Vandalism

Standard

A few weeks ago, we woke up to our motorbikes both laying on their sides on the street outside our flat. They had obviously been victims of bored idiots who, during the night, thought that it would be hilarious to tip them over.

motorbikes on their side vandalism

It blows my mind that there are people out there who have no consideration for peoples’ property, and will damage property for the sake of a few laughs. It seemed that they were so intent on having their fun that they had even chosen to do it the hard way when they tipped them over the kickstands rather than the other side.

Thankfully my motorbike didn’t sustain any more damage than I’d already inflicted on it recently (a snapped clutch lever when I dropped it a few days beforehand), however White Russian’s motorbike didn’t fare as well. It sustained cracked fairings, broken indicator lights, a snapped clutch lever, broken mirrors, and damage to the swing arm and the exhaust pipe.

snapped motorcycle clutch lever

The upside was that his motorbike ended up being written off by the insurance company, so now he has some money to buy a shiny new toy!

Dive 260: The Pines, Brisbane

Standard

Dive time: 00:33:00
Max depth: 15.4 metres
Temperature: 26 C
Visibility: 5 metres
Buddy: Nathan Carey

I should’ve known that I was in for a crap dive considering that it has been over a year since my last dive, the tank valve was really tight to crack, I almost jumped off the boat without my fins, when I was trying to change the time of my dive computer the display indicated that the battery was low, and my reg started leaking and free-flowing on the boat and needed to be slightly adjusted by twisting the face plate a little looser.

As soon as I descended, my computer started beeping like crazy and continued to beep and flash throughout the whole bloody dive, indicating that it was not logging the dive. Ness’s buddy, Trevor, ended up putting his spare bottom timer on my arm, and I just had to put up with the constant beeping and a leaky reg for the whole dive.

The current was pretty strong, and as we were cruising past we saw lots of blue-spotted rays, turtles (including one massive one wedged under a rock), wobbegongs (one swam right underneath me and made me slightly nervous) and lion fish.

I didn’t end up shooting up my new DSMB since Nathan shot up his. I chickened out!

When’s the next trip?

Standard

Has it really been almost 5 months since my travels ceased and I was plunged back into routine London life??  Back to the familiarity of the local language, being able to throw toilet paper into the toilet, and more dining variety than beans and rice.  However, it was also back to paying a day’s travel budget for a bottle of beer, customer service without a smile, and being packed onto the London Underground like sardines.

What has happened since I’ve been back?

  • Managed to snag a job back at Expedia for a few months
  • Saw Muse rock out Wembley Stadium (quite possibly the best concert ever!) and Pendulum at the Wembley Arena
  • Bathing was forgone for a few days while I indulged my inner hippie at Glastonbury festival

  • Drove a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Ferrari 360 Spider around a race track, which was quite a scary and unnerving experience

  • Met Merv Hughes outside Moet & Chandon champagne house in Epernay – he is big bloke

  • Met Heston Blumenthal after an extravagant lunch at the Fat Duck

  • Didn’t see much from the top of Mt Snowdon in Wales through the rain and fog
  • Saw some great comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe
  • Enjoyed the music and colours of the Notting Hill Carnival.

I am currently a lady of leisure while I look for a new job, the lifestyle of which involves sleeping in, sightseeing around the free sights of London, and baking cupcakes!

And then there were three…

Standard

For a fiercely independent traveller who likes her own space, I have done pretty well over the last four weeks or so not to have strangled my travelling companions Ed and Steve.  And I’ve even been sober most of the time too!

I picked up Ed from Guatemala City airport and we met up with Steve in Antigua, Guatemala.  It’s a beautiful colonial town heaving with tourists.  One of the best touristy things to do here is to hike the nearby Pacaya volcano and we were in luck – lava was flowing!  Hiking through the lava field, it felt like I was Frodo plumbing the depths of Mordor.  When we finally reached the red hot flowing lava, it was so hot that you couldn’t get too close without feeling like all the hairs on your body were going to be singed off.  It was a really amazing experience – we even roasted marshmallows in the flowing lava!

We then headed up to Lanquín to visit the beautiful limestone pools of Semuc Champey.  Swimming in the pools was quite refreshing – really clear blue water – and there were some little fish in the pools that reminded me of those fish spas that I saw in Malaysia (they like to nibble on your dead skin!).

After another long bus ride, I was back in the lakeside town of Flores, where I had previously volunteered at the animal shelter.  The next morning, we awoke before the crack of dawn to visit the mighty Mayan ruins of Tikal.  We saw spider monkeys swinging through the trees and heard the roar of howler monkeys from miles around.  There were amazing views from the top of the famous Temple IV across the jungle canopy, where you can see the tops of other temples and pyramids poking out.  Apparently the Tikal ruins were the setting for one of the scenes from Return of the Jedi – anyone recognise it??

Leaving Flores for the steamy heat of Livingston, I didn’t even mind here that I hadn’t had a proper hot shower for something like 5 weeks.  We kicked back for a few days, chilling out by the pool and catching up on some holiday reading.  I even slept in a hammock for the first time!  Not entirely comfortable but if you were tired or drunk enough, I’m sure it would be more than adequate!

Finally, I said a sad goodbye to Guatemala and headed to the Bay Islands in Honduras for a week of scuba diving.  We picked up a trio of Swedes along the way and with our group negotiating power, I managed to get myself a really good deal for diving on the island of Utila – 10 fun dives, including all gear hire, and 8 nights accommodation for only US$200!!  The diving here in the Bay Islands is quite good and visibility ranged from 15-25 metres, although there was nowhere as much fish life in Utila as Cozumel, Mexico.  The highlight of the week was definitely coming face to face with a baby whale shark for the very first time.  The shark was around 5 metres long and a dusky blue grey colour, and it just looked so calm and serene.  Absolutely magic!

The lowlight of the whole trip so far was having our hotel room broken into in Utila.  Steve and I had literally just ducked out of the room for 15 minutes to grab some dinner when the thieves broke in through the window.  They nicked off with my iPhone, iPod, camera (with 4 months worth of photos!), my Suunto dive computer and all my spare contact lenses.  They even broke the lock on my backpack and found my passport but, strangely enough, just left it on my bed!  Unfortunately for me, I only bought travel insurance for medical expenses, so only my phone is insured through my UK bank account, but the most devastating thing is really the loss of my photos.  I guess I should’ve been more diligent in posting my photos to Facebook regularly!  Ed was probably more unlucky, with the thieves taking his passport and a credit card.

After leaving Utila, Ed headed to the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa whilst Steve and I headed to Lake Yojoa.  The region is apparently well known for the vast number of bird species that congregate here, but we were just here to stay at the D&D microbrewery.  My favourite brew was the Pale Ale over the Amber Ale, Raspberry Ale and the Porter, and the blueberry pancakes here are of epic proportions! And yes, I did finish them.

I am now in Tegucigalpa for a few days to shop for a replacement camera before I meet my World Vision sponsor child, Danny.  It will be interesting to see where my money goes!

Thanks to Ed for letting me borrow his photos for this post!  As for those bastard thieves, get a real job.

Dive 234: Big Rock, Utila (Honduras)

Standard

Dive time: 00:47:00
Max depth: 21.8 metres
Temperature: 27 C
Visibility: 15 metres
Buddy: Ed

This was my first dive in a long time without my dive computer – it was stolen two nights ago along with all my contact lenses. Thankfully, the dive shop had a prescription mask that was pretty much my exact prescription!

This site was on the southern side of Utila and was a sloping reef with a few little gaps where you could drop off. We saw a spotted moray eel, emperor angelfish and a spotted eagle ray swimming off into the blue.

A nice relaxing dive, though the swell picked up a bit by the time we ended the dive.

Pounding the pavement

Standard

I always struggle when it comes to getting fit.

I hate diets, because I hate the idea of giving up the foods that I love.  The gym bores me, and I just end up forking out some extortionate amount for membership fees without ever going.  I have better luck with sports, since it successfully maintains my interest longer than Matt McConaughey without his shirt on.  At the moment, I’m playing touch football twice a week and training with my brother whenever we can.

I’ve always liked the idea of running, since it’s free (OK, I’m a tightarse) and it gets me outside.  But my short attention span means that I’m already wishing for the run to be over just two minutes in.  However, after putting together an amazing play list for my Chamonix ski trip, I decided that a bit of Apple shopping therapy combined with the threat of public humiliation would be sufficient motivation for me to get off my arse and get out onto the street.

So I bought myself a very cute and very ethical iPod shuffle, loaded my play list, and signed up to both the Richmond Run and the adidas Women’s 5K Challenge.  The public humiliation part will be my attempt at finishing both races without stopping halfway doubled over and wheezing like a 80 year old.

First race is this Saturday! Eeeek.

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng

I’m just not that into you

Standard

I would normally rather eat salad* than watch rom-coms such as the new movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, but considering that I’m in my late 20s and still single, I thought that it could be a semi-educational offering as well as being a mindless time waster.

In the end, it did turn out to be a fairly predictable popcorn movie with a conveniently happily-ever-after ending that was torturously unsatisfying.  It did drill into you that if he isn’t calling you, then he’s just not interested, so don’t bother deluding yourself with any fantasies of hot dates and affection.

Still, the movie didn’t answer the questions that I have about blokes:

  • Why are they so inept at communicating their feelings?  He may think that this is because he’s “complex” but really, EVERY bloody bloke is incapable of expressing their feelings.  We’re not mind readers (see this post for an earlier related rant).
  • So if a guy does call you and seems interested, how do you know if he’s actually wanting something serious as opposed to just sex?
  • Why does every bloke that I meet bring up the subject of ex-girlfriends within two dates?  Is it because he wants to show that he is capable of sustaining a relationship, or is he just really not over her?

Maybe they need to make a new movie called What Men Are Really Thinking…but I guess noone has been able to actually determine that yet.

* Those who know me know that you don’t win friends with salad…it’s an accompaniment people!

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng

The recap

Standard

Sheer laziness has prevented me from updating this blog on a more frequent basis, so I shall attempt to summarise the last two months into a list of achievements and non-achievements:

Successes in the last two months

  • Negotiated my first ever payrise after only 4 weeks into a new job
  • Picked up an 8-month old baby of my own volition without heart palpitations
  • Played in my touch football team’s (the Touchy Feelys) only win of the competition so far
  • Reunited with my long lost mate, Al, who I met on exchange in Sacramento
  • Attended Reading Festival for the first time and managed to survive without suffocating in the pit toilets

 

 

Failings in the last two months

  • Having my Highly Skilled Migrant visa application and subsequent appeal rejected on the basis of failing the English-speaking requirement
  • Dated several guys, none of whom particularly floated my boat
  • Was completely unable to get into any semblance of routine for taekwondo or salsa dancing.

Well, it seems as though the successes outweigh the failures so that’s something to celebrate.

Platonic relationships

Standard

I was chatting to a very good mate of mine a few weeks ago on Messenger, who glumly told me that a girl he worked with that he quite fancied (and he thought quite fancied him) turned out to have a boyfriend.  He thought she fancied him because she was always talking to him but apparently “she was just genuinely a nice person”.

Of course I had to just burst out laughing because I thought it was so typical of my friend to be so clueless about women and how they act.  (And if his thinking really is typical of most men, this means that men only really bother talking to someone if they’re actually interested in them.)

My brother has a saying that “friends are just women you haven’t shagged yet”, which shows that my brother sits firmly in the camp of men who can’t have platonic relationships with women!  This contradicts my theory that men who have sisters are actually more likely to have platonic relationships with women since they understand and appreciate women as they are (my friend above comes from a family of four boys!).

I dare say that every woman I know has many male friends for whom she feels no attraction at all, though I would guess that quite a number of men would struggle to say that they had only platonic feelings for their female friends.  I wonder if it’s a biology thing.  Any thoughts?

 

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng

Maladjusted people

Standard

Earlier this week, my brother and I were questioning whether stupid people actually know that they’re stupid.  Nothing like a deep human psychology discussion over lunch to get the juices flowing, but an incident occurred last night that also made me wonder whether maladjusted people know that they’re maladjusted.

I’d had a fantastic night at the theatre (the current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe is highly recommended!), having laughed so hard that I thought I was going to keel over from the lack of oxygen going to my brain.  I arrived home at about 11:30pm to see my male flat mate and his best mate from Texas watching a movie.  The Texan has been staying with us for the last week, crashing on the couch.

I am fixing myself a snack in the adjoining kitchen, and I can hear my flat mate mumbling obscenities under his breath.  That’s not unusual in itself, since he often likes to swear at the television, but then quite suddenly, the Texan gets up and storms out of the apartment.  This prompts my flat mate to yell and slur obscenities at him just as the door slams.

I walk out into the living room and sit on the couch whilst my bagel is toasting, and my flat mate is being overly chatty to me.  Feeling slightly weirded out, I launch myself back into the kitchen, just as I hear my flat mate exclaim, “Fuck, blood is dripping everywhere”! I decided to ignore his outburst, since I’ve figured out that he’s generally an attention-seeking person, but then he comes into the kitchen and looks at me in an eyes-half-glazed look.

Venturing cautiously, I ask him what is wrong and he tells me that his “fucking friend is what’s wrong”. Hmmm.  He continues slurring, “But I don’t care, because pain doesn’t worry me – you want to see what I think of pain?” before he grabs the kitchen scissors, opens them up menacingly, and then gouges the blade down his forearm, which is already fresh with cuts. I can’t help but look away.  I’m not sure whether it’s a reaction to my cringing, but he laughs and says, “Don’t worry though, I’ve run out of knives”, gesturing to the empty knife block.

Needless to say, I beat a hasty retreat back to my room, all the while wondering whether my taekwondo skills to date would be enough to take him on if he threatened me (I thought so).

I could put this down one of those random incidences of flat sharing, since living with random strangers very rarely turns out perfectly it seems.  But it did make me wonder, when this sort of incident freaks me out, that it probably seems “normal” to some people.  Sure, everyone has their own quirks, but there surely must be some point where you are just no longer “normal” and are clearly maladjusted.

Drugs must play a part in it, making you irrational and delusional – as Ozzy Osbourne managed to prove publicly on The Osbournes.  I’ve only seen my flat mate drink excessively, I’m pretty sure he does do drugs as well.  I must seem so utterly boring and conventional to him, because I would definitely view myself as “normal” and well-adjusted.  I often wonder whether my flat mate thinks that his excessive drinking and drug use, frequent watching of violent films, compulsive gambling, and chain-smoking behaviour is normal.  I would think not, otherwise he wouldn’t be seeing a therapist.

I think that 26 July (the expiry of my lease!) could not come sooner.

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng