Jamie and Sophie's Adventure

Jamie Longmore and Sophie Jones travel the world

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kuala Lumpur.. once more

We flew back from the Philippines today and are here for 2 nights before getting the bus to Singapore.
We didn't make it to White Beach as I had a 24 hour bug which had me throwing up every half hour or so for most of the day which was rather unpleasant. We had fun the night before though, making friends with an older Welsh guy called Aled and enjoying some of the local cuisine and beverages (I'm pretty sure it was neither of these that made me sick).
The day after I was sick we travelled by coach to Angeles City, on our bus Sophie was the only Western woman, the rest of the coach party were all old, overweight Western men looking for a Filipino bride. The size of some of these men was truly astounding and would make anyone from the cricket club feel slim - and that is saying something.
We found a nice hotel called Patio Inn and Sophie negotiated the price down a bit which saved us a few Pesos. Mount Pinatubo was great, we got picked up from our hotel at 4:30am but it was well worth it. We travelled there in the back of a 4x4 and were absolutely freezing at that time of the morning, wearing shorts and t-shirts! The ride got incredibly bumpy once we got near the base of the volcano, driving through streams and over boulders, we're covered in bruises from being thrown about so much. We climbed up with our guide called Armando, a 62 year old with very little teeth but certainly knew his Pinatubo history.
It took about 2 hours to climb to the crater and we were amazed at how beautiful it was, I have taken loads and loads of photos, some of which are now online in the galleries, though it's hard to do the place justice with words and pictures, I definitely recommend the trip to anyone heading that way.
I have put photos from the end of our Thailand trip (added to the end of our Thailand gallery) aswell as a new Malaysia and Philippines section, please take a look and leave us some comments about them.
Click here to see the gallery page.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Philippines

It's been a long time since the last update so I hope I can remember what we've been up to.
From the Cameron Highlands we went to Maleka where all I can remember was that it rained constantly and we went to see a Ripley's Believe it or Not freak show, which had things such as tiny half men/half crocodiles and weird things like that which are supposed to be real, I'm not convinced.
We were planning on going to Taman Negara on the Saturday but then decided to spend a day in Kuala Lumpur first as I needed to buy some hiking shoes and it was also going to be a lot easier to get there that way. We were only there for one night but it seemed a fairly interesting city and wasn't raining constantly which was pleasing.
On Sunday we made the trip to Taman Negara National Park which is meant to be the world's oldest tropical rainforest. We managed to book the trip through our guesthouse (Wheelers) in Kuala Lumpur so the trip was fairly simple and it meant we had accommadation organised for us when we got there. We had also managed to leave some of our luggage at the gueshouse so it meant we didnt have to take our big bags with us.
Our accommodation ended up being the furthest hostel away so after a long walk we found ourselves in a room with 2 bunk beds and a scouser called Dylan who I thought was alright but Sophie got a bit annoyed with him, possibly it had something to do with the fact that he rarely showered and was on the same level as Sophie so I couldn't smell him. He was a typical scouse chav and described everything as being "boss".
On the first night we went to a floating restaurant which was fun and then the following day we climbed a big hill which was very hard work and crossed the canopy walkway. The canopy walkway was very cool, it's basically a load of aluminium planks tied together with rope 400m long (the longest of its kind in the world) and 50m high. The sun also came out for us so we had a good time and despite reading 100s of reports saying we'd almost certainly end up with leeches on us, we escaped with all our blood still inside us.

On Wednesday we travelled back to Kuala Lumpur and stayed at Wheelers again, which we are getting quite fond off especially as the showers are actually hot even if they are shared. We spent our whole time shopping but we're going back next week so we have a chance to sight-see then. We also went to the Imax cinema and saw Open Season which was fun and only cost 7 quid for the both of us including large popcorn and large coke (if only the normal cinema let alone Imax was that cheap in England). Our guesthouse was in China Town which is very cool so we stocked up on lots of Chinese food as well as enjoying lots of chicken satay of the streets. Sophie had this strange thing called pearl strawberry milk tea which was like a strawberry milshake but had strange black slimey balls at the bottom which we still can't work out what they were, it tasted good though.

On Thursday we caught our flight to the Philippines (my Christmas present to Sophie) which was hard as we had to get up at 4.30 am - I turned the alarm off and went back to sleep, thankfully Sophie woke up properly. The journey was an absolutly nightmare and we didnt arrive in Manila Bay until 5pm. The traffic in Manila was shocking. The journey wasnt helped by the fact that they were having a rally for the Mayor so there were thousands of people blocking the roads. I also wasn't impressed that the plane we had flown in on was a Man United plane, covered with pictures of that big jesse Christiano Ronaldo and Shrek. We went and had a look in one of the many shopping malls in Manila and went to Pizza hut where I had a bottomless cup of Mountain Dew (remember that?) to wash down my Hawaiian pizza.

On Friday we caught the bus and the boat to Puerto Galera. We did want to go to Boracay for the week but they have a festival there this weekend so all flights have been booked up for months and the ferry takes 22 hours, seeing as we're only here for 6 days spending 44hrs of that on a boat (that costs 60 pounds) didn't seem like a good use of our time. Puerto Galera is nice, even though the accommadation is the worst we've had so far. We are staying on a beach called Big La Laguna as the main beach Sabang is full of Go Go Bars where you can buy yourself a woman for 3 pounds 50. The Philippines is renowened for that sort of thing so we did expect it but every single couple consists of a ugly fat western man and very small Fillipino woman. Sophie was amused when we got into immigration and we got in seperate queues so that we could get through quicker but it meant the customs man thought I was on my own and started cross examining me about my motives for coming to the Philippines. In the end I just started ignoring the bloke until he gave me my passport back. We are a bit worried that from a distance people might think that I have bought Sophie!

Today we've just been hanging out on our beach and we're going to sit in a beach bar and enjoy the sun and a San Miguel later. Tomorrow we will go to "White beach" for the day, then back to Manila and on to Clark the day after because we want to climb Mt. Pinatubo (a volcano that last erupted in 1991 I think) but that's another 5am start unfortunately. We will then be going back to Kuala Lumpur for a few days, then onto Singapore where I'm hoping to shop for dirt cheap electronics and then to Bali where we are meeting up with Sophie's Mum and Dad.

You've all been very slack with the comments lately, leave us some please, it makes us feel loved. Will, how did you get on in Birmingham? Phil are you a lawyer yet (God help us)?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cameron Highlands

I was very tired when I wrote the last blog and therefore forgot to mention one or two things that I will include in this report.
We went for a curry in Georgetown which was interesting because everyone else was eating with their fingers, the meat, the rice, even the sauce, very entertaining. Our room, which was pretty awful as I mentioned, became home to 3 cockroaches. Sophie tells me that cockroaches are meant to be able to survive a nuclear bomb, they couldn't however survive me and a great big shoe. We also saw a load of rats down an alleyway, I went down it to try and film them on my camera but ran away quickly when one came out behind me.
We then went to... somewhere else, Sophie isn't here at the moment to remind me what everywhere is called so I'll add it in later, anyway, it had a beach which was alright, the choices of accomodation were horrendous but we found somewhere not too bad for just under 6 pounds. Unfortunately there was an ants nest in the corner, I noticed about 20 ants and asked the owner for something to get rid of them and he gave me some mosquito spray. I sprayed copious amounts of it around the room, especially on the corner where they seemed to be congregating and when we came back after tea there were literally several hundred dead ants for us to sweep away.
During the nights, something had a feast on us. They aren't mosquito bites so I'm not sure if they are bedbugs, fleas, rogue ants looking for revenge or what, all I know is that we are covered in bites, head to toe, including some unmentionable places that you just don't expect to get bitten. The bites haven't gone down yet and we are worried about the possibility of our bags and clothes being the new home of some nasty little creatures as we keep finding seemingly new bites. We'll see what the situation is like in a few days.
We are now in the Cameron Highlands, which is well known for producing tea, there also seem to be a lot of strawberries here, with several shops selling only things like strawberry lollies, fridge magnets, balloons, etc.
We walked to see a waterfall earlier but it was pretty poor really but at least we got some exercise. It's very cold here as we are very high up, it has also been raining more or less all day, though not too hard for most of it. We are staying at Daniel's Lodge which is very hippyish but nevermind they seem nice enough. The creepy crawlies followed us here, we had a large flying thing that looked like it had a sting in his tail, buzzing around our room before we wanted to get to sleep. Sophie sitting on my shoulders armed with a flip flop sorted him out. Buddha is going to be quite mad with us if we keep squishing all these bugs so we will try to stop, for karma's sake.
The internet is very slow and often down, apparantly because of an earthquake (tell them to fix it soon Dan), so don't be surprised if updates aren't as frequent as they have been. Remember to leave us comments though.
Happy birthday Will for the 13th in case I don't get on before then.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Year, New Country

Hope you all had a good new year, we went out for a meal with my parents and then watched some amazing fireworks on the beach, they were going off from every direction, aswell as big firecrackers in the middle of the road.
We left Phuket and headed for Khao Sok where we went canoing and did a night safari where we saw poisonous spiders and various other creepy crawlies.
We are now in Malaysia, though it wasn't that easy getting here. We got a bus to Surat Thani, only to be told we had to get another bus to Hatyai where we could get the train the same evening. It turned out we had to wait until 7am the next morning (should have been 6am but trains are late whatever country you're in). We finally got to Butterworth and then got a ferry to Georgetown which is where we are now. Accomodation here is pretty poor so we are in a tiny room with just a bed, no windows, no air, no bathroom. We leave tomorrow for somewhere with a beach. We're in an amazing, huge shopping mall at the moment which has everything, Sophie's bought some shoes and I'm still thinking about what I'm going to buy.
The internet's very slow over here, when we get somewhere decent I'll put more photos up.