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Entries about beaches

Pangandaran

Sun, sand, sea and inappropriate sexual behaviour! Green Canyon

semi-overcast 27 °C

Panagandaran

Try saying that after you've had a few, most places in Indonesia are difficult to pronounce.  After a long bus journey here it was good to be away from city life again and back on a coastal beach resort.  I always miss the sea and when I'm away from it I seem to be less tolerable of things, its either that or inland people are more uptight!    In Paragandaran the coast line is the biggest I've ever seen.....miles and miles of sea crashing upon the sand, it's beautiful.   It's a good place to surf but mainly in the morning as the currents are strong so it's quite dangerous.

We stayed in a guesthouse highly recommended by the LP and it was a cute little place with a beautiful courtyard to relax in which was just as well considering I had brought a bug from Jakarta with me and couldn't really do very much as I felt really rough, weak and dizzy.

The only problem with the accommodation is that hawkers would just wander in trying to sell you stuff, initially I didn't mind so much as they are just trying to earn a living but then something happened which made me rethink so we moved.  

We had a massage on our second day, I thought it might help my bug.  The lady was very humble and started to talk to me about when the 2006 Tsunami came, not the boxing day 04 one...not much is heard about the 06 one but she lost her mum and her 11 month old baby.....so sad.  600 people died that day and it took years to recover especially for the poorer people before who ended up living under blue tarpaulin.   They had no electricity or clean water, it was devastating for them.  The people here are so wonderful and kind, you wouldn't even guess what they have been through.  She told me about her husband leaving her for another woman which she was most upset about because the 'other woman' was much older than her!  We had a giggle together and she told me she had just got herself a new boyfriend who was 24... Something that gave the Kampon abit of gossip!

The following day, still feeling poorly I sat in the courtyard on my own typing out a message on my phone when a young lad came in, he was only about 19 and as skinny as a rake.  He asked me if I had any water, in Indonesian so I said "tidak Ada" meaning don't have.  He started to pull at his belt and I was wondering what he was doing, I thought maybe he was trying to show me how thin he was!  With that he stated to take his clothes off until he was completely NAKED!  Now my reaction was not good because I was so shocked I wondered what he was doing!  He went in to a room opposite me, where a member of staff usually sleeps, and led down on the bed beckoning me to go into the room whilst he masterbated!  Seriously!  I sat looking down at my phone thinking to myself 'is he actually doing that? Have you seen properly?'  I  didn't want to look again but I could still see him out f the corner of my eye waving with one hand and .....with the other.  I got up and walked inside and saw two guests, boyfriend and girlfriend and told them what I had seen.  The guy confirmed it after challenging the lad who came out of the room starkers again!  I got the owner who tried to get rid of him but he wouldn't go so the guest ended up chasing him out....he left his trousers behind....not the guest....the naked guy!

With that I thought it would be best to move, considering he just went into someone's room and it could have been worse.

We moved to Ali Beach....owned by Ali himself....a great guy who has portraits of himself in his restaurant.  Really good food here and the accommodation is much better for the same price.  

We hired a scooter from Ali and visited the Green Canyon, which is a green river leading upto a cave, well arch of rock.  Our boat drivers took us swimming and showed us abit further down the river so again we were treated.  It was great being back on the bike, the roads were bumpy and we had lots of toots and waves from the locals.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 00:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beaches beach indonesia travel sunsets surfing sunrises naked journey mother_daughter blog pangandaran world_trip sickness green_canyon guest_house chloe_bailey masterbate local_ naked-man Comments (0)

Blenheim, Picton, Nelson

New Zealand

sunny 20 °C

Sit down this is a long one......

I forgot to mention just before we left Australia we bought a pair of trainers each with the intention of getting fit, yes doing some running in New Zealand and having all the utensils to be able to cook now in our camper it was also the perfect opportunity to start eating healthily!   Our drive to Blenheim was very picturesque and becoming a regular view although one you would never tire of.

We arrived in Blenheim and were told about the marvels of this town which is in the state of Marlborough, no not the cigarette one but the alcohol one you see because this is where all the best wines come from!  They have wine trails set up so you can drive around the different vinerys and taste the tipples.....now I found this abit odd....how can you drive around....drink the wines....theres a lot of them mind you....then drive onto the next one.  By the time you have finished you would be 'three sheets to the wind'. What does that mean anyway? Find out later!

We only intended to stay for a night so we found a campsite and parked up.   Having already told you of our health kick Chloe started to prepare herself a nutritious dinner and I decided to combine the two ....please bear in mind it's Tuesday....so I put on my trainers and told Chloe that I was going to get my dinner.  So stated to run along the long stretch of road heading for Dominos....yep....pizza ....come on it was Tuesday and every pizza fan knows about Dominos on Tuesdays.....Cheap Tuesdays!  How could I refuse that!    So....I'm running down this road for about five minutes and I am puffing like you wouldn't believe all I could think was 'thank god no one knows me here!'. I had all the right kit on but my body was struggling, I didn't give up though and kept on going with my jog, I think I could have walked it quicker.  I got about 15 minutes in and thought to myself "maybe its further than I thought".  You see I had driven past it and from the minute I drove past to the minute I parked the camper van all I could think of was pizza which must have tainted the distance I thought it was.    I paced myself by the amounts of roundabouts 'if I can make it to this one....I might turn back'. I kept on and then after my jog of what was about a good 25 minutes I saw it!  One thing I hadn't thought of was until this point was how I was going to get the pizza back....running?  I was waiting for the looks when I went in with my red face, sweating, still trying to sort my breathing out and ordering my pizza only to run off with it down the road.....very amusing!   I walked in and saw a large que of very overweight people....maybe I wouldn't have pizza....I looked out for the Cheap Tuesday deal and guess what.....they didn't do it!  There and then I made a decision to turn around and leave...like I had given Dominos a guest appearance from the UK.  Tell you what my run back was a lot easier, I felt quite inspired that I wasn't carrying that pizza box.

When i got into the campervan I could see Chloe tucking into her dinner and  I gave my speech of how I walked out of Dominos....little things aye!

Next day we left and had a drive toward Nelson which had been highly recommended to us by many people and ex residents that had moved on to Ozzy.  We had quite a difficult drive through the mountains which consist of miles and miles of winding sharp bends up steep hills and then back down again.  Picton is a small port where various tankers and yachts moor up.  When you get to the top of the hill there is a viewing point and you can look down onto the port and out to sea....beautiful!  It was raining and the windy roads were taking their toll with me and this large campervan.  We were doing about 35kil down to 15 kils on some of the bends and I had to keep the plates and bowls inside from moving around too much.   It was at this point, during the height of my concentration, Chloe decided to have a 'chat' about Michael Jackson.  Now.....I can't even believe I have put his name in our blog because I for one am not anywhere near a fan of the man....never was and definitely wasn't in last ten years of his life.   Chloe, however, thinks he is an iconic symbol of his time but we do not see eye to eye on the matter and neither of us will budge on it.  So whilst i'm negotiating these killer bends we start debating over bloody MJ!  I can tell you things got heated and I for one was getting really annoyed and was then taking these corners at 45kils and the plates started to make some noises.  In the end I shouted "I'm not spending anytime arguing about bloody Michael Jackson when i'm on the trip of a life time driving through these beautiful places.....he is not going to ruin it!  So leave it!".   It was over....thank god!  The plates didn't get smashed and we made it to Nelson in silence the rest of the journey.  If anyone wants to know what I think of him all i'm going to say is 'what was the name of the lads that 'had a sleep over' at his? So with this in mind I couldn't care less what influence he had on the music industry....the only good thing that came from MJ was the Bo Selecta version which gave me many hours of laughter!  "Heee.....heeee....Shamon!"

Just before we got into Nelson there was a beautiful stretch of lake running along side the road we were driving....still and tranquil.  The homes in New Zealand i noticed are mainly bungalow so when you look around you can see a 360o view of the area because there aren't hugh buildings blocking then view, initially I wondered why the sky was bigger!  The sky incidentally is a prefect blue and if there is a cloud it will be a lovely little white fluffy one.....sweet...as they say in New Zealand!

Nelson has everything you need and all of the well know typical shops/takeaways like the 'M' word and the 'KFC' you know what I mean!  So guess who else was there.......yep....Dominos!  So after my valiant retreat the night before this time Chloe convinced me to have one (save the fact they had an offer on you couldn't refuse!). We bought up and pitched up next to the lake, looking out of the window watching the sun setting behind the mountains scoffing pizza and chips.  What more can you ask for....this was what it was all about, travelling and seeing stuff like this.  

I wonder if people reading the blogs want me to talk about the towns/villages that we go through but to be honest they are much of much unless they really stand out significantly.  The towns in New Zealand are humble, pretty with lovely friendly people, it's a quiet place with few vehicles on the roads until you get to to the towns.  Some towns will only be a five minute walk though with a population of 300 people.   I think there are more sheep in New Zealand than there are people, I've never seen so many!

I was also taken aback by the sea shores, the fact that adjacent land hadn't been turned into typical sea side town resorts.  There was just green grass....parking bays for free so you could just stop, stay or do whatever!  Enjoy!  Amazing place.

It was here in New Zealand that I realised I could, once again, put toilet paper down the loo....you can't do this in some countries....see how spoilt we are by the simple things!

The second night we pitched up at a campsite as our battery was running flat, I was in the communal kitchen area washing up....yes me and not Chloe....when I was approached by guy called Rod curious of where we had come from.  We got talking and then were invited down to French Pass to spend a couple of days with his friends.....why not....so that's where we went next.  I did ask him if his friends called him 'Rodders' and he replied that he wasn't from some English sitcom, so even over there Only Fools and Horses are still alive!

By the way....Three sheets to the wind.....It's a sailor language....

Sheets aren't sails but ropes (or occasionally, chains). These are fixed to the lower corners of sails, to hold them in place. If three sheets are loose and blowing about in the wind then the sails will flap and the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor.   The original  phrase was 'three sheets in the wind'. 

Sailors at that time had a sliding scale of drunkenness; three sheets was the falling over stage; tipsy was just 'one sheet in the wind', or 'a sheet in the wind's eye'. 

Posted by Vicky Bailey 20:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged lakes beaches travel scenery dominos picton journey campervan mother_daughter blog blenheim world_trip back_packing michael_jackson chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Kaikoura

Whale watching, dolphins and seals.

semi-overcast 17 °C

We drove along the coast toward Blenhiem and stumbled across a layby in the early evening which was right next to a quiet beach. There were not many homes and hardly any vehicles on the road either. I decided that this could be a good spot to park up, cook some dinner and get some sleep. We didn't see any signs to say we were not allowed to stay there, even though we had a prime spot of next to the sea.....unlike in the UK where a hefty parking fee would be insistent before you take the key out of the car! We fell asleep to the sea lapping onto the shore, a familiar sound. In the mourning we found we were in Koikoura a small town which boasted Whale watching tours and their own seal colony just up the road.

We set off to see the seals and another freebee....park up and there they were just off the road plenty of seals just soaking up the sun.....stinking of fish...but they were there and we saw them in their natural environment......amazing!

We decided to check out the Whale watching tour and it comprised a short boat trip for the afternoon and a guarantee of 80% of your money back if you didn't see one. So I paid up for us to go on the tour. We had a very nice boat (compared to the Thai boat journeys) abit of luxury taking us out to see and I was dubious of what we would see....in the sea! After a while and plenty of possible sightings, getting in and out of our seats there was an announcement "on the left side you can see a sperm whale" I looked out and yes there it was blowing water up into the air. A clear view of this creature ....a long shiney grey rubbery looking thing. It was unreal, you couldn't see the eyes just its back until we were warned that it was going to dive down. They stay on the surface for apx 10 mins then dive down for 40 mins. I got the camera ready for the famous tail in the water picture but when I saw the tail in the air against the empty sea I didn't press the button because it was the first time I had seen this and before I had got over the wow factor and was ready to take the photo he had gone.

We went back to our seats and I thought it was all over but was so content from what I had seen I couldn't believe it when they announced a second whale this time on the right. Again I saw and tried to take the photo but wasn't quick enough. Back to the seats for a few more minutes before I heard "theres a pod of dolphins now" I rushed out and I couldn't believe what I saw......pod....apx 100 dolphins leaping and spinning clear out of the water. I couldn't help think of the dolphin watching in Goa where I saw two jump out, these ones were a lot smaller but they certainly put on a show for us weaving around each other, around and under the boat now that was absolutey amazing and I will never forget. I could have watched them all day they were beautiful! On the return back to shore another announcement.....a humped back whale!!!!! How lucky were we!! What a day.....seals, whales and dolphins! We left with big smiles about New Zealand and how fantastic it was and we were only on day two!!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 22:04 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beaches sea whales dolphins kaikoura penguins journey campervan mother_daughter seals blog world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Koh Lanta

Mopeds and beaches

sunny 30 °C

Koh Lanta.....suggested by Asheigh we met in Goa....a quiet place with plenty of beaches. Easy enough to get to being just another ferry ride away from us for just over an hour. The journey wasnt too bad and now we were travelling with Christine and Gee. It's interesting to see what sort of luggage people bring, we have seen men with the biggest ruck sacks in them world, the men's knees buckling under them with the strain on their backs whilst their wife/girlfriend wanders bagless besides them. What do these people put int these bags? Honestly some of them a so big and it is nearly always the men. I would have thought all they would need would be a few pairs of shorts and a couple of tshirts...i think they carry ironing boards....computers, sinks etc! We have only small bags literally 11kg and that's bad enoughh lugging that around especially when you have to pick it up and put it on. So Christine and Gee had their luggage....two big suitcases and hand bags, now to be fair they didn't intend on moving around so much and theirs were not the biggest of cases by along shot. We had a lot of practise getting ready for the trip in packing and unpacking, knowing what we needed to take and what we didn't. I left so much stuff at home that I wanted to bring but wouldn't be able simply because it would make the ruck sack too heavy.....I still regret not packing my white dress though :/

Christine and Gee said they soon found out what they actually needed to bring but a lot of the time when there were awkward moments getting the cases on and off ferries, or up and down stairs....a young muscley bare chested Thai boy would just pick up the case as if it were a bag of sugar and throw it on is shoulder heading off towards our rooms "Cor....you're strong!" you would hear Gee say. But there were times when you cold cringe as they launch cases and rucksacks from the boat to the dock. Anyway well done girls on moving around with your bags!

Koh Lanta is a long thin island about 6 km wide and 30 km long with a decent road going right the way round....you can't get lost apparently but we managed it.....this time thanks to Chloe. We hired mopeds each from our resort....yes a resort....lovely little beach bungalows right next to the beach with its own beach bar and restaurant. The mopeds were about £3 for 24 hrs so we got on and decided to explore and single file on the road with our helmets and shades on off we went. Our own little bikers club poodling along at apx 25mph...ok...maybe max was 35. Its a lovely island very quiet with the potential to be a really busy island. There are soo man beaches which are practically empty, one each called long beach.....you can work out why it's called that, was like our own private sands...no one was there!

We zoomed round for a while and decided to head back, now as I've said before my internal sat nav can be it bit dodgy at times but today it was working (how can you get lost on a ring road?). I said to Chloe "is this the turning" meaning that I really thought it was the one we needed to get back to the resort "no" was the reply so being the leader of bike club I carried on and everyone followed me.....for miles! We got to a bit junction and had to admit we had missed the turning so back we went. We were nearly at the resort 5 more minutes and we would have been and my bike ran out of petrol. Not a problem I doubled up with Chloe and we got back.....in the dark now and it was dark because there's not been an investment in street lighting there. I told the manager about the bike being tired the last thing I wanted to do was sort that bike out "I'll get it tomorrow". I told him. This didn't seem to placent him....he wanted it now.....I did think well it's not going to get stolen....we're on island with only one ferry out a day! But still I got on the back of his bike and off we went to find it....miles and miles later "I think we may have gone past it" I said sheepishly "sorry". He was very good and probably though stupid English woman....I can't help it if my sat nav doesnt work! Eventually we found it ...five mins from the resort where I had left it funnily enough!

Our time on Lanta was mainly out on the mopeds zooming around looking at all the beaches. It is a beautiful place and I really hope it doesn't get dragged into the commercialised holiday spot that cn be around. Lanta is basic and relaxed.....keep it that way.

We found out there was a waterfall and decided to cut out the middle man, go there on our mopeds and have a look. New made it and there were elephants available to trek on and were told a 20 min walk to the waterfall. Actually the man we asked how far it was to go refused to tell us because we didnt park our bikes in his car park! We decided to do the walk how bad could it be? When we got to the river more like a stream we carried on for a bit longer but gave up in the end and turned back....I mean we all had on flip flops and had to wade through water, climb over trees, climb up steep mud mounds and down them ....it was a right old obstacle course!

It was an early morning start for the next leg......and we were going to regret this one!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 23:20 Archived in Thailand Tagged beaches sea koh journey mother_daughter blog lanta world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Phuket- Phuget it!

sunny 29 °C

Having been to a few Thai places now I have got to recognise the abundance of cages hanging outside people's homes and shops homing only one small singing bird. Initially I thought they were a sign of good luck or maybe a sign of prosperity, ok, that's not true, initially I thought it cruel and wanted to let each bird out to fly free into the tropics. I then correct myself and consider if the owners think they are actually doing some good by looking after their birds? Well....I have found out first hand, in Koh Tao I spoke to a local man and asked him about his bird in his cage (the cages are all very pretty is large golden hooks to hang them and yes the birds sing beautifully and in the evening they are covered and taken down and into the building). Charlee told me that he loved his bird but was still mourning the loss of his previous bird that died 6 months ago, he continued to tell me that the previous bird (he hadn't given them names ...merely bird) had only one wing and he had it for a very long time. Charlee then went into his shop and came out with a coffee jar full of cotton wall and unscrewed the lid. I was wondering what he was doing but I thought....go with it.....he gently put his hand in and scooped out a very dead bird with one wing....a six month old dead bird. You wouldn't have thought so though...it looked like it was asleep a but the sad part of all of this was the loss in Charlees eyes and for me this confirmed.....they love their birds and they look after them although some bet on whose bird sings the loudest with the largest bet being thousands.mmyoure supposed to have a licence to own one too but hey this is Thailand! I think they would be mortified if any one said it was cruel. I have since found out the type of bird....a Red whiskered Bulbul that sings when it is agitated...even though the song is beautiful, so is it cruel?

We were looking forward to some vibrance after a few days chilling out and all of us had been told about awesome Phuket....'it's great'. 'I love it there'. 'we go there every year'. Loads of recommendations so we were very excited and knew we wouldn't be disappointed especially as we picked the busiest place Patong. I didn't even mind packing and getting up for the 630 am transfer..... see I was excited!

The journey was painless - sitting on the deck of the boat in the hot sun again with a lovely warm breeze. Arriving into Phuket Town we got on board into our mini bus to take us to Patong, so far so good! Then a strange thing.....radio one in then mini bus.....odd....reminded me abit like Tenerife or some typically sea side infested town. We arrived at our hotel and were pleasantly surprised how nice it was for the bargain price we paid...air con, tv, mini bar etc.

We decided to go out in the evening and then spend the following day on the beach, so we glammed up and off we went. A few steps down the road and the thunder started to rumble....then it POURED with rain and I mean poured! There was more water than my shower and it showed no signs of stopping. We jumped in a tuk tuk and was taken to town and dropped outside a restaurant. But the rain kept coming and we refused to get out not wanting to ruin our dresses and hair. Eventually the restaurant brought out brollies for us giving our tuk tuk driver a lucky escape from our new shelter! We had a lovely meal in Savoey Restaurant albeit a fish restaurant it was good veggie food however it was still raining....now the streets were starting to flood and that's no good when you're wandering round in flip flops.

The heat is still on so the cool rain isn't too much of a bind only it is a killer for the hair! We walked to the main strip where there was bar after bar and you know shopping precincts well they have them too but they are not shops but bars and clubs all with go-go girls up on the bars dancing. Oh and I forgot to mention the old men lusting after them walking around with their eyes at above bar level. Walking down the street past tout after tout asking if we wanted to go to a sex show and still the rain came down. We sat in one bar and a very drunken Indian man stopped to have a good look at us and then came into the bar and persisted into trying to buy us a drink, we completely declined his offer, he had taken a liking to Gee even though he was far from her type....semi concious is far from anyones thpe i imagine! If they ring a bell in the pub it means someone has paid a price for all to have a free shot and we were there when this happened.....two OAPs had rung the bell! When I went to the toilet I saw the bar girl stood with two guys with their hands down her top having a good grope, after they put a few notes down there for her. It was awful and I've been to some places but this has to be the worst. We decided enough was enough and went back to the hotel ready to meet early for breakfast to discuss the plan....should we stay or should we go? I already knew we would be cutting our losses and going......to be honest there wasn't any other option but to get out and go to one of the other beautiful islands here. Had we been spoilt with the other beaches?....Now we were missing Phi Phi.

We met for breakfast and has a brief conversation and decided to leave, a unanimus vote and within minutes our boat ticket was booked so we had only 45 mins to get back, get packet and get going! It was a surprise how quickly we did this and then I had the task of trying to get our money back....a very hard task which I failed at to cut the story short...a hotel manager hanging up on me telling me to call Agoda (a booking company).

We boarded our mini bus and left with big smiles on our faces.....off to Krabi.....I know shame about the name but I have it from Christine and Gee that it's a lovely place.

End of the Phuket story......don't tell me....you should have walked around and seen some more.....well that's maybe but driving past the completely packed beach which reminded me of home made me feel so much better to leave. AND I have seen some beautiful places in Thailand and Phuket is a very poor reflection on the place so if you are one that goes there year after year you are missing out so much....go see real Thailand....it is amazing.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 03:32 Archived in Thailand Tagged beaches phuket journey mother_daughter blog world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (2)

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