A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Lilla Merrick

Aqaba

'I'm tired and I wanna go home, I'm tired and I wanna go to sleep'!!

semi-overcast 25 °C

Hi for the last time!

We are only in Jordan for 1 clear day, so going to the lost city 'Petra' was a must. One of the Indiana Jones films was made here, the place is awesome!! It took 2 hours to get there by car but was worth it.

Petra first became occupied over 2200 years ago by an Arabian tribe called 'Nabataeans', it later became occupied by the Greeks & Romans. Petra was only re-discovered by a Swiss Traveller in 1812. Petra is a big tick in the box as it's one of the seven wonders of the ancient world!

Got back after 7pm and a quick turaround before dinner and tacky gift ceremony! It's a real shame that our last port of call is Jordan as alcohol is really expensive! I paid £7.50 for a gin & tonic last night!!

Each crew memeber had to buy a tacky gift no more the $5 to present to one another - I really liked my gift, it was an Indian puppet & a rope full of little elephants!

Sorry this is a short one but its 0020 Local time and I havent packed my case yet for check-out in the morning.

I am gonna sign off now, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventure and It has been my pleaseure to share it with you.

Lilla xxxxx

Posted by Lilla Merrick 14:58 Archived in Jordan Comments (3)

Jaipur

'Deary, Deary me'

sunny 28 °C

Unfortunately we only have one clear day in Jaipur. I really like it! Nothing major to report but here goes......

We visited ‘Amber Palace’ which is a 16th century palace which used to be occupied by the Indian Royal family as well as various maharajahs.

One of the funniest things that happened today was when our tuk-tuk wouldn’t start. Loads of little Indian men appeared to assist; there were three of us in the back so lots of weight! They tried to jumpstart the engine by pushing us into the road towards the central reservation whilst cars, camels, cows swerved around us!! It was dangerous but we were all hysterical at this point. There was no way he was going to loose his fare. Once we got started he put the Indian music on full blast and we all started dancing!

I didn’t get much time for shopping which was really annoying for me but I did see some of the sights and got an overall feel for the place. It wasn’t as dirty & smelly as I was expecting, it was relatively clean compared to Kathman-Poo. I took a special tuk-tuk ride to a Sari wholesaler to buy the girls a little Indian costume, I wish I had more time to browse the shops, everything is so cheap!! I also recommend having your teeth gel-whitened it costs a fraction of the price compared to the UK. One of the crew had it done, they look fantastic!

We all went for a curry on our last night which was nice, It was a local restaurant that was recommended to us by our tour guide. I had a nut and fruit based curry which was delicious, it had mango in it and a cashew nut gravy. I would have loved to sample more dishes…. We had some Indian entertainment which was really lovely; I could listen to them singing forever!! All of a sudden I want to be an Indian Bollywood Star with all the beauty & bling.

Crew dressed up in Sari’s today for our Sector between Jodhpur and Aqaba, they looked amazing. I opted out of this one as it would have been really difficult for me to do my duties… also a little health & safety thrown in. I was gutted as I have always wanted to wear one.

We are all feeling totally exhausted now…. Late nights, early mornings…. Alcohol!.... sightseeing….. Working hard!! I need my Hitchin bed!!

Ta Ta for now, Jordan next x

Posted by Lilla Merrick 14:50 Archived in India Comments (1)

Kathmandu

Yeti Mania!

sunny 25 °C

It’s just like I imagined, it’s basically India on a hill! loads of back packers, hikers and grungy looking tourists. It is very misty in Nepal at this time of year which means visibility is impaired so you can’t see the mountain range or Everest, I did see this from the aircraft which was stunning. Some of the group are taking a flight over Everest tomorrow, I can’t justify this one! So giving it a miss, would have been a big tick to see the highest point on our planet!, elevation 29,029 feet versus Kathmandu at a mere 4,600 feet!

The day after we arrived was a public holiday, a Hindu festival called ‘Holi’ or ‘Festival of Colour’. The festival is celebrated by people throwing scented powder, perfume and water over each other. It symbolizes the end of the winter and coming of spring. We were pre-warned by our agents that if we went into town we would have no choice but to get involved, so we ventured into town with caution…..
We had locals throwing buckets of water at us from balconies, people smearing our faces with a powder paste, kids throwing water bombs at us!! It was hilarious for the first hour then I stopped playing! enough is enough…….. I was wet through, freezing and felt like I was on a battle field looking for the sniper. This little kids jumped out of an alley, he was about 7yrs old with 2 huge water bombs, he pointed at me, I instinctly turned into Mummy-mode, held my hand up and said ‘NO, don’t you dare’ in my scary voice. He looked me straight in the eye, thought about it for at least 2 seconds then absolutely drenched me!! Little shit.

On Thursday we paid for a mini hiking tour so we could walk through the hilltops of the Himalayas. Most of the group were a little hung-over, not me though! up hill was a little struggle as it was actually quite hot and high altitude. It was lovely to see a much calmer, peaceful village environment and a lovely spring feeling in the air. Kathmandu is crazy, crazy a little too much for me!

We visited two Hindu temples today, the first one was in Changunarayan, we walked into the court yard whilst a goat was being killed as a form of sacrifice, they cut off its head and put it on a metal dish with some flowers! Lovely!

Had lunch in the mountains, we probably should not have had a biggish lunch half way through a trek – we all felt a bit sleepy and decided to cut our remaining hike from 2 hours to half hour!! Light weights……………

we went Pashmina shopping instead, that will please Simon, NOT! I didn’t realise how many different grades of Pashmina there are, I am glad we went to this wholesaler as you really don’t know what you are buying on the streets, it was amazing feeling all the different varieties. We did some negotiating, not hard enough though! But I am exstatic about my purchase.

Let me tell all you mums out there the ‘KUMARI’ story! It’s a selection process for Hindu girls between the ages of 5-7, they have to be perfect in every way e.g. almond shaped eyes, long fingers….there is a criteria list. They are selected to become a ‘Kumari’ which is a child virgin which is sacrificed to the gods. She is locked away in a tower with a guard, she only has a small window to look out of, she is worshiped by everyone! until she has her first period and then she is booted out!! It is a huge honour for your family!!

Was allowed to sit in the flight deck for take-off from Katmandu, which is a very dangerous airfield!! really exciting, saw Everest proudly poking it head above the clouds.

Any way must dash of to India x

Posted by Lilla Merrick 03:21 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

Chaing Rai, Thailand

Nelly the Elephant packed her trunk....

sunny 32 °C

Ok, so we landed - really hot!. The Thai people are so eager to please, as soon as you ask them to do something on the ramp they physically run to get it sorted.... Someting I am sure they dont do at Gatwick!!

We are staying in the Meridien, Chaing Rai very beautiful location overlooking the Mae Kok River, every thing is 'Kok' here - literally!. We are a quick tuk-tuk ride away from down town where the beer is cheaper!

The night we arrived we visited the night market, loads of the usual stuff Silks, Jewellery.... We had to all go and buy a traditional Thai costume as on our next sector as we are dressing up for the passengers! that will give them something to laugh about...... I will post some pictures of this next time.

Chaing Rai is really quiet nothing at all like Bangkok, we struggled to find a bar on the first night and then they close quite early. We found a bar eventually on the first night which was dead but as soon as we turned up it came to life!, Thai girls appeared from everywhere looking to make a dollar! they probably werent a day over 16!

The next morning we went to see the elephants for a little trek, we boarded a little river boat on the hotel jetty and it took us about an hour to get to this village. There are hundereds of these elephant tTrek places along the river, the one I went to last time was better but the elephants seem to be treated well. We were paired up as each elephant could carry 2 gests and the Thai guide. I was with Martin our Chef.
I really love these animals, the guide let me sit on the elephants head for part of the trek, very relaxing and therapeutic (that doesnt look right!) Spent the rest of the day by the pool!

I clocked the '10$ girls' around the pool at our hotel they had got lucky with two old American guys!! or unlucky....... All of a sudden I feel quite sick and upset, what kind of world do we live in!

We had a special treat last night, we were invited to our 'Guest/Passenger hotel' to join them for their Gala dinner. Well it was absolutley amazing..... Oh how the other half live.. Anantara Golden Triangle Resort is the hotel. The golden triange is the area of Northern Thailand where three countries meet 'Thailand, Burma & Laos', This is opium capital of the world. We experienced some amazing food, Thai tribe entertainment and music. During dinner 4 elephants joined us, coming up to our tables.. it was so funny and sureal, we didnt want to leave.

Did I tell you that I have been bitten over 30 times! Not nice and geting me down.

Having a lazy day today as we have a very early start in the morning may go to the market. Next Stop Katmandu, speak then x

Posted by Lilla Merrick 21:01 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

Gan,Maldives

Paradiso

sunny 30 °C

Landed at Gan Airport, then had to take a water taxi to our little Island 'Amari Addu', it only took 20 minutes! A bit scary as it was pitch black and the boat didn't seem to have any lights!!

We arrived on a tiny jetty and walked into paradise.......

Only 1 hotel on the island and nothing else, not even a shop. There are only 42 people staying at the hotel and we make up a third of that!, it is deserted, we seem to have the whole place to ourselves.

Everyone is just chilling... and drinking! Oh and sunbathing........

Went shell picking this morning for the girls, some amazing & unusual coloured shells.

Despite it being so beautiful it's just not the same when you cant share it with your loved ones! I have really been missing home today, I need some words of encouragement from you all to help me get through the next half of the trip. I think because we have done nothing for 2 days it makes you stop and think...

I have attached some pictures but once you have seen one white beach you've seen them all!!

I thought I would also introduce you to some of the crew members who are experiencing this trip with me. I have been very lucky as they are all really nice people. Standing at the back from left to right we have Matt, Kieren, Bobby, Gareth and Neil. Sitting from left to right we have Lesley, Jill, Me, Karen, Jo & Kath

Lastley, I think I told you that the aircr4aft had been reconfigured into a luxury jet, I dont get the first class seats, the engineers and me get the cheap seats, check out my legroom on the last sector!!

Looking forward to Thailand, will be great to go back to Chaing Rai - I loved it first time around and I am sure I won't be disappointed this time.

Bye Bye up at 0400 tomorrow morning!!

Posted by Lilla Merrick 08:41 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (7)

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