A Travellerspoint blog

Terrible Turbulence, Scuba Fun and New Travel Buddies

My flight was in the evening from KK to Bali so I had a relaxed day, packed my bags and had some lunch at the market. I experienced the worst turbelence in my whole life. On my 20th flight of my travels as well! The clouds looked angry as we were taking off and boy were they angry! We shook amd shuddered the whole way there and even dropped a couple of times! It was awful! The lady next to me started screaming just to make matters worse. I tried to calm her down but in my head was praying to God that we weren't going to crash and thankfully we didn't. We had to keep our seatbelts onfor the whole 2.5hr journey and tne captain apologised at the end of the flight. I have never been so happy to step on solid ground!I spent the night at the airport as I was flying to Lombok early the next morning. Fortunately the airport si new and super nice. I chatted to a couple of Australian OAPs who told me not to go near the tap water, wear a lot of mozzie repellent and don't drink any alochol while here. They bought me a coffee and kept me company for an hour or 2. There flight was delayed as a volcano had erupted and the ash cloud was on top of north Australia. It's always nice to have people look out for you when your own parents are so far away. I watched some tennis, grabbed a sandwich for dinner and set up camp. Got a good few hours of sleep the mosquitoes were a bit annoying though! I woke up with 30+ bites!! Should have listened to Rita and Donald!
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My flight came quickly. I was dreading it after the last nightmare. This time it was only a 20 minute flight and the plane was tiny. We all got seated and buckled before they announced that they couldn't close the door. Great. I was at the very back and could see them struggling with it. The got us off the plane and onto a bus whoh did a lap of the runway and then came back to put us on the same plane. Interesting.. A couple more struggles and finaly it closed. I had images of the door opening mid flight and me flying out of it.. Not super fun.. We made it all in one piece though. I've just been put off flying for life! One bus, a taxi and a boat ride later I was in my hostel on Gili Trawangan Island. This is an island where there are no cars, only bicycles and horse and carts. It's meant to be a super peaceful island but also quite party party. I headed to the beach for a sunbathe and had a super early nihht that night. I was so exhausted!
Sunset at sunset bar with wendy and marjin from HollandIMG_20140602_220812

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Gili T is famous for its diving so I made sure I booked a trip. I did a deep dove which goes towards my Advanced open Water certificate. I went down to 30m. It was a bit scary amd nothing too exciting down there. We spent most of the dove at around 10m where the best fish and coral chill out at. I saw white tip sharks, an eel, a big mackeral and turtles! So amazing! The rest of the week I chilled out on the beach, went swimming, snorkelled, watched the sunset and hired bicycles to cycle around the island. There was a good bunch of people in the hostel so it was lots of fun. There were about 8 of us and we were all feom europe but different countries. One Swiss, one German, one French, one Norwegian, one Danish, one Czech Republic, me oh and a Kiwi guy. We are all solo travellers and justgot together. It's experiences like that that really make me enjoy traveling alone. How easy it is to meet other solo travellers. Maybe this is just an easy place to meet them though. One night we went to a beach party and another night there was a big party in a bar. We stayed out until the early morning muslim prayers at 5am and then realised we should probably go to bed. That day was a bot of a right off but it is so chilled out here it doesn't even matter. I was meant to stay here for 2 nights and ended up staying for 8! I still don't want to leave but my friend from Scotland is flying I to Bali so I'm going to meet her there. I'm actually really really excited as I haven't seen her in a year and a half an we have lots planned like climbing volcanos, surfing and riding elephants!
Another sunset with the Europeans! IMG_20140607_180327

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Snorkelling IMG_20140607_182319

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I can't belive it! 4 months and I've finally gotten up to date with my blog! Sorry I've been so lazy! I only have 6 weeks left now :( but then I'm home! Woo! It's gone too fast but I can't wait to see my friends and family. Anyways I'll try and keep this up to date for my last 6 weeks now. I only have Bali, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos left and that's only if I can fit Laos in.IMG_20140608_210638

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Posted by amcara91 08:21 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

I was sitting on the plane, fairly nervous about my next destination. A lot of people had scared me saying this part of Borneo was quite dangerous with pirates and thieves etc. Yikes! I had actually only decided to come here as my friend in Australia told me I had to climb Mount kinabalu, SE Asias tallest mountain sitting at just over 4000m.

I got a taxi at the airport and he took me to my hostel. This is one thing I really don't like about travelling alone is getting taxis on my own. When you don't know the area or where you are going and they obviously don't have official taxis so some are just people who need a bit of extra cash. I just find it a bit scary. All the busses had stopped at 8pm though so I didn't have a choice. It was fine though, nothing to worry about and I doubt there ever is really!

My hostel was great! So social and lots of friendly people. The next day I searched high and low for somehwere I could buy a climbing permit for Mount Kinabalu but they were all fully booked for the days I could go. I was devastated as that was the only reason I was really in KK. Oh well, onwards and upwards! I booked my PADI Open Water course instead as diving was meant to be good here and also its something I have wanted to do for a while. It started the next day with a day of theory. Watching videos and taking tests! It was only me and one friendly Chinese guy, Hugh. At lunch time me and him headed to a food market for lunch and I had udon noodles which is something I fell in love with in Japan and had struggled to find in Australia. I found the theory a bit boring actually and couldn't wait to actually be diving! We finished at about 4 and I headed back to the hostel. A few of us went out to the night market for tea. It really is something crazy! Fresh fish everywhere! Everything you can imagine, prawns, squid, parrot fish, snapper, mackerel, octopus, crab! Everything! You jut point at what you want and they grill it and give it back to you with sauce (always spicy) veg and rice. By the time I go home I'm going to be a Spice Queen! Really beginning to manage to tolerate and enjoy spicy food!
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The next day was my first ever dive! Eeek! It felt so surreal being able to breathe under water and so amazing! We got to roll off the back of the boat whih was kinda scary. We only started at like 5 to 8m and had to practice some skills. Things like taking off our masks underwater, taking off our equipment, rescue dives and pivoting at the bottom of the ocean. Actually quite difficult controlling your buoyancy. Every time you breathe in you float a little up and when you breathe out you start to sink. Pretty crazy everything that affets it. It's also funny liatening to yourself breathing all the time and thinking do I usually breath this fast? I really really enjoyed it though and will definitely be doing it again soon. Poor Hugh stressed out a couple of times and swam to the surface really quickly twice when he stressed out. He got into a lot of trouble for that a apparently its super dangerous and nearly didnt get his certificate. In the end though the instructor gave it to him. Thank God for Hugh as he has a diving trip already booked for the Great Barrier Reef in a couple of months. We saw some beautiful colourful fish called parrot fish which I will be avoiding at the night markets now! We also saw puffer fish, clown fish, bluespotted sting ray and some other funky looking things.
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Right so my dive course had finished and I wasn't quite sure what to do next. I knew a couple of girls from USA were at Kinabalu National Park and I figured if I headed there at least I woukd be able to see Mt Kinabalu and do some hiking around the mountain. So the next morning I got up at 5am, grabbed some breakfast and headed to the bus bay. People had told me you have to get there super early as the bus just leaves when it is full. It doesn't follow a schedule. So that's what I did. I was there for 6am and the man said just wait and we will leave soon. 45 minutes later I was still there and no one else had come ao igot the feeling I would be there for a while. I asked how long it usually took and he said sometimes they don't leave until 8am! I did not want to wait that long but dodnt wamt to have to spend 200 ringgit on a taxi and was a bot nervous about the shared taxis but in the end that was my only option. Basically there were cars with 7 seats saying they leave when they get full and it's pretty cheap. A Malaysian guy walked me to one that already had 5 people in it so we were just waiting for one more and that took less than 5 mins. Phewf I was on my way finally! The road was long and windy. It took about 2 hours to get there and pretty much everyone slept for the whole journey. I hadn't booked anything for when I arrived ao had a wander around to see what I could find. A couple of places were fully booked and I got a bit worried but then I found a super cheap hostel that seemed really nice. It was kind of in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by the Borneo Jungle. Super beautiful! It was pretty cloudy though ao I couldn't see the mountain. This hostel was very simple and reminded me of my South America travels. The toilets were outside and were built on a slope so i nearly fell over everytime I wenr to sit on the loo. I met up with the 2 American women. They are so cool it's crazy. I thought they were in there late 20s but actually they were 36 and 46! They started travelling 10 years ago and make sure that eery year they go somewhere that they think will change quite soon and spend 5 or 6 weeks travelling wherever they have picked. One of them has just started running marathons and is a black belt in karate and the other is studying nursing and rescues dogs that get killed if no one wants them. They are both crazy and funny and an inspiration really. Show that you're never too old for anything. We went on a couple hikes around the jungle and had lunch in a nice restaurant. Luckily it was cloudy and the walk was all in shade so it wasn't too hot. Afterwards I realised I didn't have any cash to pay for my hostel and the next cash machine is a 7km walk away. We all walked there and it wasn't very nice at akk, it was along a busy, dirty road that cars sped down. All down hilk on the way there and all up hill on the way back. Bot of a bummer really but I needed cash! After that I said good bye to Suzie and Lailae and headed to my own hostel. There were 2 Australains and an American there. We opted for dinner at the hostel, rice, chicken, veg and an egg. A boiled or fried egg usually comes with every meal. I love it! We shared travel stories over a beer and then headed to bed. Not a lot to do in the evenings there so it was an early night.
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It was time for me to head back to KK as I was flying to Bali the next day ao I headed up to the bus stop. Once again no schedule so you've just got to be lucky. I thought I would be waiting at least half an hour so got my camera out and started taking photos of the view a few metres away from the stop when suddenly I saw the bus rolling up. I ran for it with my big rucksack, small rucksack, hamdbag and camera in hand. I must have looked a right state! So lucky to get a bus so fast though! It was more of a coach though and when I got on I realised all the seats had been taken so what the driver tid was pull out a 4 legged stool and sat it in the middle of the aisle for me to sit on. Talk about safety regulations haha! It was the same windy road and eery time we went around a corner my stool woukd go up o 2legs and I would have to hold on to the chairls that the people were sitting on so that I didn't fall on top of them. Everyone already stares at me as I'm the only white person on the bus and obviously a traveller and now I was even more of an interest for them. I felt quite uncomfotable and it was a proper good 1 and a half hour core workout. The other problem was that they didnt actually drop me off in KK but somewhere else beginning with S. They told me I needed to get another bus or a taxi. So I opted for bus and walked to a different bus station. This station was doqn a couple of streets andacross a 3 lane motorway. When I was in the middle of the motorway a man started shouting at me from a bus. I still hadn't worked out which side I needed to be standing on and I wasn't quite sure what he wanted. He said "this is your bus! Quock cross! Come over! Quick!" First of all I thought "how do you know this is my bus?" and then "how the heck can I cross quickly when cars are speeding on all 3 lanes" talk about pressure! It did work though within a couple of minutes I had dodged past cars and was safe and sound on my bus. Nice of him to wait for me really. The next problem was that I got dropped off in a place in KK that I had never been to before and did not recpgnise it at all. I had to ask a few people for directions and eeryone told me to get a taxi. I had decided that I had come this far without one I was not going to get one now. It was the hottest part of the day though and I was sweating like a pig! Someone told me it was another 1hr walk and I nearly cried. Finally though I stared recognising streets and buildings and I made it to my new hostel.it was brobably about 45 minutes and must have been one of the worat journeys in my life. All a great experience though, you learn from these experiences.

Posted by amcara91 18:45 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Sightseeing in Singapore

So I arrived at 5am into a deserted Singapore airport. The transport system is so easy, it was fantastic! I'd booked my hostel the previous night and they had sent directions which were super easy to follow. I just had 2 trains and a 5 min walk. I arrived at about half 6am and they let me check in early so I went straight to bed for a couple of hours. I couldn't believe my luck really. Usually you can't check in until 2pm. Anyways after my power nap I headed out to see some of the sights. Singapore was not what I expected at all. I hadn't been that excited for it as I thought it was just a big city with lots of shopping centres but I spent the morning walking around Little India and Chinatown. They were both awesome. Small streets with lots of shops selling saharas and pretty colourful dresses. There were lots of Indians walking about and it was like a completely different part to Singapore. I visited a mosque and a temple and then headed into the centre of the city. This was a completely different story. High rise buildings with lots of business men and women rushing about. I loved it though! Way more than I thought I would! So interesting. I went to the Marina Bay Sands and watched the sunset. After the sunset I walked over to, jeez I can't remember what it's called, it's like 10 big fake trees with colourful lights. They put a show on there so I watched that. It was nothing too exciting just music and the tree lights changing colour, very pretty. Then when that was over they were putting a different light show on just across the bridge. They used fountains and shone lights on them and it told a story. This was about the birth of a baby and the babies life.. I think, it was quite hard to tell. Really great day! First day alone as well and I had no problems! Really enjoyed it actually. It was only until I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom having a conversation with a girl when I realised I actually hadn't had a proper conversation that whole day. Very strange!
Sunset at Marina Bay Sands
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The most expensive builidng in the world at 5.6 billion usd!
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Day two in Singapore was even better than day one! I was meeting up with my friend, Jodie, who I used to work with in Aberdeen. She was generous enough and let me spend the night in her spare room. Very kind! So I went and dropped off my bags at her flat, she was still working so I headed out to Sentosa Island. Another interesting place in Singapore. It's a small island which is actually a resort. Ithas a theme park, beaches and an aquarium. I just went to the beach for a dip and had a look around. I didn't really like it to be honet. It was quite fake and very touristy. Heaps of rich westeners and Chinese. Back to Jodies flat and Jodie, her fiance, his brother, who is also staying, and me headed out for dinner. I had spicy crab linguine which ended up being a big mistake. It was very warm and humid and the spicyness was making me sweat buckets! I couldn't eat it all even though it was delicious! We headed to a bar and had a drink or two then it was back to the flat for bed.

Sentosa Island
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The next day Jodie and I went for a bike ride along the coast. It started off as a beautiful day and we must have ccled around 6km when we decided to head back as the clouds were starting to roll in a looked menacing. The ride was great. We passed a wakeboarding park, lots of little shops and toy car racing track thathe locals seemed to be taking very seriously. On the way back we stopped off for some lunch. Lemonchicken with rice for me and chicken noodles for Jodie. Just as we were heading back onto our bikes the rain started. Like someone has pressed a switch it just poured so heavily! Luckily Jodie had brought rain ponchos so we popped them on and braved it. We got well and truly drenched but it was so much fun! A quick shower, cup or coffee and then I was hitting the road again! Great couple of days in Singapore! Well and truly smashed my expectations!

me and jodie

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Posted by amcara91 04:39 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Family Friends in Faraway Places

I arrived in Perth at 9am and met some family friends , Mairhi and Mike, who I have known forever! They picked me up and really looked after me for the 3 nights I stayed with them. One day we got one of the city tours on the double decker bus. That was great fun. We saw allthe sites and I had never been on one of them befoee. Perth was not what I expected at all. It was way smaller and way nicer. The countryside was beautiful.

On the second day they took me to Freemantle and we had lunch at the Little Creatures Brewery. It was so awesome! You coukd see all the ale brewing in the barrels and the food was delicious. Once we had finished there it was off to the Freemantle market! You could literally buy everything at this market! Boomerangs, clothes, food, watches, footballs, everyhing! I didn't buy anything just enjoyed walking around.
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My third day Mairhi decided was a pamper day. We got back massages and then manicures! What a treat. I have never had my nails done professionally before either and it was shellac manicure! Wow full on! Loved it and still haven't bitten my nails since then and that was about 2.5 weeks ago!

The last day we drove up to the wineries and tried wine, chocolate, coffee, nougat and liquors! Haha that was also amazing! We literally went from one winery to anotherand it wasn't just wineries it was everything!it was in such a beautiful area and the tasting was free! Another fun day! The weather had been prtty spot on the whole time except for a little bit of rain on the second day. This photo was taken on the river bed just doqn from there house.IMG_20140517_234130

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That evening sadly I flew to Singapore. It was pretty sad leaving as I had such a great time and I was going to miss the freshly baked bread in the mornings and fantastic home cooked meals. I was pretty nervous to be off on my own to Asia but had only heard good things about Singapore so here we go!

Posted by amcara91 04:30 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Home Sweet Home ;)

So back in Melbourne and ready to settle down again. Fortunately I got my old job at The Dining Haul back and Emma and I had moved into our new house. Not your average house! We shared with 14 people. A bit intimidating moving in at first but it wasn't long before we got to know everyone. We had us 2, 6 French, 2 Argentians, 1 Scot, Sri Lankan, 1 German and one Israeli. It was impossible to keep track of everyone though as people were coming and going all the time or moving rooms etc. I absolutely loved it though! There was always something going on. For instance, I would come home at half 11pm and someone would say 'shall we make a crumble' and a few of us would pitch in and help make a crumble then we'd sit down and eat it. Haha amazing! Or one night I came back from work and three of the guys had fixed the old motorbike in the back and we all headed out to the beach while they tested it out. So funny and random! Sometimes it got a bit much when I was working 23 hour weekends and there was a party going on but you got used to it. Em and I were roomies and we made it fairly homely. Drew on the walls with chalk, set all our things out and it looked pretty nice in the end. It was a huge room so we had plenty of space. Our garden had a big basketball court and 5 a side football pitch. One night there was a bonfire and one of the French guys was breathing fire! Like I said, never a dull moment!
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Finally making coffee at work good enough to send out to the customers! >IMG_20140508_014531

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While in Melbourne, Em amd I made sure we did some touristy things. We visited the Zoo. Not sure why actually as neither of us are huge fans and we also went to another zoo further inland which was more for birds and native animals . Melbourne Zoo was pretty good with heaps of different animals; tigers, gorillas,bears and things it's just sad seeing them all locked up!
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We also borrowed a friends car and drove down the Mornington Peninsula to some hot springs. They were lovely and relaxing. It was a beautiful day so we went for a walk around Arthurs Seat which had a great view at the top. A bbq for dinner when we got back to our house with everyone! Delicious!
spa day

spa day

arthurs seat

arthurs seat

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colour me rad

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Another day, 5 of us rented a car and drove down to The Puffing Billy. It's a steam train that goes around the mountains but cost 60 dollars for a round trip! Ridiculously expensive! Instead we headed to an area for feeding birds. Well actually you're not meant to feed the birds but when you do they come and eat the seeds out your hands. There were cockatoos, white birds with yellow quiffs and even kookaburras (no idea how to spell that!) they didn't actually eat out our hands just sat and watched. Man it was so cool way better than the puffing billy! We had Jesse to thank for taking us there as it's not a huge tourist spot. He only knew about it as he grew up in the area. One our way back to Melbourne we stopped off and had a 10 dollar steak (bargain) amd then went for a frozen yogurt. Such a good day off!
road trip

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Little did Em and I know that that was our last day off togther. We worked the next 2 weeks with fairly opposite shifts amd didn't see much of each other really. When we had time we would go for a coffee or soup of the day at the cafe around the corner or if we were feeling brave go for a splash in the freezing cold sea. Haha! Melbourne s weather was starting to deteriorate. A couple of days it rained all day! Luckily I like a bit of rain evey now and then.
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My last day at work was super sad. Even though it was my second time leaving the gang got me a card and a purse. I was not expecting that at all! I said my goodbyes then headed to StKilda for a quick dessert with Em who was leaving Melbourne 2 days after me. My flight was at 6am so I was spending the night at the airport. I had to get the lat tram at 1 am to the city then the airport bus at 2 am and then had a power nap before going through check in. Next stop Perth!
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Posted by amcara91 04:19 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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