Monday, February 28, 2005

Lazy days in Koh Samui...
Had a lovely day today, what an amazing place. I moved into my new home for the next few days this morning, it's actually not bad, it even seems a bit cooler than the other place, which is great as it's cheaper. So I settled in there and then headed to the beach. As I'd moved up the resort a bit, the beach was a bit nicer than where I was yesterday, and there weren't any stray dogs! I went in the sea for the first time, it was just bliss, so warm but still refreshing. I saw the island for what everyone told me it was like today, it's just a tropical paradise and I can't believe I'm here ;o) I was sat under a palm tree all day, I had corn on the cob from one of the Thai guys who walk up and down the beach, he cooks the corn on his little barbeque in front of was delicious, then I had some fresh pineapple for dessert, what a way to live... I've come to the point now I don't even know what day it is and can't even imagine having to go to work everyday...sorry, don't mean to make you all jealous!!
I met a couple of Israelis today, they seemed ok until one of them kept asking if he could massage me....I scarpered a bit quick after that! Just before I went back to the bungalow I took a walk right up the other end of the beach, thought I'd better get some exercise!
I'm off out again for dinner now, it's a really lively resort, although it doesn't seem so busy right now. The food is fantastic and the people are so friendly, I can see why people keep coming back to Thailand. I saw my first 'lady boys' last night too...oh my god, they look fantastic, what a laugh!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Greetings from Koh Samui
As you have seen from my SMS I have arrived in Koh Samui. What a long trip that was, I quite enjoyed it though. I met a few people on the way, one guy from Sweden sat opposite me spoke Thai so he was speaking to our neighbours for a while, they were really nice people. I learnt how to say 'I don't eat any meat' in Thai (well I've forgotten now, but I wrote it down!) I actually managed to get quite a lot of sleep on the train journey, the seats turned into beds which was very good. I was rudely awakened so many times to the sound of trains going past the other way and loud train signals, I was actually frightened sometimes wondering where I actually was. I think I was on the loudest train in the world, and it got pretty cold too as all the windows were open. I arrived in Surat Thani about 6am, then we had to get the bus to the pier, then hang around there for nearly 2 hours, then it was a 2 hour ferry trip. That was pretty cool, there are so many small islands to see. When I got to Lamai on Koh Samui, I started to regret not booking any accomodation, it was really hard work lugging all my bags in this heat, so I took one of the first places I saw. It is ok, but a little more than I wanted to pay, 500 baht, which is about 7 pounds (not much I know, but I'm on a budget here!) Anyway, after I'd sorted my stuff out I went for a wander and found another room for 300 baht...and it's not that much worse either, so I've arranged to move there tomorrow. I actually had to go on the back of this womans moped to get there as it was quite a bit of a walk back from where I was...that was fun, I've never been on one before! After that I laid on the beach for a few hours, the sea is gorgeous, the only thing that ruins it is all the stray dogs doing god knows what to each other, not very pleasant! I actually met a couple of German guys who are staying in the same place as me, they were ok, I had to laugh to myself of them looked like a young Jeremy Beadle!!
Just off out to get some dinner now, it seems really lively here ;o)

SMS Message

SMS from Vikki (Currently in Thailand GMT + 7.00) - Arrival in Koh Samui
Finally got here 18 hrs later! Found a bungalow, but will have 2 look 4 a cheaper one tomorrow. Beach is gorgeous! Speak soon x

SMS Message

SMS from Vikki (Currently in Thailand GMT + 7.00)
On the train now... just having a beer and a chat... loving it! 10 hrs to go till we're there

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Bangkok sightseeing experience
I had a pretty early night last night, after I left the internet cafe I treated myself to half a pineapple, it was gorgeous, I managed to eat the whole lot, unfortunately I felt a bit sick afterwards, had a bit of an overdose!! I watched a bit of The Mummy on TV, then fell asleep!!
Was up early this morning, had another fantastic breakfast, then went to Wat Pho (temple) and saw the reclining Buddha, which was pretty impressive. Had a wander round there for an hour or so, then I went onto the Grand Palace, now that was impressive too. It's not really the right weather for sightseeing though, it's absolutely sweltering here, I'm feeling so tired from it now.
It's funny people warned me about the locals that tell you the Temples are closed when they're not really, I had a few doing that to me, they then tell you other temples to go to and that it is too hot to walk and you should get a tuk tuk and they hail you one (apparently then the drivers take you to gem stores where they get a commission for taking you)...I just had to walk off in the end, they start off all friendly, but when you say no, they don't like it. It's not until you experience these things that you realise what everyone warns you about. Also some mad women came up to me and some other tourists and before I could even realise it she had thrust some bags of seed in my hand saying 'good luck good luck' and to throw it to the pigeons, I must have had about 5 packets, I couldn't stop her once she's started, she kept opening the bags and putting them in my hand, when I went to walk off she was asking me for money..I walked straight into that one! I gave her a bit, not what she asked for and then I walked off. At least now I know not to accept things from people and to keep my hands closed...I thought she was just being naive of me!!
I'm just going to get ready for my train ride to Ko Samui, will leave in an hour or so...
I'm back can't keep me away from these internet cafes, mind you they are everywhere!
I've just been for my dinner, am absolutely stuffed. I had my first authentic Thai meal, I ordered spicy noodles and veg, was a bit surprised when I got it as they didn't look like noodles, but like some sort of slimey fish, but I didn't let that put me off and it was absolutely lovely, I also had a Chang beer, cost me just over a pound, bargain!
I had a good day today, was up early and had a big breakfast, the hotel buffet was really great, that kept me going until this evening. Then I went to book my train tickets to the islands, it took me a while to find the cheapest place, I went to a travel agent in the end, it's a little more expensive, but it saves the hassle of doing it all yourself. So I leave tomorrow evening on the overnight train to Surat Thani, it gets there at 6am on Sunday, from there I get the boat to Ko Samui, I'll stay there about a week, and then I go to Ko Phangnan for another week or so, returning to Bangkok for a couple of days before I leave where hopefully I'll meet up with Ric and he'll show me the good bits of Bangkok. I must admit I haven't really ventured too far since I've been here.
After I booked my tickets I was tired from traipsing around, so I sat by the pool for a few hours, apparently it was 37 degrees hot, unbelievable, I ended up having to move into the shade after 20 mins, it was nice and relaxing though. Gonna do some touristy things tomorrow.
From what I've experienced so far of Bangkok, I actually think it's not as bad as everyone told me it would be, not that I've seen so much of it, but I was expecting more madness...I guess it's cos I came from the cities in India, that probably prepared me for it. It does seem very tame here, and the locals are so friendly, I really love walking around here ;o)
Ok, just off for another beer now!!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Thailand - Bangkok - What to do next...
Last night I decided to head down to the islands in the South straight away... I'm itching to get on the beach. I've just been to find out about the trains and boats, I'm going to book it so I leave tomorrow on the overnight train and come back to Bangkok in just under 3 weeks, I just want to chill out now, been on the go for the last few months and need to relax... so watch this space...
Thailand - Arrival in Bangkok
Well I finally got here, that was a bit of a long trip, at the moment I don't know whether I'm coming or going! I was so glad I'd arranged a transfer from the airport and a hotel booking, it made life so much easier. The hotel is really nice, it's a really good location, quite close to the infamous Khao San Road, but not too close! I had a sleep earlier, then I took a walk to Khao San Road, it's pretty cool there, loads of people about and there are some really great cheap clothes, shoes, handbags etc, again I wish I had more room in my rucksack! maybe on the way back before I go to Oz I can pick up a few bargains! It's really hot and sticky here, its a funny sort of heat, quite heavy, makes you feel really lethargic...but that could be cos I've had no sleep. After that I went back to the hotel where Ric phoned me and we had a chat about my plans, unfortunately he couldn't make it to Bangkok now, but maybe we'll meet up again before I go.
I'm feeling pretty lonely at the moment, I've just eaten my dinner and saw an Internet cafe so I thought I'd pop in... actually I'm just talking to Chris on messenger which is making me feel a bit closer to home. It seems everyone here is in big groups or in couples so I feel a bit weird, I'm sure it'll get better tho, I mean I have just spent the last 2 weeks with people so I'm sure I'm going to feel a bit cut off now being on my own again.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

SMS message

SMS from Vikki (Currently in Thailand GMT + 7.00)
Hi there its 11:00 am, just got to the hotel... seems cool! Havent had any sleep yet so gonna have a snooze now. Cu. x
En route to Thailand - stop over in Singapore
Well I'm back at Singapore airport on the way to Bangkok. It's 6.15 here and I'm feeling pretty tired as I've had no sleep, I have 3 hours to kill till my next flight. The flight wasn't the best, was very bumpy and I had an Indian guy sat next to me who I don't think had flown before, he didn't know how to use anything (belt buckle, headset etc) and kept trying to ask me how (he didn't speak English either!) also he had no concept of the meaning 'this is my chair, stop leaning over me and digging your elbow in my side'... jeez, some people, thank god that flight is over!!
Anyway, going back to today... I didn't really do much earlier, just had a walk and a look in some shops. I went back to the apartment after lunch and started to pack my bags. I'm actually getting better at it, everything seems to fit in a lot better now, I guess I'll be an expert after the next few weeks! Said my goodbyes to Jeanette, I've had such a nice time staying with her... it was really kind of her to have me there. I decided on taking an autorickshaw to the airport, that was a hair-raising experience as it was a 40 min journey in the maddest and noisiest traffic. I'll quite miss riding in them actually, mind you I think they have something similar in Thailand.
Chennai airport had absolutely nothing there, had to wait for over 2 hours doing nothing... boring... and I've still got more waiting to do now, it's gonna be a long night!
I feel quite sad at leaving India, it has really grown on me since I've been there... from what I've seen it's an amazing country... and I hadn't even touched the surface. It's definitely not your luxury holiday though, I haven't really felt properly clean for the last 11 days as there was so much pollution, dust and muck about. I'm starting to miss dressing up nicely now, I feel a right mess. Maybe when I get to Australia I'll be in the position to make an effort again...I'm a bit lost without my hairdryer!! I also can't wait to get a bit of a legs haven't even seen the light of day yet... wearing shorts is frowned upon in India, but I'm sure I'll make up for it over the next 3 weeks!!
Ok, I'm just off to wonder around the airport, or fall asleep on a chair... not sure which yet ;o)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Update information

Weds 23rd Feb
Left Chennai tonight at 23:35 local time (flight time 3hrs 55 mins) stoppedoff at Singapore. At 08:50 continued to Bangkok (flight time 2 hrs 20 mins). Estimated arrival in Thailand 10:10am local time/GMT 3:10am.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Chennai contd....
I went to meet Jeanette at her school yesterday evening, it was quite handy cos she took me to the school nurse while I was there and they put some really good cream on my bites...I've woken up this morning with even more, I've got big bumps all over my hands and feet now!!
She took me to a cafe where they make fruit juices and smoothies...I had a chocolate ice cream milkshake, was really yummy, beats Mcdonalds any day!!
We had a full house last night, a colleague of Jeanette's and his friend were staying over for the one night, we ordered curry and watched some TV. I like the TV here, it's mostly English speaking, they run all the American sit-coms (as you can probably tell, the nightlife isn't as good here as in Bangalore!!)
So now I'm off to Marina Beach which is the second longest in Asia.
Just got back from my day out. I caught a auto rickshaw to the beach....I'm getting quite good at haggling with the guys now, they really try to rip off any foreigners! I'm slowly building my confidence up these last few days as I've had to do things on my own, which is definitely a good thing. I had a long walk along the beach, I didn't actually go down to the water cos it's not really that kind of beach. This was one of the beaches that was caught in the Tsunami, although now you can't see any real damage. Basically it's just full of fishing boats and people doing their washing. I had another coconut water on the way to cool me down, I'm getting quite fond of them now. Lots of people were coming up to me and saying 'hi hi hi' again....they seem to love it when they see a foreigner, it's quite amusing! I've found the people here are a bit friendlier than in Bangalore, even the rickshaw drivers always have a smile. Jeanette recommended me to go to a cafe/restaurant in the city called Amethyst, so I took my book with me and had a nice lunch and read for a couple of hours, it was really peaceful. I'm also now addicted to chocolate milkshakes, I had another one at lunchtime, but it wasn't as good as yesterdays.
So, I'm heading off to Thailand tomorrow night, I have 2 nights booked in Bangkok, then I'm going to see where the mood takes me, hopefully some beautiful island where I can lie on the beach all day long....aren't you jealous!! I had a mail from Ric and he said he's hoping to get to Bangkok to meet up with me, so that'll be great.
We're off out tonight as one of Jeanette's colleagues has a birthday, I'm going to have a quick sleep as I have a bit of a headache from all the sun and driving around in the rickshaws, it's just mad and noisy in the city. I'm actually going to miss India, I'm just getting used to the madness and the Indian culture. I'm really going to miss the way the Indians wobble their heads when you ask them something, it takes a while to realise whether they're saying yes or no!!!
India - a few piccies...
Vikki isnt able to send many pictures at the moment, because of her travels... but thanks to Gav, I managed to get two pictures of Vikkis fun loaded up - see previous Bangalore posts. More to follow...!


Monday, February 21, 2005

India - Chennai cont...
Had quite a relaxing day yesterday, we were supposed to go to the cinema to see a Hindi movie, but in the end we took Jeanette's friends' kids to see The Polar Express..not quite the right time of year for it, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. In the evening we decided to be a bit more cultured, so I watched my first Bollywood film. It was ok I guess, but it went on for so long, I think it was 3.5 hours (with subtitles) everytime it looked like it was going to finish they burst into song again, don't think I'll be watching another one!!
I am starting to get badly bitten by the mosquitos. There isn't any netting on the windows where I'm staying, and as it's so hot, they always keep the windows open...not good for me. It's weird cos noone else seems to get bitten like me, I had to put a jumper and socks on in the end to cover my skin, and that's not very comfortable cos it's so hot and sticky. I woke up this morning and I have the most horrendous bumps all over me, my hand is so swollen it looks twice it's normal size, thank goodness for my Aloe Vera gel!
It's so nice waking up to a sunny day everyday. I must say that Bangalore was the most comfortable climate so far, even though it was hot, it was bearable...Chennai is really humid, but because it's on the coast there is a nice breeze which does make it better. I'm actually quite gutted cos apparently the beach here isn't very nice, so no sunbathing for me :-(
This morning I took a stroll down the road to the Kalakshetra foundation, I was told that you can see them making saris, and also watch the dance classes, unfortunately I got there at lunchtime and they stop for 2 hours break so I just decided to walk back to the apartment... luckily seeing this internet cafe on the way.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

India - Leaving bangalore / Arriving in Chennai.
After updating my blog on Friday, Kumar took me to the Bull temple, it wasn't very big, there was just a huge granite bull inside. We gave a donation and were given some jasmine to take with us. Had a bit of a drive around and then we went to a small lake called Sankey Tank (which doesn't sound too inviting, but was actually very nice) we hired a pedaloe for half an hour, it was so nice and relaxing, it felt we were miles away from the city.
After that we went to the Krishna temple (another Hindu god) it was one of the bigger temples I have visited, it's the one Kumar goes to regularly. After you come out of the temple there are lots of stalls where you can buy books, pictures, food etc. Kumar pointed out a picture of Krishna and his mother to me, he asked if I liked it, I said yes, then he said would I like to buy it, I just said no, thank you..then I felt a bit guilty as I didn't want to insult him and his beliefs, so I ended up buying one for me and another for him...but at about 20p per picture it didn't really break the bank!!
Friday night after we picked Gav up from work we went out for dinner and to meet his golfing mate Gerry, who is also from Northern Ireland. Had a good night and a few glasses of wine. When we got back I gave Gav a run for his money playing snooker...actually I'm lying, I was hopeless apart from a few flukey shots! I did pot the black to win the second game tho!
Woke up bright and early on Saturday to get my stuff ready for my next trip. I didn't manage to pack my rucksack very well so I had a bit of stress with that, it seems even fuller than before..I don't quite know how. Anyway, when I got that done we went to the restaurant we were at the other night on the 13th floor for lunch. I had quite a pleasant suprise seeing the view in the daytime, it was pretty amazing, no wonder they call Bangalore the Garden City. After lunch it was a quick drive to the train station where Gav helped me find the train, then we said our goodbyes. I've had such a great time in Bangalore and Gav and Kumar were so generous and made me feel so welcome, I was sad to leave :-(
The train journey was pretty uneventful, I managed to get a seat in the air con carriage and suprisingly there was quite a lot of leg room which was a good job as I had to keep my bags in front of me. It was really interesting travelling through the countryside, there are so many palm trees here, it all looks really tropical. We passed through a lot of small towns too. Seen lots of monkeys on the way, they're everywhere! The train was quite noisy, was pretty busy, so I just put on my headphones and relaxed. I was determined not to have to use the toilet on the train so I tried not to drink too much water, from what I've experienced the public toilets here are pretty horrific, so needless to say I haven't drunk much all week..yes, Chris I know it's not healthy but a girl has to sacrifice these things sometimes ;o) Lots of people passing through the train selling drinks and curry which made the train really smell!
So I arrived at the train station and found the taxi rank and arrived at Jeanettes flat. It's a lovely place and she's made me feel really welcome even though we have never met before. I didn't have a very good nights sleep tho, and to top it off I woke up in the night and managed to smash a glass on the floor, how embarrassing!! she was ok about it though. I think these next few days will be an experience as I will have to navigate my own way around...we shall see!!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

SMS Message

SMS from Vikki (Currently in India GMT + 5.30)
Hiya, Just got to Chennai, Everything is fine with me. Hope you are having fun!

Friday, February 18, 2005

India, Bangalore continued....
On Wednesday Kumar took me to another national park, unfortunately I'm not prepared today and I've forgotten the name of it! (Edit: it was Bannerghatta National Park) Anyway, it was really cool, we went on a safari which lasted 1.5 hours We drove through an elephant park, bear park, tiger and lion park. Saw loads and loads of animals again, even a white tiger, I've seen so many animals since I've been here, I'm becoming a right David Bellamy!! Have lots of photos too and I can't wait to see them properly. After the safari we stopped off for some food and then I went home for a rest...all this lady of leisure business is really tiring!! Then after Gav finished work we went out for dinner again, he took me to another really nice restaurant where I tried a couple of new dishes again...I'm getting a lot better with the spicy foods now!
Thursday I went to a proper Indian shopping mall, I was really suprised at how modern it was, there were quite a few Western shops there too, I was looking in one of the department stores and the CDs are about 5 pounds and Gav tells me that's expensive for here! After that Kumar took me to a handicraft place which had some really beautiful hand made rugs, hand carved ornaments and silk scarves amongst other things, but I didn't enjoy the fact that the salesman kept walking behind me trying to sell me everything in the shop..I know it's the way they do it here, but I couldn't wait to leave the shop, I suppose it's good preparation for Thailand.
Went out for dinner again, Gav says he hasn't been out quite so much before this week!! He really knows the good places to go though. This restaurant was right on the 13th floor, luckily for us the lift was working, mind you after I could have done with walking down the stairs after to walk the food off!! I had the best meal I've had in ages and couldn't stop till I'd nearly eaten it all....bad idea! I really can't believe how cheap everything is, you can go out for a nice dinner with a few drinks for about 4 pounds, and thats in a posh restaurant, it's great.
Off to a fair I think this afternoon, although I'm a bit wary on going on any rollercoasters here...I'll probably have to see what it looks like first, so wish me luck!
PS. Having a few problems with the photos on this site and I can't change the size of the text either, so bear with me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A big thank you...
Thanks for all your emails, I love getting them! I just wanted to say I'm sorry if I don't get a chance to reply to you at the moment! Its hard to find the time to get to the Internet cafes... Please do keep them coming, it's great to catch up with everything!! I always try to update my blog, then everyone can see for themselves what I am up to ;o)

India Bangalore continued...
back again...I'm having real withdrawl symptoms from the internet!!
After I left you yesterday Kumar took me to the Shiva (one of the many gods') temple, where there is the biggest statue in India, they were painting it at the time tho so there was scaffolding all around it. Shiva is the father of the Elephant God, Ganesha who is the most widely worshipped God in India. Apparently there are 330 million Gods worshipped here, I must say I'm finding understanding the religions here pretty difficult and unusual.
We drove past the Government offices and the High Court, they were really pretty impressive buildings, and then we visited the aquarium, which was very very basic. We had a nice lunch where I tried a different curry, I'm trying to learn about all the different foods here as I haven't got a clue about curry, I only know Chana masala! Kumar must think I'm a bit odd!
I had my first real experience of Bangalore today, I am so glad I'm not on my own here otherwise I think I would hate it and would be pretty scared, it's just so manic and I really feel like I stick out like a sore thumb, there are hardly any Westerners here.
Last night Gav took me to a really cool restaurant, we were sat on the top floor and it was a really chilled out place with great music, I actually forgot I was in India. I tried some chilli paneer, which is cheese coated with chilli, I am trying to try more foods honest! actually it was really nice, but burned my mouth out for ages after.
I had a really good night there, it was really relaxing. Then we went home on an auto rickshaw, I tell you if I was scared in the car....that is nothing compared to this! The driver had big speakers in the back of the seat and had music blaring out and was driving like a complete lunatic, I'd had a couple of glasses of wine tho by that time, so it was more funny than anything!! When we got back I gave Mum a quick ring, and then Chris phoned me up later on, was lovely to speak to them again, I felt a bit homesick :-(
so thats me uptodate now, hopefully will log on again soon...until then...

Coconut anyone?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Arrival in India - Bangalore - Saturday 11th Feb
The flight to Bangalore was good, it was 4 hours, but after the 12 hour flight to Singapore it was nothing! Gav and his driver, Kumar, picked me up from the airport so as it was late I didn't get a chance to see much of the city. I must admit it was nice to see a friendly familiar face! Gav's appartment is really cool, was much bigger than I expected.
The next day we had to be up at 5.30am for our safari trip. I was really happy that we could do the 6 hour drive there in a nice air conditioned car! It was a great experience as I got to see India from the road, firstly I have to say the driving is absolutely mad, I've never seen anything like it and I'm sure I never will again! There are no rules, they just overtake whenever they feel like it and it's not a quiet journey as they are forever beeping their horns. Normally I'm quite a scared passenger, but I was suprisingly calm about it all, I felt quite safe with Kumars driving. I have to say I'm not suprised Gavin doesn't want to drive there!
I was absolutely amazed on the drive there, there is so much poverty, I found it very hard hitting. There are so many people working really hard on the roadsides and in the fields and driving along the roads with their old cows dragging their trailers. We drove past lots of villages on the way and they are all really busy, the people are so colourful too it was great to see the women in their saris, they looked really beautiful. I'm in a bit of a hurry, so I can't go into too many details otherwise I'd be here all day! We arrived at the safari resort Casa Deep Woods in the Masinagudi jungle in Tamil Nadu, at 12ish, where we had some lunch, a lovely selection of curry, my first authentic Indian curry! The safari was at 17.30, it was a 2 hour ride in an open top jeep, I was bit sceptical at first because there were no cages on the jeep so anything could have got in and attacked us, but I soon forgot about it. We were really lucky, we saw 13 elephants in total, 10 of them were all together and were crossing the road behind us while we watched, I'd never been so close to a wild elephant, we were all really elated with that experience. Unfortunately we didn't see any tigers (actually I was secretly relieved we didn't!) we saw lots of deer and a few wild pigs, but it got dark quite quickly so we couldn't see much after that.
When we got back we had some appetisers by the bonfire and then our dinner, which you guessed it consisted of curry! As I'm not a big curry eater, I couldn't really eat too much, I'm just not used to it, so I gave up after a while. Had another early night where I was lying in the bungalow listening to all the animals outside and was certain that I'd wake up with a snake in the room with me, so I didn't sleep too well...We heard that the night before some elephants broke into the resort, so that didn't help! The bungalow was really nice though, only trouble was the toilet and bathroom were outside, which I didn't fancy at night at all, so I snuck in the drivers bathroom!
Next morning it was up again at 6.00 for our trek in the jungle...again I was pretty scared about coming face to face with a tiger or elephant. It was quite a hard walk actually, we went up into the hills, and as I'm a bit unfit at the moment, it took a lot out of me, but I managed to keep up with the guide. When we were at our highest point, we stopped and saw some bison through the binoculars, we also saw some elephants again, but we were really far away from them. I was quite relieved when we got back to the bungalow safe and sound for breakfast!
We started the journey back at 10.30 where we drove back through the Bandipur National Park. We saw so many animals on the way back, I spotted an elephant drinking some water so we stopped and took some photos. We saw lots of monkeys, they were really cute, some of them even try and get in the car, we saw deer too, hopefully my photos will come out ok, I can't wait to see them on the big screen. Again we drove through lots of villages, it's so interesting to see how Indians live, I couldn't stop watching everything going on around me. In one of the villages we had school kids banging on the car window saying hi hi hi, and running after the car, it was really funny, they were so cute, one of them actually kept up with the car for ages! We also stopped off for coconut milk on the roadside, which was good photo opportunity! On the way back we stopped at the Maharaja's Palace in Mysore. We had a tour from one of the guides, it was very spectacular inside, again I would go into more details, but I have no time :-( Gav and I went on an elephant ride too...that was so cool. Her name was Ruby and she was 65 years old, was a bit of a bumpy ride, but a great experience!
We arrived back in Bangalore in the rush hour, the traffic is indescribable, it's each to their own out here, I'm going to have to get some photos of it. Last night we just had a takeaway and watched a film.
I'm really lucky this week, Gav has loaned me his driver so I'm travelling around in luxury! Kumar is going to take me to all the attractions which I'm really pleased it's the internet cafe, a bit of food shopping and maybe a temple, well I want to take it easy! then we'll go and pick Gavin up from work. Talking of Kumar, I'd better get a move on as he's waiting outside for me!!

Gav, me and Ruby

Singapore continued...

Back again, in a internet cafe in Bangalore!
So, I just wanted to finish off my experiences in Singapore. After the jewellery showroom the tour took us to the National Orchid Garden located in the Botanical Gardens where we saw lots of different types of the Singapore National Flower (the orchid) it was all very tropical and there were some very unusual plants there. Our final stop was Little India, as soon as you got off the bus you could smell all the wonderful foods they were cooking, unfortunately I didn't see too much of it there as we only had 20 mins.
Another thing I noticed about Singapore as we were on the bus was that it is so clean, there is no graffiti anywhere, also the guide was telling us they only have a 2% crime rate that is because of them having really strict punishments for any crimes comitted there.
After the tour finished I went back to the hotel for another sleep before I went out for the evening, I really was so tired to go out again, but obviously I had to do it! I took myself down to the quayside, I'd read about it in the guidebooks. It was suprisingly easy to find places there, I navigated my way on the buses as it was really cheap. I was pleasantly suprised when I got to the riverside, it looked amazing, there are just restaurants and bars lined up on the banks of the river. I had a walk around, then I stopped at a seafood restaurant for some Chinese fried rice (I know I'm not very adventurous!) and a glass of wine. It was so nice just sitting by the water and watching people go by. After I'd eaten I decided to take a walk and treat myself to a river cruise on a bumboat, that was a really great experience, there are so many of these boats going by and they are all lit up with the little orange lanterns. I tried to take a few snaps of the Singapore skyline, but they didn't come out particularly well, which I was a bit annoyed about. I was actually really overwhelmed by this stage, I have always wanted to come to Asia and I just couldn't believe I was actually there, I was just a bit sad that I was there on my own and had noone to share it with, but I guess that will take a while to get used to. After the boat trip I had another walk, as its the Chinese New Year at the moment there were lots of decorations and things going on, I witnessed the Chinese dragons doing a dance which was cool. As it'd been a really long day, I had to go back to the hotel earlyish for some sleep so I could get up early for the next day.
Saturday 11th Feb
Up bright and early today, must be the jet lag. Had a nice breakfast at the hotel, then thought I would go and do a bit of shopping as thats what Singapore is really known for. First stop was to buy another camera, I just couldn't resist it at those prices, I even did a bit of haggling and the guy also threw in a camera case and a bigger memory card, I was quite chuffed with that!! I walked along the main shopping road, Orchard Road, which is a really really long road full of shops and shopping malls, I was amazed at how good the shopping is, I was disappointed that because of not being able to carry much more I couldn't really buy anything, mind you it was probably a good job for my wallet! There are so many Western shops there, Marks and Spencer, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, I couldn't resist a quick look! Then I headed towards the famous Raffles hotel and had a look there, really posh! After that I took a walk through one of the many shopping malls towards the Worlds largest fountain (Fountain of Wealth). You are supposed to walk around it clockwise 3 times with your hand in the water, it's supposed to give you wealth in the future...lets hope so!!
Had a quick lunch there, then thought I'd better head back to the hotel as my flight to India was at 9pm. So thats where I left you last time as my flight was nearly ready..unfortuntately I didn't get a chance for my Singapore Sling, but I'm going back there in a week or so, so hopefully I'll get one then! On the whole, I absolutely loved Singapore and had the best time I would really recommend it.

Monday, February 14, 2005

SMS message

SMS from Vikki (Currently in India GMT + 5.30)
Hiya, havin a wicked time, just been on an elephant ride! Hopefully will get online tomorrow. Hope u r well. X

Sunday, February 13, 2005

SMS message

SMS from Vikki (Currently in India GMT + 5.30)
Hiya. Just got to Gavs place now, its really cool. I've updated my blog already... Going on Safari tomorrow! Have fun tonight! x.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

First stop Singapore
Wow, what an amazing couple of days!! I'm just writing this from Singapore airport, haven't got long so better make it quick.
My journey started on Thursday morning, I awoke at 3.30 and started to worry about how much stuff I had in my rucksack and I couldn't get back to I got up and unpacked it all and took out even more things that I might be able to do without and then packed it again! After a tearful goodbye to Mum, I got the coach to Heathrow and then had about 4 hours waiting for my flight (this all seems like ages ago now!). I actually was in a bit of a state about going, but once I'd said my goodbyes I felt a bit better especially after all the build up. The flight was long, 12 hours and quite bumpy in parts..luckily the tablets my doctor gave me worked pretty well. I must say I was very impressed with Singapore Airlines, they fed us loads of really nice food and lots of drinks, they also had TV sets on the back of the chairs with a choice of 60 films which meant I hardly got any sleep. So we landed in Singapore airport at 7.40am (on Friday) it was really midnight for me... which meant I lost a whole nights sleep, so as you can imagine me not sleeping the last 2 nights I have been absolutely shattered. The landing of the plane was quite cool as you don't fly over Singapore, it just descends over the water so it looks like you're not going to make dry land! Everything went so smoothly, the bags came out really quickly and then I got my transfer to the hotel. The first thing that striked me when I walked out the airport was the heat...oh my god, I've never known anything like it, well it's the humidity really, even at that time of the morning it was unbearable, it was 26 degrees already, I guess being just 1 degree north of the Equator would be the reason for that!! Another thing I was suprised about was everyone speaks English as a first language and everything is written in English apart from the odd bit of Chinese, there are 4 main languages spoken here, firstly English, then Chinese, Malay and Tamil, it's very odd, but nice for me!
Ok, my time is running out, going to see if I can get on another computer to get another 15. mins!!
Back anyway, I have to say I really love Singapore, it's a fantastic place and I definitely want to come back. When I got to my hotel I organised a half day city tour so I could fit as much in as possible cos I'm only here a short time, then I had a couple of hours sleep till 1pm. The tour was really worthwhile, although I was worn out and couldn't really seem to concentrate a lot. First off they took us to one of the oldest temples in Singapore called Thian Hock Keng Temple (Heavenly Temple), then we drove up to Mount Faber (2nd largest hill in Singapore) via Chinatown, unfortunately we didn't get to go on the cable car ride which looked pretty specacular as we only had a short time. Then we went to the Singapore gem and metals warehouse where they had some pretty amazing pictures made from gems and loads of lovely jewellery.
Going to have to go now, my time is running out again...and I've got so much to write. I'm now going to go on a quick mission to drink a Singapore Sling before my flight to Bangalore as thats one thing I haven't tried yet. Will continue soon ;o)

Friday, February 11, 2005

SMS message

SMS from Vikki (Currently in Singapore GMT + 8.00)
Hiya. Its 8am here, just landed, am knackered, gonna miss a whole nights sleep! Flight was ok, long and bit bumpy tho.
Speak soon x

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

So it's the big day tomorrow..
...just under 24 hours until my first flight to Singapore ;o) I'm feeling a bit poorly today, my throat hurts and my head is pounding a bit....typical! I'm hoping it's a side effect from the anti-malarial tablets I'm taking. I've even had to try and avoid some of my friends that have the flu as I didn't want to catch their germs! Oh well, I'll probably go to the chemist later to get something to help.
The past couple of days I've been feeling a bit emotional, the last month has been really hard for me as I'm continually having to say goodbye to my family and friends, I know I'm going on a big adventure and I'm really excited, but it still is not easy :-( It's been lovely spending time with Mum again, I've got quite used to being back at home, it's going to be weird not being able to speak to her all the time.
Today is going to be another busy day, I've sorted all my stuff out, I'm just left with packing up my rucksack...again. I did another trial run on Monday night, I had this huge rucksack on my back and then a little rucksack on my front (like you'd carry a baby!!) Mum seemed to find this very amusing!!! Another thing is I can't take many books for the flights as they make the bag a lot heavier, I already have the big Lonely Planet guide books to take which weigh a ton. Anyway the doctor gave me some tablets to help me relax during the flights, (I'm really scared of flying!) so I'm hoping they'll knock me out and I won't need to read!!
So, better get on now, I'm hoping to be able to keep this blog updated as much as I until next time...... ;o)

Monday, February 07, 2005

4 days to go.....!!!
Had another busy week, I went to my friend Sarahs on Tuesday to pick up some of her tips for living in Australia, that was really helpful. I caught up with Rachel on Wednesday night, we have stayed in touch via email, but we haven't seen each other for probably over 5 years. It was lovely to see her again, we had a laugh talking about what we used to get up to, very amusing, we were a right pair!!
So the rest of the week I spent spending more money. Got my travellers cheques and some currency for Singapore and Thailand so that's one less thing to worry about. All of the stuff I need to take with me is now laid out on the bed in the back room, I can't face trying to see if it all fits in my bag yet, guess I should really do that tomorrow.
So thats my week, oh and I went into town on Friday night which was good fun. Managed a bit of exercise this morning, Mum and her friend and I rode our bikes to Wimborne market..exciting I know! Mum has really been feeding me up since I've been back home, so I had to do some exercise, especially if I'm going to have to fit into my bikini in less than a week!!! Talking of food, my Sunday dinner is ready now ;o)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Had a quietish weekend, I went out on Friday night, but the rest of it I tried to relax a bit as I'd had a really busy week. I had a trial run with the packing of my rucksack on Sunday, got a bit stressed as it started to get really heavy, so I had to take it all out again and re-think what I actually need to take. Everyone keeps saying that I can buy stuff when I'm there as it's really cheap, actually I might have to as a lot of my summer clothes are now too big for me...I was quite chuffed cos normally it's the other way round, on the other hand it's annoying as I bought them all for Munich's hardly existant summer last year so I'd hardly even worn them!! oh well.
I had a mail from Gav who I'm visiting in Bangalore, India. He asked me if I wanted to go on a safari while I'm there, although it would mean staying in the jungle for a night...I said's not often you get a chance like that, I just hope there are no snakes there! I also managed to get hold of a friends' sister who I'm going to be staying with in Chennai (Madras). She sounded really nice, she's used to having people who are travelling through stay with her, I'm looking forward to meeting her. She mentioned that I could go horseriding with them, should be interesting as I haven't been on a horse since I was about 8!!!
I was also looking into what I can do in Singapore while I'm looks like the answer is shopping...I can' t believe how many shopping centres there seems to be there, I will definitely have to make some more room in my rucksack now!!
I was in a bit of a tiz again last night, but I spoke to Chris on the phone and he managed to calm me down...again...sometimes I wish I was a bit more laid back.
So this week I've got some more friends to visit and a few more bits and pieces to buy, but I'm getting there slowly, I also need to get my travellers cheques. Having my hair chopped later on today too.
oh and I had a lovely early Valentines suprise this morning...12 beautiful red roses ;o)