High Tea And Strawberry Jam!

Andrew and I left the steamy plains of Ipoh for cooler climes. Another creaking bus, another winding road, another sick bag and we made our way to Malaysias’ highest peaks, ‘The Cameron Highlands’. We had no idea what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t this. On route, I cast my eye over mile after mile of unattractive plastic sheeting scarring the beautiful landscape. Strawberry fields stretching to the horizon, only all under a hideous covering. Had ‘The Beatles’ come together here for inspiration, the song would, doubtless, have been entiltled ‘Polytunnels Forever.’ Every turn we  made there were giant fibreglass fruit welcoming tourists inside to have a pluck. I must say, I have always been baffled by the practice of ‘Pick Your Own’! When I was a child, my father would often drag the family to some bland farm in some home county or other where we would all set out to pick our own. I could never see the fun in this back-breaking escapade – especially when you could pick up a full punnet in Sainsburys round the corner and save on the petrol.  The extra plus being that somebody else had slipped a disc whilst gathering your harvest! Poor old dad, he was a huge strawberry fan and so we humoured him. Strawberries, strawberries everywhere, and everyone to eat! So many farms, that we were caught for three hours in slow moving traffic – now that’s what I […]

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Trains And Boats And Planes.

And so we come back to Thailand and she greets us much like an ‘Ex’ with whom one is still on speaking terms – just. Not with open arms, but her fists are certainly unclenched. We have only one night in this  Issan city of Ubon Ratchathani. The familiarity of the food and the attitude here is comforting after being lost  in Laos. Today, as I visited the umpteenth temple of our travels, in search of yet more enlightenment, I find myself in trouble. I leave my shoes on the wrong step when entering the sacred space.  As I leave, I notice the cleaner has moved them into the dirt and is now scrubbing down the step in the manner of an ‘Ebola’ outbreak.  Do I really look that unclean?  Quite possibly, after a week without any decent water and no ‘bum-gun’ in sight! I re-shoe and go in search of Andrew – who has been distinctly absent since I entered the temple grounds. Then, I spot him. He is deeply engaged with a Burmese tramp who is bumming ciggies at the entrance. The three of us share beer, chew the fat ( from entirely different animals! ) and pass the time. The ‘down and out’ then asks me for my hand – I offer it up willingly. He grabs it like a wrestler and flips it over to reveal my palm, probably fracturing several small bones in the process. […]

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Ketchupgate!

We arrived at Luang Prabangs’ bijou airport more than prepared,  thanks to a substantial supply of ‘Beerlao’, to test Lao Airs’ dodgy safety record. Additionally, we came armed with our own supply of elastic bands should the aircraft need any extra assistance getting airborne! Andrew steadied himself with a last minute packet of cigarettes in the thoughtfully provided smoking ”room’ outside on the roof. What consideration. Surely all velodromes  could provide a designated area where nicotine addicts can calm themselves by killing themselves slowly. Not only is it beneficial to a […]

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A Midnight Luang Pra- BANG!

I awoke  to screaming! It was the middle of the night and Andrew blithely continued to snore alongside – like a decrepit tugboat. Another shriek and then, ‘Help, Help.’ I sat up and started to consider being a hero. It  was then I heard more voices below, a man and a woman. ‘Are you OK?’ The female voice asked. ‘Yeah, yeah – just, he got my bag,’ another woman blustered – obviously the screamer. I then realised we were mid-robbery – well post-robbery actually –  as I later discovered the […]

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Mia Sallow!

Here we are! Well after another highly enjoyable, ‘big-dipper’ bus trip – we have made it to The Golden Triangle. Which looks neither golden nor triangular at present but that could be because of my miserable condition! I still haven’t shaken off the bug I contracted from our young Korean mates on the bus to Pai – in fact, added to the ‘Noodle Soup Incident’ , and the home-made hair massacre, it has slightly knocked me for six – well, twelve actually! Andrew has attempted to cheer me by likening me to a young Mia Farrow. Gamine and elfin I, innocently, took this to mean. Then Mr Kennedy clarified his point – what he actually meant was I reminded him of the actress as the eponymous heroine, Rosemary, in Mr Polanski’s infamous 60s film! He has a point – but at least I’m not pregnant!    Well not yet anyway …. Although I do believe anything is possible in this strange part of the world. I have been taking the ‘erb’ and the potion that Andrew has insisted will help my condition, yet so far there is no improvement, I seem to have worsened. WHAT THE DEVIL IS GOING ON ? So this evening, Sister  Kennedy decided the best thing for me was a good walk.  He advised we took a stroll into the inky night.  Deftly avoiding man-holes minus their covers and roaming dogs, certainly not minus their teeth, […]

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The Last Midnight!

Having not even found our ‘bus-legs’ we entered the cinema in Northern Thailand with surprise, dizziness and a little trepidation. After all, we were going ‘Into The Woods.’ We went first class – just like the film. Cocktails and popcorn included!Non-alcoholic of course, that is until someone spirited a little illicit ‘7/11’ vodka into the brew. ‘Mixology’ I believe they call it. It was a potion with which Meryl’s witch would certainly have approved! How brilliant! To see a filmed musical that mostly worked – for once! It must have […]

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White Knuckle Shuffling!

Well, after a cab ride that made Lewis Hamilton look slow, weaving and speeding causing skid-marks everywhere – even on the road – we got to our plane. A smart ‘AirAsia’ jet emblazoned with the slogan ‘Everybody Can Fly’ – they were correct, at least this time. There were a few bumps which caused some of the Chinese passengers a little turbulence but we, however, were perfectly calm. Perhaps the traditional aviational cocktail of Gin and Valium had a little to do with that! Suffice to say we landed. We are now holed-up in a small very friendly guest house in the heart of the historic city of Chiang Mai Rai. Friendly that is, apart from the group of gruff Muscovites who have just given me the filthiest look since I used up all of Andrew’s hair wax once! Still who wants to make friends with people in gold stillies and green hotpants ? And that’s just the fellas! To be continued……

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