Vandalism

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!

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Dive 260: The Pines, Brisbane

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?

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…

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)

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.