Category Archives: Travel

Musical flip-flops

As soon I was leaving my first beach party on the island of Koh Phangan, I had to deal with the loss of my cherished blue hawaiana flip flops bought in Brazil, after someone with the same foot size must have run off with mine. I then ran off with someone else’s. By the end of my stay on the island I’d been through 3 pairs.

Banging out the ones and twos at the full moon party

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Buying a tailor made suit in Thailand

Buying a suit in Bangkok is a popular activity for many travellers passing through, with its reputation for kick ass threads and comparatively cheap prices to what they can buy back home. There is an abundance of tailors to be found in many parts of the city, and there will be no shortage of salesmen trying to get you into their shop at any given opportunity.

Having read the excellent advice given here, and researched independent reviews, I decided to go with Excelsior tailors. Their shop is somewhat well hidden off one of the main roads in Silom, so this was already an indication that they were a different class from the rip-off merchants found hustling customers on Kho San Road.
The owner, Sonny, of Indian descent was very welcoming, accommodating and arranged a free pick up from my hostel to take me to the shop.

The shop, Sonny and me

On inspection of the photos on the wall I noticed that celebrities including Elijah Woods had frequented the tailor (apologies for the fuzzy picture below, unintentional!), and I suppose that with my visit they’ll have a new addition to this collection. Continue reading

Posted from Mueang Phuket, Phuket, Thailand.

Christmas in Bhubaneswar, India

As India is not a Christian country, you don’t see any sign of Christmas here apart from in the tourist hotels..

Instead of Christmas festivities with the family, or rather, to make up for the lack of them, I treated myself to a (cold) shower after having broken my own record of consecutive days without washing since I left Istanbul 5 days ago! This was not intentional, but due to the 20 hour stop over in Dubai and the lack of any shower in the youth hostel (which was a bit weird) in Hyderabad.

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Posted from Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India.

Running away from los puercos in Istanbul

Istanbul was the first stop on my sabbatical trip as it was the furthest Easyjet would take me from London towards my eventual intended destination – New Zealand for my cousin’s wedding in February. I had been warned that the weather would be crap in December, that the taxi drivers would rip you off, and about the various scams, including the one where the unsuspecting traveller is lured by the offer of friendship, booze & company of hot women; which had all made me slightly anxious. However, as I found out, there was nothing to worry about… apart from the undercover police we ran away from (more on that later).

Istanbul by night

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Posted from Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India.

Barcelona recommendations

I have just got back from spending a weekend in Barcelona, with a swiss girlfriend of mine who had never been there before. I was already pretty familiar with the city, having first visited back in 2004 during my erasmus year in Salamanca when I came to stay with a local family of a friend of mine and hear some DJs bang out the ones and twos at the Sonar electronic music festival. Subsequent visits brought more memories and good times; couchsurfing en route to Cuba where I stayed with a trapeze artist and partied with hippies on a rooftop terrace; my most recent visit last year with another lady friend from Colombia where we rode around on a motorcycle with a side car.. most people know about the main sites i.e. the ramblas, the gaudi buildings and the sagrada famillia, here are some other recommendations and pieces of advice based on my experiences I thought would be worth sharing for anyone planning to visit:

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Medical tourism – saving hundreds in fees

Seeing as my sabbatical departure day is approaching, I booked myself for a dental checkup in London recently. The clinic I went to just next to Covent Garden had an impressive setup – Italian opera playing in the background, attractive eastern European assistants.. and matching prices too! I was told I needed 900 pounds worth of work done on 6 fillings..
After some research however it turns out that I will probably be better off having dental work out in Thailand which has a reputation for high quality dentistry for prices that amount to a fraction of what we pay over here. There are a range of Thai clinics that specialize in operations for overseas patients, some even arranging pickup and transport from the airport for people coming over with the express primary purpose of having their teeth done. According to a doctor friend of mine, the practice of medical tourism is rife these days, with people traveling to have top-notch cheap boob jobs in Colombia, getting heart surgery in India or seeing a shrink in Buenos Aires.

In my case, instead of paying 140 pounds per filling in London, they are about 14 pounds instead in Thailand. That’s a no-brainer then!

Posted from Brent, England, United Kingdom.

Gocar trip around Madrid

As I previously mentioned, I was going to review the gocar tour in Madrid so here it is. By writing this review I also qualified for a discount, although this is by no means a biased account as they allow for both positive and negative opinions in any case!

Overall my experience of the gocar tour was very positive – definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Madrid! It was fun, unusual and a very practical way of getting around and seeing the main sights.

The vehicles themselves looked like toy cars, and were quite easy to ride with no gears and just acceleration. There was no reverse, but as they were so small and light it was easy to get out and push them back whilst steering at the same time. The engine was slightly noisy at times, which could make the GPS voice hard to hear but there was always the option of turning the volume up. One of the funniest things were the bemused looks of passers by. It honestly looked as though just about everyone had never seen any of these things before.
We went out with the intention of doing the historic tour which was only supposed to take an hour, however we seemed to end up doing a lot more than that! I have to admit to getting quite lost at times, which I would put down to a combination of driving with a girl who couldn’t read maps to save her life, having a Spanish speaking GPS which was not my native language and some of the GPS directions not being completely clear. However, it didn’t really matter too much – it added to the adventure and the staff kindly made us pay an hour less than we were meant to as well.
A lot of the sites we saw were probably not manageable on foot – so I was glad that we used the buggy – we were able to park the buggy off as well and walk around the Prado which was quite pleasant. The GPS also did point out some interesting sights and facts along the way. It was also a source of amusement as it came programmed with some quite crass jokes.
So all in all, a lot of fun, quite an adventure and highly recommended! I would advise going with someone who knows how to read a map though..