Sunday, 24 April 2011

Good Morning Vietnam.

So, as you may have guessed by the title, we're in Vietnam! We arrived this morning after less than 2 hours sleep, from clubbing it up in Singapore. Not a smart move maybe, but it was fun! So am sitting at the internet, after sitting on the smallest plastic table and chairs in the street, eating Vietnamese fried food which you dip in some kind of cold soupy liquid. Was much better than it sounds!

A quick catch up...we had a great time in KL with Niamh and Clay! Me and Dave just loved it, such a cool city - soooo much shopping, huge malls etc with killer air con. Just what you need. The city at night is really exciting, just buzzing with people, food, decorative lights etc. I want to live there! We stayed with Niamh and Clay in Midvalley, which was a beautiful place to stay - and we felt so welcome! And I loved it that we got some cinema sessions in as well! Has been a while, and Scream 4 was hilarious!

Again, not my work.
We had to get up super early to do the Petronas Towers - the Petroleum company- with a killer office! Its a truely beautiful building, designed with Malaysia in mind, it all means something and its quite unique. The skybridge  (the viewing bridge inbetween the towers) is where you can go up to visit - however, we got there at 8.10am to be in the mega huge line for tickets for that day, and we were the 3rd to last couple allowed to get tickets! Crazy! You do have to get there super super early! The trip up was a bit underwhelming, with a strict 15 min allowance up there, however the exhibition and video information afterwards was really interesting. And we chatted to a guy that works there for a while as he was clearly very passionate about his job and knew everything! We learnt that the whole thing was built in 2.5 years - and it was a race, the Japanese and Koreans took a tower each and the first to get high enough could do the skybridge. Insane! But it worked, as it was built super quickly.

We also did the Menara Tower, which is much higher up, but super tacky touristy. Lots of families, screaming children and pony rides?!? Strange. But the view at night is quite beautiful and you get a good view of the Petronas Towers.

Before KL, we did Melaka - a fusion city of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Dutch and Portuguese cultures. So much architecture, history, foods - amazing. And we stayed at Emilys Travellers Home, which is a cool lil hostel just outside of the historical centre, where they have jungle showers, you have to step over stepping stones through the Koi Carp pond with a turtle - and Mr Playboy, the resident rabbit hops around eating Bread soaked in Milo (chocolate powder). Love it!

And then after we said our goodbyes to Niamh, Clay, Linda and Brendan, we were off to Singapore! Expensive fun was had. Universal Studios on Sentosa Island was def my fave day out! Sentosa Island is a tourist purpose island, built with theme parks, man made beaches, resorts,m hotels, restaurants, an 8bn dollar casino (with only 1 bar?!) and much more. A weird lil bubble of Singapore. Shows that its just for the rich kids. However, we had lots of fun, hitting the big rollercoasters before the big queues arrived and going on everything we could! Also saw all the weird and cool lil shows and had prime posing opportunities at every corner.
Was also amazed at how the asian tourists all carry the biggest lens camera you've ever seen, complete with tripods. For a theme park. Madness. They document every second of their life.

We also did the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari in the rainforest which was really nice -a zoo where the animals actually seem happy and active as its a more natural habitiat for them. Alot of them, especially the night safari, just wander around - not many are actually caged in, which is a much better idea.

Marina Bay Sands

And as you can see above, this is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Where we didnt stay, but would like toin the future. You have t be super rich to go here. It has the world famous 'infinity pool' on top (the long boat bit). Its basically a swimming pool that looks like it goes on forever as it doesnt have proper sides. And you get amazing views from the top. So I here. You cant use the pool if you dont stay there. Sad times.

So thats a brief rundown for now. We're in Hanoi at the mo, awaiting the arrival of Krisy, Daves sister who's visiting us in a few days! Amazing.

So to everyone at home, Happy Easter! Enjoy the hot UK weather, it doesnt ever last! And all the time off - and the Royal Wedding of course! So patriotic.

Miss and love you all lots.

Muchos Love as ever xxxx

Monday, 4 April 2011

Today I saw a snake.

This is true. And it is my most favourite snake in the world.

Now we are in the wonderful world of Malaysia, after a 10 hour escape from Hat Yai in Thailand (they do however, have very good bakeries..). The Cameron Highlands is in central Malaysia, is at approx 1200m above sea level, and specializes in growing strawberries, tea and growing butterflies. Its a very beautiful area, and the people are so friendly!

Yesterday we did an 'easy and pleasant' jungle trail past the Robinson Waterfalls. This walk included climbing over fallen trees, scrambling through the jungle, sliding down on my bum, holding onto vines and plants, walking through a vegetable farm and wondering where the hell we were! It was getting really hot, and we were told that the BOH Tea Estate - our final destination- was 6 km away. So we started walking.

We were lucky enough, however, to hitchike up to the estate with a young married couple from Kuala Lumpur. They were lovely enough to drive us up there, have a lil look around, and carry on with their own plans. We got to the tea estate and walked up to the viewpoint to see the miles of hills, covered in tea plants. Absolutely amazing! A really surreal kind of green, that reminds me of Tim Burtons Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

We then had some tea, overlooking the tea estate, being the only westerners there, we shared the experience with many local families and visitors from KL. And we took the 5-8 minute advertised factory tour, which had the strongest and freshest smell of tea - which they break down, not using any chemicals - over the course of a day and a half. Incredible. And the tea is still handpicked.

After that, we started walking down the windy, green hill back to the main road, as there are no buses up to the tea estate. Again, we were lucky enough to get picked up by one of the families we took the tour with to get dropped off at the bottom of the long hill and onto the main road. Funnily enough, the malaysian woman actually lives in Swansea and runs a Chinese takeaway and was on a holiday visa in her own country, as she is now a UK citizen. She also did not miss the snow.

Once we said our goodbyes to her and her family, we managed to hitch yet our final lift of the day, with a woman from the perinthian islands and a local girl. The little girl was really funny, asking if England was as cold as the Cameron Highlands and if we get snow. So we were very fortunate to meet some very friendly and kind locals, who thought we were quite novel and no one can understand Daves Aussie accent!

Today we went up to the butterfly farm on the local bus, which was beautiful - and this is also where the snakes were. The butterflies - some of which are the size of small birds- fly around freely around the beautiful enclosed gardens. Along with the butterflies are rabbits, koi carp, chickens, a goose, a scorpion nest, snakes, different beetles and a tarantula. Weird.

We walked down the hill to get to the strawberry farm in Brinchang, not realising that it was 4km away and it chucked it down with rain. Again, luckily for us, a local couple took pity on our silly, wet tourist look and dropped us off in town. We are very lucky. The Big Red Strawberry farm was nice, although not peak strawberry season. We had a gorgeous strawberry fondue and strawberry juice whilst looking at an extensive range of strawberry paraphernalia. Amazing. You can put a strawberry on everything.

And i had the most amazing strawberry tart. Delish.

And that brings us up to now. In a couple of days we'll be heading to the perhinthian islands - if the weathers good - and then KL to meet up with Niamh and Clay - yay! Can't wait to see them!

Also, a Happy Mothers Day to the mum and a Happy Birthday to my lil sis, Saskia. Sorry I'm not there, and I miss and love you both.

Muchos love, as ever xxx