El Nido

So here we go ….

Okay I take it back, I should worry about details…

So, I fly to Manila and then to El Nido – it’s boring but fine. I only wish that I’d thought about food. Oh well.

Anyway, I know I want to stay at Tony’s guesthouse… But apparently it doesn’t have a website. So, I’m a bit sceptical but I have details for 3 others as a back up… Look at me planning ahead ūüôā

How cute is this airport…
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And unusual to have this kind of chilled out vibe when travelling… Oh how quaint and lovely… I’m in some sort of paradise!
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This is exactly where I should be right now! Okay now to find the place to stay… If Oprah was here she’s hi¬†fiving me.
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I’m blown away just by how beautiful it¬†all feels
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So I¬†ride the tricycle to Rico’s guesthouse cause no one knows of this Tony’s place and feel so excited and inspired by the airport of all places… This place is going to be incredible I think to myself.

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I arrive and it’s a small little strip with places everywhere. I pop into Rico’s which is totally cute and right on the beach. I go in and she tells me no rooms till tomorrow, hmm this is a minor problem. She tells me to leave my backpack and try along the beach.

I do, but everyone tells me no, no, no. Hmm, wasn’t expecting this. I go back to Rico’s and she let’s me use the internet and I chill and have a beer (I mean hell I’m on holiday right).

Seems I can go to some expensive resorts but it’s going to cost a fortune to get there as they are far away, I need to come back here to meet my friends anyway.

An older guy joins me let’s call him the Americanised Australian, he tells me he had the same problem and his friend stays here and he stays somewhere else, he’s had to move 3 times. Damn.

So the Americanised Australian tries to get me a room at his place, but no luck… Eh, well he wishes me well and says join his friends down the beach later. I’m on my own again.

Okay, time to go for another walk… No luck. Okay, shit is getting annoying. I find a bar and drink beer instead.

A Lone Austrian is chatting with the lady behind the bar about not being able to find a girl. I smile to myself and think shit, I nearly forgot I need a room. I search the net, find a place – go see them and they tell me no. My argument of the internet says you do is useless.

Eh, back to the bar. So it’s a tiny bar and my ‘things’ I left to save my seat have been moved next to Lone Austrian guy… Here we go…

“Oh they took your seat, but you can sit here” she says and smiles a little too sweetly. Ah, whatever.. I small talk a little, at least it takes my mind off having nowhere to sleep and the fact that some airport food is not agreeing with my body.

Finally the bar lady offers me her dishwasher boy to take me around to find rooms, the ‘last resort’ places. We walk around for ages in the dark (it feels safe and bustling not dark and creepy though) and I’m mentally planning how to stay awake all night.

I’m aware I have stuff all over the place, well okay just at Rico’s and the bar.. Ah shit Sarah, this was dumb even for you.

But finally, success…

Hotel: you mind shared bathroom?
Me: no, can I pay now
Hotel: you wanna see the room first?
Me: no, I’ll take it
Hotel: but it has shared bathroom
Me: take my money here
Hotel: okay, but come back in 1 hour I need to clean okay

So, back to the bar and my friendly bar lady and Lone Austrian – I ordered a pizza, it was huge. I eat what I think it acceptable to eat in public, but in my heart¬†I know that when I’m finally in my dingy room I will gorge myself a little more…

Finally, in my room about 8.30pm I sit on the bed and then decide maybe my backpacking days are over and that I should stick to resorts and health spas in then future.

At this point it’s just good to have a place to sleep.

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So, this is where I ended up…

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Shit ain’t so pretty and cute anymore haha.

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I munch a piece of pizza and hear a dog barking, I open the door and see someone’s kitchen and a little dog tied up… Naw, poor guy… I give him a slice. We can eat our troubles away together.

I go for a massage to pass the time and then decide I just wanna sleep early. The barking dog makes me feel a little sad, but I drift off reasonably easily.

However, I wake up and suddenly find this whole thing rather comical and humbling … And look forward to getting back to Rico’s!

I wake up do some yoga in my room (who needs Bikram¬†when I have this hot box hotel room). I sit and wait for my egg, rice and hot dog breakfast and watch people do the accommodation scramble… Do you have room? No, no, no.

Okay, fingers crossed ‘my’ room is safe at Rico’s like they promised me!

Okay. So apparently El Nido is having a come back… Here I am at Rico’s
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Not all mistakes are bad

So, I’m not complaining but coming to boracay was a mistake. And a stupid one at that.

Details, details, details… Some times I just can’t be bothered with them…

I love to travel, but I actually hate figuring out what to do, where to go and how to get a good price.

So, it’s starts like this.

People: So where in the Philippines are you going?

Me: I arrive in Manilla and go straight to some Island and then we will go to El Nido.

People: Oh, to Boracay?

Me: Nah, somewhere else

People: So where in the Philippines are you going?

Me: I arrive in Manilla and go straight to some Island and then we will go to El Nido.

People: Oh, to Boracay?

Me: Maybe, I can’t remember though

People: So where in the Philippines are you going?

Me: I arrive in Manilla and go straight to some Island and then we will go to El Nido.

People: Oh, to Boracay?

Me: Yes, I’m going to Boracay

People: So where in the Philippines are you going?

Me: I arrive in Manilla and go straight to Boracay and then we will go to El Nido.

Me: I just booked my internal flight, see you in Boracay on Saturday!

Alice: um, what?

No biggie, I plan to change my flight… But of course Coron (not Boracay) is hard to get to and has limited flights and boats. It’s Chinese new year and all the organised people have booked them out.

Oh well, off I go to Boracay for a few days…. I’ve certainly had worse problems to deal with in life! Haha

Check this amazing place out! It may be called Spider Retreat (don’t ask me how I accepted this, I still don’t know) but I love the beautiful mix of shabby, quirky, secluded and cool.

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Although…. Oh dear I forgot its Valentines day Haha¬†

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But I have a little love from Dayna!

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And I found some friends to have fun with, so no problem!

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Barely left the spider resort, but I did check out a spa for some yoga and a facial on my last day… So nice and indulgent ūüôā
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Getting comfortable

Ah, the wordpress app really sucks. I wish I knew this before committing. It’s the main reason I procrastinate so much with blogging. Anyway, here I am rewriting a post that got deleted when I tried to save it because the images kept crashing…

Okay, letting that go.

So, I decided I’d been getting a bit comfortable in regards to exploring and meeting new people.

I do two things, one is a complete fail and the other a success. I can live with that!

I also had two realisations off the back of it…

At some stage in a girl’s life she has to face the facts and accept things as they are and honour your limitations. It’s time to give up on my craft dreams (well unless it’s like a spoon fed diy lesson…like when you do a cooking course on holiday you don’t do much and are prevented from screwing up).

I love the idea of crafts, but I don’t have the attention span, attention to detail, patience or follow through to make my dreams a reality.

On a slightly unrelated note I am giving up on balls. I can imagine your WTF face.. But foods I make into balls or patties don’t bring me any joy. I’ve tried broccoli patties, health balls or falafel and the process sucks. Chop chop, mix, use your hands, get messy, and even worse if you have to then cook!

If I need balls in my life I buy the little health balls from my yoga studio and when I move back I’ll suck up to Julie! Just no more Sarah ball projects.

Anyway, back to shaking things up a bit. I joined a dinner where we would make our own notebooks. I love a good notebook.

So when I arrive I soon decide this won’t end well. We use cardboard from boxes and have to cut paper to size… I mentally accept defeat and go through the motions.

Some times a picture is worth a thousand words. This is one of those times.

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The other thing I decide is to check out an antique market I read about, it was so much fun. I rode my bike and went with a couple of friends and got a nice little stash of things.

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I have decided I’m going to get more of these beautiful girl posters to cover up this awful peach wall.

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I’m totally love these posters. Back in the 30’s it was a little scandalous and a little cool to be one of the few beautiful girls. Essentially they would model for portraits that were then used to advertise stuff, mostly cigarettes.

Then images would be made into a calendar.

I believe that they were then modified for communist propaganda. They would change the setting and instead paint the girls as ‘peasants’.

The Lows of January 2015

Oh yeah, I have a blog post sitting in.my drafts… I know it’s Feb but I’m not going to adjust this to the past tense… Here it is;

Wow, has January been like the longest month ever… Maybe it’s just me, but I think January is the least shiny month in shanghai so far.

This blog comes with a disclaimer of not having a great purpose and story line for that matter… It’s a vent. So here I go.

January 2015. It started off with a bang… Brilliant New Years, hopes and dreams…

I went from marvelling at how pretty the dark rainy weather was…

How much fun it was to see random stuff like meat that’s just hanging out by the register in a box

But I’m afraid smog was looming….

So, I may have started the ball rolling by joining my running friends for a Monday 7km along the river when the the pollution reading was directly saying it was unhealthy, so of course I screenshot and send the air pollution reading and made a stupid comment via viber like ‘perfect weather for a jog’ and off I went…

Karma it’s a bitch.

So, Tuesday I feel pretty lethargic and have a weird ear thing going on (I later find out that apparently pollution causes ear trouble in children, chesty coughs and general unwellness thankfully work allow Google so I can diagnose myself with complete certainty and not have to deal with figuring out where a doctor can be found) but decide to drag myself to a dinner after work and decide to suck it up, I mean I’ve never had Korean BBQ and this may be my only chance…

Come Wednesday and I’m feeling shit not to mention pissed off that my vpn isn’t working and I’m left all alone (who will be there for me when I’m bored or lonely if I don’t have Facebook, Instagram or Google… How will I diagnose this illness I feel coming on?).

I leave work early and feel quite guilty, I convince myself that yes I am sick and it’s in the best interest that I go home. I try the pharmacy, I motion and use English words that of course they cannot understand… They get overwhelmed and shut down (this Happens a lot) and just say no in Chinese over and over. It’s gonna take a lot of effort to win the ladies over again and especially without google working to translate for me. My heart isn’t in it…. I’ll go au natural. Marley is stoked to have bedtime come so early, we go to sleep…

The thing is I sleep all afternoon, all night, pretty much all day, then all night and then finally wake up Friday morning. First I must try to figure out if it’s Thursday night or Friday morning, my phone is flat and I don’t actually know its friday morning for a while, but once I finally work it out I decide it’s time to go to work and be better… I scowl at my emails from Facebook saying I have notifications waiting… Screw you guys!

Of course, Marley promptly reminds me when it’s breakfast and dinner time for him.

Wow, this story is super exciting I bet you wish I had more like this… Anyway, I marvel at my strength, I’ve dealt with suffering away without getting all sooky lala and shit… Go me.

I treat myself to a massage, of which my regular massage lady that speaks English, asks how I’m not cold when I feel cold to touch, I say I think I have bad circulation… She smiles and says cheerfully, maybe it’s because of all your fat… I agree delightfully, oh yes it must be that.

Anyway, cut to Friday evening and I’m sitting on a bus on my way to a hiking trip… I know I know, but I paid already and i made up my mind that I wasn’t going to be sick anymore.

I manage to sit right next to the bus heater, which I think definitely made me feel worse. I chat as much as I can without seeming like a weirdo or anti social psycho to the sweet and painfully young and optimisitc looking Dutch boy sitting next to me. We bond briefly over some chinese brandy… I hope it will knock me out. I drift off, but am painfully aware of my stomach pains are looming.. We arrive at 2am and scurry off to real beds.

Now. For those of you thinking this story may end like the scene in the movie bridemaids, it’s not like that so don’t get excited. This is not food poisoning.

We set off hiking at least not too early, I’m not terrible so think I maybe okay. Off we go, and wow it only takes 5 minutes to realise that yes I do feel like crap… The hike is challenging for everyone (except 2 people cause there is always 1 or 2 over achievers in every group – it’s just the way life is), I feel weak but I can’t stand the thought of eating anything and I feel sick and faint. I ponder how many Chinese tourists will photograph me if I decide to puke politely to the side of narrow path…

We are staying at the top of the mountain, so I have no choice but to put my earphones in and will myself to hike up stairs for most of the day… Why on earth did I pack so much…

Eventually I am enticed by a mountain side cucumber and then just when I well and truly think I will run out of steam I have some mandarins and then some mango… I get there.

I go straight to bed like a broken person and wish the world away. 12 hours later, we hike again. Luckily I packed a jarrah mint hot chocolate to pepp me up…

I’m a bit better although still not ready to stomach the delicious trail Mix I made and the hike is half a day and much easier… I channel Taylor swift and shake it off…

Ah… Home sweet home, with an untouched bag of trail mix.

I drag my arse to work Monday, coughing now like an old sailor and I start again… Come Saturday afternoon and I’ll be chillin next to Kirsty’s pool… Shake it off…

My vpn still isn’t working, I hear rumours that China has stopped them all… What does this mean for me!! Can I really live not knowing everything, even the painfully boring yet alluring updates Facebook. I can’t think about it right now, it’s too painful… Oh and did I mention I ran out of Twinings Assam Bold, my stash at home and work is tapped out now!! Shit just got serious…

Weirdly I find myself working late, so I grab a massage at the suspicious place across the road. When the lady in a tight black Lycra dress finishes walking on me, I walk myself home slowly and decide my dinner tonight can just be Special K. I look up at the sky and can’t see a single star but glance at the tiny florist and decide if Shanghai gives you smog then you should buy some tulips..

The shop lady smiles like the Cheshire Cat as she painfully over charges me (okay, so $5 too much is painful for me) for bright orange tulips, but I don’t care… I stroll home reminded it’s Australia Day so I have a card to open from dayna, plus I check the mail and well hello a little package from Tegan.

As I write this post on a smoggy Tuesday morning, I feel much better – perhaps the tulips worked a treat ūüôā

 

This is¬†all I have to say haha IMG_1273 Nah, i’m being overdramatic don’t worry…¬† although when we were told to go find some brekkie here I was a little worried I would be undernourished… IMG_1503 Smiling for the camera… prentending to not be that ‘weird’ person.. IMG_1504 Shake it Off! IMG_1533 Okay, it’s time to force something down… nothing like a mountain side cucumber (okay I just took my first photo, maybe there is hope for me…)! IMG_1505 Usually going down stairs is exciting, but knowing we’re half way… we’re only just going to have to¬†go up some more on the other side! Very cool view and quite scary to walk down steps so steep! IMG_1511 Yep, here we go… Up IMG_1514 Hmm, maybe the cucumber helped! IMG_1528 Okay, yes worst part over… keep slogging on! IMG_1531 And at least I’m not one of these poor guys! IMG_1532 Well, I made it to the top! Thankfully I could go and sleep right up the top… oh wait, we need to check out sunset first…. argh. IMG_1527 Day 2, feeling good after so much sleep. Off we trek… IMG_1550 We Plan a good trek but not so bad today (yay) and then a gondola ride… now that’s much better! IMG_1542 Home time.. but a quick stop for food in the town… IMG_1547 At least others took pretty pictures whilst I was summing all my will just to keep moving…. IMG_1549 IMG_1551 IMG_1553 IMG_1554 IMG_1525

The Highs of January 2015

So, I’m kinda glad I didn’t bother with a New Years Resolution around being much more up to date with my blogging… but hey, I’m not claiming to be a blogger here and no one is offering to sponsor me! haha.

When I drafted the start of this post it was called ‘New Years Non Resolutions’ – I was all high on life and ready to embrace every Pinterest quote I Pinned i.e. Release and let go of all the crap in the past and look forward.. create the life she loved… Well, that was all great and noble, but then the smoggy winter really kicked in and I got sick…it all went a little down hill (see my next post soon around the Low’s of January) but don’t worry it’s February now and I am 5 short sleeps away from a 2 weeks vacation in tropical paradise… nothing to complain about from Shanghai in this post! ūüôā

Anyway, I really didn’t want to do the fancy hotel party thing, I didn’t want to go to a house party;- I just wanted to get the Hell Out of Shanghai and didn’t mind where. Luckily, I know a few lovely ladies (by lovely I mean ones I can be compmletely fucked up and vulgar around with no fear of judgement) which were on the same page… so we ‘loosely’ planned a trip and off we went, not sure what to do or expect… but off we went on December 31st!

6 Hour Bus trip, not so cosy but at least I’ve learnt not to crack any beers until the last half an hour or hour max… Did I mention we missed our stop and ended up in a different town, but never mind we just stayed there anyway.

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Beer and a Selfie Stick, we’re sorted!
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Our hostel was like a giant Ice Box!

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But Mr. Hu was so nice and it was a miracle for us that he spoke such good English!
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Plus Mr. Hu’s wife was a great cook and restored my faith in Chinese food!!
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Exploring around the Town…
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Beer in hand of Course…
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Even the little supermarkets where fun… Our Brazilian member talked about the need to wear a lucky pair of coloured undies to bring you luck… you pick the colour based on what you want in 2015… I picked blue which is relaxed and calming, she insisted I needed to add some red (passion and luck) but socks would do just fine…. our selection was limited

We found the closest thing we could to a bar in the quiet little town
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Trying the local spirits – We started with high hopes…. I had my phone camera on ‘burst’ and caught our expressions! haha

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Trying the local spirits – a little sharp

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Trying the local spirits – The kick

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Then Jan 1 we went off to see a Waterfall (which didn’t really have a Waterfall….hmm). Oh well, we’ll roll with it.
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Feeling fresh and full of energy… what a new feeling for me on Jan 1st!
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Selfie Stick has already paid for itself haha…
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Everyone wanted a photo with us, it was quite funny. Even one of the employees at the front gate followed us around, and every time we took pictures and posed for ourselves he jumped in and took his own photos of us… he never acknowledged us or said hello, just acted like he was invisible hahaIMG_1045

Yep, he was there taking a copy of this too!
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Finally, off to climb the Mountains – The Yellow Mountains!
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Never ever have I climbed so high!
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These poor guys running up and down with stuff – it was insane.
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Made it to the top! cheesy yes, but you’re supposed put a lock somewhere on the mountain and inscribe the names… this is providing you climb with the love of your life. Now, Oprah tells me the Love of my life should be Me… hey that works! Rewarded with a can of beer of course – it’s all about ‘Balance’. Yes that’s my theme for 2015…

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Strange weather, was quite sunny but also almost frozen.

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Um, do they realise that’s a little dangerous…
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I arrive home happy but exhaused and treat myself to a gourmet dinner!
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Such a brilliant trip, but very nice to snuggle up when I got home though!!!
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