young, dumb and on the run

A few years ago, I hit a point where I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I was too young to really know how to fix the problem, although wisdom is a very subjective thing so even though I would do things differently now, in ten years I will think I was a dumbass back in 2012.
Anyway, I decided the solution was to run away.
Not ‘run away’ in the ten-year-old sense where you run away from home and hide out in the park until dinner time when your mum comes and picks you up, but in the sense that the idea of staying put was so overwhelming, so awful and so depressing that if I didn’t leave I would scream, tear my hair out, and probably die (or some other example of the histrionics nineteen-year-olds are prone to).
Off I went to Europe. Looking back, I like to picture it as something akin to the movie Euro Trip, with Amsterdam hash cookies, pervy Italian men on trains who say “mescuzzi” in sultry tones, and accidentally ending up in Bratislava. It wasn’t like that though. Yes, I learned how to drink beer, took up smoking like all the sophisticated European girls do, and salsa-danced with a bunch of soldiers in a nightclub in Budapest, but it was more a journey of growth than a “can’t-remember-half-of-it Contiki tour” (not that I am opposed to these in ANY way).  There were tears for sure and I learned some pretty hard lessons about people, but I also learned about my own strength which had, until that point, eluded me somewhat. I did things I would never have done before that, I went out on my own and made things work, I made friends and I lost friends, and I stood up for myself when I needed to. I guess it was my own personal form of rebellion.
As with all my travel so far, I learned a lot about myself. Seeing other cultures in action often gives you a reference point for your own life and I think travel gives you the opportunity to develop as a person. It is rare that I would go somewhere without having this in mind.
I don’t run anymore. Not everything in life is peachy but I have it pretty good now. And I know that most things can be fixed one way or another with the three Hs: Hard work, Humility and Humour.
By the way I don’t smoke any more – it was a short lived phase. Health over cool factor and whatnot. I do, however, enjoy a nice beer… But the only bloke I would salsa with is Boyfriend (and that is a big ask!)
catacombs, paris… chillin’ with the dead

grandma’s monkey business

We sat on the bus and thought about our trip so far.

“Are we boring?” Boyfriend asked me. I tried to answer diplomatically but the truth was… yes. We were both giant sticks-in-the-mud. We were two unimpressed old biddies out to see the world then criticise it. We had already had an altercation with a tour guide, complained about our local representative and lectured people about respecting important sites (namely, the ANZAC grave at River Kwai).

The day’s tour guide offered us the opportunity to get out and see a monkey show and, of course, we scoffed. Monkeys should only be in the wild; exploitation; can’t encourage this behaviour; yada yada yada. We weren’t paying for that!

Then came the dreaded question. “Honey, are we boring?” We compared ourselves to some of our friends. Would our friends see the monkey show? Yes. Did our friends usually seem to have a lot more fun than we did? Yes. So it was settled… We would see the damn monkey show.

We tried to enjoy it, we really did. We even had our photos taken with one of them. But we just couldn’t hack it and raced out of there as soon as it was over.

Outside, one of the girls on the tour asked if we’d been to see it and when we replied the affirmative and gave her our wrap up she said, “Yeah, I didn’t go. I don’t want to encourage that sort of behaviour.” We were put in our place!

So 400 Baht down, 30 minutes later we realised we might as well get back in the mud, because that’s where we belong.

a fun but terrible person

the getaway plan

We’d been counting down for months. We made lists. We made plans. We made more lists. What were we going to do? Where were we going to go? What were we going to buy? We were two more farangs in Bangkok and we were going to let loose.

Bangkok got us.

We’d had such a crazy month, working so hard and then both quitting our jobs (!) just before we left. We were so exhausted and stressed out – we just needed a holiday. And although we weren’t out and about every five seconds, I think this holiday was just what we needed.

The highlights:

  •   Bai Pai Cooking School in Bangkok. It’s an absolute must! We were taught by Chef Noi, a contender on Iron Chef Thailand (for realz!) and her stunning assistant Darin. Best moment: When we took a picture of Chef Noi and she declared “I’m a movie star!” before Darin’s comeback: “yeah, as a stand-in for Chewbacca!”
  •  The Floating Markets. The actual boat ride TO the markets is my actual highlight, but I had a great experience throughout. The fried banana chips are a real treat, and only 20Baht for a whole bag.
  •  Paying our respects to the ANZACs who died as POWs building the Burma Railway. The gardens they rest in are beautiful, too.  
  •        Hua Hin. We stayed at the Anantara Resort and Spa and it was such a lovely way to finish our holiday. Four nights wasn’t enough; I could have chilled out there for a month.

The low-lights:

  •         A couple of rude and dishonest tour guides/reps really let the team down. We are always told that Thailand is the Land of Smiles but maybe not for all! However, we were determined not to let them ruin our day and, funnily enough, once I told them what I do for a living they were nice as pie.
  •         The local kids on field trip running around and yelling in the cemetery, although I do understand that they have very different traditions when it comes to honouring the dead so they probably just thought it was a nice garden.

The neither-here-nor-there-lights:

  •   The Tiger Temple. Yes, the concept is cool, but once I had a good photo I didn’t need to take a million more. The whole idea of donating to take pictures didn’t really gel with me either; I would rather just have given them a donation because I wanted to support their work. The tour guide didn’t like this much.

Fly Girl Tip: do what you want to do. Bankgok’s a big place so take each second as it comes!

houses on the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi

thailand in pictures

FACT: my photographic skills are horrendous.
FACT: this will never, ever be a photography blog.
but here are some photos anyway…
Boyfriend, who can actually take a decent photo, unlike me, gives it a go on the River Kwai.
Bridge over River Kwai (Burmese Railway), Kanchanaburi
My new friend! Tiger Temple
Boat trippin’ through the canals to the Floating Markets
Our little boat
Sampling the local brew
Pretending for five minutes that we like monkeys (more on this later)
At Red Sky Bar on the top of our hotel (the Centara Grand at Central World)
Amazing nibbles at Red Sky Bar
How to handle an annoying Boyfriend
Boyfriend gets sophisticated at the pool bar