A Travellerspoint blog

Koh Samui - Thailand (Part 3)

sunny

The next day we used as a veg day. We did lots of hanging around on the beach. We got some snorkels and snorkelled about in the unclearest water in the land on Choeng Mon beach and then went for a spin to Mae Nam beach to watch the sunset from the pier with a beer. Later on there was more cocktails and beverages on the beach as we watched a young chap who had his shorts hanging around his knees. We could see his bottom as he had a HUGE hole in the behind of his pants. It was too funny. (Lisa)

The following day, the four of us got picked up at 7:15am and wizzed off to the port to get the fast boat to Koh Tao. After some confusion over what tour and boat we were supposed to be on. We finally boarded the big boat that docked at the port. IT turned out to be quite a fast boat with one brief stop at Kophanang and onwards to the north of Koh Tao. Karen was quite nervous about getting in the water so she was given some special treatment by the boat guys while Reesa, John and I jumped into the crystal clear water all snorkled up. WOW!! The water was so clear, warm and calm. We could see everything below us… giant pieces of reef and loads of colourful fishies. We were in the water mincing about until we were called back to the boat for a lovely buffet lunch.

After lunch we moved to our second snorkel sight, a small island off the north west coast of Koh Tao. This place was soooooooooo picture perfect. Perfect sand running into gorgeous warm and clear sea. To make it even more amazing was the amount of fish swimming everywhere as soon as we took a peak under the water with our masks. As we swam out further it gradually got deeper and deeper. It was like flying off a cliff at one point where the sea floor just dropped to about 10 or 20 meters. John was well impressed as were Lisa and I (Seasoned snorkelers lol)

After much snorkling about and lying on the beach in the sun we had to get back to the boat for the return journey to Samui. On the way back we opted for sitting up-top deck in the open air to avoid sea sickness. After a short while Lisa, John and Karen all dozed off in their seats lol I started the video function on the camera rolling and watched “The dance of the sleepy heads” hahaha their heads kept falling back in their seats and then up again and back down etc. It was even funnier as they started to do it in sync. An hour and a half later we were back in Ko Samui. (Jim)

We all got ready TO RUMBLE. But alas it was to no avail. We were all pretty pooped out and twas not long after dinner before we called it a night. It was one of those decisions where you are either going to go mad or go home. We went home. :) We bid adieu to our favourite couple who travelled all the way to Thailand to have fun in the sun and meet up with us two smelly backpackers. We had a brilliant action packed two weeks and I wondered what I would look forward to now! :0

We decided to stay in Koh Samui for another day to chill. We trotted down to John & Karen’s place the next day (pretending we were staying in their hotel) so we could get some fancy seats and have a swim in their pool. But we went for lunch and then decided we couldn’t be arsed sunbathing. So we did sweet fa and went out for a really nice dinner on our own beach later on that night. The whole beach was lit up with little lights and each restaurant had it’s own sunloungers and tables out. We had a yummy dinner and then just called it a night. We went back and packed our stuff up for our trip to Koh Tao in the morning.

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Posted by squeakylee 23:43 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Samui - Thailand (Part 2)

jungle bungling

sunny 32 °C

The next day was CANOPY DAY so it was all sytems go!! For everyone else that is! I was feeling sick as a dog. But after a while and after more tablets, I finally felt a little better and decided to get up and go! :) What a great day.

The Canopy brochure told tall tales of how we could swing through the trees like monkeys whilst strapped to cables that connected one tree to another high above the jungle floor.

We had decided to drive to the Canopy Adventures. He he. It took us a short while to figure out which road was Soi 7. When we finally got the jeep through most of the ‘rough as fuck’ roads, we came to the bottom of a very steep muddy bumpy rain soaked hill. Now unfortunately our sleek black jeep was not a 4 wheel drive. So while I clutched the seats with white knuckles in the back of the car, Jim and Karen gave some encouraging ‘back-seat driver’ instructions.
Up roared the engines and down rolled we.
We then tried some guerrilla attacks, by sneaking up the hill from the left and then from t he right but down rolled we. :)

Johnboy eventually took a last ditch attempt up the right hand side! (ditch being the operative word – as outside my window (THE RIGHT SIDE) there was quite a substantial fall to a ditchlike place below). And finally with much shitting of pants and revving of the engine, we made it up the hill! Woohoo. Only as soon as we got up there, there was the entrance to the Canopy adventures! We could have parked the bloody thing at the bottom of the hill and strolled up! Lol

So in we trotted (me secretly dreading the drive back down) and called upon the merry men of the forest to bring us a-jungle-swinging. The lads were only to happy to oblige and they soon stuffed us all into some harnesses and gloves. Then we had to trek the 200 or 300 metres up the mountain in the sweltering heat. We were all nearly b*lli*ed before we even started swinging! He he.

At the top we did a test run on the pretend cable. We each went one at a time. Our harnesses were attached to the cable, then we had to put our right arm on the cable just behind the harness and when we wanted to slow down or stop we had to pull sharply downwards with our right arm. We all had a bash and it seemed easy peasy lemon squeezy. That is – until you had to jump off a treetop 200 feet up in the air. Jimbob went first on the first cable. He thought it was cool (I just asked him there now). He tried not to look down though and speeded down the first cable. Upon reaching the other treetop, he whipped out the camera and took pictures of the rest of us coming down the line. Hee hee. John & Karen went after and everything seemed to go tickety boo (except the harness was hurting John’s balls). On my go, I was a bit nervous about initially jumping off the tree but once I was in the air it was cool. I thought it was great crack.

The next few cables and swings were grand and we all got through them without too much nervousness or knee trembling. Then we came to the big fast one. The guy told us, to go fast first and then slow down coming towards the end. I went first in order to take some pictures of the others. I launched myself out and went f*cking flying down the yoke! When I was getting to the next tree I yanked down on the cable behind me but hardly slowed down at all and had to really give a right oul pull in order to try and slow myself down. It was exhilarating and a lil scary.

Next came big Jim who managed to fly down and slow himself right at the tree. What a pro! :p

Then twas young Karen’s turn. Karen was feeling a lil bit nervous and had cussed the whole idea of swinging through the treetops (it was Karen who encouraged us all to do the canopy swinging! ;) ).
So on the really fast long cable, I was waiting with the camera, taking small videos. Off launched Karen from the other tree and she came flying down the cable!!! She was too small to try and slow herself down and by the time she got to our tree, she was like a bullet whizzing by at 300kmph!. The guy managed to catch her by the feet but the rest of her body kept going and me and the camera nearly got bumped off the edge of the tree by Henry’s arse! ;) It looked very funny, but when she landed, we weren’t sure if she had done her neck an injury so I quickly switched the camera off.

After establishing she was alright, I switched the the camera back on and videod Johnboy who had a slow and controlled descent down the cable. It was like Superman had arrived for as soon as he landed, he put his hands on his hips, turned to Karen and said “Are you OK?”. (cue superhero music) I have it all on video and showed everyone afterwards and it got a right auld laugh.

The rest of the cables were not a bother after that. The lads (not I ;)) had a bit of height fright going down the really steep steps attached to the trees. I was surprised that I was not afraid at all. I got a bit rattled when some dude jumped off the tree platform I was standing on and the tree went flying but other than that the rest of the adventure was fantastic and we all really enjoyed it. :)

There’s nothing monkeys like better after swinging through the trees then a banana, but we decided to go for a swim in the waterfall first. Well actually we didn’t. The waterfall water didn’t look the may west to me so I didn’t get in. Johnboy was the only one who pranced about under the waterfall with the water spiders. It made for a great picture. ;)

We made it back down the hill in the jeep without any hassle and went for a quick spin to the Big Buddha statue to take some pictures. We then went to the fanciest of places for lunch. We were sitting outside in the hotel grounds, admiring the infinity pool when all of a sudden the wind started to whoosh up and the rain poured out of the heavens. We moved inside the hotel to eat our sandwiches but we were not alone. There must have been at least 15 flys swooping down on our table. It was disgusting and it really put us off our lunch. I’ve never eaten a sandwich so fast. I was guarding it as if I was in prison. So we quickly escaped and went home for a quick shower before meeting up for drinks later.

Before grub, we had cocktails, then headed to this really cool chic and fancy pants place in Chaweng out on the beach. We all got tres fancy dishes – except me – I got vegetables in gravy. LOL.

Later we hit this really cool bar called The Pharmacy – which was done up exactly like a clinic. The place was completely white and sterile, with doctors and nurses written on the bathroom doors and they served us our shots in little plastic pretend syringes. He he

We also visited other bars before we headed out to the Half Moon Party by the lake. The place for the party was kitted out fantastically. There were lots of games, food stalls, comfy chairs and a big stage with the dj on it. There was one game that involved throwing balls at a stage to try to knock pretty young Thai girls into buckets full of water. The music itself was a bit progblandtastic but it was fun. I’d reached the ‘you’re not getting drunk no matter how much you drink’ stage again. (often reached on holiday due to excessive drink consumption). The lights at the gig were cool and we could see lots of people with aluminous tattoos. (I think I saw Skinny from Swords there too).

After a few hours we called it a night.

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Posted by squeakylee 23:37 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Samui - Thailand (Part 1)

sunny 30 °C

Well we were all pretty fucked on the plane. We just about missed the f&ckin yoke, then when we got on, some bird asked John to be ‘Careful’ whilst putting his luggage up in the overhead lockers. He he. Me & Jim tried not to laugh whilst John did a cheeky reply and we all sat down.

The plane itself wasn’t too bad, although we were given noodles for breakfast. I thought I was going to get sick for at least the last hour of the plane journey. I was dying to get off the plane so I could do a barf. As soon as we got to Koh Samui airport, which let me say was a beautiful airport made of wood (but I couldn’t really appreciate it), I rushed to the jaxx. After lots of puking and face washing, I felt slightly better.
We were offere a taxi for a ginormous amount of dosh that we refused (as we were seasoned travellers now) and settled for a second offer (which was also slightly ott, but I was sick and we were hungover).

The taxi driver didn’t really know where we were going but we got him to drop us out at a place that resembled our place name. The only proof that we had of our hotel, was a piece of paper with the name on it (no address & no proof of payment - oops). Normally I would be appalled with my lack of readiness, but when you’ve been travelling for 5 months and constantly booking things ahead of time, things seem less important. :)

I went to go into an internet café to look up the exact address of our hotel, but the internet guy asked me where we were going and then pointed at our hotel, which was only 20 metres up the road. I was very grateful, considering most people would have probably charged us 50 quid for that piece of info. I don’t want you to think that I am becoming a hardened traveller as I have not become that.yet...that is yet to come

Our hotel was as cheap as beans and was fantastic. It had a TV, and no mozzies and a big comfy bed. And it was only 5 mins down the road from John & Karen – which was the whole bleedin point. We were delighted when John told us, that we were only a spit away from them :) :)

As soon as we arrived, I headed to the bed. I was afraid to leave the vicinity of a bathroom. I was not alone. Karen was feeling the same at her end of the field. The two of us were near bathroom bound.

After a few hours I decided to risk a trip down to the beach. Johnboy was already down there chatting up the ice cream guy. (the icecream guy couldn’t get away!! ;) ;)
Me & Jim decided to go get a snack whilst Johnboy went jet skiing. John’s jetskiing went superbly and after the three of us went up to see if Karen was ok. Karen was feeling a lil better and the four of us went down to the ship shaped pool in their complex for a swim. I felt a lot better in the water and felt like maybe I could go out that night.

We all met up later and went out for some fancy dinner. I should have not bothered to drink, but I’m Irish and pretty lame at refusing ze drink. I had a light (enough) dinner and some yummy long island ice teas. Eek.

After dinner we had a look in the book shop and admired the cute dogs that were abundant. Then we went to look for some snorkels in the shop, but they were quite expensive so Jimbob bought a rocket instead. Fireworks are perfectly legal in Thailand and we headed down to the beach to set it off. We trekked for quite some time to find an empty spot. It was pitch dark and with only the moon for light, we finally found a half empty spot with no hotel guards watching. (he he – even though fireworks are illegal, the auld Dublin feeling that we were committing a crime remained!)
The three of us maintained a healthy distance whilst Jim lit the fuse. (Jimbob only gave a passing couple a few seconds before he lit it up – we expected it to take a few passerbys with it!!) After a triumphant and impressively loud firework let off, we all headed back to base.
The drinks did me no good the next day. And that’s for sure.

The next morning, we met up in the morning for breakfast on the beach. But during my huevos, I had to leave the gang to go home and do some pottywork. Basically the first few days in Koh Samui involved a lot of potty work for the four of us. He he. So I left my eggs and trotted home to bed. (Later I heard Jim had eaten the rest of my huevos – I dunno if he tainted them so he could benefit!!) ;)

After a few hours of watching Australia Network and whopping back the motillium, I decided enough was enough and headed back down to the beach. As I arrived down, Jimbob & John were out wrestling a kayak and I joined Karen in the strenuous task of sunbathing. :) then the four of us went out jetskiing. I really enjoyed it when I was in the winners chair, but as soon as Jimbob was steering I was bopping al around the place and not really enjoying it that much. I thought my arse was going to break. The water was really calm though and we were able to go mucho fast around the bay. :)

Later we had all decided to go check out some Thai boxing, as we had missed it in Bangkok so we all met up for some grub in the local Irish bar. Yummy westerner food of lamb chops, fish burgers, beef burgers and strange curry were shared and washed down with trunty cocktails (John – 8 long island ice teas, Jim - 6 Mai Tais, Karen & Lisa – 3-4 martinis as were both feeling a lil ropey still!)

We asked the barman for the tab and it turns out sure John & him both knew some people from wherever John used to live in Dublin. Small world. We bumped into a taxi for the unwarranted taxi ride to the Thai boxing Arena – which ROCKED. Thai boxing was unanimously (sp) fantastic. :). I took loads of photos as the fighters were rolled out. It started off with the youngest fighters, who let me say, took the whole thing tres seriously indeed. There was lots of praying and blessing the ring, whilst the announcer spoke very hilariously in Thai. We all stood up for the Thai National Anthem and finally after that, they were off. There was a band in the corner playing fabulous snake charmer music. (He he we originally thought that it was a cassette). We watched and whistled and clapped for the blue corner or whoever looked the weakest and got round after round of whiskey in! At this stage the lads had had trunty cocktails and lots of whiskey. I was not far behind but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get my drunken hat on at all. Booo.

The thai boxing rocked and we stayed for the whole night of it. Then we headed to the big backpacker area to join trillions of Americans dancing badly to really bad hip hop slash r n b slash prock (poprock).

Later we were all blathered and we went back to John & Karen’s hotel room for some extra drinks, copious waffle and some exploration. Jim was being a smartypants and had thrown some poor young one's flip flop off the balcony. Whilst swinging it around, his fabulously expensive Buddha beads had fallen off into the jungly land below. Jim then had a bit of a wander around on the roof looking for his lost Buddha Beads. In an effort to find them properly he half fell, half stumbled off the roof and ripped his pants. Eek! Twas on our way home the next morning that I managed to find the beads in the ditch. Woohooo. ALWAYS RETURN FOR THE BUDDHA BEADs!

The next day the two lads were Dying. He he he. (I was secretly laughing as me & Karen had been dying a few days before). We all piled into a jeep and went for a spin around the island. (The whole island takes an hour to get around if even). The four of us though were a right state. We settled for an early dinner in a local grill house and headed off to bed.:)

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Posted by squeakylee 23:26 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Chiang Mai - Thailand

Welcome to the china club...a cha cha cha chang

overcast 28 °C

After sleeping through an alarm clock we forgot to set and awaking to John’s phone call to Lisa, we woke up with banging hangovers and very very late for our flight to Chiang Mai. After a heated taxi ride to the airport we finally made it just in time to meet John and Karen and check-in for our flight. The flight went grand as we all began to get over the hangover or fall asleep. John and Karen were whisked away by their travel rep as soon as they grabbed their bags. We were informed there was not enough room in the car for us to backpacking hobos, so we jumped in a cab to the DangWangDingWongTongDingALingLong hotel.

The hotel was very fancy, a lot nicer than anywhere we had stayed so far on our travels. There was some confusion with the hobos check-in and the nice Thai lady informed us that if we would take a twin room she would upgrade us to the “winners suite”, lol, cant remember what it was called but it was on the same floor as J & K so that suited us juuuuuuuust fine.

We relaxed by the pool for the morning and afternoon. Afterwards we had a walk about the market area that was located a block away from the hotel and a look around for a restaurant recommended to us by the travel rep earlier. We eventually found the restaurant and just our feckin luck the kitchen had just closed. After deciding we would leave it for the following evening, we rambled into a small restaurant place nearby. The food, as all food in Thailand was very nice and fecking dirt-cheap.

After the eats it was onto a trusty Irish bar where we consumed some Thai whiskey and beer and laughed our way back to the hotel and into bed as the next day was Elephant Trekking day.

After scoffing down as much free breakfast buffet as we could we went downstairs to meet our rep who would drive us about for the day. He was a nice guy who had very good English and could fecking talk for Thailand while we all tried to keep our eyes open in the back seat of the van. After about a 2 hour drive we reached the Elephant area. To get to the Elephants we had to cross a wooden “Indiana Jones” stylee bridge. Oh and no dogs are allowed over as the Elephants are scared of them hehe.

Our guide first brought us to buy some banana’s or sugar canes to feed the nearby elephants with. That was great fun, as soon as you hold the bananas near them their long trunk comes over and starts sniffing your hand, curling round and scoops them into their mouth. Before the Elephant bathing show begun our guy walked us over to a giant mother and her ickle baby Elephant. The baby was sooooooooooooo cute. It had big hairy eyelashes and loads of hair on its head. When we held out our arms his snotty little trunk would wrap it around your wrist and get it all sticky haha (see pics).

The bathing show was pretty cool (see pics) the Elephant riders and their Elephants all lined up and demonstrated how they bath their elephants by making them lie down in the water and splash their own rider with their trunks. Each Elephant has one rider for life. They sit behind the elephants head and use voice commands (up to 50 words), physical movements and a small metal prick on a stick to control their movements. Apparently Elephants have a very short attention span, so to make them concentrate and focus on the task at hand the rider rakes the elephant behind the ear with the metal prick thingy. It doesn’t hurt them at all it just makes them concentrate. Oh and the old saying “an elephant never forgets” is true. They remember people who have struck them when young and aren’t very friendly towards them.

The next show was to demonstrate how the Elephants were traditionally used. Typically they were either trained from birth as fighting Elephants that would ram/charge and perform aggressive movements for combat, or trained as logging Elephants that would push, pull, drag, and lift logs along the jungle floor alongside the loggers cutting down and move them long distances. Nowadays since the logging industry has stopped in Northern Thailand, Elephants are mainly used for trekking and performing for tourists. This is much less work then they would have previously done logging, so they lead a much easier and happier life. The logging show was impressive, seeing them effortlessly follow their riders instructions to lift and move massive logs. At the end they had one of the small young elephants named Jasmine PAINT!! for us (see pic) John bought the picture she painted and later Lisa and I bought another she had painted that day.

From the shows it was onto the trek. We had to climb up a ladder into a little tower that allowed us to get onto our Elephant. The Trek was a lot of fun, about an hour of riding into the jungle past little streams up and down little steap hills. The elephants never stopped pooing all the way, apparently they eat so much, a lot just comes back out as a pulp that the locals use to make photo frames and cardboard with. We were brought to a little village in the jungle to see how the jungle people lived.. LOL well that’s where we thought we were going. We were brought to a little village alright, a village full of stalls selling trinkets for tourists make by the villagers…. Pffttt. Back onto the Elephant and onto the return trek thought the river back to the Elephant place for some fecking great Thai food lunch. Sufficiently stuffed we were brought down by the river for a relaxing ride down the river on a bamboo canoe. With some Thai guy pushing us along with a long stick. It was all going swimmingly until big dark clouds decided to appear overhead and let rip with a shed load of rain!!!! See pics, we were drowned by the time we reached our destination where out rep was waiting in the van. Heading home we had a small stop off at the Orchard & Butterfly farm… it was such a gay place.

Elated by our Epelump adventures we went out that evening for some foot massages and then delicious food in the restaurant we were too late for the night before. After the fewd we went back to the Orish bar to get outofit on jugs of Sang Som whiskey and redbull. Although there were all these young Irish backpackers there playing killer pool and singing “Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Weh hey hey, Goodbye” so after the 10th time it was pissing us off. Eventually it stopped and we got drunker. John then proceeded to smash a saucer off the ground by accident which got a big wooohoooo off the others followed by another verse of that oh so catchy number we were subjected to earlier.. but it was pretty funny. After that we went to the hotel we were staying in’s disco. It was quite a big venue and when we went in they had these Thai girl band singing covers. It was pretty funny and after much confusion at the bar with our English orders we had lots of drinks. John befriended some gay Thai guy and we eventually called it a night.

The following day John rented a 4X4 jeep and we eventually made our way about 15km outside town and up to the winner’s temple lol I cant remember the name of it but the story goes…. Elephants that are born white in colour are given to the king and hundreds of years ago the King at the time attached a holy gold thingy on top of a white elephant and let it roam free up the mountainside. Wherever the elephant stopped was the point where they would build this big temple. Well the poor thing feckin stopped alright, dropped dead from fatigue at a very high point. So that’s where the built the temple. It has some amazing views of the city below and some nice 'feed the pony' buddha statues to admire within it.

We had some eats in the car park at the base of the steps up to the temple. The food was again fecking great and costing us swf. A short drive back down the mountain and we visited a nice waterfall along the way. We went on a lost cause drive to find this adventure park but eventually gave in as we were getting lost and had no directions hehe. We dropped back the 4X4 relaxed & showered then made our way to the riverside restaurant. This place was recommended by a friend of Karens I think, and the rep guy we had the day before. The food was lovely and the portions were large. The place was packed upstairs where a Thai band were playing covers to a big Thai crowd who were loving every minute of their performace. We grabbed a tuk tuk to an Irish bar about 3km into the town, it was pretty quite apart from two English lads with guitars doing crappy covers. We got all the drinks in until they were closing and kicked us out.

One of the girls working in the Irish bar told us the place to go after dark was called rush or trush or some shite lol so we tuk tuked our way there. It was jam packed full of foreigners and local girls looking for business. We grabbed a table and some buckets of Thai whiskey and redbull….. Well Lisa and Karen got HAMMERED! lol it was pretty funny Karen kept running off to dance and lisa kept trying to get me and John to drink as much as we could while she counted “One potato, two potato, three potato” etc. Shortly afterwards, John and I made the executive decision to get the girls ooouutoffthere we did and made our way home to hotel Tropicana.

Once again the next morning required us to get our shit together, pack up bags, get to reception, check out and get the ride with the rep to the airport to catch our flight to Ko Samui. LOL well it defo did not go as smoothly as it should have. We got downstairs hung over and tired. I had to run to the jacks as the whiskey wanted to say hello, so John checked out our room. Lisa came down and went with John an Karen to the car to wait for me. THEN the lady at reception told me we forgot something in the room (Lisa’s wallet) so I had to go all the way back up to floor 23 on the SLOWEST lifts in the world! It took ages and an irate rep told me to make my own way to the airport as she was bringing the others and we might miss the flight…. GROAN. So after about ten minutes of lift drama I got the wallet and met my darling Lisa, who had waited for me, :p in the reception area and we jumped a cab to the airport.

When we pulled up to the curb their was a 5 min security check before getting into the place, further stressing us out as the check in time was now well and truly over. But well done to John and Karen, they checked us in without our passports (lol only in Thailand) and we rushed to the airplane in a little car. They took my backpack and put it onboard and we jumped on the PROPELLOR engined plane for the journey to Ko Samui.

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Posted by James R 02:02 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok -Thailand

Santa's coming.. Santa's coming...

sunny 32 °C

Well sure weren’t we the kids on Christmas Eve getting into Bangkok. The flashy lights in the airport said “Long Live the King” which amused me for a few minutes while in the queue. A smiley man took our picture at immigration and we were off outside. The heat hit us like when someone bops a balloon off your head. We decided to get the bus as it went directly past our hostel (according to the hostel website). We only had to try and decipher where exactly that was. Luckily we spotted something that said.. ‘Host’ so I presumed it said “Hostel” and we jumped off. Waheeyyy. We were right! :)

As we were on the bus we got a text from J&K saying they had arrived and were in their room and to knock up to them when we were ready. Woohooo. Let the games begin! said we…We could see their swanky hotel from the window of our jaxx so we knew it wasn’t far. It took me ages to get ready as I couldn’t find anything to wear. As John said later, it was like going on a date or something. Even when we met up with them first, it felt a bit like an interview/datey situation! He he. But a few beers in and it was like we only left yesterday. We tramped off down the road, as all good Irishmen do, to the nearest Irish pub where we started off our adventures with a few drinks and some Thai grub.

Not really knowing where we were going (yeah right) we stumbled onto what can only be described as Bender’s Boulevard.
It was a right auld experience all right. As we started to walk down this flashy laneway bursting full of beautiful boys, we realized it may have been a mistake! We huddled together to avoid the grabbing hands and feminine voices offering different types of boys in different types of pants. James saw a few guys getting suds up through one of the curtains! He he
When we finally reached the end of the laneway, we realised that in order to get back out, we may have to go through them again! Eek. We decided we needed some Thai whiskies to help us first and so we popped into a place called “Balls” for a tipple.

Afterwards we discovered a sneaky way out of the laneway and went to Patpong road for some normal (ish – nothing is normal in Bangkok) drinks and banter. The world cup was on behind us, but to be honest, we paid little or no attention to it. We didn’t even know who had won the next day. We filled our bellies with tons of different cocktails and whiskies and beers and had a great laugh. We were joined by a flute toting woman and then by two birds who worked in the bar. The 2 girls tried to teach us some Thai songs, but not many of us could get the words right. (I could – the rest were twisted..;) )
Then we all acted the maggot in a tuk tuk home. :)

The following day we all tripped off to ye olde Suite Shoppe, where me & Jim got free water, whilst the other two got measured up for their new birthday suits.
Then we got a lift (ooooh) into Siam Paragon (the shopping centre) where Jim, Karen & I had lunch and John went cigarette shopping ;). We hopped on the skytrain to go to the park, but it started to bucket down so we settled for some coffees and small shopping instead. Later on, on a recommendation from John & Karen’s guide – the elusive ‘JAY’, we all headed to this scrumptious restaurant and ordered way too much delicious food. We had pink cocktails in booby & bum glasses, lots of things to dip in other things and much more really really good food.
As we were told that most places were closed due to a religious holiday, we decided to go to Th Khao San (famous backpacker road) for some late cheapy drinks. In the first bar they were only selling whisky, but the second bar handed over the beers. :D

On our third day in Bangkok, the lads went for their second fitting and we met up with them after at the temple in Bangkok – for some temple viewing. The day was really really heavy, and the four of us were like sweaty hobos within the hour. We speeded up our temple viewing – i.e. took pictures of ourselves in front of it and fucked off and hopped into a water taxi, which took the four of us around the small canals of Bangkok. (Thanks to J&K for that!) we saw humoungous fish that feasted on fresh bread and a lot of riverside wooden houses on stilts. I dunno how the houses haven’t fallen in, we saw one woman waist-high in water, under her house, hammering nails into the foundations. Kerrrazzeeee..

Later on, we still hadn’t had enough boating so we opted for a riverside feast on a boat. The boat went up and down the river past lots of fabulous temples (The Temple of Dawn) as we ate our fill. There were some fancy pants Thai dancers in costumes who entertained us as we ate. (See pics) After our disappointment at Th Khao San last night, we decided to stay around the Patpong area for drinks. But it was another religious holiday! DOH! So we ended up at BAR TOPLESS, for drinks, shits & giggles. We met some Englishmen – Andy & Dave – who seemed very helpful and full of advice on Thailand. Andy told us how his Thai wife had died from Dengue Fever earlier this year and the terrible things he had to go through to be allowed to bury his wife. He stressed the importance of smothering ourselves in mosquito juice and even carted Jim off to the shop to show him which mosquito preventative juice to buy! Lol.
Nonetheless he was a nice guy, and kept ringing people he knew to tell them that his friends (aka us) were coming to Chiang Mai/Koh Samui etc etc. he even gave us phone numbers of his friends. :/ I think he was a genuine guy but it was a lil weird all the same.
Some other guy came along with Jub Jub on his shoulder and we all got pics with Jub Jub. :)

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Posted by squeakylee 01:47 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Hong Kong

Where are we again??

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De de de de deh deh deh deh deh… oh wooh oohh woooooh sexy kung fu fighterrrrr.. etc
Hong Kong was Hot. .
Hot & sweaty.
It was 30 odd degrees when we arrived. I think we spent a large portion of our time trying to elude the heat by strolling in and out of large air-conditioned department stores all day.

We only had a few days in Hong Kong as we lengthened our stay in Japan to hang with Paul and then decided to head to Bangkok a day earlier to meet up with John & Karen for the World Cup Final. :D

We had quite a nice hostel room complete with air con which was nice. On our first day in HK, we decided to go to the beach!! Well we hadn’t seen any sun in Cairns and we’d only been on a beach a couple of times on all of our travels. Twas quite a nice beach and a nice relaxing day. When we went to leave however, some young vagabond had stolen my flip flop. Just the one! It must have been a very funny joke for them because I can’t see how one flip (or flop) could be of any use to anyone. Nonetheless I one-footed it off to the supermarket to buy another pair. I got a bargain pair for only 1 euro something. They are very bendy but they’re grand. I’m wearing them right now. :)) (snore)

We went out for some grub later but the restaurant was bloody freezing! It’s so hot outside that the restaurants and stores tend to go a little OTT with their air con. Despite it being 31 degrees outside, I was wishing I had brought some type of shawly devise (am I too old for cardigans? And too young for shawls? – who knows!)

On our 2nd day in Hong Kong, we went for a trawl through the various markets. We pushed our way through fruit and veg markets, ladies markets, mens markets, markets full of chopsticks and finally (and the best) the goldfish market – which was exactly what it says on the tin! :)

After that we decided to go and visit the first of our Big Buddha’s. We got a long bumpy busride up into a mountainy region. There we saw the big Buddha – who was cool. Jim maybe able to add some more detail at this point as I don’t remember anything important about it. :/ we climbed up the top, had a jaunt around, took some cheesy pictures and then took some sneaky pictures of a guy doing Tai Chi and a monk.
Then we had an expensive ice cream and jumped on the bus, only to find out we didn’t have enough for the bus fare. Luckily for us, the bus driver changed. He he. We were going to pay at the end of the ride but instead we bonked out past the driver chuckling gleefully all the way to the ferry queue. I half expected yer man to come looking for us in all honesty. I was imagining the two way radio conversations going on between the two bus men about the tall beardy westerner and his small bird who didn’t pay the fare. I was relieved to look around and see that everybody was a tall beardy westerner with a small bird. Hahahaha – he’ll never catch us now. Pfft :P

The ferry ride back to Causeway Bay was pretty nice, although we had to sit inside which was a bit pants. Jim was jealous of other people’s ice-creams on the ferry even though we just had one.
Instead of braving another freezing restaurant, we opted for some sandwiches and spicy crisps and headed for home where we watched Star Wars. It was in Hong Kong that we also discovered the deliciousness of Frappucinos. Holy Moly Roly Poly. Where have they been?? Yum.

On our turd day in Hong Kong we spent most of it looking for shoes for Roly. First of all he wanted (and only these) brown Haviana flip flops. After searching for two hours for these – even in all the shops on Sports Shoe Street (I kid you not), we had to admit defeat. Then Jim said he would like to try a pair of white Bergenstocks with the two straps only (sigh) and off we went again to all the same shops looking for the white ones. I really wouldn’t have minded – I’m always happy to see Jim get something he really likes but a bit of an open mind whilst shopping is always a good thing. Literally nothing else would do except the things he had in his head. It reminded me of Al Redmond and his shopping techniques in a way. ;)

Finally we got Jim some nice white sandals (with two straps) although not Bergenstocks (a different brand). (Later on in Thailand we would see white Bergenstocks with 2 straps on the streets everywhere for only 3 euro – but shhhhh)

On our last night we decided to buy a camera. Big mistake – always buy them a couple of days before you go home. The one Jim wanted wasn’t in stock so the store dude obviously was trying to swindle us into trying another model. The model he was giving us though was a very good make (Al – Konica Dimage!!) and I was convinced pretty quickly. After Jim checked it through for about 45 minutes, we said we would take it. But when we got it home, it was pretty slow and not that great. We were disappointed and Jim really wanted the Sony Cybershot somethingsomething.. But we took it back the next morning and got an Olympus camera – which we weren’t sure about at the time, but now that we’ve had it a while, it is quite fantastic. So all was fixed up .. kinda.. :)

Well that was about all we did in Hong Kong, we seemed to be in shops a lot. But I got a day on the beach and we saw the Big Buddha. I was so excited about going to Thailand to meet up with John & Karen that I couldn’t sleep. Woohoo! :D

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Posted by squeakylee 01:04 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Japan - Tokyo - part 2

Paul leads us a merry jig.. :)

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Overnight bus comedown part #1231435235 a feeling we have felt quite a few times from getting a good few overnight buses on our travels, when you’ve had a really crappy uncomfortable sleep, you’ve not gone for a pee all night due to laziness and the thoughts of you getting up from your seat really making u wide awake.
Anywho, we fought through the tiredness and braved the Tokyo underground to go find the hostel and get on with our Tokyo exploration. After chinwagging with an Argentinean-English teacher on the tube, we eventually got to our stop and I managed to find our very well hidden hostel. Oh but not after we killed some time in a breakfast restaurant… mm eggs and bacon.. how Japanese.

The Hostel was well nice, brand new with some very friendly staff. We threw our stuff in and decided sleep was for the weak and it was off to see the museums in Ueno park, they were realllllly cool. Lots of famous Samurai swords (Katana and Taoshi stylees) from the feckin 9th century up to 18th. Some even had slices in them from combat. We also saw some really cool Armour and paintings etc. Still half asleep we then went to visit a big market in Ueno with lots of crazy fish stalls with huge octopus arms in some red juice – tasty! Paul and I feasted on some green tea ice creams and Lisa bought more hair die.
We took the rest of the day handy in the hostel talking with some yanks from Detroit in our room.

The next day we moved to a private triple room and went out to do some shopping and see the freak show that is in Chibuku (see pics of goth looking girls). We got our picture taken with some of these girls, who apparently are kids that get bullied in school but on the weekends get dressed up and go to this place and hang out. They let tourists take pictures of them and with them.

Anyway we went shopping as this is the shopping area of Tokyo. We discovered this fecking amazing second hand store called … two floors of shopping bliss with all shirts organised by colour. I bought a few new t-shirts and two old school puma trackie tops. Paul bought some Hawaiian shirts and some new t-shirts, after which he mentioned; “That’s the first time in my life I think I enjoyed shopping” lol he got some good bargains.

We then took a walk doon to designer label toon and eventually found the BAPE store.. see pics, coolest. Shop. ever. The prada store was amazing looking, see picture of crazy glass building.

The next day, hungover and tired after lots of beers and watching funny stuff on the laptop, Paul brought us to this crazy museum place dedicated to a famous Japanese animation artist, producer etc called Yoshi Momomatsu (or something).. It took yonks to get there, but was worth it. The building itself was like something out of one of the guys movies. Inside we got to watch a small movie in Japanese but was realllllly cool. Then we got to see a replica of the room where he created all his characters and a room dedicated to the work of the guys that did Wallace and Grommit. Finally Paul brought us to his favourite room full of visual animation machines that when the right light and movement was applied to various model characters it looked like they were all moving like in a movie.. I’m not explaining that very well but it was very impressive nonetheless.

We were starving after this adventure so we decided on some western food for lunch and headed to a TGI’s in Ginza I think. After a big burger covered in honey mustard sauce bacon, ketchup and fries…. We were all nicely stuffed. We got to see lots of cool places in Tokyo thanks to Paulio. And we had our fair share of nice food and drink in a few different Irish bars. Then it was time to say good bye which was quite sad as we had all had a great week together. Lisa got glassy eyes when Paul left…. oh the love! We had a couple more days in Tokyo we spent sourcing Kimonos for our dear mothers and doing bits n bobs of shopping. Tokyo is deffo on my list of amazing cities to visit again. Would have liked to of went clubbing whilst there, but there’s always next time.

Seamus

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Posted by squeakylee 00:58 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Akita - Japan

The Meet Up With PAul

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Akita and beyond.
Well we basically fast trained it from Kyoto to Akita – it took about 8 hours but it was a really comfy journey and not hassley at all.
We arrived to a happy smiley healthy looking Paul at Akita station at maybe 6pm. He bungled us onto a bus and on the way to his apartment he regaled us with how happy he was to see us. He suggested that maybe months of teaching English and limited English-speaking social occasions had made him somewhat ‘peculiar’. ;)

Paul’s apartment was sparkling clean and very cute. I was surprised and suitably impressed. He has all the mod cons, including an apple mac.. (whooooooo).
We all had a few beers and chatted about what not before deciding to head out for some grub. Paul brought us to his favourite bimba (??) house and we got to half cook our dinner in our bowl and chow down. It was great to see Paul and to see him doing so well.
He had taken the next day off to show us around Akita (pffffffffft .. har har )

So the next day the three of us spent lounging around, drinking beer, waffling and watching episodes of Red Dwarf. Paul then organised a bit of a get together with his other teachy type mates ;). We all went off for delicious Indian grub and some beers where we got to meet his mates and try and figure out which were the ones he had warned us about. He he

The grub and chat were great and then we went back to Red Dwarf & beverages. Paul had already asked myself & Jim to come into his school with him to chat to the students about our travels. No problem, we assured him. However we were slightly scared when he revealed that he had the ‘lessonplan’ all done and we would be chatting to six classes (i.e. the whole class day). Eek we thought! But there was nothing to fear.

Paul wangled it so we were only going into a handful of classes. Whenwe arrived to Akita Commercial High School on the morrow, we were welcomed like celebrities. All the kids were ooohing and aahhhing at us (and how we were A) Paul’s Sister & B) Paul’s Sister’s Boyfriend. Everyone in the school was so nice & friendly and smiley and they all spoke tres highly of Paul. First we were given a tour of the school by some of the kids, which was gas. I was sweating out of nervosity so much, my slippers kept falling off. After our tour we were brought in to (ahem) watch the Soccer Team being taught Irish Dancing by a slip of a girl named Lorraine. It was very funny. The lads were typical 17 ( - 37) year olds all trying to outdo each other, turning the haon, doh, trees, into the Haka. We all got a few pictures at the end of the ‘seishun’ (see below).

Then it was on to our very own Welcome Party organised by the English Club. (tee hee hee). It was brill. On the blackboard some one had written “WELCOME” beside a picture of Hello Kitty. Worringly though, underneath was written:
1. Welcome note
2. Introduction
3. James & Lisas’ Speech.
4. Game Time
5. Communication time

LOL. WHAT ???! well we did our best. All the kids introduced themselves and told us their hobbies. They all had the same hobbies funnily enough - shopping and listening to music. Tee hee. So then came our lil speech – which was V E R Y W E L L D O N E IN T H A T S L O W W A Y T H A T E V E R Y W E S T E R N E R T A L K S T O N O N E N G L I S H S P E A K I N G F O R E I G N E R S! There was lots of hand gestures and pictures drawn on the board.

Then we were presented with a variety of Japanese snacks – i.e. the most grossest snacks the teens could find in order to intimidate the westerners. We had fermented fish flavour corn snacks (which I quite liked) and then some type of turdy tasting squid on a stick – which I didn’t like at all. However we were quite chuffed at getting our very own welcome party complete with snacks and when we left we had sore cheeks from smiling so much (face cheeks) all day. We were bid adieu with the promise we would return tomorrow to tantalise the higher English students. (One crazy girl wanted me to do a feckin Dunnes ad for her on the morrow – sheesh – what is the deal with the non stop entertainment people get from me recounting some grocery prices to cheesy music.);)

Anywho after all that, the three of us needed a drink. (you need some amount of energy to do that everyday – I dunno how Paulio does it). So we headed off home for a while before meeting up with some of Paul’s gang later in an Izakaya. It’s like a pub where you keep ordering drink & food all night. Tis fandabbydozey. Many a crazy dish was ordered and fancy drink drunk. :)

On Day 2 of Akita Commercial High School, things were much easier going. We basically plonked ourselves in front of a group of interested (we think) 15 year olds and with a mixture of arm gestures, slow talking, pictures on the blackboard and pictures on our laptop, we told them tales of monkeys and whales and puppy dog tales. They lapped it up (we think), well they were laughing and talking amongst themselves so we presumed they enjoyed our stories a lot. ;)

After lunch we were brought to the Brainy English class were we played some games with the kids. We were also taught a bit about some Japanese poems and stuff, which was great. The crazy girl had her eye on me to do the fasttalkingdunnesad, but luckily I managed to escape. I could see the glint in her eye as she went up to the English teacher and was basically asking if I could come back and do the ad. I saw the glint as I was fasthopping it out the school gate. He he he :) terrible really – but I would have fluffed my lines and I was already sweaty and a bit nervous.

With all our scholarly duties done we were free to make ourselves useless before we headed to Tokyo on the overnight bus. Paul and I decided to have a row and Jim decided to keep out of it. But all was forgotten the next morning when we arrived in Tokyo… (start dream like sequence of events.. didilideh didilideh didilideh..

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Posted by squeakylee 08:33 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Hiroshima - Japan

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Hiroshima was very pretty and it was a little sad too. It’s hard to imagine any of the Japanese people as encouraging war or indeed starting it.
However despite history, or even because of it, it’s difficult to believe anyone would be interested in keeping nuclear weapons.

First we saw the A Bomb dome. This was the Industrial promotion hall and the bomb was dropped on 6th August 1945 at 8.15am, 600metres over the hall. Everyone inside the hall died instantly. but because the bomb exploded directly over the hall, a lot of the infrastructure of the building emerged unscathed.
The dome of the hall is still evident as are most of the walls of the building. Apparently for a moment after the bomb dropped the temperature on the ground below reached 5000 degrees celcius.
Hiroshima was chosen due to the towns many military functions, plus it was the only target in Japan thought not to have a POW camp in it. To hear the stories of the survivors and to be able to listen to some diary extracts of those who perished was overwhelming. :(

It’s crazy that Kim dung Balls is even thinking of releasing a nuclear weapon, particularly when you consider 1 tenth of the people who were killed in Hiroshima were Korean.

Anywho, we visited the peace park, saw the Children’s monument in honour of Sadako (a child exposed to the bomb who was later diagnosed with leukaemia at age ten. She believed that if she could fold 1000 peace doves (origami) she would overcome the cancer. She died before she finished and all her classmates rallied young people from around the world to finish making the doves in her honour. A lot of money was also raised and a monument in honour of all the children who died from the Abomb in Hiroshima was erected in the Peace Park. We saw the monument dedicated to the Koreans’ killed by the bomb too.

Before it all got a bit too depressing, we decided to go have some lunch as we hadn’t eaten all day. We had some really fat noodles that tasted like nothing and some vegetables deep fried. (well at least I was getting some veggies) (they eat very little veggies in Japan).

Afterwards we tried to go into the Baseball stadium in Hiroshima (they’re mad about baseball in Japan) but I think there was a game on. The team is called the Hiroshima Toyo Carps – but we didn’t get to see them.

We wandered down the Hori-Dori arcade in search of a chocolate/banana croissant and a coffee to share on the train home.

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Posted by squeakylee 00:55 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Osaka - Japan

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We were going to just stay in the Kyoto Inn forever but we had already booked another hostel in Osaka so we had to don our ten ton truckloads of turdular stuff and hit the road to Osaka.
When we arrived it was raining. Ho hum. Where is the sun??
Upon checking in we tried to explain to the desk clerk that we had no cash, then he sent Jim on a few wild goose chases down the road in the search for international ATMs. No such thing. Especially on a Sunday afternoon. But he let us in anyway and we headed out into Osaka to explore.

We hit the town with a hungry vengence (we were starving) and tried to find somewhere decent to eat. We were too late for lunch and too early for dinner. But eventually we popped into a groovy Italian type place for lunch. I know people may berate us for eating Italian and foreign food whilst in Japan, but let me tell you this. Japanese people eat rice, pickles, noodles, rice, pickles and noodles. Now sometimes the things that come with these are different – e.g. pork, chicken, shrimp but the basic idea is the same. Now couple this with the miso soup and the slight awkwardy westerner with chopsticks and you can understand why perhaps every few days we indulge in some Italian/Nepalese/Indian/even McDonalds. (Eek)

Afterwards we trumped around taking pictures. The Japanese like to play some crazy ball game that looks like a slot game. They are everywhere. And they are :LOUD. I dunno how anyone can hear anything!! So we rumbledaround town taking pictures and doing some half assed window shopping.

And then the piece de resistance – the Osaka Aquarium – the one with a live whale shark. Well were we excited – were we wha… he he
We paid the hefty fees in and parambled around the place. First we saw gifuckingnormous fish, salamder, otters, Monterey bay sealions and antartic penguins. All these fish & birds had plenty of room as each place was huge. So we felt slightly better than any zoos we had visited. Then we moved onto see the Pacific Ocean Tank. It was 9m deep and some hundred thousand square metres wide but imo it still wasn’t big enough for the whale shark in it. I’m not totally against zoos as I think they have their uses and I also think that they can help in the survival of a species – maybe not a species that can survive in the wild however and that is not good. Seeing the whale shark up close and personal however was absolutely amazing. She was surrounded by many types of sharks, giant manta rays, tuna fish and lots of other fish and she was huge and beautiful. However as amazing as seeing the whale shark was, it was difficult not to notice the damage to her tail fin from constantly rubbing off the edge of the tank as she circled round and round and round and round for years.
After we finished we watched a video about how the aquarium was constructed and they showed us how they captured the whale shark. She was only a baby when captured and it was very sad I thought. Animals that large should never be kept in a space so small no matter how many thousand millions square metres it is. Later on I had a dream that I snorkelled into the pool with a pickaxe and managed to bust a hole through the wall for the whale shark to escape, but then a friend of mine appeared demanding to know why I hadn’t phoned her and the dream went off on other tangents! Wow and these dreams are without the aid of LARIUM (malaria tablets that make Jim & me dream crazy dreams).

For our second day in Osaka – I put James in charge of the day’s activities. I was tired of trying to read all the bumpf and in turn organise a days events. It may be ok when we are in an area for a long while, but here we are only in each place for a couple of days and a certain amount of research and planning has to be done for each venue. Needless to say I am normally left to do it as otherwise we wouldn’t get to see anything.
But on this day after being so frustrated yesterday trying to organise things and get to see things, I said that jimbear was in charge of what we were going to do this day. It was up to him to wake me up (for a change) and make sure we got out to see stuff.
WELL
I got to sleep til 2pm. FANFUCKINGTASTIC!
Jim was way too busy doing laundry to wake me up and I admit I could have slept until teatime. I was delirious the rest of the day. Although I love travelling aboot and seeing and doing so much stuff, it tires the pants off ya. Especially when you have already some flights booked elsewhere afterwards. We have to make sure we see the best bits no matter where we are otherwise we will regret it. However it is so rare and so great to be able to sit on your arse or sleep until 3 or 4 like you would do at home on a Sunday. I’d say since we have been away we have had only 4 days where we have done absolutely nothing. Every other day there is something to do or see. It can be very tiring.
However I wouldn’t swop it for the world. :) he he

Anywho after the mega snooze we headed back into town for a rumble around. I got my fantastic geta sandals –they are white and straw and I love them – they are worn by some monks and some geisha (but the geisha usually have way bigger heels on theirs). Then I got some funky Japanese lil bowls (for when I have my ultra cool ultra modern ultra swish house – any time in the next forty years)
We decided to go into a thai house that we spotted but boy what a waste of money. Although the food was ok, the portions were tinchy and the beer was so small for bloody 5 dollars 25 cent. Ripppppp
After this we were too pooped so we invested in some reeeediculously gorgeous hot banana and chocolate croissants – oh my god. They were so yum. We stocked up on some for the trip up to Paul tomorrow . J later we indulged in mucho low calorie grape flavoured stuff (for me as I’ve got pleasantly plump of late) and some Sapporo beer for Jimbob.

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Posted by squeakylee 08:54 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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