Saturday, 22 March 2008

Where to now?

16/3 - I forgot to mention yesterday that I booked my flight to Hanoi for after Sipadan. Have I mentioned Sipadan? One of the top dive sites in the world. It's a deserted island, apart from an Army base, there to protect it. The visitors/divers are limited by daily permits. Just thought I'd mention it. I suppose "rub it in" may be a better phrase. Don't worry I get my comeupance and we are staying on a converted gas rig, so not posh and last time I saw it the colour was pink, but then we'll be diving, so wont worry too much.
Anyway, I digress , or would if I knew what it meant. I was up early, so handed in my key and sat it the shade on the step. I've been cleaning a few steps with my shorts and jeans. Whilst I sat there, the internet shop ladies, they all know me in there now, finally built up the courage to ask why I walked funny. It was not easy to explain, as I don't speak Thai and their English is only as good as mine. They seemed to get the drift, or they gave up. I ordered my taxi from the internet shop, they dabble in all sorts, they do laundry here too, book trips etc.
The taxi turned up bob on time and it's the bloke who owns the internet shop. He's not daft, I wondered how he managed to do the airport run for 500 baht when everyone else charges 600. Now I know, he is the airport run. He turned up in a nice double cab pickup with leather seats. I commented on it. "This is my wifes. My Avensis is in the garage today." I would say this bloke is a businessman and will never aspire to a beach bum. He still gave me the sob story of being broke. "I'll never be able to travel like you for at least another 10 years." He'll be going 5 star though.
He took us along some back roads through small, quiet villages, all very neat and peaceful. He pointed out the palm oil plantations and the lumber ones too. It is all countryside around here, very green and lush with a smashing feel to it.
We made the airport after a very relaxing spin. After being charged 7 quid for excess weight of 3Kg on the way here, I've packed all my heavy stuff in my carry on and my rucksack is spot on 15Kg. Who's a clever lad then?
The airport is very relaxed and a bit laxidazical, which showed when the customs people come and dragged a load of us out of domestic departures and into international. There are no signs to differentiate, so it was a case of follow the sheep in front. I decided to get some breakfast once through customs, but blew that one. There was one watercooler and that was it, but I wont waste away. I heard my flight called and was stood in a queue when one of the ladies runs out and shouts "Air Asia, Air Asia, KL, KL." Most things in Asia are said twice. Glancing at the tickets in the queue in front of me, they are Thompson holidays.
"I bet that nice lady means me!!" I wasn't the only one.
I don't know if any food as served on the plane. If it was , I was asleep before, during and after. I recall waking and seeing a trolley.
I wasn't looking forward to bartering for my taxi and as luck would have it, since I was last here, a prepaid taxi stall has been installed. Chuffed to bits. The taxi driver was a nice bloke. Something strange is whenever I get a taxi from the airport, they invariably stop for gas, as they are all natural gas driven. They must sit on empty at the airport. There is no rush. After a couple of radio calls we turn up right at the hotel door. The receptionist saw me wiggling towards and through the door, then sheepishly told me the lift is out and I'm on the 3rd floor and the banister is on the wrong side. It was no problem with my trusty stick. In case you are wondering, you don't get bellhops at these prices. The hotel is only about halfway from Sunway Pyramid huge shopping centre and it is only half a mile away, complete with pyramid and sphinx, so I took a wander over. There was a footbridge to get there, with steep steps, a bit of a pain, but a good job with my track record in traffic. There's hundreds of shops and an Ice Rink. I bet not even the pharoh had an ice rink.
You wont believe this. I am sauntering through a very busy shopping Mall on the outskirts of KL and a little Malay bloke comes over and asks if he can have his photo with me. This is turning into Twilight Zone stuff. Why?? Is it the astonishing good looks??? "Na, me neither". Is it the speed I walk makes me look cool? People not knowing I am going at full pelt. There must be a reason why people want their photo with me. Answers on a postcard to our Mick. He gets lonely.
The knee is starting to ache, so I plumped for a pot of Darjeeling and some authentic Malay ham and potato bake, then back over the road bridge. There's no way I am trying to vault the 4 foot wall in the middle of the dual carriageway, busy dual carriageway.
I called into the internet cafe over the bridge. From the screens in there, I would say that gaming is the rage in KL. Everyone seems to be on some sort of Doom screen and shouting at each other. I've only ever seen this in KL.
I did a bit of blog catch up and booked a hostel in Hanoi $22 for 3 nights, pretty good. I am getting too efficient, so I am off to bed before it sticks.

The last of Thailand for now.

15/3 - Forgot to put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door, so got an early call from the maid, very nice too. I was going to pack, but decided to go and get some breakfast. I jumped into a local bus/pickup and went to the next beach along. It's loads quieter and no shops, only a few restaurants. It looks like no cheap places either. This would have been a better spot, but "Too late." came the cry.
I found a cafe by the beach for breakfast and was tucking in when a puppy came up to the table, circled a bit then crapped on the floor next to the table. A couple of the staff came over, checked it. "Yes, that's puppy shit", then went back to sitting around. Perhaps they thought it would attract custom and sure enough 5 minutes later a Frenchman walked in. No comments about flies around shit here, we don't want our European cousins across the channel going on strike.
Over the road for a SIT on the beach and try to repair my dive computer. I can hear all my sisters now. "That's a bloody waste of time. It'll be properly broke now". True enough, it is no longer a dive computer, only a watch. I think it got cooked by mistake in India.
Back to the beach. It is loads better here, hardly anyone on it. A bit more pebbley, but pretty good and I've only heard one longtail so far. I did my rescue act too. Alas not a beautiful maiden, but a lilo. It headed off down the beach while the owners were off walking.
It's a beautiful, blue, sunny day, so sod the blog for now. I'll catch you later.
Had a lazy day on the beach, in the shade. This is a good location for a beach holiday, so I'm leaving tomorrow. I did my packing after the beach and ditched a couple more things. If I could only dig up the courage to ditch my Sunderland jumper, that would make a good difference to the room. Then I went next door to the Irish pub for fish and chips and to watch some football. I should of stuck to the Thai green curry, this Irish chef cant do fish and chips, even if it was snapper.
I've enjoyed the diving here and it has been good for my leg, but I'm ready to move on. Goodnight. KL tomorrow.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Diving the sequel.

14/3 - Up and wandering along in the early morning sunshine to board the longtail, to board the dive boat. There's a new DM today, she a Brit, Claire and very nice too and as usual very helpful.
There's a lad on the boat, 18 years old, starting his DM's course today. What a good age to start. It may not be very lucrative, but it is hell of a lifestyle. If I was more able bodied, there's a better than evens chance I'd do a DM's course and work my way around SE Asia. This is great, travelling out by dive boat to beautiful islands in glorious sunshine and seeing the islands are just as beautiful underwater. All those years I have wasted as an IT cowboy. Mind you, they are paying for this.
Here we are again, Phi Phi islands, different dive site. This one is a wall dive, where you drift along with the current and the boat picks you up at the other end. I love drift diving, it is a great feeling. It is a bit crowded under the water though, everyone has to take the same route, so it is difficult to avoid one another.
Back on board, with the lads still trying to heave me up the ladder to get out of the water. Some spicey dinner, a break and it is time to get back in. This is the life.
This is the best of the 4 dives I did. Lots of everything to see, all the usual culprits, some fantastic corals and a ghost pipe fish. They are so small I don't know how the DMs spot them. It is like a piece of weed, a small piece, hanging off a big fan coral. They are from the seahorse family and once you know where to look, they are good to watch. It's a great feeling to be able to just hang there in the water and just watch such things. Once your bouyancy is right you only move when you want, or the current takes you. With it correct, you simply glide along controlling your height by breathing in to rise over an oncoming fan coral or breathing out to sink down and peer under a big table coral to see what it is sheltering, head first if you wish. If you like being in the water, there's a good chance you'll love diving. I wish I had taken it up earlier.
Anyway the dives were brilliant. Vincent a French lad was a bit anxious, so used his air up a bit quick, curtailing our dives, but I've been there, so fair's fair. Claire is a great DM too, she is so relaxed it passes onto the divers, but she watches you like a hawk, which is not always the case.
The dives done, alas, it is back on board for the fresh fruit and fill out the dive log. Claire came along to sign it and my logbook is from Dahab. She has dived there too, so we swapped experiences about the same sites we had dived. It is like being a real diver. I AM, well, nearly. All the bits tidied up and time to find a nice breezy spot up the front of the boat to chill on the way home. Who needs work? Me when I get back.
Back to shore for another beer on the steps of the beach. How do I keep this pace up???
It is a bit sweltering today though, so I didn't linger too long. Shower time, rinse the dive gear and out for some cheap snap tonight. All this diving is sapping the budget. I must be getting used to the lady boys, when she brought my beer, I said, "Thanks love." Mind you, there is another lady boy where I put the dhobi in. I saw her for the first time tonight. I didn't have to look for the adam's apple, she is a gripper. Fair do's though, the makeup was spot on.
Finished my food and went and sat on a sitting place outside the Italian ice cream shop, in fact I sat there so long I decided to go in and treat myself, so much for the budget. Anyway I went in and came out with a coffee and a piece of cake. What happened to the ice cream plan??? I enjoyed them though, while I sat on the shop patio, watching the people. Then I decided to go and check out the stars on the beach steps. I love looking at them. They look a bit different down here than up north, but what do I know? I'll have to check with our Mick. There are a lot of the fire lanterns drifting up into the sky tonight. I should go and see how they work. I could start a craze when I get back home. "That would please the fire service in our Nanny State" said the grumpy old man.
I saw a couple of shooting stars and made a wish, the same one twice. No imagination.
I am getting grief from certain people about the lack of blogging, no names, read the comments. I AM ON BLOODY HOLIDAY. But being frightened of them, I am off for an e-fix and then bed.
I am going to be on a derrick in the South China sea for the next four days and then travelling to Hanoi. (18 - 23rd March). So Mrs Brooks's little girls. Give me a break. Hey, I am the oldest.
I love you all, except the lady boys.
Tot ziens.

Another day in Ao Nang.

13/1 - Had an extra long lie-in this morning, I must have been tired. Got up eventually and wandered off to the dive shop and paid for 2 more dives tomorrow. The knee is not right, but it is getting there and I'm on holiday, so sod it, just go for it and play it by ear. With that sorted I decided to jump on a local bus to Krabi. The local bus is a pickup with an open canopy, very different, very good and very cheap. It sidles along in the villages peep peeping and picking up anyone who waves at it. Once out of town the driver gives it the F1 treatment. The ride alone was worth coming for. I saw Ao Nang outside the resort and spotted a quiet beach, which I may visit on Saturday, it's only a couple of Km's away. There were some monster houses between Ao Nang and Krabi, it's about 9 Km. There is definitely some money in this country. There are some monster rocks too. This landscape is new to me and very beautiful. I new when we were in Krabi, the driver told me to get out. It is a bustling little place, not so little actually, it's a bit non-descript in most places, but busy. I wandered around, parking my bum every so often and found the fruit, veg and flower market, so had a stroll through that. The fayre all looks great. This is the way to shop, not in the supermarket. Not that I did any shopping.
I also managed to stumble across the river, though not into it. YET!! I sat on a bench and just sat, it was lovely and relaxing. I enjoyed it so much, I headed back to the fruit market and bought a bag of water melon and a bag of pineapple and headed back for another hectic half hour or so. It's a nice wide river, with mango swamps on the opposite bank. The longtails act as ferries to close by villages and posh houses on the waters edge. The river doesn't smell the cleanest, but it is a nice place to sit and chill, especially in the lovely sunshine with the breeze blowing along the river.
Went for a bit more of a wander around Krabi, found a temple or a church. I didn't tackle the step, but guess it is a temple by the garb of the blokes stood outside. It was not the usual colourful decor, but all white with a sweeping set of steps up to it. Krabi has a nice relaxed feel about it. I think it would have been a better stop over than Ao Nang, even without the beach, but I'm supposed to be resting, so Ao Nang has served better. I thought about moving here for the last 2 nights, but relented. I have found it hard staying in one place for over a week. That doesn't bode well for my return to Chorley, if I ever find it again.
Back into the pickup/bus and back to Ao Nang. They are a good mode of transport, used by the locals too.
Pizza tonight, for a change, in the boys to girls bar. It's a good job it was quiet, they were too busy doing each others nails to wait on.
Off to bed early, diving tomorrow. Not too early, in fact not early at all, what am I talking about. I'm so chilled I lost track of time.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Will the diving cure him???

12/3 - So much for going to bed early, Mr Murphy's judicial proclamations meant I woke up in the middle of the night in a pitch black room with a dodgy stomach, gimpy leg and my mate FSHD. The thought did cross my mind "What am I doing here so far from home", but after a bit of natter with my mate I realised I am doing a lot, just not at the moment, so nodded off again after a while.
Up for the diving. I must confess to being a little anxious, probably a good thing, it has been 10 months since my last dive and the FSHD does gradually progress, but I've paid, so there's no way I'm not going, at least to the boat.
Got to the beach for boarding and we have to plodge about 50 metres to the longtail. I was bound to go over, but the dive master (DM) came along. He thought I was being a wuss going so slow. He said, "You'll have to get a little bit wet". I told him I'm a little unstable, but didn't add mentally, then we plodged along nicely with my hand on his shoulder.
Transfer onto the dive boat and I'm still relativley dry. It's choca-block on the dive deck, a lot of people diving today, but plenty of room on the sundeck, so I settled there for a while. Had a natter with Bernt, the DM, on how I was going to get into the water. We decided with a splash and then it was chill time for an hour on the way to the dive sites at Phi Phi islands. The scenery on the way is beautiful and the islands look great. With hindsight, which is as clever as Mr Google, I should have moved to one for a few days, but see how today goes and I may book somemore diving.
We drifted into the dive site and it is all stations go, now the dive deck is busy. Divers stepping off the back like a wave of Marines, then........................ along comes Gil. But no problem, I'm in and the anxiety reduces, we are down and it is gone. I love this, I'm a bit rusty, but a lot is automatic. The weight belt is a bit light, but that will be sorted. We are drifting along nicely, I really, really, really do love this. There are some firsts too, a couple of banded sea snakes, a mantis shrimp and lying on the sand, a leopard shark, about 1.5 metres long, a real beauty. There are probably other firsts that I don't recognise too. There's all sorts down here and the corals are beautiful. It is a magical world.
I spotted a Titan trigger fish early on and pointed it out to Frodine, a very beautiful Singaporean lady and after this one we saw loads of them. There was a bit of current intermittently, one of the worries I have, but it was nothing too severe. The visability, or viz as us old sweats, OK, just old, like to call it was not the best, but good enough.
Times up, air's low, time to go back up. It's been fantastic. I'm a happy lad.
Back to the boat. The lads hoy a rope out, we grab hold and they pull us into the back of the boat, everyone clambers out with their gear, then................... along comes Gil. I take all the gear off in the water and pass it up, then go up the ladder in a FSHD sort of way. The Thai lads onboard grab my shoulders and try to heave me up, but I clambered out eventually. Everyone is always really helpful.
Time for a bit of dinner, some spicey Thai food, a bit of a chill and we are off again.
No problem getting in again, due to lots of friendly help, as usual. The weight belt is fixed and the viz is better. A bit of struggling against a slight current, but then drifting back on it is a great sensation. This dive is brilliant, I guess the rust must have gone. What can I say? I have been treated like a lord and had a great day. Time for a bit of fresh fruit and a chill on the way back, basking in a great day and the sun, this diving works your tan too, I'm nearly as dark as my white Indian-washed T-shirts.
Alas back to dry land and this time only a short plodge, but there was willing help at hand from all nations. I'm not far from the room here, so I wandered back along the beach as the sun starts to drop. Picked my spot on the steps up from the beach and watched the young lovers, no, not watching that, watching them stare into each others eyes and walk hand in hand along the sea's edge and I had a book in one hand and a can of Tiger in the other. Do you think I am missing out on something here? Na! I thought not. I've got the T-shirt etc etc etc.
Well, the beers gone and the sun too, behind a cloud as usual, so it's shower and snap time. By the way, I've bought myself a pair of Oakleys. How cool am I? For 4 quid too. Acutally they're Oakeys, but you wouldn't have known if I had not told you. The missing L is worth the price difference.
Food tonight was Indian, not like back there, but OK, more like back home, or in between the 2.
I am surprised how expensive Thailand is. I suppose that is the price of tourism and following on from India, most places would seem expensive. Mind you the Oakleys were cheap.
Wandered down to some good music over a beer in "Planet Ao Nang". Now I know where those Holywood lot stole their idea from. Shame on them.

Well, just in case you are fretting away, the holiday is back on course. Watch this space.

Goodnight after a good day.

Not a lot happening still.

10 & 11/3 - Beach bumming again. There is not a lot to blog. I was pondering how it is more lonely in a resort with all these Western people, than in all of the places I stayed in India. I don't know how that works, but it feels that way. Perhaps I am just feeling sorry for myself. I have picked up Delhi belly again and not in Delhi again, so it is Burger King for fries and a coke. "Thank goodness for Burger King" said the foolish, grumpy, old, man. An early night I think and see what tomorrow brings.
Tomorrow, or now today, brings Dan's birthday. Happy birthday Dan and as usual, not a present or even a card in sight, only a thought or 2.
The stomach is still dodgy, so dug out the immodium and dioralyte, then rammed some scrambled egg on toast down my neck. I'm turning into a misery. I think I should leave the resort behind, but I want to rest my leg, so I will persevere, plus I know things will pick up. I'm turning into a wuss too, but I have found the answer to all this negativity. I have booked a couple of dives for tomorrow. That'll stop me wondering if I am still up to it with the creeping FSHD and also justify me carrying those bloody fins and mask all around India. I am tempted to dump them after reading about a lass who set off travelling for 18 months with 27lbs in her backpack. We'll see. I am not enjoying being here as much as I should be, but it is a good place to rest up, just a bit boring at the moment, but the diving should get me out of the rut and back on course.
I found a Starbucks on the way to the dive shop too, so stopped off for a coffee on the way back and would you believe it??? A piece of cake too. Feeling better already. "The tea and coffee have been typically resort-like so far", said the grumpy old man.
Not doing much tonight, having an early night to be prepared for the diving tomorrow.

Not a lot happening.

9/3 - Had a good lie in and then up for bacon and egg, proper Thai food, before hitting the beach again, along with my pineapple and banana in hand. I don't know if it is the setting that makes the pineapple taste so good. It tastes like the best I've ever had.
In and out for a couple of swims from the shade again. It's sweltering out of it. I don't know how people can sit in it. Mind you I read somewhere that anti-inflamatories can increase sun sensitivity. Guess what the Doc gave me? I just prefer the shade. I was the same in Egypt. (Not this trip, another life.) I hung around until the longtail rush hour, about 15:30, when they start to ferry tourists back from the islands. If it was not for the longtails, the locals and the Thai food, this resort could be anywhere, it is very stereotypical.
The walk back along the promenade is a gauntlet run of massage ladies, so I decided to grab a fruit shake and sit with them, they always look to be having fun. They gave up with me after about 4 attempts. They are a real happy bunch, they have a real laugh amongst themselves as they hassle the tourists with a smile and a friendly manner. I'd love to know what they are saying. Something along the lines of "She needs more than a massage". "He's beyond anything a massage can do". That can't be right, that would be catty and women aren't like that.
I stopped off for another lassi on the way back. I can't resist them.
There's not a lot else to report. No more him or her sightings. A lazy day at the office.
The little girl in the photo is the most photographed person in Ao Nang. Everyone loves her. She rotates her costumes each night. It will be orange tomorrow night.

Moving house today.

8/3 - Up for my last inclusive breakfast, back to slumming it today. I get 4 days for the price of one at the new place. It is as good as this place in the important ways and sits between the Irish pub and the Inernet cafe and opposite the Indian restaurant. I'll let you know about the noise levels.

Had my first real wander down the beach and it doesn't get too packed for a narrow beach. I feel a bit out of place on a beach after the last few weeks, but I'll work on it. I have booked another 6 days, so I have plenty of time to work on it. Spent the day nipping between the shade and the water. The water is lovely and warm, but there is not a lot to see in it, unless a few ladies wander down there. Time for a wander back and stop off for a lassi. It is as good as Joney's in Agra.

Showered and fell out of my new room and into the Irish bar next door to watch the football. Then remembered my dhobi, so went back out to pick it up. My white T-shirts that came out of India grey are getting a hint of white in them again. Into the Irish bar for a Thai green curry, it was the best Thai meal I have had so far. These Irish chefs are adaptable. I think I was the most Irish person in there.

It was good to hear the Manc's wingeing because they got knocked out of the Cup. I only lasted the first half of the Liverpool game, but they look to have it sewn up at 2-o against Newcastle.

I only had 2 beers and I slept like a baby. It was overdue.

Don't panic, I went to the Doc's.

7/3 - A hearty breakfast again and getting so much grief from the knee you'd think we were married, so I decided I'd better go to the Doc's or more grief will come my way from the sisters of no mercy. I jumped in a local toot-toot, completely different to the Indian ones. These are like a carriage-sidecar. Good news from the Doc, my knees knackered. I hope you have had a good "told you so" Valerie. I'm joking, it will only need a minor operation, to get the money out of my pocket to pay for the visit.

It is not good, but if I box clever, I'll be able to go diving. He was a good bloke, Chinese/Thai, at a guess. We had a good natter about football. He's a Liverpool fan, a disgruntled one, but knowledgable. The S.E. Asians are well into the Premier League and well up to date on what is going on too. He gave me some pills and told me I could have a cortizone injection if they don't work, for free, but he never defined for free. The injection lasts a week, so that would get me through the diving in Sipadan, if I time it right. Have I mentioned Sipadan? Later. I think the Doc may have put the elastic bandage on too tight. The blue toes are the giveaway. Anyway that is enough Emergency Ward 10, or more up to date Holby City, back to the interesting stuff. I put a dhobi load in. It will be done for tomorrow evening, which means I wont have to carry it when I move hotels tomorrow. See, I'm not as daft as you lot think.

I booked a cheaper place down the road a bit. Bargaining here is different. The lad offered it at 800 Baht, 12 quid. I said I was going to check a few out. 750 B.

"I'll let you know later".

"How many people?".

"Just me".

"OK, special price 650 B."

"Done". Well one of us was, but I don't know which one and I don't care, I'm happy. I guess the art of bargaining is not to.

Time for an e-fix. These pills seem to be doing the trick, the knee feels great. I think I'll give the e-fix a miss and go for a jog. Yeah, yeah!!!

E-fix done, I went and sat on the beach. After 2 days here, I'm starting to settle down. This is a relaxed resort, a bit like the way Goa relaxes you, but Goa still has the olde worlde feel to it. The rain has started, its lovely and warm. Now its lovely and bloody heavy and warm. That must be why I am on the beach alone. Off back for a shower and back out for sunset, is the order of the day.

Back on a bench by the beach. I feel a few days beach-bum practice coming on and this could be a good location to practice.

The last 2 nights I've been to the same Thai restaurant and had 2 good Thai meals. There's a waiter person in there who could be a lad or a lass. You think at 54 I'd be able to tell by now. I think I twigged it in the end. He's a she, with hair slides, jewellery. Anyway, tonight I went to different restaurant and had a kick ass Thai Phad, with fried veg, chicken, cashews and chillis and guess what??? There's 2 lads come lasses. One of them is stunning. I was told not to come back with a Thai bride. I wouldn't dare try, I'd cock it up completely.

I've spent the rest of the night looking for adam's apples and big feet. The stunner could have water skied on hers. I never got chatted up either in these restaurants. I must be losing my touch.

Went for a walk along the prom. It is solid restaurants, silk shops, tailors, fake goods and a bloody Burger King. 100% tourist, but nevertheless relaxed. Most of the bars are set back a street. There are all ages here too. It's quite a cosy place. The beach is split half and half between swimmers and watercraft. The watercraft are mostly longtails, shaped a bit like a Viking boat, but a lot smaller and no hulking Norsemen giving it rice on the oars. They have a long pole/driveshaft that stick out the back, about half as long as the boat, with a propellor on it, a bit like a food mixer. The engines kick out some crap, but they shift along. The Longtails give the place an old fashioned look, along with the Thai style toot-toots.

Off to bed feeling pretty good and no liquid muscle relaxants.

Not much going on today.

6/3 - Up for breakfast, which is included, the 40 quid is looking better all the time, loads of smashing fruit and a bit of toast, then I'm hitting the pool for the day, another thing about going posh. I am going to be good and rest the knee, I'm begining to fret about the diving. It'll be good though, I've emailed my personal sports injury therapist, our Beccy. She'll put me on the right track. Just plopped in and out the pool all day. I may take a wander out and drink a few muscle relaxants this evening. I went into the Thai restaurant again for some authentic stuff and it is good.

The beach looks the part, so I may check it out tomorrow, see how these Singha muscle relaxants work.

That's your lot for today. I'll take more notice tomorrow and see if I can get into some mischief.

Off to another land. Thailand.

5/3 - Up and sorted with yet another breakfast laid on. I could get used to this, but I doubt Henk and Jinna could. Said goodbye to Jinna and went into the office with Henk, to pick up a taxi there. Said goodbye to Henk and thank you, I hope I did. I am not good at goodbyes. Henk and Jinna have been brilliant to me and I hope the chance comes for me to repay their hospitality in the UK. Time will tell.
Off to the airport, a little bit stung on the fare I reckon, but not a lot. Checked in and paid out. The baggage limit is 15Kg on Air Asia. I had 17.8 and am 7 quid lighter for it. I know, I should check these things. I wont need to when I get my buxom, blonde, FEMALE secretary. Malaysia is working out more expensive than India. I had better start checking the budget, there was no need before.
The journey was uneventful, I think, I kipped most of the way. Air Asia is still relatively new, so the planes are in good shape and comfortable, they seem cheaper than EasyJet too. I was sat in my own 3 seats, this not washing is paying off, if I had just had the one the legroom would have been a squeeze. They are sized for Malay people I reckon.
From the air Thailand looks similar to Malaysia, but on the ground it is not. Everything seems to be more modern, even the villages look modern. In Malaysia, once out of the towns, the villages can be nice and rural and old fashioned. The cars here are all very varied and loads of pickups, posh ones. The cars in Malaysia are predominantly Protons. Why am I comparing Malaysia to Thailand??? I don't have a clue. Do you?
I was impressed with Krabi airport. On the way out the tout for the cheap shuttle bus got me before the taxi touts. Nice one.
There are lots of temples and shrines on the way to Ao Nang, all very colourful too and you know what? I don't have one photo to upload. I think I must have been too relaxed on this break.
The shuttle bus dropped me in the middle of the seafront at Ao Nang, at least it looks like the middle to me, so I have a 50-50 choice. I bet you can't guess if I got it right. Well, I didn't. I set off to the left, loaded up in the sweltering heat and after 3 or 4 resort type places, had the common sense, I don't know where it came from, to ask someone where the cheap hotels are. I hobbled back the other way. I was about to combust before I got to any cheap looking ones, so went into an expensive looking one. 40 quid a night, I think the sun has gotten to me and I booked it for 3 nights. It was probably for the best after being spoiled at Henk and Jinna's, but it's a bit too posh. I trashed my room, emptying my backpack. Hit the shower and went for a walk, but not too far, the leg is giving a bit of jip. It must have been carrying the backpack.
This is a real tourist spot, like the Costa Brava, not that I've been there, pizza places, Irish pubs, the works. I picked my snap house, the most authentic looking place and ordered a Thai curry and a local beer. I don't know how authentic the curry was, but I broke out into an authentic sweat eating it. I came here because I thought it would not be very tourist driven and to dive. If my leg doesn't pick up, I could be wrong on both counts.
Time to head back for a brew and bed. One good thing about being posh, there's a kettle in the room, but it is not that posh, no teabags, only coffee.