Category: ANIMALS AND PLACES OF NATURAL BEAUTY.

All the stuff that you can see with me that mother nature has created. Vistas and creatures.

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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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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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PREHISTORIC CAVE PAINTINGS MITLA, MEXICO.

OR, HOW A OLD BIRD CLIMBED TWO MOUNTAINS IN A DAY.

This post from exactly a year ago in Mexico is a favourite of mine memory wise. It was a solo travellers demanding type of day with hardship but then huge rewards. This is the way we rock us old birds, moaning a lot but loving it!

The sun was shining…

When I made the decision to visit prehistoric cave dwellings that have been inhabited for 10,000 years I thought it would be a little tricky but not that hard. yesterday I worked my little travellers socks off to visit two of the major sites in Mitla. I had chosen two, maybe three places but hadn’t anticipated that they weren’t just there like most tourist sites, they are tricky to get to and a lot of leg work. I would advise not to try for them unless you’re feeling top notch and are prepared to go slowly.

Now I’ve been to Mitla two years ago to see the famous Mayan site of Mitla and also Hierve el Agua, which now sadly is permanently closed. Both were things of wonder so I was excited to be even more daring this time with a bit of pre history caves and their paintings all in the same area. I have always wanted to see some more ancient art in caves but have only once before been to an island off Sicily and no photos were allowed but here one has the privilege of getting out the old camera. I had no idea how remote they actually were and how hard you had to climb on treacherous slippery terrain after the rains. Although the soil had dried off there are a huge number of springs which are obviously spurting out excess water as you go higher up and make the soil and rocks really slick.

MY SUNDAY OUTING TO VISIT 10.000 YEAR OLD ANCESTRAL CAVES.

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SO FUCKING LOW. LAST DAY IN PUNTA ALLEN CRYING ALL DAY.

OR, OVER A YEAR AGO “THIS IS REALLY HARD MY HOLIDAY ROMANCE WITH SWIMMING DOG IS OVER.”

TODAY.

Getting into food again after my month-long tummy problems

It’s now more or less one year since I left Punta Allen and my doggy. I’m still homesick for it all there but checked online and the prices are huge in Punta Allen Mexico at the moment. I’ll still to my Turkey plan for the moment. Plans are swooping in and out of my life at the moment as the political climate changes in a heartbeat worldwide and I don’t want to make a mistake and have to come home again. I want another long-term stay somewhere and Turkey so my present baby.

Lost my Turkey cap so am going forward with the Vietnam one!!

Turkey will nourish my soul for huge swathes of archaeological sites and magnificent countryside, that I have not yet visited. It will offer me fabulous food and incredible vistas, I will look into possibilities of living there to grow my veg and make my art. I will generally get back to my wandering ways and hopefully regain some lost confidence.

So a brief look over my shoulder to the last place I was truly happy, then onwards and upwards to pastures new. Come on old birds let’s rock it again.

A YEAR AGO FROM THE JOURNAL

Alert: Nostalgia and crybaby form most of this post. If you can’t be arsed with a grown woman and a tough old cookie at that, boohooing over a dog just look at the pics!!

Alkidas ears flapping in the breeze.

My dear old birds this is why you keep moving because if you stay a while anywhere, you form attachments. I am so down it’s beyond belief. The weather isn’t helping nor are the dogs, especially Alkida, who is blissfully unaware of my departure. I’m down, really down. It’s ridiculous I can’t stop crying. Punta Allen has been a huge learning curve and these hounds have been my best friends (apart from Sonia of course).

Very naughty swimming dog on my fresh sheets
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WORKING IN REMOTE PLACES. REALLY HARD!

OR, GETTING BACK TO THE BASICS.

Alert: Another post from a year ago in Mexicos’ Punta Allen. Just shows the completely different and happy lifestyle I had over there in comparison to being in London. My moaning about the trivial was so insignificant in comparison to what I’m encountering here. I rectified the photo problem so I have now put the proper photos in. What a palaver!

On the pier at Punta Allen

Alert: Yesterday capped it all. Went to a restaurant for a humble salad and went to turn my phone on and nada. Blank screen kaput. I’d noticed a small chip in the top corner but surely that couldn’t be it? I’ve seen people with completely smashed screens happily continuing to use them. WTF?! More bad luck? Alkida and I eyed each other, she knew something was up. She looked away hurriedly as dogs do when something is amiss. I am proud to say I, although ready to scream and cry, planned rather than leaving here and going straight to bloody Cancun, and just to put my SIM into my Mexican phone which rather ruined my off-grid plans (tell you later) I asked two very unhelpful people (Utopia comes with its selfish bastards too) then went to my room calmly ready to use iPad and see if I could change me SIMS. In the darkness of the room, I saw a faint background pic on it. Crouching in a dark corner I could just about make out settings and then screen brightness. Boom! All good and I became cautiously optimistic that I could hopefully continue here. Previously I would have wept like a baby but this time I handled it with steely determination. I’m very proud of myself that I’m developing into an even tougher old bird. I still have the photos problem so in this post you will see rather random references til I pull the rein in on these constant phone issues. Bear with me x

I love Punta Allen don’t get me wrong. I’m coming out of a very bad space that only solo travellers know about. I made the huge gamble of booking down here for a month and the very next day of having arrived major works are being done on the villages the main generator. Five fucking days. It’s meant that in my hotel the owner is only prepared to put on his generator from four till midnight. Nothing till four. I am an old bird who loves to rise early and do my writing then, while fresh. I am not a night owl. This has meant all my devices have depleted their batteries by around ten. I’ve made a deal with the restaurant oh so aptly named “Be Fucking Nice” and they have put on their generator which means I can charge AND write AND update work all the time. This new arrangement along with my paying some credit by card so I have money behind the bar. This means I won’t have a cash problem and if their WiFi isn’t working for their card machine they just can take money from what I have put in the kitty. The relief is massive. The whole reason I came here, was to write and edit photos for my blogs and a book I want to put together. The occasional party is great but it’s not my raison d’etre for this retreat. This kind of problem is normal, it happens in Tulum too to a lesser degree and it’s very frustrating.