisalmer, India

Not a very interesting day...woke up super early as we had and EIGHT hour car journey to a place called Jaisalmer which is right in the middle of the desert in the west about 150k from Pakistan border. The drive was v.tedious but once we arrived the hotel was really nice and we ate in a great restaurant called the Trio. We sat on a sort of bed thing and had a dish called Thali which is like 5 small dishes/currys, a dal, a kofta, a mixed veg, a yoghurty raita and a pud-usually Gulab Jammon which for those who haven't tried it, it's amazing! Get down to your local indian and order one now. I've got sara a bit hooked on them, it's basically a sort of doughnut ball in syrup!!
After dinner we were sleepy so went back to hotel to try and watch Juno on the only english channel we could find 'star movies' but the signal was crappy so we read a bit then fell asleep.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday 27th March-Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

Woke about 8ish, Sara was feeling a bit sickly! Went and had some breakfast and then headed into central Pushkar to see the market. We got a bit conned by some men who said it was New Year here and made us do some praying and chucking water and flowers into a 'holy' lake, tried to get lots of money out of us but we only gave them about a quid so we could leave. We did get a nice bracelet and some sweets out of it though and apparently everyone i know now is blessed, so lucky you!

After we left there, we headed further down the road to have a look at some jewellery and managed to get some cheapy rings and sara got a really cool pendant for not alot. Was getting so decided to come into nice air conditioned room in Hotel which FYI is v.fancy! We're gonna get some lunch now and hang by the pool, blog you later! Sara and Caro xxxxx

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday 26th March 2009. Jaipur-Pushkar, India

Got up to travel to Pushkar which only took three hours which was nice. Our hotel had a swimming pool which was a pleasant surprise. After going on the internet for a bit we decided to sunbathe by the pool for a bit with a 'Mocktail' (meat, alcohol and kissing is banned in Pushkar!) We arrived in Pushkar quite late so thats all we squeezed in.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday 25th March 2009 Jaipur, India

Our driver took us to the Amber Fort which was very impressive. There was the option of an elephant ride there but we decided to go by car! The street where our hotel was had elephants walking up and down all the time. Jaipur is known as 'The Pink City' as when Prince Albert came to visit, he said that pink was his favourite city so all the buildings were painted pink in his honour.
After the Fort we headed to The Albert Hall Museum then went for lunch and had our first Thali!
After lunch our driver took us a to a jewellery emporium which wasn't exactly the kind of place we wanted to go as they are really touristy and pushy!
In the afternoon we sunbathed on the roof, but not for long as it was so hot. When we got back to the room Sara started feeling really ill so we spent the rest of the day in the room with the telly on and i ordered some dinner, aloo gobhi and chapatis! We also watched "The Darjeeling Ltd" which was very apt as it's about 3 brothers travelling round India on a train.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday 24th March Agra-Jaipur, India.

Drove for about 6 hours to get to Jaipur. We stopped off to look at a mosque but left quite quickly as there was a man who worked there who was really bugging us. We had to take our shoes off before we went in and they tried to charge us when we collected them!
Got to Jaipur and had a look around the streets but it was so hot so we went back to the hotel and had dinner on the rooftop and did some people watching.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday 23rd March 2009 Delhi-Agra, India

Most of today was spent in the car, we stopped at one point for our driver to pay some road fees or something and having been asleep for a while we woke to see all sorts-monkeys jumping on the car, a snake charmer WITH SNAKE, a transvestite prostitute and people selling jewellery!
We got to the hotel in Agra, then a couple of hours later we were back in the car and on the way to see the Taj Mahal. When we got there, we walked about 1k from the car as they are not allowed that close. It was so beautiful and we were there in time for sunset so after wandering outside we decided to go in and have a look at the tomb and the lake at the back. So many people kept asking to have their picture taken with us which is fun at first and then gets a bit annoying! After sunset, we walked back to the car and bought some postcards.
Once we were back in the hotel, we had some dinner in our room which wasn't great and then to bed.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday 22nd March 2009 New Delhi, India

Got up and both felt a bit sickly! We had a new driver and he took us to see New Delhi. First stop was the Government and Parliamentary buildings, behind these was India Gate which was is a memorial to all the Indian soldiers who died in the second world war and had an eternally burning flame. We also went to Humayun's tomb, Lotus Temple and Akshardham Temple (we didn't actually go in here we just ate samosas outside. Our last stop was a memorial to Ghandi.
Went out for supper in a restaurant across the road from our hotel. Afterwards we popped to the crazy market and bought some bananas!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday 21st March 2009 Delhi

After having a nap, we decided to venture into Dehli. We went across the road and found a tourist information place that we originally wanted to just get a map from but we ended up booking our whole trip around India which included a driver and car for Rajasthan plus a flight and trains between Goa and Mumbai.
Our driver took us around Old Delhi where we visited The Red Fort, Jama Masjid (Muslim Temple) and Ajmal Khan Road Market. In the muslim temple we had to take our shoes off and wear very fetching bright pink flowery dresses! Still lots of boys wanted to take our picture (if you want to feel like a celebrity travel to India!)
We were quite tired from travelling so we ate in the hotel and had an early night.