So a week has passed since we left the uk, time for an update... If only to let my parents know all is well with us!
The flight was great and although we hardly slept we did manage to catch up on some films we had yet to watch. 5000 miles later we arrived in Bangkok with our backpacks ready to start our adventure. Holly's dad story of his adventures when younger was ringing in our ears where he was told to "remember you are British and not let the country down abroad." I don't think what we were undertaking really hit us until the tearful farewells to parents and then once again as we looked out on Bangkok as we came into land and coming to realise that we were going to be away for a year!
Soooo Bangkok is an interesting city ... However we only had one day before we had to catch the sleeper train down to ko Tao. We eventually found our hotel however it would appear there are around 20 Bangkok City Hotels and this combined with our non-existant Thai meant we did hit our first cultural stumbling block. Thanks to a rather lovely Thai man who we learnt had just come back from Ireland because there weren't any jobs there anymore we found our hotel! Certainly conversations were quite fragmented and seemed to go like this. "so where are you from".... "London"..... Ah so which team, arsenal, Chelsea.... No, Plymouth argyle, have you heard of them?? This soon stopped conversations dead! Not sure why the mighty pilgrims haven't made it big in Thailand!! I think at this stage we were amazed at how nice everyone was.... We would soon be proved wrong however!
The lack of sleep on the flight caught up with us and 11hrs later we woke and quickly made it down in time to check out but missing breakfast completely. We had enough time though to see the Grand Palace. Sadly this was closed for the royal family to grieve and pray for one of thai princesses that had recently passed away. To fill the gap we were offered lots of options by the "helpful" people outside. I think everyone in Bangkok must be earning commission from Thai Silk the amount of offers we had to see what amounted to a fancy designer clothes shop. After escaping them we did end up talking to someone who suggested and negotiated a tuk-tuk trip to see some local sights (plus a trip to the Thai Silk factory which we were keen to avoid.) After seeing a beautiful temple and the reclining buddha we were keen to head back and skip the final part of the tour but no the tuk-tuk driver wanted our help to get him 5l of gas to continue endangering peoples lives with crazy cornering! After we initially refused which led to him getting very shirty we agreed to help in order to get back and ended up at a random gem centre which thought of itself as the Bangkok watching a video of how this place came into being. It was a surreal place but I think the guy got his petrol voucher and we were off back to the Grand Palace. Our very nice and friendly driver to start with ended up being a grumpy sod!
The Grand Palace was beautiful but it was boiling in the afternoon sun so we then departed to get our sleeper train down to ko Tao. After stocking up on food and snacks we found our "express" train and boarded.... Basic as they were all seemed to be fine and fortunately Holly had booked sleeping berths. After the conductor and very stern looking policemen checked our tickets (no quickly nipping into first class here) the beds were made for us and we tried to get some shut eye. Problem was we had to be up at 3.30am to get off the train so both of us were fearful of missing the stop that I never managed to fall asleep and holly got about an hour! Let's say these trains are not conductive to sleeping being boiling hot and with drop toilets! It made me very envious of Southern and FCC trains to Brighton! What was I moaning about.....
20 mins late we made to Chumpton and got off with about 5 other people in what seemed the middle of nowhere! But there was a shop open and what better thing to do after traversing live tracks but play Uno at 4am with ice tea! Living the high life! Eventually more trains arrived and around 6am we got a bus and then a ferry to Ko Tao!
Wow! What a beautiful island... Both of us wanted to use this time to learn to dive and we managed to book a place offering free accommodation if you dived with them and of course for that you would expect something basic and basic was what we got.... Nevertheless all is made up when you are 2 mins from the beach in a quiet part of the island with 2 great restaurants just a bit further on! Holly has learnt and passed her open water dive course over past 3 days but sadly I wasn't able to dive due to my asthma. Wanting to risk it wasn't an option after the docs i had to go to said last year someone died from it on the island underwater when he had an attack! Eeek! Anyway I has explored the island and found some great spots. Last night we ended up having mojitos on hammocks by the beach at sunset and I feel it's almost time again for that and then time to beat holly at crazy golf! (Er, Tom...I think you'll find that was game set and putt to moi- holly) ok so I admit holly beat me for the first time legitimately! But it's all about taking part for me... At least it was today as this great course had a mini stonehenge and castle! (such a sore LOSER - holly)
Next stop - ko samui for 2 days and then onto kuala Lumpur however to get there involves train hell.... From 1am on thursday we are on trains for 21hrs with a 1hr break! So glad we have a friendly face in KL. Cocktails will be called for Charlotte! then we onto Singapore before flying to Oz on the 16th! woohoo!
Oh and how could I forget ... We have german dopplegangers here, living 2 rooms down. Admittedly rather freaky occurrence and I feel I got the rough end of the association! (sorry mr german Tom) a photo is needed clearly to bring this likeness to life.... however this morning German Holly was placing a spongebob squarepants towel on the balcony..... Ahhhh they share the same cartoon fascination - weird! To compound this I was casually watching the charity shield this evening and someone taps me on the shoulder and asks what the score is..... Who was it i hear you ask..?? Only german Tom, !? Argh! I could only come out with some useless blabbering in response!
Here ends today's message... tallyho