And For Our 999th Day of Travel, I Get Lost in Bali

Hullo readers. I am in Bali writing about how I got lost. If you would like a post on my recent surgery, see mum’s blog as it is an EMBARASSING CHILDHOOD CONDITION and I would prefer not to write about it. But I will write about this one time today when I got lost.
It started with dinner. We went to Pizza Bagus to have… guess guess guess… PIZZA! And a good pizza it was too. Pizza Bagus is quite a walk away from our hotel, and when mum went for a pee I sat outside the deli window. This prove to be a bad idea.
Mum, upon leaving the loo, looked around for a second and then informed the waitresses that she was going and that they should tell me she had left for the hotel. I, upon hearing the news, set off towards our hotel. I had no idea where to go. I was miffed.
My irritation soon gave way. It’s not fun being lost and I just wanted to be back. So I kept walking. And walking. Then I met some nice ladies who were conveniently rather curious as to why I was walking around without a parent to follow me.
I asked them where monkey forest road was. They pointed. I asked again, with extra emphasis on the “road”. Same. Huh, I thought.There was some animated conversation. They asked me where I was staying. I told them. More animated conversation.
Then they put me on a motorbike and took me to my hotel’s restaurant. There I had to wander back to the hotel, frequently asking directions. You see, small hotel chains are all over Ubud. Things like Artini 1, 2, 3, restaurant and mini-mart are rather common.
So when I got dropped off at the restaurant, I then had to find the (rather well-concealed) Gayatri 2 bungalows. Then I got back here and had to write this post. <.< THE. END.

Windsurfing, Waterfalls, Lidl

So, I did some windsurfing. I’m now a self-proclaimed self-proclaimed competent windsurfer. It’s cool, cause you don’t have to rely on waves being huge and you can fall off the board and not get washing-machined. Or dashed on the rocks. Because, as the name suggests, you windsurf with a sail.
Yess, with a sail. So I have to get it in at the right time, with the right size sail, etc. Too big a sail and it’s too heavy, too small and you won’t move. As I weigh only 30 kg, my sail is a measly 2.5 meters. Largest one I know of? 6.5, I think.
It’s quite hard work, holding the sail up, turning it against the wind, holding it straight, etc. Even for a sail only 2.5 meters long. But it’s fun. Exhausting fun. But I wasn’t exhausted enough to be incapable of waterfall climbing. No, it was not a big waterfall.
No, it was not a fast waterfall, not slippery and not particularly steep. But it was fun. And in the end, that’s what life is for. And once we, as a species, have it all worked out -matter generation, infinite energy, reality altering, time travel, FTL, etc.- it’ll all be about happiness.
Last off, we saw a turtle in the road. Tortle. Whatevs. No, I will not describe a Greek Lidl. 拜拜!

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A Skinny Kid Goes Down The Coldest River In Greece

Bloody hell, that was a right mouthful. Yes, I am in Greece. Cradle of Western civilisation, Cradle of Democracy pretty much worldwide, and cradle of EU-wide economic crisis. First off: Lesvos. Oh yes, Lesvos.
Lesvos, also known as Lesbos, is the island that gave rise to the term lesbian. No, they were not all gay. It’s just that there was an allegedly female (though in actual fact quite possibly male) poet who went around writing love poems to other women.
Actually quite a nice place. Although one has to wonder why the mannequins in the United Colours of Benetton’s display window were all completely naked. Oh, and the male dolls had rather painstakingly etched penises. With testes attached.
Next? Athens. The Cradle of Democracy. No, we did not see any riots. We went straight through to the bus station. And now we come to the place we’re staying now. My grandparents’ holiday home! It’s in a nice mountain village called Tseria.
Now, on the subject of Greece’s coldest river. It’s a mountain stream! See, in the winter snow collects on the peaks of mountains. Then in spring the snow melts. Yes, I know it’s early autumn but there’s still a bit of water.
Anyway, you can watch my pathetic attempts at body boarding it here:

http://youtu.be/p1K483vtCb8

BAIBAI!

Ehrmagerd, No More Ruins

Good day. Or night, depending on where you are. I am in the Turkish town of Seljuk (spelled S-E-L-C-with-a-squiggly-thing-underneath-it-U-K) after coming from Kurshadasi (sh is a substitute for s-with-the-squiggle since squiggles act as an h for s or c) where we met our friends from Singapore (name withheld) and did stuff with them.
I should mention that none of the stuff we did involves nasty, boring ruins. We went to Adaland Aquapark. Oh yes we did. And a few beaches. And the Cave of Zeus. That was FREEZING. I came out shivering. See, the Cave of Zeus has a pool sheltered from sunlight by the cave at all times. I cannonballed in THREE times. Oh and we lounged by the pool at our hotel (we splurged on our budget ’cause we’d booked).
So pretty cool. Now we’re in Seljuk mum made us go to Ephesus, another set of ruins which, frankly, I did not like. I was not impressed. ENOUGH RUINS ALREADY! But anyway, tomorrow we’re going to another water park and I can forget all about ruins. =D
So bye.

Dead Sea, Dead Stingy

Hi readers. Today I have ticked off my list yet another world attraction that everybody (except me) wants to see. Reading the title, I rather hope everyone knows this is about the Dead Sea. ‘Cause it is. I didn’t actually want to go, thinking that it was less salty (and therefore less buoyant) than the salt lake in Siwa. It wasn’t.

I have to warn you, the water in the Dead Sea is very rich in minerals, some of which sting. A lot. It also feels very oily. You see, the Dead Sea is not seawater. It’s a mix of water, salt, magnesium, sulphur and other crap. Because of this stinging mix, many beaches have showers. Ours (free, not like the crappy Ein Gedi Spa) had springs.

To be honest with you, I spent about ten minutes (maximum) in the Dead Sea –and even then I was mainly lobbing the mud at mum. Oh yes, the mud. The blackish stuff is used as a beauty product in the spas, thanks to the aforementioned minerals. I am in Palestine, BTW. Somehow we got across the border with Lebanese stamps in our passports.

The Israeli border, that is. Israel has controlled Palestine since 1948, when the two countries went to war. The Palestinians refer to the invasion as “The Catastrophe” and think of it as their own Holocaust. Frankly, I think that’s pathetic and self-centered. After all, they started it, they fully intended to massacre everyone, and it’s not as if any pogroms were carried out.

Make up your own mind. One last thing: if you should see a road sign pointing to the “Lowest Place on Earth, don’t go. It’s a sham set up by the aforementioned crappy spa. They’ll charge you 10 Shekels to go to what they tell you is just a sign. It’s not even a sign. It’s a boring, dirty beach full of people. Again, though, make up your own mind.

Bai! 😀

And Out of Lebanon

I’m not even going to bore you with a “hello, readers” today. So a happy Wednesday to you all! I have left –to the joy of our longsuffering budget– Lebanon. Were you even aware I was there? Whatever. But yes, I was in Lebanon. Mum is still there. I’m in London.
Yes, I’m in London. But the post is about Lebanon. So here we go. Please sit through my crap. We started our tour in Beirut. It’s incredibly cosmopolitan, in some parts. It’s also been bombed flat. Again, only in parts.
The bomb craters are thanks to Israel, who fought the local terrorists Islamist freedom fighters, the Hezbollah (more on that later). First thing after that? Byblos. At 7000 years of people dwellers, this place is wrestling for the title of oldest continuously inhabited town in Lebanon.
It’s full of ruins from Roman temple to Crusader castle. I’ve had enough ruins for now, thank you very much. NEXT! A huge 60,000m2 complex at Mleeta, nicknamed Hezbollah Land. They were very artistic with it, landscaping artillery, tanks and –too many for comfort—Israeli helmets.
Good so far, right? Yep, right up until they claimed that the victory against Israel was for the good of all humanity. Victory against Israel = Good for humanity, bad for Israel. Therefore, Israel must not be human. That really blew it for me.
Last of all, Tyre. Roman ruins. AGAIN. Good ones, but what I really enjoyed was the New Town. I cannot write about nor see any more ruins for a good long while. And yes, this is the end of the post.

Car Crash 1

Hello readers! Today I have decided to write a blog post. Why? Look at the title. What does it say? Car Crash 1. That’s right, I’ve had my first car crash. And no, I wasn’t driving. Nor (to her credit) was mum. No, our driver was a Bedouin smuggler (whose name I can’t, shan’t and won’t spell) who accidentally drove his 4×4 into a hole at 30mph. To his credit, we were the 11th car or tuk-tuk (yes, they have those in Egypt) to crash into the hole. And it was at night.

It’s a weird process. One second I was sitting in a seatbelt-free Land Rover, the next I was flying and then mum cannoned into me and my jaw struck the headrest. Then, when I came back to my senses, I was curled up on the floor of the car (I think). DON’T WORRY! I’m fine. The headrest was cushioned and took the impact. I am okay. Mum, however, was in a somewhat different state. I’m sure she has a post on her site, but here’s my take.

When mum woke up (according to her) she felt what she thought was cold water down her face. It was blood. Her head had smashed the window. She’s fine now, although she did have concussion. She slept that off, and all she has left is a headache. U wear seat belts now u hear me!? Lol. Uh, okay, so just read mum’s one cause I have run out of  words ink for my typewriter.

Damnit, Alex!

Heyo! Today I am going to relate to you my experience of the Library of Alexandria. No, not the old one, you twit. The new one. It’s a cool piece of architecture. It’s called the Sun Disc, and it has earned its title because a) it’s disc shaped, b) it reflects the sun and c) because it has the spherical Planetarium “orbiting” it (e.g Earth).

Now, into greater detail. It’s a very efficient design, covered in windows with little “eyelashes” to keep the dust off, but they still clean it daily. It has little bits of coloured glass around the eyes, symbolising (apparently) land and water. Inside, it’s less child-friendly. There is a children’s library and an art gallery. The rest is out of bounds.

I mean, it’s all very well if you’re reading 100-page books and stuff like that, but for a boy who’s read an Iain M. Banks novel? No. I only got a peek of their impressive archives (sporting a military-level supercomputer and a huge internet database) while on a guided tour. How sad. Other than that, great place.

Nah nah nah na naa naaah 2: On a felucca

Yup. A felucca. Bet you don’t even know what that is. The spellchecker doesn’t, so I’ll tell ye. A felucca is like a sailing boat. A small-ish one, and (naturally) cheap (to a point). But that is all about whether you take the return trip, the captain, whether you’re a derp, etcetera. We paid about 2000 Egyptian pounds (derp price). I do feel somewhat embarrassed about it, though. The price, I mean.

Right, new paragraph. On the first day we set off and I was very excited. There’s some goodly fun to be had on said sailing vessel. For the well-heeled traveller, there are Dahabiyyas (literally meaning golden boats). I don’t really like them ’cause they get tugged (no matter what the Lonely Planet cretins say) by a very noisy little boat that has a habit of spoiling the atmosphere. Although, they do have good accommodation.

They also have generators (probably also noisy). And a restaurant on top. But I would rather go on the somewhat more charming Sudan (I had the privilege of seeing it in action), Egypt’s last functioning paddle steamer. That, I think, is much nicer as the noise is a part of the atmosphere, not an intrusion on it. I feel sorry for people who pay their life’s savings for a Dahabiyya and spend the duration being tugged.

Gosh, this is getting to be a mini guide to Nile boating, isn’t it? Anyway, bottom of the list are cruise ships. There are some good (and pricey) ships out there, travelling solo, but the majority travel in convoys of 3 to 6 and look like warped renditions of Soviet prison ships. Um, so that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m in the midst of a f**king huge sandstorm (no relevance to the post), and I wish you all

Good luck and smooth sailing!

Ozymandias and the cheesy light show

Hello again! Today I am reporting from Abu Simbel (the village next to the Great Temple of Ramses II). I’m in a really laid-back place and all, and it has (obviously) got internet. So, we’ve gone to the Great Temple of R-2 (Ramses II) to see the sound and light show. Today we’ll be going back to see it in the daytime. As for the light show, it was… pretty cheesy, actually. Yup, I’m about to launch into a description. *Dramatic music*

It starts with slightly choppy thunder sounds accompanied by a couple of light projector-based thingies. Amazing. Then it starts to get interesting. The narrator turns out to be the ‘spirit of the desert’. Still not that bad. Oh yes, it’s ever-so-slightly biased towards, uh, fair Nubia and to UNESCO, the ‘miracle of human brotherhood’. Hmm. Still, it’s sort of worth sitting through the endless supply of soppy and cheesy lines (courtesy of queen/high consort Nefertari) to see the spectacular laser FX which come at the end.

Oh, and at the end you get to have a glimpse of the exterior of the temples. You see, thanks to the 1960s High Dam project, a large portion of the temples were under threat of being submerged by what is now Lake Nasser (courtesy of Egypt’s former dictator Nasser), so UNESCO popped in and relocated the temples. Of course, some of them went to countries who participated (human brotherhood don’t come cheap) and you can find one in NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anyways, UNESCO cut the Great Temple of R-2 (the one with the 4 massive seated statues) and the Temple of Hathor (shamelessly devoted to R-2 and Nefertari) into blocks and reconstructed them against concrete mountains. Oh, and there’s another relic there too: Authentic 19th century vandalism. That means adventurers carving their names there.

Fare thee well.