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about all my exciting stories and experiences I'll encounter on my world trip! Feel free to explore this page and envy me.
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vrijdag 1 april 2011

Ozzy Adventures part 1.

G'day mates!

First of all my sincere apologies for the terrible long delay in updating my blog. I know it must have been hard for you all, but hey! I make it up to you by writing an extra long blog (ooh noo :P) about the first 5 weeks or so (lost track of time again) of my adventures in the Land down Under.

Alright, let's go! At the moment I'm writing this blog from a camping at the Great Ocean Road in Australia. It's our last major stop before we reach the final destination - Melbourne - of our legendary roadtrip through Australia. And by 'we' I mean my brother and Tamara, my travelbuddy and one of the lead characters of so many stories from the beginning of my trip. Tamara decided to go traveling again for a month after spending some boring time back in Holland. So she joined me again in Oz. She's a smart girl!

But let's get back to the very beginning first. I left Malaysia 2 days after Jeffrey and after a flight of 6 hours I arrived in Perth. The capital of Western Australia and the most isolated city in the world. Why would I choose Perth over Sydney or Melbourne as the start of my trip in Oz? Well, I know quite some people from Perth. I met a couple of girls over the years back in The Hague who were working as an au-pair there. We became friends and when the girls left back to Perth they made sure I was welcome at their place if I ever decided to go there! Soooo, there you go... nice and cheap accomodation :P

I arrived at Perth airport damn early in the morning, where Amy was waiting for me to pick me up. The first thing you will notice in Oz is that EVERBODY seems to have a car the minute they turn 17 years old, and EVERYTHING is to far away to walk. Amy also had a car and we had to drive an hour to get to her place. She lives together with her cousin Kaitlin and from the very first minute they made me feel like home. Since the girls were busy with university and work most of the week, I basicly had to entertain myself for the first couple of days. But with the beach around the corner (ok, you could walk this one actually) I had no problem to chill for a few days with a book and some sun! (the locals actually envy me for my tan here - true story)

Fortunately for me, my best mate from Holland - Casper - was in Perth as well, since he was here with his ozzy girlfriend - Abby - for a holiday. Needless to say we decided to meet up and it was awesome to see one of my closest friends after a period of more than 5 months. To make it even better, Casper and Abby were 'house sitting' (looking after a house for a family on holiday) and they invited me to stay with them for a week. Also, I would be able to celebrate my upcoming B-day and invite some peepz. The house turned out to be a big villa with a private swimming pool in the back yard! Awesome! I didn't see any problems in staying there for a few days!

Together with Casper and other peepz, I went to an AFL (Australian Football) match which is extremely populair in Australia. AFL is like RUGBY only totally different, except that the players are still allowed to tackle eachother with brutal force! NICE ONE. A few teams were playing that afternoon and since I had no 'favorite' team, me and Casper cheered for the opposite team all the time, just to piss off all the ozzy people in our seat section! FREEMANTLE DOCKERS KICK SOME ASS WHOOOOOP!

Also we did a short trip up north a couple of days later. A 3 hour drive from Perth and we were in the outback already! We visisted a natual park which is located in the dessert. It's called 'the Pinnacle Dessert' and the place is filled with rocks (pinnacles) in all forms and (funny) shapes lol! Pretty cool to see (concidering it was my first 'dessert' experience after 5 months of jungle in Asia). The only annoying thing where the countless flies which are 'attacking' you the minute you leave the car. The crawl in your mouth, ears and eyes if you stop moving for a few seconds! Arghhhh!!!!

Besides that the rest of my first few weeks I was hopping from beach to BBQ-party and from BBQ-party to beach. I didn't do to many exciting things except for hanging out with the people I met and with Amy and Kaitlin ofcourse. The main reason for this was that my money started to run low, Australia is DAMN expensive and I needed my money for my upcoming roadtrip. I figured it couldn't hurt to try to get a simple job for a few weeks, to kill some time and to earn some money untill my bro and Tamara would arrive. To problem however was that it seemed fairly impossible to get a job for just 2 or 3 weeks without a working-holiday visa. But I dropped my 'Im looking for a job' line to everybody I met at every BBQ-party I came and just when I thought it was a lost case, I got a call from Adam (a cool dude I also met in Holland) who told me I was able to do some 'hole drilling' at the company he was working for. Eager as I was, I accepted without really realising to what I was saying 'yes' to.

That week I stayed at Grace's place. Another former 'ozzy au-pair' from The Hague and the sister of Adam. Gracie was kind enough for me to drop me off at the workplace every morning for a week at 6am! I felt so sorry for her to wake up that early, just for me! But so nice indeed :D (thanks again girl :-) ) And so I started 'operation hole drilling in Australia'. I thought I needed to drill some holes in walls or the floor with big ass machinery, equiped with a manly toolbelt and a helmet. Instead I found myself standing behind a small drilling machine, drilling 11.000!!!!!!! tiny holes in a plate of metal, which would turn out to be an 'air filter' in the end. It was impossible to got this job done by machine because.... they had no machine!! So instead, they used me, the ignorant stupid backpacker with nothing but time on his hands. I worked shifts of 11 hours a day and it took me 6 days to finish the job! But my boss paid my campervan for me, our rental verhicle for our AWESOME roadtrip through Oz. Although the job was - to put it gently - not the most 'exciting' work I've done in my life, I want to thank Adam again to hook me up with this. It helped me out a lot.

Being in Australia is pretty relaxing I can tell you! The first 4 weeks of my stay I haven't seen the temperature dropping below 30 degrees celcius so I figured it would be best to take it easy while I was here :P! People here are usually very polite (they actually stopped at a zebra crossing for me - after 5 months of Asia this was such a surprise again) and everybody says 'no worries'.

Ordering a coffee? 'yeah sure mate, no worries'. Want to take a piss in the restroom of a pub 'no worries champ, it's over there'. Wanna book a campervan?? In my case it was like this:

Me: Good afternoon, how are you?
CamperVan dude: G'day there mate, how are you today
Me: I'm fine thanks, I would like some information about rental campervans!
CamperVan dude: No worries champ, let's see what I have here
Me: Ok, I think I would like this one, I will come back tomorrow, I have to discuss it first with my friends!
CamperVan dude: No worries mate, see ya later... have a good one

It's all so chilled out here! I love it :D
The next day I booked my campervan indeed, and with that it was time for the roadtrip! My bro and Tamara arrived just a few days after my last day 'at work'. I had booked a nice 'Hi-Top' campervan which would be our home for the next 3 weeks. The trip has been legendary so far. We've driven more than 5000 km's already and we've seen mindblowing sceneries and lots of cool things! But I will update you on that topic very soon!

<< to be continued >>

Click here for pics!

maandag 28 februari 2011

Marvelous Malaysia!

Followers, stalkers, friends and fans,

A fresh and exciting story you are about to read again. Composed and written in Perth, Western Australia. That's right, I have been living in the land Down Under for a good 3 weeks now, but oy, that's an whole other story which will be presented to you very soon!

What can I tell about Malaysia? Well, it is just an awesome, beautiful and amazing country, which lots and lots of interesting places. If I have to recommend an Asian country for people to visit on their 3 week holiday, it would be either Thailand for the partylovers or Malaysia for the culture- scenery- and nature lovers!I like both and, lucky as I am, I had the time to visit both countries :-D

So, that's why I flew from Bangkok in Thailand to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The capital of the country which is like any other city in Asia. Big, crowded, packed with traffic, and lots of noise. But it is a nice city as well, it's very well developed with of course - as the highlight of the city - The Petronas Twin Towers. Even when the WTC in New York was still the pride of the USA, the Petronas Twin Towers are with their 452 meters and 72 elevators the tallest TWIN skyscrapers in the world! Pretty impressive to see, whether you go there during daytime or nighttime.

I spent 2 weeks in Malaysia, together with Jeffrey. An awesome Dutch fellow whom I met in Cambodia 1,5 months ealier in Cambodia. We decided to meet up again here, since he had to get a flight back home and I needed to be in KL to get a flight to Australia. We met at the airport and it was like we only had seen eachother yesterday. It's so weird but cool how well you get along with people whom you've only met briefly months earlier in some stage of your travel. It's one of the beautiful things of traveling I guess.

Of course, when arrived at KL airport, neither me or Jef had a plan. As usual we were backpackers without a plan! We got dropped of at our hostel which turned out to be one of the best hostels in town  and even had 'award winning' certificates (not kidding) on the wall stating that it had been voted as the 'cleanest hostel in KL' with 'the cleanest mattresses'! And it sure was! Although the room Jef and me shared was freakin' small (prison cell) everything was extremely nice and clean! On top of that we had free wi-fi and hot coffee 24/7!! We liked KL already :D

The following day we decided to go for a little walk through the city. Since we still hadn't any idea of what to do we just wandered around the city in the direction of the twin towers. On our way there we passed a HERTZ car rental agency. I brought up the idea that it could be fun to rent a car. Jeffrey suggested to go inside for some information. And so we did. 30 minutes later we came outside with a free coffee in one hand and a rental lease of our very own "HYUNDAI something" in our other hand. Within 2 days we would be roadtripping for the next week. SWEEET. I love it when 'a plan comes together'. We spent the rest of the day at the Petronas Towers and made some nice pictures. In the evening we bought a ticket for the 'KL Tower' which is a massive radio tower opposite the twin towers which offers great scenic views from the observation deck at a height of 270 meters. The view was awesome. Have a look at the pics.

People back home know me as an 'very artistic, spiritual and cultural' person (hahaha) so Jef and me went to the National Museum in KL the following day. While pretending to be totally impressed by some stupid stones, rocks and trash, we eventually found something FAR more exciting at the exit of the museum. SEGWAY tours were offered around a nice and green park of KL. For anyone who don't know what a SEGWAY is, have a look at the pics. Having done the most awesome things during my trip, something simple as driving a SEGWAY (which was another 'first experience' for me) turned out to be absolute fun. They say it's fairly impossible to lose control on a SEGWAY.  But being stupid and clumsy as only I can be, I tried to do some tricks, which probably made me the only person ever to get a SEGWAY slipping, leaving a skidmark on the road and a wound on my leg! LOL!

And with the madness on the SEGWAY behind us we left KL the following morning in our rented car. Driving in the morning traffic. In one of the world's busiest cities. On the left side of the road. With the steering wheel at the right side of the car. With no knowledge of the road rules. And neither Jef or me had been driving a car for the past 5 months. And I (me, the clumsy one) drove us out of the city! Actually while I'm writing this I can't believe we're still alive! But I guess we knew we were destined to do this and within moments I was driving the city like I was a local and Jef was yelling 'WATCH OUT, GO LEFT, LEFT LEEEEEEEFT, BRAKEEEE!' like a professional rally co-pilot! What a rush and what a fun!

And off we went to discover Malaysia. Or at least a part of it. We went to old and scenic 'Georgetown' where we visited some old cultural VOC heritage sites, including Dutch war equipment and VOC canons. Very nice to see and we were happy we had our fair share of some 'cultural' sightseeing as well. After Georgetown we went to Langkawi. An island only accesable by ferry. The problem was that we were not able to bring our car on the ferry. So once arrived at the island, we rented a chopper to explore the island and do some nice things! While Jef was sitting on the back of our rented motorbike as my 'bitch' :P, we drove past a small harbour. The sight of the harbour brought us the crazy idea of renting a speedboat for some good old fashioned sea exploring. We parked our motorbike at a small bar and asked the very friendly (Canadian) owner if he knew a place where we could rent a boat. He told us it was impossible on Langkawi, but he offered his own private litte speedboat instead as long as we didn't made it sink and paid a small amount of money. We agreed ofcourse and after 10 minutes of meeting the good man, we were sitting in his little speedboat with nothing but a 2 minute walkthrough on how to operate that thing.

We had the greatest fun just navigating around on the open sea and not long after that we saw a big sail yaught which had dropped anchor some km's off shore. When we were in sight the owner of the boat yelled if we would like to come on board for a brief tour. And so we entered an massive woorden sail yaught, on the open sea and sat down on the deck with a bunch of strangers, for a beer and some good stories and amazing views of the Langkawi coastline. Another cool experience with has been brought to us by random luck.

Last but not least we traveled all the way to the Cameron Highlands. A 'must see' for everyone who will go to Malaysia. You can compare it to the idyllic sceneries of Switzerland or Austria, bu instead of having snow, it has big green tea plantations and rice terraces. Very beautiful to see, and after 5 months of Asia it was finally a landscape I hadn't seen before. (sorry if I sound spoiled here :P).

Malaysia turned out to be amazing and extremely fun and I couldn't think of a better way to end my 5 months touring South East Asia than this. I concider myself a lucky person and with that in mind I said goodbye to Jef as he left for Holland. Two days later I was at the airport, ready for my next adventure, in the Land Down Under.
click here for the pics