Thursday, April 20, 2006

Holidays with Rob and Bianca///Vacaciones con Rob y Bianca

Si, parece que hemos tenido vacaciones de entre nuestras vacaciones. Durante una semana hemos dicho adios a las cucarachas, ratas y sanguijuelas (ni siquiera eso ha sido tan malo como suena...no os creais, las echamos un poco de menos) y hemos dado a la bienvenida a la piscina, aire acondicionado, el buceo, las cervecitas y marisco (como sufrimos, eh?).
Hemos estado 5 dias de lujo en Ao Nang, una playa al Sur de Tailandia y ayer nos despedimos con pena de Rob y Bianca desde Bangkok (mas ellos, que son los que vuelven a trabajar). Bangkok es una ciudad intensa, con puestos de comida en todas las esquinas, centros comerciales de 7 pisos en cada calle, olores constantes a especias y hierbas que nunca sabremos descifrar, gente de todos los tamanos y colores... Me encanta!!!!Ahora estamos a la espera de Penny para dirijirnos a Cambodia, adaptandonos a la vida de esta ciudad sin problema: desayunamos sopas y cerdo con chile y albahaca, nos tomamos un te cha en alguna esquina donde podemos observar a la gente sin que se den cuenta del efecto que causan en nosotros y por la tarde cuando con el calor cuesta respirar vamos a un centro comercial a sonar con todo lo que podriamos comprar...

The week with Rob and Bianca flew. First of the rank was of course a Singha, followed by a couple of Tom Collins in the bar pool. Tough, real tough.

Activities over the next couple of days were as you can all imagine not too strenous. They included snorkling, drinking, eating, swimming, eating, drinking, eating, drinking.

As bizarre as this may sound to those working 9 - 5, it really was a holiday, within a holiday. R & B put us up in the same resort they were staying, which meant plenty of lounging around catching up on details of the trip, life back in Melbourne and general chit chat. - Thanx a bunch!

Our time in Bangkok was brief and bizarre. Mega 'MBK' shopping centre was our gracious host for most of the day, while the regulars of some obscure Karaoke bar in China town will be telling the story of the 4 'Farangs' for some time to come. The photos of this memorable night are not included here, needless to say the experience was surreal and that I am in serious need of some singing lessons.

Penny has now arrived and we are off to Cambodia tomorrow. We have tried to avoid the 'Scam bus' due to the high number of 'traumatic' reports we hear from other backpackers. Tales we have heard include the general 'straight to a commissioned hotel' and 'sorry, bus full...you must pay extra'. However, we also heard that a bus load of Germans and their luggage went missing. Oh well, they're only Germans. He he.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

We are Uncle and Untie!!Ya somos tio y tia!!!!


Por fin Gorka ya esta entre nosotros. Nacio el 4 de Abril y es el sobri mas guapo del planeta. Solo contamos los dias que nos quedan para darle un gran abrazo. Zorionak Igor y Blanca.

Finally our nephew Gorka has arrived to this world. He was born on the 5th of April, and as you can see he is the most beauteful nephew of this planet. We are just counting the days to give him a huge hug. Congratulations Blanca and Igor!

Free passage to Singapore - if you're a cockroach///Billete gratuito a Singapur...si eres una cucaracha

There are seemingly free tickets for passage from Jakarta to Singapore if you are a cockroach. However, their computer system does not reserve pre-booked human tickets. The 29 hour journey, which took 33hrs, was generously shared with our cockroach companions. They were everywhere. The toilet was no doubt the worst, as cockroach travel agents include a swimming option. I haven't included the picture for fear of having our blog censored by Google.

Our arrival to Singapore was welcomed with grins from ear to ear and a celebratory beer, or many and some mouth tingling Indian. So good! Clean sheets, hot water and shower that had a massage fitting were some of the luxuries that were enjoyed at the hostel. Did I mention that it felt so good!

We departed Singapore the next morning for Melaka, in the south of Malaysia. The town is neat and boasts a mix of Portugese, Dutch, Chinese and Malay heritage in architecture, food and culture. We took it pretty easy here as I fell ill and was going through a box of tissues a day - most people know what I'm like when I get a cold.

From Melaka we travelled north to the show piece city of KL. The city is organised, clean and easy to manage. Our primary reason for visiting KL wasn't for site seeing, it was more to establish environmental contacts for EM. We met with some people from Wetlands International, who were helpful and offered us assistance with interviews with the indigenous people of Tasek Bera. This was our destination for the next 2 days as we travelled and conducted a couple of interviews.

After Tasek Bera we went to Taman Negara, one of the oldest rainforests in the world. We camped in a 'Hide', which is a little hut located in the forest. It sits at about 20 metres in height and allows up to 12 people to view animals do their thing. The hike to the 'hide' went unrewarded as we saw no animals. In fact our prize for walking to the 'hide' was a sleepless night and countless number of rats raided our food supplies. The rats were up to 60-70cm long, tail included, and sported the motto of 'no fear'. At least four lost their lives that evening as one of the local guides who was also staying in the 'hide' had a big stick. It was incredibly humorous watching him chase the rats around all evening.

On the recommendation of fellow backpackers we departed Taman Negara for the Parentian Islands. Here we lazily sat around absorbing sun, swimming and eat fruit. We stayed away from the infamous 'Monkey Juice' that kept people up till sunrise.

We are now in Krabi (Southern Thailand) waiting for Rob and Bianca to arrive. My liver is already trembling with fear of what is to come over the next week.


Parece que si eres una cucaracha tienes pasaje gratuito de Jakarta a Singapur. Eso si, no les dan su propia cama, y se tienen que ajustar a dormir en la cama de los demas. En serio, hablamos de cientos de cucarachas por las almohadas, colchones, los banos (en el retrete habia marea negra de kukis dandose un bano...) en un viaje de 33 horas (oficialmente iban a ser 28) en el barco que podeis ver en la foto.

Pero llegamos sanos y salvos a Singapur, lo cual celebramos con cerveza y una buena cena. Recordadme que no vuelva a viajar en tercera clase en Indonesia. Singapur nos parecio por el cambio el lugar mas limpio del mundo y siempre guardare a esa ciudad en mi corazon por ese acogimiento.

al dia siguiente partimos a Melaka en Malasia, donde pasamos dos dias superando el trauma del barco ...Melaka es una ciudad con importantes restos de colonialismo dejado por los barbaros holandeses, britanicos y portugueses. Preciosa, y he mencionado ya que todo parece mucho mas limpio y moderno? De ahi fuimos a Kuala Lumpur donde nos entrevistamos con gente de Wetlands International y nos pusieron en contacto con una comunidad indigena del lago Tasek a donde fuimos de cabeza. Pasamos una noche muy interesante y entrevistamos a 3 personas del pueblo. Una experiencia unica.

De ahi fuimos a Taman Negara, una de las junglas mas antiguas del mundo. Pasamos tres noches una de las cuales dormimos en medio de la jungla (ya habeis visto las fotos, no?) en una caseta a 20 metros del suelo con literas (sin colchones...auch!) para 12 personas. Esto no impido que docenas de ratas de mas de medio metro se subieran a la caseta cuando entro la noche y el resto la noche la pasamos intentando proteger nuestra comida (un grupo de 4 alemanes tenia un guia malayo que dedico la noche a matar las ratas con un palo y un tiragomas....un espectaculo dantesco, pero entretenido en una noche en vela....y para contar a los nietos).Taman Negara es una jungla preciosa llena de animales y lo bonito es que es muy facil explorarla por tu cuenta.

De ahi fuimos a "descansar" (hey!esto de estar de vacaciones cansa!) a la isla Perhentian en el norte de Malasia. Frutas tropicales, arena blanca, sin electricidad ni telefono....he comentado que todo es mucho mas limpio en este pais????)

Ahora estamos en Tailandia, esperando a juntarnos con Rob y Bianca para 6 dias. Despues de la limpieza que hemos dado a nuestro higado (en dos semanas en Malasia no hemos probado una gota de alcohol - en pueblos enteros ni lo venden ), que ahora esta temblando, conociendo a Rob sabemos la que nos espera....