Posts Tagged With: Twin Towers

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…..here 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! 😀 

Finale!

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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Markets and marriages!

Hey! So, not even been here for a week (typing this on Monday morning) and already feels like I’ve been here for ages! Time is whizzing by over here.

So where do I start? I think when I left you all last I was getting ready to visit a market (Friday morning) to get me a Baju to wear for the Malaysian wedding on Saturday. First up, we head to the local cafe for breakfast..here I have something which looks like a soft naan bread with a small pot of spicy sauce (yep, gotta get used to the spice, there’s a lot of it!) along with an orange juice…uh oh..ice…there I am scooping it all out and chucking it on the floor ignoring the funny looks I’m getting! Then it’s off to the market!

The market is full of people all looking for a bargin, including myself of course. It felt like we were walking around for hours looking for the perfect Baju. I did find a lovely pink satin one but it had a nasty stain on the front, the shop keeper said I could have it for 45 Ringgits instead of 50 but we thought we’d try one more shop before giving in! Uh Oh, what’s that noise? A horrible screeching old hag sound…..Everyone looks down at my bag! Oh no, it’s Alisha, Shazreen’s little girl has pulled the tag out from my personal alarm! So funny! Well, at least we know it works! So tag back in…we promptly left that stall haha! Finally, found a gorgeous red and black one and it fits great! Feels so nice to wear, nice and airy in this heat! So I picked that one up for 50 Ringgits which is about a tenner! Then I found some flip flops to wear underneath, ok, so they’re pink but I can’t be fussy as there didn’t seem to be much choice on offer but then the Baju is so long, no one will notice it hah!

So with the Baju sorted, it’s now off for lunch at the mall…chicken and rice, nice! After this, we then visited  KL’s National Monument and also stopped at KL’s Twin Towers.

Saturday 2nd March – The Wedding!

Wow, what a busy day! Saturday morning we were all up at 7am and out by 8am. First stop, Shazreen’s Husbands parents house for early lunch. What a nice bunch of people! They didn’t really speak any english but words were not needed for them to make me feel so very welcomed. We had a nice lunch of rice and chicken followed by a very sweet tasting tea. It’s funny because they are used to eating with their hands but they offered me a spoon for my rice and asked Shazreen if this was the first time I’d eaten rice before haha! They were also curious to know why I wasn’t married at my age hah! After lunch, I got changed into my Baju and it felt great! Right, time to head off to the Malaysian wedding! On the way out of the rents house, we’re saying our goodbyes and there on the wall sits a monkey!! “OMG, it’s a monkey!!” haha…again, it’s like I’ve never seen one before, well, only in the zoo of course but jeez a real life monkey casually chilling out in the front garden! Shazreen said they are dangerous as they bite so I’m quick to get a few snaps before we get in the car!

Wow, so we’ve arrived at the wedding and my god it is so hot! With dewy faces, we all go in to meet everyone. The wedding is actually outside but under a canopy / gazebo or whatever it is called but that doesn’t seem to keep the heat at bay. We walk in and it feels like all eyes are on me…being the pasty looking english, it was probably a bit of a shock for them all hah! Shazreen said it is a privilege for me to be invited to a Muslim wedding but also for them to have someone ‘different’ attend! So tradition is you go straight into the house to meet the bride and wish her well…first up, you greet the family and shake their hands, then you are ushered in to the brides bedroom to meet her. Wow, she looks stunning in her pink and white Baju wedding dress! The bride mentions something to Shazreen…”Is she French?!”  haha…no no! From the good ole’ UK. She allows me to have my photo taken with her before leaving the room. Again, you pass the family on the way out but they hand you 3 gifts…a hard boiled egg presented in a decorative pouch, a small glass bowl with chocolate dipped strawberries inside and a bag of small snacks like crisps etc. And before you ask, the hard-boiled egg denotes healthy children and new beginnings. So the music begins, drumming and chanting as the groom arrives at the house. The groom waits at the front of the house by the gates and the bride will come out and meet him…then they walk back into the house together. The actual wedding is fairly similar in the fact they exchange vows and then cut the cake but the bride and groom will feed each other – their first meal together. Then afterwards we all eat together in the garden – I had beef and noodle soup and chrysanthemum tea! We all signed their good luck card before leaving…I’m wondering if I should sign in Malay so instead I put…”Good Luck from the English girl, Helen!” I’m guessing that way they will remember me hah!

After the wedding

So after the wedding it’s a long drive back home to pack our overnight bags as we are staying at Shazreens Dads house. Omg, I wonder if he will remember me! I’m a bit nervous but looking forward to it too. Once we’re there, we pull up outside some electric gates and pull up on the drive. Wow, yes, they are remember me and I remember them too apart from the younger sister! So we’re all chatting about my stay in Malaysia and start the BBQ…chicken, lamb and sausages. I crashed about 10pm as it had felt a really long day for me and the heat once again, beat me to resigning in for bed! In the morning we had some brekkie. Now forgive me for the way I’m abouts to describe this but there is no other way I can hah…brekkie consisted of a sugary donut, a small chewy green ball covered in coconut shavings with a brown liquid centre (which I was told was brown sugar) along with something that looked like a white gel…inside of this was a green coloured gel…tasted ok actually but all I can describe this as was very sweet! I left the green chewy ball thingie as I wasn’t keen on this so washed it all down with a hot chocolate!

So we say our goodbyes and then go off to visit the local forest although we get there to find it’s closed for renovating! So plan B, we then head for KL to visit KL’s Tower at Menara Place. Wow, the tower is HUGE! One of the tallest communication towers in the world. On the way in, we see traditional dancers, souvenir shops, food stalls oh and an animal zoo place…outside of this, you can have your photo taken with an Iguana for 2 RM’s which is about 50p so of course, was rude not to haha….I know my Dad will love that one haha!

Inside the tower you literally get in the lift, zoom to the top with your ears a’ popping as it’s so high and admire the view! You can pretty much see the whole of KL up here!!

Then back down we go to hit the mall for some lunch…mmm Thai noodles and chicken for about a quid 75! Right, now it’s time to hit China Town!!

China town is a great place! Very very busy, full of tourists! Have actually seen quite a few English people! Being typically british, we just exchange a smile but no words are spoken hah! Also seen a few fellow back-packers…hmmm…their packs look smaller than mine, maybe I’m carrying too much! Oh well, I’ll worry about that when I am actually on the road in 3wks time!!

So China Town is a bit like (and for those of you who know it) a HUGE Blackbushe market! Plenty of bargins and a mix of fake watches, perfumes and so called designer gear! There are an array of smells, some nice, some not so nice but your nose soon adjusts and ‘deals’ with it!

“You want DVD? I got DVD. Come to my shop, I got shop” Yes, they really do sound like the character from FoneJacker (again, a reference for those who know it!) This is actually pretty annoying, around every corner of the market you are approached for ‘Dvds’..you actually have to be straight to the point or else they start to follow you. Shazreen and I did laugh because one of the men thought we were following him but we managed to slip down a side alley and fox him haha, was quite funny actually! So being polite really doesn’t wash in this place, if you show any ‘niceness’, it’s almost like a vulture spotting an easy meal….so it’s ok to shout no hah!

So I purchase a baggy Hawaiian looking shirt for about a quid 75.  It’s far too hot out here to be wearing tight fitting clothes so I think I will buy some more like this and ditch all my tops along the way!

Phew, righto..I will log off for now but message again when I have the chance to get back online. Not sure what the plans are from here but I know one evening we will be visiting KL Twin Towers at night as they are all lit up so that will be an experience. We may also try visit an Orang Utan centre if it’s not too far!

Laters, Hels Bels x

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