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Published: January 25th 2010
I have been slack. There is no getting around it. I have been dreaming about mature cheddar cheese, broadsheet newspapers and toilets that have both a seat and flush recently. But alas, these dreams won't be realised until April 5th when we board that BA flight and arrive at Heathrow, 9 hours later. But it's not all bad as I will explain briefly now.
We left you in Argentina. What a fine place that is, but you should find out more for yourselves really. We took a bus over the Andes at Los Libertadoros pass (named after Simon Bolivar as is everything else in the continent) and wound down from 4500m to the Chilean capital of Santiago. We immediately withdrew from the city and stayed in our tent on an estancia (read: cattle ranch) which was great fun but with no creatures of a bovine ilk whatsoever. I think we were conned for there were no gauchos and no horses and no nothing. I don't want to mislead you though as it was brilliant relaxing and wandering to waterfalls and all the nice things like that.
Returning to Santiago we joined in yoga classes in the
A Murga statue guards the entrance (43m high - biggest in the world). 24 carat. Not really.
Parque Metropolitan and then afternoon Latino dance aerobics classes. Each had over 100 people all getting into the swing of things. I couldn't bend in the yoga and I couldn't co-ordinate in the dancing. People looked and pointed mouths aghast at the sweaty beast but Lindsay remianed as elegant as ever beside me, although ever so subtely edging away.
Leaving South America we mused on the character of the place. It had been tough as no-one spoke English and everyone was out to con you a little. Not too much but enough to take a tourist tax of their own. We grew to love the people, and with them their continent. I strongly recommend it but you will get so much more out of it if you learn Spanish before you go. We left sad and not a little dissappointed at the US tax laws meaning that we would need to pay $500 to get our TV shipped to soemwhere where it would then cost another $500 to ship it home where it wouldn't work, and so we reluctantly forfeited our prize. There was no option sadly, as no-one else could accept it on our behalf - sorry Scott!
We stayed with Andy McLean's parents in Auckland on a one night stop-over and loved New Zealand instantly. Very much suited to us I think. We'll have to go another time. Friendly people.
We arrived in Singapore and found everyone wandering around with iphones, mini laptops and all wearing massive earphones. There was not one exception in 6 million people and we saw them all as there are 16,000 per km squared there! That's only beaten by Monaco I think. Expensive, but very clean. Raffles and Singapore Slings etc but not much else there. We did watch a traditional Lion Dance in Chinatown where young and old people dance in a kung fu style to the beat of a drum. The finale was the master with his sword but bless him he could hardly pick it up and you could have blown him over.
We celebrated Lindsay's 30th in style at Harrod's, Kuala Lumpur, with afternoon tea for $20. Not bad, I would have felt big time had I not been in a scabby T-shirt, with dirty shorts and broken flip flops. So broken that I occasionally go bare foot when they momentarily disintegrate. The Petronas Towers
are very big by the way. Boarding a 'massage bus' I was a little concerned at wandering hands from the seats behind but it turned out that we each got a little tickle from a vibrating motor in the seat. Luxury? No.
All the westerners are very different here. There are more to be seen in one day than all of South America (exclusing Machu Picchu). I suppose it is so much easier here with slightly lower costs and all English speaking.
We visited the Batu Caves, a series of huge underground temples filled with Hindu shrines. There are 272 steps up to the main cave which is full of monkeys and snakes and things. We even saw an Iguana although I think it was a pet. Hindu's flok here very January (in their millions) to self harm using sticks and spikes! They call it 'showing devotion'. I was alittle disappointed not to see anyone doing nasty things to them selves. Is that bad? Lindsay wanted to do step reps.
To Kho Phan-Ngan, the famous little island off Thailand's East coast where the Full Moon party draws thousands of party goers. Needless to say we headed for
the other end of the isalnd (thanks to a recommendation from Lindsay's sister Kirsty) and had three days of mini paradise in a hut on the beach. Lindsay packed a cockroach in to her rucksack who then hopped out at her to say hello in Bangkok but otherwise no cobras and gaint monitor lizards sadly. Although we did see some elephants. We hired kayaks and do a tough session against the current for two hours non stop, forgetting they were supposed to enjoy it but then again, we enjoyed it more afterwards as we were in real pain from the burn of the hard paddling. We are strange people.
Now in Bangkok, no lady boys yet (not that we know of, although I suppose they could be swarming around us as i type!) and we are off for Thai boxing classes this afternoon. We've had massages for 3 quid (1 hour) and witnessed the chaos of the markets on the Khoa San Road. We're off to a market with 15,000 stalls tomorrow. I practiced bartering yesterday and generally got everyone to half their price. Lindsay won't let buy some Thai boxing shorts to pretend I'm a pro! I was
thinking of buying a guitar but seeing so many 'travellers' (I call us all tourists because they hate it) with them deters me significantly. We will do Thai cooking classes in someone's house and then visit the temples of Angkor in Cambodia before an elephant ride in a few days time.
Oh its sticky here, you should see my pits. Lindsay is now well into Yoga, she can almost reach her knees now!
Lots of love as ever, and would love to hear from you all.
George and Lindsay
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