Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

On the Road

I'm in the middle of a 3 day journey from Vientiane in Laos to London, UK, via Bangkok and Hong Kong. 
We've had a spate of bad news within our little party over the last week or so, but we're holding together fine.  The best of it is that my cousin and his fiance are fine after being involved in a hostage situation in a museum in Brazil.  They get all the excitement!
I have to go and do all my errands before my bus leaves for the airport ... may hear from me more later ...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The next funniest thing I've bought lately ...

From touts who take sneaky pictures of you at Angkor Wat and other surrounding temples and then Duraseal (fake laminate) them to a plate ... They caught Erin out but I was ready for them!

There is a plate stand for it and everything. Believe it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dining on the Mekong

I know I haven't written much about what I've been doing lately, but that's cause I've been too busy having fun. I had to register my disgust at the organisation of the rock festival though, I felt it was my duty!

So since being on Phuket I have: (T=Thailand, C=Cambodia, L=Laos)
  • Sea kayaked Hong Island off the coast around Krabi (T)
  • Had a full body massage (T)
  • Struggled my way through the hottest papaya salad I've come across (T)
  • Spent three days visiting the phenomenal Angkor temples around Siem Reap (C)
  • Had the bus ride from hell - 6 hours to do just over 200km of the bumpiest dirt road I've ever seen (C)
  • Gained several feet of air on said bus ride (C)
  • Congratulated a new dad while watching Canada vs Italy in (ice) hockey and getting a massage from a lady in a ladybar (T)
  • Went to the festival described below (T)
  • Ridden as the second passenger on a motorbike (i.e. the driver, then Angie, then me) (T)
  • Watched Lock Stock and 2 Fast, 2 Furious (why?!?) on the night bus to Laos (T)
  • Watched a bunch of Scottish guys get drunk on cheap Beer Laos (felt almost like Scotland) (L)
  • Got a triple room for 4.50USD (L)
  • Ate the best cinnamon bun I've had in forever (L)
  • Had a two course dinner and two drinks overlooking the Mekong, 4USD (L)
  • Really enjoyed two Lao guys playing a live BeeGees medley (L)
  • Hoped I won't get malaria (T, C, but especially L)

I think after only being in Laos for a day, and not really "doing" anything, it's one of my favourite places. The people are nice, the kids are really cute and don't try and sell you anything, the dogs look healthy, the scenery is beautiful, the food is awesome (they have real coffee and French-influenced baking) and everything is cheap!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Bangkok 100 Rock Festival blows goats (for wooden nickels)

I just had to use that title so anyone searching for the festival will find this entry...

My friends and I had the great good fortune to be around Bangkok for the two days of the Bangkok 100 Rock Festival. We got to see some fabulous British rock bands live, namely Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol, Placebo, Maximo Park and Ian Brown (oh, and Oasis were there as well). Asides from Oasis, who I think I am slightly prejudiced against due to the Gallaghers being such right tools and not even changing their look since their glory days, all of the bands played fabulous sets, with Snow Patrol and Franz Ferdinand being the stand-out acts.

Unfortunately the actual festival was a right shambles. The logistics and organisation were shockingly bad on both days, albeit in different ways.

On the first day:
  • There were no wrist bands on arrival, although there were three separate "classes" of tickets
  • Beer only lasted an hour or so (three taps to serve a whole mess of wannabe drunken Brits)
  • You couldn't buy whisky without registering first, but if you registered you could get it for free
  • Beer was available from touts outside the venue who could throw it over the 3 foot high fence to you (this settled the Brits somewhat)
  • You had to buy coupons which only bought beer (not whisky) and only some of the food
  • The merchandise tent was all but non-existent, and you could only get a t-shirt by winning one

On the second day:

  • Still no wrist bands
  • No beer from the beginning
  • Hessian put up around the fences to stop beer coming in, but beer still came in
  • Vodka tent ran out of vodka because there was no beer
  • Security tighted tenfold on the entrance to the arena area - not even water bottles or ice cream cones were allowed in. We had to risk dehydration in case a water bottle was used as a projectile. People found with bottles on them were forcibly removed from the performance area.

The organisers only managed to excel in two areas: the food was good, and the cleanliness was excellent. I have never seen such impeccable port-a-loos either. I have also never seen port-a-squats, but that's another issue altogether ...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The funniest thing I've bought in a long time ...

It's a joke present for a friend. Honest. But he's written/co-written most of the songs. Must have been inspired by the Hoff's success!

Driving like a Thai person, check ...

We hired a car yesterday to head down to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and just generally hoon around Phuket. Erin drove yesterday but today I took over as she has gone diving. Only two unneccessary U-Turns so far, and no accidents (touch wood!). Thankfully they drive on the left and it's still pretty much island driving without too much traffic.

I also forgot to say happy Waitangi Day! This is a national New Zealand holiday for anyone who doesn't know - a treaty was signed between the British and the Maori at Waitangi on February 6, sometime in the 1800s (someone help me out here). We spent the day lounging on the beach and then went into "town" - Nai Yang Beach - for some dinner and drinks. We ended up having pizza delivered to us one by one by scooter from a restaurant down the beach. The sunset was beautiful, the girls managed to find some Crowded House in the bar CD collection, and we even managed to meet a couple of random kiwis on holiday. Add those two to the four already in our group and you have a sizeable percentage of our population!

I will have some Thailand photos sorted out soon, keep checking back ...

Oh and congratulations to my cousin David on his recent engagement, about time!!

Just as I remember too, if you have a moment, click on the "donating a mammogram" button on It'll help someone in need!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

I haven't been online for nearly a week, which is quite frightening! I've been spending most of my time (after a nightmare trip over from Koh Phangan) lounging on beaches on and around Phuket island. We're staying on a deserted 17km long beach called Hat Mai Khao with some lovely Chinese Thai people looking after us.

I've been swimming every day, started reading books again, gone sea kayaking, eaten a lot of market food (Muslim fried chicken is the bomb), visited a Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (doing their best to get abused gibbons back into the wild) and gotten very brown in the space of a few days. I have also done a lot more riding in the back of a ute than I've ever done, but I've decided it's a great way to see beautiful scenery, as well as give you an interesting hairstyle.

Better run, but on the cards next is a trip up to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, as well as a few days in Laos ...