Thursday, 28 July 2011

Home and Away

I'm off! Hello backpack, beaches, buckets and fit Aussie backpackers. It's back on the road for me so I'll see you in a month yeah?

Might do a couple of updates while away but no laptop this time so no.

Bye Bye!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Travel Playlist July

Hey there. I nearly forgot about July's playlist! When it's my monthly favorite thing to do on this blog! So there you go.

Song of the month:
The Belligerents - Such a crime

Jamaica - I think I like U 2

Girls- Heartbreaker

Passion Pit- Sleepyhead (Borgore Remix)

Tubelord - I am azzerad

Battles- Ice cream

Girl Talk - Down for the Count

And probably one of my favorite tracks from the start of the year:
Adele - Rolling in The Deep (Jamie XX Shuffle)

And the guilty pleasure of the month:

Taylor Swift- Story of us

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Hostel Tales: How budget travelling can get you into the 4th dimension.

When you go travelling, the world is your oyster, you have no home and are free of all worries. Practically, you need a bed at night. Thank god for hostels ! But there is a bit of a trick there. See it’s an interesting reciepe (would I dare to say for disaster ?). Take a few travellers, some ready to paint the town red, some happy to read their lonely planet in bed after a hot cocoa. Then put them all together in the same room, more or less clean. Add a few (and more) drinks, hours of tiring journeys and different characters. Shake it all up. Here is your ready mix for some pretty special stories. I’m not going to lie, it mainly involves nakedness, alcohol and embarresent. But hey, that’s part of backpacking too isn’t it ?

« There is someone naked in my bed »
Working at reception in a hostel gets you to deal with interesting situations. One morning a backpacker asked me if it was possible to get some new sheets I replied for sure, but why ?
-Well, there was a naked woman in my bed. 
As I mentioned before you get very different people. Turned out that the naked woman had first of all visited the owner of the bed above and after some frolicking decided that in fact, it was far better to sleep in a fresh bed right there.
A pair of clean sheets later and 5 more complaints for « loud romantic noises » during night from the rest of the dorm, and everyone was fine.

The Excelsior, best hostel in Sydney - photo: Katie B.
«  I locked myself out of my room in tiny boxers » 
You thought it was great that your hostel had really nice bar to party. But how would you feel if you had to walk through it at 2am only wearing boxers ? Well. What if you just locked yourself out the room, went to the toilet and thought you would enjoyed  the dark corridors at night wearing nothing ? And what if  you finally realised that now you need to go down to reception to get a new key and therefore cross the entire hostel ? Always entertaining on a packed Saturday night.  Oh and don’t forget which room you are in.
Because there is CCTV. We can see you wandering naked through the hostel trying to figure out which door is yours.

« Why can’t I bring back prostitutes »
Sometimes it is not only a language barriers but serious mentality differences. No matter the nationality. But how do you explain to three drunk Polish backpackers that no, they can’t bring back prositutes. It went something like this:
- Why can’t they go with us ? We’ve paid for our beds and we’ve paid for her .
- Can’t have people who are not guests in the hostel. Safety policy. Especially for illegal paid sex.
- But it will be quick I only paid for an hour !
- No!
-Can we use the chill out room?
-The Toilets?

I could go on and on, but I think these three are fairly funny. So here is a few tips to get on with your dorm :
-Buy some pyjamas
-Stick to your own bed
-Keep your frolicking to a minimal noise. You know what, actually just don't.
-Don't bring back prostitutes.

Simple as. Enjoy your travels.

You can also find this article as a guest blog for my friends Cheap O Air! Check them out! Los Angeles Vacation packages

Friday, 8 July 2011

On a personal note...

Rachael, Liz and I. Waterfall in Koh Phangan.

I noticed that on every single travel blog, there was a little presentation of the blog owner. So I thought I'll do one of these post now.I will be short do not worry.

Ohlala, Qbar and Buck bar in Vang Vieng
So I'm french and part brazilian (I do not speak a word of portugese though. Shame). I'm 22years old soon to be 23. I grew up in Paris then I moved to London for about 4 years and during this time I did a BA Hons in Journalism with History of Art, Design and Film at Kingston University in Surrey. I love London with all my heart and I wish I could still live there. BUT. I went travelling with my best mate for 6months in Asia and Australia, ran out of money and came back to Paris to save up while working in a backpacker hostel. I also spent quite a bit of time living in Australia, in Sydney.

Trekking in Chiang Mai
 I always loved travelling. It's a family thing, there is only 3 members of our family in France and the rest is either in Hong Kong or New York.

I was lucky enough to travel quite a bit with my dad when I was younger and that soon became an addiction, which goes well with my other passion, journalism.

I'm now moving to Hong Kong to do an MA in Journalism.

Few facts about me:
-I've got a strange english accent which is a mixture between south london accent, australian, amercian and of course a hint of french, which result in people thinking I'm South African or Australian.

Buckets up! in Vang Vieng at Bar 3
 -I have moved every year since I'm thirteen, sometimes every 6months.

-I have a cat and dog.

-I'm a bit of an indie kid and nothing sounds better to me as a night out than a gig.

-I hate nightclubs such as Oceana, altough I'll dance to the same music in a beachbar anywhere in the world.

-While travelling I've been called "The Fish" because I can hold my breath under water for a longtime. Not because I drink like one.

-I have the biggest fear of snakes. Which amused my backpacker friends a lot when they killed a snake in Vang Vieng then tried to chase me with it, then took me to the Snake House in Cambodia where you eat on a snake pit. I know. Hilarious, right?

"Chilling" in Pattaya. Our worst stop in Thailand!
-I'm scared of heights but not bungee jumping. Go figure.

-I was a national and university champion in cheerleading with my uni squad Kingston Knights. By the way, yes, cheerleading IS a SPORT. I don't wave pompoms, I throw people in the air.

-I'm a pretty decent cook.

That's about it. If you got questions, go ahead.

OH and my next trip starts in 16days: London-Manchester-Bangkok-PhiPhi-Tao-Samui-Phangan-Bangkok-Doha-Back home.

Dining in Hong Kong

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Memories from Bangkok.

First ever night on KhaoSan Road.

Here is what I wrote on our second night in Bangkok, about a year ago, at the start of my "gap yah". It makes me smile. Clearly I had no idea I was on Kaoh San Road, about sex shows and how all that was "normal" haha. You live and learn, I guess.

"We are finally here. After an easy going 11 hours-flight, we landed in hot and sticky Bangkok. It was so good to taste the humid heat as soon as we stepped out of the airport....before getting in an icy cold taxi.
The traffic here is worst than the M25 at rush hour and at every corner you come close to hit a speedy tuktuk.

We are staying in a beautiful hotel in one of Bangkok busiest street. The smells of the food vendors in the damp weather is overwhelming but oh-so tempting. 24 hours bars, old women selling cheap silver jewelery or kids with a bunch of roses, all try to get the attention of the "fa-rangs" (foreigners) that we are.

After a much needed shower, we decided to find a typical place to feed our very hungry stomachs.
"Ped-Ped" I ask. (very spicy)
I think they underestimated me. I empty half of a bottle of tabasco on my pad see ew. Now that's better.

We then sat down with a few cold beers in the bar,if you can call it a bar set up in front of our hotel, furnished with few plastic chairs and tables. A quid a bottle.

In a street that offers a wide choice of hostels, you never far from another bunch of backpackers. We meet some Irish fellow globe trotters, who just like us, are on their first night out in Bangkok.
Bar after bars we discover the real Thai nightlife. The local whiskey is poured way too many times, but the company is good. I'll remember forever our tuktuk race through the empty streets, the very cheesy guitar singers, the stray cats everywhere. We end up in a bar that only on a gap year I would dare to enter. Let say I'll never look at ping pong the same way. Classic.

Today, we fought the harassing heat (well, it is 38 degrees) with a long boat ride along the Royal palace and trough the boat market. After a first taste of the architecture, the wild life, the smells, I am starting to think that yes, it is going to be amazing.

Next stop, Pattaya. Famous for it's seafood, nightlife and prostitutes. We'll keep you updated."

The glamour of Travelling, just like an A-lister

Jonny, I and Liz: First day in Bangkok

"I can't, we are jetting off to Bangkok in a few days, because you see you are doing a RTW trip...What do you mean you don't know what RTW means?"

Yes, travelling can make you sound ohsocool (or snobby, your pick) but it's not always all glitter, buckets and beaches to die for. In a post inspired by "Travel with a nine year old", here is a few of the moments you tell yourself: "Why, Oh, Why did I want to do this."

-Thinking you are going to a club (all was planned by the boys we were travelling with), ending up in a sex show with things flying out places they SHOULD NOT. OR EVEN BE CLOSE TO IT. EVER.

-Watching my best friend throwing up in the middle of nowhere on a 14hours visa run to Malaysia with a number of angry backpackers staring (including the driver) and waiting in the heat, because of course the A/C doesn't work. And while you really really want to help her, you cannot do anything, if only to engage with the backpackers "Soooo, where about have you been before?"

Looking over the Blue Mountains, Sydney
-It's falling on my rear end about 1000times while trekking in Thailand in spectacular manners. Turns out I'm not as agile as Lara Croft. Big disapointment there. I did have a long plait and short shorts.

-It's fracturing your arm in Laos and have no idea HOW? Blame it on the bucket.

-It's holding your best friend's hand at Vang Vieng Hospital while she gets a wound cleaned up facing the wall, trying to happily chat while you see a man arriving in the ER room with his body open in half. Just not to freak her out.

-It's crashing your bike in a massive sign that says "Come and see the monkeys closer". I did.
-The lovely sound of people shagging in the bed above mine, when I'm working at 7am.

-Trying not to fall on a monk in a crowded bus while balancing yourself on one foot because there is a whole on the floor of the bus where your second foot is supposed to stand. And not to forget that you are still holding onto your backpack. And that for 3 hours (kudos to Liz).

-It's running away not to be slap with a dead snake.

-It's being spiked with god knows what twice in four days in Koh Phi Phi (I was safely brought back to my room, just in case you were wandering about my safety, eh.)

And there is plenty more...

And to that I can add the loss of all kind of privacy, being walked on more than many times, getting used to sweat, dirt, cuts, mosquito bites, long waits, extra costs, 24h travel bug, being mugged, lost, drunk, depressed, happy. And you know what the best part is, I would not change a thing (A part maybe being mugged, not cool.) .

Where do I sign for round 2?