Follow Amanda & Rob around the world for a year. From 30 September 2005!

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Since Rob last wrote we have spent the majority of our time on beaches - a hard life it is indeed, but believe it or not we did get a little bored of it and were happy to finally arrive in the huge metropolis of Bangkok.

Our journey here took us through a very hot and sweaty and extremely old (oldest in the world?) national park rainforest in Malaysia called Taman Negara. We couldn't do the place justice as, due to the heat, all we could manage was a one hour treetop walk (not for the faint hearted) before giving up and heading back to our air-conditioned room to cool down. We ate on floating restaurants, visited the local tribespeople (where we failed miserably to hit the target with the blowpipe) and headed out of the park in style on a wooden long boat.

Following that were 3 nights relaxing on the Perhentian Islands - beautiful, white sand, clear water etc - before crossing the border to Thailand. We were glad to finally reach Thailand, it is definitely a country we have looked forward to a lot, not least because of the food, and so far we haven't been disappointed.

We spent our first two nights in Thailand in inland towns where we hardly saw another white face the whole time. We got stranded out in the sticks one evening after dinner (no-one told us the buses stop running after dark in remote places!) but two of the waiters kindly gave us lifts on their motorcycles - one on each - back to a main road. This was my first ride on a motorcycle and was actually surprisingly fun. Motorcycles are the main form of transport here but I just wouldn't trust myself to drive one around, although it would make our lives easier for exploring if we did.

Over to the west coast of the peninsula to try and visit Krabi and Ko Phi Phi (the island where 'The Beach' was filmed) without getting rained on, as it's rainy season there right now. Scariest moment? When we rounded a corner on the back of a truck in Krabi town and I spotted a friend from my days of A-Level Business Studies! It's actually the 2nd time I have bumped into Lindsey at random (the first time being outside the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas) but being in a taxi we couldn't actually stop to talk, although she did do a triple-take when I finally managed to get her attention! Anyway, we couldn't believe it when, later that day whilst on Ao Nang beach, a 20 minute boat ride away, there she was AGAIN. So this time we could talk and ended up travelling to Ko Phi Phi together and spending 3 nights there with her, her boyfriend and his mate.

This was to be the location for watching the first England match, but when it neared 8pm (local time the match started) and there was still no coverage on the tele, despite what the TV guide said, I could see Rob starting to get a little anxious... In actual fact we ended up missing the first 25 mins (and the first goal) of the game due to coverage of the Thai King's 60 year anniversary of being on the throne, and I swear you could practically see the smoke coming from Rob's ears by that point. His anger was made even worse by the fact that every other channel was showing exactly the same pictures of the king. He was not a happy bunny, and swore at that point that we would not, under any circumstances, be in a remote place for any of the future matches!

From there we travelled across to the eastern coast of the peninsula and spent more time on more beaches on more islands - Ko Samui, Ko Phang-an and Ko Tao - all beautiful, if a little crowded and too 'touristy' for our liking. We had intended to dive on Ko Tao, and indeed we did dive, but just the once before realising that conditions were not the best (strong current and bad visibility). It was a real shame as we had looked forward to it so much, but you win some you lose some. We did some great snorkelling instead.

So after a very long journey we arrived in Bangkok last week and have been staying with Rob's cousin, John, and his family in their gorgeous house, being very well looked after and enjoying the proper bed complete with duvet, squashy pillows and air con! Going out with the children is certainly an eye opener - both blond and blue-eyed, they cause a sensation with the Thais, who all want to touch and take pictures of the children. Tilly had a group of teenage schoolgirls cheering and clapping when she put her hands together in prayer, the Thai greeting. It was unbelievable what a fuss was made.

Bangkok has been a lot of fun - John and Laura even managed to wangle us an invite to the British Embassy along with them. It was an informal 'do' to celebrate the Queen's birthday, with miniature fish & chips, beef pies, lemon meringue pies and apple crumbles - we were in heaven! Last place we expected to visit on our travels but not something that every backpacker gets to do!

We leave for Cambodia on Saturday - hopefully the journey goes smoothly so that there is no chance of missing England's next match, on around 10pm in this part of the world.

One final note, we have encountered some superb English mis-spellings on menus recently. It was a tricky decision as to whether to go for 'Gordon Blue' or 'Sosej and chips' at one place. Turning to the drinks list, I plumped for the 'spacking water'. I had brought my own wine, but was put off by the expensive 'cockage fee'....

Til next time.


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