Day 157: Driving Miss Duxbury

My day started at 5:30am, I was happily asleep when all of a sudden I started to dream about an object making a funny noise. Except it turned out the noise was actually real. Outside our room was a little bird in a tree trying to get his feathery little end away. Over and over, this particular bird made a repetitive noise that increased in volume. As I came to my senses I could hear a second bird reciprocating the same sound in the distance. Seeing as it woke both Sarah and I up, I left the confines of our mosquito netted bed and went outside to scare it off. Then something worthy of a comedy sketch show ensued. I could see it sat in a tree directly opposite our porch, as I grew closer the bird flew to the next nearest tree. I walked over to that tree and the bird flew to a nearby wooden post. As I walked towards that, it flew to another tree a few feet away. I gave up in the end as I deemed it far enough away not to bother us, and returned to bed.

A few hours passed before the bird was at it again. Because there was no sound proofing around our hut, and no glass in the wooden window frame, it woke us up for the second time. It was 8:30am and unlike Sarah’s usual lazy self, she remained awake with me. I didn’t bother scaring the bird off this time because we ended up watching tv shows – besides, who am I to come between true romance.

We got through quite a lot of tv shows that morning, and ended up having a late breakfast, early dinner at our resorts restaurant. When we were done we returned to the room, I then applied some suntan lotion to hit the beach, while Sarah swung in the hammock. It was 12:30pm when the student became the master, although I had a dilemma. On the one hand I wanted to beat Sarah’s tan, but on the other, I didn’t have enough suntan lotion to fully protect my body. I applied what I could to my front, and stupidly, when the sun was at its highest and hottest point I visited the beach. It was an error for me to do so, I led on my back for an hour, soaking in as much of the crispy characters rays as I could, before Sarah came along and said her classic line “oh dear!”.

I had overdone it, the areas that weren’t covered with lotion ended up turning red, and for the rest of the day Sarah wouldn’t stop telling me how burnt my face was. The lotion appears to sweat off after a while, as I always apply plenty to my face to avoid getting wrinkles – as Sarah is always so keen to tell me. We chilled out in the shade of the bamboo terrace for half an hour, sipping on water and coke. Sarah told me that when she went to buy the drinks she noticed the strange girl from the evening before. She was sat on her own eating food, and at one point she looked over to a man who was smoking and asked him to put it out because she was allergic. I fear she wasn’t on drink or drugs when we saw her before, and may just be an odd ball. Eventually she left the table and wandered to the beach, again with a carrier bag in tow – this time it contained a towel. As we led there we continued to watch and see if she did anything else, but she didn’t, other than get in the sea and move side to side rather quickly. When we finished our drinks we returned to the room. I had a quick shower and when I was ready we hired a bike for the day.

We started chatting with another couple as we waited for the receptionist to return. They were new to the area and asked us what the resort was like. We gave it rave reviews, but they didn’t like the sound of the mosquito netting around the beds after they had a bad experience with one. The girl told us how her boyfriend (or husband) was stung by a scorpion that found its way inside the netting with them as they slept. They showed us a picture of it, it was bright green. Luckily for him the creature wasn’t poisonous, but as a precaution the guy left a love letter incase the worst happened over the duration of the night. They seemed very friendly, and the sort of couple we’d get on well with had we been sticking around that afternoon. Soon enough the receptionist showed up and we hired a scooter for the next 24 hours.

I then became Miss Duxbury’s driver for the day. I asked for a map before we left so we could get a better idea of the island’s layout. Our intention was to visit Lanta’s Old Town area. After a fill up at the fuel station we were on our way. I was a little rusty at first, but I soon got back into the swing of it – even with Sarah on the back. The route was straight forward enough, we had to follow one road all the way to the end, then take the right hand turn. If we stayed on that road we’d eventually reach our destination. I maintained a speed of around 40km/h as the roads aren’t safe enough to go fast. Many travellers can testify to that. The main thing to look out for when riding the roads of Thailand (as I’ve said before) are the potholes. It’s quite tricky when you’re only used to driving a car, as on a bike you have filter your eyes between the road and what’s coming up ahead. Else you could end up hitting a hole and earning some road tattoos. At least in a car the worst that can happen is a flat tire. I briefly saw a street sign pointing to the left which read “Lanta Old Town”, but seeing as we weren’t told about any side roads I continued on by. Eventually it took us to a dead end, which just so happened to be a tsunami evacuation point. We turned around and stopped in a small roadside restaurant for a bowl of fries and a fruit shake. The restaurant itself was quaint, and boasted an incredible view of the sea and surrounding islands. The return ride didn’t seem half as long, and before we knew it we were back at the street sign we passed.

Down that road was a small town containing gift shops, a pier, post office, fire station, and a large statue of the countries king. I parked up our bike and we went about exploring by foot. The pair of us looked at a couple of the shops, but ultimately they sold the same items as everywhere else. We ended up buying an ice cream each and returned to the bike. I deliberately put on the steering lock before we left, and there was a slight panic when I couldn’t figure out how to unlock it. It took a few minutes before I sorted it, and the pair of us rode back towards our resort in the suns setting gaze.

Somehow, we ended up taking a different road back, but it didn’t matter as we got to see more of the island. As we rode, with the beautiful blue sea on our left hand sides, we came upon the bar we stopped in on the first day of our arrival. We decided that it was as good a time as any to pay them another visit. Even though the sun was on its way down, it gave off an incredible amount of heat. We found it very difficult to sit in it while we drank our cold beers, and ended up moving to the shady bar with all the flies. Every 2 seconds one would pitch on me, I was glad when we finished the beers to be leaving.

All in all the ride was very peaceful, and we got to see plenty of the island that day. Nobody forces you to speed up here, and they’ll happily overtake you if they want to ride faster. When we got back to our resort the time was around 6:30pm. We were greeted at reception by Black Jack, who happened to be out on the dead grass sunbathing. I gave her a little tickle under her chin before we walked to our room. We stayed there for over an hour to cool down. Sarah watched “The Vampire Diaries”, while I typed out the days events. When her show finished she went to the bathroom to play with her make up bag and get ready for the evening ahead.

Food was what we wanted, and now we had a set of wheels it meant we could venture farther to find a different restaurant. However, when we rode beyond our usual place there was nothing but desolation. In the end we returned to our usual Italian restaurant. We enjoyed chicken burgers and fruit shakes, and we shared a brownie with ice cream for dessert. Afterwards we paid up and hopped back on the scooter. Like usual we concluded the evening by stopping in the 7Eleven for some water, and by chance the giant was in there again. I honestly don’t know how he manages to get around in Asia, I struggle for legroom on public transport at the best of times, he must be in constant agony. I rode the pair of us safely home, and we climbed into bed to enjoy yet some more tv shows. However, tonight would suck more than usual for me when it came to the temperature, as it wasn’t only my face that I burnt. The majority of my lower torso was also red, I felt like a human furnace! Now it’s time for me to go to sleep, let’s just hope that horny bird isn’t back on the pull again tonight!!!

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Day 156: Benny Side Up

If I had to describe today in one word I’d have to say “lazy”. On both our behalves. We stayed around the resort all day, only leaving at one point for water, and again in the evening for food. Read on as I explain the happenings of this uneventful day…

• Somehow, unbeknown to me, Sarah managed to sleep for well over 13 hours. I was the first to wake again, and I sneaked out the room with some oranges and our tablet device in hand. I got myself comfortable in the hammock and for the following 3 hours I enjoyed back to back episodes of Spartacus. Secretly I quite enjoy having days like today, as it means I can just relax. Sarah ambled out to me somewhere near the start of the third episode. She then began to get the cat bully’s attention. 10 minutes later Sarah returned to the room, leaving the little girl near me. This was annoying as it meant I couldn’t watch my tv show anytime she came near. Because of its violence I couldn’t give her any more ideas how to hurt the cat, and had to pause it. In the end she disappeared, and I sneaked back to the room to enjoy the rest of the episode.

• It was getting on for midday by the time I finished watching Spartacus, and Sarah still appeared in no mood to do anything. I had a quick shower and suggested the pair of us go for brunch at our resort’s restaurant.

• Much to Sarah’s annoyance I had another plate of pad thai. She suggested I tried something different, but I sarcastically retorted that I was eating traditionally – something she said I wasn’t doing whenever I had McDonald’s in the past. Even then Sarah had an answer for that, she claimed that pad thai was probably the most western dish of Thailand. I. Can’t. Win. Sarah was still feeling a bit ill, so she couldn’t eat the whole of her continental breakfast, giving me extra calories when I finished it off. It was after brunch that we decided not to risk going anywhere, because Sarah still wasn’t feeling right it wouldn’t have been a good idea to leave the amenities of our hut.

• Sarah spent the whole of the afternoon in the hammock on our porch. I remained indoors for about an hour, checking over old blogs, going on IMDb, and having a quick nap, before deciding I’d continue my battle with Sarah. With my enemy injured, now would be the perfect time to strike – perhaps I’d watched too much Spartacus that day. If I were to go to the beach alone, surely then I’d get a lead on Sarah by soaking up more sun than her. It was decided, somewhere around 2 o’clock that afternoon I lathered myself in suntan lotion and marched to the beach.

“Beeeeeeeeen? Will you get me a fruit shake before you go?”.
“Alright, but just this once!”.
“Thank you”.

“Hello, could I get a pineapple shake plea..se.. Oh you sell watermelon ones too? I am feeling a little bit dehydrated. Ok, one pineapple and one watermelon shake please!”

As I waited for them to be made, I befriended the little blonde pug. He was certainly affectionate, as he struggled to cope with the heat of the day, he waddled over to me and sat between my feet as I petted his head. Shortly after, a little girl came over with two shakes in her hands. I returned to our hut to give Sarah hers, and I sat beside her as we drank them.

“Right, may I borrow your towel to lie on? Thank you. And I’ll take my iPod so I have something to listen to as well, hopefully it will pass the time quicker. I’ll see you in an hours time”.
“Give me a kiss before you go”.
“Dammit woman! Spartacus didn’t have this problem, can’t you see I am trying to get brown!”.

• I ended up staying on the beach for well over an hour. An hour and a half to be precise. It was a nice amount of time to have to myself, it gave me time to get lost in my little world and think about a lot of things. Like what I have left behind at home to be here, and the people I had to say goodbye to. For a second, a moment of homesickness washed over me, but it soon passed, as ultimately I know that greater opportunities lay ahead. For the whole duration I led on my back as Sarah had a browner front than me and I wanted to beat her. I dealt with the sweaty face by constantly wiping it every 5 minutes, and by the time I left, I was a sexy slippery sweaty mess from head to toe – and quite possibly, a shade browner! But I was right to take my iPod, it didn’t feel so long when I had some music to listen to. Although thanks to the music, I think I may have over done it slightly. As I made my way back to our hut I found myself staggering side to side from the heat. I was probably a little lightheaded and dehydrated. Never a good combination.

• When I returned to the room I found Sarah had moved from one horizontal location to another, the bed. You should have seen me everyone, I was glistening from head to toe, and because it had been a week since I properly exercised I thought it best to do some more. I was already sweaty so what was the harm. I began doing sit ups and press ups, and when I was done I had a well deserved shower.

• Feeling a little bit fresher, and looking a little darker, I grabbed a pair of boardies and made my way to the 7Eleven for water. Leaving Sarah to relax on the bed, she was sure to give me a request before I left though. “Could you grab me a bottle of coke zero please?” We’re the last words I heard before I closed the door. I was feeling better after the cooling shower, but still felt extremely thirsty. I made it to the shop without passing out, grabbed two big bottles of water – and Sarah’s bottle of coke, then began walking back. During that walk I managed to consume one whole bottle, that was 1.5L of water. My body began to sweat as water purged through my system. I grabbed yet another roll of toilet paper, no thanks to Sarah’s greedy girly ways consuming the previous two – they must think I go like a trooper, because I’m the only one who asks for a new roll everyday. Then I returned to the room with spoils in hand.

• I stayed in our wooden haven for the rest of the afternoon, watching the sun set from the comfort of the bed this time. Although I did pop out to get a glimpse of its beauty. The sky was a little hazier this time around, making the clouds surrounding the sun a vivid pink and orange – like a giant floating fruit salad sweet. Sarah then shouted the words “oh dear”, at me.
“Yes, this is it”, I thought. “She’s finally acknowledged that I have beaten her tan!”.
“Look at how red your face is!”.
“Ah ha, do you accept defeat?…. Wait, what?”
“Your face, it’s really burned, go and put some after sun on it, did you even apply suntan lotion before you went out?”.
“Don’t be so condescending, of course I did. History has proven time and time again that if I don’t apply it, my face burns. I made sure to put plenty of the stuff on. In fact I probably used about 90% of what was left in the bottle on my face!”
“Well it doesn’t look like it!”

• For the record ladies and gentlemen I did apply it to my face, I must have wiped it off every time I sweat. I don’t even like sitting in the sun, but for some reason, today I found it an appealing activity. Probably because I knew we weren’t doing anything else, and I’d only be stuck in the room otherwise.

• After the sun had set, and the moon punched the clock to start its shift, Sarah had a shower. And after that, we applied the deet spray and left for the Italian restaurant, for the third night running.

• Ah-ha, jokes on you readers, we didn’t go to the Italian restaurant because Sarah said the Internet wasn’t good enough. It’s a sorry state of affairs when you begin picking places to eat based on the quality of their wifi connection over their food . But that’s what we did, and we ended up choosing a little place opposite the Italian. “How’d you like that Italian joint? Cheating on you right in front your face!”. I had two meals, on account of not eating much that day. I ordered the beef burger and a chicken cashew dish. They hit the spot, and after eating we stayed for a couple hours. We used that time to phone our families. They were all well and healthy, and at the end of the conversation I had with my mum, she told me the most alarming news. Casually she said “oh, you’ll never guess what. Less than 24 hours ago I was struck by lightning! It was the strangest thing”. She claimed it was the loudest crash of thunder she had ever heard, and the brightest flash of lightning. My mum went on to say it happened directly above her, and for the next 40 minutes she found it hard to breath and had a pain in her chest. Even the garage she left shortly before suffered electrical faults with their equipment. I don’t think it could have hit her directly (as people tend to die when that happens). If anything, it was more likely that the lightning reverberated off something before reaching her. In any case, all I know is she survived and is ok – and there is a slight chance she might now be a superhero. But what I think we should all be taking away from this is… I AM THE SON OF THE CHOSEN ONE!!!

• When we finished our phone calls, we paid the bill and began walking back towards the resort. We stopped at the fruit stall for another kilogram of oranges, and Sarah even bought a sarong at the shop next door. The night turned a little bit weird as we grew closer to our destination. In the distance we could see the silhouette of a very thin girl carrying a bag. She was staggering all over the place, and after she walked 10 steps forward she began retracing her steps. At first we thought it was a drunken local, but when we got a little bit closer we saw it was a westerner. Sarah made a point of going over to make sure she was ok and asked if she needed any help, to which the girl responded by saying she was fine – you didn’t look it love! Sarah made sure the girl got out of the road, but we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her, there was nowhere around that you could get that drunk. Which either meant she suffered from something and forgot to take her medication, or perhaps she had taken drugs. She ended up staggering down the same side street as us and walked into a resort – with her bag containing a solemn melon in tow.

• Back at our hut we were greeted by the dozing cat from the other day. It was very friendly, and there was no sign of the vicious cat hating child in sight. We took some time to pet it, then Sarah gave it a name: Black Jack. Even though it was a girl. She walked around the porch, rubbing herself against everything insight (the cat not Sarah), and when she was happy she poked her tongue out. Before leaving her to it and entering our room, we made a little bed for her using the two cushion on our bench. We placed her on it, but I don’t think she stayed for long before hopping off to rub against more objects.

• In the room we got ready for bed, and this evening we had a large choice of tv shows to watch thanks to the fast Internet during dinner. I then climbed into bed alongside Sarah and began to work on my blog while she watched tv. The more I typed, the more I began to think about the phone call I had with my mum, and how it’s put me under a lot of pressure. I mean if I truly am the son of the chosen one, then I seriously have to do some reevaluating of my lifestyle choices!

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Day 155: Trapped Between a Rock And a Sandy Place

Well well well, today wasn’t too exciting either. For the most part of the afternoon we did exactly as we had the day before, visited our poor excuse of a beach. The only difference was that I spent the majority of the time admiring the rock pools. Sarah on the other hand led on the hot sands of the beach reading her book. But enough about that let’s get to it…

• I was the first to wake up this morning. Once again Sarah slept on the side of the fan, meaning it was another hot sticky night for me. I got up and peeled some of my oranges, and read the Lonely Planet book in the hammock on our porch

• Around an hour later Sarah came outside and climbed in with me. I learned of a few good places to stay on the various islands, as well as learning all the islands have one thing in common. They offer great snorkelling and diving experiences. We spent about 45 minutes swinging side to side, before deciding to go out for breakfast.

• Sarah wanted to visit the French bakery that we had passed every time we left our resort. They offered very little and charged very much, but that’s the way it is on the islands I guess. I need to get back into the habit of not being so frivolous with my money, by the end of our visit I had spent over 250 baht (£5). It doesn’t sound like much every time I write an amount like that, but it soon adds up overtime. I blame my weight loss on the fact I was eating meal for meal with Sarah – which isn’t a lot, all in the aims of saving money. But that was making me too hungry, and besides, whenever it comes to clothes shopping for Sarah, we soon end up back on par.

• We visited the 7Eleven afterwards, and returned to our room with a large bottle of water. Sarah got comfortable in the hammock once again, while I rested on the bench beside her with my head thoroughly back in the Lonely Planet. I read that it would cost 250 baht to hire a scooter everywhere on the island, making me not so against the idea of getting one from our resort. Not to mention convenient. While we were relaxing, the little girl from the resort got our attention by meowing at us as she sat beside a dozing cat. When she was certain we were both watching, she grabbed its left hind leg and began dragging it backwards. The poor thing, it didn’t yell out but we could hear its claws scratching on the wood as it attempted to get away. We didn’t quite understand why the girl did that, up until then she had been a nice friendly little girl. Luckily the cat got away in the end, but the girl wouldn’t let go even when Sarah was telling her to stop – EVIL!

• After a while Sarah said she wanted to go to the beach, and because we no longer had Rachael Goddard with us, or any other female company, it meant I had to go too. While Sarah soaked up the sun, I waded through the large rock pools in the shallows. I didn’t notice at first, but as I focused my attention to the tops of all the large boulders, there were heaps of crabs crawling all over the place. It was hard to see them up close because anytime I got near they’d run and hide. The ones I could see were a very similar colour to the rocks, a dark green and grey shade, and their claws were a luscious bright blue. It looked almost as if they had been painting and caught them in the pot. As well as crabs there were limpets firmly stuck to the sides of the rocks, and much like the crabs, whenever a large wave washed over, they didn’t budge and held their ground. I also spotted tiny white fish swimming about in the shallowest of pools. All in all, the rock pools were thriving with sea life.

Eventually Sarah stood up and joined me in the water, we had a little splash around to cool off, then I joined her in sunbathing for a while. It’s not fair, Sarah’s tan is glorious, head to toe she is bronzed all over. I was determined to best her today though. Even though It was cooler near the rocks, I endured the heat as I led on the beach beside her. I thought to myself “I will not be beaten today, I am going to lie here longer than Sarah and become a bronzed god!” It was an epic battle, one where I found a major weakness in her tanning strategy. Sarah always covers her face, that explains why it’s always whiter than her body, if I just keep my face exposed then I’ll have a better overall tan than the already brown one beside me. And then it happened, she gave in – YES, VICTORY IS MINE. She asked me if I wanted to join her while she went to get a coke from the bar, I told her to go ahead and I’d join her in another 15 minutes. Now, I don’t really know who was the biggest loser; Sarah for leaving, or me for suffering in the heat. For those 900 seconds I felt like I was being tortured, every few seconds there’d be a new droplet of sweat working its way from my hairline to my chin. Tickling and itching all the way. Then sweat began leaking from my cheeks where my sunglasses were resting. By the end of it my face was a watery mess, It almost felt like the sun was trying to water board me. When my fictional egg timer went “bing” I knew I was done, and I joined Sarah at the table.

• I ordered a pad thai to eat, and drank the water that had been heated by the sun, while Sarah drank refreshing coke and a pineapple shake. After our food I was the first to lie back in the sun, shortly followed by Sarah. We were only there for around 20 minutes to half an hour, but it was enough to decide we’d both had enough. In the end we returned to the room to have nice long cold showers. Due to all the sweating we did on the beach it left us somewhat dehydrated. So the pair of us left the resort to go find a nice place to sip on some refreshingly cool beverages.

• Sadly Linda’s restaurant was closed on Tuesdays. I don’t know why, Tuesday seems like a strange day to have off. So we ended up going across the street to a hidden coffee shop. They sold really nice fruit shakes, I had a mixed fruit and Sarah had a banana and chocolate one. We sipped on those while using the Internet to continue downloading our shows, and researching other accommodation. There wasn’t anything cheaper than ours, but the only reason we were shopping around was because we really wanted some air conditioning. A single electric fan isn’t enough at night to keep us cool. When we left the coffee shop we made another quick stop in the 7Eleven, and I’m glad we did because of what we saw inside!

• The second we walked through the door, stood in front of me was a real life giant. I know that’s rich coming from me, but this guy had at least another foot on me. He even had to duck as he exited the shop. The sights didn’t end there. The shop was fairly busy given the time of day, and stood beside the giant was another tall man. He stood somewhere between the two of us in height, probably around 6’7″. Then behind that man in the queue was a really big guy. By big I mean HUGE. He was shorter than me (around 6’2″) but he must have weighed the same as 4 men. Sarah reckoned he probably wasn’t long for this earth if he didn’t do something about his weight. Which was very unlikely to happen given what he was buying: 3 large packets of potato chips, and a 4 pack of Chang beer. My entertainment didn’t stop there however, when we left the store the big guy just kept on giving. He climbed aboard a small moped. It probably wasn’t small, in fact it was probably normal size, it just seemed that way beside his dimensions. I was slightly annoyed when I didn’t get to see him ride off on it, all because he stopped to look at pancakes with his friend.

• When we got back to the resort we were treated to yet another sunset. For 3 days in a row we were lucky enough to see such a beautiful sight. Each day seemed to be better than the last. Once again I took photos of it, and as we sat down on the bamboo terrace to watch it disappear, I saw a little pug taking in the same sight from the beach. He was a little show pony and clearly knew what he was doing. Anytime someone came near him, he lapped up the attention. At one point when a couple that were petting him walked away, he wandered over to a group of people for more attention. The dog also had the largest set of danglies I have ever seen on a small dog. I wasn’t deliberately looking, but as he began to waddle back to the resort you couldn’t help but notice two plum like objects in close pursuit. At first I thought something was attacking him.

As I finished up yet another delicious dish of cashew chicken there was a power cut across the whole of the island. It wasn’t so dark as to affect us, and from where we were sitting we could see the buildings in the distance fade into the background. Followed by the reverse when the lights flickered back to life as the power was restored. We both ran back to the room before it grew too dark to apply some deet. By some I mean a lot. Never had we been bitten so much as we had in Koh Lanta. Every time we felt an itch on our bodies we were always surprised to find yet another lump, brought on by an attack from everyone’s favourite bloodsuckers. Seeing as I was the only one to eat, inevitably Sarah grew hungry. So after she darted back to the room we went out for food.

• The Internet was our utmost concern when it came to picking a restaurant, because Sarah was hoping to speak with her family. We walked all the way down the street with the tablet in hand, trying to figure out which was sending out the strongest signal. Eventually we reached the end of the strip and visited the same place as the day before. Because I had just eaten, we split a pizza and this time Sarah ate all her 4 slices. Unfortunately nobody was available back home to speak with, but we did manage to download some entertainment for the night. After we settled the bill we returned to our room to go through the evening rituals (during which time I noticed I had caught the sun – I was now a similar shade to Sarah). We then climbed into bed to enjoy a couple episodes of “The Walking Dead”, let’s hope we don’t have nightmares!

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Day 154: I’ve Got 99 Problems, And Our Beach Is One

It was very confusing when I awoke this morning, I had forgotten about the time difference between Thailand and Malaysia. So when I woke up at what I thought was 9am, it transpired to be only 8am. I ended up falling back asleep for another hour. Because I was unable to stay awake for the duration of the film the previous night, it gave me something to watching while Sarah slumbered away. “Dammit, she’s woken up!”
“Ben, go to the shop for me I’m absolutely famished!”
“NO! Go yourself you lazy thing, I’m enjoying the movie!”

My argument fell on deaf ears, and after watching the movie for another 20 minutes I decided to go to the shop. Rather than walking I thought about hiring a scooter instead. After asking the receptionist how much they cost I was deterred by the price, 250 baht a day (£5). Seeing as we wouldn’t be venturing far all day anyway, I decided to leave it. But I did enquire about a new hut. He told me that there was one free on the communal grassy area, it was a nicer location than our tucked away one, so I followed him to check it out.

I agreed that the room looked acceptable, and because of its better location I returned to our room to tell Sarah the good news. After lugging all our things to our new home Sarah began finding faults. It’s smaller, the bed’s harder, there’s no door on the bathroom, and what’s worse is we still can’t get the Internet! “Urgh”, I reluctantly agreed with these statements and we returned to our old house. It turned out “new is always better” wasn’t the case today.

When we arrived at the doorstep to our old room we found the maids cleaning it out. Sarah got there before me so she did all the apologising, but on the upside we now had a fresh new room. I allowed Sarah to stay on the bed watching tv shows, while I wandered to the shops. Not before explaining to the receptionist that we wouldn’t be moving after all, he was ok about it and only laughed. The 7Eleven was a short 5 minute walk down the road, and when I got inside I bought a shopping bags worth of goodies.
2 boxes of cereal
2 cartons of milk
1 bottle of water
1 bottle of coke zero
1 Hawaiian pizza bread
I was quick to eat the pizza bread on the walk back, so I didn’t have to share it with you know who. I also glugged down half the bottle of water. I made the effort to walk there and I deemed these my rewards, plus I bought Sarah a bottle of coke as a surprise anyway. I’m not a bad person!

Sarah was finishing off an episode of Smallville when I got back, so I joined her on the bed and we both enjoyed the chocolate cereals. When the show finished I had consumed a good half of the box – I must have been hungrier than I thought. Sarah then went to shower, giving me the chance to finally watch the end of the movie “Gangster Squad”. When she was dried and dressed, Sarah went to the balcony to hang out on the hammock and read her book. When my film finished I left her to it and visited the resort’s restaurant for a delicious cashew chicken dinner.

When I had finished my solo meal, I walked back to the room. I found Sarah exactly where I left her, and began doing press ups beside her on the porch. The rebuild of Rome isn’t looking too good, I barely managed 20 slow ones. In the end I completed a total of 50 – with breaks every 10! Sarah then suggested we visit the beach for the afternoon. Quickly we applied the sunscreen, then walked all of 100 metres to the dead coral beach. I’m not one for sitting in the sun, I prefer to do something, I get too hot and fidgety just lying there, and time seems to take forever to pass. So while Sarah led there I wadded out into the sea. It was rubbish, I had spoiled it for myself by visiting the Perhentian Islands. The water wasn’t as clear, the sands weren’t as white, and as for the seabed well, that was a load of rocks! I grew bored of the water and although I hate doing it, I attempted to sunbathe on the shore. I wasn’t there for 5 minutes before Sarah came over and complained of feeling sick. She decided to cut the visit early, suggesting we go to a different beach the next day – JOY! I decided to go back with her, making our visit all of an hour and 20 minutes.

Back at the room Sarah and I showered off any excess sand that may have come back with us, then I went to the restaurant to grab Sarah a fruit shake. It seemed to pick her up a bit as she remained on the bed reading her book. I then enjoyed the last of my box of cereal and relaxed on the bed beside her. I should have felt bad that we weren’t doing anything, but A.) I’m lazy by nature. And B.) Earlier whilst eating my dinner I noticed other people were in no mad rush to do anything either. Most of the guests were either sat on the beach, or on their porches reading books.

For the rest of the afternoon we remained at our little wooden hut. In that time I watched the movie “The Impossible”. The same film that caused Sarah’s face to swell up when she watched it in Siem Reap. For those who don’t remember, the film is about a families account of what happened during the tsunamis that devastated Thailand, killing hundreds of people. Probably not the best film to be watching giving the fact we were staying on the Thai islands. When the film had finished I am pleased to tell you my face was still the same elongated shape that it anyways is. I spent the next couple hours attempting to download tv shows, and research Koh Lanta using the resort’s patchy Internet, while Sarah swung in her hammock reading a book.

Around 7pm the sun put on yet another fantastic closing act. It was a beautiful shade of orange and still very large for how low it was. I immortalised the sight on my iPhone, but found I had to run through the resort in order to catch it on the tablet, before it disappeared behind the horizon. When I got back to the room Sarah suggested going out for food. With no Rachael around to dress up with, it took her only 5 minutes to get ready. The pair of us then walked down the street to see what there was on offer.

Apart from the busy roads you wouldn’t have been wrong in thinking we were in a ghost town. Unlike the evening before, nowhere appeared to be open. Sarah was hoping to drop off her laundry on the way, but anywhere that seemed decent was closed. Even the book store she wanted to exchange one in was closed. We must have passed at least 5 or 6 restaurants before we found one that was open. We climbed the stairs of the establishment and located an empty table. When the waiter brought over the menus we decided against ordering food as it was too pricey. In the end we settled for a fruit shake each, and I enjoyed a frozen blueberry cheesecake. Thank you Linda’s restaurant, although the cake was frozen, it was still extremely tasty. Sarah made a quick FaceTime phone call to her sister and niece, while I sorted out the change. Then we went in pursuit of an open restaurant.

There were a couple more as we walked down the main strip, but most of them sold the same dishes. Noodles, rice, chicken, etc. it wasn’t until we looked a little farther down the road that we spotted a very popular Italian joint. I ordered a Hawaiian pizza, and Sarah ordered the bruschetta. There must have been a misunderstanding or something, as when they bought out our dishes they served the pizza over two plates. Containing 4 slices each. “Oh no no no”, I thought to myself “this will not do”, I allowed Sarah one slice and ate the rest myself. Their fruit shakes were equally as good as the food itself – I’m making myself hungry again now.

After we settled the bill, we took a causal stroll back towards our resort. We noticed a small fruit stand on the way and decided to buy some fresh oranges. This was partly because I saw them eating one on the movie earlier. And also because every restaurant on the island appeared to be bragging about selling fresh in season fruit. I paid 50 baht for 1kg of green skinned oranges. Don’t worry, they were bright orange inside, and sweet and juicy too, my only complaint was that they contained pips.

Back at the resort we had another issue, there was no toilet paper in our room. So off I went in search. Usually you’d only have to go to reception to ask for some more, but that wasn’t possible because it was closed. I looked all around but there was no sign of anyone anywhere. Luckily a lady at the resort next door was outside, so using my best broken English and charade gestures, I asked her where the person was. To which she pointed at reception and told me to knock on the wall. After I did this she was quick to scurry away, keeping an eye from a distance. Eventually a man came out – and again, I had to use broken English and play charades to get my point across. I almost had to mime an action for the toilet roll (which would have been degrading), but fortunately he understood when I said the word paper and toilet.

I returned to the room soon after – with bog roll in hand, much to Sarah’s appreciation. None of the tv shows from earlier had downloaded however, which meant we had no choice but to talk to each other. Being in each others company for 24 hours a day can take its toll on the best of couples after a while, so we spent the evening talking about how we could keep things fresh and new. Occasionally we met at loggerheads, but ultimately we worked things out like we always do. We then tried to figure out how to best position the fan to keep us cool in our hotbox of a room, then turned out the light and attempted to fall asleep. “Urgh, why am I still sweating, damn you Thailand and your humidity!”

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Day 153: Extra-Vehicular Activities

• So continuing on from the bus journey. Both Sarah and I did achieve sleep, but the longest interval was roughly 4 hours. The first time we were woken up was by one of the drivers, he asked us for our passports during one of our stops in order to make photocopies. Seeing as I had just woken up I handed it over without question. It was only when I came to my senses that I grew concerned.

• I began looking for the guy outside, but couldn’t find him. In the end I was too tired and fell asleep back in my chair. Only to be woken up a second time when the kind gentleman returned with our passports in hand – panic over.

• Like every long haul journey we’ve been on, the a/c was on full blast. Luckily the lady in front of me was only using one blanket, so I stole the spare one and fell back asleep. This was ultimately to my demise, with the blanket pulled up over my head I hadn’t realised the bus had stopped sometime later, and all its passengers were queueing at Malaysian immigration control. For the third time that trip the same guy had to come and wake us.

• Our tiredness meant we were at the back of four long rows of people. Like always no matter what one you change to, the previous one moves quicker. The only reason we changed was because of a short little man trying to usher all his bus load through first. We were already late arriving, and now we were in a queue that was moving twice as slow. At one point Sarah dropped her passport and bent down to pick it up again. Then all of a sudden the short, rude, obnoxious, arrogant, b**** of a woman in front kicked her leg back and hit Sarah’s shin. Instead of apologising she simply said “space”, over and over. The horrible hag did it on purpose! Too bad we were outside an immigration office, otherwise we’d have added a lot more words to her limited vocabulary.

• Our human alarm clock was waiting for us the other side of the office, and he guided us back to our bus. Sarah took Rachael’s place a few moments before, when she began to worry that the bus might have left without us.

• We didn’t get a chance to fall asleep again, as it was only a 5 minute ride to Thailand’s immigration control. We hopped off with bags in tow, and ended up on a shorter queue. But it didn’t stop the short man from pushing his people through again. With a 15 day visa stamp in our passports, we climbed back aboard the bus to be taken to Hatyai.

• We managed to sleep on and off throughout the last leg of the journey, and the sun had risen by the time we arrived at the travel office. The bags had already been unloaded, and then began the fun and games. Anytime you get off a bus in Southeast Asia there are people awaiting your arrival, this morning was no exception. The problem with that is you just want 5 minutes to gather your thoughts, especially when you’re half asleep because of the hour of the day.

• Before we even knew what was going on Sarah began following two guys, while I collected our holdalls. We were trying to locate the bus station because we wanted to get to Koh Lanta. The boys said they could help and began taking our bags and loading them onto the backs of their mopeds. You should know readers that all of this happened within 5 minutes of getting off the bus. We told them we wouldn’t be going with them, and I returned to the travel office to ask what was going on.

• Because of the language barrier (we had been spoilt in Malaysia, they all spoke such good English there) the lady didn’t understand me. I then tried asking her how much it would cost to get to Koh Lanta, to which she told me 500 baht (£10). By the time I got back outside to Sarah, the boys had replaced their bikes with a tuktuk van. They wouldn’t accept any less than 30 baht each (the joy of Thailand, the whole haggling process was back) so we climbed aboard and were driven 20 minutes down the road to the bus station.

• We didn’t notice it at first, as all they did was drop us outside another travel shop. It wasn’t until we turned around that we saw the large construction. The driver walked us inside the shop to try and get us to buy a ticket from them instead. But after the guys disgusting attitude we told him to stuff it. He said “my bus my rules!” And was asking for 550 baht. We just laughed and walked away.

• Luck eventually showed its face that morning, it came when we enquired about bus times. When we actually located the correct booth, the man inside told us there was a bus leaving for Phuket in 15 minutes time and would cost 140 baht each. Seeing as that was en route, we snapped it up straight away and followed the driver to his vehicle.

• There weren’t that many people aboard, meaning we had a good choice of seats. We watched a few tv shows to pass the time and after another 3 hours travelling we had to switch buses. As I attempted to rise from my limited legroom chair, my foot slipped on a puddle of water that had accumulated no thanks to the contestant a/c blasting away. The resulting damage: my shin smashed forward into the metal bracket of the chairs in front, causing it to bleed slightly and swell. That made two of us with injuries that day. Sarah walked into a barrier at the Thai immigration office, giving her a large bruise on her thigh.

• The second bus was a public bus, so as well as filling it with people at the station, we made stops along the way to pick up more. There was no room to get comfy at all, my knees were pushed against the chair in front, and to my side were people squished together in the aisle. I did my best to fight the tiredness that kept washing over me, but eventually I lost the battle and became a dribbling mess. My head was rolling all over the place like a human bobble head. Even with Sarah’s shoulder to rest on, I still managed to flop into her lap. She said I was like a baby, unable to support my own head!

• The journey lasted around another 3-4 hours. It was our third bus of the day and we hadn’t even reached our destination yet. We then had the task of buying yet another bus ticket – for the record, this was the last one. It cost us 250 baht each for a minibus to take us on the last leg of the journey. It wouldn’t be arriving for another hour, which was perfect as it gave us enough time to freshen up and have some food. YES, we were back in the country that sold pad thai. The day wasn’t such a drain after all.

• We both enjoyed a dish of the good stuff and waited out our time in the restaurant. At 1:15pm a minibus full of people going to Koh Lanta showed up. Sarah and I took the last two seats, then the driver sealed us in by wedging our bags between us and the door.

• I did my best in the second round against tiredness, but it KO’d me within the first 2 minutes. The only time I woke up was when my large cranium jolted to one side. There was one thing I hadn’t missed since being away from Thailand, the quality of its roads. If we weren’t avoiding potholes, we were going over bumpy gravel like terrain, and if it wasn’t that it was sharp bends.

• We had to cross two rivers on a large vehicle ferries. It looked similar to a big floating car park. We stayed in the vehicle both times, and it wasn’t long after that, that we arrived in Koh Lanta. The driver stopped the vehicle to ask where everyone was staying, but much like us, most people were winging it.

• He drove slowly through the popular areas, dropping off passengers with reservations as he went. Eventually we reached the last stop. Because the driver couldn’t speak English that well, he ran to a nearby tourist information. A lady came back with him and she explained that beyond our current location was more pricey accommodation. The area we were in was perfect for backpackers. “Fair enough”, we thought, and got out to explore our new home.

• We decided that it would be best to use the wifi at a nearby bar. This would save the legwork of walking to each and every resort. There was another couple in a similar predicament as us, and they joined us to do the same. Funnily enough we ended up booking the same resort, and split a tuktuk 4 ways to get there.

• The resort was lovely. It was comprised of wooden huts, each one was very spacious, had en suite bathrooms, and a really comfy bed – well our bed was at least, I didn’t go around testing all of them like Goldilocks. The restaurant was located on the beach, they sold amazing food, and had two adorable pug like dogs hanging out there. After showering and eating some more pad thai we explored the town.

• Our friendly receptionist gave us directions to the nearest 7 Eleven. Along the way we passed loads of resorts, and enough restaurants to keep it different every night. The highlight of our walk was a purchase of M&Ms, but we did learn of great diving and snorkelling opportunities that we may partake in, in the not too distant future.

• Back at the resort we spoke with the receptionist again to see if we could move up the property ladder to a better situated hut. He told us he wouldn’t know if one would be free until the morning, so with that unpromising sounding news we returned to our room. After going through the evening rituals, we climbed into bed, put on some tv shows, and wound down ready for a hard earned good nights sleep.

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Day 152: Goddard Speed

It was finally here, the day Rachael would be leaving us. For the past 10 days we had travelled places together, swam with fishes, and bathed on the beaches. I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. All that was left to do was enjoy our final day together, and it went a little something like this.

• What a hell of a way to wake up. In a room the size of my house in England, it was peaceful, clean, and best of all, mosquito free. Rachael’s alarm rang at 9am, but even then we didn’t get out of bed. We remained in the room until 11:30am, during which time I sorted out the blog, Rachael revised, and Sarah watched tv shows.

• It was a sad moment watching the door to our room close behind us as we left. It meant it was the end of our false life of luxury, and the sudden realisation that Sarah and I belonged in hostels instead. We took the elevator to the ground floor and put our holdalls in storage for the day.

• Rachael’s flight wasn’t due until 7pm that evening. So to waste some hours we went out in search of food. There was a long walkway connected to the hotel which took you to various places in the city. This was the sky bridge. It saved us having to catch the monorail, and was only a 10 minute walk to Bukit Bintang.

• The main shopping centre was called the Pavilion. Sarah and I had been there before on our last visit, but seeing as the place was filled with shops and restaurants it seemed like the perfect place to go.

• The three of us located an Irish bar serving an all day breakfast. For the first time yet the breakfast came with good sausages, which was great, as up until then all we’d received were small tinned like ones. We smashed down our meals and settled the bill, then came the most annoying part of my day.

• There was an ice cream vender situated right next to the bar. There was a whole lot of choices in terms of flavour, and you could order them by scoop or weight. I chose the weight option and asked for a cone (instead of the pot). A simple request you might think. Not for the woman. Every time I said the word cone, she looked at me, screwed up her face and said “huh!?” Moron!
“I would like an ice cream in a cone please, that way I can enjoy it for longer. You have the option of a cone, may I have a cone?”
In the end I walked away with just over 100g in a small pot. I threw a toddler like tantrum about it as we walked around the mall, and at one point I didn’t even want to eat it because it wasn’t what I ordered. At least I got sprinkles on top I guess! There’s the silver lining.

• I walked with the girls around several stores during the visit. For the most part I’d sit in the boyfriend crèche, or follow Sarah around on autopilot. After a couple hours we sat at an old town coffee store for a break. Sarah and I enjoyed a hot beverage, and some peanut butter toast. Afterwards the three of us made our way back along the sky bridge to the hotel.

• The time was getting on for 3 – 3:30pm, and it was then that Rachael decided to go on to the airport. One of the concierge at the hotel referred to me as Batman because of my tattoo, he then went on to joke saying he was Robin. It was Robin who collected Rachael’s bags for her and loaded them into the taxi. She had to pay an extortionate rate for the fare 140 ringgit (£28) but she didn’t seem to mind. We helped her out with what little money we had left, then we waved her off as the taxi pulled away into the distance. Goodbye Rachael Goddard, we will miss you and your curly locks.

• If ever we felt out of place at the hotel before, the feeling was now multiplied by ten. The sole reason we ended up at the establishment was now leaving in a taxi, we were but guests. And now we were sitting in the lobby using their electricity and Internet. Of which was amazing, it was the best connection we’d had since England. It was then that we did some online banking, I have never fully understood the credit card when it shows up online. Quite what the differences are between credit limit, balance, overdue amount, and available balance are beyond me. So you can only imagine my surprise when I saw (somehow) I had been credited money. Unsure of why that was I left it and would Skype my personal banker (my mum), who was also as clueless on the subject, later.

• The gruesome twosome then had to formulate a plan for their next steps. We decided to go to the Thai islands for a while and work on our tans. And possibly go to a full moon party. To do this we would need a bus, as we had taken too many planes to warrant riding another one so soon. Plus they are more expensive than buses.

• We asked for directions at reception and were given a map in return. We were told we could walk along the sky bridge, then catch the monorail and the train to the bus station. We followed those instructions, and 25 minutes later we arrived.

• There was a man wearing a bumbag scouting out any potential customers. Clearly he was working for commission, but he was very helpful so we followed him. He took us right to the booking desk and for 55 ringgit (£11) we booked a bus for 10pm that evening. At first we were skeptical about the prices, but Sarah claimed they were all about that price after reading it online. It seems most people are genuine in Malaysia, but after being in Southeast Asia for so long we are prone to having our guards up.

• We now had a lot of hours to burn before our 14 hour bus journey, so we ended up walking back to Bukit Bintang. The skies above weren’t looking very promising and within ten minutes of leaving the station it began to rain. Sarah was fortunate to have her umbrella, as for me I only had my new hat. Not wanting it to get damaged (as let’s be honest, for £6 it’s probably fake) I put it in my backpack. When walking in the rain in flip flops manoeuvring can become somewhat difficult, nonetheless we managed to reach the large H&M store for shelter.

• Sarah had a look at all their clothes before the pair of us left to find an ATM machine. We only had a few pennies left and would need just a small amount of cash to keep us afloat until Thailand. Thank goodness we did go in search of money, otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered the greatest sight know to man. While waiting for Sarah to finish in the little girls room, I noticed there was a Victoria Secret store nearby. From outside I bared witness to an 8 foot tv monitor playing a video of all the pretty models gallivanting around. By the time Sarah came back I had forgotten what we were looking for. Immediately she knew why I had moved positions, then proceeded to give me a punch, and call me a “little pervert!”

• I only withdrew 50 ringgit (£10) to keep us going, then we went for dinner. The cheapest and most filling was Pizza Hut – I think this new diet of mine is going to well. Like usual I ate more than Sarah, having two meals to her one. After we paid the bill we slowly made our way back toward the sky bridge as Sarah was suddenly feeling unwell.

• Outside the weather had increased in violence. The rain was falling heavier and faster, the skies had darkened, and the pair of them invited their friend thunder to the party. Luckily the sky bridge was completely undercover, and we made it back to the hotel bone dry. We then had an hour and a half before we had to think about leaving for the bus station – again.

• During that time I spoke to my mum about the banking issue (which was difficult with the house band playing in the background), and left it in her capable hands. Sarah and I then played cards for a while, before ending up speaking to an employee about various topics. One of which was my tattoo. My sleeve is both good and bad, good because it attracts people over and sparks conversation, bad because I don’t always feel like chatting. However this time the guy had caught me in a good mood. I’m glad I did speak with him as I learned a few things.
1. Tattoos in Malaysia are usually associated with prisoners. He told us they burn newspapers in a bowl, add water, stir it, then take a needle to it to provide a tattoo service in the big house. I just hope I hadn’t offended any local people by walking around with my tattoos out.
2. Because he was Muslim he couldn’t get one himself, but appreciated good work on others. I asked him what would that mean for someone who already had tattoos and wanted to become Muslim. He said that would be fine as you would have had it done in your previous life. When you become Muslim you are reborn. And those who become devoted afterwards usually pay the high price for laser removal. Which was as high as 1000 ringgit (£200) per inch of skin.
3. I also learned that the receptionist was a skilled Muay Thai fighter. He told me stories of a time he went to Thailand and witnessed fighters training. Using their bare shins they’d kick banana and coconut trees until they fell down. He went on to say he’s not that good, but if someone started a fight he’d know what to do. I lack any fight skill whatsoever, so he had no worries of me starting any trouble.

• Around 8:45pm we made our way back to the bus station, following the same route as earlier that afternoon. When we arrived we bought some fruit slices and water from a stall, then proceeded to our gate and sat down. There was still another 45 minutes before our bus was scheduled to depart, but a man with a bumbag came along and told us our bus was outside if we wanted to go on aboard. Again, up went our guards. I was expecting him to tear our tickets when Sarah showed him them, so in anticipation ready to snatch them back, I took off my holdall. There was nothing to worry about, the guy was genuine. When we were ready we did our best to follow him, by the time we got our bags on he had already fled. Fortunately there was a fat woman following him, and she was easier to track.

• We chucked our bags in the bus’ storage area, but felt a little uneasy about the fact there was a sofa in there. This was probably where the thieves sat during the journey. After all, the bottom deck of the coach was used for storage, and the top was where the passengers sat. We climbed aboard ahead of time, located our large spacious seats, then stuck on a film. We watched “Silver Linings Playbook”, and when it finished it was around 11:45pm. I watched one episode of Arrow while Sarah slept, then began getting to work on today’s blog. Now, that I’ve reached the end, the time is 2am. It’s about time I got comfy, closed my eyes, and went to sleep. When I wake up we should be at the border.

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Day 151: My New Best Friend Rachael

After sharing a bed with two girls for a total period of 4 nights now, I can officially say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The fantasy and reality are two very different things. The reality of it is: you do silent battle all night for the duvet, you’re constantly woken up by one of them turning over, then you become conscious of your limited space, worried you may hit them as you toss and turn in an attempt to get back to sleep. It’s no fun people. But these creatures had worn me down bit by bit over time, and changed me. Today was the day I officially became one of them. I went shopping and actually bought something. And what’s worse, I actually enjoyed it!!!!!!!!!

• I had another terrible nights sleep – although Sofia Vergara paid me a visit in my dreams at one point, so that was nice. Little miss perfect got her side of the bed again (the wall side) and I ended up on the outside. The middle was forced upon Rachael. I woke up several times throughout the night, so I was grateful when the alarm rang at 7am.

• As we were packing up our things, ready to say goodbye to paradise, we noticed it was pouring down outside. Not wanting to get soaked we gave it a while before making our way to Coral Bay. Final check, yup all but 6 sheets left on the roll… Savages!

• We were relatively dry when we reached the dock, and we only had to wait 10 minutes before our boat driver ushered us aboard. Unlike the journey to the island, the one back to Kota Bahru was a lot smoother. There were only a couple “oooffff” moments whenever an occasional wave caught the front of the boat.

• At the docks of Kota Bahru there was a horde of taxi drivers awaiting our arrival. Sarah and Rachael got talking to one, and he took us to the airport for 78 ringgit (roughly £16). On the way there we were all very tired, so we didn’t feel like chatting much. The driver did his best to spark conversation with me (as I had the misfortune of sitting in the front) but I wasn’t in the mood at all. I did try to talk back, but I was too sleepy to talk about my fictional favourite football team. A rule of thumb, just say you love Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea. It makes everything a lot easier. They seem surprised if you say you don’t watch football.

• An hour of awkward silence later we arrived at the airport. It was the smallest airport I have been to. The only place to eat was a KFC upstairs. We noticed a large crowd gathered around a long red carpet, and at the end was a limo. We didn’t know which celebrity would be showing up, and we didn’t wait around to find out, as our bellies were rumbling. We ordered our overpriced and undersized meals, then waited out the remaining 30 minutes until the gates opened for check in.

• We slid the bags through the security scanner, and had to scan the AirAsia barcode on my phone to get our boarding passes printed. It was a much smoother process, our bags went through, and we made our way to the departure lounge. Our gate opened ahead of time, but while we were waiting we saw a random sight indeed. It was a cat. A small domesticated household cat, just casually walking through the departure lounge. I don’t know where he was flying too, possibly the Canary Islands! Get it? 😛

• The flight itself was just as quick as the last time, 55 minutes. I was thankful for its short duration, as like always I ended up sitting behind a rude recliner. At first I held my ground by digging my knees into the back of his chair, but in the end I gave up. I was just fortunate enough to not be sat behind his friend, as that idiot kept pushing the reclining boundaries. He didn’t even ask Rachael if it was ok, he just kept reclining inch by inch as the flight went on.

• When the plane landed we had a little way to walk to baggage claim, and by the time we arrived our bags were on the belt. They arrived so quickly that Sarah’s almost made it through to the other side. There was a slight dispute as to what we’d do next.

• Rachael had her hotel booked and thought she’d be doing this leg of the journey alone. She was prepared to pay for a taxi by herself to take her to the hotel. Which would have cost 50 ringgit (£10). The issue was that we’d all go to her hotel and see if we could add an extra bed to the room, that way we could all get a bus there instead. But Rachael was concerned that if they didn’t allow her the upgrade our efforts would have been in vain, and we’d be in the middle of KL with our heavy holdalls. In the end we convinced her it would be fine and off we set to the rather grand Impiana Hotel.

• The bus journey lasted around an hour and twenty minutes, giving Sarah and I enough time to watch tv shows. Then began the challenge of reaching the nearest reference point, the Petronas Towers. We had to catch both the metro and the monorail to get there, which was horrid, as the longer we stood still the more my holdall dug into my shoulders. So I was grateful when the metro reached the twin towers and we only had a 10 minute walk to the hotel’s front doors.

• Obviously it wasn’t that straight forward, the girls asked several people on the way to make sure we were on the right track. “Come on, I’m a guy, when do we ever ask for directions?” As we walked across the car park of the hotel I instantly felt out of place, in fact I think we all did. Well all except for Rachael, she was the one paying to stay there. As for Sarah and I, we were tagging along – sporting two giant backpacks! We let Rachael walk in front, but this didn’t stop the doorman from looking at her like she was at the wrong building.

• Inside was like something from a movie, the hotel itself was a 4 and a half star – something I have never experienced. It was hard not to show just how much of a fish out of water Sarah and I were, our jaws must have been on the floor as we admired our new surroundings. While Rachael was sorting out the paperwork, they told her she wouldn’t be able to add an additional bed to her room unless she upgraded to a bigger one. This would cost her an additional £30. Sarah and I weren’t comfortable with that, and told her we’d go off in search of a hostel instead. It was then that she became my new best friend in the whole world. She paid for our stay out her own pocket. When Sarah said “no, it’s too much!” Rachael laughed and told us we had been away from England too long, because £30 was nothing back home. I’m not someone who needs material things, and I always feel quite uncomfortable when money gets involved, but yes like I said, Rachael is now my new best friend :P.

• When Rachael was filling out the last of the forms a man came up to us with a tray containing complimentary glasses of iced tea. It was the best tea I’d had. So much so that I could have drank them all. Then all of a sudden we heard piano music playing in the background. After exploring to find out where it was coming from, we discovered a young Asian woman sat at a piano playing sheet music bashing out a concerto. The hotel had a pianist at reception people, that’s the level we’ve reached these days!

• There was nobody to take our bags, at least nobody that wanted to take our bags. Clearly we didn’t look worthy enough. We located the elevators by ourselves, then made our way to Rachael’s room. Beautiful doesn’t even come close to describing it. It had an en suite bathroom with marble counters, a bathtub and separate shower. The double bed was huge, and had a duck down duvet. There was an office desk in the corner, a giant television, a spacious wardrobe, and the view. Oh my goodness, the view was spectacular. Three giant windows looking out over the infinity pool and the Petronas Towers. Not bad for £60 a night. Not bad at all. Thank you Rachael, a million times over, if it wasn’t for you we’d be staying in some rubbish hostel. Although, you may have set a precedent now!

• It was our turn to give back to my new bezzie now. Because we had been to KL before, we decided to show Rachael around the city. We started off by taking her inside the Petronas Towers. The first place Sarah wanted to show her was the jewellery store I had been dragged to several times before. But Rachael didn’t buy anything, surprise surprise. By this point the KFC meals had burned off and we were hungry again. So off we went in search of food.

• McDonald’s was the suggestion, as their meal deals between certain hours make them as cheap as £1 a go.
“But Ben, you said you needed to start eating more healthily!”
“I know, but the offer was too good to pass, and from previous experience there’s no Asian food that fills me up quite like McDonald’s”.
The girls were on a mission to take photos to capture Goddard’s last day, so they snapped up the experience of eating the worlds cheapest McDonald’s. Outside I noticed a poor man begging, to be honest he looked kind of drunk. Somewhere inside of me I felt a bit sorry for him, so to be kind I gave him one of my burgers to eat. I don’t know if my charity was rightly placed. I did order a large McChicken sandwich meal, and two cheeseburgers, and I didn’t really like the cheeseburger. The part about me feeling sorry for him was true, but can you call it charity when you were kind of full, and didn’t want the other burger because it didn’t taste that great? Either way, the old guy seemed appreciative and put the burger in a little bag beside him. The three of us then went to a clothes store for Rachael’s shopping purposes.

• I say Rachael’s shopping purposes, it was more a case of Sarah encouraging her to spend money.
“It’s so cheap Rach, you’re on holiday, go on buy it!” We’re often her cries. It was during our visit to this outlet brands store that I weakened to the grasp of a new sensation. I think it may have had something to do with the fact I have been hanging out with girls for the last month or so, but I found certain clothes appealing. To the point I actually made a few purchases. Yes plural. I bought more than one item. The saddest part though, before we left the room at our hotel I weighed myself on the provided scales. 170 pounds they read, no wonder I looked so thin, I had lost 25 pounds. I had become so thin that I am now an Asian sized medium. When I tried on the same t shirts in large, they hung from my body like rags. I cant remember the last time I was a medium. I’ve been a large for at least the past 5 years. Regardless of what size I was or am, I bought 3 lovely new v neck t shirts for £10. Not bad eh?

• Rachael also made a couple purchases, two new dresses for £20. After our splurge the three of us went back to the monorail to get a lift to Petaling Street. This was the large night market that sold mostly knock off items. During our walk there, my new best friend slipped on an uneven road and caught her big toe. Because Rachael was wearing flip flops she hurt it quite bad. The nail began to bleed, as the evening progresses it grew more painful for her. She was a big brave girl and took the plaster from her Achilles’ tendon (she cut it shaving earlier that evening while getting ready) and placed it over her new wound.

• We made even more purchases at the market. It seems this shopping malarkey is addictive. What’s worse was I was beginning to enjoy it. During our retail therapy I bought a new pair of board shorts, some mangos, and a hat. I’ve always liked flat peaks but have never had the right sort of head to pull it off. Until now-ish. If it wasn’t for Rachael saying it looked good it would have remained on the stall. Sarah’s face suggested I still looked like an idiot. And her words said I looked like a little boy. She was also reluctant to tell me it was the best one I had tried on yet. Rachael’s purchases were few but impressive. She got a new mini mouse cover for her iPhone (ok so not that impressive), and a genuine looking Cath Kidston handbag.

• The girls claim that the guys selling them must not know much about the designer labels, other than the big ones like Gucci and Mulberry. In their defence I had only learned of Cath Kidston during our last visit. They looked around several stalls until they found some real genuine looking bags. Sarah and Rachael both agreed that it must have “fallen off the back of a lorry”, as it was too good to be fake. For 70 ringgit (£15) Rachael was the proud owner of a large blue Cath Kidston holdall.

• We stopped for food at the market, because it made getting home easier if we ate there. It was your standard types of dishes – chicken, rice, noodles. We even ordered fruit shakes to go with it, but the lemon ice tea paled in comparison to the one at the hotel. Afterwards, we took our new purchases and caught the monorail one last time to the Petronas Towers.

• There were two reasons for this:
1. So Rachael could get pictures of them lit up at night.
2. Because it was right on our hotel’s doorstep.
Sadly this time around there were large concert like tents set up outside. It made it tricky to get photos of the tall twins, but we succeeded in the end. And it felt like another photo shoot by the end. Sarah was adamant to take lots of pictures for Rachael. We then explained to Rachael that the last time we were there, there was a light show at the fountains the other side of the buildings. It was ruined again by more concert tents. Rachael didn’t mind and was happy enough with the pictures she had. We then followed the pathway until we reached our beautiful new home. Courtesy of my new best friend.

• In the lobby Rachael felt embarrassed by Sarah when she asked for my phone. The reason for the embarrassment you ask? Oh she wanted to take pictures of the decor in the middle of the foyer. Rachael tried explaining that it looked cheap, that she would reveal herself as someone who wasn’t used to such a lifestyle – yet when Sarah joked that she’d probably want a copy of the photo, Rachael agreed. Ah, all the clothes fit perfectly, and even the hat didn’t look out of place with my new outfits – oh god, it’s happened hasn’t it! I’ve become one of them. Happy with what I bought, I packed up my bag, then showered and cleaned my teeth before going to bed in a place that is way too good for me. For the past 5 days we had a cold shower, now we had a lovely hot shower with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and for after… Body lotion!

• Some half an hour later I had lovely soft, fresh smelling hair. A clean body. And I applied that body lotion until it was nearly all gone! – Seriously, what has happened to me? Have I lacked guy company for so long that I have become more metrosexual than usual? “Oh Rachael that is a lovely new dress you’ve bought, try those shoes with it they’ll look great together!” Oh good god!!!!!

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