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 197: Look At All Those Curves

So today was the day we finally left Pai. It saw us riding those beautiful curvaceous roads back to Chiang Mai. All 700 of them. If they belonged to a woman, she’d be the most desirable creature in the planet… Not to mention oddly shaped. Much like our last visit to the place where time stands still, we stayed for over a week. We had enjoyed our time once again, even if we didn’t do anything, or meet as many people, and each day was pretty much the same as the last. The most part of today was spent travelling, which means there’s not really much else for me to say, so I’ll just get to it.

• Like usual I woke up before Sarah. I watched an episode of Boardwalk Empire while I waited for her to stir. Halfway through she joined the world of the living. She then got up and began sewing her broken clothes and neck pillow back together, leaving me to finish watching the show. Around 10:30am I also got. I jumped in the shower, then began packing my bag. Once again I managed to lighten my load. By now certain T-shirts I brought out with me hung from my body like sheets, due to my severe weight loss. I used that as an excuse to get rid of them, and seeing as I’d finished my book, that went as well.

• When we’d both finished packing we left our bags at reception and asked for a shuttle into town for an hours time. We then sat around the pool using the phone to go online. At 1pm the owner of the resort drove us to the AYA service building. On the way we thanked him for our stay, and told him how beautiful it was. He then surprised us by saying he owned the resort for the past 9 years, and when he first got it, it was nothing but rice fields. He also told us he had plans to expand upon on it by making the huts bigger, and for each one to contain a hammock. That explained why he was working so hard to make them during our stay. He wanted to keep just the few huts he had, as if he built anymore it would cause the resort to lose its chilled out vibe due to too many tourists staying there. When we reached AYA, we thanked him once again, then grabbed our bags and dropped them off inside. It was then time for breakfast.

• We had an hour and a half to spare before we had to be back for our minibus, and there was only one place Sarah wanted to go. The Witching Well. I thought yesterday was going to be our last visit, but it turned out destiny had another plan in store. We both had amazing meals, and we even got to see the cute puppy from Good Life next door before we left. We settled the bill and left a tip, then stopped in the 7Eleven for snacks, ready for our long haul journey. There wasn’t long to wait when we got back to the AYA building, I don’t think we sat down for all of 10 minutes before our minibus arrived.

• Like usual everyone darted to the open sliding door to ensure they got a good seat. I sent Sarah on ahead while I sorted the bags. When I got back to her it looked to me like she’d just missed out on the good ones, so I suggested we sat in the seats upfront with the driver. She wasn’t happy about this, as she told me she had in fact procured two seats, but lost them when I told her to move. Sarah then had to sit on a hard, uncomfortable seat for the three hour journey to Chiang Mai. It was quite nice to be sat upfront though. We were tempted to take a scooter and ride the 700 and something odd curves, but figured we’d probably get lost or have an accident. So the optimum viewing seats would have to suffice as a substitute. I think it’s safe to say Sarah was extremely grateful for the stop halfway back. By the time we reached the roadside restaurant, from sitting twisted the whole way, her poor back was in pieces. I offered to swap, but after our break Sarah said it would be worse for me, and she endured the final hour and a half.

• The minibus parked right outside the AYA service of Chiang Mai. We were told we’d have an hour before our next mode of transport would arrive, so we used that time to order some food. We both chose the quick dish – Pad Thai. I managed to wolf my down on accounts of being peckish, but Sarah was still eating hers when our next driver arrived. In her defence they were half an hour early. He said to Sarah he was happy to wait, but fearing she’d be keeping people waiting, she left it. We then handed the driver our ticket and climbed in the back of his silver truck, along with 8 other travellers.

• Sarah had been talking with a girl from Canada on and off during the trip from Pai, but it was during this ride we got better acquainted. By the end of the trip we still didn’t get her name though. We spoke mostly about diving, as well as giving advice on places to go based on our experiences. It wasn’t long before we were stopping to get off. I don’t think we travelled any farther than 2 miles before they said “ok, Bangkok you get off now and change vehicle”. You’ve got to love the organisational abilities of the Thai people, it’s completely scrambled yet somehow it works. We did as instructed and got off the truck, only to climb aboard an identical silver truck parked a few feet away. Everyone took a seat, then about 3 or 4 miles later we arrived at a fuel station, where a large comfortable looking coach was waiting for us.

• A Thai lady came around with a clipboard asking everyone to write down their names. I left Sarah to fill both ours out while I sorted the bags. Once again I moved the bags from one vehicle to another, then I climbed aboard to find us a couple good seats. In my opinion I had the optimum seats selected, I had the first two in front of the stars. This meant if we wanted to recline the seats we could, as there was nobody behind for it to annoy. Sarah didn’t like it because they didn’t recline as far as the others. Fortunately there was enough leg room between the seats for people to fully recline without affecting anyone else. Reluctantly I gave in and moved over to join her. Then a single Asian woman chose the seats I picked, and managed to have them all to herself the whole way. We had to wait half an hour before we left the station, so we used that time to continue talking with our Canadian friend about our travels. When the conversation ended, Sarah and I put on a movie to help relax. This was something that was quite difficult to do, as no sooner than the film ended, the drivers put on a film at full volume. Seeing as I didn’t feel like sleeping just yet, I stayed up to do my blog. As I neared the end, one of the drivers came around to tell everyone we were making a 20 minute stop.

• When we got off there was a confusing period as to which toilets were which. In the end I just used the women’s, I don’t think it made a difference as all there was inside were squat pots. It wasn’t until I came back out that I noticed the extremely large sign in bold red writing which said “MEN’S TOILET”. Seeing as we couldn’t find a sink in the ladies, we both used one in the men’s. it was there Sarah learned of the stench of stagnant urine, not something I’d wish upon anyone, thank god she was high on Xanex. We grabbed a couple drinks for the road, then did our best to get comfy on the bus to Bangkok. If all went to plan our e.t.a should be 6am, that was 7 hours from the time I finished this post.

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Day 100: TRIPLE DIGITS!!!

We’ve finally made it, day 100. Today would see us reaching the triple digit stage of our trip. The time has flown by. Just over three months we have been away for now. Already we’ve seen so much, both good and bad, and still have so much left to do before we return home. We have yet to explore the islands of Thailand, we still need to see Malaysia, as well as Singapore and Bali to name but a few. The only factor that could hinder our travels, money. That’s where Australia and New Zealand come into the picture. When we have had enough of Southeast Asia, we will then have the pleasure of trying our hands at the working lifestyle again. There is always talk of visiting South America, and of course we could always consider finishing the trip with a backpacking tour of Europe. So many options, so much time. We truly are living the dream. To be honest, I don’t know when exactly we’ll be coming home. All I know for sure right now is that I am loving every day, and new experience that comes my way, and when the time comes that I finally step foot back on home soil, I hope I know what it is I want out of life.

So, like I said day 100 of our travels was today, and what did we do to celebrate such an achievement? Believe it or not, we did nothing. Now, by nothing I don’t mean by yesterday’s standards, I literally mean nothing. As a matter of fact I bet you right now that I can cover today’s events in as little as three bullet points! You wanna take that bet? Ok then, here it goes…

• If it wasn’t for Jamie coming a knocking we wouldn’t have woken up at all. It was 12pm when we decided to get up. Sarah and I did our best to quickly get dressed, while Jamie waited outside. The 3 of us then went for breakfast at the guesthouse’s restaurant. After eating, we popped to the 7 Eleven, then returned to sit in the garden area for a while. I soon grew bored and decided my time would be better spent watching a film in the comfort of our room.

• A little way into the movie, Sarah comes in and spends the day reading her kindle. 2 and a half hours later, Jamie knocks on the door saying he is going for dinner, I pause the film and join him. After, we go to 7 Eleven again, then try and book up a fishing trip for him. Unfortunately there was no fishing trip, so I returned to the room to watch the last of my movie, and to give Sarah her goods from the store. When the film finished I then went downstairs to Skype my mum, with a rude guy interrupting me mid conversation to ask if I wanted to go to the waterfalls. RUDE! When mum and I had enough of Skype’s constant bugs, I returned to the room.

• I then watched a tv show for the next hour, before Sarah and I grabbed Jamie to go for tea. We grabbed our fresh, clean laundry then sat down to eat. We remained there for the next 2 hours, while we were entertained by a funny movie being played on the various television sets. We made one last stop to the 7 Eleven for water and the such, then returned to the room one last time. The guesthouse had several cats which roamed around like feline nomads. With Sarah being a cat person she kindly invited one into our room. Moments later she was screaming at me to come and get it out. The cat had jumped all over our bags in a playful manner, then went to the bottom of her sleeping bag liner. Like a cat whisperer, I used a toggle from a bag to tease the cat out the door… Genius. We then got ready for bed (wearing our lovely smelling clean bed clothes) and called it a night.

There, see, I wrote it all in 3 bullet points. Granted, each one was longer than necessary, and I probably should have extended it to maybe 6 bullet points at least. There’s no need to split hairs though, and besides, I had a bet to win. Now, I hope you enjoyed our 100th day as much as I did, here’s to the next 100. I’d like to leave you with a simple message/ piece of advice, and forgive me if it sounds cliche:

If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing or where you are in your life right now, quit, and come join us, or start your own travel adventure. There is nothing else quite like it. It may seem scary before you leave, as you worry about all the small details, and the excuses you begin to make to compensate. But believe me, everything works itself out, it’s so easy when you’re out here doing it. All the small details take care of themselves, and you’ll make new friends to help you with the big ones. Now here’s the real cliche part, the only thing that is holding you back right now is you! Quit making excuses and get on and do it, whatever that maybe, JUST. DO. IT!!!

Day 96: This Doesn’t Look Like Any Table Tennis I’ve Ever Watched

Nothing seemed to work this morning. Everything that was supposed to be sorted and straight forward ended up being a total nightmare. Seeing as a good 10 hours of the day was spent travelling, to save both mine and your time, I will abbreviate the majority of the days happenings via bullet points…

• Got up around 6am.

• Showered, packed bags, went to roof of hotel for breakfast.

• Minibus picked us up at 7am, took us to coach (on roadside again).

• Rode the coach for an hour and a half, before being dropped off and having to wait a further half an hour to change buses.

• Had the misfortune of sitting in front of the toilets, leaving us with little legroom and very upright seats. The journey lasted three quarters of an hour before we arrived at the border.

• The border was no walk in the park, we had to queue at the departure sections for 20 – 30 minutes. Next, we queued in the blistering heat for over 2 hours before getting through immigration and receiving a 15 day visa to Thailand.

• After getting through the whole border patrol ordeal, the next horror came in the form of a sniffer dog. Because I was carrying both mine and Sarah’s big bags the soldiers asked me to put them on the floor, while they let the black Labrador sniff around them. Sarah looked petrified, while I just stood there laughing at this dog that wasn’t interested. However, the soldiers were determined to find something (at least that’s how it seemed) as whenever the dog moved away they’d rile him up and point excitedly at the bags. I was allowed to go through when they undoubtably didn’t find anything.

• We then had to wait for a few more passengers from the bus to get through, before we could get on another minibus, which would take us the rest of the way to Bangkok.

• One hour into the journey, we made it to a service station. We were told it would only be a 10 minute stop. It ended up being closer to an hour. As for some reason there was a fault with the bus and we had to wait for another one to arrive. I ended up sitting in the shade to avoid the heat, by doing so I ended up nodding off whenever the warm breeze blew in my direction. Eventually the other bus showed up, ironically it had the bat symbol on the side, almost as if Batman had come to save the day.

• The driver certainly made up for lost time, flooring it as we went. He tore up the roads, and we flew into the air with every bump and dip we hit. The driver somehow managed to make a 3 hour journey in only 2.

• When we arrived in Bangkok, instead of taking us to the bus station our driver dropped us outside Khoa San road. It was around 6:30pm by that point and we were willing to stay anywhere after a long day travelling. We decided to stay in the first place we found. We got a double and a single room. It was then time to shower and get changed.

• We spent an hour or so in the rooms before going out to find some food. We ordered some pad thai, then hit up some bars. As we felt as though we had earned a night out after all the cultural activities we had done.

• We visited two bars, the first was very busy with moronic people dancing to the worst music (e.g Agado & Mambo number 5). We ordered a 2.5L beer tower before moving onto the next bar, where we had cocktails (which went by rude names) and Sarah made us some new friends. She did this by walking over to a group of girls and saying “Do any of you speak English?” (The reply, yes) “Oh really? You’re the first English people we’ve met tonight, may we join you?” (Again, the reply was yes!). What a wingman she is!

• Due to Sarah’s lightweight-ness she had no trouble when it came to maintaining conversation with the group of girls. They were from England, Ireland and Canada. We remained with them for the rest of the night.

• After a couple more drinks, and another bar (with me disappearing every 10 minutes only to return with food) we drunkenly decided to visit a Ping Pong show.

• In this life there are many things you will see that are impossible to unsee, one of which is a ping pong show! We initially thought, “ah, it comes with the territory and it will be lighthearted entertainment”. Wrong. It started out funny, don’t get me wrong, with ping pong balls flying around the room left right and centre. At that point I was in tears of laughter. Then, it became all too dark when the woman began to remove strings of razor blades and sewing needles. We then realised that these poor women were probably forced to be there through intimidation, and the whole thing was probably one rung up the ladder from prostitution. It made us feel bad for paying the 300 baht (£6) each to get in. The three Australian guys in front of us got up and left halfway through, we sadly all stayed until the end. As it was a bit like watching a car crash, we couldn’t believe what our eyes were seeing, and because of that, curiosity made us want to see what would happen next.

• I was really tired on the way there, to the point I even fell asleep (briefly) in the tuktuk, after the red bull had kicked in and the show was over I somehow got a second wind. It was then that the tuktuk drivers tried to do us over. Before we left they said it would cost 20 baht there and back, but to return after the show they tried it on and said 200 baht. The joke was on them as we ended up hopping in a taxi. Meaning the drivers had taken us to the show free of charge!

• Sarah and I then stopped in a 7 Eleven in order to grab some pre bed snacks and some water, before returning to our beds to sleep off the booze.