Tuesday, 28 February 2012

We have Visitors!!

Mother Hen & Little Bro arrived yesterday, it is so good to see them! We greeted them at the chaotic Denpasar airport, expecting to find them as zombi-fied as we were when we arrived but they were both completely fine, on a bit of an excitement rush we put it down to!!

The long drive back to our house was great; having new people to talk to about all the different areas we drive through, and a lot of the local customs we see on our drive home...which, I am ashamed to say we take for granted now as we're so used to it! They were the perfect passengers, and they loved their tour guide Gemma & Driver George..we could be in the wrong job..!

We all went for a swim when we got back, again we were shocked by this - when we arrived we dumped our bags and went straight to sleep for 14 hours! They finally flaked at 9am...but, this resulted in them waking up at the un-godly hour of 7am! We haven't been up that early for weeks but today has been great, a full day by the pool and me & Mum even got a gorgeous massage to finish off our afternoon! George cooked us the local dish for our dinner, Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and it went down a treat with our guests! I think the next couple of weeks will be a lot of fun..on our agenda are temples, markets, safari parks, water parks, sea food BBQ and as many massages as we can fit in...

I now also have my kindle, I am already in love and can't put it down! I can't believe how small it is, I was expecting iPad...only trouble is now, I can't stop finding new books I want, my Nan may have created a monster buying it for me!!

Ooh, almost forgot about snake watch today! The staff found a snake in the bushes, wasn't a venomous one though, so no panic. We we're sitting on the balcony and it re-appeared just outside on the grass - it was huge, it was a rat snake or something! But luckily when George went near to it, it slithered off really fast! I also got bitten by an ant today, which really hurt the stupid bloody thing!

Gemma xx

Sunday, 26 February 2012

My Week..

This week I have mostly been extremely excited, which has resulted in no sleep which has also meant I have been absolutely shattered! The reason for my excitement...My Mum & Brother are coming to visit for a 2 weeks, they are at Heathrow now waiting to board, we pick them up tomorrow afternoon! Can't wait to see them, it feels longer than 5 months! 

And, if that wasn't enough..my Mum is bringing me the Kindle my Nan bought me...whooppp!!

We have not done too much this week, quiet week as the next 2 will be busy busy, luckily the weather has been absolutely beautiful..the hottest since we have been here, so most of our free time has been out by the pool! I downloaded and listened to my first audio book this week, Michael McIntyre: Life & Laughing. It was brilliant, I laughed, and cried! I definately recommend it, especially on audio!

We decided to get out for the day yesterday, it was our monthly book swap and we decided to go to our favourite place for lunch, it's called Tekor Bali and we go there all the time! We sat on the comfy cushions, George read the Bali Advertiser and I started on the Da Vinci Code from the Book Swap! We had a couple of beers each, and gorgeous food as usual and just chatted about randomness. After we went for a walk along the beach, we walked across the wet sand, the sea was like bath water! It was so hot, don't think I have ever felt warm sea before! Only thing was, we hadn't taken our swimmers so couldn't get in properly! 

Not a very exciting week of activities, but I guess the next couple will definately make up for that! 

Hope everyone else has good weeks, Gemma xxx

Monday, 20 February 2012

What a Wonderous Weekend..

This weekend has flown by, but actually all of our days at the moment are merging, it's difficult to tell..I know it's Monday today, Facebook is famous for "Oh Crap, Monday again - shoot me" Status Updates

We went to Ubud on Saturday, the hippy, arty capital of Bali..and there were definately a lot of 'Ubuders' (George's nickname for them) around, you know the type, baggy tie dyed clothes, John Lennon Glasses, crazy long multi coloured hair! But aside from that, we love it there!

We both had a Spa treatment, me a facial and George had reflexology. It was gorgeous, an hour of relaxation and pampering..what more could you want! Better still, it cost about £8.50 for the two!!

As I was lay for an hour, I started thinking about trip to Bangkok. Particularly, the Ping Pong shows (I mentioned in another post), and the fact that these ladies can make their 'bit's' do, pretty much everything - writing letters was my personal favourite! I wondered...how on earth do you figure out you have this talent!? 

Then I started to wonder about other obscure talents; one I have always wondered about is Pole Vaulting - do they find a stick at the park and try to pole vault over the swings? 

I have actually just Googled this, Googled Strange talents, I have found a comment on someone explaining their strange talent "juggling whilst water skiing" Now, that is impressive! Lol! 

I'm sure there are lots more! :)

Gemma xxx

Double Book Review..

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

This was my second Tudor Court novel by Philippa Gregory and although I knew the ending of this book.. everyone does after learning the rhyme at school (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced beheaded, survived!) this book kept me hooked right from the start and the suspense was worked up throughout. 

The story is of Henry VIII 4th & 5th wives and Jane Boleyn. (Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Jane Boleyn) 

Each chapter is told from the perspective of each of the women, and you really get involved with how what they felt. I felt I was able to create a really realistic picture in my head of all three women, and the personalities were just what I would imagine. 

It was good to learn a little more about these three women as I think they are the ones we know least about, and the Tudor court, which I felt was really bought to life. I love the corruption and the drama that went with living in close proximity to Henry VIII.

This makes for a very entertaining read, and I will definately be reading the rest in this series. So far, I have not read them in chronological order - I do not think that this really matters as they do relate to an actual period in time, but I know a lot of people do like to read them in order.

The Divide by Nicholas Evans

This book was excellent, as are all of the Nicholas Evans books I have read so far. 

The story starts with a body of a young girl discovered, but it is not a murder mystery, instead of tracking the killer (if there was one) we learn all about the family and their problems, and how the young girls life changed so much and what eventually led to her death. 

Evans deals with each individual family members feeling, like he is that person and makes a really interesting, he can go from being a teenage boy, to a 40 year old Mother, and make a really believable family. 

There isn't much 'action' in this book as such, but that doesn't matter - I was glued from the start learning about the family. I recommend this book, and will be reading all of his others very soon

Gemma xxx

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Coach Trip...

I can't believe I forgot to mention our Coach Trip in my Bangkok post! On our last day in Bangkok, we had a little bit of money left over (as the alcohol was so cheap) so we decided to go on a trip, to the Floating Markets, Tiger Temple & The Bridge over the River Kwai...

I'm calling it Coach Trip - because that's what it reminded us of, the really bad Channel 4 programme that although you don't like to admit, we have all watched it. We we're to be picked up at 6.20am..somewhere we got our wires crossed with Pam our tour guide, who everytime told us her name it was followed by spelling it to us P.A.M, Pam - just to make sure we got it. Anyway, we told Pam we would wait on the road outside our building but silly Pam waited in the lobby! George had the idea to run and check the opposite end of the building, and there she was - along with a 15 seater mini bus full of unhappy Indian, French & Russian guests who had been sat waiting for us for 20 minutes! We boarded, and walked past all of these really unhappy people who didn't even speak when we said Hi - we felt like we would definately be voted out first if this was the 'Coach Trip' 

First stop, the Floating Markets. We arrived and boarded a long tail speedboat (which George particularly enjoyed and decided to tell me all about the engines and the mechanics of!) which took us over to the markets...they we're exaclty what they we're - floating markets, we got a Gondola boat and had a little look through the market - the sneaky market stall holders have a hook-a-duck type device to drag your boat over to look over their stall...we bought, chicken legs on sticks and some 'boat noodles' which were absolutely delicious! 

Next Stop - Tiger Temple!
We arrived at Tiger Temple, and I wasn't appropriately dressed! Too sexy for the Buddhists (my shoulders were on show!) so, I had to borrow a T.shirt from Pam, P.A.M Pam. It was not the most flattering of ensembles! Anyway, we found our way to the Tigers and it was quite surreal about 15 tigers, some chained, some not, some asleep, some very much awake - and we were going to have our pictures taken with them! Crazy?? We had to go in one by one, and the guide held our hand and guided us round while the other one took the pictures - it was amazing, being so close to such a beautiful massive and, deadly animal! They were like enlarged house cats, they were rolling on their backs and enjoying belly rubs..it was one of my most favourite experiences ever! 

Last stop was the Bridge over The river Kwai..this was just a short stop, but it was all we needed just to walk over the bridge, and read a little about it. I always like to see things like this, that mean something to so many people. I think I will have to watch the film now though to learn a little bit more about it (although, I would obviously never admit to my Dad that I haven't seen it...I would be up for adoption)!

I would recommend all of these things to visitors to Bangkok, it was a long day as we had to travel 2 hours out of the city, and we were knackered at the end of it - but well worth it! 

Gemma xx

Friday, 17 February 2012

A Week in Bangkok...

So, last week we went to Bangkok, we had a brilliant time. The food was amazing, the weather was amazing, the beer was cheap! What more could you ask for? 

We jam packed loads into our week, and pretty much explored most of the city...

George at the snake farm
We went to a snake farm - not my choice as I am terrified of the bloody things, but George loves them! I was actually really impressed with it, they had lots of room in their enclosures and we actually saw them move - usually at reptile houses they are curled in tightly in the corner and never move an inch. 
They use the farm to extract venom for the anti-venom and they showed us how they milk them which was pretty cool - I wouldn't fancy the job of wrestling with king cobras though! There was a huge kind cobra in an enclosure, and I am not joking it was about 10 foot long and kept behind bars similar to those in Jurassic Park..quite unnerving when you realise these things are real and in the wild in this part of the world..eeek!!

This one was my favourite..fried cricket!!
Our first day in Bangkok was actually our anniversary, so we spent the day sightseeing and then decided to go and try some local food and some local beer on the famous Khoa San Road...we started to drink at around 4pm, and after a few bottles of Chang (7%) we we're ready to try more of the local cuisine...BUGS!!

The lethal Chang Beer...
A local lady found it hilarious that we were trying these and asked if she could take pictures of us eating them! lol! We ate crickets, frogs, grasshoppers, big grubs and smaller grubs...it was a lot like i'm a Celebrity, only they weren't wriggling around!
I'm a celebrity Get me out of here!!

This was a brilliant afternoon, and one of the best places I have ever people-watched!!

This is a dog I almost bought home with me...how cute!! They really go mad for small little dogs over there, we went to a market where they were selling them and selling more clothes than there were for humans!! This ones jumper I especially liked..

I love this picture, it reminds me of New York! It shows just how busy the city is! i took this from the Sky Train Station, this is one of the busiest roads in Bangkok, Sukhumvit. When we eventually go home, I want this picture up in my house!

We found a shopping centre called Terminal 21- one of about a million, which was a different country on each level! This is me feeling quite patriotic standing next to the London Bus!

Bangkok had some beautiful parks in the city, we spent an afternoon in Lumphini Park, which I think is maybe the biggest..beautiful lawns, with palm trees and huge lakes. We spotted lots and lots of water monitor lizards, swimming and walking out in front of us...they were fascinating to watch and absolutely huge! It was quite surreal to see them right in the middle of the city..
Now, obviously a trip to Bangkok would not be right without having a little look at the Red Light Districts. Well, we did..we went to Patpong & Soi Cowboy...and, they were eye opening! We were offered ping pong shows with menu's (pussy ping pong, pussy lights candle, pussy smokes cigarette and my favourite...pussy writes letter!!) Is there anything these ladies can't do!! 

This was another brilliant place to people watch, as you can imagine..plenty of old men with 'Thai Brides' and actually, a lot of father son combo's with a Thai woman each! 

We took in the sights, found a disco bar with a band and got drunk on Thai Whiskey! Much more enjoyable I'd say!

We had a brilliant time in Bangkok, to sum it up we ate our body weight in amazing food, drank our body weight in cheap beer, and took home some really amazing experiences! 

Gemma xx

Book Review - Before I go to Sleep

I have just finished reading an absolutely brilliant book;

Before I go to Sleep, by S.J.Watson

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' 

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. 

Welcome to Christine's life 

The main character, Christine is really well written and believable I really felt her emotions and frustrations throughout. You really get involved in the nightmare she is living, going to sleep each night and forgetting everything that has ever happened, to be reminded the same things every day. I like how the author brings in the emotions of her family too, and you understand how difficult this situation is for everyone around her.

I felt that the opening chapter was really powerful, and really hooks you in from the start, to avoid spoilers I won't say too much but I think it would be difficult for anyone to read the first chapter, and not want to continue. I really could not stop reading!

The story is told through the perspective of Christine, through her journal, which was really unique and worked really well with her unraveling bits of her life as the story continues.

There are lots of twists and turns and I found myself gasping out loud quite a few times, I did not expect the ending. It does not come to an end too suddenly either which I liked, it builds up to the ending brilliantly.

I found this quite similar to Rosamund Luptons, Sister - not the subject, but the suspense and the feeling you get from the book. I would recommend this book to anyone, and I will be! It was an excellent read. 

Gemma xx