Day 228: The End?

So here we are, the final post I will be writing of the Erratic Ramblings of an Uneducated Daydreamer. It has been one hell of a ride. As I started writing this, this day seemed unfathomable, yet I was always trying to think of some way to end it. The whole way through I have been trying to touch upon something profound. As I started writing about my journey it truly was just something I did for me, then when I began getting messages from people who enjoyed it, I felt compelled to finish. I thank you all for your kind words, without them I’d have stopped long ago. It has been extremely difficult for me to write about everything I have seen and done over these past 7 and a half months. Everything from the most microscopic to the most behemoth experience has been ineffable. I encourage all of you reading this to go travelling, it’s not a lifestyle choice they teach you in school, had it not been for Sarah encouraging me to do it in the first place I’d have never known it existed. Before this trip I never knew what I wanted, I was closed off from the world working 34 hours a week in a warehouse, I had no idea of other people’s ways and beliefs, and now I’ve had my eyes well and truly opened. This trip has also been the closest thing to freedom I will ever get. I cannot stress upon you how much better I feel within myself everyday, compared to how I did back home, waking up to go to a job I wasn’t passionate about. I have found a release in writing, and possibly a future career. When this is all over I may consider pursuing it. The pen truly is mightier than the sword, all I can hope for is that someone reading this has been inspired to go travelling themselves. It sure as hell beats a nine to five…
So ladies and gentlemen, for one last time, please allow me to entertain you with what happened on our final day in Asia.

Yaaaaaaaay, finally, a morning where we stayed asleep until the alarm clock rang at 8:45am. Rather than get up and go for breakfast right away, we put on the last 40 minutes of the movie – although I convinced Sarah to do this by saying “it’s alright, we’ll only watch 10 minutes”. Her love of all things Oz got the better of her and it was 9:30am before she turned it off out of panic. Sarah feared we’d miss breakfast if we left it any longer. We got ready and enjoyed our final buffet breakfast of the day, although neither if us could eat very much. It made me believe the hotel staff added something to the food to make it more filling, but this is just a conspiracy theory. In reality we just didn’t feel hungry in the first place. Afterwards we got back in the lift to finish off the last of the film… there was only 30 seconds remaining. We put on one episode of “Arrested Development” then got ready for the beach.

The Internet was down first thing this morning, but while we were getting ready we received a phone call from reception. They told us somebody had been in to fix it and everything was back online. We needed to print off our flight confirmation ready for our one way flight to Perth later that evening. Rather than take our passports out with us, we took pictures of our details, then used the hotel’s laptop to print off what we needed. We were now one step closer to leaving Asia, which made us both sad and excited at the same time. Instead of thinking about all the things to look forward to, all we could think of were the things we’d be leaving behind… bye bye fruit shakes, bye bye cheap massage parlours, bye bye cheap food, bye bye cheap accommodation, basically bye bye everything cheap. Feeling slightly blue we put the printouts in the bag and caught a taxi to the beach.

The security guard helped us cross the road again, and got the attention of a passing taxi. The driver switched on the meter, then dropped us off at the other end of Legian beach to yesterday. This was better for us as it was less busy, and the tide was still out, there was no chance we’d float off on any loungers. After only 5 minutes we found a series of unoccupied loungers. A man came running out enthusiastically and sold us two beds. I then got to work on my blog in the shade, while Sarah read her kindle in the sun – it’s no wonder she’s so brown. When I was nearing completion, the enthusiastic salesman was making his way back from a potential customer, when he stopped to chat with me. He asked where I was from and for my name, I told him, then he said his name was Puldro, and that he spent a year of his life in Greenwich, London. He had met a girl in Bali 5 years ago and she flew him to England to be with her. I don’t think it worked out as otherwise he wouldn’t have been selling us the beds. After our brief chat he told me if we needed anything we were all but to ask, then he returned to the shaded area below the trees with his friends.

After I’d finished editing my blog I moved the bed into the sun and allowed myself to cook at a temperature of around 30•C for several hours. Because we were at a quieter spot of the beach not many people passed. It was a far cry from the people watching I was able to do yesterday. There were no men with monkeys, nor were there any large breasted women to admire. The time was getting on for 3:15pm when we concluded our final day at the beach, we then took a slow stroll through town. Along the way we both made a couple purchases, Sarah bought a new pair of sunglasses, while I procured a bag to help distribute the overall weight of my luggage. It appeared as though Australia was very stringent with weight limits. If the holdalls were over 15kg just slightly it would result in an additional charge. We were now low on money after those purchases, we had only 50,000 (just over £3) left to cover the taxi fare, hotel bill, and dinner later on. On top of that we had to pay an additional cost of 200,000 (nearly £14) for late check out. This meant rather than leave our bags in storage from midday onwards, we would be allowed to return to our room and check out at the later time of 6pm. We would then only have 4 hours to wait before our flight. A stones throw from the shop was a bank, we went inside and withdrew 1,000,000 rupiah (£60) then hailed a taxi back to our hotel. It was then a case of taking one last shower, packing the bags, and settling our bill.

The packing went on a lot longer than either of us had predicted. After an hour we were still moving items about to ensure our holdalls didn’t exceed the weight limit. To ensure they didn’t we put on our heavier items such as jeans, trainers, and hoodies. This was something we hadn’t done in a while, and each item felt foreign as they clung to our bodies. For the time being it was hell, the temperature outside was in the high twenties, but it was something that would pay off when we landed in Perth. According to our friends Beth and Adam the temperature there was somewhere between 6 – 8•C. This was terrible news, the whole time we’d been in Asia we didn’t have to worry about seasons because they simply didn’t have them, now we were going somewhere that was in the worst of the four… winter. When we finally juggled all the items about and fastened all the clips of our bags, we left the confines of our a/c room and went to reception.

The staff put our bags into storage, and we paid the debt on our room bill. After that we went out for dinner. The security guard outside told us there were plenty of restaurants just a ten minute walk away, but when you’re wearing jeans that small amount of time feels like forever. He helped us cross the busy street, then we followed his directions until we found a rather expensive looking Chinese seafood restaurant. For the final meal of our Southeast Asian adventure we had a feast. The pair of us ordered several dishes to share. We started off with roasted pork in honey sauce, followed by sweet and sour chicken, then kung pow chicken. Each dish was exquisite and added a perfect end to our journey. However, the bill that followed was a bit painful, there was an extortionate tax and service charge of 21%, I did say the place looked expensive. As we entered, the car park was empty, but as we left it was filled with Mercedes Benz and BMW’s, had we seen that at the beginning we would have probably given it a miss. On the walk back we had to pass a family of beggars. The children lacked the etiquette it requires to gain something from strangers, I say this because one of them said to Sarah “give me your water!” Which she did, but only because she wanted to, or so she claimed. She said she’d rather they had it considering we’d just eaten an expensive meal. We then walked the last few hundred yards towards our hotel and crossed the busy street unaided.

We were quite sweaty and sticky by now, so to help cool down we sat in the bar area that had a/c. The machines were set to 16•C, this felt just right, too bad Perth was currently half of this. As we sat at a table, Sarah used the Internet to write to Beth and let her know our e.t.a. On the other side of the table I was given one last parting gift by the ever friendly Mosquitos. Without realising it, until it was too late, one of the blood suckers had taken a sample from one of my index fingers. I was livid. After Sarah came back from the bathroom she told me there were loads flying around in there. When I felt the need to go, I exacted my revenge. I swung and swatted but kept missing, until I saw a single one pitched on the wall. BLAAAM!!!!! Double whammy! Somehow I’d managed to kill two Mosquitos with one hand. The balance was now restored, I washed my hands and returned to Sarah to tell her of my victory… she didn’t care. Shortly after, we arranged for a taxi to collect us and waited outside with our bags.

When our taxi showed up, the driver helped throw the bags in the boot. It was clear roads all the way to the airport, and no sooner than we got used to the a/c in his vehicle, we had arrived. All the porters were waiting at the drop off point, offering their services to all new arrivals. I told one particular man that we didn’t need his assistance, then we struggled to the check in terminal. Had we known it would be as far away as it was, we’d have probably paid the small fee for some help. We showed the officials our flight confirmation and were granted access to the security check in scanners. Because I was wearing jeans I had the pleasure of removing my belt. I narrowly escaped embarrassment as I rushed through to grab it before my bottoms fell down. We then went over to the check in counter to weigh our bags in. They were just on the limit, meaning we didn’t have to pay any additional fees. Now we were free of our holdalls we had the pleasure of paying to leave the country. Yes that’s right, to leave Indonesia you actually have to pay an exit fee. It’s not enough that you have to pay to enter the country, they demand additional money as you leave. Begrudgingly we handed over 300,000 rupiah for the pair of us before being allowed to enter the departure lounge.

They’re the same the world over, extortionate convenient stores, duty free perfume, alcohol, and cigarettes, and the always present souvenir shops. We took a look at the various perfumes on offer, before leaving the shop to find a bench where we could sit and await our flight. There were so many Australian tourists waiting to fly home that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d already arrived. Surprisingly we were called through ahead of time. We had to go through a second security check, where once again I had to remove my belt. As I walked through the scanner the young security guard on the other side laughed when he saw me holding up my jeans. He then jokingly asked me to raise my hands so he could swipe me with the metal detector. We all laughed, then I fumbled to put on my belt before more bags came through the X-ray machine. Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 10:25pm, but we were allowed to board ahead of time of 9:50pm. We handed over our boarding passes, located our seats, then waited for take off.

Halfway into the flight I closed my eyes ready to go to sleep, but without warning there was a sudden shudder from external turbulence that rocked the cabin. Immediately I opened my eyes only to not believe what I was seeing. I sat up and rubbed my eyes to get clearer vision. Four walls covered with wood chip wallpaper surrounded me. Fixed to one of the walls was a flat screen television set. Through the window was the view of a neighbouring terrace block, and an energetic Jack Russell looked out from the window ledge wagging his tail furiously at the passing post lady. I recognised this place instantly. I was in my bedroom back home in England. It turned out these past seven and a half months hadn’t happened at all, in fact, it had been all but a dream….

Ahhhhhhh, I’m just kidding, I wouldn’t do you like that. Of course I haven’t been dreaming, how would I have added the photos of my experiences had I been. Besides Sarah tells me, to end a book with “and it was all a dream” is the worst possible way, it constantly annoys her when it happens in the books she reads. When I learned of that I thought it would be clever if I could incorporate it into my blog somehow. For 7 months I’ve been waiting to write that ending, ever since Sarah first told me about it. Not to keep you in suspense any longer, what really happened during the flight. I stayed awake working on the final post for the whole 2 hours. When we landed we had to go through the rather strict immigration, I say strict, it was more the way they sounded than acted. When it came to telling them where we’d be staying in Australia, all we could say was Beth and Adam’s house. Apparently that was enough, from the looks of things, this place really was laid back. Our bags were two of the first to arrive on the carousel, we just about grabbed them before they disappeared through the second door. We showed the security guard our yellow slip to gain access to the country, then headed towards the exit. There they both were, Beth and Adam were waiting for us with a cup of coffee in their hands. We shook their hands and gave them hugs, then we left the airport to begin a brand new journey together…

Now that we know it wasn’t all a dream, I would like to take some time to say a massive thank you to everyone I have met along the way. Without your presence in some of the places Sarah and I have visited, it wouldn’t be what it was. I won’t do any shout outs because there were so many of you, and if I forget to put anyone’s name in here it could lead to arguments. In one way or another, each and everyone of you have helped me grow as a person. The hard truths I was forced to learn, and my little quirks some of you picked up on have made me stronger and better than before. I owe so much to the people we’ve met along the way, the strangers who have helped us out at a moments notice, and my family for being so supportive, encouraging me to pursue this once in a lifetime journey. I would also like to thank the company I worked for back home, the redundancy money I received helped fund this trip. More thanks go out to all the people who have subscribed to, and liked posts from my blog right from the very start. I know at the beginning the posts were long, but as the days went on I endeavoured to make them more concise. Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now as I sit on this plane to Perth (well maybe one… tired), to everyone I’ve met, I love you all, I believe we met for a reason and I hope the world continues to be kind to you. For my last thank you, and probably the most important of them all…

Sarah Duxbury.

Without your constant encouragement to make me leave England we both know I never would have. I know I’ve not been the easiest person to travel with. This blog took up a lot of my time, meaning you did 90% of the research and arrangements, which I love you for. Thank you for having the patience to stick with me as I slaved away into the night writing like a madman. But I am a free man now, and although we won’t be together 24 hours a day anymore, I promise all my free time will be spent with you. You’re a brave girl coming to Australia, what with your incapacitating fear of spiders, but that’s what makes you great. I can say things like this because I know you’ll never read this post, like you haven’t any of the others. You’ll continue to mock my blog like you do, never fully knowing just how much I appreciate you. I love you Sarah Duxbury, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the kick up the arse to leave our little bubble back home.

Now I’d like to end this blog by paraphrasing “Big Chris” from the movie “lock stock, and two smoking barrels”…

“Thank you Southeast Asia, it’s been emotional!”

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Day 224: Don’t Cry Satan

Only four days remain of the Erratic Ramblings, and I couldn’t be happier. As I lie in bed with the whole day to write about ahead of me, I feel exhausted. We didn’t do much today, but that’s usually the cause for feeling so tired. The day panned out a little like this:
• The first half of the day was spent at our resort.
• Early afternoon we went out for a walk.
• Found a resort to have dinner at.
• Spent the rest of the afternoon there.
• Saw Devil’s Tear point.
• Came back to Nanuk.
• Enjoyed an evening meal with an Australian couple.
That is precisely how we spent our last day in Lembongen, I am going to do my best to stay awake now and go over the smaller details.

The day started around 8:15am. We led in bed for around another half an hour until we joined Sarah’s parents for breakfast. After eating our all inclusive pancakes, we spent the rest of the morning, and early hours of the afternoon hanging out at our resort. Sarah read, Simon messed a out on his tablet, Ann led on the sun loungers, and I played on my Nintendo. Because the battery had died on my device, I was restricted to the downstairs area of our hut, in the shade. I led beside the socket for around 3 hours, playing games until my thumbs hurt. When it was fully charged I went over to Sarah to play some more beside the pool. It was then that Sarah’s parents suggested we went out for a walk to get dinner, as that would help build up an appetite. Little did they know I was already starving.

We walked and walked, but found nothing. We ended up walking down a side street which we thought would lead to either the beach or a decent restaurant – how wrong we were. This road contained nothing but temples, countless temples, side by side from the top of the hill to the bottom, there were so many in fact they almost resembled terraced housing. Sarah was only wearing a vest on top of her bikini and felt really bad as she walked past the local people. She feared she was being disrespectful for wearing so little. Her knees were exposed and everything, the little hussy. She felt even worse when we passed a cremation ceremony, the people were preparing the coffin for later that day. When we reached the bottom of the road it turned out to be a dead end, so we came back on ourselves, where Sarah had the pleasure of walking past everyone all over again. We were miles ahead of Simon and Ann who were still climbing the hill when we’d reached he top. When they’d caught up we retraced our steps until we reached a local corner shop. There was a man sat outside who spoke good English, and recommended a restaurant down an adjacent road. He said it was a 20 minute walk from where we currently stood. We bought some water and a chocolate bar from his shop, then headed in that direction. I was miserable this whole time for a couple reasons:
1: I didn’t want to leave the resort in the first place.
2: I was extremely hungry and agitated.
Maybe it was the hunger that was powering me through but we made it in less time than predicted. It only took 10 minutes before we stumbled upon Dream Beach Cabu.

This was the only resort that rivalled ours. They charged exactly the same amount of money per night as Nanuk bungalows. They had a pool, great food, cosy looking huts, and a fully functioning spa. After dinner Ann and Sarah made full use of that when they both enjoyed a couple pedicures, while Simon and I were left to twiddle our thumbs. It was alright for me because my thumbs were occupied with the Nintendo, until its batteries died that is. I found it very difficult to sit still, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Simon was bored either. I didn’t like sitting and waiting because there wasn’t much to do. I went in the pool for a bit and ordered a plate of chips for my second meal. Mostly out of boredom than hunger. The people at the resort were so nice to us, before we even got our food they said we were allowed to swim in their pool, and they even provided us with towels afterwards. When Sarah’s peddy was finished the pair of us went to see the nearby beach for sunset. Simon remained to wait for Ann’s treatment to be over with. The beach was so beautiful, it was a cove like area where the waves washed up gently on the shore. We took a couple pictures from afar then moved on to the next nearby sight. Devil’s Tear.

This was the corner of Lembongan where the dagger like rock faces were washed with salty sea waves. In the distance you could see the mighty wet mountains building up, and the crust of the wave riding on the top like a surfer. When they reached the rocks they caused an almighty smashing sound, and white foamy water dispersed everywhere. It was easy to see where the place got its name, if you fell in, without question, the end results would be fatal. We were there for a good 20 minutes before Sarah’s parents showed up. By the time they’d arrived it was dusk, and the Mosquitos were coming out yet again. Their presence was always accompanied by swift flying bats. It was very difficult to see on the way back because our eyes couldn’t adjust to the weird light. It wasn’t dark enough to focus on the floor, and wasn’t bright enough to see where we were going. Sarah explained to me that this was known as Mesopic vision. This was where the rods and cones in our eyes weren’t developed to cope with that level of lighting. The cones process higher light levels typical during the day. While the rods are more suited to very low light levels, corresponding to moonless nights without electric lighting. This is why dusk and dawn are considered the most dangerous times to drive. We took plenty of photos during our short visit, before returning to the resort, where the kind staff arranged a lift for us back to our resort. It was a 10 minute ride, and we’d surprised ourselves by how much walking we’d actually done earlier that day.

After popping back to the room to drop some things off, Sarah and her parents FaceTimed her sister and niece. After that we all went to the bar to grab a drink. Simon and Ann were there before us and had befriended an Australian couple. When we joined them they were deep in conversation. I was still hungry by this point, so I went ahead and ordered food for myself, which I was later shunned for when it arrived. Sarah turned around and sarcastically said “uh Ben, are you not gonna eat with us then?” I didn’t think anyone else was eating that night because they’d not long had dinner. I was the one with the fast metabolism after all, and 90% of the time it’s safe to presume I’m hungry. Eventually everyone did order food, and the staff pushed two tables together so we could eat with our new friends. Instead of having another cooked meal I chose to have a dessert. It was fried banana with chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Three hours passed by that evening as we remained at the table to converse after tea. Simon and John shared a couple bottles of beer, while the rest of us exchanged funny anecdotes. When the talk of travel was mentioned, the point was made that it’s more common to see people our age travelling nowadays compared to when the oldies were younger. And also how technology has helped to make this world that much smaller, with things like Facebook and Skype being the main culprits. Around 11pm we all went back to our rooms, but it took three attempts to say goodbye before anyone actually moved from the dinner tables. When I got into bed I was shattered, bone achingly shattered. I now have a headache from forcing myself to stay awake to write this, I am sorry if today has come across as lackadaisical at all, I am just too tired to concentrate. If I didn’t write it now, I know I’d struggle to remember everything tomorrow. I am now going to put this phone on charge and go to sleep. My eyelids weighed a ton as I wrote that last sentence…
Good night all, take care.
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Day 201: We’re Off To See The Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard Of Aus(tralia)

Surprisingly I have quite a lot to write about today. Somehow we managed to do loads in an area where there’s not much to do. Rather than give it all away in the introductory paragraph, I’ll get straight to it.

• When we woke up this morning the weather outside was glorious. Not a cloud in the bright blue sky at all. The sun was out and already roasting as early as 9:30am. Sarah didn’t hang about and was already in her bikini before I had the chance to ask what was going on. She told me she was going down to sit by the pool. I needed a few minutes to wake up, then when I was ready I joined her.

• Because Sarah wanted to sunbathe I went to reception to enquire about another nights stay. I explained to the lady that it was cheaper on Agado to book another night than pay the reduced rate she offered us. I asked if her offer of 800 baht included breakfast, to which she said no. She then became very blunt, saying if I wanted to stay another night it would cost 800 baht. I returned to Sarah to tell her the bad news, then went to the room to pack my bag. Soon after Sarah joined me, then the pair of us went out for breakfast.

• We went back to the same place as the previous evening. After looking through the menu we both chose porridge as our first meal of the day. I only mention this because of what happened next. When they arrived, each bowl had a funny taste of salt to it. We don’t know how, as salt isn’t an ingredient used in porridge. I managed to eat mine, but Sarah had the fun job of trying to explain to the Thai ladies what “too salty” meant. It was hilarious, neither lady spoke any English, and watching Sarah run around the restaurant looking for a salt pot provided great entertainment. She even tried using google to translate the words “too salty”, but the ladies still didn’t understand. In the end they phoned another employee, or their boss, who spoke good English, and handed Sarah the phone. He told her she didn’t have to pay for it and was allowed to order something else instead. When her chicken sandwiches arrived she was a lot happier. We then used the wifi to find cheaper accommodation. Sarah selected the same place we went looking for the previous evening, and booked one night. As soon as we paid for breakfast we began walking back to our current resort.

• Half way there was a tourist shop offering day trips and motorbike rentals. We decided to hire one so we could easily transfer the bags from one resort to the other. There were taxis, but for the prices they charged we thought we may as well get a bike. We stood debating for a while as originally the lady wanted 400 baht for two days. The longer we thought about it the more she came down in price.
“Ok, I give you good price, 350 baht”.
“Hmmm what do you think Sarah? Uuummmm, ahhhhh. ooooohhhhh”.
“Ok, ok, 300 baht”.
Brilliant. I think we pretty much snapped her hand off when she made that offer. Seeing as we got charged 100 baht for a 5 minute taxi ride the day before, we could now ride around all day for the same price if we wanted – fuel allowing of course. The lady didn’t want any passports as proof of identity or collateral for the bike. She only asked where we were staying. We gave her the details and in return we were given a small moped with a near empty fuel tank.

• There was enough for what we needed that morning. I rode us back to Suwan Palm Resort where I grabbed my holdall and one day bag. Sarah continued packing her bags while I rode to our new resort. It was no wonder we didn’t find it by foot the previous evening, it turned out Grand City resort was 300 metres in the opposite direction to which we walked. I located it easily enough and checked in. I was allowed to leave my bags at reception while I returned to grab Sarah. By the time I got back Sarah was waiting beside the pool. She struggled towards me with her holdall and day bag. I went to her aid, and she checked us out. I then had the task of riding a tiny scooter with Sarah and her holdall on the back, and the day bag between my feet. It was fairly easy when we got going, but the newly added weight was certainly noticeable as I drove. I dropped Sarah off and told her what room to go to, then returned to reception to grab the bags.

• Our new room wasn’t as fancy as the last one, but this resort was cheaper, came with breakfast, and also had a pool. Speaking of which, after dropping off the bags, that’s where we spent the following few hours. The pool was lovely, not too hot and not too cold. Although it was slightly salty which was odd, but unlike breakfast there was nobody we called call to complain to. Sarah disappeared at one point to speak to her parents, while I messed about on eBay. I bought a pair weightlifting gloves in preparation for the gym in Australia. Unfortunately I hadn’t taken into account the fact it was a bank holiday, and would most likely not receive them before Sarah’s parents flew out to meet us. When we’d had enough of the pool we returned to the room for a bit, where my new favourite thing happened. Sarah had been burned by the sun, “HAHA”, I shouted. “I guess that’s what you get for sitting in the sun without any lotion on. I’m Sarah, I don’t need any lotion these days”, I teased. Her face, chest, arms were scarlet. I felt it had been a long time coming after all those times she’d mocked me and put pictures on Facebook. After she took a shower we remained indoors until the sun was less potent. Around 4pm we went out on the bike to explore Koh Lak.

• It is a peculiar place, where we were staying was kind of like an old west town. Meaning either side of the road were buildings such as: bars, convenience stores, restaurants, dive centres and tourist shops (granted these places didn’t exist in the old west, but the layout of the buildings were the same). They went on for a couple miles, but when you came to the end of the strip it was nothing but long windy roads. We followed one of these roads, passing a national park along the way, until we thought it best to turn around on accounts of having low fuel. Koh Lak is beautiful though. The roads were really nice to ride on as they had no potholes, and all around us were bright green forests rich with wildlife. Sarah described it as looking like something from the movie Avatar. To which I couldn’t disagree, it was difficult to admire the surrounding nature because I had to focus on the roads, but from what I could see it was stunning. So much so that we were thinking about visiting the national park the following day. We eventually came upon a lay by at the side of the road and used that to turn back around. It was funny, we had just missed a mini rainstorm. By the time we got back to the main strip near our resort, the roads were soaking wet, and there was still the occasional droplet falling from the sky. We were dangerously close to running out of fuel, and because we couldn’t see any fuel stations nearby, we returned to where we hired the bike.

• The lady there gave us two bottles of gasoline, which filled the tank halfway. It was enough to keep us going for the duration of our rental. I was feeling pretty hungry by this point, so I continued along the road until we found a place called Mars Bar Cafe. It appeared to be owned by English gentlemen. The whole menu was that of English dishes: pies, chip buttys, beans on toast. I ordered a chicken and mushroom pie, and although it was quite dry, I still enjoyed it. While I was eating, Sarah was using Facebook to talk with our friend Beth in Australia. For those who can’t remember, Beth an Adam had offered to put us up when we got there. It was during this conversation that we finally chose a date to end our Asian adventure, and begin a life of work and routine in Australia. That’s right folks, we have officially booked our flights to Oz. THIS WAS HUGE. The flights were booked for the end of May, and Adam even said he’d come to the airport in the early hours to get us. What a star he is. By the time we leave Southeast Asia we’d have spent over 8 months travelling its beautiful countries. And to be honest, I am kind of happy about it. The saying “Too much of a good thing” really does apply here. As great as having all these new experiences has been, and believe it really has been great, we’re now beginning to take some of it for granted. Like the islands for example. We’ve been to so many beautiful locations now, that we’ve become a little desensitised to it. And being able to sleep in until you want, eat whatever you like, not worry about exercising, and staying up all night eventually gets old. That’s why I’m looking forward to routine and having some structure again. I am especially looking forward to adult sized meals and a gym membership, that’s for sure. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, losing all this weight has been hard on me, especially seeing as I worked so hard to bulk up in the first place. I think Australia is going to be good for us, as there’s only so long you can live in the clouds before you have to come back down again.

• Beth was really excited when we told her the flights had been booked and confirmed. After that was sorted, I settled the bill, then we got back on the bike with the intention of watching the sunset from the beach. But as I started riding I noticed a sign which read:
“Tsunami memorial sculpture <-"
My curiosity got the better of me, the beach would have to wait for now. I followed the sign's directions to see what it was, only to be disappointed. Whatever the sculpture was, it wasn't finished. At the end of the road we found nothing but a construction sight. All that was built so far was a very small grassy area, which looked to be a roundabout, and a very small building. Other than that, there was a large digger churning up the ground and several men at work. We swiftly turned around and headed for the beach.

• When we arrived we were disappointed for the second time. The sunset was nowhere near as spectacular as the previous evenings. In fact I think it was safe to say we'd missed the best bit again. We still took a couple pictures, then I rode back to our resort as quick as I could, with Sarah moaning in my ear the whole way for both my speed and the fact her bladder was about to burst. While Sarah ran up to our room, I used my phone to Skype my mum before she went to work. I hadn't spoken to her in over a week, before her holiday in fact. She said it went really well, BUT (see where I get it from), they didn't have the best of weather. She then went on to tell me she'd given everyone the presents I'd sent home, including my nan. Bless her, I was told that at first she thought her present was a nice wooden box. It wasn't until she opened it that she discovered the real gift. It was a scented flower carved out of soap. She's always liked flowers, and what's better than one that won't die. Much like Sarah does her parents, I gave my mum some clothing demands to fetch certain items from my collection to give to Sarah parents. I am sorry in advance Ann and Simon if you're reading this. If you need to make space, just forget to bring some of Sarah's, I'm sure she won't mind. When our phone call ended, Sarah and I returned to our room so I could shower.

• Now that I was feeling fresh again, we decided to go out for tea. Well I say that, what we actually did first was go to an Internet cafe so Sarah could try and find some hospital job references in Australia. We only had half an hour before the man closed his shop, it wasn't long enough really. While Sarah Googled away, I watched the owner playing with his pet cat. It was probably the most tame feline on Earth. He teased it with grass, taught it to jump up on the bench beside him, it never strayed away, and it even let him tickle its belly. I couldn't help thinking he should compete on a talent show as a double act. When Sarah's time was up we crossed the street to eat at the same restaurant again.

• I had a satay chicken burger, which is something I hadn't had before. It was goooooood. Sarah had the bland Caesar salad. After that we called it a night and returned to our room. On the walk back we were treated to yet another tropical thunderstorm. Funnily enough there wasn't any rain, just flashes of lightning and claps of thunder. We were fortunate enough to have a room overlooking the storm, right outside the large glass doors we could see it all. I stood on the balcony trying my best to capture each flash as it happened. In a way I guess I kind of succeeded, but obviously the lens of the iPhone wasn't quick enough to capture the speed of light. So instead of having photos of lightning forks, all I have is bright white light. Which Still made for good pictures. This whole time we've been away I've wanted nothing more than to see a thunderstorm over the ocean, and tonight looked like I was going to get that chance. By now I was in my pyjamas, and just as I began getting changed to go out, Sarah changed my mind. We'd both read that the beaches aren't the safest places to be at night. A lot of muggings and such occur there then. Wether or not its because I'm older now and the sensible gene's kicked in, I don't know, but I chose to stay in instead. It was dark around that area at night, and I'd be going alone with my iPhone. I didn't actually mind that much anyway, as by the time I'd made up my mind to go, the storm had started calming down and moving on. There's always next time I guess. Now we were both settled in for the night, we finished watching a film we'd started the previous evening, followed by a tv show. I then stayed until 2:45am working on the blog. Still, it wouldn't be long before I'd be finished with the Erratic Ramblings of an Uneducated Daydreamer. I was on the final countdown, only 20 something days remained. It'll be strange to live a day of my life and not feel the need to document it.

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Day 190: Welcome To The Good Life

Ok then, there’s not really any introduction needed for today’s post. It was another lazy day for the pair of us. We didn’t visit anywhere exciting, and we didn’t do anything of worth. But more so I can look back and remember what we did, here’s what happened.

• Seeing as I didn’t get to bed until around 3:30am that morning, it was no surprise that I’d didn’t wake up until 10:30am. Because it was sunny out Sarah didn’t want to hang around and watch any tv, she was adamant she was going to the pool straightaway.

• As I’ve said before, I’m not really a fan of lying in the sun, so I dragged out the process of joining her. I faffed around in the room for a while, and by the time I got there, Sarah suggested going for breakfast. We returned to the room to grab our wallets and put on appropriate clothes for town. We then asked the guys at the resort if we could get a free lift there. It was far too hot to walk, although, the temperature in the back of the large black 4X4 wasn’t much better.

• We chose the restaurant “Good Life”. These guys were all about healthy living, and if you so wanted, you could buy wheatgrass shots. Although I’ve been told they make you run to the toilet as they act like a scrubbing brush for your insides. Their food wasn’t as good as I remembered, last time we were in Pai, the food was so good it cured my hangover. However, today was a different story. The baguette was really hard to eat, the bacon was overcooked, and instead of giving us the hash browns we ordered, we had strange potato cubes in their place. I found myself agreeing with Sarah’s point even more, perhaps we only found it good last time because we visited Pai so early into the trip. There were no seats inside, so we sat on the one free table outdoors. Beside us was another table with four people sat around it.

• Guess who was back with a brand new rap, the mental meditation man. I don’t know if anyone can remember this, but this was the guy we wasted an hour of our lives listening to when we took part in one of his meditation classes. He was still at it. There was a woman sat with him, and I found it increasingly hard to keep my mouth shut. Somehow I did, but with all the garbage that was coming from their mouths, I really wanted to correct them. He was still going on about awareness, telling the lady how to heal her shoulder whenever she felt pain. He’d say to her “focus all the awareness into your shoulder”.
“WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN!?!?”
Their ridiculous notions didn’t stop there. The lady then said,
“I was planting my flowers the other day, but I was so angry that I worried I was putting angry energy into them and they wouldn’t grow promptly, so in its place I tried to shift the anger into love”.
“LIKE WHAT SORT OF MOOD YOU’RE IN REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE TO THEIR GROWTH!! THEY NEED SUNLIGHT AND WATER, AND THE OCCASIONAL BEE TO POLLINATE THEM!!!!”
The one thing that made me really want to shout out was when the lady said,
“people make fun of me when I say this, but I know a guy who can heal any ailment you might have”.
“I KNOW PEOPLE LIKE THAT TOO YOU FRIGGIN FRUIT LOOP, THEY’RE CALLED DOCTORS!!!!!!”
Oh, and the amount of times I heard the word “chakra” mentioned was unbelievable. For all I knew they could’ve been talking in code about a drug deal.

• Now I’m not saying people shouldn’t believe in things like this, it’s a free world after all, and if we were all the same it would be a boring place. But I think it’s funny how people can make correlations between visiting a “healer”, and actually getting better. For example, someone suffers from a cold all week, so on the 7th day they make the decision to visit a “healer” to get rid of it. On the 8th day they wake up in the morning, and voila, they feel better again, chances are that was just a coincidence. When in actuality their own body had finally built up the antibodies to fight off the illness. It’s just a little absurd to think that a man or woman waving an incense stick around with whale music in the background can heal you quicker than prescription drugs. If you’re sick visit a doctor for heavens sake, no amount of crystals and meditation will cure cancer, that’s all I’m saying. But like I said, we’re all free to believe what we like. I mean I like Batman and comic books for goodness sakes, and I’m almost 25 years old. Not to mention I’ve ordered a Pokemon game for my birthday. Perhaps I should see someone about me being a man child, maybe a witch doctor, they’re not crazy right?

• Shortly after listening to the couple from “one flew over the cuckoos nest” we were joined by a very cute puppy. It looked to be a young Doberman Pinscher, but given the various breeds around town it was very unlikely. It was a very playful pup and chewed anything insight, from bottle lids to cigarette butts. In the end Sarah threw down some bread to distract it. It was more interested in the puppy sat on the chakra ladies lap though. She claimed her dog had a very similar energy to her, whatever that means. Although, looking at her little fluff ball (the dog I’m talking about) it looked like it thought she was crazy too. She then put the puppy in the front basket of her push bike and rode off. After paying for our breakfast we went to the 7Eleven where Sarah grabbed a Big Gulp of coke. We then walked back in the blistering midday sun.

• By the time we got back we were very sweaty, so the pool was a god send. Sarah went on ahead while I returned to the room to grab our things. I returned, some 10 minutes later, to find she had made some new friends. There was a Dutch lady led on a sun lounger soaking in the sun, and another lady from Adelaide, Australia. It was this woman Sarah was conversing with, I joined in halfway through. We covered various topics, and explained to her what sharing a dorm room was like. She didn’t know how we did it, saying it would be her worst nightmare. That was the perfect time to tell her of the drunken Brit from Chiang Mai. By the end of the conversation we still didn’t get her name, so “she” will have to suffice for now. The lady explained to us how she’d set up a business back in Australia selling small decorative items. She was a stylist, and came to Thailand to buy small, or big pieces, to sell in her shop. At one point the conversation shifted towards the Big Gulp in Sarah’s hands. You should know that Sarah has the best teeth I have ever seen, and I don’t know how. She has never had any removed (other than the wisdoms) or any fillings. She drinks coke like its water, and even swishes it around her mouth before swallowing. She claims it’s like the dirty penny effect, should you put the coin in a cup of coke eventually the liquid erodes the dirt and you’re left with a shiny penny. But after our new Australian friend warned her of the downside to coke, it looked as though Sarah might stop drinking the stuff. She told Sarah how she had some friends back home who used to drink it all the time, mostly diet, and their teeth had turned yellow. We explained how Sarah’s teeth were great, and then she dropped the one word no woman likes to hear “cellulite”. She said how all her friends that drank the stuff ended up with lots of cellulite, mostly around their thighs and stomach. Sarah let out a loud whine, then looked at the coke in her large cup disappointedly.

• Shortly after that, the Australian lady left us and we remained by the pool. I read another chapter in my book, and we were eventually joined by that couple from the truck in Chiang Mai. Remember, where the guy was punching above his weight. They’d been staying at our resort for the same amount of time as us. Now they were down to their swimming costumes it was even more evident he was out of her league (if there is such a thing). I later discovered that Sarah agreed with me on this point, only after she brought up the subject. We presumed them to be Swedish, the girl had really thick blonde hair, a slim build, and really large breasts – Sarah’s words not mine. Although, Sarah was more focused on the girls hair and waist, whereas I was… Ah hem. When the sun had disappeared behind the trees I returned to the room, leaving Sarah with her girl crush and the tubby man.

• When Sarah came back we watched some tv shows, and after that we showered. In our bathroom, and I am still confused as to how this happened, there was a frog on one of the support beams. There was no way the frog could have jumped that high, and there were too many smaller beams blocking his way to have walked there. The only thing I can presume was that it could grip to surfaces like the geckos. I took a picture of the odd event to show you guys, then returned to the room to get dressed.

• It was significantly cooler in the evenings so we took a stroll into town for tea. As we reached the bridge there were more flying insects than ever around the lights, so to avoid them pitching on us we ran across the bridge. Probably not the best idea, as they ended up smacking into us the faster we went. In town Sarah made the decision of where we ate. She chose the Witching Well again, and we both had delicious belly filling food. Afterwards we walked around town, where we discovered it was completely dead, compared to last time at least. It must have been low season, as the majority of the shops were closed, and there were hardly any travellers browsing the market stalls. Back in November of last year the streets were alive, now they were just a poor reflection of that time. Sarah was tempted to get a pedicure, but decided to skip it when she discovered she’d have to wait half an hour. In the end we grabbed a bottle of water in a convenience store and returned to our resort.

• We went through the evening rituals as usual, with Sarah being scared of her own shadow as we left the confines of our room to walk around the back to the bathroom. The frog had disappeared by now, leaving me even more baffled as to where it went. When we got back into our room and into bed, we decided to watch a movie. Because of the late night I had the previous evening I knew I wasn’t able to stay awake for the whole thing. I struggled to keep my eyes open all the way through, and missed the majority of what happened. In the end I gave up and fell asleep, leaving Sarah to stay up reading her kindle when the movie ended.

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