i’ve gone travelling…. hi.

I might write about my adventures here…

myanmar, buddhas, padoga’s, jumping cats and Monk John McClane March 9, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — lukeo @ 12:02 pm

sitting in silent contemplation on the floor of a isolated wooden monastry, hundreds of years old, built on stilts in the middle of Inle Lake in the mountains of Myanmar, home of the legendary ‘jumping cats’ who have been trained to jump through hoops, I sip quietly on a tiny cup of chinese tea. The solitary monk in the monastry comes quietly over to me and offers me some soya nuts from a bowl nearby. We quietly talk, usual crap. Oh how young I am. I travel alone? Well done. You from England, you like West Ham? Oh poor you. We only like four teams here in Myanmar. You can guess which four they are. This Monk however has another hobby. Watching american action films. And he loves them. And he loves the language they use. Indeed, so much so he suddenly burst into giving me a rendition of John McClane in full Die Hard mode, shouting out in the middle of the silent monastry:

“Fuuuucck Fuccckkk!!! Mutthafuckkaaaa. You son of biiittccchhhhh!!!!!”

Stunned, I can do nothing but smile, then when he asks what these words mean, explain them carefully to him. “It means… er.. your mother… is a female dog.”

Anyway. Myanmar was crazy cool. Actually so poor. But filled with the most genuinely nice people who, despite there poorness, would always go out of there way to speak to you, or to eat with you. And the children, whenever you walk past, they would always turn to you, wave wildly with the biggest grin, sometimes chancing a ‘heelloo’ or any other english words they knew, some examples include, ‘hello goodbye bye!’ and ‘hello one thousands!!’

I was only there for ten days. I could go for the whole month of my visa and would not have seen enough of it. I rushed around, getting 3 night buses, with a total of about 400 hours in transit, and the buses there are absolutely horrific…. they have minus 4 inches of leg room each, the chairs are years old with the padding all worn out, filled with lice and poop, they stuff vegetables in all the crooks and cranies they can. and they don’t have ilses…or they do, but they have seats which fold down in them, so you are stuck with burmese all around you and theres no escape. not to mention the fact that, on my 18 hour mega trip from inle lake to yangon, i somehow got on the wrong bus, which was actually not as horrific as the others… and it was nice. for two hours i had a nice window seat, and they didn’t insist on playing stupid myanmar karyoke music on fullblast on the tv. but suddenly at a stop some slovinian guy gets on the bus and wants my seat. we both have the same seat number on our ticket, and apparently i’m on the wrong bus. so i get thrown out at some random petrol station and pointed at another bus, which won’t take me, then the next one i get on and try to go for my seat number, but some woman with a towel on her head is in it and won’t move till she is forced to by the guy. anyway.. i get the seat. woman with towel on head cries non stop for 16 hours as she is forced into the last remaining middle seat, and i wake up with the most excrutiatingly painful arse.

man i love that country….

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This may be the end February 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — lukeo @ 12:13 pm

I am writing to inform you that this may be my last post. This is not because I am finished with travelling, or because I have lost my hands in a freak accident with my bamboo walking stick, or because I have just decided that I am too damn lazy to type a hundred words every other week.

 It is, in fact, because I am probably not gonnabe alive pretty soon. I am going to Myanmar (Burma) in the morning, which is well known as the terrorist capital of the world, (behind only Turkmenastan and Kyrgamikastan), home of 26,590 political activists who have been imprisoned for thinking for a remote second that the ruling military were slightly unreasonable in forcing every Burmese person in the world to build roads paved with gold for the 26 and a half tourists a year who turn up, and also, they have lots of land mines.

So, overall I am hoping for an enjoyable trip, where I will be able to meet lots of nice people, maybe bump into another traveller somewhere along the line (though this shall be like finding a proverbial haystack in the massive home of needles, russia), then come to a quick and mostly painless demise at the hands of several carnivorous yaks.

Anyway, up till now I have been doing nothing much in Pai, then travelling for hours and hours on buses and bikes and trucks and tuk tuks and every other type of transport around. I have also continued my fued with the money changer by the 7/11, who refuses to give me any money no matter what I do! first he wouldn’t accept my card without a passport, then he wouldn’t accept my australian/malaysian/indonesian money, then he wouldn’t accept my card WITH a passport, and now he refuses to buy my clean crisp 1000 baht notes off me for US dollar. saying he doesn’t sell dollars. I bugger off elsewhere to get them, then come back later to see him selling dollars to some girl. This guy HATES me. But I will get him to give me some money before I finish here. Grrr.

Apart from that. Everythings wicked.

Bye.

Forever.

x

 

photos and pai February 23, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — lukeo @ 7:52 am

i have put up a handful of new photos to overwhelm your senses. click on them on the right to see the whole lot. they should be tasty and just fandangababulish for all of you to enjoy.

i’m in pai. its cold at night. like, way cold. and hot at day. like, way hot. and nothing happens here ever apart from french people jamming in the buffalow bar. its quite a treat. i don’t think clocks work here… .they just stop and will catch up with themselves when you leave the place. yum yum tom yum. xx

 

5 seconds from disaster February 18, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — lukeo @ 10:55 am

so, to cut a long story short, i ended up with no money. or more precisely, minus 800 pounds or so was showing on my bank account, after i lost my cards/had them swiped by some thrifty bugger. this… wasn’t good. it could have been worse though. for one, i had just met ryan the day before, and though we were both booked on buses going 12 hours north and south respectively, he was able to lend me enough money to call my dad and use the internet. i was also able to cancel my bus which gave me 300 baht back which just about paid for a room (though i had to use my camera as a deposit!).

i almost could have ended up with no clothes, which would have been hilariously awesome, because i had put them all into be washed, but had not paid.. so if it wasn’t for ryans few hundred baht i wouldn’t have been able to pay to get my clothes back… now that would have been an awesome story, but sadly it didn’t occur.

anyway, at this point in the story i have a room booked for 1 night, and about 100 baht spare (thats about 1.40 in gbp.). i also have one credit card that i kept safe.. but i neither no the pin, and the people at the money changing booths are refusing to accept it without my passport (which had been sent off to the burmese embassy to get a visa). anyway, Mr. Thai, my travel agent promises me to get my passport back to me tomorrow (today) and i end up waiting around for 4 hours after checking out of my hotel, with enough money to pay for a bottle of water and a plate of pad thai, hoping that my passport will come and i can withdraw enough money to keep me alive.

my passport arrives. hooray. so i wander down to the money changer, who has been hating me nonstop as i keep going up trying to get him to change my scraps of aussie shrapnel and my indonesian notes which though are worth 9000 rupiah, are only worth 50p. he doesn’t like me. when i show him my passport he scrutinizes it for about 5 minutes, comparing my name and photo and signiture over and oiver again. at last when he is sure everything is right he swipes the card, and announces that it doesn’t work and i will never be able to get any money out.

thats it… all my options are done. basically, i am well and truly screwed. my only hope now is to be able to sell enough of my books and clothes to pay for a phone call to qantas to change my flight to right now, and be able to get a bus to the airport and pay the depature fee. i amble sadly up to mr. thai to tell him of my woes, and he announces he has a credit card machine, tests my card, asks how much i want, and happily hands over 20,000 baht with a smile and a (proverbial) slap on the ass. suddenly everything is sorted. he even has space on the bus to chiang mai in an hours time, so i can head off there with my vast reserves of cash and hope not to loose it.

though there are still several obsticles to get over right now.. such as hoping i can get my bank balance back from minus 800 pounds to something more respectable, and trying to get a debit card posted to bangkok so i can pick it up, everything is fun, and i will go to chiang mai and try and enjoy the slightly cooler nights… though knowing my luck i will just end up with malaria. … i should really remember to take my pills…. oh well.

anyway, i have now spent 4 nights in bangkok, doing nothing but sitting on the floor outside mr. thais and making friends with every tailor who comes along. for someone who wanted to get out of there as quick as possible, i have been here too long. lets hope i can manage to get north without a hiccup. yeah right. heard those stories of long haul buses being gased and the thais coming on and stealing everything you own thats valuable while your unconcious… thats gonna be me in 6 hours. ha. … fun….

nice to know you all. cya xxx

 

gili gili gili… February 10, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — lukeo @ 10:10 am

so, fed up with the massive business and touristyness of kuta, bali, i decided to up and leave to the next island in the indonesian chain, lombok. off the coast of lombok are the three gili islands. air, meno and trawangan. i went to trawangan. after 12 hours of sweaty vans, slow as hell ferries and wobbly little boats, i got to the island and found a sweet little place.

this island is crazy cool. its only like a few miles all the way round it… or a 40 minute run. theres no cars and moto’s. just horse drawn carts and people on bikes. theres nothing to do but laze around in little huts watching dvds on your own private tv, sit on the beach, snorkel in the reef and then go drinking at night. what a perfect place just to chill out and relax.

anyway, 5 nights there, and one scuba dive later(which was fantastic. inlucded seeing a shark, about 10 masive turtles and every fish ever invented in the world), it is back to kuta for a few days. i should be leaving right about now to catch my flight to malaysia.. but i can’t really be bothered. i’ll stay here a while yaar. gotta do more surfing!!!!

 

air asia… suck January 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — lukeo @ 6:21 am

grr they are annoying. the whole flight was nothing but hassel yesterday. starting with the fact that they check in 2 hours before the flight not 3, and i got there half an hour early cause of lack of regular shuttle buses, so i had to wait an hour an a half before anything happened.

 then i find out they have a 15kg luggage allowance, which is just stupid as every other airline is 20kgs. so after they forced me to check in my guitar, my luggage was 3kg over (though they tried to charge me for 4kg, i fought that charge). so eventually i pay and get it all over with, not happy, and extremely tired.

finally on the flight, they are rock hard chairs made of stone or lead or something, and apparently i’m not allowed to put my bag under the chair in front of me… whatever.

then eventually after hassel at KL airport, with the fact they don’t have any working cash machines so therefore i had no money except USD25 i happened to have in my wallet. if it wasn’t for that i would have been thoroughly screwed and stuck at another airport for another night. eventually i get to a hostel, which was quite a cool place, despite being diiirrrty, but it was a fun night and fully airconditioned dorm which was sweet. i was booked into a different hostel for tonight, so i head there this morning, check in, unpack everything, and find that the baaaasstards at air asia have broke my guitar, after all that!. thats why i told them i didn’t want to check it in but they forced me to. so i’m not happy.

 i got another flight with them tomorrow, so i am gonna head down there early and have words with them. and try and go through the rigmorale (is that a word) of getting a big ass refund on my broken guitar. i paid the extra 2 pound for extra insurance, so they should give me some money back.

anyway, apart from that, kuala lumpa seems pretty cool. and very hot. only here for a 2 days, but i’m back for a few more in a couple of weeks, which will be cool.

 

erm.. hi December 22, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — lukeo @ 8:14 am

i haven’t really posted anything about what i’m doing… and i haven’t got those photos up that i promised. this is mainly because australian computers are horrendous and won’t let me do what i need to get them up, so i will try and put them up soon, but i am no longer promising anything.

 also. i have been really busy lately, and also tired and stuff, so haven’t bothered to write anything. basically i met up with ry and we are having fun. and i jumped out a plane and it was fun. (thanks for the best birthday present ever). and we went to the beach and are now both black. and the weather has been rubbish for the last 4 days, but today was great once more. hopefully it will be a white christmas… or whatever the really sunny equivilent of that is.

anyway, thats about all. we are just doing stuff and mainly relaxing. we’ve got plenty of time…..

happy xmas everyone. bye.