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Nha Trang

Sooooo over it.

Everyone else seems to be having fun though. Saw the Buddha again, saw the Cham temples again. Saw the beach again, ate some food. Sweated a lot. Paid way too much for a meal at The Sailing Club, but it was nice surroundings and all.

We leave tonight for Saigon/Ho Chi Minh Land.

That chicken-slaughter video is way too large to upload until I return to Melbourne so you're all off the hook. The chicken, however, is still dead.

i'm a Portu-Gal

Well I am now in trusty old expensive London.
I wish i had more time in the amazing Portugal. Lisboa is a funky city, really in touch with today's trends in music and fashion, the countryside is beautiful, you have untouched forest and pristine beaches, tiny villages and friendly folk! It is interesting that the Portuguese don't dub their foreign TV shows they use subtitles allowing most of the population to learn English, this made it alot easier asking for the tinned corn at the supermarket!
While in Lisoa, we visited the western most point of Europe, it was like standing on the edge of the world!
We partied a few nights, one night we went to a private party for the band 'tv on the radio' another we spent in the old district drinkin beer with the locals on the street which is the most popular thing to do in Portugal.
The buildings in Portugal are famous for their hand painted tile exteriors, the whole facard of the building is covered top to bottom, very beautiful!
We had…

photos

A monk in training, and the awful haircut that is required.

Me looking all unfocused.

Monks hard at work, somehow ignoring stupid tourists.

Mark and Son somewhere at some point, doing something.

People eat dogs here, I guess sometimes not all at once.

This is a beach. A beach is the meeting point between land and sea. Often people like to relax at locations such as this. Sucks to be you, not being here.

Beefalo. Like Buffalo, but tastier.

FREE DRINKS!
What became of our chicken. Instructional video coming soon.

Hoi An

No I haven't bought anything. I've barely spent any money the whole time we've been here.

The camera isn't being recognized by this computer, but worry not - I have a nice video of a chicken being slaughtered for our dinner, and it will be uploaded come rain or hail (or more likely no rain or hail). Here is your official warning that there will be blood. Not much of course, chickens don't really bleed a lot. And anyway, there was a nice little bowl to catch everything.

I might try to get a coat today, but probably not. I can't decide what kind, and I just really cannot be bothered. We're leaving tomorrow morning, so it's probably too late.

I've really just been coasting through this time, not really paying much attention to what is going on. Our tour guide, Son, has been good - taking us to some places we might not have found otherwise (the restaurant that kills the food freshly being one of them.) I told Son that last time I was here I spent less than…

Toarmina sicily, the unimaginable

On thursday I went to Taoramina, possibly the most beautiful beach i have ever seen. it is north of catania, prolly about 1 hours drive. Ric was in Rome for a meeting so his assistants husband( Marcello) took me- how random! The people in sicily are SOOOOO friendly. Marcello was a gentle sicilian man of 52, who instructed me to think of him as his father today. Indeed in my heart he will alwsy be my surragate Italian father. We drove the winding and scenic road to Taormina, parked and hit the beach. It was a pebbled beach, set between to hills, out of this world stunning! I swam in the clear waters, sat in the warm sun and wondered if this was heaven. you would have to see the photo to know how beautiful it was. Marcello is such a character and had numerous views to give me on Sicily and Italy as well as some advice on men. It was quite a site on the beach- this older Italian man, with this young blonde girl, and he later told Ric and us over dinner and he felt like a paedophile, and …

the real italy- SICILY

After my initial shaky start in Sicily, I spent 3 great days there with Ricardo and his family. The first morning i awoke to be informed that I would be trying the traditional sicilian breakast - Briosh and Granita. So off I go on the motor bike with Ric, holding on for dear life, and hardly believing that i was in Italy! we reached the local cafe and enjoyed the best granita ever! Granita is hard to explain. its crushed ice, sugar and either almond, lemon , pistacio etc. It is really cold to so you have it with Briosh which is sweet bread. ahhhhh so divine! you only get it in sicily to, no where else in Italy. Following this delectable meal we scooted off to the 'black rocks' for some sunbathing and swimming. Catania is at the foot of the infamous Etna volcano, still active and puffing away to this day. We could see the volcano from Ric's house. Thats why the rocks are black- from the lava, hundreds of years ago. The swimming was fantastic, it was my first dip in the med,…
here are some pics of the castle and one of the view in Lisbon.

bye

Claire, Portugal

...wow!

Hello from Lisboa!
this place is simply amazing.
I arrived here on Wednesday from London after visiting the fam, Our host Pedro and Jam picked me up fron the airport and fronm there we went straight to the beach. The beach is lovely...slightly windy and a little cold but the sand is silky and the sun is hot.
There are little chilled out bars along the beach playing reggae that remind me of Sihanoukville in Cambodia.
Pedro and his girlfriend are really lovely, As he lives with her most of the time, we basically have his house to ourselves with a massive balcony and as much internet as we can handle.
Yesterday was an amazing day, a German girl louisa was staying with Pedro's friend so the three of us went to a nearby town just out of lisboa called sintra. The train ride was about half an hour from the city. Sintra is an amazing town...it is very historic and about 10 degrees colder than lisboa.
When we got to the town we started walking towards the famous castle...we had no idea which w…

hiccups on arriving in Sicily

After a long sleepless night at stansted airport, which i endured after practically being molested by the security guard aftr check in (body searched etc)- do i look like a terrorist?? - must be the blonde hair- very al qaedia. anyway i arrived in palermo at about 11 italian time. After getting off the plane I arrived at baggage collection, and then it dawned on me........ that here,.....in Italy....... they spoke Italian...... and I did not know a word. yes it was a very blonde moment, and i know i am leaving myself vulnerable to riducule revealing this!

anyway Palermo was stunning and the mountains were amazing, set against a sparkiling mediteranean ocean. I managed to get on the bus from the airport to the city, but with no italian even that was a struggle. I then experienced the roads of palermo, and am happy to say lived to tell the tale..... it is abosulte mayhem!!!! freaking riduclous driving, how anyone survives remains a mystery to me. anyhoo i then caught a bus to catania, an…

Ha Long

The typhoon was well gone by the time we arrive in Halong Bay. We spent the night and it only started raining lightly in the early morning. It was all quite amazing really.

You'd think being on a boat would prevent people from coming up to you and offering to sell you things, right? You'd think it would be the one place where it wouldn't happen. But no, they just hop in their own boat and follow you. And of course this means that they are able to carry a lot more with them in the boat.

I'm going to lunch now, more later.

Typhoon Bay

There's been a typhoon over at Ha Long Bay, right smack bang where we were about to spend the night on a Boatel tomorrow. It was, however, in and out in a matter of hours and apparently did not cause much damage so, pending further information from the Ha Long official-types, our night might not be cancelled ... but it might. We'll just have to wait and see.

I never mentioned that we shared our plane with the Dubai soccer team on our way from Singapore. There's this little soccer contest happening now, and certain members of our party have certainly shown interest in attending a match while we are here. I think it would be cool to see Vietnam's team play, but I dunno if it's entirely realistic given our tight schedule.

Anyway, more soon.

Olá

So i have Landed in sunny Portugal!
I am so glad to leave London,it was a replica of Melbourne in the winter...cold rainy windy!
It was fantastic to see the fam though, i also wandered through the museums and had a look nice and free!
Today Jam and i are going to explore Lisbon, she has been here for a few days and loves it so i had better get off this computer and enjoy the sun

Claire

Elle's slideshow

Some of Elle's photos:

unki ho's pickled corpse revisited

We're halfway through the first day of the tour. We saw Ho Chi Minh, he was sleeping however so we all decided not to disturb him. Later will be the dreaded water puppet theatre. Bluh, i'll be taking my ipod to that one.

Still, no USB connection so no photos for you! BORK!

Don't forget to check the other bloggorgog.

more words

We're now in the Hotel that begins our Intrepid tour. It's much nicer than the last place, but I have no use for two whole beds in my room. I'm cooling off in the lobby after a terrible attempt at wandering that ended in a taxi ride back to the hotel. I blame the map entirely. There's a big HD TV on the wall in here
It's about 37 degrees at the moment. I'm not a giant fan of this area of Hanoi. I'd much prefer to go back to the old quarter.
I just met our tour guide, but I've forgotten his name. We're meeting on floor 9 at 6pm to start the tour officially.

Poot!

drinks at the Boddha

A guy called Thy (or any variation of spelling that results in the same sound) teaches Mark how to smoke a pipe. Thy is a motorbike valet at the Boddha cafe.



We ate here earlier in the evening and some of us came back for drinks. Video of Mark attempting the pipe will be coming soon.

Hanoi

We arrived in Hanoi. It's a mild 32 degrees and humid. Mum is freaking out about everything, but I see potential for her to calm down. It's about 6.30pm now, so we are about to work out where to dine for our first dinner here. I'll try to convince people to go to the Boddha cafe, which is a little over 2 blocks from our Hotel now. Tomorrow I shall write a proper entry, and possibly upload a photo or two.

London at glance

I stayed in London for 2 days and am flying off to Sicily early tomorrow. As I arrive back on the friday I was informed that glascow airport had a burning car driven into it, while 2 cars laden with deadly car bombs had been parked outside TIGER TIGER in haymarket in central london. the country is now on extreme terrorist activity alert- looks like I am leaving just at the right time to! never the less I took the underground to central london, and while the place was crawling with security had a fantastic day. I walked around covent gardens while waiting to meet my South African friend Sandra. covert gardens is kewl, lots of street buskers and boutiques etc. seein sandra again was great, I have only seen her once since we both left south africa 6 years ago- fortunaltly I got the hot country. We walked around for ages and ages trying to find somewhere to have a 'cream tea' - after the irish stew and breakfasst role, I did not want to miss out on any of the particular food of ea…

The breakfast role ..... and more

I spent two more day in Dublin, one visiting the wicklow mountains, and the other recovering from a big night out on the town with Jules and Hannah. Wicklow was truly spectular, but once again the weather did not follow suit. Then it was back for some serious grooming- by which i had never been subjected to, but were not surpised came from princess Hanah and Julie, who transformed me. after copius amounts of vodka, 7up (similar to lemonade) and cranberry juice, we headed out for a night of dancing and fun. AND dance we did, although it made me realise how lucky we are that we don't have to pay cover charges at clubs and pubs in OZ- 10 euro, and thats not even for a a posh place! I was getting very exitced about my 'breakfast role' showing by skipping around the streets of Dublin, singing 'breakfast role, breakfast role!' much to the embarassment of my irish counterparts. A breakfast role, as some may know, is a hangover cure, particular to ireland, so much so tha…

Paddy wagon tour

On monday I departed for my 'paddy wagon' tour. There were ab out 25 of us on it and we all were loaded onto this big green bus at Connely station in Dublin. Our tour guide was thoroughly Irish, complete with red hair and a sizeable gut, making him oh so endearing. We left Dublin, and our first stop was the Pheonix wild park, where the Pope said mass to 1 million people in 2001 (i think) . The weather unfortunaly was cold and grey, with rainy patches. next we visited 'a bog.' Specfically the bog of Allen. This black stuff has been used by the Irish in rural areas for centuries to provide fuel for heat etc. We then arrived at Clonmacnoise: Ireland’s Golden Age Celtic Crosses. This place was wierd, its an old monastic graveyard, dating back to decades ago. extremely beautiful but also a bit eery, we wandered around taking photo's and also had a slide show, which was more like a bed time story. So after a long day of driving we arrived in the west of Ireland in Galwa…

gone back

Leaving in an hour or so. I think I'm packed, but I'm sure I've forgotten something. I just added a feed from my brother's new travel blog, kind of like a sister site - but brother? Nevermind. Anyway, him and Roxi are doing their thing over there, but it's a very ugly blog, so prepare your eyes for BLACK! If you wanna just go there on your own link-clicking merit then make your mouse button useful.

I know it's going to be hot in Hanoi, but it's so cold here right now that I can't imagine not taking something with long sleeves. I'm going to strip off the instant we leave the airport. My afro is going to boing into existence after a whole year of having manageable hair. I was going to cut it, but forgot - at least I shaved. Even my sideburns are gone.

Bec, I want you to email me between 500 and 1000 words of prose every day. Any more and I won't have time to read it (hour blocks you know). Anyway, I'll update from Hanoi tomorrow.

London for the weekend

Hello All,

Well this weekend i am in the Charming yet wet and rainy England! It has been a bit of shock to the system leaving warm sevilla and landing in rainy london.
I didn't spend much time in London though, i went and visited Jess and Benny in the evening then headed to my aunts place in Sevenoaks, which is one hour out of London.
It had been great to see some of England outside of London, the towns are very cute and just like a beatrix potter book. You wouldn't even believe it is summer here, i feel like i am in Australian winter....but wetter!
Today, dad and i are going with my aunt and uncle to see Andy and his girlfriend for dinner. Yesterday we had dinner with my grandmother who i haven't seen in 18 years, it was nice to have the family together.

going to go visit Andy now

bye from Sevenoaks, England

Claire

Post card from Claire

We just received a postcard from Claire. She managed to get my address wrong, but it still arrived!



In other news, Paul (who is actually the one typing this) is returning to Vietnam on Tuesday, arriving about 6am in Hanoi with the whole frikking family. Apparently the first night accommodation has been organised... bah. It would have been more fun to walk around with 9 people trying to get accommodation. I don't know where people's sense of adventure has gone. Poot!

more on valencia

well i thought i should write about the actual city of valencia,
So far we have had a different time in each of the cities; Barcelona is the tourist capital though we really felt like home there and got involved with the `locals´, Madrid was bigger and louder and capitalist, though more expressive, Valencia is much a smaller city with the most amazing street art and stunning beach....nothing like that fake beach in barcelona where the sand is bought in with trucks.
Valencia was very historic, more so that madrid or barcelona.
Now we are in Seville which is absolutely stunning, morish tiles are on every building the alleys are tiny with windows peering into elaborate courtyard gardens. The weather is amazing, not a cloud in the sky and 33 degrees everyday!
we are staying in our first hostel and it is such a different perspective on travel, we were a bit lost the first day. We have met a few tourists for the first time, the seemed a bit annoying because we were used to the spanish way of do…

ooohhh sad!

Leaving the beautiful Valencia was very sad!
we had made such good friends with our hosts! the amazing Patrick who spoiled us rotten with a breakfast ready for us in the mornings; the fabulous mafioso fausto who cooked us the best italian pasta(...and valencian paella) you this side of the mediteranian; the cheeky and oh too cute Poncho, our mexican doll whos cheeks we couldn´t stop pinching; and augusine well we didn´t see much of him but he is great all the same!
When we arrived at this house Fausto had never cooked Paella for anyone but had promised it many times and in the time we were there they cooked it 3 times. Apparently we bought the house together with everyone cooking together in the evenings having a great time, i really felt happy there..good food good company it is what life is all about!
I was the resident hairdresser too i cut everyones hair and surprisingly well...i am quite proud!
We went to the san juan festval which was cool....the whole city on the beach bonfires ev…

kilmainhm jail

Yesterday I spent the day in Monahen. Julie's home town in the north part of the south of Ireland. it was VERY green and we went for a walk in this huge forest where this old castle used to be, before rebels in the north burnt it down in the 70's. Later on we went for a late lunch in the castle where Paul Mc Cartney got married. it is said to be haunted and dates back to the 1700's. I then drove back to Dublin with Julie, and we started pre- drinking for a night out in the poshest club in Dublin- "krystle." Indeed it was very trendy and cost 10 euro to get in. apparently it is where all the celelbrities hang out. The closest thing I have seen to it in melbourne is probably EVE night club in south melbourne on laura's 21st. lucky I went with jules who could dress me up to look the part, who would have known that a poor and clueless student was behind all that mascara! It was a good night though, connor bought us heaps of drinks, and we had a dance- although t…

Duuuuuuuuublin

I spent a day exploring the intriguing city of Dublin. Julie and I took the "Dublin tour Bus". It went round to all the important sites - Trinity College, the Dublin parliament, and "spike" and the store house. The stoer house was by the far the most interesting thing. It is after all the home of the famous Guinness! It is a huge factory, and the tour explains to you exactly how the Guinness phenomenon came to be. It was really interesting to understand how it was made- mainly with barley, yeast and also some wierd plant called hops that you can only get in regions where the temperature gets to 35C, so it had to be imported. What a process of trial and error and LUCK, to produce the most popular alcholic beeverage in Ireland! Also included was a free Pint of Guinness at the top of the factory, with a view of all of dublin (circular) which was magnificent! Julie and me unfortunatly failed to finish our guinness! But was a fantastic experience! we then went for a st…

party party like princesses

ok i must start with saying jam and i are having the time of our lives here in spain!

We did our first real partying in madrid, we went to a huge nightclub and danced the night away with Jose and his friend albaro (we call him the tree because it sounds likr tree in italiano) The clubs in spain are really cheesy, though fun none the less. They have the half naked buff dancers on podiums and bad euro pop music. everyone is so relaxed in spain, there aren´t those pretentious girls like you get in melbourne and sometimes when you go out you are even out numered by men which would never happen in melbs....the poor guys don´t get let in at home. Towards the end of teh night i had a spanish guy grab me and start dancing one of their dances with me, it was hilarious, he was so serious and did all the moves! fun!
I have probably mentioned this beforebut in spain you drink at a bar til 3 then make your way to a club and party until 8am. We have been doind alot of this recently (especially in val…

arrival in Dublin

I arrived in Dublin today, to a cold and angry grey sky- summer iin Ireland! The day started early with my jet lag still apparent waking up at 5:30am. I left for stansted airport via a bus transfer from Heathrow, and eventually got to Dublin at 12:30. Jules picked me up and was very emotional to see her again after so long. She was a faboulous host and I am staying the in the lap of luxury! We went to UCD uni and I bought a very cool hoodie from the uni shop, so ust in case people in Ireland couldn't pick up on my foriegn accent, they lle know Im a tourist! WE walked into Dublin City centre, into grafton street. its cute little cobbled street, very crowed and busy, but oh so Irish. Dublin is a funky city so far, so much old history and tradition which seeps from the old buildings. We also went into Trinity college, - absolutly amazing! the buildings are so old and beautiful and you imagine this being the 'oxford' of Ireland. We also went into the 'long room' ins…

the beginning

hello hello

not sure if this is actually going to save or not- bec? anyway will use and try and see!
the flight to london was long and tedious. I was, however, blessed with the mens national rowing team on my flight and seroiously considered joining the mile high club.......kidding! anyway after what seemed like days (about 30 hours from take off in melbourne) I arrived at heathrow airport. I was picked up by my lovely host Gill, for some down time in Weybridge, just outside London. I slept for about 3 hours, got up and was completly disorientated. spent the day attempting to stay awake, and feeling semi "hungover." It was all sunny and bright in london, and so wierd that it was still light at 9pm. at about 7pm i went to this country estate gym with Gill, was very swank, rolling hills and sauna's, spa's; pools etc. Was running on the treadmill listening to my powderfinger on my when I noticed that it was 4am in melbourne time on my ipod, lol - this would be the only t…

Barcelona...my second homea

Hola!
que pasa?
Come estas guapos?

well Jam and i spent a total of 13 days in the wonderful Barcelona. Our host was great and i felt really at home there. I cooked or us most nights, and saved alot of money, we had picnics and ate fresh fruit at the market when we felt packish.
Our host gave us our own set of keys so we came and went as we pleased. We had our own room and In the mornings we woke up and sun bathed on the balcony. We loved the closeness of living in barcelona, the balcony looked over people hosing down their patios, gardening smoking, eating.
When we decided to move we got ready and spent most of the days just wondering around the city wandering into shops and looking at the architecture. It is so easy to just wander in Barcelona, it is so pretty. We spent alot of time at the beach sun baking and meeting random people. We spent one evening with the wonderful Nacho from Argentina after meeting him on the beach and inviting him to play a makeshift game of aussie rules footbal…

I Likes the Mekong I does

I Likes the Mekong I does
Originally uploaded by Bickenchurger. The Majestic Mekong in Luang Prabang, Lao

And swim we did

And swim we did
Originally uploaded by Bickenchurger. The waterfall near Vang Vieng, this is such an amazing place, A huge waterfall cascading through 15 tiers of crystal clear pools.....so lovely!

rocket festival!

Claire 045
Originally uploaded by Bickenchurger. Well to back track a little, here i was at the Rocket festival in Vang Vieng, Lao!
This happens every year where they shoot rockets into the sky to welcome the rainy season. It seemed to work as later that evening we had a mud fight and ate happy garlic bread....crazy!!

hola!

hello all!

well jam and i are having a great time here!
it isn´t all that warm but are enjoying spending time on the beach and wandering about town.
we have been making friends with random people (funnily none of them spanish) and getting up to all sorts of adventures.
We´ve been fairly thrifty here i have spend 100 euros in one week which is ok. We haven´t had to pay for accomodation (thanks to good old couch surfing and hospitality club) and walked most of the time instead of catching the metro. It is so easy to walk around this city as there are parks, fountains, monuments, and beautiful architecture around ever corner. The other day Jam and i got lost (not literally) in the gothic neighbourhood, one of the oldest in Barcelona. The streets are narrow and every group of aparments face a square in the middle where the people of the neighbourhood all meet, walk their dogs and the children play football.
Yesterday we went to the park Guell that Goudi built. We started in the wrong section …

BARTTHHHHELONA!¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿

Hello All

Greetings from the beautiful spanish city of Barcelona!
After a quick 2 hr flight from london, Jam and i arrived last night. We´re couchsurfing with a lovely host called Josep who lives close to central barcelona.
Last night we went and had some traditional food and it was amazing! tiny fried fish, potatoes with spicy sauce, salty fried peppers and mini mushies! delicious!
The vibe of the city is really nice with all the arcitecture, warm weather, friendly people and delicious smells.

It is a relief being here afeter coming from london, it got so cold on the last day, i only left the house once to get some cake and chocolate...oh and icecream (inspired by the cold weather).

today Jam and i are going to make our way to the markets and see what we can find...and eat ourselves stupid no doubt!

bye for now

Claire Barelona

London

Sorry about the 'speechless' post the other day!
I was going to write something about my flight but i pressed enter by accident and couldn't be bothered fixing the mistake.
but anyhoo, I am here in the swanky suburb of chelsea,london. I have been most cordially welcomed into the hotel of deares jess who has given me a room for free, I have saved quite alot of money so thankyou Jess, you are the best!
The First day in london was ok, though i was fairly buggered, the next day it rained a little when we went exploring the city and the three days after that were lovely and warm, Jamima and I had a great time chatting to randoms and seeing the sights.
The last few days have been rainy though it kinda feels like the real british experience walking in the rain.
London is fairly expensive though you don't have to spend all that much (besides public transport...OUCH!) if you don't want to. Tonight we made a massive delicious and healthy meal for at least 6 people for £3.50 (not …

Zi's niece

DSCN6272
Originally uploaded by Bickenchurger. This shot is kinda trippy, it was taken at Zi's house

Theory

So Bec, I have been thinking...following various circumstances involving food poisoning i have come up with the following theory!
I have realised that the only times i (and many fellow travellers) have been sick has been when i have eaten at restaurants...we have the veggie spring roll ordeal in Sapa last year and Kaz and i had the killer seafood in Koh Chang, Thailand.
This trip i have been mainly eating at food stalls in markets and roadside and never been sick (not including the koh chang prawns of death).
my theory goes as follows: The restaurant is more likely to carry bacteria and have cross comination due to the fact that it isn't packed up, cleaned and moved everyday like food stalls. Also you can't see how they cook the food or how the food is stored! The food at stalls is fresh everyday because there aint no fridges!
So far my theory has proved me right, though i won't hold my breath! ;)

Sapa

DSCN6206
Originally uploaded by Bickenchurger. Here i am in lovely SaPa with some hill tribe ladies

beautiful LAOS

Hey all!

Well we spent a few more days in Vang Vieng, we went cycling and swimming in the river one day and sat and watched sex and the city and friends (which you can't escape...they play it in all the restaurants, as well as the simpsons) the next because it rained ALL day. though it just so happened that it was the rocket festival! this is an important day in Laos where they all party hard and shoot rockets into the sky to welcome the rainy season...it seemed to work coz the rain didn't stop! And with rain we all know what happens...MUD!!! MUD MUD AND MORE MMUUDDD!!! There was a massive mud fight as part of the festival, i tried my hardest to stay clean but i got dragged in!
We partied at night and the rain stopped, we had a bonfire too which was lovely.
The next morning i had to get up to go to luang Prabang...that was hard!
there wasn\t enough room on the bus so i was up with the driver, the view was amazing though at one point i fell sasleep on the driver, he had to elbow me…

Laos!

Hey all,
I arrived in laos yesterday and it is lovely!
After a 22 hour bus ride we arrived in Vienine. The Laos countryside is lovely, my first impression is that it is very similar to melbournes bushland near standrews, it felt a little like home.
The further we drove the more stunning the landscape became, it looks a little hike ha long bay on land with rocky cliffs and mountains.
We spent one night in the capital and had a great night, we ate dinner by the river (a little dried up but nice anyway) we had about 6 beer lao longnecks each and partied the night away. The next day we mucked around a little then caught the 6pm bus to veng vieng The tubing capital of the world.
We are staying in these cute little bungalows for $5 each ($2.50 each) similar to the ones in koh Chang but more clean and fancy. We have gathered quite a posse, there are 2 canadian girls with us a british girl, dutch guy and me.
Today we went tuing, the ain attraction of vang vieng. it was so much fun! floating down…

More things...

OK back!

so where was i up to?

Hoi An...well that town is just beautiful, so picturesque! We had spend so much time getting clothes made though, some were amazing some not so amazing but so damn cheap! we found the greatest pho street stall, so damn cheap and tasty!

we also visited an orphanage which was lovely.

There is something about the food in general in hoi an, it is just so tasty, i don't know what they put in it but the tomato, garlic peanuts combine to make a taste sensation!

the beach there is nice too, though much colder than cambo or thailand.

next stop was hanoi, my last days with my kazza, we had a bit of a freakout when we realised we had left out passports 19 hours away in hoi an but that was all resolved when they sent them up on a bus for us. They arrrived 2 hours before kaz was to leave for Bangkok..PHEW!

Kazzy Come back!

Well after Kaz left i went to Sapa that evening on the night train, i was lucky to spend the rest of the day with some lovely british girls we shared…

Finally an Update!

Hello!!

Well i am sorry to all who is on my back about being slack with my blog, my apologies!

Well where do i start?

Well Kaz and i had an amazing time together, we cycled the streets of nha trang where we tasted the most amazing coffee ( and kaz dearest the coffee in hanoi really isn't the same) we left there without going to the beach once which was strange but it didn't come close to the beach in sihanoukville.

our next stop was the lovely town of hoi an. Kaz and i really had a great time here besides the fact that is a womans paradise with all the shoe and clothing tailors, it is a really beautiful town. we hored bikes here every day, it was a little easier to ride here as the town is much quieter

just a sec...gotta change computers...

Nha Trang

Hello All!

Well Kaz and i are here is Nha Trang, Vietnam. we have been here 2 and a bit day so far and we're leaving to go to hoi an tonight on the night bus.

The city has changed a little since i was here last, there have been a few renovations and a few classy cafe's have appeared. Overall Kaz and i are loving Vietnam, it is very different from Cambodia as it is more developed, The people are amazing, We met a man on the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon and he called up all these people to find out what bus we should catch to nha trang, he also recommended a restaurant in Nha Trang which is fantastic, Kaz and i have eaten there both nights we have been there.

The first day here we visited the seated buddah, that was about it

yeaterday we wend for a big bike ride though nha trang along the beach, we also rode through some of the back streets to look at the neighbourhood where all the people yelled out 'HELLO".

The only real problem kaz and i have is that Vietnam is alot more…

back in VN!

Well after like 13 hours catcing buses, we are in saigon, not for long though as we are about to catch another bus to nha trang! i must say it is great to be back in VN the people here are just so lovely, we even had a vietnamese guy buy us dinner before we were even in the country.
When i get to nha trang i'll take some time to update but for now the bus calls... :(

Home again!

well our cambodian home anyway!
sihanoukville for khmer new years, i have so much to write about, we had to leave siem reap, had too many bad experiences, it was really awful! we spent 11 hours on the bus yesterday just to get back here, and now we are all relaxed again!

ahhh!

well i am really tired now so i will probably elaborate tomorrow

bye for now

cLAIRE

Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor!

Well today was a lovely day indeed!
The Kaz and i went to angkor wat and the surrounding temples, we organised a tuk tuk driver to take us around for the day, it was absolutely breathtaking, i will post some pics when i can.
We met some monks and we took soome photos with them, and then one pulled out a mobile phone and took one with us!
the monks wear and amazing orange robe that looks striking against the colous of the temples, they are really friendly and are really interested in having a chat and practicing their english.

tomorrow we might go back to Sihanouklville...we'll see.

Claire Siem Reap

Kidnapped!

Well today we were kidnapped briefly in Siem Riep!
but no need to be alarmed mum and dad!
We were taken off the bus by a guy claiming to be from the bus company, he was even wearing a shirt from the bus company! He said that he would take us to our guesthouse free of charge and that the cost is inclusive of our bus ticket, so we obliged and then it clicked, he started asking us when we wanted to go on tours and where we wanted to go, we said that we didn't know and that we didn't want to make any plans. He then said that in return for the ride to the guest house we had to let him take us on a tour or we would have to pay for the ride. Kaz and i didn't have a bar of it and asked him to let us out of the tuk tuk, he wouldn't let us out and said he would take us into the jungle and leave as there to get robbed and mugged. After refuing to pay him a rediculous amount he started driving into the mddle of nowhere, still arguing he stopped the tuk tuk and tried one last time t…

Lazy Days!

Well This is out first night in Phnom Penh. We were supposed to leave the frog shack like 2 nighs ago but Kaz got ill and wasn't able to leave, though that didn't stop us from nearly missing our bus out of the place. For me it was hard to say goodbye the kids are so much fun and it was just the laziest, most relaxed lifestyle. I made friends with a French guy who didn't speak much English and i know no French, but with a few lessons in french i now know how to recite the French instructions on the back on the uno packet with perfect pronounciation! in return i peeled the burned skin off his back...it was a bonding moment.
The last few days in Sihannoukville were pretty lazy, there were storms both nights, i stayed up to watch the sunrise and we had to swim into the sea to get a better view, the sunrise wasn't that spectacular and we got really cold but it as fun all the same.

It's funny being on holiday, i forget to eat and sleep and it doesn't really effect me …

Sihannoukville

Hi All!
tomorrow we are supposed to be leaving sihannoukville and it is really sad! The place we are staying t is really great! the people who own it are very lovely, letting us stay for free and we basically run the place, the bar, the music it is a blast! having partys evernight! It is right on the beach and when i say right on the beach i mean the legs of the banana lounges and chairs we lie in catch the white bubbles in the waves.
Today Kaz and i got our visas for VN SO EXCITED TO GO BACK!! bec ad paul yes we are are going to hoi an hanoi and of course Sapa! i will say hi to the girls for you!
We also went to the market (photos soon!!) then came back and went for a cycle to the nearby more quieter beaches. we rode through the loveliest little fishing village where there were making boats, it was set where a river meets the sea and you could see all the tropical fish in theh water as we rode over the beach.
Yesterday we ate a typical cambodian dinner at a street stall and tasted rice w…

Now lets backtrack!

Hey!
Well Kaz and i thought Koh Chang island was the bomb!
After a lovely 4 hour air-conditioned coach ride we hopped on the ferry to take us to the island. Our first impressions weren't all that good but as we drove further passed the touristy resorts and 7-11's we found a lovely spot called lonely beach.
we arrived rather late into town so we found somewhere for the night at a place called the treehouse. It was a little hut not far from the beach on stilts made of palm leaves with just a bed and a mosquito net...very cute. Before we went to sleep we cracked open a few coconuts and had a mini feast. The next morning we woke to the sound of thuds of coconuts falling from the trees and decided to look for somewhere else, the fear of death by coconut got the better of us...just jokes, they charged too much for a room with nothing in it.
with not much effort at all, we found the bungalow of our dreams, halfway between the nicer beach and the treehouse restaurant where all the good pa…

Cambodia!

Hey!
well this morning we arrived in Cambodia. We managed to find somewhere to stay for free which is good, you just have to eat there and you stay free!
i have missed a big chunk of koh chang island i know but we were having such a good time there, it was absolute paradise! eating swimming eating swimming playing uno then sleeping, really relaxing. i will fill you in with more later

we got a little sick at one stage, but all seems to be good now.

i must away for now

Claire cambodia

Ko Chang!

Well now i am at Ko Chag Island, just near the border of thailand and cambodia. I will start a few days back as i have neglected the blog somewhat.
Well i had to say goodbye to my Kiwi friend, she is sucha lovely girl, can't wait to catch her in the UK.
I met up with sam in the evening after Mandy left and it was really ood to see her. I used to work with her in the basement and get boozed up on a frida night together at the lounge. We met at MBK and he took me around, i was comletely lost, and so what sam and she has been there before this is how large that place is. I bought myself a few things like an extra bettery for my phone...just in case. i also got a bag which i really needed and an ipod charger. I am really regretting not getting some ipod speakers, they would be perfect here.
After MBK sam took me for a woner around some of the nearby shopping places, Siam square was great, i bought a funky necklace!
I had a bit of a run in with the toilet at the local starbucks, do i spra…

It's me again!

So Something really amazing happened to me!
Just as i was thinking i would have no friends here until kaz arrived, someone just happened to be looking at the same shoes as me,...Mandy!
not dissimilar to our faithful pal Kaz she is of New Zealand origin and is a barrel of fun! We had both arrived at Bangkok on the same day (both solo travellers) and checking out the neighbourhood when we met!
I then took her to see my 120 ($5 AUD) room complete with fleas and seamen stains on the mattress when she offered me to stay in her luxury room for free! she had already paid for a twin room!!
So we have had heaps of fun today at the massive market and when i say massive i mean like so big that you can walk in and never find your way out again!
this evening we went to china town and the people there are so lovely, we sampled heaps of cured meat and eel and fruits! a total sensory explosion

i am off for now, paying by the minute!!

Claire Bangkok

Woah Bangkok!

So he i am! After a 9ish hour flight I have arrived safely and have made my way to the most dingiest fleapit of a guesthouse. I am a little lost as to what to do with myself. I have so much to do yet i don't know where to start.
There are a few things that stand out for me, the first is the traffic. It is much more sedate than Saigon, people drive on the left side of the road AND some motorcyclists actually wear helmets!!! wow
Well i think i might go for a walk around for a bit and write a little more later on. gotta get me a simcard!

catch

Claire Bangkok

Leaving the Nest

Ah, shit. Claire is at it again. No time to even post an 'I'm off' blog. Packing an entire house of hoarding into a few flimsy boxes, I (bec) ask her how she plans to disappear it all before her flight in 24 hours. 'aw . . . my parents will do that'. Ah Claire. Stick around sai-gone and wait for some words of wisdom from Bangkok, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Bangkok, London and Manchester, as our little girl grows up in football kicking, warm-beer drinking, bed-linen manufactring capital of the world.