My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

26th-29th September Peace and Quiet at last!

The train from Bangkok to Butterworth was easy peasy! and I get a huge bed and sleep so well, the best for ages. I have fun sharing Thai and English words for various food items on my plate, days of the week and other useless phrases in the guidebook (where is the bank!?) with one of my room-mates Suat. More stunning tropical views as we move south - good to be going in the right direction again. So excited am I about my beach 'holiday' I leap from the train straight onto a bus (RNB 15 or 4 US dollars) with no real thought about whether I can get any money out in my remote destination (thankfully I can!) and off to Lumut and the ferry to Pulau Pangkor. What a beautiful and relaxed place. I stay at Mizam Resort where the owners are super friendly. It is Ramadam at the moment too so an extra special thanks to them for putting me up. It is extra quiet and lots of places are closed, but I am very happy with this. After getting used to the cockroaches and lizards scuttling around the floor and the racket from the jungle; monkeys, insects and who knows what else, I manage to sleep. I rise early to see if I can do some scuba diving but there is a lot of wind so the boat won't go out and all the kit is on the mainland (and I think they cannot be bothered for one person - always a problem!) So instead I go for a snorkel. Although I can take a boat, I decide I need the exercise and snorkel the 300m to Giam Island. Sadly because of the wind the sand is churned up and the visibility low but for about 30 mins I am totally alone on the island (except for the lone monkey I didn't actually meet!) So some friendly dutch folk arrived with their boat guide Ee and we got chatting for a while (too long though, as I got well and truly sunburnt - silly Brit!) and then I snorkelled home. The next part of my tri-athalon - a little cycle ride on a bike with gears (and brakes!) thank god as there are more hills than Wales it seems and the temperature is rising. I start to feel a bit ill from my sun exposure and so take refuge under a tree for a while. It seems I am the new attraction in town! If I stop for more than 1 minute someone is over saying a friendly hello, Selamat Pagi, or where are you from? I am finding it really hard trying not to be a paranoid, western woman alone but sadly that is the world I live in and whether it is a risk or not I know I must take care. This makes me very sad as I ponder this thought for a while. I am often instantly skeptical about most meetings, offers etc and quick to presume the worst, even just for a split second (as much as my inner intuition is trying not to.) Various people have tried to offer me help, directions, tickets, a room, food, conversation etc. Sometimes I accept, sometimes I don't. I try to use my intuition and common sense but sometimes I block out people who may be really interesting or useful. It is sad that it has to be like that and I am trying to be open to everyone. More lazing in the sun and then I must continue my journey. A bus to Kuala Lumpur (18 RMB - or 5 US dollars) takes 5 hours. It is amazing how your level of tolerance drops when in a confined space with loads of people you don't know; what with teeth suckers, goo goo gaa gaa baby entertainers and at least one person making an obnoxious smell or coughing all over the place every few miinutes is enough to test your sanity! I am soon back in the city; skyscrapers, people, noise and craziness. I try to learn a bit of the Malay language. It seems easier than some I have come across and many words are very recognisable from English e.g Teksi (taxi), beg (bag), bank (!) and kafe (cafe). One day here before I leave for Singapore.......only 3 days to the boat departure date. I am so excited now......I might just do this you know!!!


At 7:46 pm, September 30, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Babs

Wow, not only are you traveling overland all the way from Wales to Brisbane but you have time and the energy to take part in your own triathlon, very impressive though I some how think that the water around Giam Island is a tad warmer than at Aberdovey. Bet you felt great swimming in the ocean by yourself without all those annoying people around making funny noises and 'obnoxious' smell. Sounds like the bus to Kuala Lumpur was probable the worst of the bus rides of the trip, or where you still thinking of laying on the beach at Giam Island getting sunburnt, which looks beautiful by the way, that’s island not the sunburn.

Shame you didn't get to Scuba dive round there but you at least you didn't take the easy route to the island after you east peasy train ride.

I know it feels a shame to have to be so apprehensive when you first meet someone new but as long as you are polity, which I'm sure you are, when you say no then it's always better to be a bit careful and stay safer.

Good to hear that you are still learning some local words when you get to a new country, you just have to learn some Aus now and you'll be sorted.

Good luck choosing somewhere to eat in Singapore, I just read that there are over 21,000 places to eat there, but fried noodles with everything seems to be a fairly popular dish there so your be able to try more fried food for you up coming book 'Fried Around the World'

Don't forget to let us know what Cargo ship you will be on so we can still see how far you have got when at sea. For those interested the Web site for tracking ships is:

Good luck with the trains on this last leg, you have done amazing to get this far without any major problems so hope you luck holds out all the way to the end of the aisle at the wedding, you can trip over your dress and the reception to bring your luck back into balance.

Don't forget tobuy some books in Singapore to read on the ship, you can always leave the ones you have finished on the ship for the crew or future passengers to read, most ships have a small library, ok box, of books to help past the time, plus they appreciate new books being left with them as a small thank you gift.

Lots of Love and Luck, missing all the bad weather at sea.

Steve XXX

PS, are you still going via Darwin or straight to Brisbane? oh and keep taking care XXX

At 8:18 am, October 03, 2006, Blogger Mike said...

Babs! This is Mike, the not so stereotypical American until beer is involved. Anyway, it's good to hear that you've made it so far safely. We accidentally got out of Russia (I'm sure our lack of travel savvy would have had us in a jail at some point), and are now in your country. I've lost your email address somewhere in Siberia so if you could email me, I can send you some pictures and the video of you playing the accordian. Anyway, good to hear you are alive. I've now got to make myself less American so I don't get beat up in London. Cheers!


At 10:00 pm, October 05, 2006, Blogger Allan shepherd said...

Hi there Barbara

Sorry about my ridiculous blog name. Finally I found one that hadn't been used - not suprising as its a Barbara Streisand song. Anyway here I am with my first blog entry. And actually it feels a bit like undressing in public, and I've gone all shy. Just to say well done for getting there on time! And good luck on your sea crossing. Have been following your blogs with interest and look forward to the next installment. I'm going to a wedding on saturday. Thankfully I only have to go to Dolgellau. And I don't have to ware a bridesmaid dress. Although actually now that I think about it maybe I will anyway. Now that I've lost my blogging innocence I'll blog again soon. Good luck and lots of love.

At 5:22 pm, October 06, 2006, Blogger Kath said...

just read your latest h ope you are keep[ng all these records so i can read them all again . thanks for your card' got here faster than from the conmtinent. best luck for your future travels and hope the sea jpurney goes ok. love gran xxxx

At 5:22 pm, October 06, 2006, Blogger Kath said...

just read your latest h ope you are keep[ng all these records so i can read them all again . thanks for your card' got here faster than from the conmtinent. best luck for your future travels and hope the sea jpurney goes ok. love gran xxxx

At 9:13 pm, October 09, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Babs

How was the trip from Kuala Lumpur down to Singapore? You most have had to go straight to the ship as you didn't get time to put a post up after getting to Singapore, you did get there didn't you?

The only cargo ship I could find leaving Singapore for Brisbane at the right time was the 198 meter NYSTED MAERSK which at 12 noon monday had just pasted Hinchinbrook Island of the north east coast of Aus and is or was due in to Brisbane on Tuesday. If thats wasn't your ship you couldn't be far away from it which is good as the NYSTED MAERSK has had fairly good wheather on the trip down 26 degree and light wind with 3 meter waves, So plenty of time for you to jog around the main deck.

How many laps did you do for the final part of your tri-athalon? One lap should have been just under quarter of a mile.

Hope you got loads of reading and writing done, does sound like the bride-to-be is gong to let you get much rest now that you have got to Brisbane. But she does have a wedding to get ready for so maybe after that you will get time to take in the fact that you got from Machynlleth to Brisbane without leaving the ground, you done really well and I'm so proud of you.

How's the sunburn?

Lots of love & luck and a big bottle of suncream, brisbane still in the mid 20 degrees. Mach below 14.

Steve XXX

At 2:15 pm, October 14, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Babs

Just a very quick post, which would be a first for me, Have you made it to Brisbane yet, I'm running out of Cargo ships to track, I know if you are in Brisbane that you are probable to busy chatting or getting drunk, but please let us all know if you got there safe.

But the bride-to-be a drink from me, I'll buy you back a drink when you get back.

Lots of Love & Luck

Steve XXX

PS told you it would be short, don't take it personally though

PPS its 14:07pm sat here or 23:07 sat night in brisbane, not sure what time the pubs shut down there XXX

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