Christian's Asia Adventures!

Firstly, for all those who have completed this journey with us. Congratulations are in order. We made it home after an epic 6 month travelling around South East Asia. You all get a certificate and a prize. The prize isn’t very good, I shan’t lie to you. Secondly, for all those who have joined late in the day, or even for this final blog, silly you. I say that because you missed a whole host of things described in word form. A regular spewing of words, you might say.

So, back home now. Back in England. Back in Doncaster. How very strange it is indeed. However, I want to take you back to the last blog. We were in South Korea after an epic 18 days in China;

Not going to dwell too much on South Korea. It was fun. We stayed in a hostel that felt like staying in a really cool mate’s house, we rested and went to South Korean shops. ‘Did you go to the scary South/North Korean border, Christian?’ No we didn’t. We couldn’t afford it, which sounds silly, as we won’t be back there for a while, but we couldn’t. It was cold and no sooner were we there than we left.

Now, I promised an action packed Hollywood style ending. I’ve thrown in all sorts of references to films all the way through these blogs. Little did I know the ending would actually be action packed. To be honest, it is more like when Coronation Street or Emmerdale do an hour long straight to DVD film but its fun. So, fix your eyes firmly this way, for the final time. Get a cup of tea, if you’ve the time. Perhaps get some tissues. In case you spill your tea or something.

So, we left South Korea with an air of excitement. We only had 7 days left and we were to spend 5 of them in Koh Samui, Thailand. This is where we started the trip, after we arrived in Bangkok. The purists will remember that. We figured we’d go and spend a little time in the sunshine, get a tan so people back home believed we’d been somewhere and prepare our minds for going back home and starting our lives again. Two aeroplanes, a wait in Bangkok, an overnight train, a bus and a ferry later and we were there. It was raining but we had made it. We figured it couldn’t rain forever, so we got comfortable in our seafront bungalow and chilled out.

Now, I’m going to let you into a little secret. It’s a secret that isn’t really a secret anymore, but when we were in Thailand, it was a secret. So, shhhhhh. I had bought an engagement ring before we left for travelling and it was sat waiting for when we got back. I had planned it so we had enough money left to end the trip where we started. The plan was to ask Rachael to marry me in the beautiful surroundings of Koh Samui. I’d bought a secondary ring and it was all going to be perfect. Our resort was in a little protected cove and at the end of one side was a little secret platform that overlooked the sea, the beach and was protected by rocks. This was going to be the perfect spot. On the last night I would ask her.

I got a plan in my head. I’d buy candles, champagne, glasses (for drinking out of, not for seeing out of. She might say no if she had her glasses on), a torch (so I could sneak off and leave her a note and a torch and she could follow me) and I’d written a song on my guitar. Not a horribly cheesy song but, I think, a cute little sing along. Perfect. I just needed to put it all together now.

We found out, on day two, that it had been raining for the past 5 days. Constant rain and mental winds. Very unusual for this time of year. It was only Saturday though. I wanted to ask Rachael on our last night. That was Tuesday. Plenty of time to brighten up and all that. It rained all day on Saturday and all day on Sunday. We grew bored and restless. We’d bought badges for our bags. Flags of all the countries we’d been to. Very geeky, but we like it. As we were so bored, we decided to sew them all on. That passed an afternoon. I packed and re-packed my bag a few times. There was a Tesco Lotus on the island, so we went there a few times too. Gosh, were we bored.

We did get a two hour period of sunshine on Sunday. Well, I say sunshine. It was light cloud, which allowed the sun to come through. I managed to get sunburnt. Marvellous. As for sunshine, that was it. Nothing more. What else did we do? Hmmmm. I rang my mum and left her a Happy Mother’s Day answer phone message a week early. That was a scream that was.

Over the weekend, the water had started to collect in places. A few of the roads had started to become a little submerged. The wooded area around the roads was saturated and our resort became a little more wet than usual. It didn’t worry us though. It was fun. Rain filled roads. Something different, isn’t it. It got to Monday and I managed to get an hour away from Rachael, so I could go and buy all of the things for Tuesday’s engagement evening, remember. She was on Skype to her parents and I’d asked them to keep her talking, whilst I ran to Tesco Lotus and back. A round trip of about an hour and a half. Run I did. Until I got to a very wet bit of road. So wet I had to wade out to my knees to get passed. It got so deep in places that I had to hop over little fences and shimmy along walls.

Still, I wasn’t worried. It was fun. It would stop raining soon and all would be well. It didn’t. Monday progressed and the rain got heavier, if it was possible. Our resort began to flood. The grass became submerged. It was at this point that the Thai owners sprung into action. Well, strolled into action. Bearing in mind it had been raining constantly for 6 days, at this point. They had five sandbags ready. Five. They decided to put them around a covered wooden massage table and channel the water down the steps into the sea. It rained harder. They filled more bags. The massage table was protected. Their handy work sent the water towards our bungalows. We were ok though. It would have to fill 40cm of space first, then come onto the balcony and then into the room.

We weren’t safe. The water rose and rose and rose. A Thai lady came round and told us not to worry. It would be fine. We began to get a little worried. I’d already packed and re-packed, as I’d told you. I told Rachael to do the same. If it came any further, we needed to be ready. It came further. It came into the room, uninvited I might add. We took all of our bags into the restaurant area. I felt silly. Was I overreacting? Other people started to do the same. The out door bar disappeared into the sea. The massage table sank on one side. The Thai owners strolled around. Then, an almighty crash. The bungalow attached to ours sank. The ground gave way and a crater appeared. Our bungalow was next. Then the one next to that.

The Thai owners ‘ooooooh-ed’ and ‘aaaaaaaa-ed’ at this. The lady owner told me they’d built the foundations in sand. Brilliant. I’m sure there’s a Bible tale about building your house in the sand. Idiots. She didn’t seem bothered. We ate, in a panic. From our resort, you had three directions to go in. You could go into the sea. You could go left, down a flooded road or right, up a hill, to more flooded roads. The rain was getting hectic. I wandered out into the street to find our best escape route, if there was real danger. There had been reports of landslides elsewhere and our bungalow had just disappeared. I was being sensible. Surely, up the hill would be best. I tried to ask the owners, ‘Where do we go if it gets worse?’, he laughed. Brilliant.

The rain came down heavier still. The power went out. The tap water stopped running. In the restaurant, the two escape routes were into the complex, which was flooded and near the sea or into the road. The road began to flood. Water came gushing down into the restaurant. I really thought we were in massive danger at this point. West life came into my head and sang ‘I wanna go home’ constantly. They stayed there singing at various different times over the next 3 days. Thanks for that.

More sandbags were rolled out and luckily the rain slowed. We were shown to a crummy hilltop villa for the night. It was dirty, it was damp, the electricity didn’t work and we had no water. Brilliant. It was only Monday though. We were due to leave on Wednesday. We’d managed to get in contact with Rachael’s Dad. I shall refer to him as Super Charles from here on in, as he was a blooming hero. Super Charles began speaking to a chap he knew in Bangkok and kept us informed with what was going on. We hoped the weather would pick up.

It didn’t. It rained the whole of the next day. Nobody knew what was going on. The ferries weren’t running. The sea was too rough. The only other option for leaving was by plane. It was too expensive for us and all the flights were delayed. One couple booked tickets and left for the airport. We later heard that the airport was completely flooded. Nothing was coming in or leaving. There was no power and not enough space to house all the people that were there. We teamed up with a group of English girls and spent Tuesday trying to stay positive. Hopefully the ferries will be running tomorrow. We ate our evening meal in the restaurant. Knowing there had been no power, we cleverly opted for a vegetable rice dish. Gobbled it down. Had a beer. Went to bed.

Knowing that I had cleverly opted for a vegetable rice dice, the restaurant must have decided to wash the dishes in rain water, or piss. Either way. I spent the whole night chatting loudly into a bin and spilling my thoughts into the toilet. The toilet didn’t flush and the sink taps didn’t work. Wow. Did I feel good. It was supposed to be the night I proposed. That didn’t happen.

In fact, I felt so good, I had to send Rachael out to find out what was going on. The Thai lady owner had been told a Navy ship was coming to rescue tourists trapped on Koh Tao, Koh Phangnan and Koh Samui. So, with a grey face, a dodgy stomach and my bags, we set off for the ferry port. We were still with the English girls we’d met and we were getting texts from Super Charles telling us the boat was coming. Hurrah, we thought.

As we drove to the ferry port, we saw scenes of devastation. Houses collapsed, landslides and severely flooded roads. The taxi stopped ten minutes walk away as the road had collapsed. So we walked across a piece of metal railings, someone had used as a bridge, to safety. Luckily, Rachael and the other girls helped carry some of our bags. We started the trip with just our back packs but, as we were close to home, we had gained two very heavy hold alls.

Ferry port. Hurrah. We, again, cried. The Thai navy will rescue us. Nobody at the ferry port knew of the Navy coming. There were no ferries running. I was cold, wet, shivering and grey. A man appeared and told us to put our names and passport numbers in a book. The Navy were coming. Rachael did that bit. I sat down and some German guys arrived. They asked me what was going on. I tried to explain, but I was very grey. I explained I was ill. They went and signed up. Angie, one of the English girls, asked the Thais if I could sit in the office. I collapsed on a sofa. Had some hot water and then got wet eyes. I was ill, alright.

We waited all day. We were told the boat had gone to the other two islands first, as they had fewer resources than us. The boat was full and they’d come back for us tomorrow. We were invited to sleep in a community centre. That sounds quite nice, doesn’t it? Nice, warm community centre. It wasn’t. It was dirty, wet and cold. I didn’t care. Rachael rolled out my sleeping bag and I slept like a log. Waking up when a group of Iranians played their music stupidly loud. Rachael told them to turn it down. My hero. There were reports of mice wandering around too.

Feeling a little better the next day, we were told the ferries were running to the mainland. Super Charles told us not to go. The mainland was flooded, so we’d just be stuck there with no way to get to Bangkok. A fat Thai chap came and told us all that the Navy weren’t coming and we should leave on the ferries. We went to the ferry port. Another Thai chap came over the tannoy and told us that we shouldn’t believe what we had heard from the internet, TV or radio. The Navy weren’t coming and we should leave. They couldn’t support us any longer. People panicked. People left on the ferries. We were told the 9am ferry was the last one. We had no idea what to do.

I asked the original fat Thai if we would just end up getting stuck on the mainland. Conveniently, he didn’t know. I confronted the man who had come over the tannoy and asked him why he was telling everyone to leave. He got cross. ‘Where are you from?’ he shouted, ‘England,’ I replied. ‘Well, I’m from America.’ He wasn’t from America, he was clearly a Thai man. He didn’t like that I was questioning him. He also told me he owned the country. I knew he couldn’t be trusted. I got cross with him. He got cross back and screamed ‘Wanker’ at me. Brilliant. Make friends with the locals, rule number one.

We all decided to gather. There were about 50 of us left. The Thai people had convinced everyone to leave. They had done it to cream money from us all. Knowing we’d get stuck. The last ferry was departing. Twenty more left. There were 30 of us. We had Super Charles. ‘Stay put,’ he said, ‘They’re coming’. We also had Frank. A man of 40, who was also in contact with people on the mainland. He reiterated that we shouldn’t leave. He was calm, but cross, that we’d been lied to by the ferry people. Another hero. I shall refer to him as Frank, the great, from here on in. I would follow either one of those men into battle. Any day of the week.

Our patience paid off. There were small navy ships in the port, a frigger, I do believe. They were due to take us to the big aircraft carrier when it arrived. We were worried they wouldn’t come for 30 people. Frank, the great, spoke to the Captain, calmly and coolly. The Captain was so nice. He could see we were desperate. He radioed around and then agreed to take us north. Two hours from Bangkok. We let Super Charles know. Within minutes he knew where exactly we would dock. A driver would meet us and take us to his friend’s house in Bangkok. Saved. I ran to 7eleven and grabbed snacks and cans of coke. I hadn’t eaten for 36 hours. I was emaciated and grey. Coca Cola seemed to go down alright though.

We all got onto the boat. Placing our bags where instructed. Frank told us the sea was going to be rough, big waves and an 8 hour journey. I felt I could have cried at any point. Held it in though. Remember, I was still really sick. We were given sickness tablets, for the rough seas. Brilliant. We set off. We were on our way to safety.

A few people dropped straight away. There wasn’t enough room inside for everyone, so this became the sick quarters. Frank, the great, wandered in and checked on all the ill folk regularly. Smiling, happy and carrying sick bags. We stayed sat outside. Every so often, Frank and another chap would look in front of the boat and get excited about a massive wave that was about to hit us. It made me panic. Rachael then felt ill and went inside the boat. I stayed outside but I was soaked, from the waves. I began to shiver, so went to check on Rachael.

The worst thing I could have done. As soon as I got inside, the movement made me feel sick. I had to sit down. I couldn’t talk. The waves got higher. The boat rocked back and forth. Some little clock thing that I wish I knew the name of, showed the angles. When it went horizontal, it was bad. We were an hour in. 7 more to go. Rachael was sick, sick, sick. I convinced myself I had nothing left to offer, in terms of sick. I panicked with the bigger waves. I gripped the table, as if that might help. I told myself, if we made it back to Bangkok, I would ask her to marry me. It wouldn’t be the idyllic setting I had in mind, but if we could survive all this, we could survive anything.

The scary boat journey lasted for 7 and a half hour but we made it to dry land. I felt teary as I thanked the captain. A bus was waiting for us. We were taken to get hot food and then on to Bangkok. We were treated like royalty. They took photos of us, stopped and gave us free cakes. It was a stunning end to the day. We arrived at our hotel, unpacked our sopping wet bags, showered and I got ready for the biggest, single most important moment of my life.

I sat Rachael down and told her to close her eyes and I described everything that I had planned. We were there, on the beach, it was the perfect setting. I began to play my guitar and sang my song. Rachael cried a bit, I could feel myself going. I stopped before the final chorus. I said all the things that I needed to say, that you don’t need to hear then I sang the final part asking her to marry me. She said ‘yes’. Admittedly, it was just after midnight on the 31st of March. Making it the 1st of April. April Fools Day. However, my rule is, the day doesn’t start or end until you’ve been to sleep and we’re English, so technically we’re 6 hours behind Thailand…so, we got engaged on the 31st of March.

I cannot think of anyone else in the world I would want to spend the rest of my days with. We have travelled for 6 months together. Spent every single minute of every single day together and I love her more now than I did before. That’s been happening for the past 4 and a half years. Long may it continue. Not many people have got the engagement day story that we have. Bit different like.

Right, this blog is over. Nothing more to see here, I’m afraid. Yes, there were lots of words, in this one and all the rest of the posts. If you read them all, well done. I will present you with a kiss, whenever we next meet, if you so wish. If you weren’t happy with this blog post, then there is no pleasing you. It had thrills, romance, action, jeopardy and a very happy ending. Cheers for reading all this drivel. If you ever have a blog about your adventures, I’ll probably start reading it but get bored and then eventually stop.

Lots of love,

Christian

xxxx

 

 The penultimate blog. Interesting that it’s in the same year as the final harry potter film. Some say that is not a coincidence. I’d say this blog is better and contains less magic. So, if it’s magic you’re after, you’re in the wrong place. If it’s an array of words you want, I’ll shake your hand, kiss your face and clear a space for you.

So, we’re both still alive. We have all of our limbs. We haven’t been ‘banged up abroad’ and we even managed to make some friends along the way. The trip is ending but our lives are just beginning! We’ve learnt so much, as individuals and as a team. We’re ready for home and happy about it.

Never mind the sentimentalities, Mr Pickles. What’s the scoop? What’s been a happening? Well, grab a tea and I’ll tell you. The last blog left us in Hong Kong after our Vietnam journey.
We arrived in Hong Kong on the 4th of February. We’ve been so lucky that Rachael’s parents live there and have been so generous in offering us such a wonderful stay. It felt like home.
With 3 weeks to fill we volunteered at a dog rescue centre, which is a big deal in Hong Kong, as the government kills strays after 4 days. Our volunteering led to us running the place for a week and caring for 28 dogs. 9 hour days. Good fun. Until I heard the puppies had worms and I had to stop eating their poo.

With heavy hearts we arrived at our hotel in Hong Kong. Excited for our tour of China. 15 other travellers and a guide. We felt like school kids on a trip. All very quiet and polite around a big table at the first meeting. I’ve grown to love the meeting of new people. I like all the social rules we dance around until we feel comfortable enough to be ourselves. We had already met Dan and Rose for a drink the day before, so we were two friends up at the start. We fell in love with them a bit and as we had four coats, we lent them two.

I’m not going to list the crew, because it would take too long.  Our guide, Michael, his English name, is a very friendly, affable chap. Used to be a footballer until he had too many knee operations. He made our tour through China float with ease. Happy to accommodate anything. He had all of the facts although I suspect some of them were Chinese lies, but we’ll come to that.

We left Hong Kong for Guilin. An over night train and then a coach onto Yangshuo. Didn’t really sleep on the train, which was annoying. Had a pot noodle for tea though. Chinese pot noodle, so miles better than English ones. Yangshuo was pretty stunning. It was like Hoi An mixed with Halong Bay in Vietnam. Wonderful traditional style architecture with the most amazing backdrop that didn’t look real. Bits and bobs of mountains kissing the sky.It didn’t feel like the real China though. It was far too western friendly. The locals spoke too much English for my liking. 95% of all tourism in China is the Chinese. I wanted to feel like an outsider and it didn’t happen here.

There are not many obvious places you can go on the world and feel like you really don’t belong. Especially being English. People always know a few words or phrases in English, whatever their nationality. Not what I was after. We left Yangshuo and headed to Yichang. Wow! That was exactly the reaction I wanted. People stopped in the street to stare. Cars crashed into each other, pianos stopped playing, someone cried, it all happened. No one spoke English to us, they did the English thing of shouting Mandarin even louder. I loved it.

Now, I’ve made slight bits of effort learning bits of local languages as the trips gone along. Sometimes I’ve used them, sometimes I haven’t. I’ve tried very hard to use my three or four words on a daily basis. They like that. A nice young Chinese lady carrying a baby asked me if I spoke Mandarin. A little, I replied. I thought I’d show off. I said hello, thank you and then how much is that. Feeling quite proud, I smiled. Within seconds the baby had been whisked away to safety and the woman looked nervous. No, she said. Only dollars, she whispered. It suddenly dawned on me that I might have nearly bought a baby. I tried to back track then walked away. Nervous moments all round.

Our tour guide, Michael, loves China. Full of facts and trivia but also full of Chinese lies. The first time I picked up on it was when he told us that paper was invented by the Chinese. I always thought it was the Egyptians. Also, China has so many awards. Biggest bridge in the world, 3rd longest river, second largest building, fifth tallest man. I’ve made those up, but it’s something like that. Always showing off. But we all know, when all the resources are gone and the world’s headed for a fall, these buggers will be at the top of the tree. They might be messy and polluting now, but they’ll be working on something that guarantees their survival. You watch. We’re all headed for a fall and they’ll be pushing, running, jumping and spitting their way to the top.

We took a boat cruise along the Yangste river, along the three gorges. It was alright. Nature and rivers and that. Then off to Xi’an. Historical home of China. We’d been excited about this for a long time. It didn’t disappoint. 8,000 terracotta warriors. Mind blowing. Amazing that the emperor of the time made it happen. Just to celebrate his death. He bucked the trend by having a terracotta army. Usually they’d bury dead emperors with all of their servants and workers, alive. To guarantee he’d be looked after in the after life. Imagine that. 720,000 people involved, 39 years to make them, each one with a unique individual face. The emperor died suddenly, the peasants revolted against his regime and smashed most of them. Idiots.

Although, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Chinese had lied about them too. In the 30 years where China was closed, they could have knocked up some terracotta warriors. Just saying like. Got to watch the Chinese.

Haggling corner

The third installment of my haggling story and arguably the best. The Daily Mail called me the 8th wonder of the world. I wanted some more Ralph Lauren tops as the ones I have are pretty fake. I found some more that are much better quality but the woman wanted £100 for 4. Yeah, good one. She got £20 for 4 and was thoroughly pissed off. She wanted way more but I told her, I am going to walk off, if you want to sell them, you’ll stop me. She stopped me. I won. I followed my win by telling her, some other stupid tourist wouldn’t haggle and would pay the silly price. She knew that I knew that she knew. We shook hands.

So from Xi’an to Shanghai. We’ve travelled on sleeper trains throughout this journey. Our longest train ride was 20 hours. They’ve been pretty epic. Mostly It’s hard to sleep, even with tablets. We get the Chinese taking pictures of us whilst we sleep. I think it’s for sleepingenglish.com.
In the Xi’an train station, the Chinese were most interested in us. There were lots of folk from the mountains who’d never seen a Western face before, so they circled us and stared. One woman tried to steal my sleeping bag. I swore at her. I wasn’t proud.

Assumption window

1.36 billion people. Just picture that many people for a moment. That’s 2.72 billion trainers. Assuming they all have footwear. 2.72 billion legs marching across their land. Assuming they all have legs. Thats 6.53 billion (check) pairs of socks. Assuming they have 5 pairs each and assuming they all wear socks. There must be at least 1million lost socks. Imagine that.


I would say Shanghai is like a poor man’s Hong Kong. It’s got some big buildings. It’s got a train that goes 430kmph. But it’s also got Chinese people that spit everywhere. Can’t win them all.
We had a good few days here like. Celebrated Rachael’s 26th birthday. She celebrated it with a cold. I managed to get her a birthday cake and get it to the evenings restaurant of choice without her knowing. As you may remember, or may not, Rachael got me some dried Ginger for my birthday. She thought it was dried pineapple, in her defence. With that in mind and because I love her so much, I bought her a dress she liked. I had to pretend not to like it when she spotted it. Not being interested in shopping is a skill I have long since perfected. Like a seasoned detective, I managed to solve the crime and bag the murderer. Or, I managed to buy the dress without Rachael knowing and surprise her with it. Lovely!

We went to Shanghai zoo on her birthday. An interesting experience. One generation of Chinese people missed out on an education during China’s crazier period and I think most of them were at the zoo that day. In China, it is acceptable behaviour to spit into the animal enclosures, throw rubbish and bang on glass to get the animals to perform for you. We wandered around in amazement. Such bewildering Eastern attitudes. Did you know that if you see a sign that says ‘don’t feed the animals’ it doesn’t actually apply to you. Being a teacher, I began telling people off. One man with his daughter threw a lollipop into the monkey enclosure. Sure, the monkeys ate it. But it was a lollipop. I also told a Chinese teen off for feeding monkeys chocolate and a middle aged man off for feeding monkeys sugar coated cereal. Interesting experience and perhaps we shouldn’t have been irritated by the ignorant attitudes as it isn’t our country but still. Lollipops. Really?

Everybody has a job in China. They don’t, but there are some bizarre jobs. At every road crossing there are two lollipop people. People collect cardboard. People collect plastic bottles, a woman is in charge of choosing your pick and mix. There’s a job for everyone. Apart from those people who haven’t got jobs. They just have to route through the bins, shamelessly.

We ended our trip in Beijing. It was alright. I still prefer Hong Kong to the whole of China. You’d expect Beijing to be some kind of amazing city. It was a bit crap. Big and pointless. The Great Wall of China was incredible. Absolutely ace. We managed to walk loads of it, which was more of an achievement, as the boys had an epic 3 hour football game against some Chinese folk the day before. Sore legs and a big walk. Epic. We took a toboggan down from the Great Wall. Best thing we did in China.

So, we are now in Seoul, South Korea. We have 11 days left then home. Exciting times ahead. We have learned everything we needed to from this trip and now we need to start implementing it. I feel pretty fortunate to have been able to do this trip.

One blog left. It’ll be like the ending of a really romantic travelling book where both people come home. I’m probably going to leave Rachael at the airport, to be honest. Leave it open for a sequel.

 Hello then! We’re currently in Hong Kong, if that was your first question. Not long left until our trip is done. Flights home booked for the 1st of April. We’ve managed to stretch the cash so we can have a week in Koh Samui before we come home. Figured we needed a holiday after all this bloody…holiday.

Not many blogs left. My brother said my last blog was too long and boring, which was nice. They average 2,000 words per post. That’s alright, isn’t it? Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter these days. It doesn’t help that I post my blog on Tumblr, a site where people post every two seconds and have no interest in reading large collections of words. So, with this taken into account, this is my last long post, for a while. I’ll give you a short blog before I leave for China and, I hear, that Tumblr is blocked in China. So, this might be the last proper blog in a while. If you find it is too many words, perhaps attack a paragraph a day and see how you get on. Good luck.

“What the bwoody ewl have you two been doing?” You might ask, if you had a slight speech impediment and an interest in our travels. Well, kind sir, I may reply, let’s slot onto the end of the last blog, like a lorry meeting it’s precious cargo.

You abruptly left us in Hoi An. One minute you’re there, listening intently and the next you’re gone. I thought you might have got trapped in the toilet or fallen over or something. We travelled to Hoi An on the old bus. It was a sleeper bus. Bed on the left, bed in the middle, bed on the right, two tier. Seven rows of that. I say bed, more like a reclining chair. Leather upholstery, so if you can sleep you stick to it and wake up sweaty.

The further north we travel, the colder it is getting. Being the clever organised travellers we are, we left all of our warm clothing in Hong Kong, ready for our cold tour through China. Hoi An was pretty kind to us. In it’s old historic quarters, it offered us a taste of what we thought Vietnam was. Nice colonial architecture. It was very scenic but a bit chilly.

The food has been absolutely magical. Spoilt for choice. We even had a free breakfast. Now, you’d assume, with a free breckles, that you’d have a choice of one main thing and a drink. However, it didn’t stipulate this on the menu. People were ordering all sorts. One couple, ordered loads and then moaned that the orange juice wasn’t fresh. They were German. I suppose it would have been fresh if Hitler would’ve had his way. The breakfast wouldn’t have been free though.

We spent a day looking at the historical spots in Hoi An. We looked at the Japanese bridge. Yep, just an old historical bridge. Not that big. We had to buy a ticket which allowed us into 5 historical hot spots. In each one it felt like we’d wasted a go. A few old style houses with a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese architecture. You get a little guided tour of the place and then they try to sell you some tat.

Hey, get this, we only hired some blooming bikes. Cycling around like we owned the place. We cycled down to the beach. it was cold and wet. An old lady tried to sell us some stuff. She said I was handsome. We all know that’s a lie. I bought nothing.

We sorted out a bus to Hue and a train from Hue to Hanoi. Organised. The day of the bus came. Hue is a seaside place. We knew it would be cold, but we went anyway. Bus journey came and went. The driver was like the rest. Seemed like his bus might have had third gear, unlike the previous buses.

We arrived in Hue. Harangued by people wanting to rent us hotel rooms, sell us tours and carry our bags. I hate that bit of the journey. New place, new scamsters. It was colder than Hoi An and wet. Raining, raining, raining. Our hoodies were dirty and not water proof. We found our hotel and felt damp. We bought 30p rain coats. Mine had teddy bears on it.

Armed with a map and recommended spots, we ventured out for food. I managed to rip my new rain coat. Looking like a couple of baggy condoms, we began our food hunt. After half an hour, we realised we were lost. After countless map checks, our map became saturated. We realised we’d read the map wrong and had wandered half an hour in the wrong direction. Soggy and starving, I threw the ruined map to the floor in a huff. We grumbled our way back to the beginning and off the right way. We grumbled about pavements made of mud, pavements of slippy tiles, motorbikes on pavements meaning you walk in the road, traffic lights that entice you across the road, stopping one half of the traffic but allowing the rest to flow, leaving you stranded in the middle, cursing this half offer of help. We found Omar’s Indian restaurant, as recommended, ate and floated home. Wet and full.

We decided on our only full day in Hue that we needed coats. We bought an umbrella for two quid and then off to buy coats. We found a Market. A lady from a shop upstairs wanted us to come with her. We’ll look when we get to it, we said and walked off. She decided to follow us. Every time we turned around she pretended to browse other stalls. I confronted her and told get to stop. She did. An interesting technique to getting new customers. Just follow them around.

Everyone is trying their hand as an entreprenuer in Vietnam. For example, if you want to start a restaurant, all you need is a pan, some pavement and you’re away. It starts with one pan of food. You serve it and someone will come, squat and purchase it. Your business grows from there to a restaurant. The same rule applies for any business.

We found some coats. North Face jackets. Nicely made and a bit fake, but waterproof, fleece lined and warm. Down to the haggle. Sometimes it’s a dance of words, other times a physical dance. Today it was a pleasant physical battle. She started at 1,600,000 VND, which is £48. I wasn’t paying that. I said 300,000 VND. I was feeling cheeky. She laughed and hit me. We slugged it out for a while, neither moving. I’m always ready to walk.

She dropped first. 1,400,000 VND. I punched her in the eye. 400,000 VND. She punched me. No moving. I went 550,000 VND. Nothing. Last price, last price she cried 600,000 VND. We fought at that for a few rounds. She dropped. 900,000 VND. I was winning on points. I entered the 6th round and pummelled her to 700,000 VND. rapturous applause from the fans. She left bloodied with her teeth like broken piano keys, but still smiling. Everyone’s happy. I didn’t hit her but she did hit me a few times.

We wandered off, spirits lifted, umbrella up and identical coats on. Off to the Imperial Walled City. It cost £3 to enter, a French man pushed in when we bought tickets and due to a war in 1947 there wasn’t much of the city left. We had new coats though. I was happy to show the elements our progress. We left Hue on the final leg of our Vietnam trip. To Hanoi, which is Hoi An with the letters mixed up, or the other way around. Not very creative.

We’d booked a sleeper train. We waited in the station. I say station. A cold breeze block hall with nothing in English. The train was an hour late. We befriended a local who could understand but only write in English. She kept us informed. We travelled Livitrans which is western friendly, faux wooden cabins attached to the local government trains. Nice, clean, soft beds. We’ve got lucky as it was a 4 person carriage with just us two in. Super!

Yeah, well, I wrote the above half of the blog a few weeks ago, so a new version of me is taking the reigns from here. The train was alright. There were two spare beds in our cabin, which worried me. I figured they’d get filled at some point. I decided not to worry about it. We drifted off to sleep with the door locked and on the latch. At 12am, we were rudely awoken by the guard. He decided to sell our beds to a couple of old Vietnamese chaps. They were all smiles and back slaps. I was livid. They clambered onto their beds and we all settled down. Within minutes, they were snoring. The loudest snoring I’ve ever heard. I got so annoyed and clapped, viciously, and then mimicked their snoring. One old chap jumped out of his skin. I got worried he might have a heart attack. I calmed down after that, didn’t sleep, but figured, at least the old men had a bed, rather than being stood up all night.

We arrived into Hanoi at 5am in the morning. We had booked our hotel from 12pm that day. We knew this would be a problem. Arriving at our hotel, we realised it was closed. We rang the bell, nothing. We tried again, nothing. So, we sat outside the hotel. Tired, cold and hungry. I tried to keep our spirits high and we used the free wifi to pass the time. At 7:30am, a lady arrived, she let us in and gave us a glass of hot water. As a rule, I’m against hot water as a drink. However, I wolfed it down.

Whilst our room was being readied, we decided to have a wander around Hanoi. I wanted to find the opticians. In need of new glasses and they’re loads cheaper than in the UK. Just walking around Hanoi filled us with enjoyment. There were organised pavements and roads. Buildings. It seemed civilised. In the centre of it all sat a lake We felt happy. Glad to be ending our Vietnamese journey here. Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. The capital of it’s communist government. I figured if communism makes for an organised city, I’m all for it.

I managed to get some glasses, you’ll be pleased to hear. £80 for a pair of Hugo Boss glasses and some Ray Ban ones. Yeah, they’re fake, but I dare you to spot the difference. This means I no longer have to look like a geek wearing broken glasses. I just look more and more like Harry Hill every day.

We spent some of our dwindling cash on a day trip to Ha Long Bay. It was well worth it. My words cannot do it justice. I’d probably go with ‘loads of rocks and that sticking out from the sea.’ We spent a little bit of time on a floating house. It was interesting to see that, even on water, the Vietnamese do bugger all. There sat a family just playing cards. I imagine they did that all day. We also got to see a cave. Stalagmites and all that. Amongst the throngs of other tourists and other guides, lazer pens were shone at various bits of rock. Our guide did the same, pointing out various bits of rock and telling us they looked like dragons and tortoises and other important Vietnamese stuff. To be fair, you can find what you want in loads of rock.

There had been an excitement in the air in Hanoi since we arrived. I figured they were just excited to see us, turns out it was the Lunar New Year. The streets were full of colour, people were busy buying tacky gifts, everyone was buying kumquat trees and people were gathering. On New Year’s Eve, our second one in recent months, we went into the centre to the lake. Everyone had gathered. It was an evening where two legs ruled the pavements and roads. We wandered around in all the excitement for a while and then found a place by the lake for the midnight fireworks. They were worth the wait. Best firework show I’ve ever seen. Although it did last too long, maybe 15 minutes or so. For the first few minutes, you get the ‘oooohs’ and ‘aaaaahs’, then everyone gets a bit bored. Maybe just have four fireworks and put the rest of the money in the bank.

We wandered back to our hotel in the sea of people. It was unlike England, as when there’s a bit gathering, 85% of the people would be drunk, someone would get too rowdy and start a fight, there’d be sick everywhere and men would pee in the street, well the last one applies, but it was a nice atmosphere to be part of. Arriving back at our hotel, we were treated to free wine and beer courtesy of the owner. It was a nice touch, we got to talk to the Vietnamese that worked there and get drunk for free. Super!

The next day and a bit whizzed by. The only memorable thing that happened was when we were eating, on New Year’s Day, in the evening. Rachael and I both spotted a really fat guy sat in a cyclo. He was ridiculously fat. We began laughing and the poor Vietnamese chap who was cycling spotted us. He pretended to pull a knife out and stab the fat guy several times as he cycled away. Ruddy marvellous.

That’s it. Blog over. I’m a bit cold and tired today. I don’t think this was my best work, but I’ve had it half written for ages now. I hope you’re doing well (that’s you, the reader) and 2011 is working out nicely for you. Again, wrap up warm, make sure you’re eating properly and drink plenty of water.

Hello, you! I’d forgotten how pretty/handsome you are (delete as appropriate).In this blog I am going to lie for the first paragraph or three, then I’ll start telling the truth. So, if you’re only here for the facts, the first part of my ramblings is not for you. Had to steal my photos again. This computer is only half made. It doesn’t have USB ports. Why would it.

The start of the second Vietnamese war. Let’s call it Vietnam 2. It’s catchier. We’ll start with the sound track. Very important in a war. The last Vietnamese war had an awesome soundtrack. Are there any Vietnam CD box sets? Is that in bad taste? I’ve had a think and the revival of Garage Rock from the year 2000 onwards is the sounds I’m after. CD1 will feature; The Hives, The Vines, The Von Bondies and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. All the hits. CD2 will just be blank. It’ll freak everyone out.

Anyway, I was going to pump out the soundtrack using a ghetto blaster. My brother had one of those in the early 90s. I had to convert my Vietnam CD to tape. I’d put tape over the top holes of the cassette, so no one could tape over it. I added a label that said ‘Vietnam 2 soundtrack DO NOT TAPE OVER.’ My sister did that once with Dirty Dancing. Bloody good film, but match of the day needed recording.

I started to think, what if people don’t want to hear my soundtrack. I don’t want to be one of those folk who plays their music loudly on the bus and annoys everyone. So, I opted for headphones. I figured it would help shield my ears from the noise of me ripping the place up. I was ready. I decided to wear a vest. Looking a little like a thinner Bruce willis in Die Hard, but with his hair from Die Hard 4.0. I loaded my guns and fired bullets everywhere. In heads, legs, arms, hand bags, bicycles, blocks of ice. All that stuff. Luckily it was being recorded for Star Movies, who like to edit anything controversial out of films, so nobody was hurt. I’m glad I got that out of my system. I celebrated with a pineapple shake.

Nonsense, absolute nonsense. Right. Down to business. Last you read, our weary travelling bones were rolling on towards Da Lat. Da Lat, which means lake of the Lat village people, was ‘found’ by the French. After ‘finding’ it, the French began chatting to the locals, in French, and asked the name of the place. The locals, not speaking French, figured they were idiots, and thought they were asking what the large collection of water was, ‘it’s a lake,’ ‘say it louder, so the idiot understands. LAKE, pal, LAKE’.

Getting there involved a five hour bus ride. Doesn’t sound that bad, does it. Well, nobody told me we’d be hurtling up into the mountains on dusty old roads, hammering it round corners and leaving me, gasping for air, gripping my seat and imagining our deaths. The best bit was when, with a sheer drop to our left, the driver thought it would be fun to drive through a the pot holes to annoy his assistant, who was on the phone. Best laugh ever. It wasn’t. We could have died.

I’d checked the weather before we’d left Mui Ne. It was going to be 15 degrees by the time we arrived. I still decided to dress in shorts and a vest. Idiot. It was cold when we got there. Hotel was pretty good. Friendly staff, ‘Treat it like your home,’ they said. ‘We want to care for you in your home.’ Well, in my house we don’t steal Ralf Lauren polo shirts when we’re doing laundry. I only realised this the other day. It was fake anyway and they might not have stolen it. We booked a tour of Da Lat and a bus to Nha Trang.

The tour wasn’t until Sunday and it was Friday night. We spent Saturday wandering around. There wasn’t really much to do on the old two legs. Saw a few weird shops. My favourite was the old TV and VHS player shop. Dusty old equipment that time forgot. There are so many shops that nobody goes in, it’s a wonder why they open everyday.

The day tour came and went. We were excited to be doing something organised. ‘This’ll be grand,’ we thought. Well, it wasn’t. It was laughable, but we enjoyed it for that. First, we were taken to a summer house which the King used to visit to escape the hot weather. The King from the 40s. I might send some pictures to the Queen, show her how lucky she is. It was spacious, but some homes in England are better than that. They had a display cabinet in the ‘office’ with items such as ‘pen’, ‘bible’, ‘paper’ and ‘hole punch’. Yeah, we were impressed. I’d never seen a ‘pen’ before. I’m not being ungrateful, but if this is one of your ‘star’ attractions, y’know…sort it out.

We had to wear shoe covers, so not to ruin the carpet. A carpet that was covered in chewing gum marks with a design that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a call centre. There was a guy wandering around the grounds, dressed in a really crummy tiger suit, wearing a white mask with gold tinsel crappily (not a word, I know) attached to his hood. I’ve no idea what he was but you had to pay for a photo.

So, off to the cable car. I only went on because Rachael wanted to. I had visions of plummeting to our deaths. You can tell I love heights. ‘Just let go of your fears, jump out of a plane or climb something really high,’ you might say. Piss off. It’s not a fear that I want conquering. If we had developed wings then I’d be up for giving it a go. We haven’t. I’m alright on the ground, pal. It was uneventful. Saw some trees and some fields. Waste of a cable car. Two shots, two goals.

Off to the meditation centre. That was alright. Loads of pretty flowers and monks wandering around. The monks, when in training, spend three months inside their houses and have meals brought to them. I think they have Wifi and Playstations, so they don’t get bored or whatever. Before lunch we visited the dragon pagoda/beer bottle pagoda. A temple made out of broken bottles and plates. Why not. They had a giant Buddha covered in cling film. You couldn’t really see it. I think it was a grow your own cress Buddha.

Last stop before eating, the old train station. The Vietnamese loved it, back in the day, then the Americans used it, so the Vietnamese blew up the bridges it went over. Tiny little train station with a steam train and carriages. It was alright, not mind blowing. For lunch we were taken to a restaurant. The tour operators were the TM Brothers. They are dodgy buggers. Heard horror stories about their open tour coach trips. They took us to a TM Brothers affiliated restaurant. It was crap and over priced. We wandered off to find somewhere else. We then panicked and ate our cheaper food in a hurried fashion, fearing we’d be left behind.

Next stop, the valley of love! Da Lat is the Vietnamese city of love. It’s anyone’s guess as to why. I suppose if you’re coming from Ho Chi Minh City, it would be relaxing. On the sign outside it had a very sun faded picture of Mickey and Minnie mouse. I doubt Disney know anything about it. Inside, there was a collection of weird ‘love’ sculptures and some very uncared for amusement type games. If my new husband was to bring me here on our honeymoon, I’d be questioning our future.

Two more stops. The embroidery centre. People who can sew and make it look like a painting. Amazing skill, very impressive, but the place was massive. Four pictures would have done me. We wandered around for 45 minutes. The best bit was the sitting area where they pumped out dry ice and a Vietnamese chap played lead guitar with a psychedelic effect. Trippy, with no explanation. Maybe that’s what the embroidery ladies need.

Last stop, the crazy house. Some mad Vietnamese architect built a mad hotel in the 90s. You can go in and climb in, up and around it. Very interactive. Our guide said we could pay him for the tickets. When we were waiting to leave, Rachael and I saw him collecting tickets from customers and popping them in his back pocket. He later handed them to us. Cheeky bugger. We left Da Lat thinking why did we come. Down the mountains on the bus this time. The driver smashed it through the city to the mountains. So much so, the bus made a weird crunching sound and he stopped to check. Just what I needed to calm my nerves.

He only drove using 4th and 5th gear. Going up hills, he’d take a run up in 4th then bang it into 5th. I’d love to sit a Vietnamese driving test. I doubt they have one. We drove up into a cloud, so with reduced visibility, the driver decided to overtake a bus and a lorry, on a hill, with a blind bend, in 5th. Brilliant. We didn’t die and we made it to Nha Trang. Seaside place.

Stayed in Nha Trang for 4 nights. Lovely hotel. It wasn’t that hot, so we didn’t sunbathe. What did we do? I don’t really know. Slept and ate. On the first night, eating at a back street restaurant, I decided to order a side of mild food poisoning. The next day, I spent on the toilet, thinking. That was good. I really enjoyed that. On one of the days, being the back packers we are, Rachael decided we should go to a mud bath spa. It was pretty cheap and a bit of fun.

We’re not enjoying Vietnam as much as we’d thought. You know when you were a kid. You probably had a mate, who was alright, but in general, a bit dirty. Didn’t brush his teeth and had scruffy clothes. The family wastes money on frivolous items, but can’t be bothered to clean the house. His parents swear and wont let you go on Facebook. That’s Vietnam. They’re that family.

Currently in Hoi An. We’re enjoying it a bit more here. It’s more what we expected. Anyway, I’ve told a load of lies in the first two paragraphs and I’ve got nothing left for you. I’m out, boss. Keep yourselves out of mischief, wash your hands and eat all your greens.

Lots of love,

Christian

x

Hello there! How are you? Yeah? Really? That’s great. I have no idea if you said anything or not, but I tried. Now listen. You lot better be reading this junk and forcing others to read it. At the beginning of April, we are coming home. Christian’s Asia Adventures will end. Unless I do a tour of Asian restaurants and write reviews, ‘the pickle that came with the starter was delicious,’ not going to wash is it? Or if I moved from one regions ‘China Town’ to the next. Taking photos and saying how odd things were. People might get offended.

So, get your laughing gear round the latest installment. If you’re new to this blog then read all the other updates at your own leisure. Scroll down the page and go back in time. I’ve had to use google for my pictures again as the camera is being a bit funny and wont open on Vietnamese computers. The horrible busy one is of Vung Tau. Read on and we’ll get to that.

Vietnam then. Ho Chi Minh. First things first, they’ve blocked Facebook over here. It’s to stop people becoming fans of Justin Beiber pages and liking each others statuses, ‘Just had some lovely noodle soup,’ ‘Like’, or more probably, ‘About to gather a band of men and bring down the political system’ ‘Like.’

Using the Lonely Planet book, our bible these days, we arrived in Pham Ngu Lao. This is the spot for the back packers. The city is mental with mopeds. Thousands of them, fighting and jostling for an inch of road. Just walking near it is mind blowing. Crossing the road is a terrifying experience, but we’ll come to that.

We’d researched a few spots and we managed to find one of those places, Thuan Duc Guest House. Now, you may be wondering why we’re coming back in April. ‘Stay away forever, you twits, we don’t want you back,’ ‘There’ll be less air and stuff,’ You may say. Well, life isn’t a film. If it was I’d like to be a super hero with powers, money and then I’d wish for more wishes.

The cash is draining away. We’ve used our mathematical minds and worked out how long we can stay away for. 1st of April. Or will it just be a hilarious April fools joke? When the crowds gather at the airport and we don’t arrive! Imagine their faces! April fools! No, we worked out we have £30 per day for the both of us, in Vietnam. Our sleeping budget is £10-15 max. We found Thuan Duc and I managed to barter the room from $16 to $14, which we then had to convert to Vietnamese dong, then GBP for the old iPhone money app. Silly. Armed with Google, you won’t catch us out.

We had to wait 2 hours for the a/c to be fixed in our room, so we spent the time wisely. Like a well oiled machine, we cracked out the Lonely Planet and planned the next month. Calendars, maps and Internet all flying everywhere. I caught some Internet and ate it. Don’t say anything.

Room sorted, bags dropped and now to the food! Found a little street stall and ordered a beef and a chicken noodle soup, with two beers, for less than £2.50. Amazingly large portions. It was during this meal we remembered everything we’ve seen so far and thought of how lucky we are. I don’t think I’m going to moan as much in Britain. Sure, there are little things but in comparison to how other people live, we’re doing pretty well.

We wandered to the markets. We began looking at copy hand bags, shoes, clothes and finally, watches. £30 for a Breitling watch that costs £6,000 at home. I had to ring my brother. May as well use our freedom and good fortune to exploit large watch manufacturers.

Now, we’ve been away for 4 months. In that time we haven’t been scammed, apart from the transvestites tricked Rachael and we nearly had to pay for photos with them. However, Vietnam caught me out. We were in another outdoor restaurant. I was day dreaming and generally not thinking. A guy came over, caught me unaware, and began to massage my shoulder. I assumed he worked there, first mistake. I let him continue, it was pretty crap but being friendly and that. I made him stop after he cracked my ear. Not a technique I recognise. He then told me he wanted 30,000 dong. I refused and we had a little chat. He then came face to face and called me a ‘f**cker’ and told me I would pay. Hmmmm. Didn’t really want to call his bluff and I wasn’t ready to start my Vietnam war like this, so I shouted him over, gave him 25,000 VND and called him a ‘f**cker.’ Less than a pound, so don’t worry. I was cross with Vietnam after that.

Spent the next few days soaking up the Vietnamese culture. We went to the war museum and read about the US and its interfering. They’ve really done a number on Asia over the years. We saw the Notre-Dame Cathedral and general Vietnamese stuff.

The main problem in Ho Chi Minh is the mopeds. The rumble is constant, the beeping of horns is constant and the pollution is constant. It tires you out. Crossing the road is fun. To begin with we approached it like Brits. Hang back, wait for a gap and then hesitantly move. Wrong. You have to spot a good gap and walk slowly with purpose. If you become indecisive, you’re in trouble. Pavements are for parking motorbikes, green man on the crossing means you can go if you have a motorbike and red lights are optional.

We decided the next day we would leave for Vung Tau  A coastal spot. So, we booked tickets on a local bus. Pretty proud of ourselves for that one. 3 hour trip, less than £2 for both of us. I spent the rest of the day researching watches. Finding the fake Breitling designs from the real ones. We went back to buy them. I had to haggle my socks off. He started at $300. I knew he was pulling my leg. I started at $70. We danced around for a while, twirling each other, before he fell in my arms at $110. Everyone’s happy. I got him to swap straps and adjust stuff. What a hero. We left the next morning for Vung Tau and how we wished we hadn’t.

The bus was hectic. I sat and watched the driver’s style. Foot to the floor, slamming in and out of tiny little gaps. They only change their mind at the very last second. Rachael muttered something about travel insurance. I gathered this information and compiled my ideas. The bigger you are, the more of the road you own. If you have four wheels, you can attack the space of a bigger vehicle. If you have two wheels, don’t attack, unless you’re in vast numbers. If you have two legs, stay indoors.

I’ve been posed a question by Jackie from Margate; ‘Dear Christian. Love the blog. Laughed so hard I gave myself a hernia. Here’s a head scratcher for you, what can you carry on a scooter?’ Great question, Jackie. Here’s the answer; a tractor wheel, around your waist, 45 polystyrene boxes of fish, 9 crates of beer, 3-4 adults, 3 adults and 2 children, 5 children and 1 adult, as many sacks of ice/rice/stuff you can carry. You can also modify your bike, add a trailer on the back and call it a Tuk Tuk.

Fun over. We arrived in Vung Tau. It was windy and looked horrible. Worse than the worst English seaside town in winter. We found a decrepit old guesthouse for £6. It was basic, but it would do. After we’d settled in, Rachael said she could smell wee. It wasn’t me. We had a smell of the bed. Stale wee. The mattress looked like the underneath of a school gym mat or a potato waffle. Rubbish.

We wandered around in search of food, feeling sorry for ourselves. Passed the statue of Jesus welcoming the sea and cursed our luck. We found food and it was horrible. The bad weather, horrible brown English sea and a pissy bed made us decide to leave the next day. To the bus station! We walked miles and miles to find it. Passing some school children, they stopped and smiled ‘Awww. White,’ like we were puppies. Every Vietnamese person was intrigued. It’s sometimes nice to feel like the minority. That day, it was awful.

Five hours later, bus station found and tickets ready to leave tomorrow. We were hungry and feeling sorry for ourselves. We searched and searched for food. KFC it is then. Awful. They had a CD with different versions of happy birthday sung by western singers. I asked the waitress, is that what they’re called?, why happy birthday? Was it her birthday, mine, Rachael’s, the Colonel’s? She just laughed. Back to the hotel. I tried to improve the bed. Blankets, blankets, sleeping bags and sleeping bag liners. Worst day of the trip so far. Only made better by Rachael saying ‘At least we are millionaires.’ In Vietnamese Dong only.

Sleep done and off to pay. We’re clever, us two. We used the internet to work out the room price from $ to Dong. Guess what, the hotel tried to cheat us. I said 180,000 dong. Looking confused and not using her calculator, ‘235,000,’ ‘Errrrmm, no. 180000,’ Rachael went to grab some Wifi. ‘Ok ok, 215000,’ I wasn’t in the mood. 180,000 and I’d rounded it up. Paid and gone. Scam foiled.

Bus to Mui Ne. 5 hours. We arrived with nothing booked, but that’s how we roll. We spent 2 hours walking up and down trying to find a reasonably priced hotel. Everything was fully booked. We started to feel a little like Mary and Joseph.

Room found in a resort. $32. A bit over our budget, but we would cover it elsewhere and with cheaper food. Worth it though. Less than a stones throw from the beach. A kiss from it. We could hear the waves crashing from our room. Perfect. The whole place seems to be full of Russians though. They’re a bit rude. Plus they’re always Russian around. Get it! What’s fireman Sam’s favourite food? A fireman SA-haMwhich. Marvellous! You may have those jokes for free, there will be no charge today.

Five nights of sheer bliss. Sunbathed like crazy. I invented a game to play in the sea. It’s called ‘get smashed by big waves’, or maybe ‘smashing waves’ or something. I didn’t really invent it. Loads of people were playing it. I asked a few people who’s game it was, but no one was sure. I wrote some rules and handed them round.

We had to play the European game of claiming a sun lounger. They caught us out on the first day. Petty revenge tempted me to throw them in the sea. However, this was a long game. Like drug addicts in need of a fix, we arose early and orchestrated the biggest sun lounger coo of the decade, ‘A coo-l triumph’ said Woman’s Own. Had a lounger every day from then on.

The only downside was a motor bike crashing into a van. We didn’t see it but we did see the dead body under a mat. How the Vietnamese gathered. Different.

So, Vietnam is alright. Sun tans topped up and home is in our thoughts. We’re back on the Malarone tablets, so we are having some mental dreams! They’re malaria tablets, not tablets you take to have mental dreams. Off to Da Lat now.

Once again, all my love. You be careful if you’re going out in the cold. Wrap up warm and try not to slip on ice, or banana skins or whatever other hilarious things you lot are putting on the floor these days.

Lots of love,

Christian.

Happy New Year! A little bit late, but I figured I should get it in there. I hope it was cold, you got presents you don’t necessarily need and you ate too much. Probably a fair assessment of your Christmas. Listen, I’m now being sponsored by Cadbury’s for this blog. As a result, I shall be fitting in some chocolate related sponsorship to appease the money makers.

The blog left off in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve, so I shall continue from there. We left Hong Kong on Christmas day and had to be up at 6am. That was difficult. Bleary eyed we smashed our way to the airport and did all that boring stuff that you have to do. We ate our breakfast in the airport at Burger King. Possibly the worst Christmas breakfast I have ever had. Although we did have our Christmas day on Christmas eve, which wasn’t too bad. I made a beautiful Sunday roast. We’d bought a chicken a few days before, I opened it on the 24th, took it out of the wrapper and it stank so bad. I touched it and strings of sticky stuff stuck to my hand. We bought a new one.

We flew from Hong Kong to Bangkok with Air Asia. I seem to be getting ever increasingly scared of flying. We bumped into some clouds that bounced us all over the place. Clouds. Honestly. I’ve been eating some 20p cakes from 7 Eleven recently, they have the texture of a cloud, but if I threw a really big one at an aeroplane, they’d definitely feel it.

We were excited to get back to Khao San road, to see the madness of Bangkok again. It was fun for about twenty minutes. We had our bus and catamaran booked for 9:30 that evening, so we had chance to Skype our families. It was great talking to everyone, although it did make us pine for home a little bit. My sister’s pregnant and it just made me miss everything.

We left at 8:30pm. Sent like cattle onto the bus. Different stickers for hundreds of travellers. Pushing and shoving with no organised queue. Hmmm. I felt a little like a refugee. So, an 8 hour night time bus to Koh Phangan meant I got no sleep. Nigel Mansell was our driver. I don’t think a bus has ever gone that fast. We arrived at the pier at 5am and weren’t due to leave until 7am. Sitting around, like homeless folk. I had tea and toast. It made me feel like George Orwell.

We climbed aboard our ferry and sailed to Koh Phangan. I jumped off a few times to fight pirates. Keeps me active. I actually fell asleep and felt even worse when we arrived. We got to Sabaii Bay and collapsed into a day time sleep. Woke up with a hot mouth. Can’t get around it. The old system telling me not to nap.

The next day, Aussie James and his gang arrived. Let me explain. I met Aussie James in Camden when I was doing a Devvo gig. He was a fan of mine and my pal, David’s, work. We got chatting after the gig and he was accepted into our gang. Lovely chap. That’s one of the main reasons we booked in at Koh Phangan. So, we were both excited for his arrival. He came with a gang. They all lived in a hostel in London together. They were all pretty cool (that’s code for one or two of them were pretty annoying).

We’ve been to Koh Phangan before, seen the sights and all that, so we were totally up for relaxing in the sun. As the days drifted by more and more party go-ers arrived. More and more, maybe 1 in 4, had bandages around their knees, arms, legs, elbows and heads. That’s scooters on sandy roads for you.

We went back to Coco Gardens one evening. That’s where we met the owner, Adrian and Sarah back in October. If you’ve memorised my previous blogs, you will know this. Remember, we’re having a test when we get back. The winner will receive a gold bracelet with a picture of the two Ronnies sewn in. We had a couple of beers and then went for a chat. He was as ace as ever! Friendly and funny as always. He remembered our faces but forgot our names. We made him write a few words on a brochure for Coco, ‘May the wings of your love fly forever’. Not bad for a pressurised notation. That’s forgivable. He also told me Sarah had been reading my blog back home in America. Made my day.

A few more days drifted by in a lazy haze and it was suddenly the 30th of December. We all decided to go up to Haad Rin, the party part of the island, and catch a boat to Eden. A little chilled out bar across the sea.

When we got down to Haad Rin, we saw a completely different world. Khao San all over again. Drunken westerners everywhere. Mostly the kind of westerners that you’d hate. Student types with attitudes and too much beer in their bellies. We went down to the beach, to catch the boat. There stood silly wooden boats with tiny engines. Bobbing up and down on rough, windy water. I get worried by a touch of turbulence on a plane, so alarm bells were ringing straight away. I decided that Rachael and I weren’t going. Not a chance. Luckily, Freddie and Amanda, two from the group, didn’t want to go either so we all decided to stay.

We had a little taste of New Year’s Eve, muscle bound hunks, annoying girls, people being sick on the beach and the worst pop/dance/trance music available. We were excited for a different New Year atmosphere, but we weren’t that excited by the music and people. Poor old New Year’s Eve. It has so much pressure placed upon it’s shoulders.

I was pressured into dressing in my Devvo outfit, so dressing like a Chav. I didn’t really want to as it makes me look like I’m wanting attention and if none came I’d look silly. It was a good place to leave the character. 2011 is not his year. Rachael looked absolutely stunning. For a girl who’s carrying round 7 months worth of clothes in a 40 litre backpack, she outshone everyone.

We all got in taxis and headed to Haad Rin. On the way the traffic ground to a halt. A local had pulled some stupid move on a hill and crashed into a taxi. The first half of the gang got impatient and jumped out of their taxi. It was 11:40pm and we wanted make if for the countdown. We didn’t panic and stayed put. I took the opportunity to have a quiet five minutes to myself. I slowly unwrapped my Cadbury’s Bounty and imagined I was on a tropical Island. I had kept my Cadbury’s Bounty in a fridge, so it was perfectly cold. I then jumped out for a wee, but I was desperate, so you can forgive me. Don’t tell anyone, but I didn’t wash my hands. There was no sink…or a toilet. When we started moving again, the first half of the gang were walking up one of the many hills. Unlucky! Shouting ‘see you next year’ seemed like an appropriate thing to do.

We made it just in time to see the amazing fireworks. We grabbed a beer and looked down onto the beach. Thousands of revellers filled the sand. The music blared and drinks flowed. Some guys on a roof top bar decided to climb onto a flimsy looking roof below them. Dancing on a corrugated roof! Those boys had made it. It had disaster written all over it. We couldn’t help watching. The roof started to give way in places, a few more minutes and it would have gone. A Thai man in t-shirt and jeans arrived and pulled the shiniest gun I have ever seen out of his belt loop. I think it was gold. Waved it around a bit and then popped it away. It did the trick and the roof cleared.

We stayed until 4 and then came home. I managed to get insulted for being bald by a pug nosed girl who was staying at our resort. We saw her the next day with a badly grazed face and a swollen eye/forehead. Drunken scooter shenanigans. A little lesson in karma there.
Chilled out on the 1st and left on the 2nd. Good byes and then off to the pier. The boat was as busy as something that’s really busy, like a prison full of criminals. Or fans at a Michael Bolton concert. It would be a hot day and a few girls would faint.The bloody hunk.

I spent the first hour of the ferry ride thinking about how we’d escape if we sank. I had concocted a plan that involved getting out of the window and using my guitar as a bouoyancy aid. Rachael and I on either side. Imagine my surprise after this hour long thinking session when I spotted the life jackets on the back of the chairs. Well, I was just in safety heaven.

The rest of the journey was uneventful. More waiting around like refugees, more uncomfortable bus rides at night. I had to brush my teeth as my mouth tasted like poo. We arrived in Bangkok at 3:45am or so and had to find accommodation. We hunted for a while and found one by 4:20am. The lady told us if we waited until 4:45am we could just pay for the following night. Very friendly of her.

We spent the 3rd sleeping and killing time. The only highlight was when we were eating our evening meal. We were in a restaurant and a very loud drunk table consisting of two twenty something girls and a 50 odd year old couple. Sure they were loud, but that was tolerable. As we began eating they began discussing one girls lack of sex or disappointing encounters of late. It started putting Rachael off her food when they started on menstruation, I’d had enough. I wandered over and in a polite but annoyed manner explained we were eating and their topic of conversation was putting us off our food.

The girls seemed embarrassed and made a few comments. The 50 year old sat calling me a ‘shit head’ without looking at me. They all began to leave. The 50 year old, who really should have known better and should have far more interesting topics of conversation at his age, went to the toilet and came over to our table. He said ‘next time you have a problem address it to the man of the table’ and tapped my arm. I stood up and was getting a little riled. I told him I had addressed the whole table and they were putting us off our food. It’s a restaurant not a bar. He had nothing to reply to my well structured and factual argument. He walked off. I sat down and pulled up chairs for my dignity and general heroism.

End of the chapter. Here’s a little extra bit for you. Like a final scene that didn’t make it into the film. We couldn’t sleep the night. We were too excited for Vietnam. We grabbed 4 hours or so. Got up and went to the airport. Oh yeah, when we were queuing to go through passport control, a French couple appeared in front of me. I love a good queue, you know me, I especially love turning up on time. ‘excuse me, our flight leaves in 20 minutes, can we join the queue in front of you?’ ‘errrrrrm, no, I’m sure you’ll be fine if you join the queue at the back like everyone else,’ they stared at me with hatred and then asked a guy a few people in front. There is no excuse for being late to an airport at 6 in the morning, other than poor planning and getting up late. I do dislike people.

So, we got on the plane and off to the city of Ho Chi Minh City. As I’ve said before, I am totally ready for a good old fashioned war. It’s all I know of Vietnam. If there’s no war going on, I shall start one or at least, ask to speak to the manager. I managed to sneak all of my weapons in but they took my Steps CDs off me. I tried to explain they were my tunes for the war, but they were having none of it. When I showed them the dance I’d put together and waved my rifle around, they didn’t seem too happy. That was the start of the war. You’ve probably seen it on the news. In Asia they edit out all the violence, swearing and deaths on TV shows and films, so nobody will actually die.

Merry bloody Chrimbles to you all! To be honest, I feel the least Christmassy I ever have. Not being at home, surrounded by family and everything you know of Christmas, has made it quite different this year. I’m quite happy to have a different Christmas though.

We’re in Hong Kong and have been since the 26th of November. We’ll have a bit of a catch up, shall we…

As we were leaving Bangkok, boarding the plane for Honkers, I got a taste of the Chinese ‘everyman for himself’ attitude. Walking through the double doors to begin the boarding process, a Chinese man decided he would ignore the beautiful queueing system we had set up and rush past me through a very small gap to my left. He didn’t take into account my quick thinking and razor sharp elbows as I bashed him into the door. I will fight for the honour of a queue whatever country I am in, even if my British ideals are not part of the regular diet. You’ll never catch Chinese people having the awkward dance that we have when we’re trying to second guess where the other is headed. They just smash through each other.

So, we boarded the plane, flew through the air in our little tin box with wings and landed in Hong Kong. We got to immigration and handed our passports over. As the mardy looking airport man gave me my documents back, I somehow managed to smash my passport back across the table at him. He looked bewildered and annoyed. I tried to explain but he didn’t really get it. So, whenever you’re next in a foreign airport, keep hold of your passport.

We hopped into a taxi and sped across Hong Kong to Sai Kung, the beautiful fishing town where Rachael’s Mum and Dad live. We were both nervously excited. Rachael’s Dad didn’t know we were coming. It was a surprise for his 60th birthday. We got the taxi to stop 100 metres from the house, so we wouldn’t be heard. I’ve never seen Rachael move so fast. Although I did have both backpacks, so, y’know. Hero? Yeah, sure, whatever.

We knocked on the door and waited. Our hearts in our mouths. They weren’t. I’m no Doctor but that would not do anyone any good. We heard footsteps on the stairs. I was going to take a picture of the initial reaction, but we decided that we didn’t want any heart attacks. The door opened and there stood Charles. “Hello” he said. He seemed pleased to see the girl stood before him. As he travels so much, Charles told us, he has developed an ability to greet somebody as if he recognises them as he buys himself some time to place the face to a name. As soon as he had done this he gave the best reaction to a surprise visit I will ever witness. “Bloody hell, Rachael! What are you doing here?!”

The next few minutes passed by in a blur of excitement, hugs and smiles. We had the second layer of surprise when we entered the house as Rachael’s grandparents were visiting and didn’t know we were coming either. Marvellous!

We spent the next few days relaxing, eating, snacking and having our clothes washed…in a washing machine. Clean clothes. A luxury we hadn’t had in 2 months. It was nice to be surrounded by family. Our Argentinian friends arrived in Hong Kong. Vale’s boyfriend, Alejandro, joined her for the week and we spent some good time seeing bits of Hong Kong with them.

We also went out drinking on one of the evenings. Now, I’m not a regular drinker. I don’t go out every Friday/Saturday night. I don’t see the point. However, I can drink. Can you see where this is going? Anyway, we drank at a tequila bar and I had a few tequila Moquitos that tasted like sick. A few more drinks in other bars and a vodka jelly shot. We got in a taxi and made our way back to the Argentinian’s hostel. It felt as if that taxi was driving at a million miles an hour. Maybe he was. That was probably it. As soon as that taxi stopped I jumped out and offered my insides to the pavement below. I hadn’t been sick for five years. Five incredible years. That record is now in tatters.

Vale and Lu’s hostel has country themed rooms. Lu had the Greek room and Vale the American room. Lu’s was nice, pictures of historical Greece, nice beaches and magazine articles in picture frames. You’d assume that the American room would be full of marvellous images of America and all that. No, no. They’d decided to go with the whole 9/11 theme. Pictures of the twin towers on fire, crumbling to the ground and dust covered people. The ideal way to drift off to sleep, I find.

On one of the evenings we went to the harbour to see the laser show. From one side of the harbour, you can see the iconic sky scrapers that make Hong Kong the place that it is. They also put on a laser show every evening. So, these buildings have to work all through the day and then get to party in the evening. That’s what it’s like in the future. Robots and lasers and that.

We celebrated Rachael’s Dad’s 60th on the 1st of December. We enjoyed the day together. In the evening we ate at a marvellous restaurant that over looked the harbour. The food was amazing, the company excellent and it was a fantastic evening! We then celebrated Rachael’s Mum’s birthday on the 2nd. Off we went to Grass Island for a relaxing walk and some lovely food.

Rachael and I decided, for financial reasons, that it would be better to stay in Hong Kong until the 25th, when we make our way back to Koh Phangnan, in Thailand, for the New Year full moon party. Money wise, we have realised that we will be coming home in April, unless we decide to go and teach in South Korea or Japan. I’m still missing driving my car. I keep having dreams about it. I even dreamt someone had stolen it the other night. Then I remembered I had an S reg Toyota Starlet.

In other exciting news, we signed up with a company that provides Extras for TV. Myself, Rachael and her mum went along to sign up. The exciting news is that Rachael and her mum have been used in a commercial for Pond’s skincare. Pretty exciting considering they both received £150 for their efforts. Little disappointed that I haven’t been called in. I guess there’s not much call for bald, shiny headed, glasses wearing chaps like myself. If only Harry Hill were more famous.

Since then we haven’t really done much. In our previous visits we have done the major tourist things. Plus, by not really doing much, we are saving lots of money. I know it’s been freezing at home, so I’m not going to moan, but it did drop to 15 degrees here, which doesn’t sound too bad, but, we did have to wear our coats and hats. Mostly, we’ve watched films on the internet. This inspired us to leave the house and go to the cinema, which was nice. We watched the 3rd Narnia film. The highlight was when the film finished, a chinese man stood up and did the most inspired twirl with his 3D glasses on. It was as if he was checking that the whole world hadn’t become a little bit more 3D. He finished and took his 3D glasses off in a disappointed fashion.

Right, I’ve got to dash off now. I’m not dashing anywhere. I’ll continue to sit here until our next film has streamed. We’ve heared in Koh Phangnan it’s 29 degrees. Enjoy your cold Christmas. Still taking donations for our trip. If anyone wants to start a collection or organise a sponsored fun run or something, just let me know.

On the 4th of January, we fly to Vietnam. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve decided I’m going to start the next Vietnam war whilst I’m there. I’ve seen enough war films to know what I’m doing. I don’t want this war to be overshadowed with an excellent soundtrack like the last one. I’ve gone for Pigeon Detectives, Lost Prophets, Jet and Embrace. Some of you will say, ‘Why Christian, who are they?,’ ‘Exactly,’I shall reply. I’ll be the star of the film, playing a Charlie Sheen type character, from the film Platoon. I shall probably be nominated for all of the Oscars, all of them. Make sure you buy the film on Blue Ray. I’ll look better in high definition.

I wish you all the most wonderful Christmas. I hope it snows, as a bit of snow on Christmas Day is nice. Enjoy the time with your families and friends and all that. If you want, you could print all of my blog posts out and create a book out of it. That would make a good Christmas present. We’ll go 50/50 on the money.

Lots of love and festive cheer,

Christian

xxx

Oh, herro! As you can tell, I have picked up a slight accent. I’ve got some more drivel to assault your eyes with. We’ve a similar predicament going in here. I’m a country in front of you. We’ll catch up. Not going to lie, we got really lazy at the beach and didn’t really take any photos. I’ve stolen some off google.

I hope you all realise I am actually writing this from the future. I was thinking about this the other day. I’m currently a whole 8 hours in the future. I’d like to tell you it’s going to be ok. It’s not. It’s kind of like Robocop and The Terminator mixed together, except you’ll be playing a very minor role and probably won’t be in many of the main shots. You’ll be a background face, is what I’m saying. It’ll be out on the future first, so I’ll let you know if it’s any good. Rachael’s Granddad was flicking through an Argos catalogue the other day and saw a toaster that has a side attachment for poaching/frying eggs or heating up meat. I guess the future is coming.   

We left Phnom Pehn in a blaze of glory on the 13th of November. Well, we left by bus. Although the bus did have karaoke on it. I say karaoke, it was a really old TV playing songs from the 80s by artists I don’t think actually existed. I popped my iPod on. We were headed for Sihanoukville. A place on the southern coast of Cambodia. Another long bus journey with pizza pringles for lunch. We were lucky enough to have a toilet on this bus. Well, lucky if you like the smell of wee, that is.

We’d arranged a tuk tuk to pick us up in Sihanoukville with a guy in Phnom Pehn. His brother works down there. Upon arrival, there he stood with my name written on a slice of paper! I felt like a young Michael Douglas, in Romancing the Stone. Adventurous and that. We had to wait the usual age for our bags to come of the bus. Off the coach came three motor bikes, a dining table, some chairs and a leopard. I made the last bit up. Aren’t I silly. Leopards never change their spots. Why would they? Leopard print is a timeless fashion item.

We found a guesthouse and headed for the beach. What a wonderful life! Along the beach were a variety of basic bar/restaurant combos with sun loungers on the beach. We settled on Khins Shack. This was to be our home for the next 11 days. Why not. On the first night we were pounced upon by some young Cambodian girls. They were selling friendship bracelets. We let them go through their little sales platter. They were friendly enough and eager to practise their English. We ended up buying two for $5 each. Yes, because we are idiots. We later read that you shouldn’t buy from he children as it encourages them not to go to school. Plus, the money is going to a syndicate who are in charge of the girls.

For the next five days, I left my diary empty. Not my diary, as in I had lots of meetings I cancelled, but my diary as in 'Dear Diary…' We went to the beach. We sunbathed and swam in glorious 35 degree heat. We read, we ate and we relaxed. After charging through Laos and Cambodia, we needed it (Kind of. I can imagine the working lot amongst you really having sympathy for us needing a break at the beach after such hectic travelling.) It gave us time to take stock of what we had experienced so far. Travelling puts things into perspective. Cliched unoriginal sentence, but it does. It’s making me realise how lucky I actually am.

We spent a good amount of time in the local cinema, of an evening. It’s run by an American guy and he’s the coolest most friendly chap I’ve ever met. He does smoke weed all day, but he functions very well. Most of the time he forgot which film we were coming to see. He’d then ask, we’d tell him and he would promptly forget. Why not! The cinema has a main room with a huge screen and 15 or so chairs. There are also 2 private rooms. On one occasion, we could hear a couple having ‘fun’ in their private booth. Rhythmic ‘fun’. It lasted about a minute. I wasn’t timing. Didn’t have my stop watch. Depressing all round.

One of the days down at the beach, we were sunbathing and I committed a terrible act. There was a large lady in her swimming attire, she stood up and for some reason I decided to wolf whistle at her. She was less than 5m away. Horrific. I’ve no idea what compelled me to do that.

There were all sorts of characters on the beach. There was an old western guy in a wheelchair that shouted strangers over at various times and got them to wheel him to different bars. Yep, we did that one too. There are also a variety of people with missing limbs that come down the beach asking for money. There is one lady who I thought was wearing a black sock that actually turned out to be her foot. Her whole leg was a different colour. I’d be surprised if she still had that leg now.

Most days we saw the girls who made the friendship bracelets at the beach. It was usually Marley who wasn’t at school. She seemed to have a lot of half days. Really? Hmmm. Well, I took it upon myself to teach her some stuff. She seemed excited to show me her adding skills. Bearing in mind she is 12 and barley goes to school, she just about got there with 13 + 5. I decided to show her some column addition stuff. Within minutes she’d got it. She even understood the carrying. I felt pretty proud of myself.  

On the last day we got chatting to a group of English folk. It also turns out that they met the Irish guy during their time in Laos. You remember the Irish guy, right? The one we all disliked? Well, the fact that they had the exact same problem with him really confirmed my confidence in my ability to spot the good and bad people at first glance. It seemed as if he has just been going around getting drunk and being awful to people. Good luck with that one! Also, one of the couples, Martin and Jane, had travelled with a chap we know from Doncaster 6 months earlier. What are the chances? Marvellous! 

On the 24th of November, we made our way to Hong Kong to surprise Rachael’s Dad for his 60th birthday. This was exciting! We’d known we were going to do this since before we left England. We’d been sitting on this secret forever and now it was finally here. We had to get a bus back to Phnom Pehn for our flight to Bangkok. Another long, insignificant bus ride. It only livened up when a French guy decided to get really cross because the bus wasn’t running exactly on time. I think he forgot he was in Cambodia. Typical of the French that. I don’t know if it is, but that’s what you say isn’t it.

We stayed in Phnom Pehn for the evening. We booked a $7 room with no a/c. It was ridiculously hot. We arranged with Sky, not the broadcasting giants, the female tuk tuk driver, for a lift to the airport. She asked us if we’d heard about the 370 people that died on the bridge during the water festival. She seemed sad. We had heard about it. Horrific. She then brightened up and asked if we wanted to see it. No, we replied. She went back to a sad face. I can imagine there are people that have wanted to go and see it. Pretty disturbing.  

We slept, we wasted some time, we went to the airport. We had to pay to leave Cambodia. $25 dollars each. We had booked with AirAsia though, which is a total budget airline. Still, paying to leave. I was livid. The man that told us we had to pay seemed quite smug about it. It was another small plane, so my irrational fear of dying in the air came on. Any bump, noise, turbulence and I get a little worried. Not visibily worried. I’m as cool as a cucumber.

We landed in Bangkok and decided to stay closer to the airport than where we stayed when we first arrived in Bangkok back in September. We grabbed a taxi and off we went. He said he knew the perfect place. We arrived on a street that was much like Khao San road (where we originally stayed) but grown up. That is not a good thing. Married middle aged men dating Thai women. Pretty depressing. 

We left Bangkok and headed for Hong Kong. I’m going to leave it there for today. This is not my most exciting blog post. I guess if I’d just been on a 11 day beach holiday and then returned home, I wouldn’t write a blog about it. Yeah, well, whatever. I’ll give you a little teaser from my Hong Kong blog, to keep you interested…’My heart was pounding. Beads of sweat began to gather on my brow. I was far too nervous. The valiums I’d had didn’t seem to be working. Surely they knew. Why did I think I could get away with it? Bringing $1,000,000 worth of heroin into Hong Kong. This was it. My life, as I knew it, was over…’

I made that bit up. It seems a bit more exciting. Well, exciting if you like to read about people being arrested for smuggling drugs. Also, I’ve been watching a bit too much ‘Banged up abroad’ recently. I’m off. I’m not going to lie, if I worked for a newspaper I would be sacked. 18 odd paragraphs of drivel.

Lots of love,

Christian

xxx

Saw a woman pay for her bus trip with her watch today. I’m 8 hours in the future and it’s pretty crazy. You should have that by 6pm today.

The fact that an octopus looks like a 70s alien is the reason I won’t be eating it at home mr tv chef.