Monthly Archives: October 2011

Day 37 Kuala Lumpur

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Looks good in the dark. Hard to navigate. Obviously wealthy. World’s highest concentration of Mercedes S-Class. Shopping malls the size of small countries. Chinatown, little India, Menara tower, etc. Good food, good bars, amazing shopping if you’re loaded.

Done. Airport, home, work, plan next year’s pan-American bike trip.

Day 36 Kuala Lumpur

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A short flight to Phuket, limestone karst islands looking spectacular in the turquoise Andaman sea, like Halong Bay from a different angle.

Equally short flight to KL. It takes as long to fly to KL from Phuket as it does to get to the front of the queue at immigration, which takes as long as getting from the airport to downtown.

Mandarin Oriental hotel. So good I haven’t left it yet. Relaxing with amazing city views. Great work out in a gym that is better than any in Newcastle. Swimming in an infinity pool with a view of the KL skyline and city park. With swimming being so new for me, it’s utterly brilliant to be able to enjoy such an amazing pool, especially as there are waiters to bring me cocktails when I finish.

Only have to decide whether to enjoy one of the 9 hotel restaurants and bars or head into town. Last day of this trip tomorrow, but what a way to end!

Day 34 Ko Tao

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I decide not to do any more scuba when I don’t feel safe or confident, so instead I circumnavigate the island by boat, stopping to snorkel in all the best bays.

We see all sorts of fish that swim right up to you and swarm around you. Eventually I’ll upload all the photos I took underwater with my waterproof camera, but for now can only post one taken on my mobile.

Between bays we spot a load of whales swimming and jumping and within minutes there’s a convoy of tourist boats chasing them. Very impressive to see them, hard to photo.

We finish the day at Ko Nangyuan, a gorgeous little trim of islands connected by a thin strip of beach and great for snorkelling, which I’m very pleased to be able to do without assistance of a lifevest. Very satisfying for a complete novice swimmer.

Day 33 Ko Tao

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Still no medical clearance from gp, so I visit the local clinic. The first says don’t even ask us, we’ll just say no. The second says, yeah ok whatever, I’ll sign you off.

So I get to spend the afternoon doing the confined water session in the pool, swimming around under water and doing all the exercises for swapping to the alternate regulator, emptying water from your mask and all the other stuff you have to be able to do under water and on the surface. Swimming under water is very weird.

Disappointingly, at the end of the session I have absolutely no confidence in myself or the instructor and don’t feel at all safe, so I probably won’t do any open water dives here.

Also disappointingly no photos cos I was kind of busy figuring out what the hell I was meant to be doing. So here’s a rubbish one of other people training in the pool.