Monday, December 25, 2006

I punched an elephant!!!!!

I punched an elephant!!!!

I punched it right in the head!!!!!

My attempts to punch a monkey didn't turn out so good.....

Let's just say that it "turned" on me.....

My Thai

Well, after a walking around Ao Nang during the night, I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of Europeans over the age of... oh let's just say 30 seem to balloon to walrus like proportions.... I don't think I've ever seen so many overweight, overtanned and overalcoholed Northern Europeans in one place at one time.... needless to say, it's not a pretty site.

The next day, we all headed off on some more tours of the local area.

First stop, the hot springs!!!!

My brother leads the way as always.

The water was nice! It was about 34 degrees celcius.
After soaking it up in the hotspring, we headed to the Crystal Pool.
Amazing, deep blue waters! You could see all the way to the bottom.
Tim and I decided that any trip to a pool required a friendly game of "Catch the boulder" using a rock the size of my head that I dredged up from the pool floor.
I then proceeded to soak myself on the stream feeding the pool.
The next day, Tim and I decided to tackle the 1237 steps required to climb to the top of the Monkey Temple...
The normal time required to reach the top is 45 minutes to one hour according to our guide.
So... we slammed down some M-150s to give us a bit of a kick before heading up.
Damn the stairs were steep.....
VERY steep.....
But what a view from the top!
We managed to reach the top in under 25 minutes! My legs were aching though.... what a workout...

Sawat-dii khrap!

"Do you want to go to Thailand?"

"What for?" I asked.

"I want a holiday, I'm tired" was my dad's reply.

Go to Thailand.... why not I thought. I hadn't been there in a while and since my dad wanted us to go to Krabi, it was a chance for me to get in some time on the beach.

A trip to Thailand with the whole family.... this was going to be interesting. The whole family hadn't been on a holiday together for a while. My brother was up for it though, any chance at a bit of sun and surf will see him happy.

He was already trying to get into the mood at the airport....

After a short flight, we were in Krabi....

I was happy when we arrived at our hotel at Ao Nang beach. The hotel was pretty good which is always a bonus and it had its own beach at the back. Crystal blue waters and white sands. The view from my balcony of the nearby sandstone hills was also nothing to be laughed at!

After my parents settled in for the night, my brother and I unpacked our luggage into our room and went for a wander around the hotel. We found a larger gingerbread house in the main foyer. However, it was a little bit hidden.... so Tim decided to see if it was made of real gingerbread. After taking out a nice bite.... he concluded that it was.

The next day we headed off on a tour of the local islands.

The Princess Cave and my brother staring in awe of it all.

The large pile of what appeared to be giant wooden dildos was not what I was expecting to be in the cave.... apparently people throw them here asking for kids or something.....

I found the dildo pile to be a little boring, so I wandered off with my brother deeper into the caves to the right. We waded through some shallows and under some small overhangs before we found what we were looking for.

Some amazingly secluded caves! I nearly killed myself climbing up this boulder.

We headed off to "Chicken Island" after the caves and some snorkelling. Two islands, about two hundred metres apart... but you can wade from one to the other at around waist depth! There is a sandbar that connects the two islands. It's a surreal experience.... standing in the middle of the ocean waist deep between two islands.

But dear God it was beautiful.
How cool are my Hawiian board shorts!?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Godbrother and Godsister

My family and I went to visit some family friends for a little Christmas dinner. My parents are the godparents to their kids which makes them both my godbrother and godsister.

My mum.... being my mum.... decided that the best Christmas for two kids aged 4 and 6 would be cold hard cash.... lovely mum.....

My godsister's name is Mofope Folu, and my godbrother's name is Obaluwa! Their parents are from Nigeria.

I used to babysit Fope when she was just a baby.

When I saw her that night, I went to lift her up and I may have accidentally lifted her head into the dangling chandelier..... oops.......

Oh yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't get why some people like Kool Aid so much.....

It tastes pretty nasty....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Strange Fruit

I'm always amazed by the sheer variety of fruit in Singapore.

It's a welcome change from the boring monotony of apples.... oranges.... and pears in Australia.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Comfort and Aid (Day 2)

An interesting night followed the first day. After getting back to the hotel we were staying at, I was twice pulled away from my room by a screaming Felicia, Miki and Jennifer. Both times involved very large cockroaches scaring the hell out of Miki as she about to take a shower... two times just seems like bad luck. I had to overcome my own dislike of cockroaches and kill them.

The next day, I woke up earlier than everyone else and went for a walk around the town. It's a bustling little place, but like most places in Indonesia it's filthy. I was nearly sideswiped twice by moto taxis just on my short walk (albeit due to my own carelessness).

However, the main point of the second day was to visit and take supplies to one of the local orphanages.

This orphanage has over fifty orphans in it. Again, we took them the basic supplies as well as clothes, toys, cakes and some candy.

We also put on a little party for these kids as well with food and some games. Later on in the day, they all sang a song for us before we left that apparently translates to "Pray for us"... that was a disturbing experience. Seeing fifty orphans singing out in anguish, many of them crying is NOT an experience that can be taken lightly.

However, as with before we had to leave and so we hopped back into an assortment of vans and sped back to the town.

With a bit of time before our ferry back to Singapore, I decided to go for another wander around the town. I started stumbling through a variety of different alleys and back streets, I was surprised by the level of variation between filth and cleanliness between some of the alleys.

We boarded the ferry at around five and most of us headed straight for the roof for the trip back.
This time it's Jennifer's turn to be making faces. Miki was a bit exhausted by it all. Not only did she have the good fortune of dealing with the two cockroaches from the night before, but she was also given an extra special surprise today. Though young, Miki is an excellent guitar player, and she brought one of her acoustic guitars along on the trip to play for the people we visited (the guitar is almost as big as she is). Before we headed off to the ferry terminal, she was sitting on a bench strumming her guitar when a large cockroach popped its head out of one of the holes in her guitar, looked at her, then scurried back into her guitar.... she screamed.... then ran crying to me.... thankfully we were able to get the damn thing out and kill it.
Can you see the small rain storm out in the distance?
All that travelling can be tiring.... More pictures of the rain storm as we got a little closer.And a picture as we approached the Singaporean skyline.
Jennifer, Miki and I making some bizarre faces with the Singaporean skyline in the background. The two of them were great on this trip, they worked hard and they mingled with those we were helping.

The sunset looks pretty amazing.

Comfort and Aid (Day 1)

My parents asked me to go on an aid trip to Indonesia with them for a couple of days. I thought it seemed like a good idea, so I decided to go. The trip was to an Indonesian island near Singapore called Bintan. The island has become a bit of a tourist destination with a few resorts opening up there, but there's still a huge amount of poverty.... and filth.... and corruption.....

We went over to the island by ferry.

Here are Felicia, Jennifer and Miki. Jennifer and Miki are pretty young, but hopefully this trip will be beneficial to both them and the people they helped. I have NO idea why Miki was making that bizarre face...

After about an hour and a half on choppy water, we finally arrived.

However, what followed was another few hours of travel on buses along dingy backroads until we reached the village we were visiting. The village is populated by people native to the island who have been marginalised by the Indonesian government. They cannot own land and have limited employment opportunities. In this particular village, aside from fishing, the sole source of jobs for the community is a large charcoal factory (not owned by them of course). The work is brutal and the village reeks of the fumes.

I spent the next few hours bagging and distributing over half a ton of rice to distribute to the 80+ families in the village. We supplied them with this along with basics such as cooking oil, condensed milk, clothes, some basic drugs and toys and candy for the kids... so many little kids....

Once this was done, the entire village gathered at the village church for a small Christmas party with all the food and goods we had brought in addition to the basic supplies (the Christian faith of the villagers doesn't help their treatment by the government).

Some of the little kids were very cute!