Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Claire's Visit, Christmas, Thailand, New Year

Well, it's been a while since I have written on here and a lot has happened, so I'll try and remember as much as possible.

Claire arrived on Thursday 13th December and I met her at the airport with Jenny and Jasmine. Once she had said hello to the girls back at the house, we all went out for a walk to show her around the village and ended up stopping at Janet's tent at the campsite on the beach for a drink - similar to my first night!

On the Friday I took Claire over to Mui Wo, we had a look around and went to the China Bear for a drink and a catch up, and eventually a walk along the beach. We went back once we heard that Dad was back from work and finally on holiday, and that night we caught the ferry over to Central. We started in Lan Kwai Fong, had dinner at The Hong Kong Brewhouse and then tried to get into Insomnia and Club 97 but they have changed the minimum age to 21 so Claire couldn't get in. We had a disgusting shot in the shot bar and moved onto Zinc, where we were given free shots by the waitress who knows Dad and Jenny. Later we got a taxi to Wan Chai and went to Carnegie's where you can dance on the bar. It was a great night, and we had some help getting home from Joey, who plays in a band in Spicy Fingers.

The next day was a hangover/jet lag recovery day for Claire and we stayed at home for most of the day, enjoying the sun on the balcony. In the evening we went to the girls' school for a Christmas party which they were performing in, then went over to Wan Chai again for another night out - slightly more subdued this time. We went to Boracay and Insider's, both of which had live bands playing, then got the 12.30am ferry back.

On Sunday 16th the weather was amazing and Claire, Dad and I went for a hike up the mountain on the same route I had taken before, only this time we got further. It took us most of the day but we didn't complete the trail as it was very long and we needed to get back before dark.

On the Monday we went over to Macau and had a very late dinner at Fisherman's Wharf. The next day we slept in late, had a swim in the hotel pool and then went out for a bit of shopping after a quick visit to the casino. That night we went out for dinner at a portugese restaurant and then went on to The Lion Bar at MGM Casino where there was a very good live band playing. On the Wednesday we visited Tai Pa village and had lunch in an Irish pub along with some mulled wine before heading back to Hong Kong.

Thursday was spent in Wan Chai doing shopping for our early Christmas on Friday and Claire's new laptop was ordered. The two of us went on our own to Wan Chai the next morning to collect it while the Christmas dinner was being cooked. The dinner was very nice and I finally got into the festive spirit! We opened some presents after dinner and then we left the girls with Roselle and went out to Spicy Fingers in Wan Chai for Claire's last night. Gangnam Style was played so Claire and I did the dance, much to everyone's amusement.

Friday was leaving day for Claire so we all went to the airport to see her off, it was very emotional! I can't believe I'm not going to be seeing her for so long. That night I found out that I had to re-adjust my plans for Thailand as Emma was now unable to come out and meet me, and Saturday was spent looking for flights and hotels.
I think the next couple of days were spent preparing for Christmas, we went shopping on the 24th for food and gifts and got back quite late before watching the Muppet's Christmas Carol - it is tradition after all!

On Christmas morning Dad and I took the girls out on their new bikes to cycle down by the beach, before going back for the Christmas lunch. We had lamb which was lovely and a nice break from the turkey we had been eating since the first Christmas with Claire! In the evening I Skyped with the family back home, it was very strange not to be there with them! After that we just settled down to watch tv and drink wine into the early hours.

The next couple of days were spent buying things that I need for my travels, and on the Wednesday night we went out for dinner at Outback in Wan Chai and went on to Typhoon and Dusk Til Dawn as it was my last chance to go out before my very early flight on Friday.
Saying goodbye to everyone was extremely hard, it doesn't seem like I stayed there for a month and I felt like I could happily go on living there for a lot longer.

My flight to Koh Samui was fine, I slept a bit as I hadn't been able to sleep the night before, and after 3 hours I was landing in brilliant sunshine! The airport was all open-air and basic and I booked a bus and a boat together to get over to Koh Phangan. Once I arrived on the island I got a free taxi pick-up to the hostel and checked into my four bed dorm. It is very basic, literally just four beds and some fans, with shared toilets and showers outside, but it does the job.
The rest of the hostel is very nice, there is a communal area called the Showroom where I'm writing this now, it's very relaxed, and there is a nice pool and beach right outside.
I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at being here on my own, but luckily, after I'd had some dinner, I got invited to join a group of people who were having a bit of a pool party, and I ended up going to the full moon party with them! It was the complete opposite of the early night I had planned as I got back at around 6am.

The party was amazing. It's a long stretch of beach lined with bars that are blasting music out the front and thousands of people dancing on the beach. There are stalls selling food and drink, including lots of stalls selling buckets - your choice of alcohol with a mixer in a beach bucket with a straw or two. The people I were with were great fun, although we lost some of them quite early, and I had a brilliant time.

On Saturday I spent the entire day sunbathing on the beach as the weather was amazing! The sunset was just as spectacular, and after the sun had gone down I walked out into the sea on a raised strip of sand with Lauren, one of the girls from the night before, and Brett, a guy from Perth I had met on the beach. It was beautiful, like walking on water with the sea all around us.
Lauren and I went out for dinner at a nice Thai place up the road and we got an early night.
The next day was another day spent entirely on the beach with Andy, an English guy I met over breakfast, Lauren, and a group of Irish guys. We drank beer all day and had a great laugh, even when all the power went out and we huddled around a bottle with burning paraffin inside. Eventually, at around midnight, it started raining and we went inside, intending to go to a jungle party nearby. I went to get changed but ended up falling asleep! The next day I found out that everyone else had done the same so I didn't miss out.
Yesterday was New Year's Eve and it was another relaxed day, not on the beach this time though as it was raining torrentially for almost the whole day. I had dinner with Lauren at a Mexican place and then we started to get ourselves ready for the big party on Haad Rin beach - Full Moon Party number two!
It was even more crazy than the first one and I absolutely loved it! Met so many people and drank a lot of buckets, so feeling a bit rough today.

Happy New Year everyone!

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