Alert: Another unplanned absence folks but been busy getting ready!
I made a lot of mistakes when escaping to Mexico and this time my dreams for Turkiye are not going to be hampered by a lack of cash.
Although I am an avid list maker and practically anal in planning and preparing, I didn’t think out my financial situation for flying the coop to Mexico where I ended up staying for seven months, so this trip I am planning the hell out of it.
After all the masterplan to globally ruin our lives three years ago, I was just glad to leave the country without any thought or preparations. It literally was just to escape before there were no flights or means to get the hell out. I was panicking and in bad form. I was a shadow of my former self. A husk, a bundle of misery. Mexico would save me but I was ill-prepared on many levels but financially was the major one.
OR, WHEN IT WARMS UP YOU FEEL THE SUMMER HEAT IN AEGEAN TURKEY IN THE MOUNTAINS.
It might be warm at the coast but it’s very fresh up here.
Walking up the mountain alone most days it was lovely for my friend Ege and his brother to come to visit. They were so enthusiastic and made me feel like I was seeing it all afresh. Instead of moaning about the effing Rottweiler, the bane of my life on the walking shortcut, I take most days, I could enjoy going up to the mosque and spring water fountain by car. Beyond there we walked and what a beautiful landscape unfolded before us.
I had survived my lengthy trip from Jakarta with all its trials and tribulations and arrived in Bunaken and got back from my first fabulous official snorkelling tour and was a little singed and sandy but triumphant. I had stopped and had a cocktail at the beach and got back to my dwelling ready for a shower and dinner before hitting the sack. I was knackered. I’d had little sleep the night before and had swum about for miles with all the excitement of being in this amazing place. As soon as I got back the woman told me that food was ready and to sit down out on the large terrace, my food was ready.
OR, ESCAPING JAKARTA AND THE JOURNEY ON TO BUNAKEN, SNORKELLERS HEAVEN.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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-gridplans (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.
Alert: This was posted a year ago. I am now very homesick for my Punta Allen family (in Mexico) especially swimming dog and Sonia. Although I have been considering this idyllic notion of buying a super cheap farm in the hinterlands of Bulgaria. (Of growing my own organic food and storing it in one of the outhouses. Building my own kiln in the garden and creating beautiful ceramic pieces while having the company of the like minded around me when needed.), I am now just terribly miserable without that PA environment and lifestyle. So this is for everyone who is feeling a little blue at the moment to brighten up your day with my first exploration of PA with my broken hand limply cradled in my arms.
FROM MY JOURNAL. 9TH MAY 2021
Pain throughout the night. I had definitely set back my recovery but what to do? More painkillers and sedatives, a tormented sleep only to get up to open the windows in the night after the AC went off.
When I staggered out of my room in the morning the beauty of the place really dawned on me I had only seen the little twinkling lights the night before and it all looked disconnected and really quite scary.
Punta Allen is an unspoilt village with only very transient tourists passing through. It’s a fishing village and an amazing microcosm. I presume they have been hit by these times but I doubt people really stay here it’s more for the fishing and visiting the Biosphere Sian Ka’an where they have a huge variety of flora and fauna including jaguars if you’re very lucky. It’s at the end of the Boca Paila Peninsula. On that fifty km of rough dirt track down there, live around 500 salty souls.
Arriving at family hotel was a stroke of the best luck. It’s such a beautiful place and is appointed twenty paces from the white beach front. David the owner and Sonia have taken good care of me which would never have happened in the more impersonal places here. I was in poor shape but I extended my stay because, well, I felt as if this was the place to recuperate both body and soul. I didn’t want to leave and the huge bonus of love from the doggy too has really made the difference between just having a place to rest your head, and having a caring sort of family. They have massage here and a kayak if you fancy going out on the crazy beautiful aquamarine sea. Indeed someone said in a review that the massage was ‘magical, cosmic and ancestral’. Can’t really get a better review! I just wanted to tell you about this place because sometimes in life, and especially when you’re a damaged old bird travelling solo, you need the milk of human kindness. Sonia also will also cook some tasty food if you preorder.