Category: ALERTS AND TOP TIPS FOR SOLO TRAVEL.

Helpful advice that my experiences have taught me so you don’t have to make mistakes. I do it for you!

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FINALLY, ISLAND PARADISE, AND MY TURTLE.

OR, ESCAPING JAKARTA AND THE JOURNEY ON TO BUNAKEN, SNORKELLERS HEAVEN.

And finally paradise.

I rushed to leave Jakarta for my final destination of Bunaken. I was so happy to be on the road again (or should I say in the air) that I never even contemplated it being dark when I arrived at the bustling port of Manado in North Sulawesi. It was, and the hotel was scary, and the place was alarming, but I had got there and would spend the night before bartering for a boat ticket first thing the next morning.

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MALACCA THEN JAKARTA.

OR, TIMING IS EVERYTHING, MINE WAS PANTS.

Me in Jakatas National Museum

Top Tip: However well organised you are things can go awry. There was no way to know that they had stopped boats over the Straight of Malacca to go to Indonesia without having to retrace my steps to KL then fly to Jakarta. There was no way of knowing that a massive and contentious protest was on the very weekend that I was over in Jakarta so many things were closed. Shit happens and you just have to deal with it when you’re on the road solo travelling. This however did weaken me again after my healing time in Kuala Lumpur. This was a real bummer as stress always is a thing to avoid when you’re trying to rebuild your immune system as I explained in a previous blog “How My Troubles Began” When travelling, however much of an itinerary you have, you must take time out and rest up. I tried to squeeze in a lot making up for lost time which never works does it now hmmmm?

Photo of me having lost loads of weight in Kuching

After my huge success in fabulous Kuala Lumpur, I got a bit cavalier and decided to go to Malacca which people said was lovely. I really should have learned by then that most tourists are idiots and headed straight onto my snorkelling target on the remote island of Bunaken. Stupid, stupid old bird.

A galleon. Super.
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KUALA LUMPUR, MUSEUMS, ORCHIDS AND BIRDS.

OR, LEAVING BORNEO AND ARRIVING IN KL FOR A BIT OF TLC.

Journal Excerpts and Perfect Timing a continuation from last post!

KUALA LUMPUR

It wasn’t even in my plan to go there.

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COOL JUNGLE TREK IN CROCODILE TERRITORY!

OR, GOING WILD WITHOUT A GUIDE IN BAKO NATIONAL PARK BORNEO

The beach. Reward after the trek but sadly no sight of Mr Crocodile

Gimme some wild savage land and I’ll show you a happy woman. (Oh and a map that tells you what colours to follow for easy, medium or hard routes. I’ll still screw up but still be very happy!!!)

Morning boat to the park entrance.

After ghastly Kuching, I sped along the motorway in a cab at the crack of dawn to go to my pickup point for the Bako National Park. The place is a simple cafe where you grab much-needed caffeine and a life jacket then jump into a boat to go to a remote section of the park designed, in hopefully a foolproof way, for a wonderful jungle trek for all levels of difficulty. The boat ride which lasted about half an hour took us past fabulous rock formations and mangroves leading to dense jungle.

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JUNGLE WALKING AND DELUGE.

I JUST LOVE THE JUNGLE IN BORNEO, I JUST DON’T LOVE HEIGHTS.

From the Journal April 2018

After my day with orangutans and sun bears the day before and walking miles just to get to the truly dismal dinner at the ‘restaurant’ then miles back again I said goodnight to Mr Gecko and went to have a wonderful jungle sleep.

Over two rivers just to get me brekky
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ORANGUTANS AND SUN BEARS IN BORNEO’S PARADISE.

OR, RESPITE FOR THESE NOBLE CREATURES.

I had travelled from London to India, then Thailand to the Philippines and onward to the North of Borneo to a remote sanctuary for the now near extinct sun bear, and orangutan, a rehabilitation centre par excellence. It had been a wild journey already to get to this point, a lot of challenges and really living my best life.

Little family who turned up in the afternoon.
The shy sun bear with its long talon like claws for digging.

I had swum with whale sharks, visited Mogul palaces and forts, gone by horse up volcanic mountains in lake to see the emerald acid lake within that. I had gazed upon the Taj Mahal and other places of such beauty that I had been transfixed. I had had some adventures and laughed later, after the dramas were over. I had eaten a huge array of food and swum in crystal waterfall pools. I had seen art in museums that filled my soul with joy and learnt many things about cultures and ideas previously unknown to me. This trip had already held so much magic that I felt couldn’t be surpassed, nothing could surprise me. How wrong I was. Upon meeting the ‘Old Man of the Woods’ or ‘Wise Old Man of the Jungle’ I was in love. Seeing the insane flora and fauna I was gobsmacked and felt I was in for a roller-coaster of emotions. I was right.

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BORNEO SUNSETS AND MOVING ONTO JUNGLE ORANGUTANS!

OR, BAD RESEARCH MAKES FOR A SCARY TRANSIT TRIP

After the beautiful posh hotel I had in Kota Kinabalu, (link) I had to downgrade a tad so opted for a beachside cheapo. Well not necessarily the right thing to do as it transpired. I wanted somewhere that I could just hang and prep my trip to the orangutan rehabilitation centre and needed to book flights and make plans for onward movement after.

Ghost resort with its polluted beach

I had visited the fabulous night market in the centre on my second day after my first day of running all over town for their amazing mosques and quirky museums (link)

The spot I was going for had a famous promontory sunset bar in walking distance, it all looked well and good, but my luck is always hit and miss. I had done no research for this trip as I hadn’t realised that Philippines only allowed you in if you had a flight out which I had had to panically book in the wee hours of the morning two weeks previously. Kota Kinabalu hadn’t even been on my radar. I sketchily thought ‘well I wanted to go over there at some point to go to this famous centre and see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat but never further on than that as I had planned at least three weeks in the Philippines.

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UPDATE: GROW YOUR OWN ORGANIC VEG ON A TERRACE.

OR, CULTIVATE PLANTS TO COOK YOUR WAY TO OTHER COUNTRIES!

July 28th 2022

Abundance!

Since I last checked in my terrace jungle has blessed me with more than enough produce than I need on a daily basis. Despite the chemtrails it seems that my lovely jungle is thriving. I would highly recommend that people grow their own fruit and veg on their terraces if land isn’t available to them in the form of an allotment or a friends garden.

Lemon cucumbers

I have shared with neighbours and even after eating greedily and still was able to freeze three portions of beans yesterday! I also have frozen some squash as I did earlier this year with some of my brothers crop.

I’ve been eating salad of herbs, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and nasturtium every day and have had various combos of calaloo, squash, beans and potatoes for my veg with my dindins!

In its hammock

I have to confess that the naughty squash do like to grow outside the railings so I had to invent and make some string hammocks for them except for one big boy that grew between the railings just to make my life more complicated!

Monster squash, black and green beans , tomatoes, lemon and gherkin cucumbers

I had a drama getting it in as it weighed 2.9 kg. I sweated and swore as I perilously cut it with one hand and with the other wiggled it out from the railings, then lifted it over while tangled up with all the vines. They are quite prickly too, so with my trembling arms I navigated it over to safety! It was worth doing as I was terrified it would fall off and kill someone walking innocently below! Dangerous beasts.

Homemade grana bread rolls with added seeds

I’ve also just started making my own bread. I’d forgotten it’s not a drama at all and so much more healthy and cheap. Take the bull by the horns girls and do it! The smell in the kitchen is amazing and it makes you feel all warm and safe. This goes side by side with making my own soap, body butter and tooth paste. You can escape all the nasty fluorides and chemicals that’s in the commercial crap. I’ll keep you posted on recipes and ingredients shortly but I have to run now!

Delicious spuds and calaloo with organic smoke salmon and butter

Alert: although this had been written in a rambling way you’ll have to excuse me! Much like this whole experience, it’s been penned as an ongoing experiment. Just how do you gather your thoughts when undertaking far too many things? I’m happy that my life is busy with things I am passionate about but it does lead to cutting corners. Anyhow, I’ll correct and add later in my very impatient old bird way. Publish and be damned!

My first lettuces cohabiting with my poor fig tree which now is a much happier specimen
See the happy fig tree in the jungle?

If you can’t get away but want to conjure up recipes with vegetables and herbs from distant parts of the world, get gardening and grow more exotic stuff than you can get locally. If you have access to a farmers market make sure the stall is organic at the least, biodynamic even better. The stuff I didn’t have time to grow this season might be available. There are weird and wonderful as well as things like stinging nettles that are extremely good for you.

While looking wistfully through James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution’ the other day, and seeing an article about growing potatoes on Mars, (yes you heard me right) I started to look at all the remarkable, lesser-known and easily grown, veggie stuff you could have ready this year to create an imaginary trip to another part of the planet in your garden and kitchen.

My little figgies

Now since originally writing this, I had to recognise I was running out of time to grow anything, let alone start with more exotic stuff and only managed to get non-GMO organic calaloo seeds on the go so I’ll just have to show you how I did on my small terrace in Soho with the more conventional fruit and veg.