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August 07, 2005

Goodbye Blog - Final Entry


Well it's been 7 - not so long - months, and since I'm officially finished my trip, I think it's time to officially finish my precious blog too.

Well looking back in the last 7months, there's so many emotions running through my head; fear, happiness, acceptance, confusion, love, hate, regret, hope, excitment, frustration, anger, disappointment, comfort, uneasiness...
The list goes on...

I feel like I've changed a lot during my trip... I made a lot of mistakes, that I can only learn from. I lost a best friend, I found love, I found friendship... So I walk away from this experience with a mixture of loss and richness. I feel ( a bit) more sure of myself... and I'm excited about the future. I feel like travelling has put a new lease of life into me.

I've had so many good experiences on the trip, most of which I can look back at and laugh for hours. I've pushed myself past boundries that I never thought I could and I've learned a lot about myself along the way. Instead of shying away from things, I'll go out there and bite the bullet. Instead of letting my fears and anxieties rule my life, I'm trying to be more assertive and confident...

I've had a taste of the world and I liked it. Hopefully travel will be a big part of my future. I'm already trying to think of my next trip!

Next step, however, is University...
I wonder how easy it is to do a year of study abroad ;-)

Thanks to everyone who shared my travels with me -
love, kirsty xxx

Posted by Kirsty M at 01:17 PM
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August 03, 2005

Coming home! :-S


Well well well...

Exactly 7months to the day (and even time) of when I set off on my grand trip, I boarded a flight homeward bound.
Everything was a bit surreal...
I got onto the flight on Sunday night, having bought my plane ticket on the Saturday afternoon.
Although I had been deciding whether to come home or not for a while.
My last few days in Sydney were nice....
To be honest it was a bit emotional leaving. I was enjoying life SO much. But I'm trying to stay positive and so I see now as my next step forward.
I have University in about a month and I am actually looking forward to that, which is good.

The flight home was awful!! 22hours!! :O
Well I managed to sleep on the first flight (which was about 7-8 hours) which wasn't so bad. But the second flight (about 12-13 hours) was a bit LOOOOOONG to say the least ;-)
And - oh my god - the three people infront of me, the 3 behind me and the three to the right of me (they were all in the same party) had THE. WORST. BO. IN. THE. WORLD!
it was soooo bad :-)
And it wasn't like after an hour or two, you just got used to it and became amune. NO!
I kept getting whiffs of it every few minutes or so!!
it was SO BAD!!
I'm pretty sure it stuck to my skin!!

Then when I arrived (finally) in london, my dad was there to pick me up... and then I spent 2 days in London before we came up here (to Coventry) where I'll be for the next month or so before Uni in Aberdeen.
Methinks I'll try to get a job or something...

Anywho... I think I've ranted enough for this entry
kirsty xxx

Posted by Kirsty M at 02:54 PM
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June 28, 2005

Haven't wrote in ages...

16:01pm - Sydney

-at work & working hard (i.e. emailing people :-)-

Well a lot of time has passed since my last email, but you'll be glad to know that I'm still in Sydney... and I'm still none the wiser as to what my plans are... :-)

It's the middle of bloody winter here, which is less than pleasant. People are walking around in big coats, scarves and gloves... and it's a about 19degrees, which is a heat-wave by my standards. Seriously, the Aussies have an odd definition of winter. Although it has actually been raining for the past couple of days.

I'm still working (so to speak :-) at my job in BNP, although my contract will be ending in about 2-3weeks. As will the lease on the apartment here. So I pretty much have to make my mind up on my plans in the next few days or so.

Currently, my options are to stay on in Sydney (i.e. get another job and make some $$$) until Septmeber, travel a bit (possibly up the coast) in OZ while it's nice and warm again with a mate I met here at work, then go to New Zealand for a few months, then go to America if my dad is there and stay there for a while and then finallllllly head back to the U.K sometime next year, and try to work and save up some casg till University in September. Alternatively, I could leave Australia next week, go to New Zealand for a month and then somehow make my way back to the U.K for September, when Uni begins. Ahhh... decisions decisions... if only there was someone to make that decision for me... (hint, hint!) :-)

Sydney is still 'heaps' (everyone says heaps here...) of fun. Last Saturday I went to an AFL (Australian Football League) match. It was the Sydney Swans against Collingwood Magpies. It was actually really good, and I got well into it!! The Swans ended up winning by one point, and I already decided that I have a favourite player (the guy who absolutely destroys everyone else tackling... :-)

Also, my parents were here a few weeks ago, which was really nice as I hadn't seen them in about 6months. On the weekend they were here, Scott drove me and my dad up to the Blue Mountains, which was spectacular as it was such a bright, sunny day and those mountains are pretty impressive! Also I got some free meals out of it, so I was pretty chuffed ;-)

oh-oh-oh, and I also got all my Cambodia and some of Australia (haven't taken that many here...) photos developed... so I should be able to post them online soon. As soon as I make it to an internet cafe or something! So hopefully you should be able to see them soon! :-)

Anywho, I think I've probably rambled on enough now...


Love, Kirsty


Posted by Kirsty M at 07:19 AM
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Really, really, really love Sydney

18th May 2005
10:08am - Syndey, OZ *at work... working hard...*

Hey Everyone

I realise that I haven't mailed in agggeeesss... but have been quite busy since arriving in Syndey!!
So before arriving in Syndey, Camilla and I were in Cambodia and Vietnam, which was very cool although we were really looking forward to arriving in Syndey. So our plane landed in Sydney airport and the first thing we realised was that it was bloody cold! It was raining too (Scotland styl-ee) and Camilla and I - having just come from Vietnam and Singapore (intense heat) - were not exactly dressed for the weather (skirts, flip-flops, tshirts and the likes....). So that was very amusing...
We were lucky, though, because Scott (who lives in Sydney) not only offered to pick us up from the airport, but let us crash at his house until we sorted ourselves out!
Sydney is very very cool...
Infact, the whole Australian culture - I've discovered - is very very cool. The general philosophy here is to drink lots and have as many BBQs as possible, which is fine by me!!
Camilla and I found ourselves a - surpirisingly nice- apartment close to the city centre (which has a gym and swimming pool, it's very swanky!)
And I'm working now for a massive Banking company called BNP Paribas. My job isnt so bad actually, and my boss just extended my contract, which is very cool.
Under the Australian working Visa, you can't stay under the same employer for over 3 months... .so, since I've had this job 1 month already, I only have 2months left and then I'll have to find a new job :-(
So far, I've hardly done any tourist-y things in Sydney... I've been to the Zoo and seen loads of kangaroos, koalas, birds and other Aussie things...
oh! and also loads of massive spiders, which I'm not so chuffed about....
They hang from the trees and theyre bloody massive!!
I was waiting for a train the other night and one fell from a bin and started scuttling towards me and I was doing my usual whimpering and running away!! :-)
The nightlife here is really good too!!
I've been to some really cool bars, parties and BBQs (and managed to get thrown out of one the Irish pubs here for being too drunk... apparently....)
So now I think that I may put of University for another year, and just stay here a little longer.
Although I haven't completely decided yet.... I'm just trying to figure whether it'd be a good decision or not...
Anyways, I'd better get back to work now....
speak soon, love kirsty xxxx

Posted by Kirsty M at 06:58 AM
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March 22, 2005

Angkor What?

Well here I am in Cambodia!!

We spent another few days in Bangkok before deciding that I was fit enough to endure the notorious bus journey into Cambodia (where the medical care isnt recommended).
The bus journey was - as expected - an experience.
We were immediately suspicios when a luxury, aircon, comfortable bus pulled up beside the Khao San Road inviting us on-board...
Of course, that was first the FIRST (and shortest) leg of the journey...
Once we were about half an hour from the Cambodian Border, we were ushered off into this cafe to try and negotiate our Visas. That, in itself, took about an hour and cost more than it should have.
Then we - along with a bunch of other travellers - were loaded onto a truck and taken to the border, where we were held up again.
Finally we got through and were put on a tuk-tuk with two other guys.. we all had our massive backpacks so it was an interesting journey.
We had to sit in another place for about an hour until we were introduced to our new form of transport, which would take us all the way to Siem Reap -- A VAN!
We spent the next 6 hours or so bouncing about the rocky ''roads'' in the oppressive heat of the van...

When we finally made it to Siem Reap, Camilla, an australian guy we met on the bus and I went out for some food (seen as the bus had helpfully arranged a guesthouse for nice!! :-)
We found some fried frogs, which Gez helped himself to!! Camilla and I opted for the chicken but were confused about which part of the chicken it actually was as there was no meat... just cartilage!! :-)
The next day we headed to Angkor Wat, and long behold my e.coli came back FULL STRENGTH....
We had to cut that short, whcih was a shame as its an absoultely amazing sight!
The next day we head back up and seen the wat that was the set of the Tomb Raider movie.. and the elephant one as well...
All absolutely amazing and very much inspiring!!
It's probably the most photogenic place I've ever seen.. beautiful!!
Unfortunately I overdone it and really paid for it that evening.
I decided that I'd spent the next 3-4 days in Siem Reap resting indoors and chuggin lOTS of water.

Right now, we're in Phnom Penh, which is SO different from Siem Reap.
Our guest house is right on the lake, which makes for great sunsets... although there are (unfortunately) RATS everywhere!!! gads!!! they were all running about the celling last night!!

By the way, I must say that I had the BEST DINNER last night!!
It was chicken, wrapped in bacon, with cheese sauce, vegetables and chips and it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!
Nearly as good as the (Cambodian) Chicken Amok that I had the previous night in Siem Reap...
We've been pretty much taking it easy today... ready to head up to the museums and possibly killing fields tomorrow, then the day after get the bus to Ho Chi Minh.

We're flying to Singapore on the Friday morning and then flying to Sydney in the evening... which should make for a good day of shopping in Singapore methinks!!! :-)

Anywho... dinner calls!!

Speak soon, kirsty xxxxx

Posted by Kirsty M at 01:10 PM
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March 12, 2005

Fighty McFighterson
Posted by Kirsty M at 12:57 PM
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March 04, 2005

Khao Sarn Resident

it's happened...
I eat Pad Thai noodles for every meal...
I have my hair dreaded...
I wear clothes I bought from the street markets...
My Jewellery is needlessly oversized and plentiful...
Nooooo - how did this happen?

Actually, I'm quite enjoying it!!!

We've been in Bangkok now for about 4 days. It's really cool here... and SO FRIENDLY too.
I guess we're a bit overwhelmed with the friendliness after India!

So far our time here has been a bit domintated with how ill I am. Went to the Adventist hospital today, quite close by, and was a bit comforted by how nice and friendly the staff were. I had to get some chest X-Rays and give some urine samples... turns out I have bronchitis (which explains the 3week cold) and also some form of urine tract infection, which is pleasant :(

Anyways, it means we'll have to stay here in Bangkok an extra few days (as I have to go back to the hospital). Otherwise our plans mostly involve travelling up to northern thailand, crossing the border into Laos and then Cambodia.
If my illness gets any worse though I'll probably head down south (to the beach islands) myself for a couple of weeks, and Camilla will travel all the planned journey herself (as i feel TERRIBLE for ruining her plans!!)

That means that I'll be able to come back up to Bangkok if needed.


Otherwise we've mainly been soaking up the markets and (espceially) the GREAT food here!
it's been fun but I can see why people may get a bit bored after a while.
Tomorrow we're going to try explore (i.e. leave the Khao Sarn road-*shock*-) and perhaps going on a boat ride or something!
which should be fun.

Anyways, I think - on that note- i shall conclude this entry.... NOW!

Posted by Kirsty M at 02:19 PM
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March 02, 2005

from rags to riches!!

10:00am - Singapore

Hey everyone, hope you are all well!!

Just arrived in Singapore this morning with Camilla and we're still getting over the shock of 1) how clean things are compared to India 2) the fact that you can walk about without being leered at 3) how nice people are 4) how much it DOESN'T smell... everywhere like India! Don't get me wrong, I was a bit sad about leaving India but at the same time it's so nice to be somewhere civilised again where you're not hassled constantly!

Well since my last email, Scott and I headed up north from Mumbai. That was sort of an adventure in itself... Our train from Mumbai to Jaipur left at about 18:50, but we didn't arrive at the station until about 7pm and ended up having to run after our *moving* train and jump onto the 1st available compartment. It just so happened to be the 'ladies only' carriage so consequently Scott was accompanied by a machine-gun-clad guard until we could change compartments at the next station. We ended up having to make a mad dash down the train station -the train stopped for about 1minute - and jumping on again. At least this time we were on the right section of the train, so we had to wade our way through the train (including the kitchen carriage... which completely put us off accepting any train food!). We got to Jaipur in the end though and were really impressed with how pretty it was there.

Jaipur is known as the pink-city, and it's really spectacular. Although on our 1st day there we had a bit of a bad experience. We headed into the old-city, and unfortunately it was at the same time as a massive Muslim-festival... meaning there was a crowd of about 10,000 teenage boys and men. So we were just walking along getting some nice pics, when we started getting followed. After a while I was grabbed by about 20 guys, which lead to me being pushed against a barrier while about 100 guys crushed in to grab me. It was really frightening actually; they were all grabbing me and crushing me... and encouraging more men to join in. Scott was trying to fight them off but there was so many that he couldn't really fight them all off. I was begining to panic a lot, as they were spraying things into my eyes and face. Then after like 5 minutes, a "police" guard came over and started beating the sh*t out of some of the guys with a baton. The crowd kind of disperesed but after the guard moved away, they started to crowd again... so we had to find some more guards to get us of the place!! it was really awful and Scott got his walet stolen amidst all the crowd. Really not a good start to Jaipur!

The next day however, was brilliant. We headed up to Amber Fort, which has a massive palace sitting on it. We got an elephant ride up to the top that was REALLY fun (we named our elephant Stampy!) and then got a tour of the palace and some more temples. They were all very beautiful and because they were made of mostly marble, were preserved really well for being about 400 years old. We then headed to the water palace, which is this spectacular palace in the middle of a lake. Then the next day we headed to Agra (home of the Taj Mahal). It was quite nice there actually, although it has a bad reputation. We went inside the Taj Mahal and it was really beautiful.... and got some amazing pics (which I'll try to send soon!!). Then we went to the Agra fort, which was cool and then we headed to a really good spot behind the Taj Mahal to watch it during Sunset, which was really gorgeous!!

We couldn't believe how cold the north of India was compared to the South! I was absolutely freezing most of the time... which was a shock! It was really beautiful though and I wish I could've spent more time there!

Yesterday Scott and I headed to Delhi on the train and I headed to the airport, whereas he has another few days before he flys out so he's staying in Delhi before flying back home to Sydney! Meeting Camilla at the airport in Delhi was fun though as we had a lot to catch up on! And singapore seems like it's going to be great... so we're a bit annoyed we're only here for 2 & 1/2 days!!


Posted by Kirsty M at 05:24 AM
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February 19, 2005

heading up north.. FINALLY :-)

12:40pm - Internet Cafe, Colaba Mumbai

Hey Everyone; hope you're all well!

Well just about to get on the train this evening heading to Jaipur, which is in the North of India. The last week or so has been a bit crazy... but great fun all the same. Most nights here in Colaba are pretty eventful, which is great as I've met a lot of interesting people.

Been doing lots of sight-seeing things in Mumbai too... Like heading out (by boat) to Elephanta Island, which is like 30 minutes from Mumbai, with a German girl we met at the hostel. The island is really beautiful and authentic looking (there were monkeys everywhere!!). The Island itself is famous for its caves, which are in tribute to Shiva (or Siva). However we paid like 150rs to get to the island, then a 5rs "foreigner tax" to get in... then climbed about a squillion stairs to get to the cave entrance to find a sign reading: [Entrance Fees: Indian Citizen=25rs Foreigner=250rs] so we were a bit annoyed about that. So we just walked about the Island, taking snaps of monkeys and coming across remote hamlets.

At the beginning of this week, however, Camilla and I decided to spend our last week in India on our own (as we'd been living in each other's pockets for the past 5weeks!!) So, instead of heading North together, I stayed here a couple of days extra and Camilla headed to Jaipur. At first I planned to bus it down to Pune for a couple of days and then head up to Jaipur on Saturday (today), but the oddest thing happened when I tried to book my bus ticket. Firstly, I went to the place and they told me it wasn't possible for me to get a ticket (instead, I'd have to go on a 30min cab journey to Dardar)... So I headed back to the hostel to pick up the address of another bus company I knew and was sort of thinking that the Pune thing wouldn't work out after all.. and then, at the hostel, an Australian guy came over and asked if I'd like to do a fashion shoot that evening in Pune? I was a bit aprehensive to begin with but he seemed genuine guy and this other English guy (Daniel) was up for it too... so it seemed ok. So Daniel and I were set up to do a bollywood movie shoot on the Thursday and then a fashion shoot on Friday... which sounded like heaps of fun. Then Daniel and I headed out to the Bollywood shoot (which was a popular Hindi series called 'Yeh Meri Life Hai" [It's my life]) which was an interesting experience. I think I must have gotten the worst costume possible though... it was this really awful brown skirt with a bright pink top and a brown leather jacket... not nice!! But then they were taking ages to film and made us wait like 10hours and stuff... so we left early at about 7pm (having been there from about 8am!) But a fun experience.

Then on the Friday, the day of the fashion thing, I woke up (again) with conjunctivitis... so there was no way I could do that... which I was annoyed about :-( But it's amazing how media-obbsessed people are here! I've had so many offers for things so far... Like yesterday I was just walking about and a lady asked me to come to this wedding, wear a Sahri, get free food and drink and she'd pay me 1000rs!!!

It's actually been quite fun out here on my own, and I think I'm learning a lot from it. I haven't ever felt on my own though as I meet new people all the time! I also have a good friend here - Scott, from Australia - and we're going travelling up north together (which is nice, as I was a bit cautious to do it entirely alone!!)

So everything is going really well, and I'm thinking I'm really going to miss India (particularly Mumbai) when I leave in a week... But I here that Jaipur and Agra (Taj Mahal) are really worth seeing so I'm looking forward to that!

Anyways, today me and Scott are just trying to fill the hours before our train leaves at 18:50... so not sure what I'll be up to!!! :-)

Hope everything is going well with you!

Speak soon - love kirsty, x~X~X~X~X~X~X~X~x

Posted by Kirsty M at 07:53 AM
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February 08, 2005

Good ol' Colaba

Good ol'Colaba, Mumbai

Hey Everyone - hope you are all well!

Well we're back in Mumbai now, and have been for the past couple of hours.
It was a bit sad leaving Anjuna and indeed Goa, though, but circumstances
meant that we couldn't stay those extra days that we planned to :-(

Although, saying that, my last few days in Anjuna were definitely not my
best. I'd been getting ill all week, but by Wednesday night it was pretty
definite that there was something serious that had to be treated! I woke up
on Thursday morning not able to move and also (to make things easier for
me...) my eye had swollen to twice it's size during the night, so I could
hardly open it. Brilliant. So I had to get all these pills to cure my
stomach, whilst making sure I only eat jam toast (no butter) for every meal
and drink lots of water, whilst also putting in eye drops every hour or so
to help the conjunctivitis. All in all it wasn't nice and I didn't feel
better properly until Sunday morning, which is just as well as we were
booked onto the night bus to mumbai that evening!

In my ill state, though, we managed to do some pretty cool stuff in our last
few days in Anjuna. For example we went trekking across all these angular
rocks on Anjuna beach front... it was so picturesque and got some great
photos! Also we managed to make it up to the infamous Anjuna market, which
was cool (if anyone has ever been to Glasgow Barra-Land, then they'll get a
good idea what it's like!!) There were multiple jewellery stalls, pottery,
clothes, food and general random stuff! Was fun, but was cut short by my
feeling too ill :-(

Yesterday (Sunday) we had to be out of our GuestHouse in Anjuna by 10am
(horrible....) so we had the whole day to kill with our backpacks as our bus
didn't leave till 7:30pm. We ended up sitting in our regular haunt (Oasis -
so good!!) and sat there from 10:30am until 6pm!! ordering pancakes, noodles
and toast (I was starting to eat normally again!). And at one point, we saw
these massive monkeys scuttling about the trees and then on the road!! It's
the first monkeys we've seen since Delhi, so we were being massive tourist
and like hanging off our seats!

Then we had to head up to Mapusa (inland Goa) for our bus and discovered
that Mapusa is quite cool! It looks a bit like Northern Italy and
definitely more 'build-up' than anywhere else we've seen in Goa!
Anywho we continued waiting for our bus and then when it FINALLY came this
tout guy who'd been hovering about me for a while starting shouting at me
and grabbing my bag. I told him where to go, but apparently that was some
sort of code for 'shout at me more and grab my arm!'. So I was getting
quite angry at this point because I wasn't even sure this was the right bus
and this muppet was like grabbing my bag and shouting at me. So when I
found out it was the right bus I tried to put my bag in the bus hold and the
muppet guy wouldnt let me do it, he just kept grabbing it off me. So I
couldnt keep up the fight anymore so he commandeered my bag, and then
chucked it in the hold. He then cornered me to give him money and wouldnt
let me past to get on the bus. I started panicking when the bus started
moving (with Camilla on it!) so I just made a dash and somehow got on it
*phew* without paying the guy (mwhaha)
This bus though, was significantly different from the other. For a start it
was falling to bits and it also stank (before we got on ;-) Then the guys
who parade about the bus barking orders, starting shouting in Konkani down
the front and made a big fuss about something. And then, after like 5
minutes, the lights cut out so we were plunged into darkness, until these
random guys came on the bus and starting raiding it with torches (we think
it may have been border control...) wasn't very pleasant and as usual I was
freaking out... :-(
Another difference with this bus is that it made a pit-stop, unlike the
other, so we could actually use the bathroom (i.e. hole-in-the-ground) and
get some food. We stopped at the most random place I've ever seen. It
looked all temple-y from the outside and then looked like a big school
dinner hall inside! They fed us (wait for it....) curry! with rice, roti
and this strange orange stuff that I *think* was potato with curry. I was
quite chuffed though because they didn't hand us any knives or forks, so we
had to eat the authentic Indian way (with your right hand only... your left
is reserved for other things that take place over the hole-in-the-ground...
;-) So that was quite cool.
Then back on the bus was horrible, because this time we were on the upper
berths and I was on the outside again, which is scarier from a height. The
only thing 'holding you in' in two vertical poles that measure about 2cm or
less in diametre at the most inappropriate place ever. Not nice on the
roads here, nearly falling out everytime it changes gear. So I think I
slept a total of about half an hour :-( but I guess the good thing was that
I didn't get ill :-)

Anywho back in good ol' Mumbai now and shall be here methinks until Sunday.
We're staying at the Salvation Army, which is the cheapest place in town
(yay) and is right in the midst of things in Colaba. We're quite chuffed
with that and our dorms are ok and the place seems pretty full of
backpackers, which is cool.

Anywho, I best be off methinks since there's nothing really siginificant for
me to say (apart from more ranting about the bus... but I'm sure thats not
Speak soon, love kirsty -x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

Posted by Kirsty M at 10:31 AM
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