Thailand to Singapore!
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So, its been a month...did you even notice I was gone?
It doesnt feel like a month, its weird. I feel like i have known the people I meet for years but then i think about my trip and it feels like I have been away a week. If even.
So.....you sent me off with a fab party (im looking at the pics as i type) Rachel and Linz are right posers, i love it! Thanks again for everyone who came, i had a blast and i loved seeing everyone before i left.
Linzi and Rachel take me to the airport and i was feeling 100% fine and had got over the whole emotional wreck stage, until I head through the terminal bit and linzi starts to cry....."aww for goodness sake linzi, you've got me going!!" As Rachel stands hard as nails and says "Sorry for not crying Tina but I don't feel sad" Cheers Rachel - some friend you are haha! Until I reach London and switch my phone back on and I have a text from Rachel saying she couldn't stop crying. Bless. You would think I was dying or something.
Anyway, im sitting waiting on my Bangkok flight checking out how many backpackers I could find to make conversation with.....Is it just backpackers I was allowed to speak to? I couldnt see any, considering no one had their bags and I was just trying to guess who was a traveller...what does a traveller look like? Did I look like a traveller?
I get on the flight and I was lucky enough to sit next to a lovely girl who chatted away and reccommended a good film (i can't even remember what it was now!).
Bangkok - I arrived in the airport and I felt like evrything was going far too fast for me. It was like a movie where i stood in the middle and the camera just kept spinning and spinning, around and around. I kept thinking "hope my bag is here, hope my bag is here" as I waited at the belt conveyor thing. YES...my bag! Argh, I have to lift it on my own! I decided to drag it along the floor of the airport whislt people looked at my strangely. Surely it wasn't far I had to go...and it was a slidy floor!
A woman at the other side stood with a sign "Ms T. Airlie" - THAT'S ME!!! She helped me with my bag and after everyone telling me to be so cautious i grabbed it off her and took it myself - sliding it along the ground until she told me to stop. She was a little thai lady. Shes was tiny actually. "how old are you?" she asked me. 21 i replied. she said "Im 20". I didnt have any reason not to believe her and I must have gave a believable facial expression as she then said "no no I joke. Im 46" I didn't know thai people could be sarcastic! Why would you joke with someone after a 12 hour flight? I could barely walk, never mind tell how old someone was!
So anyway I eventually arrived at my hotel, scared out my mind of what I was about to experience and what the people were like. So many people told me it would be a culture shock and I think i took it in so much that i was frightened to venture outside the hotel. I met Neeta the next day (the girl i was sharing a room with) She was nice, seemed quiet, but really nice. I met my group later that day, after sleeping for about 15 hours more than i should have and I think i was still in a bit of shock. We went out for dinner and a look at the night market. I was so glad I had booked the tour. I dont think i would have been able to go outside otherwise! There were thai people shouting everywhere. "you want you want?" shoving a watch or something of that sort in my face "good price, good price". or the other classic was "ping pong show, you come to ping pong show?" After about the 5th person to ask me to go to a ping pong show and give me a non imformative leaflet about it, i asked my leader, "Sam, whats a ping pong show?" My group laughed (they obviously knew what it was). Sam my tour leader (a wee thai man) smiled and said "ahhhh its a sex show!" and then went into pretty graphic details about what they did. He clearly had been to one.
The next day we headed off to the floating market where one of the famous temples were "great...a temple" i thought. We paid to get in and then we paid for someone to tell us about it. rip off i thought. Once I was there it was totally different, it was quite good. Amazingly I enjoyed it and thought it was so beautiful and I was funnily interested about it. It was Wat pow - the Reclining buddah.
That night we headed off on a night bus to chang mai, getting more and more excited about our 3 day trek. We went cooking in the morning and met another intrepis group, well was I glad i wasnt part of their group. There were a couple of girls who started to bitch about other people in their group to us and i felt so uncomfortable and didnt like them. The cooking was good though, so it took my mind off them.
We were all set for the trek and to begin us off we were taken to this amazing waterfall.....what a great start! It was really something from a flim, i had never seen anything like it before. After splashing about for a bit, we dried off only to get wet again. It started to monsoon rain just as we were about to start trekking up the hills. "come on then." said the leader. "what?" there was no way we were walking in this hazardous weather? But yes we were! Jackets on, hoods up! Saj and I wanted to be at the front all the way (after the bitchy girls at the cooking had told us how difficult the trek was). After singing "hi ho hi ho hi ho its up the hills we go" with the mud slides pouring down and my jazzercise trainers holding up as best as they can, we reached the village!
It's something you see on an advert "sponser this child only a fiver a month" but the funny thing was they were all really happy! Here's me complaining i had dirt under my nail and there they are picking our food from the ground, trees and plants to make the most tastiest meal I have ever eaten! I had a gulp in my throat and wondered how people were able to live with only the food around them and the house they had built themselves? EASY...thats all they needed, thats all any of us need. Food, shelter and love! It definately made me realise the things I took for granted. Would I ever change though? The night was a real laugh and the group got even closer. The next day we trekked to the next village, having an elephant ride in between! And song (one of the hilltribe boys (song) made me a cup from bamboo saying "tina trekking Chang Mai, the date and Love you" so cute We arrived and met the locals, this time there were more kids (selling braclets and of course I had to buy one from them all) and I got them singing Head shoulders knees and toes, it was soo cute! We then jumped from a bridge into a canal, i didnt realise the speed of the current and needed Song to save me.....it wasn't deep but the current was so strong that i couldnt even walk through it. Song swam over, put me on his shoulders and walked through the river...."you're my hero" I said. He was soo strong!
That night we had a campfire, played games and lay and watched the stars when most people went to bed! I think we woke up everyone going to bed though as Saj and I cried with laughter over nothing, it was one of those moments where you forget what you're laughing about, but your laughing so hard that your crying at the same time. Every time we stopped on of us would start a chuckle again and we would be off again. I dont think we barely slept that night for laughing. There were 5 of us side by side. Amy, Herby (who joined later), Me, Saj and Neeta. Saj and I would nudge each other and then burst out laughing like little school girls knowing that Amy and Herby were kissing! It was so childish, but i loved it!
The next day was the bamboo rafting, We sat back and relaxed whilst song and Andy pushed the raft along. Bliss. Song gave me the stick to guide the raft (he made it look so easy). We were heading for a tree!!!! CRASH! I screamed while song stood and laughed.
After the trek we went out (i have told you all this before in another blog haven't I?) after painting my nails etc!
So, we left chang mai and headed back down to Bangkok. Said our goodbyes to the people who were leaving to either go home or to another tour then met our new group later that night.. I was glad to have saj still in my group. We got on great. Unfortunately Amy had to go to another tour (the one with the bitchy girls from the cooking) and she was really anxious about it. Later that night she came into our room and started to cry saying how much she missed our group and that she didnt feel welcomed in her new group. At that point Wendy and jeanette started to cry too (they were also going into the same group with Amy - but it wasnt so bad for them as they had each other).
My new group were nice, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't think my group could get any better from the previous one, but i can honestly say everyone was lovely! Claire, Gill and I went for a walk to find the rest of the group and ended up going the wrong way and sitting in this little bar on the side of a long windy road in Khao Sok. It was good. This was another night of non stop laughter.
The next day Amy makes the arrangement to swap tours and come back with us. She was happy and so was Herby, with having her back. So cute!
Khao Sok National Park was about 5 minute walk and we dicided to go. I didn't actually think about it and wore flip flops where everyone else had their hiking books on, trousers tucked into their socks and having discussions about how the leaches were going to get me. Who walked out with no leaches? You guessed it....MOI!
The next stop was Krabi, AMAZING. BEACH BEACH BEACH! The first beach we had seen since I had arrived! No pollution in the air! You can see water for miles! It was the indian ocean with a temperature of 20degrees, warmer than the showers! It was beautiful! We went kayaking the first day and it poured with rain, monsoon rain!! The next day Saj, Amy, Herby, Neeta, Marc, D.drik and I hired a boat and went across to top island. An island that splits into two when the tide is in! Then I had the disaster with the snorkelling......i just couldnt do it. Marc shouting at me because I was about to touch the coral and saying "get your ass up......float!" Can anyone float when they are in the middle of having a panic attack?! I gave up on the coral and decided i was happy enough seeing the tropical fish in the shallow end!
The next few days are all mixed up. I think we went to penang next, but right now i cant really remember, i would have to look it up. Im not very good with names of places ive found! Anyways, wherever we were next we went out, but it was mega expensive! 16pound for a bottle of wine! On a budget thats expensive!
I know the next stop was Cameron Highlands as that reminded me of scotland, it was cold and had lots of countryside! Nice, but not as nice as the beach in krabi. We went out for dinner and the group decided to get this local thing where they give you a bunch of raw meats/fish and you chuck it in this big pot with a soup substance and its allow it to cook. Picture this....a big massive pot in the middle of a round table on a travel/gas stove (kinda thing) raw meat, chicken, muscles, jellyfish, eggs, fish ball things....aww the list goes on. You name it, it was on that table! Anyways it was all mixed in the pot and left to cook...while i sat and ate some chicken rice! YUM YUM!
We visited the BOH tea plantation where we learnt how tea was made! The view was lovely and the carrot cake they sold was even nicer! Claire would tell me to do naughty things......a big sigh saying no entry and she tells me to climb in and get my pic taken! A sign saying do not sit on the fence, what does she say...lets sit on the fence! such a bad influence for me haha! Claire is hilarious, we also got on really well, as we were leaving cameron highlands and out leader trying to round us up me and claire are trailing at the back deciding we would have sumo fights with our backpacks on!
Kuala Lumper was our next desintation, felt like london to me. A busy city with nice things to look at. The twin towers were amazing, was nice to see them lit up at night. The are the tallest twin towers in the world now! We then went on a tour and went to a chocolate factory, puter factory and the 4th highest building in the world the kuala lumper tower i think its called. You were able to see everything!
It was so funny, claire, gill, Lindsay and I went to the loo in the puter factory and there were locks on the outside of the doors in the toilets. So i locked claire and Gill in. Then Claire decides to hold the outside (the one going into the shop) and the shop assistant is waving his hands and saying "no no no" If claire had pressed the lock in then i would have been locked in there forever as he didnt know where the key was. This is one of these stories where you had to be there but i had to write it down so i remembered it. haha!
After this, we went to the caves where we had to climb 272 steps to get there. There were monkeys running riot and gill kept shouting "rabies!!!" One of the little monkeys stole my sunglasses and another one stole Claires lip gloss, he jumped into her bag and actually stole it and ran up a tree! Cheeky monkey! That night we headed out, had a great night. was peer pressured into smoking a sheesa (apple flavoured) but will never do that again! YUK! We got back to find Gill (who didnt come out as she wanted a relaxing night and to go get pampered at the beauty therapy placey!) It was the funniest thing i had ever seen. She had experienced cupping. She had about 15 big red/purple circles on her back! I laughed so hard!! Silly Gill!
The next day we travelled to Malaka (nearest to the equator = very HOT). The majority of the group experienced a tour with the rickshaw (A carriage attached to a bike with a wee man cycling you along the road and up the hills, its decorated with bright flowers and stands out a mile). Saj and I had the best one where the wee man had installed a boomblaster! We felt sorry for the wee man and asked him if we could cycle......i couldnt even do it!
We arrived in Singapore and prepared ourselves for goodbyes. We had one more night together where we had a goodbye dinner. I went back to the guesthouse with a few others and i went to my room. Gill came chapping my tour to remind me i hadnt said goodbye to her and claire! I had totally forgot! I hate goodbyes! I went up to their room and must have stayed until about 1am! Gill (the mad ozzy lady) gave me an australia keyring to remind me of her! Lovely! I felt bad i didnt have anything for her. Then I went to my room....to find my next door neighbours (who i didnt know) had invited a prostitute back. It sounded as if it was two guys and one girl! I couldnt sleep for hours!
The next day (saturday) Saj, Claudia, Herby, Amy, Neeta and Lindsay joined me to the next hostel where we would be tourless! "The inn crowd". We had only booked two nights. I asked them if I can stay all week and they told me only until thur as they had no room on the fri due to the grand prix! First challenge...finding accomodation on my own! ARGH! I found a nearby hostel down the road who were luckily only taking walk ins! PHEW! Challenge over! That night we went to the night safari, it was good! We werent allowed to take pics though as it would hurt the animals eyes! There was some tribal dancing/performance from some half naked men where me and saj ran over to get some front row seats! I drew attention by wolf whistling and then saj, Amy and I danced through the Zoo with them, it was funny! I felt like a right twit!
The group left day by day, i was sad to see them go and knew my journey was about to begin. It had felt like a long holiday so far, or is that how it always feels? We started talking to a lovely girl Johanna from Germany and we decided we would go to the Sentosa beach the next day. I started talking to this guy from Aberdeen, grant and he also came along. Johanna had met another German dude, Felix and he also accompanied! It was good. just the four of us. It was funny how it worked out though - two scottish people and two german people. They lefgt the next day but I was never alone, there was always someone hungry or wanting a game of cards!
My next friend was Poulo from italy, he was funny, he would tell me i was saying words wrong. Like Bin.......he said it like Bean! "A baked bean poulo? you want beans?" I would just wind him up. Im sure he caught on to my sense of humour though haha!
The running up to the Grand Prix........lots of people were arriving for it!
I met a girl called Anusha, we went out for dinner and then joined a group of lads outside our hostel and i was forced to drink beer! Seemingly when your on a budget, its the cheapest thing! I got chatting to a couple of English lads Gaz and Lee(e) who seemed funny. I happened to bring up the topic of the word "twat" I had used it a few weeks back to someone and they took it in a totally different context. I tried to explain in Scotland it mean a silly person but where they came from it was the other word for c*nt. I googled it and its true! So im never saying it again! Anyway this topic went wild! There was big discussions about it so Gaz, Lee and I just turned round and started laughing. It was so heated. "This is all because of you Tina" Gaz said while he was actually crying with laughter! I dont think ive even seen a guy cry with laughter! Which made it even funnier! Then the word was getting more and more used through the night. I was getting called the "stupid tw*t".
The next day was the trials of the grand prix and poulo was convinced he would wrangle his way in without a ticket! I went with him just to watch him being refused at the gate! Yup...he was refused! We saw it quite clear enough from the gate and I got bored after 15mins and went to subway to get some food! I don't know how people suffer it for 3 days, but maybe thats because we didnt have a ticket! I kept taking photos pf people thinking they might be famous! I doubt any of them were! I wouldnt even know if they were!
Friday night I had to stay at a different hostel with the inn crowd being full. It was like moving from home. I had got so comfy there and it was like a wee family! The satff made the effort to get to know you and they were so helpful! The next hostel wasnt so helpful, they were friendly though and i knoew i only had to walk a couple of minutes back to the inn crowd where you knew you would be welcome!
Right now as I type. I am sitting in Singapore airport where Matt, Jenny, Anusha and Paul made sure I got on the right train as i had told them all about the train fiasco's i have had in the past! Tina and trains dont mix really! "oh my goodness, im doing this on my own now" i though. I sat down (taking up two seats on the tube) and found it difficult to stand up with my backpack on my back when it was my stop!
I arrived at terminal two and realised I was to be at terminal one. "right, what do i do? T1? that must mean terminal one surely? I folled the arrows where it took me to a sky train. YES a sky train! I have never even heard of a sky train! Anyway, im in T1 right now, just had me slush puppy thing to get to use free internet! Im so looking forward to New Zealand! Pretty frightened aswell actually. "Will the people be as nice? What do I do when I get off the plane? Whats this whole visa thing going to be like? Wonder what job i'l get? will i like it enough to stay for 2 years?" all running through my mind!
I really should go now, I can't feel my bum! Over and out! This flight better be good!