It has been a sad few days in Chiang Mai. The city itself however is beautiful and clean and the people are very friendly. Hiring raleigh 20 style bicycles to see the town before upgrading to scooters. Once again we have met some more awesome travellers while here and once again we have been enjoying late nights and their company. But alas, there has been an empty void in our Chiang Mai ventures – after day three being here our loyal travel companion Haka has gone missing. I’m not sure if he has been stolen, or just misplaced, or left behind somewhere. But there is strong speculation that he may have been Kiwinapped (by some loud youngish lads that were two doors from us) while sitting on a table in front of our room one night during ‘a couple of quiet ones’. We have turned our room upside down and inside out to see if he was recovering from a hangover in our clothing, looked for him around our accommodation guesthouse in case he was doing base jumping the night before. Nothing. And now, every time we are about to take a ‘Kiwi moment’ photo we go to get him from his little home in our backpack only to find an empty hole where he used to live. We miss having his long beak and cute brown eyes sticking out of his little home exploring the world with us. We miss his photo bombs and having people come and pat him. We miss the way he breaks the ice with conversations . So where ever you are Haka we hope you are safe and sound and bringing happiness to your new family if we have misplaced you . But if you have been Kiwinapped by the lads that stayed two doors from us then I hope you bite their nuts off. Pricks. The good news is that his lil brother is going to meet us in Bali from New Zealand with Sara’s daughters, Denella and Jamie as well as a good friend Jo! Looking forward to that! Now then, Chiang Mai. What a lovely place and like every town and city, the history is amazeballs! If you have the time look it up on wiki. Better still, come and visit it for yourself. Plenty of temples to visit as well as old ruins, including the old wall surrounding the old part of the city. During the day the city is alive with street stalls, bars, trade shops and 7/11s with the harmonious sound of the traffic going full tick in the background. At night the clubs open up adding ‘fuel to the fire’. Depending on which street you go down (off Kotchasan Road, turn into Loi Kroh Rd and follow the party lights) you will come across lady boys, go go girls, neon signs and open bars galore with just about every one of them having a pool table, and all competing with each other’s music and volume. Then we found an alleyway just full of mini bars all with more ladies (and men) enticing anyone walking past to come into their bar. There was even a dwarf man enticing Sara and I. He was very cute. At the end was a Thai boxing ring with bars surrounding it. So after a while Sara and I sat down to watch the Thai boxing! Ever watched the American wrestling? Silly question. Well that was what the Thai boxing was like, but with the same four people competing. After the match the fighters went around the crowed with a donation box to collect there…ah….winnings? So by the 3rd fight we got out of there and went to another bar where we met a very cool Kiwi guy Nick with his wife! It’s safe to say we had a good night. They took us to another bar where the boss is a famous lady boy who was even in a small part on Gordon Ramsey TV show when he was here. The following day was spent on our scooters looking (while recovering from last night) for the Rock Quarry which we got told about by a young Moldovan lady we met on the night train on our way to Chiang Mai. Cheers Anna, what a great tip! Finally reaching the quarry (now full of water, hence why we went there and more tourists and locals) while baking in the hot MORNING sun Sara, Karen and I couldn’t wait to jump in. You had a choice of walking around to the ramp or jumping in from a 5 meter cliff edge, or a 10 meter cliff edge. The girls walked to the ramp. I jumped in the 5 meter point and survived only to be rescued by Sara after swimming three quarters of the way towards her because I can’t float dammit (see previous Koh Tao blog) thank you my honey! xxx! So after splashing about a bit on the safe side and chatting to other travellers, we were entertained by the sound of thunder and lightning in the far distance. (Mental note: Never assume mother nature does ANYTHING from a distance: End of Mental note). Cue the massive LIGHTNING BOLT which lit the sky up and shot down bloody near us immediately followed by the loud cracking sound of thunder! Well that was it for all of us. We were all out of the water and scurrying to our scooters and cars and off like…lightning! Seriously, we were out of there man, a quick goodbye to, and from, everyone and puff, gone. This led us to another night of drinking at our accommodation place with Duncan from Ireland. Sunday was the night market with Duncan, Jenna and Rhiannon (who we met at the accommodation lodge were at) Sara, Karen and myself of course. You’re not going to guess where the girls are from….Auckland, New Zealand! The night market was very cool but we ended up at another local and spending the night laughing and having fun. However, the following morning was our (Me, Sara and Karen) tourism attraction day (with Mr. Jungle Trek Tours) involving getting up at 8am and going to do elephant rides and waterfall walk and riverbamboo rafting. Sara was still a little intoxicated as I think we all were but it was the best day with a great host called Jackie Chan. Wednesday was the night walking market with the kiwi girls and us. The girls were very happy looking around the stalls and sizing things up, I was happy following them around. Eventually we came across some lady boys in cabaret outfits advertising their show for that night. Hell yeah we thought! So after a quick beer we were off around the corner to see the show. Now it’s quite funny really because we were in Bangkok looking everywhere for lady boy shows with Karen, only to get the run around (literally) by our tuk tuk driver who tuk tuk us to a ping pong and sex show instead (read previous blog) where we ended up being disapointed and paying heavily for it. And all we had to do is come to Chiang Mai, go to the night walk market before 9.30pm and see the best lady boy show ever, where they put on a great performance and interacted with the crowd! The bonus was on that particular night we went, the show was free entry! And now for the downer side ( aside from Haka being Kiwinapped. Pricks!) Over the last few days the Thai military have taken over the whole of Thailand in a ‘Coup’ and have put a curfew in place meaning no one is to be out from 10pm to 5am until further notice. So we have been laying low and catching up on things as you do. But that’s all good and tomorrow will be a bright new day! So until the next blog which will be tomorrow. Cheers for reading!
Well, today has been another adventure! Alarm went off at 0520, got out of bed at 0540. Mad panic pack before having the quickest breakfast in history before catching the 0700 van bus to Kudat. Left KK at 0720, hmm. Driver was obviously running late because we were going for it. Mental note: check to see if life insurance is up to date. Arrived in Kudat, immediately approached by taxi driver who offered us a ride to anywhere. This was to be a blessing as our original ride was going to be two hours late. The taxi driver ( Peter) was actually very pleasant and drove us to our destination…….40km an hour. So going from 120-140km/h speed rush from KK to Kudat to 40km/h scenic ride from Kudat to Tampat Do Aman certainly made for an interesting start to the morning. On arrival at Tampat do Aman we were greeted by a lovely person called Howard (from England) who fell in love with this part of east Malaysia and it’s people (one in particular – he married her), and culture, and thus decided to do something for the local community and it’s small village by buying up a bit of land, communicating with the government, following all the correct procedures and building an accommodation complex in the form of a local style village (including a long house) as well as a cafe/bar near one of the many lovely beaches here so as to bring in the tourism dollar and help the local people who are in a poverty rut. Needless to say, Howard has put in the hard yards and now it’s slowly starting to pay off! But reading this can not give you the sensation of our experience here. Truly, truly, truly come and experience this place for yourself. Find the time, bring a friend and give yourself a month to enjoy a small piece of paradise on a budget. After sorting our room in the longhouse and heading back to the cafe, Sara went for a swim while I played with the football lol. After that we decided to have a beer then walked back to the longhouse to have a shower (open outdoor) and chill out for a bit before we went back to the cafe for dinner. We got to sit on the back of the ute and laugh at OSH (no such thing here) on the way. Returning to the longhouse while on the back of the ute laughing at OSH again, Sara went in for a night cap (reading a book) while I went to the outdoor lounge area to do what I do best and socialize with the other tourists then went out to the main road to view the stars. 24/03/2014 Had a great night’s sleep and was good to go for the day! Got up at 0700 to look at the cell phone to see what the time is. Saw what the time was and went back to sleep until 0730. Woke up at 0730 going ‘woohoo I feel like going for a jog to the cafe for breakfast’ Woke Sara up and she was eventually into it as well (the getting up – not the jog)! However, time zipped past and the temperature was already at 28ºC at nearly 0830 which was the time the first shuttle was due to take anyone from the accommodation lodge to the cafe. We caught the shuttle. Hello cafe and breakfast and lovely warm ocean! Had a (man size) breakfast and a home made fruit juice then did some reading before going in for a well deserved swim! The ocean is clean, warm, with great surf and all the facilities you can hire to enjoy the day better. And beer. And yes people, I have surprised Sara and myself by jumping into the ocean without fear…….ok perhaps a bit of fear. But it soon diminished the more I was enjoying the waves! After our swim we decided to head back to the cafe for dinner and met an English/Australian chap called Roger and typically hit it of straight away, as with our Canadian and German and Austrian and Belgium and Norwegian and Rungus and Spanish and other Australian friends. NO Kiwis though…hmmm.
So, it was a nice night spent chatting before we headed back to the long house for more talking! 25/03/14: Tuesday: Was very much the same as yesterday with the exception of feeding two longhouse cats and discovering titten #1, and catching up on our laundry. That pretty much took most of the morning and when we finally got to the cafe after walking 2.3km there in the blistering heat (Temp was 35ºc) everyone we met from last night said a big hello and was wondering where we were which was very very nice! Lunch polished and ready for another swim – we decided to hire some body boards for an hour which was cool! Good waves for it! Eventually we put the boards away and thought it more fun to turn Sara into a surfboard and give her a good push in timing with the waves which worked bloody well I must say! Beach fun over and cafe fun beginning again, we eventually went back to the longhouse for some quiet chatting and to view the stars which are also most impressive as the skies are very clear here. 26/03/2014: Wednesday. Woke up nice and early to find titten #2. Today’s morning agenda: Cats fed, tittens fed, Fred the duck fed, off to the beach cafe again and James fed, and it’s another relaxing day in the sun, sand and surf! Our Canadian friends gave us the heads up on an available bungalow from tomorrow onwards (they took a bungalow the night before and they told us about the other one next door to them) so we made some enquiries and got the bungalow for the next three nights after today. Just 15 meters from the ocean, whoop whoop! So it was off for another swim and then for a walk to the tip of Borneo before heading back to the cafe for dinner prior to getting caught out in the rain. Was a bit of a quiet one that night (we thought) until we heard the kittens sneak in under the door and started miaowing at 11.30ish. Eventually they settled on my backpack, making for a nice relaxing sleep for all. 27/03/2014 Moving day! Was time to say goodbye to the long house and hello to the beach bungalow! Fantastic! What a great way to spent the last three nights at the tip of Borneo. Hot sand and cool surf during the day and warm clear night with the bonus of cooking your own food for breakfast and lunch. We still went out to the cafe for dinner to catch up with everyone from the longhouse and meet new arrivals as well. Spent the remainder of our time there snorkeling, swimming, lighting bonfires, walking, sightseeing, drinking and eating. Spent one night near the cafe with 12 others talking about the universe and it’s mysteries and about life and once again created another United Nations Positive meeting! Towards the end it was just Sara and I with a young British couple drinking the night away on cheap whisky and continuing the united nations party, I mean meeting. That was when our new British friend (also called James) decided he wanted to strip naked and swim with the glowing phosphorescent plankton. So we decided to join him…..but with our clothes on, first time round. Second time round I went in naked, but only James and I as Sara went to bed not long after the first round! Overall Tampat Do Aman longhouse (and as I have just been corrected by Sara) Tip Top Restaurant and bar, is a blood awesome place to visit for a nice recovering break after battling with the rat race of the cities. It’s very much worth coming to see. Regretfully leaving the tip of Borneo, we headed back to Kota Kinabalu in a shared taxi with a Australian lady we meet on our last night at the cafe called Eva, alias little dove. Then it was back to our ‘Stayin Lodge’ then a quick bite to eat before heading to soccer again hahahaha! Two nights in KK then a bus to the airport to head back to KL and make our way to Ipoh! Will blog again soon good people!