Hi everybody sorry for the delay in the next blog we have not been bothered to sit down at a computer it is so hot and humid. So we are now in Thailand. Over the last week we have done quite a bit of moving about since we last updated from Shanghai. From there we got the sleeper train down to Hong Kong, ferry to Macau and plane to Bangkok shortly followed by another train to Hua Hin where we are now. So much has happened over the last week or so that we really cant remember or be bothered to write it all but we'll do our best. So here goes..
Some day last week (its getting hard to keep count now)
We left Shanghai after staying there for about a week. We both really liked Shanghai and apart from the price of beer in the bars we couldnt fault it. We caught another sleeper train down to Hong Kong. Once again we were allocated seats in separate carriages. Like last time i went to speak to one of the train staff to ask if we could go together but this time she said no. She didnt
speak great English and was stuck when i tried to persuade her. So this young women who spoke English fluently came across to ask if we needed any help. I started to explain the situation to her and then stopped as i noticed the ticket she had held in her hand was the bed in the same carriage as Donna's that i was trying to worm my way in to. So i started hassling her to swap tickets with me and luckily she agreed. Stroke of luck or what? We thought the train down was about 18 hours but it turned out to be more like 21. Not too bad though.
When we got to Kowloon the heat and humidity knocks you off your feet, especially when your carrying the backpack and looking for the hostel. It is so much hotter in Southern China and Hong Kong. Not that its cold in the north but the heat is so mucher dryer its easier to walk around. Our hostel was in an old block called Mirador Mansions. The 'mansions' are actually really old grimey tower blocks that are owned by annoying Indians who seem to each have there very own
'guesthouse'. Unfortuantely we went into the wrong block at first and after going up and down the sweaty, packed lift (which was the slowest lift i have ever been in) to the 13th floor then back down to 11th, up the stairs to 14th, knocking on doors to ask people where it was we eventually realised it wasnt even in that building! Bt that time we getting a bit grumpy and had some serious sweaty issues. But we found it and after upgrading to the 'deluxe' room we were ok. That night we went up Victoria peak to get the famous view looking back down on to Hong Kong Island. As luck would have it it was proper cloudy and although it was nice i can imagine how much better it would have looked on a clear night. Later that night we went on a bit of boozy bender and ended up plastered on the streets of Hong Kong as the sun came up! A couple of Sausage and egg McMuffins later we crashed in bed and didnt get up until 5pm the next day. What better to do with a hangover than go to Murphys Irish bar and have
a big juicy fry up. lovely!! After we went to Hong Kong Island again and walked down by the harbour. You get good views there of both the islands - looking back to Hong Kong Island from the pier and of Kowloon across the river/sea.
We decided to go stay a few nights on the other side of the Island which is Causeaway Bay. After we found our Hostel we went for a walk around Victoria Park which was a nice park with swimming pool, lots of playgrounds for kids and lots to do for adults as well as walking aroung the park. There was a few people building there own model boats and testing them out on the water and they went really fast and were so noisy for little toy boats. There was also a walkway of all different types and sized pebbles which this chinese guy told us you have to take off your shoes and walk along the pebbles. Apparently its good for your health as the pebbles press on the pressure points in your feet and release blockages in your body, the same idea as reflexology. Some of the pebbles were really pointy and
hurt your feet but i must admit once me and laurie had came off our feet did feel really relaxed and was quite nice after all the walking we have been doing. There was this white guy in the park stood next to a tree dressed in chines baggy trousres and a tunic top and there was 2 big swords by his feet so we both sat down behind him thinking that he was going to start doing some funky moves with his weapons, but he didnt he just stood there for about 20 mins. I dont no if we made him shy but after that we just thought he was a weirdo!!!
After that we had a walk around the very very busy shopping centre and bought some tickets to go to the cinema to see Pirates of the Carribean 3. We were sat on the 1st row and we had serious neckache by the time it was over, the film was very good though and after listening to Jack Sparrow for 3 hours Laurie was talking like a pirate all night which is really funny. After we had some dinner and went out on the lash, we
never really intended to but it was a good night. The bars in Hong Kong are really trendy and expensive. We ended up spending most of the night with these 3 women from Leeds who were a good laugh, how typical we come half way round the world and still end up bumping into people from our neck of the woods.
The next day we bought tickets for the ferry to Macau and jumped aboard ship for an hour. Now we had looked for some accomodation but the taxi driver took us to the wrong place(AGAIN!!), this seems to happen quite often. But as it was throwing it down with rain we ended up staying in a grotty place which was overpriced. That night we went for a Pizza Hut and the Laurie went to the Casino for an hour (Laurie - not as impressive inside as out unfortunately - and just like England i lost all my money!), i stayed in and watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which was really good but in subtitles.
We were not really fussed for staying another night in Macau so we had a walk round the town which was very pretty
and seemed more like we were in Portugal than Macau with the buildings and the little winding streets. It seems that the portuguese left more of their architecture behind than we did in Hong Kong. We have been very spontaneous lately, just coming and going as we please and not really planning anything and we are really enjoying the freedom. So we just got a taxi to the Macau Airport and booked a flight to Bangkok which luckily was leaving at 2.20pm and we only got to the airport at around 12noon so not too much waiting. We did pay more for the tickets and there was only a few seats left and it was not pre booked. The plane was comfy, nice leather seats and 2 hours and 40 mins after we are in the airport of Bangkok and about to be caught in a really bad storm.
We knew that we were coming to Thailand in the rainy season but all reports said its not that bad. A few hours torrential rain in the afternoon and then the sun pops back out again. Well our first sight of Thailand was amazing lightning show. It forks down every
few seconds and the rain really bounces down. Not that like that fine rain that soaks you through but big daddy drops that bath you in minutes.
The place we stayed at, Asha guesthouse was really good. It was good to get back to a place that catered for travellers rather than the usual small hotel type places we had been in at Shanghai and Hong Kong, although to be honest we didnt really mingle that much. In Bangkok we went on a boat ride throught the little canals that take you past some of the poorer people of the city. They live in little ramshackle places built out of anything and everything perched above the water on stilts. Its quite shocking that people live like that in the middle of a big city. You would expect there to be enough room on land to build a hut but for some reason they must either like it that way or have no choice as there are loads of them.
We got off the boat near the Grand Palace and were about to go in we were stopped by a little old Thai man who quickly told us the
palace was closed until 1pm because it was some kind of holy day and we should instead visit these other places he recommended. I had the book in my hand and he asked to see it and then marked on the map all the places we should visit and called over a tuc-tuc driver. Yeah right. Not today thanks. But we did believe him about the Grand Palace being closed. So we carried on walking towards the markets and then another guy stopped us and went through the same script only this time he marked the same recommended places in different places on the map. Again he called a tuc-tuc over so we left before he had a chance to gag us and throw us in the back! But again for some reason we didnt click on that he was actually lying about the Palace opening times (until we read about the scam later that day) and went off for a walk round the busy markets with the intention of going back when it opened. Well when we returned to the palace before the 'opening time' there were already foreigners coming out. We were not dressed 'properly' to enter as
the guide at the gate put it, and so never actually got in anyway. A bit too much flesh on show for the modest monks.
That night we went off to the Thai boxing. Not cheap at 1000 baht each but we both enjoyed it. We had never been to anything like that back home and even though the fighters werent strong enough to knock each other out it was good. All the blokes in the stands were betting using some system i couldn't figure out. Gambling is illegal in Thailand but there was a lot of finger waggling on in between rounds with guys on mobiles facing the crowd leading the way. No money passed hands at the time but something was going on. We didnt stay till the end we watched about four or five fights and then went to the night Bazaar round the corner. We bought some cheap clothes, Donna got a dresss she likes and i got another T-shirt that doesnt quite fit because i was too sweaty to try it on! There was live 'entertainment' on which was funny. Some locals were performing English songs with a Thai twist - they were all
crap but we liked it.
After our day out in Bangkok we didnt bother to hang around much longer. Bangkok didnt seem too bad but when you take the fact we have been touring big chinese cities for the last month, and then add blistering heat and sweaty crowded streets we just felt like a change. It is hard work walking round crowded roads in this heat so we decided it was time to head for the beach. We went to Bangkok train station and booked the next train to Hua Hin, a little touristy town down the Northwestern Gulf coast. We were planning to then jump on a bus to Pranburi which is just outside of a National Park that i cant remember the name of, before going to Haet Laem Sala which is a little beach spot in the park where you can rent tents on the beach for 150 baht (2 quid). When we arrived in Huan Hin it was raining again so we sat down and got the book out and decided it looked ok for a night and picked a guesthouse. Hua Hin is very similar to resorts you get across Europe. It is
one of the only places along this section of the coast where they get a lot of foreigners and there are loads of old fat white blokes walking about with young thai girls on their arms. The English owner, Ken, of All Nations guest house where we are staying reckons they dont care about age in Thailand, but then he would say that with a Thai wife 38 years younger than him! We had a trip to the beach after we found a Boots to get some sun cream but we didnt realise just how strong the sun is here and in three short hours from 9am to 12pm we are both toast- with ketchup. Its very sore and we really should have known better that to get Factor 25 cream so we have now got some factor 60 - as i am sure the mums are glad to hear.
Last night we stayed up talking to Ken till the small hours. Well actually he talked to us its very hard to get a word in but he has a lot of interesting stories about moving to Thailand and what its like to live here. His wife must be
in charge because she kept coming down to tell him to go to bed!
Today we fancied going to do a bit of elephant trekking and after seeing the prices in the excursion shops we decided to get there ourselves and save abit of money. So we went and hired 2 mopeds for about a fiver, which we said we would have them back for 6pm. The elephant sanctuary was about 5km away and we thought we would find it easily, but after a few hours riding around and getting even more sunburn we decided to leave it and hopefully do an elephant trip once we are in Phuket as they also have them there. Laurie really liked the mopeds but i on the other hand was scared. We decided to get one each as we havent rode mopeds that much before and did not want to saddle each other in case we were a bit shakey but perhaps it would have been better to just get one. We stopped for a break and as the town was busy i started to panic and shout at Laurie because i was scared and had a bit of a cry in
a phone box (Laurie - What is she like!). When we were on quiet roads it was good but the main roads are so chaotic and there is people and vehicles everywhere so at about 2pm we gave up and took them back although i could tell Laurie wanted to carry on cruising around. Really it was for the best as again we have got more sunburn.
Right now its fri 1st june at 11.27pm and we are in the internet cafe. We will probably go for a drink and then head home for a shower and bed. Tomorrow we are getting the bus to the national park in search of beach tents which will be good if we can do it as it has been raining everyday in the afternoon. We will let you know. Anyway just to let our nearest and dearest know that we are having a fabulous time although i am getting eaten alive by mossies this very minute--oh and we have seen a few lizards and cockroaches and Laurie seen big crabs running on the beach which dissappear down little holes when you get near to them. But hope everyone is well and we
will update you very soon.
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