Posts Tagged With: Heathrow Airport

Readdy for the end…..Hell no!

‘Clunk’…….’Bang’…….’Crash’ came the noises from downstairs. Stirring, I rubbed my eyes and peeled back the clutches of my thick duvet. Mama was making a racket downstairs in the kitchen. ‘What the……’ Well, the first thing I actually thought was where the heck am I!? Staring around the room, I could see familiar childhood teddies, dog-eared and dusty books balanced on the shelves, framed photos of my brother and I, oh and piles of clothes on the bedroom floor! Nothing’s changed then I thought haha!

“I’m home!! I can’t believe I am home!” I muttered to myself. There was no time to be checked out by, no worry about where I had to be, no need to repack my invisible man, no need to worry about tripping over any fellow ‘hostellers’ and no thought was needed as to where I was getting my next breakkie from….I was HOME! Now staring through the objects in my room, I drifted off into my usual day dream….’I think I just woke up from an 8mth long dream! Did any of this actually happen?! Wow, that was some dream I tell thee!’ It actually felt so surreal and I’m sure any fellow traveller will tell you the exact same thing!

“Morning darling! I’ve made you a lovely cup of tea, it’s on the table for you” “Ah thanks Mum!” Came my zombie and jet lagged reply. “Righto, I’m just off to work but we’ll look at some of your photos later!” With that Mama rushed off to work that Tuesday morning. At the kitchen table, there I sat (and probably with the most vacant expression on my face!) still shell shocked and repeating the same line over and over in my head…’I still can’t believe I’m home! The Readders is back!’ Staring into the steaming hot cup of tea, I drifted off into another day dream and one where I wanted to stay with all the monks, monkeys, tigers, temples, markets, bugs, beaches, street dogs, kangeroo’s, deserts, mountains, volcano’s, jungles, spiders, tuk tuks…….(now if this was a movie, my voice would now fade out and the scene would go black to make way for the next bit hah!)……so que fade out about now!

So let’s rewind a bit and transport ourselves back to the last leg of my journey. On goes the transportation hat and Malaysia… we come (if only!)

< < < < REWINDING, please wait a moment…..!

So I’ve wheeled my invisible man out of the airport at Kuala Lumpur and found my shuttle bus waiting point. I was starting to feel uncomfortable standing there in the sweltering heat of the afternoon but I let the little beads of sweat sit on my forehead knowing that the aircon of the shuttle bus would soon surround me and make me feel as though I’d then stepped into the antarctic! I was actually beginning to wonder if I was indeed standing in the right place as the shuttle was rather late but then again, looking around, the traffic was horrendous! I could see cars, taxi’s, buses and coaches all at a stand still either waiting for people to move out the way or get in them!

Suddenly a shuttle pulled up opposite me. The tinted window of the passengers side smoothly slid down in slow motion revealing a dark skinned Malaysian man. “Helen??” The driver seemed to instinctively know I was his pick up! “Yup, that’s me!” With that, the driver hopped out and lifted the invisible man from the trolley. “Woah, you must be a strong girl haha!” He said huffing and puffing. The invisible man clearly squeezed every molecule of air from the drivers lungs as he lifted it into the back of the shuttle bus. “Hah! It’s ok when both straps are on your back! Even better when you find a trolley to take the load!” I chuckled. I then gave the driver my hotel voucher and climbed into the back.

The driver was a nice guy, same age as me too. Turned out he had just had a short holiday in Penang with his friends! We exchanged our stories of ‘Did you see this?’ and ‘Did you see that?’ and laughed saying we’d probably walked past each other or maybe even eaten at the same cafe one day hah!

“Anyway, why are you staying at the YouniQ Hotel? You know there is nothing around there, nothing!” The driver seemed quite curious as to why I’d booked the hotel he represented and I was curious to know why he was keen to slate his employers haha! ‘Ahhh’ I thought to myself….I could see why once we’d pulled up outside! He was right, there was literally nothing around the hotel, it was in the middle of nowhere. It was a real tumbleweed moment! “Well, I’m only here for a few days until I fly back to England you see and being close to the airport and low on budget, I thought this would be a good place to chillout?” I replied. “Well, it’s only a 20 minute train ride to the city so you can always do that if you get bored!” (Which actually, he was wrong, you were looking at 2 x trains and an hour of window gazing!)

After signing in, I went straight up to my room and whipped my hiking boots off (I always wear them when I fly as they take up so much room in the back pack you see haha!). “Ahhh….I can chill and watch a bit of telly!” Thankfully the hotel was a nice place to relax in and well, it made up for being in the middle of nowhere, it had to! I slapped the cheap, plasticky, white kettle on and unpacked a sachet of Milo (Asia’s version of Cadburys hot chocolate) and settled down to watch a bit of telly. “Hang on a minute…no movie channel?! Oh great!” How annoying! Nevermind, MTV it was…I had to catch up with what was new in the charts right!

A hot chocolate later, I ventured outside to see what was on offer around the hotel. As I said, it was literally in the middle of nowhere so I wasn’t expecting to find a nightclub (even though that would have been uber cool!) or any swanky bars to get merry in but I did find a small tuck shop and a restaurant. Feeling hungry I sat in the restaurant and ordered some noodles and a teh tarik which is my favourite…If I haven’t already explained, a teh tarik is basically a malaysian tea made with condensed milk, yummy! Not sure that would work in the UK! Can you imagine that…PG Tips made with tip top hah eww!  :p After I’d chowed all my noodles down, I went up to pay. “Thank you Miss. Do you come alone Miss?” I was used to this kind of response by now but I tell you what…out of all the countries, Malaysian’s were the most curious hah. I think this is because they are used to seeing women with husbands….their husbands pretty much tell them what they can and cannot do etc so I must have either looked completely rebellious or um, divorced and on the rejection pile?! Who cares I thought! After I’d explained that yes, I was on my own and yes, I was fine with that he bunged the change in my hand and let me go.

I then went back to my hotel room, switched MTV back on and fell fast asleep!

Knock, knock….”Hello?” KNOCK, KNOCK! “Excuse me, hello?? You want room cleaned?” The repetitive rapping and tapping was just starting to break through and into my wondrous dreamland but it was the final “HELLO!” That woke me and caused me to sit bolt upright with hair flopping over the front of my face! “Huh, what!?” It felt so early. “Go away!” Oops, I didn’t mean to sound so rude but I’d only just checked in and was thinking ‘my room can’t be that bad already?’ haha! Eventually I could hear the maid slope off down the hall and wheeling her squeaky trolley with her. Checking the time, it was 10.30am! I really didn’t do very much that Friday apart from chill, watch MTV and eat haha!

Big City…Big Disaster more like! 

‘Hey Helen! I’ll meet you at KLCC around 3.30pm’ Shazreen’s message popped up on the screen of my tablet Saturday morning. ‘Fab! Looking forward to catching up with you matey!’ Came my reply. I could’t wait to see Shazza! I started my journey with her and was abouts to close it with her too (which of course was also kinda sad!) :/ I found out how to get to the KLCC (which is the huge mall right next to the KL’s Twin Towers) and got on my way.

Urgh, well, what a disaster! Getting there was fine, not a problem at all….as I mentioned, it was x 2 trains and about an hour or something silly…but I had didn’t have a watch on me or my mobile (because I didn’t have any credit) haha! I was relying on my tablet and a free wifi spot so I could tell Shazza where I was. Well, it all backfired on me! The Readders was so distracted by all the bright lights and shops that she totally forgot the time didn’t she!! By the time I’d realised, it was gone 4pm, oh noooo!! ‘Oh Helen you wally! Right, need to find a cafe with wifi’ But could I find any wifi? I was walking around with my tablet as though I was ‘dowsing’ for the slightest sniff of internet to tap into. ‘Coffee Bean’ Aha…bingo! I managed to connect or so I had thought but it kept saying the signal was too weak and disconnected me! Rarrr! I then found another spot ‘Starbucks’ but the same thing happened! Well by the time I’d faffed about trying to find any wifi, it was now getting dark so I decided to catch the train one stop back. Eventually I found some wifi that seemed to be stronger there but Shazreens messages were all coming up with “Where are you? I’m by the giant book store”…”Oh Shazreen, I’m so sorry! Time has completely run away with me this afternoon” I then explained the whole situation with the wifi etc…I was hoping we’d catch each other on the Sunday as I wasn’t due to fly out until the evening but unfortunately Shazreen wasn’t available! I couldn’t believe it. How gutted!

Feeling like an idiot, I tucked my tail between my legs and hopped on the next train headed for my hotel * sighs! Lesson here;  on my next travelling trip, I am going to get myself an iPhone with blimming wifi hah! As soon as I got back to my hotel it was about 9.30pm…yep, 9.30pm! I bought some tinnies of Tiger from the tuck shop next door, packed my invisible man and fell asleep!

Let me buy you lunch!

I was up pretty early in the morning and slipped into the clothes I’d purposely left out the night before (made sense as I could pack the invisible man up with minimal Helen faffings).

Checking out at 11am I then had about 7hrs to kill in ghost town! I ended up finishing one of my blog entries as well as had a go at piecing a few ‘movies’ together with clips I had taken the day before (which are now in the Readdy to Playlist tab).

I was actually getting pretty hungry which was good timing with what happened next….

“Hello Miss. Do you need taxi?” Looking up from my tablet, I could see a short Malaysian guy standing before me extending his arm. Wedged in between short stumpy digits, he offered me his business card. “Not right now thank you but later, yes please!” I replied. Of course, with that the taxi mans ears pricked up! “Ok. Where you go later?” “To the airport for about 6.30pm” “Ok great. I charge 50 Ringgit” “FIFTY!!” I blurted! If I was drinking at the time, I’m sure I would have spluttered it all over him haha! “That sounds way too much. I haven’t even got that much in my wallet!” Fact! I was skint and I really didn’t want to take anymore money out on my last day…and where was the nearest cash point around here anyway?! “Ok, ok….40” He had me by the short and curly’s really because I didn’t have any other options at the time. “Look, I need money for lunch too so even if I paid you 40, that means I will have to go hungry” I wasn’t in the mood for being ripped off on my last day either. “Lunch? But it’s Sunday, no where is open nearby. Look, I am kind man, I will drive you somewhere so you can have lunch. If you eat at the airport it will be very expensive. I will charge you 35” Checking my wallet, it seemed I could afford that and also something cheap to eat. I knew I’d get fed on the plane but I needed something before then. “Ok, deal” I said. “Great. I will take you for lunch in say 20 minutes. I won’t charge you for the ride because I need to clean my cab anyway so while I do that, you can eat next door” “Ok, lovely. That’s very kind of you, thanks” With that, the taxi guy walked off but as promised, he came back 20 minutes later!

I was grateful for the aircon in the taxi as it was sweltering outside. “Very hot today right!” “Yup. But I’m not going to complain as it’ll be so cold in the UK when I touch down!” “Haha. So what food you want? Noodles? Rice? Spicy?” “Nothing too spicy. Maybe some noodles” “Great, I know good place and very cheap. Oh and I’m Dahari. What is your name?” Dahari held his stumpy digits out towards me and waited for me to shake them so gently squeezing his hand, I too introduced myself. “I’m Helen. Nice to meet you” With that Dahari pushed the gear stick into 1st and drove us out of ghost town. He was right though, nothing was open so I was pretty grateful he offered to take me somewhere for lunch however, part of me was also thinking ‘Why is he doing this for me?’ ‘Is this so I can pay him the full fare later?’ Haha! Isn’t it funny how our minds can easily become so suspicious! It’s true though, if this happened in England, you’d automatically be searching your mind for answers to questions like ‘What does this person want from me in return?’ Hmm. So as I mentioned, nothing was open! When we did pass a shop or cafe, the shutters were all locked down and not one person was about. The only thing that was missing, was the noise of a slight wheezy breeze, a huge tumble weed lazily rolling past and the dull droning of a clock tower haha! “Today is a day of rest” “Oh of course, because it’s Sunday!” I responded. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that nothing would be open today.

Wow, clearly the whole town knew this cafe was the only one open! I could see a mix of Malaysians and Chinese people filling each and every table until they were spilling out on to the ‘overflow’ tables surrounding the cafe outside.

Dahari parked up and walked in with me. “What would you like?” Dahari said passing me the menu at the same time. Staring aimless into the menu, it took me a few moments to realise it was in fact all in Malay anyway so I didn’t have a clue what to order. “Um…just some noodles will do nicely, thanks! Oh and a teh tarik!” Of course, my fav Malaysian tea, yummy! “Great, I’ll order for you and then go and wash my car” “Thanks!” With that, Dahari ordered my meal for me and then disappeared to put his car in to be washed (coincidentally right next door!). Sitting on my todd, it felt as though I was getting glared at from each and every direction! Stares of the usual ‘Where is your husband?’ and ‘What is that white girl going to have to eat?’ type of looks. But then again, that was more than likely to be my imagination going crazy as usual!

Dahari happened to appear at my table at the exact same time my food did but thankfully, he was more full of chat than I was so shoving greasy (and slightly spicy) noodles into my gob, I was just happy to hear him go on. In fact, Dahari was doing nothing but gloat about how much of a nice person he was….”I found a diamond ring in my taxi last month. I could have kept it but I didn’t. Thankfully the owners came back for it. I did get it valued but I still didn’t want it” (hmm…he must have thought about keeping it if he went to the trouble of getting it valued right?) In between the smug stories (yes, they kept coming!), Dahari lit up a cigarette and practically exhaled the smoke into my noodles!  “I also found a Gucci watch on the back seat of my taxi too. I held onto it to look after it for the owner incase he showed up again (which he did)! He tell me I was good man and gave me a reward”. Wiping the now smoky flavoured noodle sauce from around my chops I just uttered the odd acknowledgement that I was kind of listening “Oh that’s very nice of you!” “Yes, yes! And now I take you to lunch because I am so nice and I help you or you go hungry haha” Hmm….*que suspicious mind, tick tock, tick tock! I was still really wary of him and as to why he took me for lunch!? But get this, even after I’d eatern…the waiter came over with the bill and Dahari paid! “It’s ok, I will sponsor you” Flicking his cigarette butt on the floor, Dahari fumbled in his pocket for some Ringgits. “Dahari, don’t be silly, I can pay for myself!” But despite my efforts of extending my hand with the exact money pointing palm up, Dahari got in front of me and paid my bill! Afterwards, we went next door to pick up his squeaky clean taxi!

“Ok, so I pick you up from the hotel lobby at 5.30pm yes?” I’m not sure if Dahari was asking or telling me at that point hah! “Um, sure, ok” “I know it is early but at least you will be able to watch people running all over the place at the airport hahaha” Dahari coughed, spluttered and then wheezed as he laughed out loud…his smokers cough was more apparent than earlier, maybe he’s just recently started smoking more? “Yeh sure, good point!” He was right though, at least I could day dream and ‘people watch’ and spritz on all the latest expensive perfumes as you do haha. Once Dahari walked off to do whatever it was he said he was doing, I logged back onto the hotels computer to kill some time.

Readdy to fly?

“Helen. You ready?” I smirked to myself as Dahari obviously didn’t know my surname but for some reason I found that rather amusing hehe. “Yep, I guess so” Dahari took the invisible man from me and puffed and wheezed as he did so. “Oooffff. You don’t travel light lady!” “Haha…it’s all the souvenirs!” I waved goodbye to the reception staff of the hotel as Dahari opened the taxi door for me and ushered me in. “Well, this is it. Let the journey home begin!” Pulling away, I took my last look around the ghost town I’d been staying in for the past 3 days and was in fact, soon looking forward to delighting my eyes with perhaps ‘too much’ to look at hah…

“So where did you say you were from again?” Dahari asked as he slid some sunglasses on and up his nose. “The UK” “And how long your flight tonight?” “Um…something like 14hrs in total. I have 2 to catch, here to Singapore and then Singapore to London” “Wow, long time in the air then!” Dahari exhaled almost as though he was sighing in relief that it wasn’t him up in the skies that evening! “Oh well, I’m looking forward to watching movies and listening to music on the main flight. I’ll pass the time no problem” No problem?? What was I saying that for? Although actually, I probably could…I’m like a pro when it comes to day dreaming and ‘time wasting’ haha! “Hah. Yes, lots of movies then”

And there we were….Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport came into view and for some reason, I suddenly got a slight rush of nerves…maybe it was because I knew this was the last stop perhaps? Dahari parked up in the taxi rank and immediately hopped out to get the invisible man out the boot and while he did that, I hopped out to get a trolley. Wheeling it over to Dahari, he dropped (and I mean, literally dropped!) the invisible man onto the trolley as though he was relieved to be shedding the whopping 19kg’s from his stubby arms, hands and fingers hehe! I then leaned into the taxi and left my 35 ringgits in the glove box.

“Ok, thank you Miss Helen. Have a safe trip home” Once again, Dahari extended his stubby fingers to shake my hand goodbye! “Thanks Dahari and thanks for coming to my rescue at lunch time. I’ve left your fare in the glove box ok” “Thank you” Then with that….I looked up, found my terminal and wheeled my trolley over to start the last and final trip. Watery eyed, it was as though I was walking (and rolling my trolley!) in slow motion and oh boy, what a journey its been!

I sailed through security and immigration in a hazy day dream and found my gate straight away. I think I was pretty numb and shocked at that point to the fact that I was actually going home! Sitting down, I realised I must have been staring at the floor when a black man came and sat next to me and abruptly disturbed my day dreams….”Excuse me Miss….Hello? Can I use your phone?” “My phone? No sorry, I don’t have any credit” There was something about this guy that I didn’t like! Well, for one, I didn’t like the fact that he seemed to single me out and I was sitting in an area all on my todd at that point. “Ok, well, can I just put my sim in your phone then?” I then realised he was staring at my tablet..”Look this isn’t a phone by the way and no!” I responded by asserting a more ‘stern’ tone in my voice. “I need to get hold of someone” He seemed a bit agitated now. “I’m sure if you ask the porters they will be able to help you. Plus, there are computers around where you can access the internet for free” I was trying to help him as much as I could. My mobile didn’t have any credit and was pretty flat at the same time haha! The fella then stormed off dissatisfied with my answers but I was kinda thinking ‘oh well, I did try!’ I then took a wonder and found a book shop where I bought a travel book (a backpackers adventures around Hong Kong, China and India), and a book written by a guy who trekked the length of the Amazon rainforest near Peru…something for the plane or indeed inspiration for once I was eventually home.

The first flight to Singapore was nice and easy and being only an hours flight, it certainly did whizz by up there! The flight was late coming into Singapore but I didn’t mind at all because I had about 3hrs wait in between. It didn’t seem like I was waiting all that long before I heard my call; “All passengers for flight SQ522 headed for London, Heathrow….we are now ready to board. Would passengers in seat rows 20 to 30 please head towards the check in crew with your boarding tickets” Came the announcement over the tanoy. ‘Ooo that’s me!’ Heading over with my ticket sticking out of one hand and my rucksack dragging on the other, I took a slow walk over. The crew of Singapore Airlines warmly welcomed everyone as we all crammed in one by one.

Yay, window seat for me! Settling into my seat ready for the monster 13hrs ahead, I took a peep around…..hmm, spare seat next to me, Singaporean lady in the aisle seat, ooo hot guy 2 rows behind ;), nice looking couple directly behind, French family sitting in front of me and more families and couples in the other nearby seats. I started chatting to the Singapore lady next to me who was lovely. Phew, sometimes you hear about people sitting next to horrid passengers on long haul flights haha but so far all was good! For some reason I felt it appropriate to tell everyone near me that I’d been away from home for 8mths and that in 13hrs time I’d get to see my Mama and Papz again haha! Of course, they didn’t care but I was rather excited at the thought of seeing my folks and I wanted to shout about it lol! Well, in fact, it was such a bitter sweet feeling….yes I wanted to stay and keep on travelling in the world but the thought of seeing my friends and family was also making me grin so far across my face that it must have looked humanly impossible to stretch a smile that far!

Finally, the plane is slowly creeping along and turning around until we’re facing the long stretch of runway ready to take off. Again, listening to my take off tune of ‘One day I’ll fly away’ (which in my head I had now changed to ‘One day I flew away’), I’m staring out the window and into the night sky with my eyes welling up faster than I could dab them with the corner of my sleeve, sniff sniff 😥 Speeding up and up until that G force rush kicked in for the last time….now in the air, I sat there slightly dumb struck.

Once I’d snapped out of the ‘Oh my God’s’ whizzing through my mind, I flicked through the entertainment system in the back of the chair in front of me. MOVIE TIME!! And well, that was it….I was determined not to sleep and watch movies back to back hah so I did just that! Even when all the lights in the cabin went out I was still sat there watching movies hah! The bright blue light from my lil TV screen must have lit up my row and the row behind oh well…everyone seemed to be sleeping with eye masks on or at least trying to sleep and didn’t seem in the slightest bit bothered as to what I was doing or watching haha.

So….a dinner, snack, breakfast, several swigs of tea and cups of orange juice and 7 movies, yes SEVEN movies later and we have the announcement to ‘buckle’ up for landing as we were now approaching Heathrow O.M.G!!!

Back to the start! 

The Airbus touched down at 6.20am with a slight scrape and screech but it had to be by far the best landing of the whole trip! I knew my Papz was waiting for me in the International arrivals lounge and I couldn’t wait to get off and see him! (My Mum was picking me up after you see). What is it with airlines…as soon as you land there seems to be a massive hold up until people are allowed off. Well, I think that was me being rather impatient because of course I couldn’t wait to get off! Looking around, some people were still seated and others were either standing in the aisles all lined up ready to pile out and others were standing up where they were sitting with their heads slightly crouched to one side because they were standing directly under the air blowers. As soon as the line of people started shifting forwards, that was it, I grabbed my rucksack and tagged along following the rest of the sheep out in line.

Brrrrr!!! First thing I noticed was the weather, well, the lack of sun and heat! Of course, that was to be expected right but woah! I’d been so used to stepping off planes and being greeted by mother nature waiting at the exit with a hot blanket to immediately smother and wrap around everyone she came into contact with but this time it felt like Jack Frost was there pointing and laughing as soon as he’d sprinkled his cold magic on us hah!

I was becoming out of breath from the speed I was walking. Again, passing through all the normal ‘I have nothing to declares’ etc…It was straight to the luggage belt to collect my battered and bruised invisible man (who to be honest, looked like he needed a holiday himself haha!). Ooo ooo, there it was! My bright red backpack, wire mesh and pink scarf must have been the 2nd to come round the belt…right slap that straight on the trolley and let’s go find my PAPZ woo hoo!! Suddenly I felt as though I was in an episode of supermarket sweep or something….I’d already scooped up the jackpot and dumped that into my trolley but now it was a race to find the finish line (aka my Papz!). So whizzing around people, dodging other trolleys and masses of suitcases I finally see the exit signs! It felt as though everyone was in my way and doing all they could to block my path (which is always the way when you need to do something or be somewhere right!) Wheeling my invisible man out through a set of double doors that was it…..’Hang on, is that Papz? OMG, OMG!’ A rush of excitement and goosebumps ran through me…Firstly, I still couldn’t believe I’d touched down at Heathrow and secondly, I couldn’t believe that this was the first time I was seeing my Papz after so long! I got a glimpse of my Pappa’s outline between a bald headed man and another guy in a big fluffy hat and again, it seemed as though they were walking in slow motion! So guess what I did….I screamed haha! “WOO HOOOOO!”  And with that, it was as though the sea parted….the sea of people that is haha. Everyone just moved out the way for me so with that, I gave my trolley one almighty push, pressed all my upper weight on the handle bars and I lifted my feet like a kid so the trolley propelled itself along and heading straight for my Papz!

As soon as my trolley was in reaching distance of ma Papz, I ditched the trolley and ran over and gave him the biggest, longest squeeze! “SWEETIE!! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE BACK!! Let me take a look at you!” Shouted my Papz. “AHHH, I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M HERE!” Of course, I was balling my eyes out by this point haha….I think even my Papz  quickly dabbed his eyes ssshhh 😉

I tell you what, it’s not that I didn’t feel safe abroad but right at that very moment, I felt SO safe and like nothing could touch me haha…And I didn’t give 2 hoots what anyone around us thought either….it was as though everyone became invisible for just those few moments and everything stopped in it’s tracks! Once everything started up again, Papz and I went off for a few cups of tea and had a good old chinwag in the nearby cafe 🙂

Afterwards, my Mum came along to pick me up outside Terminal 3…yup, where it began all those months ago! My Papz waited with me until my Mum arrived and there she was….I could see my black Corsa pulling in and parking up and I got the same rush of goosebumps. “YOO HOO!” I gave my Mum a big squeeze and waved my Papz off. All the way back Mum and I were munching on Galaxy chocolate and talking about this and that and then suddenly, as the adrenalin began to wear off….that sleepy slump feeling began to creep over me.

I dragged my invisible man up the stairs behind me bumping it on every step until I’d reached the top. It felt kinda sad that it was going to be unpacked for the last time and then slung in the corner of my room. It was also sad staring at the invisible man now weighing next to nothing and slumping over itself as it’s ‘guts’ were now all missing! As the kettle boiled downstairs, I gathered all my souvenirs and skipped downstairs to show my Mum this and that and to share the weird and wonderful sachets of strange teas and coffees that I’d accumilated along the way oh and also to give her some of her pressies too 😉

Back with a bang….wallop more like! 

Well, well, well! It took a good few days to realise the Readders had made it back to the good old U of K! Looking back on my photos just made me think it was a dream….’Did I really do this and did I actually do that?’ ‘Did I really climb a mountain?’ ‘Did I really sit behind a Tiger?’ My mind has taken quite a long time to ‘settle’ down and essentially get over having ‘English’ culture shock hah! 

So, here I sit writing to you from the comfort of my own home using the free wifi (courtesy of Mama), tapping away on my pink laptop (which by the way feels ginormous compared to my 7 inch tablet!) oh and plenty of english tea on tap haha! So…..I should be super happy right? Well, one quote I mentioned earlier was ‘bitter sweet’, well, that is truly the best way I can sum up being back I’m afraid haha and I’m sure many a traveller perhaps feels / felt the same. I have felt like a bird of paradise roaming the world doing as I please and exploring this utterly special plant we live on…..but now I’m back, I have to get back to ‘reality’! :/

UH OH….I have to get a J.O.B ARRGGHH!! Hmmm 😦 I can’t bear the thought of being cooped up in an office from 9 to 5 BUT….I shall view it like this – This is just a stop gap, for the Readders WILL get back out there and go on new adventures and explore new lands. I’ve already decided to follow my intuition and plan for Peru, Costa Rica and Cuba so BRING IT ON! I’ve already gone out and bought a book about Peru to ‘geek’ up on. Plus, I’m looking into Amazon adventures and hanging out with the tribes there so trust me, I’m sure my next blogging adventures will be worth tuning in for and I seriously can’t wait to share it with you all! 😀 


Ok, so this feels weird! I don’t want to use the word ‘goodbye’ as we know this will NOT be the end! This is simply the beginning! I reckon, this first adventure was more about giving me the courage, the savvy, the ‘you CAN do this’ and almost the ‘what to expect whilst travelling’! It really is an amazing world out there and I’m SO so glad I grew a pair and stepped out of my comfort bubble to chase my dream.

I’ve seen and experienced things I could have only ever imagined and would have kept on imagining if I didn’t do anything about it! Anything is truly possible if you really want it! And that is exactly what I told those kids in the school in Thailand…I really believe that! Sounds mushy but follow your heart and do what makes you happy, do what gives you that thrill!

Instead of thumbing through the soggy pages of a National Geographic magazine (that I’d clearly drooled over) fantasizing over the many photos and articles from the comfort of the armchair wearing my fluffy bunny slippers…I felt as though I’d been transported to the middle of the jungle and had ditched the remote for a journal and Indiana Jones cap to become the editor haha! (Que any travel magazine employers out there hint hint!) I have loved each and every minute of it! The good, the bad and the ugly and well, the super seriously ugly! The ups and the downs, the cheers and the tears….it has ALL been so very worth it.

Thank you to each and every one of my friends and family for being there and keeping me going when I’ve needed that extra push the most…and of course thanks to all the wonderfully fab people who have chosen to follow my blog and my adventures too! Please keep me on your follow lists readdy for the next chapters! 😉

I hope I have also managed to aid any other travellers currently out there doing it or the people who are thinking of doing it and looking for ideas…just GO FOR IT! You will NOT regret it and don’t worry if you don’t have too much of a plan, just follow your heart and go where feels right…for sometimes the unplanned things are the greatest plans of all haha! And also a big shout out to each and every awesome person I’ve met along the way and much gratitude to the many friends and families out there who’ve extended the comforts of their own homes to me! I’ve met so many wonderful and kindhearted people and made life long friends – people that I will never forget! Thanks to all the travellers who have let me be part of their journeys too 😀

So, enough of all my waffling and until the next time….this has been Through Helen Highwater and by God, what an adventure and what a great beginning!

To be continued……………

*Awful computer game alarm then goes off….

Helen reaches a hand out from under the duvet and whacks alarm…..”Wow! What an amazing dream!!”

Back to the start!

Back to the start!

Haha! Just had to put this in for a laugh (My friend Simone will have a chuckle over this hehe!)

And just out of interest really;

End of Transmission

*Cue fuzzy radio noises! …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….


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The Thai of my life!

Yesss, I finally got a window seat for my flight to Bangkok! Although saying that, I felt kinda blue peering out of the window and watching Penang shrink into nothing more than a ‘toy town’ below! I was sad because I knew that Bangkok was to be the last destination. Now, each time I board a plane, it feels as though it’s bringing me closer to ‘that day’ when I finally have to step onto the last airport shuttle headed for Heathrow 😦

Phew! Ok, so I’ve touched down in Bangkok…again haha! But this time of course, it’s for the last time on this leg of my journey *sighs. But anyways, I was really looking forward to seeing my Thai pals and hanging out in the city once more. I know my way around and well, just where to hang out and let my hair down so I will be making the most of my final week or so.

I got through immigration and customs all ok and had another stamp bashed into my passport allowing me up to 30 days stay. Hey, hang on a minute, I tell you what…I managed to get through Penang security AND Bangkoks with a 2ltr bottle of water in my hand! How that happened I don’t know but hey, that could have been ‘bomb’ liquid for all they knew muwahahah! That’s never happened before…I normally get my water taken off me but not that time haha! Just a random observation…

My fab friend Ken (or Kendoll as I call him) offered to come and meet me at the airport which was sweet of him. He even assisted me with my luggage and getting me to my hotel which was great actually and it avoided hearing all the ‘Excuse me Miss, you want taxi’ etc. Once I’d checked in, we went straight to the movies! Well, I had some movies to catch up on hey lol! So we had some food and watched Gravity (which is FAB for anyone who loves their space movies!)

30 degrees of Rain!

Oh noooo! The rain’s followed me all the way from Penang! And it’s determined to scrub off all proof of the slight jaundice looking tan I’ve achieved right before I hit Heathrow haha! Nevermind. I wasn’t going to let the rain put me off having a good time either on my final week of being a free spirit!

I tell you what though…I love the rain abroad, it’s so warm! Who needs wellies when you can wade through the puddles in yer flip flops! * Sighs, if only the rain was like this in the UK…wet and warm haha! The only bummer is that yes, you still get really dirty feet haha. Sometimes I’d look down and think, ‘Huh, since when did I get black grubby toes!’ hah! So yup, I will miss the ‘hot rain’ 🙂

The Flower Market

My friend Kendoll told me about a Flower Market near Koh Sarn Road and asked me if I’d been there before. “No, I haven’t. I’d love to see it though before I leave Thailand” I excitedly replied. “Yes, it will be good for your pictures”. So Kendoll agreed to take me there and show me around. It was amazing, I loved it! Plus it was a brucey bonus having a local to hang out with and speak ‘Thai’ to everyone for me haha!

It was just gorgeous! I could see the market folk all setting up their stalls ready before the customers flocked…although saying that, it didn’t actually get all that busy but again, another bonus for me! I could see trucks delivering bags FULL of flowers! Some Thai words were exchanged from the drivers to the stall owners and they’d then drive off. I watched as the marketers then opened each bag and literally picked out flowers one by one and ‘arrange’ them either in glorious bouquets or just singly in their rows.

It was just fascinating to take a slow walk around and see stall upon stall, row upon row and bouquet upon bunch of flowers in every shape, size and variety! Oh and the smells….WOW! For once it disguised that Bangkok ‘stench’ that I had become all too familiar with haha! It wasn’t just a flower market….it was like walking through a perfume factory! Oh and the colours, you would not believe it but the sellers even decorated their stands with the flowers by colour! So red with red, pinks with pinks etc…now that must have taken forever but it was quite an impressive display.
I found a Rose stall and stood and watched for a few moments as the market lady picked out what looked like a dozen roses and bundled them up with speed. Can you believe, that a dozen red, pink or yellow roses were the equivalent to 1 English pound….yes 1 POUND! Everyone would be buying their Mums or lovers a huge lorry load of them if they were that price in the UK right? Although it would probably cause our roses to become extinct at the same time too!

Once the flower stalls diminished, new stalls were revealed with a different variety of produce to entice… Wow, fruit and vegetables! Most of the fruit and veg still seemed so foreign to me (of course) well, I mean, a lot of it I had now tried but to name them….ppfftt, forget it! Un-hygienically, the stall owners even let their pets crawl all over their produce! Hmm…2 cats and a puppy – if that happened in the UK, they’d probably get shut down! It was cute all the same though because I wasn’t IN the market for buying that evening haha!

Bo in the Big City

Yay, my friend Bo from the School in Nang Rong came all the way over to Bangkok just to see me and party one last time woo hoo. So Ken, Bo and I all went out for dinner as soon as she arrived. It was sooo good to see Bo and I immediately threw my arms around her when I spotted her getting off the train at Thailand Cultural Centre. “BO… are you! So good to seeya again!” I screeched! “HELEN! I missed you!” Awww….

After a huge (and of course, rather cheap) plate of salmon and veg, we had a walk around town before hitting the city centre. It was rather funny actually because we found some 3D paintings on the walls….you know, the kind that you stand in and it looks like you’re abouts to fall into a black hole or something when really it’s all an illusion! That was fun. After much mucking about of pretending we had angel wings or were surfing the ocean, we then caught a tuk tuk into the Big C itself…

One last hit…

We all hopped out the tuk tuk (and probably all looking rather windswept too!) and took a slow stroll around Koh Sarn Road.

“I can’t believe you’ve never been to Koh Sarn Road before Bo?!” I said, giving Bo a wide eyed look. It made me chuckle though…’Hah, an English gal showing a Thai national around her own city!’ hehe.

It was so amusing to see Bo’s face as we walked past the usual stands selling all the tat I’d seen many a time….the wooden ‘croaking’ frogs, the brightly sewn bracelets with every obscene word you can think of, the ‘slinky’ penises! And then there were the stalls selling the edible bugs – scorpians and tarantulas on sticks, the giant locusts, bowls of hot fried meal worms YUK! Oh and don’t forget the clothing stalls displaying T-shirts in vivid colours with slogans of ‘I love BKK’ or ‘Chang Beer’. And then there are the club promoters bombarding you as you walk past their bars….”Hello Miss, you come inside. Buy one get on free bucket” Oh my goodness…and how could I forget this…”Hello Miss, you want to see Ping pong show? Or how about a happy ending?” You have to laugh at it all really. But I’m also glad I saw and heard all of that and glad Bo experienced it too even if she did look kinda shocked (same as me the first time hah!) And again, you have to avoid the limbless beggers sitting in the middle of your path which of course, is horrific to see but I have been told they are professional beggers who have made a trip specially from Cambodia because Koh Sarn is where all the tourists go! You know, when we were walking around, I was thinking to myself; It’s kinda like….you have to experience the darker side to see it and believe it – believe that it all goes on so you can appreciate all of the good, the beautiful and the wonderful things of this world if that makes any sense!?

We were pacing in slow motion for a while and in silence for most of it because I wanted Bo to take it all in. After hearing the many chants of “Excuse me Miss” this and that and the constant flow of hard and heavy bass music mixing into softer tones of live acoustic Bob Marley to Green Day variations, we decided to hit a club….yup, the one and only ‘The Club Koh Sarn’. I laughed to myself again thinking ‘The amount of times I’ve stumbled out of this club hehe’ Well, it just had to be done one last time……

Heights, Flights and….Hangovers!

Yup! You guessed it! Bo, Ken and I all had a wicked night in ‘The Club’ on Koh Sarn that night. Bo and I were also loving mucking about with the free glowsticks you get given when you walk in which immediately makes you feel 12 again haha, funny that! It was also fun chatting to the many different nationalities and hearing about where people had been or where they were off to next… One guy from Dublin came and sat with us and immediately plonked down 3 shots on our table “Drink with me!” He slurred and then promptly hiccuped! “No no, you go ahead” I replied….I really didn’t fancy doing shots that night as I knew that would kill me! The Irish fella was harmless though, just way more drunk than we were haha. He downed all the shots, chatted to us for a bit and then……threw up right at our feet! GROSS! Shame really haha. What a conversation killer that was so yup, we moved away sharpish and left him for his mates to clean up hahaha!

Ok, so falling out the club at 4am we grabbed a cab back to our destinations. We weren’t that drunk (well, not as bad as the Irish dude that’s for sure) but we were at that ‘happy state’ lets say! “Oh my Buddha! I have to be up around 8-8.30am to get ready for my flight!!” Stumbling with my words was a sure sign I needed to hit the hay….well, the TIME was a sure sign I needed to hit the hay hahah! Saying our goodbyes, we all headed our separate ways.

As soon as my head hit the pillow….well, actually, I can’t remember that bit but I do remember the horrid video game alarm of mine going off at a most unholy time! “Oh nooooo!” I groaned but miraculously was up, out and in a cab to the airport to catch my final flight to KL. I was feeling dehydrated, a little nauseous and ached from all the dancing we did the night before. But above all of that, I felt sad and had to fight my watery eyes from actually turning into waterfalls haha!

Finally boarding the plane to KL, I sat and watched the air crews usual safety routine of ‘what to do if’ and then sat staring out the window (yay, another window seat!) whilst listening to the tones of my ipod playing ‘One day I’ll fly away’. The rain outside was hitting the window (another symbolic moment hah!) as I stared blankly out into the distance. I then watched the run way lines gradually speed up and up until they became one continuous line….then the ‘G-force’ facelift feeling hit and we were up! Once more, I watched the airport, the buildings, the roads and cars all turn into nothing more than a ‘toy town’ below. It was almost as though the higher the plane went, the more ‘fake’ the toy town below became hah! Nausea crept over me once more and reminded me how much of a blast I’d had with my friends just hours before! Heavy eyelids encouraged me to make use of the 3hrs ‘free time’ to sleep the hangover off so I gave in resisting and soon drifted off into a sweet slumber…

“Hello Miss….MISS? Can you please open the window shutter” That must have been the 2nd or 3rd time the air hostess had muttered those words to me but the nudge from the person in the middle seat abruptly brought me back to ‘reality’ when they interrupted my slumber with their pointy elbow! “Sorry! Are we landing now?” I stuttered. “Yes, we are now arriving at Kuala Lumpur” Came the reply. “Great stuff!” I tried to sound enthusiastic but I was kinda blue knowing that actually, this was to be my final 3 days before heading home!!

I found the shuttle bus to my hotel straight away and was soon on my way to ‘hibernation’! No, I won’t really be locking myself away for 3 days but I am looking forward to taking it easy and catching up with some telly etc…oh and MTV, who’s at number 1 right now, I have no idea haha? I will also be looking forward to catching a few of my Malaysian pals too and seeing what they are up to.

I will also have to think about what I’m going to do with my blog right? 😦 I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this but I guess I won’t have a lot to write about until the next time I explore the world and believe me, this is just the beginning (until I save up again!) Now I know I can do it, I have well and truly been bitten by this beautiful bug and I don’t intend to stop now! 😀

But this post isn’t the last one, don’t worry! I still have another one in me yet but that one may be coming to your screens from the good old UK!

So thanks again Thailand and for giving me the Thai of my life! 😉

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