A Travellerspoint blog

September 2013

First stop Bangkok

So, unbeknown to us our first two nights found us smack in the middle of the sex tourist area of Bangkok. The guidebooks describe the area Sukhumvit as swanky residential and appealing to the more mature backpacker. In reality it's where all the pale paunchy middle-aged western businessmen/tourists stay in more upmarket hotels and visit Dr BJs Salon (genuine name) after hours...

On our first stroll we were pretty dismayed thinking was this representative of the whole of Bangkok? Sure, we know it's reputation and to be fair it wasn't a city we were fussed about visiting - it's where we pick up our tour - but it seemed worse than we were both expecting. I felt particularly uncomfortable as there were no other western females to be seen, nor many Thai men, everything was very much geared to please the fat walleted western man.

On the upside our hotel was great with a rooftop pool so after our crazy busy week and long flight we spent the first day doing very little. We also found a fantastic authentic street restaurant where the green curry (for one quid!) was excellent.

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We visited the Grand Palace the next day which was spectacular but so busy with tourists it was a little frazzling.

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Model version of Angkor Wat, we'll be seeing the real thing in Cambodia towards the end of our tour

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After changing hotels to pick up the tour, we met our group in the evening. Our guide for the next month, Rod, seems great and full of beans (he's Peruvian so will be super handy for leg 3 of our trip!). The group is small - just 10 of us plus Rod - and everyone is friendly. Half the group are Brits, Lucie from Norwich (surname Gillett whose family originate up north.... apparently no relation to Kevin!) and Gemma & Dan from Brighton. Then 2 girls travelling together from Germany, Christine & Verena, 2 Austrians George & Gabriele (a game old bird aged 79!) and Danny, a Canadian.

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View from our 2nd hotel window... errr inspiring...

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First dinner out with the group in Chinatown

The better side of Bangkok to follow...!

Annie x

Posted by Galavantie 09:15 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

First stop Bangkok

So, unbeknown to us our first two nights found us smack in the middle of the sex tourist area of Bangkok. The guidebooks describe the area Sukhumvit as swanky residential and appealing to the more mature backpacker. In reality it's where all the pale paunchy middle-aged western businessmen/tourists stay in more upmarket hotels and visit Dr BJs Salon (genuine name) after hours...

On our first stroll we were pretty dismayed thinking was this representative of the whole of Bangkok? Sure, we know it's reputation and to be fair it wasn't a city we were fussed about visiting - it's where we pick up our tour - but it seemed worse than we were both expecting. I felt particularly uncomfortable as there were no other western females to be seen, nor many Thai men, everything was very much geared to please the fat walleted western man.

On the upside our hotel was great with a rooftop pool so after our crazy busy week and long flight we spent the first day doing very little. We also found a fantastic authentic street restaurant where the green curry (for one quid!) was excellent.

We visited the Grand Palace the next day which was spectacular but so busy with tourists it was a little frazzling.

After changing hotels to pick up the tour, we met our group in the evening. Our guide for the next month, Rod, seems great and full of beans (he's Peruvian so will be super handy for leg 3 of our trip!). The group is small - just 10 of us plus Rod - and everyone is friendly. Half the group are Brits, Lucie from Norwich (surname Gillett whose family originate up north.... apparently no relation to Kevin!) and Gemma & Dan from Brighton. Then 2 girls travelling together from Germany, Christine & Verena, 2 Austrians George & Gabriele (a game old bird aged 79!) and Danny, a Canadian.

The better side of Bangkok to follow...!

Annie x

Posted by Galavantie 09:15 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Blogaroo

Blogging will probably be a bit sporadic and in batches... so there might be nothing for a while then you'll get hit with a load of updates. We've just had two 8hr days on a slow boat so I've been able to write quite a bit but we're having some technical issues (sounds like one of my old comms!) with uploading photos from our main cameras. As blog entries will be a bit dull without pics, I'll hold off a little longer.

Hopefully something we can sort in the next couple of days... Also, Ant's got writers block so it's just my blurb for now.

But we're having an incredible time - can't believe we've only had a week considering the amount of new experiences and different things we've seen!

Annie x

Posted by Galavantie 09:02 Comments (0)

Antie invade!

Antie is the nickname Jon & Linzi have given us. Also, hence the name of our blog. We had one job to do on Friday and that was to pack for our trip. Thank god the guys were at work as after we'd finished with it, their lounge looked like a bomb had gone off in a suitcase.

Those who know us well will know that we're both pretty organised. Ant is a meticulous planner and I drive myself crazy (and probably everyone else) with my attention to detail. However, our combined approach paid dividends and the backpacks were right first time.

So, how do you pack for a round the world trip?

Step 1 - clothes explosion
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Step 2 - put it all on a rug and make it neat (this bit was hugely satisfying to us pair of freaks)
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Step 3 - pack it
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As one TV celeb chef would say.... Packing light for 9 months. Done.

Annie x

Posted by Galavantie 03:51 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

Tears and Toorak

Four words sum up our first week since leaving Pru. Blood, sweat and tears. Ok, maybe not blood as such, although following the move of our stuff into storage, the inside of Ant's arms resemble those of a junkie - dotted with small bruises and scrapes. A good look for the Bangkok airport officials!

The move was hard work, we both underestimated how long it would take and just how much stuff we have managed to accumulate. But we got there in the end and left Toorak sparkling. One brief respite was a cuppa and pastry with neighbours Louise & Barry, who presented us with a brilliant present each from all the residents in the block... super funny and touching... and they open bottles of beer :)

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We left Toorak misty-eyed. A very happy first home together!

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Annie x

Posted by Galavantie 03:08 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

Soundtrack to the trip

''Now the hardness of this world slowly grinds your dreams away
Makin' a fool's joke out of the promises we make
And what once seemed black and white turns to so many shades of gray
We lose ourselves in work to do and bills to pay''
Bruce Springsteen

Listened to this today and like a lot of Bruce songs made me think you gotta get out there and live life.

Ant

Posted by Galavantie 15:40 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

One week to go!

One last day left at work. Handovers done. Big leaving do. Big hangover. Then it's the final push to get the last of the flat boxed and packed up ready for everything to go into storage. Our trip has been months in the planning and we've had what's felt like an endless list of tasks to complete, but we can almost touch it now. Very excited! Just one week left in our flat, no doubt tears when we leave and that's just Ant! ;o)

Had some special goodbyes...

A BBQ with our neighbours in Toorak's garden, on what seemed to be the very last day of summer. Toorak, the name of our Victorian block, was named after a residential area of Melbourne, so we're planning to hunt down the real Toorak to check it out when we're there. A really great bunch of people, Baz is one of the most interesting people you could ever wish to meet.... love the fact that him and his partner, Kinga, have nicknames for everyone. We discovered ours... The Space Invaders... because when we first moved in we inadvertently parked in their spot to get the car valeted, taking up both of their car parking spaces without asking. The name stuck, but since shorted to The Invaders - affectionately we are informed!

An idyllic afternoon tea at Lime Wood as a treat from lovely Margaret (go if you haven't - it's an incredible place tucked away in the New Forest). Heli-pad, Angela Harnett restaurant, sweeping driveway, stunning art... high end stuff without being stuffy.

Dinner club with the girls at Guild Hall Tavern (fab French restaurant in old town Poole) - with a surprise appearance from Linzi which made my night - and a beautiful necklace from the girls as a goodbye... will miss you all heaps.

Lunch today with a very dear friend, Chrissie B... wow where does the time go, we've known each other for nearly 20 years. Chrissie B sure knew how to party (think Patsy Ab Fab) - best memory ever was drunken 'builders' party at Nige's and the lights kept coming on and going off puzzling everyone... until we found Chrissie B dressed in a white boiler suit rocking back and forth against the wall her head knocking the switch on... and off... on... and off. You get the picture. Not even sure why I'm telling this story, guess I'm getting sentimental about times with friends seeing as we're leaving, plus I know she will be reading this... ha ha. Anyway, funny, funny days.

Drink with Iain Mac next week, haven't seen the ol' fella in a long time so that'll be a good catch up. And finally, a poignant last supper with Jon & Linzi next week as we're staying with them for one night before we head off on our flight. And our flight is in good hands... our neighbour Louise is an air traffic controller for Heathrow and is on duty that night. No delays guaranteed Louise?!

It's pretty liberating packing up your wordly goods into storage and being free of possessions, just the essentials, to set out on an adventure. This is something I've wanted to do for 20 years and have missed a couple of good opportunities in the past. So happy I get to do it with Anthony, I can't think of anyone who I'd rather travel with. Cookie, we are going to have a ball!

Annie x

Posted by Galavantie 07:31 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged pre-trip Comments (2)

FAQ (dedicated to Mike White)

Where’s your first stop?
Bangkok

Where are you going?
3 months Asia, 3 months Oz & NZ, 3 months South America

How do you pack for 9 months?
Lightly?

What made you decide to do this?
If we don’t do it now, we never will

Where are you for Christmas?
Just north of Brisbane, on the Sunshine Coast. A small low key place called Marcoola.

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Where are you for New Year’s Eve?
Sydney. Where else??!

Are you worried about spending so much time together?
No, but fully aware we’ll need some separate time too. Especially Ant ;)

Are you going to work whilst you're away?
Nope, we’re too old to work on our visitor visas – something about 18-30. Pah!

Are you seeing Charlotte?
Yes, if the crazy Aussie lady will reply to any of our messages.... maybe she’s running feral in the Outback… hoo roo!

What are you doing with your home?
Flat tenancy has been given up. So we're returning to the UK jobless AND homeless. Thank goodness for the Jinzi who are putting us up on our return.

Where are you most looking forward to?
Annie – Touring NZ in a campervan, Galapagos Islands, seeing one of my dearest friends Burtie in Australia, the salt flats of Bolivia and staying on one of the islands in Lake Titicaca (the night sky there is meant to be incredible – seeing this with Cookie will be a lasting memory I’m sure).
Ant – New Zealand, learning to scuba dive in Thailand and Peru.

What will you miss the most?
Annie – Easy. Dinner Club. Sob! A cup of tea (how very British), not having a ‘home or base’, a great British pub. Of course, it’s a given all of our friends & family... natters with my cousin Jill. So happy and excited that Jinzi are coming out to see us in April somewhere near Quito, Quito, Quito!
Ant - Tea, toast, friends.

Biggest fear or worry?
Annie – Bugs. Lordy, this is going to be a challenge. Hate big flying ones, not to mention spiders the size of your face.
Ant - Money, killer animals, people.

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Posted by Galavantie 14:57 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged pre-trip faq Comments (0)

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