Archive | December, 2011

This is madness… THIS IS BANGKOK!!

30 Dec

I’m currently in Siem Reap using the ridiculously slow internet after a long day of driving (will post about it later) and trying to recover from what was an incredible One Night in Bangkok.

The flight to Bangkok was great. Scored an exit row seat and had an epic breakfast of nasi lemak, cake, chocolates, 2 types of juice and magnums. Getting to the hotel on the train was super easy and then all that was left to do was explore.

I jumped in a taxi to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. The Grand Palace is amazing I have never seen so much gold in my entire life and the Emerald Buddha was terrific. The Buddha was left wrapped in plaster for many years before it cracked open and it is now highly revered.IMG_5159 Before seeing it you had to cleanse yourself with holy water and the room was dead silent with people meditating. After that I wandered around the guards and saw the Royal Thai Guards which are like the Buckingham Guards but with pith helmets after which I walked down to Wat Pho.

Wat Pho is home to a massive reclining Buddha and while in the temple you had to put 1 baht coins in 108 copper pots and there was more temples covered in gold which in the afternoon Bangkok sun wasIMG_5211 all a bit too much so I hopped in the tuk tuk to head to the MRT station onwards to Siam Paragon.

Siam Paragon is a ridiculously large mall (I think 6+ floors) including a floor with a Lamborghini dealership and many other luxury brands. When I ventured to the bottom floor it appeared all the Buddhist rituals had paid off as I found food nirvana. I always think you can judge a city by its supermarkets and this one was incredible. Every type of food imaginable, huge organic section and heaps of imported products I could have stayed there for hours.IMG_5232 The public transport in Bangkok was really easy. I caught the sky train and MRT everywhere (except the temples) and was feeling like I’d conquered the city in the afternoon when someone asked if I lived there. Until I started to feel a bit too confident and proceeded to get on the wrong train. Two stops later I was confused as all hell and the Thai guy next to me said “You don’t know where you are supposed to be do you?” I jumped onto the platform embarrassed and sprinted onto another train and back to where I started eventually making my way back to the hotel to meet my tour.

After a welcome dinner a few of us decided to venture out to the night markets at Khao San Road. For those of you who don’t know what this is it’s the super seedy backpacker area of town and no shopping was done. The quiet trip to the markets turned into a few bars, a lot of singing, buckets and sampling some bugs from a vendor. I tried crickets and meal worms and was cringing at the memory of them all day today. It was an absolutely manic place with several tattoo parlours packed with tourists (Don’t worry I didn’t get one) and several offers for ping pong shows.IMG_5240That’s it for now. I’m off to Angkor Wat at 4:30 tomorrow morning!

Courts xx

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Malaysia, Truly Asia (Part One)

28 Dec

So here I am sitting at a Starbucks in KL International Airport. Just a quick update seeing I only left yesterday. Eric, Ian and I flew out from Sydney after browsing Duty Free and obligatory pre-leaving Australia Oporto. Like always I had to be restrained from spending far too much money at the Lonely Planet shop (although I did score a free tshirt- which we agreed would make me uber tourist if I ever wore it)

The flight was alright. I don’t like flying I think it’s a bit like catching a bus. Food was ok and I watched some crap movies so was happy to arrive in KL. Upon arrival Immigration finally stamped the FIRST PAGE of my passport! The hotel we stayed in (Pan Pacific) was about a 5 minute walk from the airport and after checking out our rooms, the boys and I went to the bar and ate some pizza and had some tequila sunrises before a well deserved sleep. There was a golf cart to take you from the airport to the hotel however as I discovered this morning I walked much faster than it.

As I’m leaving this morning I ordered a wake up call however the hotel felt the need to call me FOUR TIMES despite the fact I was already well awake from my alarm clock. The rooms were a bit tired but it was still a nice hotel although unlike the inflight magazine I wouldn’t rate it the best airport hotel in the world- that honour should go to Crowne at Changi.

Now I’m enjoying a breakfast of a latte before my flight to Bangkok in an hour. By enjoying I mean I’m enjoying the consistency of knowing that the coffee I’ve ordered will be drinkable how I miss Lonsdale St Roasters or Gods! Very disappointed that this starbucks doesn’t have bagels but it’s much better than the place that I had breakfast here at the start of the year (there is a post from January about my ridiculous KLIA experience)

Also just a heads up if you want to get in touch with me my International Roaming doesn’t seem to be working- might be a different story in Thailand but for now email and facebook is probably easiest.

That’s it for now. Start tour tonight so will write in a few days about Bangkok. Need to go by sunscreen!

Courts xx

It’s the Final Countdown!

21 Dec

(Insert inspirational music here) I leave home in T-minus 36 hours for the big trip to Asia. At the moment I am frantically trying to pack with lists etc in my endeavour to pack light but not forget anything. This hasn’t stopped me however from rushing to the shops every afternoon to pick up extra items (thank god for late night Christmas trading hours)

I’m at the stage where all I have left to do is throw things in my pack and hope the dog hasn’t relocated any of my gear without my noticing. I’m heading up to the Central Coast for Christmas with the fam for 3 days before leaving on a jet plane to wonderful Thailand and Cambodia for the “holiday” part of my trip. Then it’s off to Indonesia to work with a NGO. Everything is booked finally despite a few frustrating last minute set backs so hopefully it is all downhill from here.

I guess this is probably an appropriate stage to reflect on the year that was. Overall it consisted of countless plans going awry (trips to Burma etc not happening), a stressful 4 months trying to diagnose an ankle injury which resulted in me getting a reconstruction but this aside it was actually a fantastic year. Despite the fact I wasn’t technically playing soccer being involved again in the sport was great. I met a bunch of new people and became even closer to some of my old friends and generally had a lot of fun. A lot of my friends from college graduated this year which made me sad (and jealous) however I also got accepted into the Honours Program which is ridiculously scary but also exciting.

I had grand plans on how this would be a very insightful and deep post but to be honest my brain is absolutely fried. Maybe after a few days of chilling out I will have more to say. Until then, 1 more day left of work, need to finish packing but at least the Christmas shopping is done.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas

Courts x