07/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
Chris and Lils big trip
07/06/2009 - 30/06/2009 4 °C
Fiji – Viti Levu and Yaswan Islands
New Zealand – South Island
Waya Lailai village, island cove featured in the Tom Hanks movie ‘Castaway’,Airport Golf course (home of Vijay
Singh). Christchurch – Camshorn Dinner and wine tasting, Banks Peninsula, Lake Tekapo, Milford Sound, Queenstown - Frisbee Golf / Luge / Gondala, Jackson Bay, Fox / Franz Joseph Glacier, Okarito Lagoon, Hokitika - West Coast Historical Museum, Pancake Rocks, Greymouth, Abel Tasman National Park, Golden Bay – Collingwood Museum, Mussel Inn, Anatoki Salmon Farm.
Wildlife: Kea, takahe, NZ falcon / harrier, brown trout, fur seal, possum, red deer,
1. Liannah’s Fiji Island birthday – Fijian hospitality at its best, following a lazy day on palm lined sandy beaches, they organised a dinner table for 2 on an ocean side veranda, followed by cocktails, a massive birthday cake (with Happy Birthday Liannah on it) and singing of Happy Birthday in Fijian.
2. Catching a massive fish (Chris Only) – After making lots of friends in the village with bribes of vodka and cigarettes (bough for this purpose) not only did Chris feel like a VIP guest but was taken on his on personal trawling trip at 5am in the morning. The result the 2nd biggest fish so far a 5lb-ish Kingfish but by far the best fight.
3. Snowboarding Coronets Peak, Queenstown – Carving up the open treeless snow slopes at high speed, popping a few small jumps and avoiding injury.
4. Franz Joseph Glacier – Strapping on the crampons and scaling the huge chunk of blue ice sliding down the valley at a rate of up to 5 meters a day. Amazing caves, ravines and ice crystal formations.
1. Both Cameras breaking down - The Olympus; after 2 lots of repair the LCD screen fails (sent back to be replaced). The Nikon; lens became stuck out, not retractable (sent home for the back of the cupboard, out of warrantee). Upside - We did not miss many photos as we now have a new Panasonic. Downside – we are $300 out of pocket.
2. Bed bugs, again!!! – Liannah attacked again in a Fiji island hostel. Well over 100+ bites.
1. Jumping off a hill (only Chris scared) – Paragliding off the 450 metre hill behind Queenstown. Not sure what the acrobatic moves were called but resulted in staring a long way down at the ground a few times. An amazing adrenaline rush with top views (special thanks to Tim Parky) - http://www.nzgforce.com/
2. Snowy Drive (Lil) - Crossing the Takaka Hill summit (791m) in the car. Fine weather at sea level, knee deep snow at above 700m makes for fun driving conditions on skinny / windy mountain roads.
Sea grapes – green sea weed plant.
Pilli’s – whitebait style fish roasted on open fire.
Fijian fish – Travelley, Dolphin Fish, Coral Cod and Kingfish
Kava – ground root drink, drank by the bucket load in ceremonies. Loopy juice!
Lemon leaf tea
Venison, silverbeet and red yam – NZ food all the way (cooked by Chris)
Green lipped mussels
Captian Cooker Manuka Honey Beer
Hot baths and showers
MOSTLY HAD FILL OFF
A Fijian bloke who was very proud of his commonwealth status. All of the notes and stamps still bear the queens head.
The worrying response from the bloke in the snowboard hire shop to Chris’s question – How are the slope conditions? Luckily it snowed later that day.
David Henry Thoreau about the Chasm rock shapes, Milford Sound
Colonists of New Zealand introduced many animals for hunting with the usual disastrous results. Rabbits and possums over ran the place with no predators. Stoats and weasels introduced to control their numbers found it easier to feed on the birds and eggs, killing one third of native species. Red deer, goats and boar all ate young trees and plants, in some areas no trees are younger than 50 years. The only upside was it is said that having wild boar to eat saved the Maori from eating each other, not a well know fact but rival tribes often cannibalised each other, even as recent as 1919.
FISH CAUGHT = 4
Chris – Large king fish, medium Coral Cod, 0.665kg salmon and a small bream.
Lil – 0.720kg salmon and a small bream.
Chris – 4 x Sand fly
Lil – 1 x Sandfly and 100+ BB’s
VEHICLE (new category)
Type: Spaceship (http://www.spaceshipsrentals.com.au/)
NEXT ON AGENDA
North Island – New Zealand
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
Nimbin Mardi Grass, Byron Bay (witnessed a water spout – similar to a tornado), Robina, Dreamworld Amusement Park, Surfer Paradise, Brisbane, Queensland Museum, Lake Cootharaba, Hervey Bay, Frasier Island, Airlie Beach, Whitsundays Islands, 1770, Cairns; The Great Barrier Reef, Ellis Beach, Daintree National Park; Aboriginal Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime Rainforest Walk, Cape Tribulation.
Wildlife: Iguana (digging up and eating turtle eggs nest), dingo, possum, python, turtle, crocodile, dolphin, white tip reef shark, stingray; too many fish to mention on the Barrier Reef, fruit bats, sea and wedge tail eagle.
1. Sailing around the picturesque Whitsundays islands for 3 days. Helping hosting the sails on a retired 30ft racing yacht and reaching speeds of 12 knots. Stopping to snorkel the clear waters and walk the white sandy beaches.
2. Off road extreme driving the beaches and rough tracks of Frasier Island for 3 days. Taking on some seriously bumpy tracks and rocks, camping in the dingo infested sand dunes and eating fresh fish every day (caught by Chris). The biggest bonus was the free upgrade from a Suzuki Jimny to a Toyota Landcruiser – lets off road.
3. Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef – too many colours, fish and plant life to describe in this underwater Garden of Eden. A natural wonder of the world for very good reason, its amazing.
1. Waking up to a flat battery on the Landcruiser on Frasier Island. Luckily a camping neighbour had some jump leads.
2. Playing a very large fish (i think it was a shark) for half an hour only for the hook to come out.
1. Driving over very lumpy rocks and also coming very close to a dingo on Fraiser – Lil
2. Hoisted up to 30 meters and being dropped free fall on the Giant Drop at Dreamworld - Chris
Shark (under the marketing name of Flake)
Pippies (a shell fish collected by us)
Candle Nut – aboriginal food.
See fish section.
A good pillow – inflatable travel pillows just don’t cut it.
MOSTLY HAD FILL OFF
Bad driving – tailgating, undertaking, pulling out in front, speeding, road rage – no wonder there are so many crashes in Queensland.
‘Are dare any of dem dare blik fellas like me?’ Kevin, Indigenous fella who made our boomerangs asking about London.
‘I only know the football towns’ – an English ambassador to a German women, its makes me so proud.
‘Are you a chef?’ - An impressed guy at a camp site to Chris, looking at our meal of; Aussie steak, garlic / brie mushrooms and chilli grilled tomatoes with rocket salad. Mouth watering – yum.
‘K’Gari’ meaning Paradise - Frasier Island is the largest sand island in the world. 120km by 15km has been created by 800,000 years of long shore drift.
13 small ones. 2 pan sized Dart, 1 medium Bream and a Whiting. The big one got away (i know the usual fisherman’s tale).
Lil = 10+ mosi / 200+ bed bugs again
Chris = 20+ mosi
NEXT ON AGENDA
Fiji for Lil’s birthday then extreme sports of New Zealand.
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
Australia - (or Horse trailer as they pronounce it)
Melbourne - Australia Centre for Contemporary Art, MCG for an AFL game, Kilda, Queen Victoria Market, Federation Sq Centre for Moving Image, Great Ocean Road (Rip Curl Pro Surf Contest) / Robinvale - Murry River, Motor Cross Track / Sydney - Opera House, Harbour Bridge, State Library NSW, Museum Contemporary Art, Powerhouse Museum (Star Wars Exhibition), National Maritime Museum, Bondi Beach, Manly, Max Brenners Chocolate Cafe, The Gap, Anzac Day (Beer and Two Up - Chris was $30 up) and / Blue Mountain - Pulpit Rock and Fire Trail.
Wildlife: Grey kangaroo, koala, camel, fox, superb fairy wren, perigan falcon, dolphins / seagulls attacking a bait ball about 1 km from the coast (as seen on blue planet) and monitor lizards.
1. Si and Kerri's baby 'Ruby' arriving a week early - holding your mates baby when she is only half an hour old, amazing. Ruby, Ruby, Ruby... nan nan nan nan nanaaaaa.....
2. Mountain biking the Oaks fire trail in the Blue Mountains - High speed, mini jumps, rough track, stunning scenery and train back up the hill - top adrenalin stuff.
3. Unofficial Hodnet Primary School Reunion - Seeing old friends Paul Stenton, Simon Lovegrove, Steve Jones and Rob Martin. Strangely half my old class mates now living in oz!
1. Constant rain on the Great Ocean Road - what happened to all that oz sun we signed up for.
2. The conscience kicking in when we found the captain birds eye lookalike (80 yr old guy) driving licence in his wallet after finding the $700 hard cash first. Damn conscience, of course we returned it.
1. Holding baby Ruby after just being born - so tiny and fragile.
2. Standing up on the road level of the harbour bridge - that was high enough for Chris.
Bread crumbed Murry Yellow Belly Perch.
Cold Rock ice cream - any flavour of ice cream with any added crushed choc bar - web had Oz Vanilla with Cherry Ripe and Tim Tams.
Andrews CS home brew larger - The Aussies are home brew obsessed.
MOSTLY HAD FILL OFF
'Your face is like reading in a car. Its alright to start with then after a few minutes it make you feel a bit sick.' - Comedian at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. We went to see 'Jim Jefferies' very good but i cant put any quotes from him, far too blue and un-PC.
'I don't give a f*cking sh*t if your a Taurus' - Bouncer to Liannah in Melbourne after a request for ID. She was in fact saying she is a Tourist (therefore did not have any ID). The non amused bouncer did not see why her star sign stopped her showing ID.
'Oh yeah, that's a go, too easy' - Si Lovegrove sounding very Aussie after 8 years in Oz.
'The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my life, and has determined my whole career.' Charles Darwin 1867
Peppers that are red, yellow and green are all from the same plant just picked at different times.
3 - A Murry cod and 2 golden perch (one large and tasty one).
Lil = 3
Chris = 1
Health glow - No change from last month. Its been raining a bit.
NEXT ON AGENDA
Sydney to Cairns. Then Fiji.
01/03/2009 - 30/03/2009 32 °C
Oz – down under
Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Art Gallery of WA, Kings Park, Cottesloe Beach Sculpture Exhibition, Old Fremantle Prison, Maritime Museum Shipwrecks Galleries, Rottenest Island, Warren National Park and Walpole Tree Top Walk.
Wildlife: Kangaroo, wallaby, dingo, snake, bobtail gecko, quokka, huntsman / orb spider, seals, dolphins, kookaburra, sea eagle, parrots, and pelican. and a barking owl (we both held this on our arm)
1. Weaving our way though the flooded paperbark woodlands and billagongsbillabongs in Kakadu NP on an aboriginal boat tour. We learnt about the bush skills and beliefs of the aboriginals.
2. Cruising about in the Swan River Harbour on a - Cruiser 560 Express - 58ft speed boat. Chris got to drive it and we stayed the night on aboard it in the marinaharbour over looking Perth city. Check it out on: http://www.endeavourboatsales.com.au/cruisers_560_gallery.asp
3. Experiencing the flavour sensations of chilli rose, honey beer, white chocolate liquor and creamy brie whilst tasting wine, beer, chocolate and cheese tasting in Swan Valley and Margaret River areas.
1. Sleeping in the campervan in Kakadu with extreme heat, 100s of mosi’s and bed bugs in the bedding. It was the most uncomfortable 2 nights sleep we have ever had. Awaiting compensation from Wicked Campervans for bed bugs.
1. Close encounters with several large spiders. On bush walks, in toilets and in the gap of the car door – Liannah.
2. Walking the wobbly metal structure walkway, 40 metres up in the tree canopy of Walpole - Chris
Kangaroo meat – In the form of ‘Kanga Bangas’ and smoked steaks.
Witjuti Grubs – Chris only
Wild Oz Turkey and bush fruit chutney
Seans homemade ‘hotter than the sun’ chilli biltong.
Brads homemade ‘rocket fuel’ blackcurrant moonshine.
Football – Playing and watching (especially Liverpool thrashing Man U.) – Chris
My Wardrobe – a wider selection of clothes than the creased ones in my backpack and some glamorous high heels – Lil
MOSTLY HAD FILL OFF
Aussie costs – bring back the Asian prices.
‘Are you falling asleep or just passing out and dying?’
Liannah to Chris – at night in campervan at Kakadu Park. The van was like a tin can sauna.
‘I thought my accent were bad’
A Yorkshire man working in a supermarket. When Chris asked ‘Can you tell me where the ice is?’ he thought Chris said ‘Can you tell me where the oysters?’
‘When the wind came its was like a steam train running into the house, it was an incredible shock, it felt as though the house lifted up and sat down again. That’s the sense of power it was, one of those great steam trains ramming into the house, it was an incredible power, it was just unbelievable.’
Aussie lLady describing Hurricane Tracey 1976, Darwin. Over 80% of the buildings were destroyed in one day.
‘I like collecting yams and plums and hunting for file snake, goanna, fish and porcupine or almost anything that’s edible. Most of all it’s a good feeling because when you’re out there and you get something, after you have eaten it you feel so happy that you have worked for it. Hunting is hard work.’
Jessie Alderson – Murumburr Aborigine Clan, Kakadu
Australia has the second highest obesity rate in the world. The 1st, no surprises - USA.
Before Australia was fully mapped post 1700’s it was thought to a huge land mass which was about 3 times bigger than North American and Canada combined, it covered the entire southern tip of the globe and stretched all the way to South America. When it was 1st discovered they called it ‘New Holland’.
Only one – but a badge of honour in the Northern Territories – A Barramundi.
Lil – more than Chris this month = 20+ (bed bugs 395)
Chris = 10ish. (bed bugs 125)
NEXT ON AGENDA
More Australia - East Coast
Thailand and Indonesia
Ko Phang Nga - fire beach party / Ko Toa - Chumpon Pinnacle, Twin Peaks and Mango Bay dive sites / Koh Sok jungle, lake and cave / Phuket and Phi Phi - 'The Beach' from the film and Hin Daeng and Koh Ha dive sites / Bali - Batur volcano / Lombok + Gili Islands - Shark Point and Manta Bay dive sites.
Wildlife:In the water too many to mention them all but some are; dolphins, stingray, turtles, black and white tip reef shark, flying fish, cuttlefish, manta ray, nuddibranch, angelfish, trigger fish, clown fish, trumpet fish, jellyfish, barracuda, parrot fish, lobster, moray and snake eels. On dry land; civet cat, long and short tailed langur / maca monkeys, hunter spider, cave cricket, wild pig, tawny owl, white egret, asian fish eagles, king fisher, giant hornbill, skink lizard, frogs and toads.
1. Our 1st scuba dive in Ko Toa. A very serene, peaceful and floating feeling with a rainbow array of coral and fish in crystal clear waters.
2. Snorkeling the bays and rocks around Thailand and Indonesia. A neon coloured explosion of reef, fish and sea creatures. Everywhere you look you see something new.
3. Watching and helping an Indonesian guy land a 40-50 lb dolphin fish. Caught on a handline off the back of the Bali-Lombok ferry. (Chris)
4.Surfing the wave breaks on Kuta beach, Bali. We both managed to stand up (for the 1st time) and stay balanced on a wave for several seconds. Totally radical dude!!!
1. Realising we had been ripped of and paid twice what we should have for a tuna fishing trip. Having to argue for several hours to get most of the money back, except about 5 pounds.
2. The underwater Olympus camera deciding it did not want to be waterproof anymore and filling with water whilst snorkeling. It now refuses to work.
1. Wading chest deep in water through a dark jungle cave tunnel, surrounded by spiders, bats and catfish (Lil).
2. Snorkeling with black tip reef sharks at Sharks Point, Ko Toa. They were not massive (1.5 to 2.0 meters long) but there were schools of 5 to 6 cruising around us only a few metres away.
Not too many weird food but plenty of very nice food. However we did eat a very strange dim sum like green parcel with banana and coconut inside.
Pomelo - sweet green grapefruit
White Mango - blander and less sweet than the regular green mango. Not very nice.
Snake fruit - sweet fruit with snake skin like skin.
Being able to drink free clean tap water.
MOSTLY HAD FILL OFF
Early morning wake up calls from roosters (4am) and praying at Mosques (5am).
'It iz diving Liannah, itz not naturalle' – Freddie, French PADI dive instructor, Ko Toa.
'Hong Thong, same same but drunker' – Bom, Koh Sok jungle trekking guide
'Oh my god what have I just done?'– Rick, Phuket. Realising he has liberally sprayed his underarms with a fly killer instead of a deodorant can.
'I give you special honeymoon price' – Nearly every market vendor in Bali
Bali grows wine vines and makes their own wine.
If you are rich enough you can have up to 4 wives in Indonesia.
Over half of Hollands dry land in reclaimed from the sea.
FISH CAUGHT - None, although i did help land the Dolphin fish. Also felt a bit weird about catching colourful tropical fish.
BITES and STINGS (new name)- Chris mosi 30+ (also drove into a bee on a scooter which stung me in the throat) Lil mosi 10+. We both got many small stings from microscopic jelly fish whilst diving.
TAN - Demerara sugar
NEXT ON AGENDA
Australia - West Coast Darwin to Perth
Thai - Indo Part 1
01/02/2009 - 05/03/2009 35 °C
12/02/2009 - 18/02/2009
Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia
14/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia
Hue - Citadel, Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Presidential Palace, Temple of Literature (with the Hanoi Kids) and Halong Bay
Vientiane, Vang Vieng – tubing on Nam Song river, Tham Jang caves and Luang Prabang
Chang Rai – Hill tribes of Akha, Lahu and Karen, Chang Mai and Bangkok – Royal Grand Palace, CAT Building, State Tower, Lumphini Park, Baipai Cooking School, Atlanta Hotel, Brown Sugar Jazz Club.
Kuala Lumpur – Petronas Twin Towers, Batu Cave and Pulau Perhentian Kecil coral reef.
Wildlife: Black Eagle, Sea Hawks, Hunter Spiders, Jungle Cock, Giant Gecko, Monitor Lizard, Phosphates, Star Fish, Giant Clam and 100s of butterflies and tropical fish.
Being interview in the street by HTV (Hanoi TV news channel) on new years eve.
Taking on the very high rope swings and zip lines over the river whilst tubing in Laos.
Shooting a local hunters rifle that we met along a mountain trail whilst trekking.
Finding 1500 Baht on the floor – equivalent to 30 pounds – does not sound a great amount but in Thailand this would buy: 30 beers or 8.5 full body massages or 3 to 4 nights accommodation.
Northern Thailand Trekking in the mountain jungle and staying with hill tribes.
Staying on the Malaysian tropical island – deserted beaches, coral reefs and turquoise water – it was like the Lost island without the others and polar bears.
Deli Belly - It was only a matter of time in Asia. Laid up in bed for 2 days, trust me you don’t want the details. Chris lost 2kgs.
The moment the computer in the internet café wiped our entire cameras images (about 1000 / 5 weeks worth). The camera was showing – camera contains no images. Lucky later retrieved by a camera shop.
Whilst hill trekking, encountering a massive spider sat in a web above the outside toilet. Also the many spiders around us in the caves. (Lil)
Across the top bridge between the Two Towers of the Petronas building. At 41 floors up at a height of 452 meters is not a good place for a person with vertigo. (Chris)
Climbing 3 km down a deep dark passage in a cave to reach a pool at the end. Alongside spiders as big as your hand, muddy pools, low rocks and stalagmites. (Lil)
Jumping off a very high diving board into a river whilst tubing in Laos (Lil)
Whilst snorkelling, trapped on the seaward side of a coral reef and not being able to find the channel back that we originally swam through.
Pigs intestine (Chris) – a Thai delicacy usually eaten raw but cooked especially for us.
Jaew Bawng – Dried sweet / sticky Buffalo skin made with chillis.
Sticky bamboo rice – cooked and served inside a bamboo stick.
Fish head curry
Roti Canal – a nam bread served with curry sauce eaten cold for breakfast.
Coffee – super sweet and thick coffee served with condensed milk.
Mulberry shake – an usual flavour
Betel nut (Chris) – not technically food but a nut wrapped in a leaf with lime that is chewed in the corner of the mouth, used as a stimulant by elders in tribes and makes there mouths bright red.
Fruits – (new category)
Loganberry – a small lycee type fruit, very sweet.
Mini Banana – small sized more sweet than UK. Roasted on street BBQs.
Rabutan – Red spikey lycee type fruit, very sweet.
Friends and family at Christmas and New Year
Chris’s Ferndale home cooking
MOSTLY HAD FILL OFF
Loud bus karaoke music
‘Very good question Liannah’ – Homie, hill trekking guide
‘ Whilst we were in Laos we were invited to dinner at a mans house to eat some Quai. This means penis in Thai, not wanting to be rude by turning the invite down we questioned the menu of Quai. It was at this point, to our relief, we worked out Quai in Laos is actual the word for Buffalo pronounced Qway in Thai.’ – Homie, hill trekking guide
‘You are beautiful lady’ – Randon women, by the lake in Hanoi to Lil. (She has had this a few times in SE Asia.
‘Can we pay some money to get our 30 day visa’ – Liannah, inadvertently attempting to bribe the Thai boarder guard. He was having none of it.
‘Thy body is in jail
But thy spriit, never
For the great cause to prevail,
Let thy spirit rise for ever ‘
1942, Ho Chi Minh
‘Unity, unity, broad unity
Success, success, great success ‘
1951, Ho Chi Minh
SUPRISING FACTS (new category)
Vietnam is the worlds second largest coffee producer.
Laos is the most bombed country per capita (30% failed to detonate) and has the largest amount of unexploded land mines.
Malaysia produces massive amounts of crude and palm oil.
Thailand’s love and respect for the Monarchy especially the King is taken to the extreme. Its illegal to step on money or lick stamps / before movies and at bus and train stations the national anthem is played and you are expected to stand with your arms by your side / every home, restaurant, street and vehicle has a picture of the king and queen.
Zero – a very sad month for Chris – fishing only once and entire boat blanked.
A constant 2-3. A peak in the amount when we were attacked in the Malaysian jungle including 2 ant bites for Lil, one on the eye lid.
An even caramel brown. Time on the beach has eliminated farmer tan.
NEXT ON AGENDA
South Thailand Islands, Indonesia and Oz