Jamie and Sophie's Adventure

Jamie Longmore and Sophie Jones travel the world

Friday, December 29, 2006

Phuket

Christmas lunch was amazing, we found a place that did an all you can eat buffet for about 3 quid, even had turkey. We stuffed ourselves with that and then went for a few drinks. We are now on Phuket (pronounced Poo-Ket). We stayed on Ko Lanta for 2 night which was nice, had a good beach and plenty of places to go on the beach.
We have met up with my Mum and Dad now, who are staying at the Hilton (5 star) hotel, so we spent today by one of their pools and will do the same tomorrow! New years eve during the day we are all going to Ko Phi Phi which is where "The Beach" (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) was filmed. Not sure what we're doing New Year's Eve night yet, it's my Mum's birthday on New Years Day so will probably celebrate it with them.
Thanks to everyone who left messages or emailed, those of you that didn't bother, shame on you. My email address if you don't have it is jamielongmore (at) hotmail . co . uk [anti-spam]
The internet is often down here because of some earthquake destroying cables in the sea so I will say Happy New Year now just in case I can't get on again.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. We are now in Ao Nang, Krabi in southern Thailand, staying at Ao Nang Grand Inn which is a very nice room so we are quite comfortable for Christmas.
In Bangkok we bought a load of t-shirts and other souvenirs and shipped them home, mine cost about 40 quid for 10kg but if we hadn't done it we would have had to pay a fortune with excess baggage on our flights or maybe even left some of it behind. Our flight to Phuket was fine, we then got a taxi into town, a bus to Krabi and a tuk tuk to Ao Nang.
We spent Christmas Eve rock climbing on a beach called East Railay where the cliffs were called 123 for some reason. It was a pretty novel thing to be doing the day before Xmas and was brilliant fun. The cliffs we were climbing were pretty tough going but we made it to the top of all of them so we're very proud of ourselves. If anyone knows about rock climbing, the thing we climbed was graded 5B+6 which doesn't mean a lot to me other than it was very hard work, even today my fingers feel weak and tired. We had a couple of festive drinks last night, we managed to find a pub that serves pints of Chang beer, I think it was the first pint glass I've seen in SE Asia.
Santa managed to find us even out here, he brought me a DVD, sweeties, pastries and even an elephant. He remembered Sophie too and brought her a trip to the Philipines and an SD card for her camera.
We are going to spend some time on the beach today and then maybe go to one of the places serving Christmas dinners and then probably have a few more drinks tonight.
Leave us a comment to let us know what Santa brought you this morning. Has it snowed in England? It's extremely hot and sunny here :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bangkok again

We are back in Bangkok for a couple of days before going to Krabi for Christmas and then Phuket to see my Mum and Dad.
Firstly, some things I think I forgot to mention in other blogs:
In Laos we got to see this really funny martial arts performance called "Jump" which has a very comical storyline and some impressive coreographed fight scenes, we got to see it for free, apparantly tickets in England are about 35 quid but I recommend it even for that money.
Sophie had her hair straightened... by a ladyboy!
I had a shave in Hoi-An at the barbers with a cut throat razor, which was good, but then he started shaving my forehead and sticking things down my ears, much to Sophie's amusement.
Anyways, back to Laos, so we went to Luang Prabang where we went to see an impressive waterfall the one day and drank rather a lot of Beer Laos with our new friends Jav, Jez, Aaron and Irene for the few nights we were there.
We then got the bus to Vang Vieng, we have heard countless stories of accidents and breakdowns on these journeys along the windy mountain roads, and now we have our own. Going round a sharp bend, a motorbike comes tearing round the corner on our side of the road, hits the front of the bus and goes flying off into the grass bank. Luckily we had some Doctors onboard and they made sure he was OK. Apparantly he's got a badly broken foot but should be alright. A pickup truck took him off to the nearest hospital, which I think was probably several 100km away.
The lights on the front of our bus were totally smashed and the front panel was hanging off a bit, also they had to wait around for the police to come so we got onto another coach and finally made it to Vang Vieng.
It's a funny town, full of bars that show Friends non-stop. You can listen to 5 different episodes at once if you sit in the right place. The food is also awful, with every restaurant having the same menu. These are not the reasons for going to Vang Vieng however, the reason for going is TUBING, which is awesome.
You sit in a huge inner tube and float 3km down the river, stopping off on the way for beers and scarily high rope swings. We met up with Aaron and Irene from Luang Prabang and floated away with them. It was great fun, though the water was a little chilly by the end of the day.
The next day we rented a couple of bikes for $1 each and cycled 13km to see some caves. This is significant because it was the first time Sophie has been on a bike since she had a nasty accident 7 years ago so I am very proud of her for doing a 26km round trip. We only actually saw 1 cave and it was rubbish, we had a look for the others but decided they'd probably be a let down anyway and we'd had fun riding our bikes so headed back into town.
Yesterday we had a 4 hour bus journey back to Vientiane and then an 11 hour journey to Bangkok, we arrived at 4:30am on Khoa San Road and had to try to find a guesthouse, normally not a problem, but as it's near Christmas they are all booked up. We eventually found one that isn't particularly nice but it will have to do for a couple of nights. There are way more people and more stalls on the market than last time we were here and it was busy then!
We fly to Phuket then get the boat to Krabi on Saturday, early in the morning.
I'm going to see how much it costs to ship home my suitcase full of goodies tomorrow, I'm expecting it to be rather a lot.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Goodnight Vientiane

Tonight is our last night here before going to Luang Prabang where we will be for about 2 days and then on to Vang Vieng where we will do some kayaking and tubing (riding round in a big rubber ring). We have booked our ticket to Bangkok for next Wednesday. Working in the school has been alright, Sophie's been helping the little kiddies while I've been removing viruses, putting special effects in videos and playing Solitaire.
I've added some more photos, some of Laos, Cambodia and a load more in the Vietnam gallery. There is more than one page of photos in there so remember to look at all the other pages.
It's not long till Christmas, though it doesn't really feel like it for me, probably because it's ridiculously hot here. There are a few places decorated with Christmas trees and a Santa Claus though. We still don't know where we will be on Christmas day as booking accomodation is proving to be a nightmare. We do know that we will be somewhere that the tsunami destroyed and that happened on boxing day didn't it.. :-/
See the photos here

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hel-Laos

Our flight to Laos went quite smoothly, apart from having our names called out on the loud speaker because we were the last people to board the plane, we even got some breakfast. The plane was quite empty and was easily the smallest I've ever been on.
We are staying at Heuan Lao Guesthouse which is directly opposite The Sunshine School so it's quite useful. I have been doing things like video editing and printing leaflets while Sophie has been helping the 4/5 year olds, playing games and singing songs with them. It's not too bad though I did get to play table tennis with some of the kids yesterday and hopefully will do some more sport with them soon. We had to deliver 200 leaflets advertising the school the other afternoon, which was hard work in this heat but we did it without having to throw any in the bin.
When we were walking home after tea 2 days ago, a little boy started calling over the street "Teacher Sophie, Teacher Sophie!" and gave us a wave so obviously the kiddies have taken a liking to her.
Laos is a lot hotter than Hanoi was thankfully and is a million times more peaceful. You don't get people hassling you about buying things or getting tuk tuks every 5 seconds. It does seem to be more expensive than elsewhere though, a main course being $3-4 rather than $2 but it's all been good food for me, though the restaurant staff seem to have terrible English which makes ordering a complete nightmare. I wanted to ask if the 7-Up came in a bottle or a can and after 10 minutes we still didn't find out.
We don't know how long we will be in Vientiane, we are thinking about seeing a bit more of Laos and cutting our volunteering a couple of days short as they have about 5 other people there already.
If I can find an internet cafe that has a DVD drive I'll put some photos on soon.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Good Bye Vietnam

Today is our last full day in 'Nam as tomorrow morning we fly to Laos, the flight is meant to be at 9am but if it's anything like the bus journeys we have been on we wont be leaving before lunchtime.
Halong Bay was a decent trip, though the weather wasn't the best, it didn't rain but was cold and cloudy the whole time. The first day we went on our boat, did some kayaking, saw floating villages and the Amazing Caves (that's actually what they are called) and we feasted on loads of seafood which was very tasty. We stayed the night on the boat and had a few beers with the other guys on the trip. The next day we went to Monkey Island (sadly we didn't see Guybrush Threepwood), where everyone else started harrassing the group of about 6 monkeys, teasing them and poking them with sticks. I've got a video of one monkey downing a can of Fanta which I might try and post one day.
We stayed the night in a very good hotel which normally would have been out of our price range. We came back to Hanoi yesterday and found a reasonable hotel for $8, though our bathroom isn't attatched to our bedroom which is a bit annoying. Of course we went to several Bia Hois last night with Mal and Simone, they have been excellent drinking buddies on this trip and it's a shame we wont bump into them again anywhere else after today.
We start work in The Sunshine School on Tuesday I think, I have a feeling it wont be quite the same as the last school I worked in...
We have a few things to do this afternoon, book a taxi to the airport, exchange some books and pack for tomorrow so better get going.