Pavilion Apartments, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
4 September 2015
End of Days. Back in Dublin. The journey is over and I've had a great time. It's been great fun, sharing all these memorable moments with my friends and family. I hope you've all taken some piece of fun out of the odyssey and enjoyed the trip with me. God bless all.
2 September 2015
Jesus, just landed in Kuala Lumpur en route to London. 10.50€ for a pint of Heineken. ouch. Anyway. End of days
1 September 2015
Siam Square is a stylish place in Bangkok, still, we thought it lacked a little gravitas......so we opened one of our branches....
Tales of the unexpected....more taxi exploits....I'm going to Molly Malone Irish pub to watch the rugby on Saturday evening (8.30 here) . Leave the hotel at 7.30, it 4.5kms, no big deal,!! wrong, 45 mins later we're on the right street but can't find MM. I had given him the address from the web site on my iPad. He's asking me for my phone, don't have one, as you guys know, he doesn't either, Christ, he's now dialling the pub from a public phone to find out where it is??? PHONE NO WORK MR TOM... F****k sake he's now asking Tuk Tuk driver.....steam coming out my ears, you couldn't make this up...anyway, I get there with minutes to spare. Then I end up Watching the bloody match on the Internet with buffeting every 60 seconds....Christ ....beam me up Scotty....
The saddest part of this tale is the taxi fare was less than two euro, ignore my tip for the guy. That's two euro for an hours work, and he has to pay his costs out of that...crazy ..
31 August 2015
Nearly at journey's end, visited MBK centre today for last minute shopping, can't keep putting it off👳. It's an enormous street market but it has escalators and air conditioning, seven floors. 1,500 stalls and knock off goods of excellent quality. Clever food hall on top floor, non cash environment, you preload plastic and spend as you like and cash out afterwards. Every ethnic food store you could want....
30 August 2015
Replica of Thai village, this is before a great show called, Siam Niramit,, it's a dramatical representation of Thai history, 150 in the cast. Huge stage with a stream running through. Unfortunately all photographic equipment confiscated before you got in. It's worth googling the name to see more detail....
29 August 2015
Here's some history and geography stuff you might find interesting. Cambodia is now the smallest county, in land mass and population, however it encompassed Thailand,Laos,and Vietnam up to around the 13th century. Wars over the next century's created the four country's and Cambodia is now the minnow, geographically .
You may remember I stayed in Siem Reep, a city on the the Great Lake Tonle Sap and the river emptying the lake, the Tonle Sap, flows South to merge with the Mekong River. Well believe it or not, in the rainy season the Mekong floods are too large to enter the sea so it flows backwards and forces the Tonle Sap river to flow back into the lake and the lake rises form an area of 3.000 sq Kim's to over 12,000 sq Kms.. The lake absorbs a staggering 20% of the Mekong delta floodwaters and makes Cambodia look like a puddle from space. Bet you didn't know that now.....
Went to a floating market for lunch today, the long tail boats are great taxis. I spent over two hours in ordinary taxis today and didn't travel more than 10kms. The meters barely move when you're stopped in traffic, poor taxi drivers are precisely that....poor..
28 August 2015
The sky bar, 64 floors up. Fantastic views, very stylish, all the ladies wearing the guna nua. Place to be seen, staff employed to take pics of the patrons. Must try and come back in daytime
Managed to hustle a private trip along one of the canals (bangkok) last time I did this was 10 years ago with Alex and Mark. A lot of water has flowed through the canal since then......
Visited the royal palace, it's no Versailles buy impressive none the less. They had a model of Angkor wat here, why?. No idea, audio guide thingymagig not working.
26 August 2015
Saw this in a communal loo this evening. I Think you girls shouldn't be allowed out alone.
Btw. Picked up my watch yesterday, cleaned to perfection and all for €12.50. It would have cost more than 20 times that in Dublin .....
Roof top bar....the sun is over the yardarm somewhere in the world so it has to be time for a beer😊😊😊😊
I've gone international.... So good, I've named it twice.....
Boat trip 10 km upstream to see a typical riverside farmhouse. A bit staged managed for the tourists but interesting as there were only five of us tourists. I think I'm getting to be a river snob!!! It's no Mekong !!!
25 August 2015
Risk versus Reward conundrum !!!
When changing the time in my watch recently I didn't close it properly and water got in. Damm, condensation visible. Do I risk waiting to get home? What rust damage by waiting? €250 + to even open it at home!!!!
So met an old codger watch repairer this am, do you have the specialist equipment to open it? Yes, shows me, and 20 years in business..
OK let's go, but equipment won't open it, then he showed grey haired ingenuity, superglued a commoner Gardner cigarette lighter to the back, puts it in a vice, turns the lighter by hand and hey presto!!! Ok, he can fix it, call back at 4oclock and its €12.50....so, what risk have I taken????? TIME WILL TELL😀😀. What would you do???
For today's early adventure, I decided I'd like to scare the bejesus outa myself...........no cash left, and only one visa debit card left. Tried different ATMs " service not provided". Or "service cancelled" Went into a bank branch with the card and passport, sorry sir don't handle debit cards (course the *ankers can charge a fat fee for credit card transaction but not for debit cards) ......oh Christ....big trouble now, what to do next ????
Tried branch of Bangkok bank, no problem sir ....phew...
24 August 2015
My favourite niece, Katriona, saved my bacon today.. She gifted me a water proof and shock proof cover for my iPad for my holidays (made by her company otterbox) .
I had to hang it in a plastic bag on the scooter, yep you guessed, hit a speed bump, ipad takes off sliding down the motor way, I screech to a halt leave the scooter on its side as I'm scrambling to get the iPad before a truck runs over it. All well that ends well, lots a scratches on the cover, plastic bag in shreds but iPad intact. Thank you Katriona
New day new adventure.. Hired a scooter today, first time every riding one.. Heading north of the city to see an elephant sanctuary and a waterfall, first problem, no English map, ah well I can only get lost ........after two or three attempts I eventually find the right road out of the city.. Oh oh, police road check...remember my license was nicked with my phone but I've a copy of my passport right. No, Not good enough, 1,000 baht fine in station or 500 on the spot fine, yah right. Tom gets thick, no way, haven't got it, you keep the bike I'll get a taxi back to hotel for my money.....committee meeting, more threats of prison, phone calls etc. Eventually, go on Paddy, your more trouble than your worth...😄😄😄 jeez , if he searched me I'd have been robbed...
23 August 2015
Btw, the doctors fee this am....€12.50..
Anyway, had a good laugh today..
Did a deal with a Tuk Tuk driver, he would be my tour guide for the day for free, but he would bring the "tourist" to various outlets and he would collect kudos and stamps for free petrol. So we went to the silk factory, Lenin factory, gem outlet, perfumery etc. at some stage our conversation ended up like this, don't ask as I've no idea,
" he thinks I want to go to try on ladies underwear (pre worn) so he's trying to make it happen, and he says, back street not good, you need clean lady with underwear......I'm looking at him like he's got two heads and he's looking at me like I'm a real perv......eventually we joined the dots, well we rolled around laughing at the lost in translation. We couldn't talk for five minutes 😃😃😃😃
The previous pic showed the silk worm evolution, from larva to worm, cocoon and silk balls. Have a closer look at this photo against the girls top, you will see lots of silk gossamer threads being wound together to make a single thread that the lady is collecting in another shot
These red vans are a cross between a bus and a taxi, you hail one down wherever you like and you share with other people. Don't know how tourists can use them, what direction are they heading? Where's my stop? If he turns left at the next corner what do I do???? I could end up in Ballydehob ....
I've had a heat rash fungus type thing for for over a week. I walked into the local hospital this am. Saw a doctor, got antibiotic and cream was out in 30minutes. Fee, including meds, about 33€.......
22 August 2015
Finally, a real Tuk Tuk. !!!Three wheels.!!!!!!
So pleased to be back in Thailand, the people are so polite and respectful, had diner in different stalls walking around the Saturday market. Beautiful food and everything so clean and hygienic. It's a whole different vibe in Thailand, it's hard to put my finger on it. Oh, big army and police presence at all entry points to the street.
21 August 2015
Last day in Siem reap. My tour to the temples was cancelled because bus broke down. Yeah right, that's Cambodian for we over booked and you drew the short straw..
Now I'm in a tuk tuk to go 37kms to see the only temple I was interested in anyway, Banteay Srey... So San, my driver and I are just gona chillax and make the most of this beautiful day 😃😄😄😃
Lunch with San, the coconut is just decoration, the dish is Amok, a Cambodian dish made with fish or beef or chicken
The intricate detail of these bas reliefs can't be found anywhere else on earth. The tough pink sandstone has survived the centuries even though the temple itself is falling apart. It's tiny by comparison to others so you can get close enough to appreciate the artistic workmanship.
Angkor Wat. It's incredible, the stone came from 50km away??? Who designed it? What was the brief? It puts the pyramids in the halfpenny place. I'm blown away by our relative backwardness today. Ok, so we can put a man on the moon, we can build, say the Petronas towers, we are capable of some amazing engineering feats but look at the volume of information and technology available, and the worldwide collaborations open to us. Think 900 hundred years ago? Not even pen and paper, no universities, no architectural or engineering manuals, no detailed drawings. America, UK, most of Europe or Russia didn't exist. This people achieved all of this with primitive tools, manual labour of gargantuan proportions, and vision. It's beyond my comprehension .....
20 August 2015
Angkor model in the national museum. You can now get an idea of the scale. It's 1,300 Mtrs X 1,500 Mtrs. The moat is 200 Mtrs wide and the centre tower is 65 Mtrs high. There's 400 sq miles in this capital city hinterland. That's 12th century stuff. It's incredible, the stone came from 50km away??? How could they build something so beautiful 900 years ago. It puts the pyramids in the halfpenny place. I'm blown away by our relative backwardness today.
19 August 2015
Trip advisor et al had recommended this circus. Great show. The artists are taken off the streets and sent to "circus school". There are about 150 kids in school at any onetime. Mostly acrobatics but high octane and intertwined with a social message, bar scene, overworked lounge staff, stolen ipad (it wasn't mine this time) gay boy girl stuff drunkenness etc. very well done
Walking around in what should be a tropical Forrest was surreal. Thousands of people, gender didn't matter, drenched in perspiration, literally trying to keep the saltiness out of your eyes as it flowed profusely yet the heat wasn't debilitating. It was just the humidity. Still, it's worth it, I've one day pass left, I need a rest, so maybe stay an extra day .
18 August 2015
Angkor had a pop of 1million when London had 50,000 Bangkok or Singapore didn't exist, it covered 70 sq miles. This was over 900 years ago, the scale, architecture and ambition is beyond superlatives. The most famous temple, Angkor Wat took 37 years and 385,000 workers to complete. It is jaw droppingly awesome Enjoy
This was lost for centuries and "as a lost city" was rediscovered by a french man in 1890. You might recognise. Some
Pics from The tomb raider and angelina Jolie
17 August 2015
It didn't take long to have a laugh here in Siem Reap. I've noticed the hotels personalised transport, btw, a tuk tuk is a specially built three wheeler, these things are motor bikes pulling a trailer. Anyway, I ask the driver yo take me to the old market but he makes a mistake and takes me to the night market (closed obviously) no big deal lets go to the old market ( see how close on the map). So he doesn't understand, minutes later I'm pointing to this blue line down the centre of the map, that's a river, see, there are only three bridges!!! Can you find one of them?. NO,
now he's looking around at street corners trying to figure his next move, , at this stage, I'm expecting one of you guys to jump out from somewhere and say "gotcha"
I'm trying not to laugh out loud at the guy, so I just pay him, I figure it's quicker to walk 😄😄
16 August 2015
On a more serious note. I had hoped to go to Siem Reap by fast boat tomorrow, it's a 4hour cruise and a nice way to travel. Anyway, all the operators have suspended sailings as there is too much dangerous debris floating on the surface due to the monsoon rains. I forgot to tell of two crazy incidents on the fast boat trip up from HCMC to Pnom Penh on Friday, firstly at speed we hit a tree trunk and the boat shuddered with a loud bang, stop engine investigate, all ok so drive on. It could have holed the boat in the middle of the river. Seriously high risk.
Second. the propellor got snagged, stop engine, guy strips off, drops over the side and is diving under the stern to clear the prop, you think no big deal??? We're heading up river in a strong current, if this guy looses his grip on the boat he goes down stream at a rate of knots, no way anyone can get to him. NO SAFETY LINE. Madness. Anyway the alternative transport is a 6 hour bus ride or fly, guess what Tom is doing ??
Had another lazy recovery day today, stayed near the pool and dosed up on meds💊 Still, even on a bad day, you might find a laugh. OK, some of you know I've a track record here....
The receptionist in the hotel, Lylinh, he can't be more that 25, he unashamedly took a shine to me from day one. He asked me to take him to diner a few times already, and got genuinely upset one night when I said no the wrong way. Anyway, today I'm organising a taxi to the airport in the am, "ah Mr Thomas, you have to take me with you" "no, tylinh, I can't, firstly your the wrong sex, secondly your too young for me anyway" "Ah Mr Thomas, I'm perfect for you and I love your music voice I have to go with you"
Some one came to check and I escaped.
I kid you not, so you Neanderthals had better show more respect for this musical cork accent🎵
15 August 2015
Not a good 24 hours. Have a chest infection which has morphed into something nasty. Had to get antibiotics and spend the afternoon in bed. Had my iPhone nicked with two of my visa debit cards in the cover. Ouch. Other than that I'm in great form 😡😡😡
These are some of the 6x2 cells in S21. One the the worlds most notorious interrogation / death centres during the Kymer rouge reign of terror. 20,000 went in about 7 survived. I made a conscious decision not to visit the killing fields. I'm on my holidays, don't need anymore reminders of mans inhumanity to man.
14 August 2015
First ride in tuk Tuk in pnom penh. The hotel is great, pool and bar on the 10 th floor. I'm spoilt.
Chama village cont.
Mekong delta 3 day summary.
There are 255k km of waterway (linear not Sq km) on the delta, it is truly enormous. It's about a 175km from Ho Chi MC to pnom penh so going by water in not practical. You alternate between coach and water, the coach is very uncomfortable because the roads are so bad and you can only go as fast as the slowest scooter. You spend one night in a hotel in My Cho (bad experience). You then progress to Cho Doc for the second night, I uploaded yesterday's photos already. Cho Doc is the last staging post which is 15 km from the Cambodian border. We had a six am start to visit a fish farm, not a nice experience, but then we went to see an indigenous tribe called the Chama people, a real sense of authenticity despite the infusion of the tourist dollar. The photos tell the story.
From there we head to the Viet border to clear immigration before progressing to Cambodian immigration to pay 35$ for visa (I suspect not all of this saw its way to theCambodian coffers.
13 August 2015
Early morning the biggest floating trade market in the orient
12 August 2015
Vietnamese boat people, oh and Tom. A few crocodiles thrown in for spice
11 August 2015
Cu Chi tunnels. 255 km of underground tunnels used by the Vietcong during the war against Americans. This and the war museum reflects badly on the American government of the time. Notwithstanding the heavy bias by the host nation
Put things in perspective.
Had my first western style diner this evening since staring on this odyssey.
Sirloin steak (small) veg and fries with pepper sauce. A maitai cocktail and two beers. All for 12€.
10 August 2015
Roof top terrace in hotel for diner. Nice views
Saigon river boat trip. Tom and Mr Tom
Meet my new driver, we met this am by accident, he had a smattering of English and his name is Tom so I had to employ him for the day. Good decision 🚑🚑
Another self deprecating taxi story. I jumped a taxi from district one to a restraunt I knew was kinda 4 blocks max away. Course taxi takes the scenic route and I'm getting testy, eventually we have words, problem is mine are in English (sorta) and he's are Vietnamese.. Eventually I pay the AH 60,000 Vietnam dong. Very annoyed having diner, then realised its the way we brought up, we hate being shafted, then I realise the bill was about 2€. I'm arguing about two euro, what's wrong with you? I get a taxi home for half the price,
That bastard robed me 😊😊
9 August 2015
Shared a taxi with a couple from the airport, two irish docs returning to ireland to work ..Simples!!!!! Not so. They paid 500€ each to the HSE months ago to be registered as docs, recently she goes on line and status says "awaiting docs "
She emails for an explanation and got the following response " we use that status for any app we haven't processed and we are very busy here so would you refrain from contacting us" and we wonder why there's a shortage of docs in Ireland?? You couldn't make it up. They've had Aussie and New Zealand friends tring to come to Ireland and it took 10 months to get on the register. Obviously they gave up and went to UK.
8 August 2015
I've been using an anti spasmodic med called lyrica, for my neck problem. it's made by Pfizer and costs 144€ a month in dublin + a prescription. I just bought it over the counter here for 30$ for a month and a half. Riddle me that?? I also bought nexium for 10$ a box but I've been doing that for years. Maybe Leo veradkar should ask me to ring home a shed load for the tax payers of Ireland ??
Today was a chilling day. Sat by the pool and had numerous trips to the tailor to get my new suit and gear right. Saigon tomorrow.
7 August 2015
Scratch that last notion. It's a 22 hour trip, no sleepers left, just a "soft seat" whatever that is?? No thanks, I'll fly.
I'm leaving Hoi An on Sunday and instead of flying to ho chi men city Im thinking I would take an overnight train, it's about 18 hours but with an overnight cabin it could be interesting and I'd see more of the country in day light hours.
Just pics of the streets and one of the Japanese covered bridge built in 608. I've uploaded a video of the hotel room on Facebook (can't do it here) It's very pretty and it's worth a look.
6 August 2015
I kid you not. This is taking the p*****. This really is a bamboo scaffolding on a working site. Look at the close up of the guy working. Guess the health and safety guy has a day off !!!!
Once more into the breech dear friends. I've decided to go native and risk my life by entering the mayhem,,,, ok so it's only a bicycle but still......its brave 😃😃😃😃
5 August 2015
First night in Hoi An. A very nice Japanese themed hotel suite. Glad I got a driver to pick me up at the airport, I'd be for ever in a taxi trying to find this place. It's on a small island.
Last day in Hanoi. 7 pics that hopefully represent a kaleidoscope of the street scape of this city where the lunatics have escaped the asylum 😳
Just checked out of Splendora boutique hotel. The girls at reception gave me a lovely gift of a pack of Hanoi coffee take home. I can see why this place gets consistent 95+ratings from trip adviser
4 August 2015
Thought I'd go for a quick walk around town to get some exercise having been on the boat for two days. Impossible. Vietnam has a population of 90 million and apparently has nearly 40 million motor bikes, Christ, I think they've all moved to Hanoi 😊😊
Day nearly done. Just back in hotel in Hanoi, 3.5 hours on a bus, ouch. Still, found my laundry in my room with a $2 charge !!! Going back to that fab Vietnamese rest for diner. Must try and give you guys a flavour of the menu later.
You have to make a living somehow
But it's raining again
Ah. Everyone gone kayaking, I had to pass. Poor me😔
3 August 2015
Ok. Everybody is trouble now, Capt. Tom is at the helm. Ok so it's just the tender !!!!
Halong bay. Beautiful. I dived off the deck into the South China Sea So warm 😊😊😊😊
Sailing on Halong bay
2 August 2015
Just had a fab 3 dish diner in this authentic Vietnamese restraunt, including two beers!!! 12€ before gratuity incredible
This is getting better, I've been upgraded to a newer Junk, I know, some of you would say how appropriate 😚😚
Booked a two day one night trip on a junk sailing around Halong Bay Looks amazing starts tomorrow am.
This tree has been around a while !!!
Don't call the ESB for this junction 😳😳
How's that for value, 53$ for a domestic flight from Hanoi to DaNang Think I'll stay in Hoi An for a few days
Last night in Mojito The barman won some major cocktail competition so was showing off. It's on fire but looks better on video
1 August 2015
Chasing tigers !!!!
The hotel gives out a lecture note on how to cross the street😳
You must time your walk through the motor bikes and mopeds, it's vital that you never stop moving or make a sudden quick rushed movement. You must trust the skill of the riders not to mow you down😳😳😳 I kid you not
I reckon a few of you reading this would have wet knickers or even boxers!!!!'😊😊
Hope you can read the text
This is the street entrance to my hotel. No cars down this street. oh, it's eight floors high😊
You guys all know about my neck vertebrae problems. A local clinic is sending a taxi for me, an hour long Thai massage and taxi back to the hotel less than €30. Unbelievable
Just got to Hanoi. 3.5 hours from KL. Plus an extra hour. 8 hour time difference now
What an efficient service. Express train to the airport. So what? How about check in for your flight and check your bag before you board the train ???
31 July 2015
Batu Caves. The largest Hindu shrine outside of India. Mitchelstown caves on steroids.
This was a big gamble, outdoor food stalls, highly recommended but!!!!!!!!
You're my friends so you know I'll try anything foodie. Amazing aromas, colours, huge selection of dishes and ethnicity. And it pissed down a tropical storm while we ate. Great fun
88 floors. 475 meters over street level
First leg. Kuala Lumpur. Amazing views from Petronas Towers. Sky bridge, featured in mission impossible or was it a Bond movie?
29 July 2015
Phew. 12 hour flight from Paris to KL. 8.30 am and sleep beckons