A Travellerspoint blog

My Gold is so big, so strong and so mighty...

There is nothing my gold cannot do. That's how the song goes aye?

sunny 40 °C

I have been in conditions where your hair freezes instantly, and I have been in places where your hair instantly turns into one giant knotty birds nest instantly but this is the first time I have been somewhere where my hair dries instantly.

Dubai, is hotter than the sun. I am glad I came from 2 weeks in Greece and Italy to give me the time to attempt to acclimatise. Note the use of the word 'attempt'. I did not. I'm not sure if that's possible. The man running my desert tour yesterday said that they have 2 seasons in the UAE. Hot and hot. I don't doubt it. Apparently 'winter' still sits at about 32 degrees. Today I have been sitting on the runway waiting to take off for 3 and a half hours, with no air con, in a tin can that is meant to fly at 40 degrees. While yesterday the desert it was about 43. We went out at about 5pm and it was 37 degrees, and when we left at around 8.30 had dropped to 36. Mad. Too hot for a person that has a comfortable temperature range of about 19 +/- 3 degrees. I am the person that sits in the car and goes... Air conditioning on, air conditioning off, window open, window closed. Then repeat. Every 3-4 minutes. I'm a real pain in the ass.

Yesterday in an attempt to see the sights I made a fatal schoolboy error. I went outside. I am not the traveller that generally sits in air conditioned or heated building waiting for the perfect conditions to see the environment, I believe the weather is part of the environment, which should be experienced, good or bad. Hence previous blogs describing me attempting to snowboard in -37 degrees, standing out doing a rain dance in the middle of Hurricane Sandy and driving the Hana highway in what felt like a class 4 rapid. However I didn't take into account the oppressive nature of the sun, along with an oppressive long sleeves and a skirt below the knee I ventured out of the metro to see the sights. I felt like I was crawling along the concrete I was moving so slow. Moving from shade to shade. And I felt like I was doing a very average job at it. I was outside for about 2 hours, but it felt like a lifetime. I would pop into a shop to buy water every 20 odd minutes, retreating to the climate controlled environment for long enough that someone in the store would think I was trying to case the joint, before scuffing my feet back into the sun. The water I was consuming was pouring out of me. So I decided after about an hour that the only way to stop sweating was to be completely dehydrated. Seemed to work, but logically couldn't last for long.

I am used to London where the train stations are close together, and you can walk from point to point, here I had lost my ability to regulate my own temperature, lost my will to live and was beginning to lose my dignity as my white shirt became more and more see through. It's all well and good to conform to Muslim dress standards, but when it's sticking to you and is basically transparent I think it's bridging on pointless. I looked like an overweight middle aged man after a jog down he driveway.

Other than the mad heat, Dubai is mad in so many other ways. Muslim but super secular, much more than I was expecting. Religious, but seemingly driven by consumerism and wealth more than the Koran. The population is flush with immigrants at both ends of society, in the high rise buildings, dusting the pot plants outside those buildings (actually) and building those high rises from the desert to the sky. From what I can see there are 4 social classes. Some shop in the Gucci store, some work in it, some clean it and the others used there sweat to build it.

Like Singapore, it's outward appearance is so false you feel like you are in an elaborate version of the Truman Show, but filmed in a microwave. Until you realise people live here. Every day. And have their own quirks and routines; women only train carriages, playgrounds under the bridges - where the homeless live in London and watering the 'grass' that is actually sand, to ensure the desert doesn't take over.

Even with all of this, I really enjoyed it. It's contrived, fake and exhausting. Whilst being a juxtaposition of futurism, cultures and societal structures that is just so damned interesting to experience. Dubai is worth a stop over just to people watch, I will definitely do it again.

Posted by kayles 29.08.2014 14:18 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Hashtag travel

sunny 35 °C

So we all know about first world problems, or hashtag firstworldproblems as some of the more tech savvy of us understand. I have a new one. Someone has already probably thought about it, but I don't want to look for fear of people annoying me more than I annoy myself.

  1. holidayproblems

On first consideration you may think, Kayleigh your shoe laces must be tied together, you be tripping... Holidays can't have problems. By definition they are holidays and devoid of drama. But I tell you they do. Not noteworthy or irksome in the same way that the Middle East crisis is, or Ebola. But something that everyone has probably experienced one of whilst travelling. And now I am hash tagging it.

1) My swimwear is still wet from the last swim I had #holidayproblems

It sticks to your legs, it's as difficult to get on as getting an octopus into a wetsuit, and it smells a little funky. Also love when that wet bikini strap comes round and smacks you in the face.

2) My kindle has run out of battery #holidayproblems

I have been enjoying my life, doing the thing I enjoy for so long, that electricity wants me to suffer. I guess I have to read a real book, boo... Where I am I going to get one of those? In a library, don't be so silly! Ain't nobody got time for that!

3) My face is so tanned that my make up is the wrong colour #holidayproblems

Woe is me. I will have to either attempt to be Michael Jackson with white winter-like foundation, or consider the terrifying possibility of going sans 'face' for a day. Pity the fool that doesn't anticipate the browner complexion of holiday skin and ends up looking like a geisha going out for dinner.

Also added to the ever growing list is....

4) My mojito is giving me brain freeze #holidayproblems

5) All this gelato is making me get a food baby #holidayproblems

6) I have to wear shoes?? I am not going.... #holidayproblems

7) Can't find a beach chair in range of the wifi #holidayproblems

8) Sand in your bikini bottom #holidayproblems

There are lots more to giggle at... I want it to become a thing.... #probablyhavetobefamousforthat

Posted by kayles 28.08.2014 22:38 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Sunny, pizza-y and Popey

sunny 28 °C

From a week of sun tans, togs and swims every day, we headed to Rome. Many of you regular blog readers.... (Mum... That's about it....) may note we have been to Italy before, a number of times. It's the pizza, you got me. However, this time we headed south. Rome, Salerno, Amalfi, Positano, Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii and Naples.

In combination with Greece, this is the first time the Orsums have really travelled in the summer high season. Not approved. It's hot, sweaty, with way more tourists, the prices are bumped up, especially for the essentials, namely accommodation and water and the worst part is everything smells a little funky. Rome was no exception.

I'm not sure if I have mentioned before, but Iain and I always joke about construct-ober. It's the month when all renovation, refurbishments and general fixings happen in Europe. Just after the high season, and just before it gets too cold to work outside. Apparently Rome didn't get this memo. Everything had scaffolding. Not only scaffolding, but scaffolding emblazoned with expensive watches and eye cream advertising. To fight for space on the metro, then walk 8 blocks in the blazing sun, dodging the slowest and widest tourists known to man, restraining oneself from punching these slow walking people in the back of the head, only to find what you were destined to see is not there is infuriating. But you know me, I rant about everything.

Luckily Iain had been to the Vatican before, so knew all the tricks of the trade to see everything we wanted, without crazy queues of people. Basically Iain just knows the tricks of the trade to stop me ranting, although I'm far less entertaining when I am calm and content.

My rants about the Vatican and the Catholic Church are for a less open forum, and would be served well with a port and strong cheese combo. Although, what isn't!

From Rome, we headed down to the coast. Originally Iain and I had looked at renting a car for this part of the trip to keep costs down. I am glad we didn't. I don't think it is more cost effective to rent a car and then smash it up driving in Italy. Italian roads are already a death trap full of semi suicidal drivers, but the Amalfi coast is a new level of insanity. You have to have a very good life insurance policy, a strong belief in a higher power and a complete disregard of life, to drive here. We took the bus, and even then I think there was a system where the drivers all lined up and downed their trousers to decide who had the biggest kahuna's for some of the routes.

The route to Agerola is for those with the biggest undies. And probably the brownest. Our bus actually gave up the ghost before the final destination. Kaput. Poked. It died a very fiery and smokey death, much to the alarm of the tourists onboard, and the hilarity of Iain and I. Agerola is the starting point for the Path of the Gods walk, amazing walk, could do with a couple more handrails.... But just the most stunning views, and a knee surgery inducing 1000 stairs down to Positano for a swim.

Capri was stunning, Limoncello has been purchased and Iain promises he will not drink it all before I return... Iain, I have at least 3 witnesses on here! I will strike you down.

Naples, as expected was scumtastic. Alright for a night. I found a good hotel right by the train station, and wasn't expecting much so was pleasantly surprised. Also dinner was amazeballs - note for other travellers, don't wait in the biggest line for the busiest restaurant. I was finally beaten by a dinner in Napoli. I can't remember the last time it happened. Those on our Greece trip will tell you I didn't flinch at the portions, Naples however gave me a good run for my money. Free aperitifs (with plates of food), Fresh bread, Caprese salad, Bruschetta to sink a small Navy vessel, 2 pizzas (yes, one each of course), 1 full litre of wine, 2 proseccos and 2 limoncellos all for less than €50 (all up).... There was a slice of pizza left. For shame Kayleigh. For shame.

Now I am on the train back to Rome for my flight to Dubai. Leaving Iain behind to pay the credit card for the last trip! Anyone who is in London between now and mid- October give him a call. He'll be lonely and in desperate need of a good meal. He may even be starving to death... Although I think the last week in Italy has given him a few additional resources round the midsection (...if you know what I mean). Just whatever you do, don't drink my limoncello. I'll learn some tracking techniques in Africa, and I will hunt you down.

Posted by kayles 27.08.2014 19:22 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Camera Obsucra - well not obscured. Just gone. Thanks Italy

sunny 29 °C

So today I brought a SD card reader to put into my iPad, I have been looking for one for the WHOLE trip, to back up my photos in case something goes wrong.... One day too late. Funny how SD autocorrects to sad. Not funny at all I guess.

For those of you who have been privy to the passport disaster, the 2 separate phone debacles or the Christmas Present chaos of 2013, you'll know often Iain isn't the most reliable of 'carry-on carriers', at one point he was BANNED from taking anything on board any form of transport with him. So it should ultimately be a surprise to you that I gave him another chance at this illustrious title. He really out did himself in Rome.

No less than 1 hour from the international airport where I am sitting to fly out on my first leg to Africa, my camera is gone. A VERY expensive Canon camera purchased specifically for this adventure. Gone. Left on the train in Rome. To those expecting shots of Greece or Italy, or those expecting pictures of themselves, specifically those on the Greece Medsailors you are never going to see them. I was having such an incredible time taking great shots on a great camera for the first time in my life. Unlike the Christmas presents, these puppies are never coming back.

So apologies to all who will never see them, apologies to Iain for the tantrum I threw in Rome Termani, and a big giant middle finger to the hobo who told me, get over it, you'll never get it back, it's just a camera. F-off hippy.

To the insurance company please work quickly and logically. I have 3 days until I reach Cape Town. I believe in you little worker bees.

Posted by kayles 25.08.2014 11:58 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Sail of the century

sunny 35 °C

Greece lightning, nah, jokes, not a spot of rain.... just plenty of sunshine, feta, octopus and Souvlaki. The Orsums have been out and about, leaving the safety and comfort of Wapping HQ behind, we just spent 2 weeks away from the London rat race for a tropical holiday. Anyone who knows us, knows we are not lie on the beach travellers, more amazing racers. However, this was a perfect mixture of both. The first week, was spent in Greece. Italy second, although that is for the next blog.

We went out with Medsailors a company tailoring to young (mostly kiwis and ozzies), around the Sardonic Islands for a week of sailing, drinking, lounging and exploring with 8 others on our boat and about 20 other London kiwi crew.

We left London on Friday, Iain straight from work and me straight from unemployment (and a morning of hasty packing) to Athens to possibly the worst accommodation I have ever stayed in. Greece in the high season is hit and miss, and we missed. We weren't even in the same field, I would hazard to say we weren't even playing the same game.....

All was rectified in the morning when we joined our Captain, my Captain (RIP Robin Williams) Tom and his boat Paris in the Athens Marina. It felt like 100 degrees as Iain and I ran some ice from the local petrol station to the boat - basically arriving back sweating, with 2 bags of cold water.

From there we headed on a whirlwind adventure to Peridika, Hydra, Spetses, Ermioni, Poros and Agistri before heading back to Athens. Lots of mojito's, reading, beers and swimming. Every night we had a new back yard, with a new restaurant to try, new stories to hear and new adventures to plan for tomorrow.

Although there was a lot of chilling, we also walked up a hill, I know surprising huh? Tried to surf behind a yacht with 3 people until my pants fell down and the water went up my nose. (Iain was much better... Grrrr....) I also tried wakeboarding for the first time. For those who haven't tried it, don't give up when your arms are buggered and you haven't even got to the rope yet... It's worth it. My arms stopped shaking just enough to drink a celebratory beer at the end! Also to those of you jealous of my headstand on the stand up paddle board photo, don't worry it wasn't as awesome as it looked, I spent a lot of time on the water or smacking back first into the board, generally looking very undignified, however with the help of our resident photographer, Callie she managed to snap a picture just before I landed once again in the water after gravity took hold.

Our crew were awesome, although we weren't with the traditional kiwi gang, they were always moored right next door... Depending on how much throttle Anton had used to get there. Tom on the other hand was a sailor through and through. Much to Iain's delight, we got to sail a lot, even won the weekly race - apparently Tom wins every week (to use a sailing pun, it took the wind out of our sails a bit, we had a pretty good crew of people who had done a bit of sailing before and we're competitive as hell). Hey I don't care how we win, as long as we have a trophy and champagne at the end of it. Although the erupting champagne in the eye was a little less celebratory... Thanks Pat :)

Toga parties, 1am swims and 90's music behind us, we have made 8 new besties. And now have plans for the Croatia version next year.... Maybe.... Returners discount??

Posted by kayles 25.08.2014 06:15 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

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