We have just stayed at Tassia lodge for what can only been described as one of those magical places that stays hidden unless recommended. We stayed for three days but wished it was longer and meet some really nice people.
The Matthews (or Mathews) Range, also known as the Lenkiyio Hills, is a range of mountains about 150km long, orientated north-south in the Laikipia district of the Rift Valley Province in northern Kenya.
Just finished the cover to my friends second book. If you would like to purchase a copy please click here.
Last week we found out that we’ll be returning to the UK in November, Mandy has a promotion which means we’re on the move again. Not the most ideal time of year to be heading home especially as it’s 32 deg here everyday and the start of the winter months in the UK. It will be nice to see our friends and family after being away for the past 8 years.
We have family visiting at the moment. Hamish and Rachael arrived from Miri, Borneo late last evening after a few weeks of travelling to Lombok, Bali, and a few other Indonesian islands. We very much hope they enjoy their stay with us in Malaysia.
It’s been just under two weeks since I arrived back from a holiday in Western Sumatra, Indonesia. We stayed on a small island called Cubadak and it was pure heaven
The journey to Cubadak started from home in Kuala Lumpur leaving by taxi tp LCCT our local airport. It was then onto a plane for a short flight to Padang airport to be meet by a minibus that took us to the port where we jump onto a speedboat to the island.
The journey from Padang airport to the island is this amazing road trip that passes everything from paddy fields to goat, chickens and dogs, the goats, chickens and dogs are mere obstacles for the motorbikes, cars and vans to dodge.
When we finally arrived at the small port it was just a quick speedboat ride and we arrived at what can only be described has HEAVEN ON A BEACH for the next 12 days. Our days were spent reading, swimming, snorkelling, sunbathing and just watching the world pass us by. Included in the price of your stay are three fantastic meals a day. All meals are spent eating together on long tables with the other guest, by the way I’m not talking hundreds of guests; probably 30 to 35 from all walks of life and with one thing in common and that was to relax and enjoy the environment. Most of the people staying at Cubadak were from Italy or France with the odd Brit thrown in.
Our hosts for the 12 night stay were Nanni who started Cubadak about 20/25 years ago I believe. Then there was Dominique and Marc., Marc is the diving instructor with a very professional attitude to diving and Dominique is the lady that looked after us all and answering any questions about our stay.
Most of the people that stayed on the island went diving most days but we just lazed around the island and snorkelled off the jetty, the fish were amazing, in two weeks I see three turtles or it may have been one that just kept coming back, some dolphins and umpteen amounts of the most colourful fish.
Back on land there were Monkeys, Lizards, Hornbills plus a whole array of other birds.
My time was spent reading and I managed to get through two books, The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and Dear Fatty by Dawn French, my wife managed three books. Also we both only ever had flip flops on our feet or nothing at all, fab!
If you want to get away from it all and forget about the world for a few weeks, Cubadak is the place to go www.cubadak-paradisovillage.com
I’ve just returned after a trip back to the UK to see both sides of our families. This is always an epic journey because my wife’s family are from South Wales and mine are in Nottingham.
This trip was a little bit like the film trains, planes and automobiles. The trip started with a short one hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and then a thirteen hour flight from Singapore to London Heathrow and then finally a four hour coach ride to Bridgend, Wales where I would be meet by a family member who delivered me twenty minutes later to my final destination, a family lunch to celebrate my mother-in-laws 80th birthday.
On paper this all looks nice and simple but if you tear away the top layer what really happened was the flight from KL to Singapore was all on schedule and I arrived with plenty of time to wonder Changi airport shopping and drinking coffee. The flight that was leaving from Singapore to London was delayed about 1 hour 30 minutes and by the time everyone was packed on board it was totally full to the rafters and bursting at the seems all thanks to British Airways cancelling an earlier flight. If all went well and the pilot would manage to make up some of the time on the way over I should have about 2 hours to get my bags and poodle on over to the coach station. The flight actually got me into Heathrow with about 50 minutes to get through passport control collect my bags and then catch the coach. it all sounds easy but when my bags finally come off the conveyer belt I only had 20 minutes to get to the coach station and I’m not even sure where it is but Mandy my wife tells me its pretty central. It’s now all a mad rush and I’m running like lunatic being chased by the “Mad Axe Man”
Now believe it or not I did manage to catch the coach, it was all on time and yes I did have a great family lunch with the family. Throughout this journey I was probably puffing and blowing and complaining to myself like hell about airlines, baggage and passport control not to mention everyone dilly dallying about when your in a hurry, but to be truthful I’m just lucky to live somewhere at the end of the day where everything worked and I travelled eight thousand miles from a city in South East Asia and arrived in a small costal town in Wales to eat lunch with my family. How wonderful and lucky we are.
There is a part two to this story and that’s the return leg but that’s for another day!
Bangkok is just a two-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur by air Asia the low cost airline that fly’s out of Malaysia. My wife Mandy normally travels to Bangkok three or four times a year on business and if I’m free I will usually try and tag along on one of her trips.
The Thai people are a lovely mannered nation and are always very courteous and polite but like in most Asian countries “yes doesn’t always mean yes” and this you will see when trying to get a taxi somewhere. On a previous visit it took me three different taxis to get to a temple I wanted to photograph and that was just from the hotel lobby this time I gave up and walked to the sky train after trying to get back to my hotel.
Mandy mentioned to me a few months back after she had returned from one of her visits how loud and vibrant Bangkok was and how Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are so toned down. On this visit I took what she had said and my wife was right, when walking around Bangkok I started to notice all these amazing smell and noises that hit the senses, it was just amazing. The one other thing that catches you every now and again are the drains and boy can they stop you dead in your tracks.
There are so many things that I could write about Thailand but I’ll save them for another time. The one thing I can say is that “I love Bangkok”. What a fab city.
Kuala Lumpur like so many cities around the world is rapidly changing but for me KL is going in the wrong direction with no thought for infrastructure to sustain the people and cars that now live where small houses once stood. So many high rise buildings are going up and what was once a beautiful city with fantastic old colonel houses is slowly being turned into a concrete jungle and I’m sad to say that I live in one of these mighty monsters.
I can’t see when things are going to stop. With each skyscraper that goes up you are given three car parking spaces, the roads now ferry concrete mixers and lorries and like a heavy smoker the veins of the city are slowly being clogged with heavy traffic.
The city of KL has an underground system and a sky-train that I bet cannot be accessed by 70% of the city. If you want to go to a restaurant you have to take a taxi or drive and with climate change a major issue on the political scene more apartment blocks mean more people and more people mean more cars. When is this ever going to end!
At this time of year with November 11th approaching we reflect on past and present conflict around the world. On Wednesday 11th November 2009 it will be 91 years since the end of WW1 the war to end all wars. With such loss of life that the UK and it’s allies suffered and the pain and suffering the families went through what have we learnt, in 91 years not much apart from the complete disregard for the young lives that were wasted and are still being wasted for such small gains seems unbelievable today. We enjoy our freedom today because of their sacrifices.
The reason for writing these lines are that at present I’m reading a book by Harry Patch. Harry was the last surviving veteran of the trenches; sadly Harry has since passed away. The book is called The Last Fighting Tommy and is an autobiography of an amazing mans life.
Harry was born in Combe Down not far from Bath in 1898 and the book tells the remarkable story of life in the trenches and what it was like to live through the Second World War and then on to old age.
We live in a world where instant communication tells us what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and we see on TV brave soldiers being brought home to be laid to rest, why have we not learnt from two world wars.
Please go and buy this book, the proceeds go towards buying lifeboats for the RNLI but that’s not the reason for buying it.
The ISBN code is 987-0-7475-9336-2