Monday, 26 June 2006

whistle that tune...

Currently in town called Kanchanaburi on the river Kwai and I'm revelling in my new digital camera at the moment, everything and anything is being photographed - hopefully some of the more boring shots (brick wall, etc) will be shortly deleted (once I've found out how to, instruction manual largely in Japanese, eek) but here are some highlights for your viewing pleasure:

(1) "death railway" bridge over the river Kwai - lots of fun WWII relics and stuff, plus bizarre museum that on one floor had remains of loadsa soldiers and other such delightful exhibits, then on next a 'directory of Miss Thailand' and a 'spot the elephant game' (still one elephant elludes me after 30 mins of searching)

(2) thought I'd include this one of me for anyone who's forgotten how fantabulous I look (gotta say that in absence of mirror in room the digi camera is working well so I can check appearance, etc - me? vain? never) .

The more astute amongst you may notice that today is a very v.e.r.y. important day in the history of mankind, or indeed Jo-kind so am treating myself. Just had a Thai massage, which considering the stories of pain and cripplement that I've heard was actually pretty nice (will just re-attach my arm now). Going out to (hopefully) nice dinner tonight (maybe even ice cream and strawberries if lucky) with a bunch of people on the search of an elusive mojito (can't have beer and footie every night - on that subject I'd like to have an 'I told you so moment' in that I kept the faith and knew ole Davey B would come of use eventually) which should be good.

And finally, (3) general shot of lovely Thailand, all green and exotic and nice, though admittedly a wee bit cloudy - wouldn't believe the thunderstorm the other night, was a little bit scary and got very wet (must buy umbrella). Ah well, must skiddoo, have an unhealthy addiction to Tiger Balm (that incidently, does not contain any actual tiger derivative) which is demanding I smear it all over my mozzy bites immediately. Ciao mes amigos.

Wednesday, 21 June 2006


I'm in THAILAND BABY!!!!!! I made it at loooonng long last!

Ended up spending the remainder of my time in Delhi doing nothing of touristic value, I rode the subway though - it was surprisingly nice; no spit or wee or rubbish (or any other traditional trace of India) to be seen anywhere! Randomly met one of the girls who was also volunteering in Sri Lanka on last night, which was a happy coincidence (of all the people and all of the places in India, small small world).

Somehow managed to take 3 days to get from Delhi to Bangkok, despite total flying time of only 4 hours... Turns out I had a stopover in Bangladesh where everything was as close to being water as possible without actually being water and lots of cockroaches scurrying about. I'd like to thank the hoteliers for waking me at 5am to inform me that breakfast (dry bread and water - well worth getting up for I'm sure) would be ready an hour later, only to not leave for the airport for a further 3 hours. But all made up for by fact that was flying business class (posh-o) so got to use the 'executive lounges' and generally lower the polite businessman-type-newspaper-reading-vibe by stuffing my face with all the free foody nibbles available. Such joy.

Topical comment of moment: has anyone else noticed that Sven Gargle-Eriksson looks astonishingly like Mr Burns from the Simpsons? Especially with Steve "Smithers" McClaren in tow everywhere he goes. Obviously my mind isn't wandering at all when I'm watching the footie in the early hours.

Oh and Khao San Rd (see piccie) veterans will be happy to know that the kid who challenges people to thumb wars is still doing a good trade - although he's more of dude too old to get away with playing thumb war than the child he once was. Happy days. Bring on the Beer Chang!

P.S. 5 days to go...

Monday, 12 June 2006

smelly, belly, errr, telly...

...Delhi (prize being offered to you blogfans who can come up with any more rhyming adjectives). Finally hauled myself out of my Rishikesh 'it's very easy to do nothing all day' stupour (but did go wild one day and dipped toe in Ganges) and via a lengthy bus journey sandwiched between smelly fat man with no concept of personal space (or in fact trouser drawstrings - v. unpleasant yellow Y-fronts moment as discovered this) and strange singing boy I arrived back in the buzzing supermetropolis of Delhi yesterday afternoon. Found myself a hotel with a TV, and not only a TV, but ESPN on it so can watch football matches to my hearts content: GO Serbia and Montenegro!!! Also discovered that due to some hefty censorship can fit about 3 episodes of Sex and the City into 1 hour, v. efficient viewing (although no idea what each episode was about as entire storylines missing).

Oh and some GOOD NEWS, after a brief but painful hiatus as a refugee I now have a passport again - yippeee! I can leave the country at last!!! Oh no no no noooooo. Turns out I need a visa just to leave the country, which obviously carries with it days of requisite paper pushing and stuff so they can be absolutely sure that I am in fact in India at the moment (hmmmm, apparently my presence is not quite enough evidence). Oh and my airline are very keen to give me an opportunity to tour seemingly the entire of Delhi in search of nonexistant but apparently essential bits of paper from random offices that prove that I didn't fly to Bangkok 2 weeks ago (again my presence in their office proved inconclusive).

Here would probably be the space to write a lengthy prose on the sights and 'attractions' of Delhi, but alas not possible, is a Monday so naturally everything is closed and at 40+ degrees if it doesn't have air-con then I'm quite frankly not interested (nice cooling breeze as scoot about in rickshaw akin to opening an oven door); I have however managed to see Delhi Fort (astonishingly very similar to Agra Fort), parliament buildings (suspiciously the only nice and new buildings in Delhi, wonder how the government decides to spend its money) and the spot where the Memorial Gate is (a dust haze has restricted visibility to about 100m) - have a picture of it in my Delhi Guide so guess that counts.

Have taken up playing chess (well have done since I beat a Canadian, Australian and a Kiwi - and what British sporting team can boast that achievement? will ignore embarassing defeat at hands of ruthless Indians). Think high point of week was seeing some monkeys running away from a cow. It's been a slow few days.

Monday, 5 June 2006

HELP!!! My leg's stuck!

Hello there, to those of you who don't know I'm busy waiting time out whilst I get myself a new passport (long boring story, entirely as a result of me falling asleep on a bus rather than being happened upon by bandits which admittedly would make a much more interesting tale to tell). So am currently to be found in Rishikesh, self proclaimed 'Yoga Capital of the World', so obviously (when in Rome and all that) had to try it out for myself to see what all the fuss was about (*hippy alert hippy alert*), hmmmm. Lesson started off innocuously enough sitting on mat with legs crossed and inexplicable chanting - not a problem I can do that, this is going to be easy - though my optimism was soon vanquished as progressed on through different poses until reached nadir as teacher was balancing perfectly somehow with legs and seemingly entire body in air whilst I lay on my back with legs waving helplessly about, non too impressive.

So that was yoga, second thing Rishikesh is famous for (see piccie) would be the Beatles, however I have managed to find absolutely no trace of their being (not even a singing-wallah) so have to make do with singing songs to self, 'we all live in a yellow submarine' indeedy.

Thought I was being a bit boring seeing as I have absolutely nothing to do but kill time and read books, well actually book as there is nowhere to trade my literary classic (Bridget Jones II) for anything other than a Guide to Tantric Yoga or whatever, so to keep things interesting I moved hotels this morning. My new room is ever so slightly larger if you're interested.

Have finally managed to convince the good (hmmm) people of American Express that I really did lose my travellers cheques and didn't just report them stolen for my own amusement so am one step closer to returning to pre-bag loss state (yay). One week to go til World Cup, have made it my aim to be able to watch England playing whilst in Thailand (just hope it is in earlier stages of competition as can't stay here forever). Fingers crossed...

few piccies from down India way

(1) Palolem beach in Goa, it's not all bad this travelling malarky

(2) think you know what this one is, not sure about the dodgy folks posing in front of it (me, Damian and Garlen who spent few weeks with in India, and who I thieved these pictures from: thanks)

(3) public transport desert style - still slow, smelly and not so comfy - being attended to by our man David "chappati?" somewhere in the Great Thar Desert

(4) one of the palaces at Udaipur (as featuring in James Bond's Octopussy), I WANT ONE of these for myself

South Africa (verrrry briefly)

View from Table Mountain (Cape Town) and (if you use a magnifying glass) some happy little penguins I found on place I can't remember the name of but is meant to be the most southern tip of Africa, but aaacktually it isn't, it's just the most southern bit that is near Cape Town and has the added bonus of having some penguins (which makes all the difference methinks).