I’m finally back home, in my comfortable bed, typing this blog. It’s been about two months since I actually sat and talked with people who spoke fluent english (or at least whatever version of fluent english I spoke). It feels great to be back home, especially since it means I get to eat home cooked food again (something I definitely missed!) My entire Asian trip, however, is definitely something I plan to never forget! I’m so glad that I was given the chance, the opportunity, to travel and work. It made me feel more certain about my field of study, and that’s always a good feeling to have. It also showed me a new side of myself, one that was able to keep working, despite some of the awkward or strange road blocks I encountered.
Sure, this blog might seem a little haphazard, but then again which of my blogs aren’t? I figured I’d try write a brief (haha, I’m sure it’ll be short) overview of my trip, and some of the amazing things that I managed to do. I also intend (as in if I get off my lazy butt, then one dayI might) to put photos from this trip onto my photoblog, we’ll just have to wait and see for now.
The trip started off as me applying to, and getting accepted for an internship position at a start up web site company in Jakarta. I knew that my cousin was getting married in July (his wedding is this week, I can’t believe how soon it is!), and so I had to be back home in time for that. This meant that I would be able to work at the job for about 2 months, and fit some travelling in this time as well. And travel I did!
I first flew to Jakarta, and started working there pretty quickly. After two weeks of work, the country had a public holiday which meant a long weekend – perfect for a quick weekend getaway. I decided to travel to Bali, on the Island of Denpasar. If you read my last blog post, you’d know about the little detour I took to Balikpapan. I don’t feel like humiliating myself again by describing those events again here, but it does make for an interesting story 🙂 Once I finally made it to Bali, I had a wonderful time! I signed up for a tour of the whole Island, where I got to see some temples, have lunch overlooking the beautiful volcano, and learn more about the traditions of Bali. I was honestly shocked at how much influence the Indian religions (particularly Hinduism) had effected religion and traditions in Bali, and it was a pleasant surprise.
The next day, I had a White Water Rafting adventure! I was so excited! I’ve tried rafting on smaller rapids in Kenya, and was hoping to have a bigger challenge. Plus I was doing it all by myself (as in not going with anyone I knew). I had such a blast! The only downside was the 1500 stairs we had to climb up and down to get to the river. Needless to say, I could hardly walk the next day. On my last day in Bali, I walked around the area I lived in, bought a few souvenirs, and made my way to the beach. It truly was something to look at. I then returned back to Jakarta, and back to my job, haha.
I worked for two more weeks, enjoying everything that Jakarta had to offer! I finally knew enough Indonesian to easily get around the city, and had a blast. One of the visa rules in Indonesia is that you can only get a visitor visa (the type I was using) for 30 days. In order to extend the visa, you had to leave the country and come back. So this, naturally, meant that I could go on another little mini-adventure. I decided to head north to Singapore, since I have a friend living there. We had a great time going shopping on Great Ormond Street, visiting China Town (and buying a lot of souvenirs) and so many more things! It was also really nice to hang out with my friend and her family, and their two adorable little dogs! I was in Singapore for about 4 days, and then headed back to Jakarta again for more work.
This time I stayed in Jakarta until the end of my job. So that was about a month of working, which I really didn’t mind. There were a lot of places to go to in Jakarta, and things to explore, so I was really looking forward to exploring the city a bit more. I tried more of the local cuisine, learnt some more Indonesian, and had a great time! There was even the Jakarta Computer Festival where the convention centre was filled with 100 different computer stores, and all the great things that they had to offer! (As a tech geek, this naturally made me ecstatic!)
Finally, Friday June 29th came around, and my last day of work was finished. I had to get back to the place I stayed at, and pack quickly so that I could check out at 2:00 am, in time to get to the airport for my 5:00am flight. I was off to Bangkok baby! Unfortunately the direct flight to Bangkok wasn’t at a good time, so I went via Malaysia. I was literally in Malaysia for all of 20 minutes – the amount of time it took for me to get off the plane, walk the 2 metres to the next gate, go through the security check again, and walk onto the next flight. I wish I had had more time, as I would have loved to visit Malaysia.
I finally reached Bangkok around 10:30am, and had to get to the bus terminal, since I was taking a bus to Pattaya. Pattaya, incase you haven’t been there (or know what it is) is a beach city. It’s become a huge tourist attraction, so many of the souvenirs were now “european prices” or really expensive! Haha. I spent my first afternoon walking around and getting to know the city. It was pretty cool! The next day I went for an Elephant ride through the jungle in the morning, and an even more amazing ATV ride through the jungle in the afternoon. This was definitely one of my favourite activities, since I got to drive my own ATV (or quadbike) around the jungles of Pattaya. In my group there was me, a french couple, and the guide. The man from the french couple was a professional Jet Ski racer, and had driven ATV’s before. I felt a huge sense of pride when he got stuck in one of the cracks on our path, but I managed to manoeuvre through it 🙂
That night, I went for a traditional show in Pattaya – it’s known as the transvestite show, and I must say my mind was blown! The entire production was done by males, but the eloquence of the dresses and makeup easily fooled you into thinking they were girls. I definitely recommend it if you’re ever going out and about for something in Pattaya.
Then I was headed back to Bangkok. I only had a few hours after I checked into my hotel, so I went to one of the famous malls they have to look around and get my bearings of the city. The next day I had booked a pretty intense all day tour. We went to the floating market first, which is a market system set up on canals – you could hire out a boat to take you around, and bargain with shop owners to buy souvenirs and other things. It was a lot of fun! In the afternoon was probably my second favourite touristy activity. We went to the Tiger Temple, where they keep about 130 tigers. We got to pose with about 8 different tigers while the staff took pictures. After that, I found the 6 month old tiger – it was so adorable and I’ll definitely try add some pictures of it soon! After I played with that tiger, they put on a little show where they feed some of the other tigers, and you could get a picture taken next to it as well if you wanted. I have this amazing shot of me with this huge tiger standing over me!
My last real day in Bangkok, I went on a temple tour to visit three of the more famous temples in Bangkok. We visited the golden buddha temple – which houses a buddha made of 5.5 tonnes of gold. We then went to the lying down buddha – 15m high and 25 or 30m long. It was beautiful! And finally we went to the marble temple, made entirely of imported marble from Italy. In the afternoon I did one of the most popular things in Bangkok. I shopped! I didn’t have a lot of space in my bag at this point, (and ironically I still had a lot of my trips budget left… hmm…) but I did buy some jewelry, and a beautiful handbag for myself, as well as some other gifts.
Finally, I had my flight back home – from Bangkok to Nairobi (Kenya) via Dubai. The flights were relatively uneventful. I pretty much just slept and read my book (The Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin). Then I got home, and was greeted by about 30 wonderful faces saying hello 🙂 Made me feel awesome and loved!
A tradition in my family, whenever anyone comes home from a long trip, is to open the bags and look at what they’ve bought recently (give gifts to my sister). I spent a good hour going through everything in my bag, and giving my sister all of her gifts. I probably spent double the amount of money on her, than I did on myself. I bought her a locket necklace, which she’s wanted for years, as well as about 10 other necklaces and some really nice bracelets as well. The biggest gift I got for her was a Classic Chanel bag – she’s wanted it for three years, and I thought it’s about time someone got one for her. She’s just turned 18, and graduated from high school, so it all seemed right!
I could go on talking about how much I love her, but I doubt many of you would be interested in that… So I’ll end this “brief” blog post now. I had such an amazing time over the last two months, and expect the next few weeks to be just as crazy, what with my cousins wedding at the end of the week, and more travelling to follow that.
Don’t forget about Enchant Me Not’s second birthday contest! You need to make a birthday card that features Stan, and then can earn a few extra entries using the RaffleCopter. Read this post for more information – the contest will now end a week later, on the 16th of July.