End of an era

Tuesday 8th November
Weather: quite cloudy but humid
Temp: 30*c +

We woke very late but in time for Laura to check out and dump her stuff in our room. We then headed out to the Singapore Flyer.

This is the big wheel that transcends the Singapore skyline. It is 160m high and takes half hour to do a complete rotation. It offered some good views of singapore, including the f1 circuit, Marina bay and the skypark we went to last night.

There was a really disgusting woman in the same capsule as us who get snorting loudly like someone about to spit. Yuk. But we survived!!

We decided it would be nice to take the river cruise to Clarke Quay, to Jumbos, and we weren’t wrong!!! It was a lovely little trip which enabled us to see a bit more of Singapore.

Alas however when we got to jumbos it was closed!!! . Gutted. (Laura: super gutted given the lunch we were about to have…)

So where to for lunch? We decided to carry on walking up to Boat Quay where we had seen many restaurants on our way down river.

We settled on one that had other people dining in it too, thinking this was a good sign.

We ordered and ate, not spectacular but edible. It basically wasn’t jumbos and as it transpired neither was the price!!!

Just as we were finishing the man behind us got his bill. He was Aussie and a very brash Aussie at that. He then turned into a very angry Aussie. His bill came to 35 bux but he was expecting it to be 8. He was very angry, cursing and shouting loudly. The owner happened to be sitting in the restaurant and came over to try to sort it out. A heated argument ensued. We became very concerned about our bill. We had also been told we would get free beer.

We did get the beer for free but the food was probably one of the most expensive Lou and I have had on this trip and certainly the worst value for money by miles. Conned off. Big time. Sad end.

We made our way to Suntec City then to see the worlds biggest fountain. This was a let down. The fountain of wealth as it is so called did not appear that big. I was expecting geiser like water flow!! Instead there was a little water fountain in the middle but I guess it was the biggest due to the circular structure surrounding it. (Laura: the fountain did shows in the evening with much more spectacular effects. During the day they must just turn it down to a trickle to conserve energy)

Anyway we made our way down to it and did the touristy thing and followed the instructions of putting your right hand in the fountain and walking round it three times!! Well Laura and I did. Adi took photos! (Laura: he was scared to get wet)

We perused the malls for a while. We were hunting for Christmas cards as we thought it would be quite cool to send Singapore Xmas cards to people but shamefully (and probably to be expected had we thought about it) there were no such things, only imported hallmarks!!!

We made our way back to the hotel for a rest and to prepare for lauras leaving. I can’t believe this day has arrived. Laura and I travelling together has been the norm for so long and we have had such an amazing journey that I can’t believe it’s over. Yes Kim that’s O-V-A-H, ovah.  (Laura: Ive got one word to say to you Anna. One word. End of an era!!! πŸ˜‰ )

I think it felt surreal for Lou too, although she was obviously excited about seeing ben and everyone at home but not the 14 hour flight!!!

I’m now writing this on the train to KL with Adi. Laura landed back in the UK an hour ago. Hope you are ok Lou, not too cold!!! (Laura: don’t get me started. The NZ gloves are out in full force. I was not prepared for this. My heating is cranked right up!!!)

I just want to say thank you to you for being my ‘travelling companion’ It would not have been anywhere near the same without you. We have laughed, cried, screamed, eaten, drunk, swam, snorkelled, driven, slept, cursed, giggled, smiled, been silent in awe, sunbathed, hiked, sweated, walked, flown, cruised, sung and above all had fun together these past few months. I think we have gone through every possible emotion!!! I now feel sad its over but very privileged to have experienced it all with you. (Laura: awwwwww u are ADORABLE and I agree wholeheartedly!!! Without a shadow of a doubt an awesome experience that wouldn’t have been the same without you!!)

Now onto my trip with adi. For those of you interested this story continues on anna3116@wordpress.com (Laura: think you mean anna3116.wordpress.com)
In the words of Sunni llloooollllll!!!!!!

Sunday in Singapore

Sunday 6th November
Weather: cloudy in morning brightening up to sunny in the afternoon
Temp: friggin hot and humid, probably 30*c and 100% humidity

We found the havianas store today. Oh yes we did. We spent quite a while trying on many, many flip flops, driving the poor shop assistant potty I think!! I settled on a White pair with a pretty pink patterned base and a jewel thing attached and Laura, well Laura, decided on three pairs. And I’m the shopaholic!!! . She bought a cute silver pair, a very Laura-esque purple pair and a xxx pair.

We bought a few more bits and bobs and then made our way to Jumbos.

We found the Bugis Junction MRT station and queued for tickets. Once lou got to the front of the queue though she was told we couldn’t buy tickets from there and had to use the machines. Oh well no dramas.

It was quite easy to navigate, we took the green NE line to Outtram Park and then changed to the purple NS line to Clarke Quay.

We came out the station and did wonder where we were and more to the point where jumbos was but after cutting through an office block we soon found the riverwalk and thus jumbos.

Jumbos. What can I say?? Thank you Sunni!!! :). We this place.

For those of you who know me you know I am a seriously fussy person when it comes to food and, although I have mellowed a little during the course of this trip, I think I can safetly say I was not expecting much from this lunch and Laura was probably expecting a lot of picking and moaning. We were both pleasantly surprised.

We ordered the drunken prawns and the black pepper crab, as recommend by Sunni and also some chicken satay just in case!! Laura had a weird green vegetable fruity drink (she said it was nice) and I had a tiger beer ( I love this stuff!).

The waitress bought over a teapot and poured a clearish, steaming liquid into the glasses on the table. I let Laura try this first, haha!! It was Jasmine tea and actually really really pleasant and refreshing.

She then did something that entertained us, scared us and massively sparked our curiosity. She put aprons on us!!!! ??????? However when the food came we soon worked out why!! But what an experience!!

The drunken prawns arrived first. These were in a big clay pot which the waitress lifted the lid off of, to fantastic smells, and ladled a couple of whole prawns (yes heads, shells, tails the works) into each of our bowls with some of the dark clear liquid.

The liquid as it transpired was why the name was drunken prawns!! It tasted very much like sherry!! But with a deeper, herbally flavour.

Now at this point I am sure Laura was prepared for me to freak out but I decided what the hell and got on with it!! Following lauras instructions I removed all the necessaries and eat what must be some of the best prawns I have ever had (not that I have had many but they were bloody good!!).

Then came the crab. Shell and all, although in pieces. Now I like pepper but the idea of something being smothered in it filled me trepidation. However, again I dug in! Using what I can only describe as a nutcracker and a dentists scraping tool Laura and I tucked into this dmaxjng crab!! It wad truly delicious!! I couldn’t believe it! Ha, nor could Lauea who said she was proud of me!! hahaha!!!! We decided there and then we needed to come back again and bring Adi too!!

Oh I forgot, part way through the meal the waitress very kindly covered our bags with cloths. I’m not sure if this was normal procedure or because of the mess we were making but it was thoughtful non the less!! She also taught us how to use chopsticks. I love this restaurant!!!

We realised at twenty to two, whilst we were still eating, we were supposed to check out and back in again at the hotel, due to Adi coming and us moving rooms. Oh well finish dinner then go!!

We had quite a bit of trouble hailing a taxi, one even stopped and when we told him where we wanted to go he shook his head and drove off!! I still don’t really know why. Anyway we eventually got one and got back to the hotel and did all the room switching.

We then realised we hadn’t picked up a book for Laura earlier so we went back to Bugis Junction and got one. We then spent the rest of the afo getting me ready to meet adi 

I bid goodnight to Laura who had an early night and I went to meet adi at the airport. He had arrived!!! He was looking remarkably well for someone who had just been on a thirteen hour flight!!!! We grabbed a taxi back to the hotel, with the worlds chattiest taxi driver!!! Who pointed out lots of things on the way back to the hotel which was pretty cool.

Airlie beach Wednesday

Wednesday 2nd November
Weather:sunny
Temp: about 30*c

Can’t believe it is November already!!! Also can’t believe we have to leave the boat today. It feels like we have been on it for much longer than we have and it has been such an amazing trip!!

We said our good-byes to the crew and left the boat. We grabbed a taxi back to airlie beach with Kyle and Marie and said goodbye to them at the cruise office and made our way to the hostel.

We checked in and our room was huge! It had a double bed and bunk beds and a kitchen!!! We then went and got the rest of our luggage.

It was a very hot day and neither of us felt like doing much so we went to lunch in xxxx and then went to chillax by the lagoon. This is a very pretty place, although no locals like Cairns, but i think I like it more. We sunbathed while sitting in the shallow water in the lagoon, reading a book of course!

When the sun went down we went back to the hostel, showered and changed and went out and got fish and chips!!! But this was no ordinary cod and chips!! Barramundi and chips, ladies and gents, oh yes!! Haha!! Complete with Malibu and coke in a can for Laura and a bottle of wine for me (in a cup as there were no glasses though lol!)

Whitehaven beach

Monday 31st October
Weather: very sunny
Temp: hot.

We rose quite early this morning, probably due to the crew being up and the boat being quite noisy. This was not a bad thing though as we got to appreciate the day in full and watch our journey to Whitehaven beach.

I love being on the boat (Laura did not have a very good morning due to feeling seasick but she got better through the trip, think she just needed the tablets to kick in), love being on the water. I had forgotten how much. Te boat itself is awesome as it is quite traditional and there is a place at the front of the boat where I loved to sit and just watch the boat cruise through the water.

We got into the little boat to get to shore once we had anchored up, after waiting for the tide to rise enough. We had to go in two sets as we could not use the bigger boat due to the tide not being high enough. Kris did use the bigger one on the way back though.

Louise took us up from the beach along the walkway to the lookout point. The rest of the crew stayed on board the ship as it was their maintenance time. It was quite a long walk up to the point, and hot, but when we got there we knew it was well, well worth it.

What a gorgeous place!! Words cannot and not even the photos can do it justice. Totally idyllic. The place looks just like the brochure photos and postcards, only better. White, White glorious sand and crystal clear, stunning blue waters. Totally amazing. The tide was quite far out when we were at the viewpoint.

We then made our way down the track to the beach. We removed our thongs and felt the cool sand beneath us. We made our way down to the waters edge and set up camp!! This obviously just consisted laying down a towel, applying suncream, taking out the camera and laying down with a book!!

We did paddle in the water. Not going any further in as we would of had to put on wetsuits due to it being stinger season.

The Beach was beautiful and the sea so wonderfully clear and a magnificent shade of turquoise crisp blue.

We lay for a while before realising the tide was coming in pretty quick and no sooner had I said to Laura I think we may have to move in a minute did we have to move real sharpish!!!

We had to do this quite repeatedly for the next hour or so as we lay on the beach and the tide continued to ebb closer to us. By the time we got back to the top of the beach to leave the tide had come almost completely in!!

We were sad to say goodbye to such an amazing location but we did and kris came and picked us up and took us back to the ship for lunch.

In the afternoon we went snorkelling in XXX bay. I wasn’t going to as we had to wear wetsuits and I really dislike them but Kris said this was the best bay for it, the obe tomorrow was good but better for diving. So in we went. And I’m glad I did. We saw such an array of fish and so many!! The coral was cool too although due to the tide it was quite far down. We saw a giant fish too that they call Elvis. He used to be Priscilla, yes a she, but when the dominant male in the area dies the dominant female turns male and becomes the dominant male!!! He was a really cool fish!!!

We returned to the ship, tired but happy and showered and changed for dinner. After dinner we stood around the bar getting the crew to make alsorts of cocktails and we drank them with Marie and Kyle, a lovely couple from DC who were on their honeymoon. Well they didn’t drink cocktails. Marie was on the tequila complete with her ‘liquor face’. Brilliant. It was a really good night.

It was diving tomorrow an although I am qualified I haven’t been in a really long time due to a bad experience. Luke, the diving instructor, asked me if I wanted to go out though, said he would take it really slow with me and we could just start off in shallow water and see how I go. I decided that night I was going to give it a go…

Bloomfield Thursday

Thursday 27th october
Weather: sun sun sun
Temp: hot hot hot

Our last day at Bloomfield :(. Laura, Andy and I had a fishing lesson with Paul. Luckily Paul did the yucky bit of baiting etc. We just had to cast and hold the rod, waiting for a bite. This was fun to start with but I soon got bored as I have no patience!! Plus there was really no fish around so we decided to give up and go back to the jetty later that evening as that was when the fish appear apparently!

Needless to say we then whiled away the rest of the day sunbathing and eating!

We did go back down to the jetty that evening but only Andy baited up and fished. But no sooner had he done so he had a bite! The excitement was untenable!! Haha!! He manage to reel it in. I grabbed the net and Laura the camera!! I have since been told I held the net like a girl and looked very funny doing it!!! What was funnier was andys reaction to catching this fish and our group reaction of having no idea what to do with it!!! There were a lot of squeals and giggles from all of us, yes Lou has got in on video!!! We sent Jan to the boat shed to ring up top for help!!! Lol!!!! Whilst waiting for the cavalry we kept checking the fish was alive!! I was shaking the net, Andy was prodding it and trying to get the line out. He achieved this but only succeeded in breaking the line and leaving the hook in, much to our horror!! He didn’t fancy putting his hand in it’s mouth to get it out as it had really big teeth! Soon though ben came down to save the day!! I think he thought we were the biggest punch of pansies he had ever come across!!! Anyway he got the hook out with a pair of pliers and told us it was a mangrove jack. I should mention now it was rather big and was really heavy. So big ben asked Andy if he wanted to keep it to eat it. Andy declined, I think this may have been for jan’s sake as she really did not like the whole scenario!!! Ben left the pliers for us in case we needed them again but after all that excitement we decided enough was enough and we sat on the jetty and finished our cocktails.

Dinner was slightly different tonight as we decided to eat in a gazebo, just me and Lou, nice and romantic .

It was not as nice as we hoped although still ok. There was a fly buzzing around the light for a while but what made this interesting was the ghekko hiding in the dark occasionally popping out, waiting for his moment to pounce and get his dinner. He achieved this and then jumped down and landed with a splat next to us where he lay and watched us for the rest of the evening.

We had seen various wildlife around Bloomfield during our stay and nothing will beat the monitor but Laura didn’t half get a scare tonight when, whilst looking at the paintings on the wall she glance up to see what I can o py describe as the BIGGEST insect I think I have ever seen!! We have no idea what it was but it had daddy long leg properties and was just massive. And ugly. Yuk. No Laura. No photo.(Laura: why wouldn’t you let me get a photo? It was massive!!!)

Ayers Rock to Cairns

Sunday 23rd October
Weather: mostly sunny
Temp: warm

We chilled out and sunbathed by the hotel pool in the morning before going to the airport to catch the tiny plane to cairns.

We were the last to board the plane (yes we did have our names called on the tannoy ) and noticed two free seats on the two side and when we noticed we were allocated seats next to a german guy we had seen being very aggressive and rude to the qantas lady at the check in desk we asked to be moved. We were told we couldn’t move until after take off due to the balancing of the plane, uummm.

We landed in cairns and got to the northern greenhouse, checked in to a cigarette smoke smelling room, grabbed a subway and set about packing for Bloomfield.

This sounds a lot easier than it actually was. We were allowed to take 7kgs only with us. We borrowed some scales from reception and were mortified when our first attempt was well over!! Rethink. Uummm our little cases weighed 3kg empty!!! Jeez louise!!! Rucksacks instead me thinks. Much better.

Melbourne to Ayers Rock

Friday 21st October
Weather: rain in Melbourne, sunny in AR
Temp: pleasant in Melbourne, hot in AR

Today was not a good day. Although excited about getting to Uluru the day started with rain and no Internet. Then we waited over half hour for the shuttle bus then rang them only to be told we had missed it because we werent there when he arrived. Bollocks. After a minor argument he sent another bus and we made it to the airport on time.

Due to a slight misunderstanding when initially booking our flights in the uk we had to go via Alice Springs to get to Uluru. Yes the slight misunderstanding was that there was anything to see/do in AS and that it wouldn’t take long to get to AR!! Actually there is nothing to do (and if the woman sat next to us on the plane is to be believed, it’s actually quite dangerous!!!) and although a straight road then a 90 degree turn then a straight road to AR this actually takes 9 hours!!!

I should mention at this time that I had been trying numerous times to load up my cashpassport with more Money with no success. So when we arrived in AS I rang them to find out what was going on. Turned out it was not them but my debit card being declined. This was to be the start of serous anger!!

By the time I had done that and we had grabbed something to eat it was time to get on the plane to AR. I should point out the AS airport was actually kinda cute! Very small and strangely very busy!!! We got on the last plane of the day, at 3pm.

So we landed a little while later in Uluru and got on the free hotel shuttle bus, being driven by what I can only describe as a stereotypical outback Aussie-brilliant!!

The area was not quite what I expected it to be. I think I imagined grand canyon esque desert but very very red. Now although it was like this underneath the area was much more green then I anticipated. Lots of green plants and trees everywhere. We were later told this was due to there having been a lot of rain recently. Even the sounds of silence tour had been cancelled the night before-eek!!

Our hotel was lovely and made a nice change from the hostel. I even had a proper bed! No bunk beds πŸ™‚

This was the good part I then had to deal with Santander. This was unbelievable. This made me very angry, so much so I don’t want to talk about it nor ruin the blog with it’s bullshit. Needless to say words will be had when I get home.

After my chaos we ventured to the ‘town’ which was essentially a square in the middle of the resort with a few shops and a restaurant. We bought a few supplies from the supermarket and enquired about fly nets. The checkout girl recommended a cream type thing instead and told us the other shop to get this from. This ‘cream’ transpired was actually vicks packaged up as a herbal fly repellent!! But it worked!

We dined in the restaurant which was pleasant enough, before getting an early night in preparation of our 4am start the next day!!

Melbourne wed

Wednesday 19th October
Weather: sunny
Temp: really rather warm!

Today was the day to experience what Melbourne does best- shopping!!!:)

We spent a lot of time and money enjoying this task today! At the end of the day, although we were tired we decided to go to the Eureka tower for skyhigh views of Melbourne.

The tower was very high, at the top of an apartment building, some Xxx stories high! The views were pretty immense as is the size of Melbourne! It sprawls for miles, just like Sydney.

After this we walked along the river in Southbank, perusing the restaurants searching for some place nice to eat. We settled on an italian called xxx in the end. This proved to be a good choice as the food was pretty good!!

Brisbane Saturday

Saturday 8th October
Weather: lovely
Temp: just right

We did not get up particularly early this morning but when we did we sauntered off to the supermarket to get cooked chicken and baguettes for lunch, yum! We ate these on the balcony at Ian’s which was really nice.

We made our way into the city, via the cat of course, and to a place Ian knew where we could watch the rugby on a rooftop where the game was projected on to the wall of the adjacent building!!

We got to XXX and ordered drinks, the Ireland game was on tvs as it was too early and light for the screen. The bar was really cool and pretty soon Hazel, rob, Paul and rich arrived and we settled in to watch the game which was shown on the big screen. The screen was pretty wicked, shame the game didn’t live up to the same expectation!

Airlie beach to Singapore

Friday 4th November
Weather:we were on planes or in airports all day so I do not rightly know
Temp: hot.

Today was the day we left Australia. It was a bad day. I don’t want to talk about it. I want to go back. Now. Please.