Saturday, 30 January 2016

HAPPY HIPPY VORTEX - A few months around Thailand

A very last minute change in plan saw us choosing a route back to Penang from Kuching instead of to Sumatra. We had more offers of work for the last portion of Indian Summers filming, and we decided to grab the chance for a few more weeks of wages. It was an extremely fortunate decision, as in the following months the entire area of west Indonesia and Malaysia was covered in a thick smokey haze much of which originated from the exact region we had been planning on visiting. Although the smoke was unpleasant in Penang, it would have impossible to stay in Sumatra.

In October we were at last free from Indian Summers, and Penang, after having been there on and off since the end of April. It was WAY too long in one place for us, but we agreed it had been worth it to save some extra money for our trip to UK/Europe this year.

We took an unusually long break from each other when Sal flew off to Oz to see family and partake in yet more work for a couple of weeks and Rich was forced to return to the beach on Ko Fruitopia in Thailand (poor baby!). They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and after about a month apart, our reunion was heartfelt!

We used the time on our favourite Thai island to settle back and take a breather. The weather was perfect- sunny and dry, a rarity in December, and only got hotter as time went on. A few events broke through the hammock/reading time- the usual Christmas in the sea Gypsy style and live music on New's Year's Eve were joined by the dazzling new activity of swimming in the moonlight with phosphorescent plankton, a well worth it early struggle out of bed for sunrise, and a day exploring the island by motorbike- only the second time we've done that in 12 years!! With most of the "old" gang back, as well as some new blood to add to the mix, the highlight was, as usual, catching up with a year's (or more) worth of news and gasbagging.

Dawn breaking, Ko Fruitopia

Ko Fruitopia sea gypsy village

Fishing vessel, Ko Fruitopia village

Offerings at the sacred tree, Ko Fruitopia

By January, we were  chomping at the bit to embark on our new adventure, and after a practical stay in Krabi (dominated by having our netbook wonderfully fixed, cleaned up and tuned up by our computer wizz friend, and eating copious amounts of delicious and varied food), we headed to Bangkok by bus for a week-ish of last minute organizing and shopping.....and managed to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing.

The lights of Khao San Rd, Bangkok

Backstreets of Banglamphu, Bangkok

Flat ducks, Chinatown, Bangkok

While we were in Bangkok, the temperature "plunged" to 17 degrees for a few days, seeing locals and backpackers alike rugged up in jumpers, wooly hats and boots- quite a funny sight to see here! News of very cool temperatures at our next destination therefore has us a bit worried, but after so long in tropical and humid temperatures we are actually looking forward to some fresh and cool air in the UK. The novelty may not last too long once we get there, though!!! Stay tuned.........

PS. If anyone happens to be following this blog closely enough to care, there won't be a Best/Worst List for 2015, due to a fairly unvaried and work dominated year in Malaysia. Although we managed to travel a little here and there, the year isn't worthy of it's own Best/Worst List.