Twas up at 7am like a good pupil and out in the paragliding shop by 8am to use the internet to do some work, then we gathered in the bus (that had been topped up with kerosene due to the fact that it wasn’t possible to buy fuel in Pokhara for various reasons) to head out to a place called ‘Sarankot’ to take our first flights. Continue reading Paragliding Course day Three FLIGHT
Today we did more ground handling to get used to the Alpine Launch (launching forward at a run rather than a reverse launch more commonly used in the UK) Continue reading Paragliding Course Day Two
I hopped out of bed this morning early ready for day one of the course. The weather was crisp in the morning, the sky blue with fresh air but little wind. This lasted until the sun started warming the place up and the vultures found the thermals, Continue reading Paragliding Course Day One
The jetlag is still creeping up on me by mid afternoon but it’ll be gone when I start hiking up and down hills with a paraglider. Continue reading Acclimatising
I was flagging from the jetlag so decided to have a quiet meal at the Yak restaurant of veggie mo mo with a Nepali thali. After this I took a walk around to see the bright lights of Kathmandu’s bustlin nightlife then headed back for an early night in my rooftop room at the Thamel Hotel. Continue reading Pokhara Lakeside
England was starting to get to that damp time of year that used to be the cause of a fella’s consumption. Not of the alcohol variety, the kind of consumption that ate at the lungs causing people to head somewhere drier, or take a few years off by going on ‘The Grand Tour’.
Continue reading Departure to Nepal
And so from the perfectly groomed little airport on Tioman I head back to an orderly Singapore where even the buildings have giant numbers so they won’t lose themselves. From there I get on the 23.25 plane to London and a winters chill. I’m looking forward to it really as I have been away for long enough.
At the North end of Salang Beach the footpath winds up past an impressive abandoned bungalow complex. I say impressive becuase the bungalows cling to the steep slopes teetering on high thin legs and actually blend into the hillside quite well.
The path quickly turns to a winding jungle camino that follows the electricity cables that come from the islands capital.
My T-shirt was soon turned into a sopping rag as the humidity and the heat took their toll, but after a good hike up and down you come to the deserted white sand beach of Monkey Bay.
At Monkey Bay I stripped my sopping clothes and skinny dipped in the cooler waters of the sea, floating around I could look back at the jungle wrapped around the bay like a shawl.
Continuing on was an easier walk even if the distance was farther as the slopes became kinder. Monkeys followed me in the trees making sure I wasn’t up to no good, monitor lizards scurried out of my way and I teased tree snakes with sticks as butterflies flapped dreamily around as if in an opium den. The noise is hypnotic in the jungle, a constant rythm that has kept us entertained for all time, before the electronic rythms this was our melody and it has stayed fresh.
Eventually the path reaches habitation again and after another set of stairs and a hill reaches the long arc of a bay that the small airport sits on. I came across a fellow I knew was from Salang and hitched a ride back in his boat along with his son that he was accompanying from school. Perfect timing for the perfect day.
I love the fact that Tioman has a heart of solid jungle that can be explored, but must be respected. I spent a long time on Koh Tao in Thailand but found the fact that it had evolved from one vast coconut plantation had left it featureless in it’s interior, but Tioman still has the monkeys, monitor lizards, butterflies snakes and everything that goes with this hemisphere and location.
Here is a panorama made from the end of the new concrete pier in Tioman…
[kml_flashembed movie="http://cybergypsy.eu/flash/tioman-panorama.swf" width="496" height="240" wmode="transparent" /]
It was around 12 years ago that I saw a Norwegian feller on the beach in Tioman with a laptop. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me he was connected to the web via a sat phone and that he was working.
I decided that if this woas work then I wanted to get involved, so I learned how to use computers and got busy.
I am now sitting on the same beach in Tioman, with my laptop connected to the internet and I’m not working too hard.
It feels like I have come full circle, back to the source.
I hung around in Singapore for the Thaipusam festival Continue reading Thaipusam
One thing about Singapore is that you can transport yourself to different parts of the world in theme park style by going to a few of the little enclaves dotted about.
Right now I am in Little India. Little India is like a sanotised microcosm of the mother country where you can absorb the sights and sounds in a few hundres square metres, music shops, shrines, them smell of incense misxed with spicy food. Tonight I chowed down on a mutton byriani and cold iced tea.
I almost didn’t stay through the day though. For a while this morning I missed my lady and felt somehow as if I were negligent in not being in the UK with my brethren for the bad weather and knee deep snow, so much so that I rang Qantas and asked them to change my flight. But just before I gave them my credit card info for the surcharge I realised that I had better finish what I had started and make it through my last week for this winters trip, so I have booked a bus to take me to Mersing where I’ll catch a ferry to Tioman tomorrow.
for tonight I have the treat of the six nations starting so I’ll pop on over to a local bar and catch the game in 20 minutes time.
I’m getting too lazy to shift my arse out of Singapore – It;s comfy here, not as expensive as you’d think if you stck to the food halls where you can buy any food from China, India, Malaysia with even fish and chips on the menu for those missing home. So why move – I have heard the weather is still awful on the island of Tioman so perhaps diving is out of the question so we’ll see – it’s raining here now so maybe this muggy weather will lighten up a wee bit.
Anyhow, later on I persuade a few lovely souls staying in the hostel thatÂ it would be a good idea to try a Singapore Sling at Raffles. It’s the only thing I had on my agenda here so we have some food and meander over to the iconic hotel in the late evening. I didn’t actually think we’d get in, believe it or not I looked about the tidiest of the bunch in my cotton shirt and strides, but my old tatty trainers, a lovely young French girl who was wearing a pair of rubber thongs and an American feller that looked like he should be playing in the Red Hot Chillies all added up to a refusal at the first hurdle in my books but no, they allowed us to sit in an outside bar in the centre of the hotel and sup on a few slings we did. They tasted a bit like an over enthusiastic half pint of strong grenadine, but hell, they were invented here and we had one at the source.
Job done, now what Captain Kirk?
I remember once standing on a Thai raliway station with my daughter in my arms as life went on around us. Lady boys flirted on the night time tracks and people milled around until they all started to buzz about like stirred up bees shouting ‘Singapore Singapore’. It was the orient express travelling on it’s way south with it’s carriages full of luxury. A little nest of people sat on a balcony at the back of the train with a waiter poised to fill up glasses with more champagne and for a moment I saw the difference between the life we had chosen to live and the opulence of this little island sat like a jewel in the sea.
And here I am, sweltering in the humidity that marks so many months in this part of the world thinking that the only way to really get to know this place is to take out a bank loan and spend until increasingly chubby fingers are spent.
But no, one will simply nip into Raffles and have a Singapore Sling, anything else would be showing off. How vulgar.