Friday, 3 April 2009

First Major Hangover of the Holiday.......

Hello all,

Well, I officially felt like death this morning. Di (the guy that owns the place we're staying at) had his step son staying with a couple of his mates. So Kelly and I, the three boys and 3 girls that are staying at the hostel drank a LOT of alcohol and played lots of drinking games before heading to a local nightclub with local Malaysian band and lots more drinking.

This morning we were going to be at the beach by 9ish, however at around midday the cleaner woke me up and was swiftly sent packing as I was still in bed!!

The night was fun, however the funniest part was the ridiculous attitude to drink driving over here. It got to about 1am and we decided to head out to the club, so everyone was just like 'shall we just take our scooters?'. Our parents will be pleased to know that we declined that and got driven there instead. But two of the guys got on possibly the worst scooter I've ever seen, it was a proper shambles. So they climbed on, each with a beer in their hand, only to have Di give them the sensible advice of "hey, no drinking while driving". It's alright to drive after hours of drinking, and then drive home afterwards, but don't be as silly to think you can drive with a can in your hand! :-)

Today we've just been hooning around on our scooter to see all the places around us, it's a really beautiful island. We are heading to the beach tomorrow morning and then around lunch time we'll take the bike back and swap it for a car so we can go further afield and see the cable car, crocodile farm and a really nice looking beach at the top of the island. Have a good weekend all and I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of where we were today.........

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Hello readers,

Before I start with any travel talk, I just want to discuss feet, or toes to be more specific. Following on from a conversation Kelly and I had, I put a poll on here. And the votes have been counted and verified, and it's official. 90% of men have hairy toes. Ha! In your face Whiddett!! :-)

We are now in Langkawi, a small island off the west coast of Malaysia. This is our beach holiday starting. More on that later, first I want to tell you about our last night in Penang.

We met a Scottish couple who are also traveling and we went out for a few drinks and dinner with them. We went to a Hawker (think food court) and all ordered different things to eat. What Kelly didn't realise though was that her soup came with an added extra...................a Chickens foot!! It looked like there was a baby's hand floating in the soup. Gross!

So after a few beers I thought it would be a good idea to give it a try. It's not something I would recommend, it's very soft (like a baby's hand - note: I have never eaten a baby's hand), and really isn't very pleasant. Kelly was also a bit of a spoil sport in that a. she didn't try it, and b. she refused to pick up the other one in the other meal and give me a high five!! :-)

Also on our last day in Penang we went to see Fort Cornwallis, which is a pretty basic fort on the water which has never actually been engaged in any battle. Here are a couple of pictures of Kelly and I, obviously full dressed in combat gear!!

So, we're in Langkawi now, and it's a great little place. We are in a hostel which only had 6 rooms and it's owned by a really cool guy called Di (pronounced Dee). He lives in a big house with his boyfriend and he's the most laid back guy ever, especially for a hostel owner. He's not taken any money from us so far, so it's all on trust, he has given us loads of beers and vodka etc. He doesn't take any money for these thing, it's just like staying with friends, which is the atmosphere he is trying to create. It's in the middle of a forest, which means loads of bugs!! We are covered in mozzie bites at the moment. There are 4 dogs here, and also a cat which Kelly has befriended.

And here is a picture of Di with a couple of the dogs which guard our little retreat from the world.......

We are about a 15 - 20 minute walk from the beach, which is a bit of a pain (for two lazy people!!), so we've hired a scooter. It's the first time I've ridden a scooter and it's a bit scary to be honest! We only use it to go back and forward to the beach, or the supermarket. It's quite good fun and the roads are fairly empty so it's safe enough.

Here's a picture of the beast............

And here's a picture of Kelly preparing to take to it.............

So we're going out for a night out tonight. The guy that owns this place has his step son and 3 of his friends staying at the moment. We're going to have a few drinks here (already had a few actually, so a few more to be accurate), and then head into town for a night out. Then it's back to the beach tomorrow for some more lounging around and swimming in the sea. In case you were wondering what I looked at for most of today, here you go......................

Best thing about Langkawi so far is the fact that it's not a big city and we can just chill out for a week and do whatever we want. Also, the fact that it's a duty free island is also pretty cool, take note Andy Bowling for next time you're in Malaysia! We went out today at for the grand total of £9 got a litre of Smirnoff and 12 cans of Tiger beer!! :-) (update: 12 is now 7 and the vodka has been hit hard too from what I can tell.........).

Hope you've enjoyed the update.


P.S. For those of you at NU, hope what's going on isn't too stressful. For what it's worth, as much as I enjoyed my time there, I'm not missing it and every cloud and all that. :-)

Monday, 30 March 2009

Quick Update from Georgetown

Hey all,

Keep the comments coming, we like reading them. Unfortunately it won't let us post back which is a shame, but keep them coming anyway and we'll get back on the blog. So, Bob, we looked at steam-boats, but it's all fish and as neither of us like fish that much we thought we'd just be getting it for the sake of it. We've had some quite cool stuff though. And Dave, yeah, I'm pretty jealous that you spent all weekend tiling your kitchen floor and are now back at work. Living the dream my friend, living the dream!! :-)

So we got to Georgetown cheaper and in much more style than on vomit buses. We went with a the company that we used to get from Singapore to KL called 'Super Nice'. The have big air-conditioned buses with huge seats that we can sleep in! Kelly took a picture of me sleeping in one so I'm sure she'll stick it on here sooner or later.

We were talking to the guy from the hostel in Cameron Highlands about vomit bus and he agreed that they were crap. Last week one girl ended up in the aisle (still attached to the chair) when they went round a corner. And the week before the luggage hold burst open and 4 people lost their luggage (I can only assume down a cliff). So there's our top tip this week, avoid vomit buses at all costs.

So, onto a couple of conversations we've had over the last few days. Firstly, and this will cause some controversy out there I'm sure. This is an extract of a conversation we had on the bus from Singapore to KL.................

Kelly: I've never been to another country by land before.
Alan: You've been to Scotland by car with me before.
Kelly: Yes, but you know what I mean, Scotland's not a real country is it.........

All comments welcome on that, apart from by Matthew, Dave H, Andy B, Rob C etc etc. Comments are welcomed and appreciated from my parents, sister, Bob, Neil Grant, Scott McFie and Graeme McBride!!

Second conversation, and this one is a bit odd, was about hairy toes. I don't think Kelly is that impressed that I have hairs on my toes, but I've told her most men do, she refutes this. So, in the interest of settling an argument I've set up a poll on the left of the screen. So fella's, get those socks off and tell me if you've got hairy toes, and girls, let me know if you have a boyfriend/husbands etc. that has hairy toes..........

Enjoy work people. Just so you don't feel too bad, Kelly and I are finding it pretty hard going in this heat!! :-)

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Cameron Highlands

Hello from Cameron Highlands. We’re up in the highlands, about 1500m above sea level. Obviously being Kelly and I, we got a bus up here, and talking of buses, what a joyous trip that was. We booked a bus from the worlds worst bus station, in KL, you have to fight your way past lots of guys grabbing you trying to get you on their bus to get to the desk you want to book the bus from. We managed to do that and then Kelly and I had a discussion about whether to go ‘Economy’ or ‘Super VIP’. I won that battle as it was only about £1 to go Super VIP so we figured it was worth it. So, we got on the bus around midday and got into her seats. Kelly then informed me that someone had vomited on her seat, I asked how she knew and she said look……there was dried vomit all over the floor and down the seat handle etc. Not a little, but a LOT of vomit. The bus wasn’t fully booked so we moved seats, however there was also vomit on that seat. We finally found a seat which was vomit-free and settled back for the 5 hour ride. However shortly after setting off the reason for all the vomit became clear. The bus was being driven by Nigel Mansells less skillful, but equally as brave, Malaysian cousin. About an hour in Kelly pointed out to me that the driver looked like he was going to fall asleep any minute, I looked in the rear view mirror and he had that head-roll thing going on that you get when you’re beyond tired, he was yawning and from time to time he would shut his eyes for a lot longer than I was comfortable with. Luckily he received quite a few mobile phone calls which we took some sort of relief from as if he was talking we were reassured that he was at least conscious. So after a quick stop after a couple of hours at the most horrifying service station on earth, we set off again. Now, the way to Cameron Highlands is via some very narrow and windy roads with some pretty big cliffs on each side. This is where our fearless driver really came into his own, hurtling the horrifyingly old bus around the corners as if he was driving a tram. I put my iPod on and just tried to blank the whole experience out.

We are leaving Cameron Highlands tomorrow and the company that brought us is the one that takes you to Penang. So we’ve opted for a different approach, we’re going to get a different company to take us to Ipoh in the morning and we’ll get a bus from there to Penang. We have no guarantees the other companies will be any better, but lets face it, they’d have to be really trying to do worst than ‘vomit-bus’ (our name for this delightful company).

So, we’re staying at a fantastic hostel here in Cameron Highlands. Kelly did a lot of research before setting off and she’s done a great job. It’s tucked right out of the way at the top of the hill, it’s nice and quiet, the staff are friendly, and we have a lovely room. It’s a nice big size with en suite, and you open the double patio doors out onto a little garden which looks down over the village. Last night was our first night here and they were doing ‘earth hour’. Anyone else out there do that yesterday? It was fun, we sat outside playing scrabble and jenga by candle light while drinking beer and chatting. Really nice just to chill out after our manic last couple of weeks in big cities.

Today we did a country tour where we were driven around for about 5 hours from place to place. We started off with a trip round the tea-fields around here (there’s 4200 acres of it!!) and then to see the factory where the tea is sieved, dried, sorted etc etc. Have to say, it was a lot more interesting than I had imagined. See if you can spot me in the second photo below……..

We then went to some Strawberry farms to see how they grow them, and get to taste local jam etc. There was a butterfly farm where we got to hold some insects, although I think our favourite was the ‘Cat Eyed Gecko’ which you can see below.

We then went to a bee farm where we were warned not to swat any of the bees or we would have 5000-10000 bees after us. Kelly wanted to know how they didn’t know exactly how many bees they had in their farm, which then started a silly conversation about why some of them would not chase us!! We saw a Chinese temple and then had some time around a local market where we tasted some local produce.

So tomorrow as I said, it’s back on the bus to Penang, and Georgetown to be more specific. We have a hostel booked which looks nice and we’re there for two nights before setting off for Langkiwi and some relaxing by the beach (which I’m really looking forward to!).

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend and didn’t miss that hour less in bed!!

A & K xx

P.S. Here’s a picture of seven monkeys at the hostel we are staying at……