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By this Author: dezmondos

A new adventure in the Dominican Republic

Hi everyone, I have a new blog about living in the Dominican Republic - if your interested check out 'A new adventure in Dominican Republic'

Posted by dezmondos 07:08 Archived in Dominican Republic Comments (0)

My last post...

Living in Dominican Republic

sunny 32 °C
View Chris' round the world trip on dezmondos's travel map.

So the last month in DR has seen a lot of developments…
Me, Isa and Katherine!

Me, Isa and Katherine!


When I got to Dominican Republic Isabel who I stayed with in Columbia was staying with Katherine which was great. It was great to see her again and we did some cool things. Me, Katherine, Isa and Fabio went to Samana for the day which was like paradise. I don’t think I have found a better beach anywhere… and that is saying something! We also went on a bit or a tour around the old Colonial town in Santo Domingo – we visited a few museums which included the tobacco and rum museum… guess which was my favorite?
Samana

Samana


Time for the big news! I took Katherine to our favorite restaurant in Boca Chica, just outside of Santo Domingo – and I asked her to marry me! Yep, I’m getting married! When I left the UK back in May 09 I never thought I would be getting married by the end of it, I could not be happier right now. I met Katherine on the first day of my travels believe it or not, must be fate…
It also looks like we will be settling in the Dominican Republic aswell – which I love. It is the perfect end to my travels – well I say end – it will be the end of my travels alone, me and Katherine have a few trips planned to the states and back to the UK for a visit which we are really looking forward to.
Popping the question...

Popping the question...


So I have decided to end this blog here in DR – Im working back in the states in the summer but I think it is a fitting end to this blog as I cant really write a travel blog on when I am living in the country!
Thanks for everyone that has kept up with this blog, I hope it has inspired or at least been an interesting read at times. I for one look back on the amazing memories, experiences and friends (and of course Fiancée) that I have had and made and realize just how much I have done. I would not change the experience for anything in the world. Anyone that is thinking about travelling but is uncertain, all I can say is just do it, you will only regret it if you don’t! You only live once and life is short so enjoy it – not everyone in the world has the opportunity…

So I suppose one adventure leads to another… married life ;-)
Not nervous at all...

Not nervous at all...

Posted by dezmondos 11:02 Archived in Dominican Republic Comments (1)

Hong Kong and NYC

A stop over in Hong Kong and NYC on the way to the Dominican Rep

snow 0 °C

Hong Kong is my last new country on my list of places that I wanted to visit on my round the world trip. It is a bit sad really, this trip has been the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life – some people said I was crazy for giving up everything but I feel I did it just at the right time – I needed to do this. I don’t think I will ever get over the travelling bug – Im not sure many people do but as I arrive in to my final new country I realize that Im ready for a bit of stability , not having to pack and unpack my bag every couple of days becomes such a choir lol.
Not that this is the end of my travels – I am going back to Dominican Republic until May to be with Katherine. I met Katherine at the start of my trip in America and I never thought almost 2 years later I would be heading back to be with her. That’s what love does to you I suppose.
Anyway back to Hong Kong. It was only a short trip of 2 and half days but I really wanted to meet back up with Fion who I met in the states last summer.
Hong Kong with Fion!

Hong Kong with Fion!


I booked a room in the Chungking Mansions – it’s a place that used to be famous for drugs, gangs and generally not a nice place to be. It has changed now to shops and lots of cheap guest houses. But it still keeps the feel of a dodgy place to be in keeping with its history. I was staying in Kowloon just a short ferry ride over from Hong Kong Island. Fion met me when I arrived and we went to see the light show at the harbor – It’s the skyline that I have seen in hundreds of films and it was pretty impressive. Although it was freezing – me just in flip flops looked like a bit of an idiot…
Harbour night view

Harbour night view


We went for some food and drinks and I had a pretty early night – the price of the drinks dictated that – it was expensive! But hey no surprises there. The next day I decided to do all the touristy stuff. I went on the star ferry over to Hong Kong Island and took the tram up to Victoria Peak, it was pretty poor weather so the photos don’t really do it justice but it was still worth the ride up on the tram.
I spent the rest of the day exploring Hong Kong Island and it was pretty cool – the kind of place you could live but nothing spectacular to point out. I met a few guys and went for some drinks the following night but it was a pretty quiet day – I met up with Fion the evening before I flew out to say bye and we went for some dessert. I was very lucky to get my flight to New York the following day as it was snowing hard and flights the day before were cancelled.
Not the best view from the peak

Not the best view from the peak


I arrived in New York in Flip flops – yes flip flops and shorts! I was totally unprepared for this weather, there was like a foot of snow and people looked at me like I was crazy! I went o stay with Vanessa and Bryce again up in White Plains – it was nice of them to put me up – Its like a home from home New York – I think I have found a place that I would like to settle. On the Friday I went shopping to Woodbury Common – being as I was going to be in one place for a while I thought id better add to my suitcase. Woodbury Common is ridiculously cheap for designer clothes – I came out with as many clothes as I could carry. Ok I spent around 500 bucks – but for all designer brand clothing it was a bargin. That night Bryce had arranged a poker game – there were 6 of us and the pot was $240 – sadly I came third – could of done with that money after my shopping trip as well, lol. I did a last minute shop in White plains before heading to DR the following day.
This wont be my last installment as technically I am still travelling and I am away until October so I will keep this blog updated (maybe not as frequent). Thanks for everyone that has kept up with my travels – I hope it may have inspired a few people.
Star Ferry

Star Ferry


As I probably will not be visiting that many new places I am going to answer a question that I get asked frequently on a daily basis… “What is your favorite country in the world?”

Now usually I come up with the same answer ‘’it is impossible to say as they are all so different” and that is true – everywhere is different and it is not always the country that makes the biggest impression on you it is the people you meet.
First of all I started this trip thinking what is wrong with people that do not want to travel – I thought it was like living in a goldfish bowl – all these amazing places and cultures to see and people are staying put in the same place. But now I realize that not everyone has the same interests and that is fine for me – if everyone wanted to travel it would take something away from the experience. I really have met some amazing people whilst travelling – some have just been in passing – maybe someone that I met on one of the many long bus journeys - some people I have travelled with for weeks – it doesn’t matter all have them have had an influence on my travels, a positive one I might add. I have made friends for life on this trip, it sounds crazy but you get to know some people so well and even if they live on the other side of the world I know I will see them again.
Woodbury Common coverd in snow!

Woodbury Common coverd in snow!


One last thing I might add – living somewhere like England gives you prejudices against certain people and cultures –I wouldn’t go so far as saying it is racism but when people don’t understand a culture or way of life they can assume that it is bad just because its different. Having travelled through a lot of countries and stayed with locals in quite a few it gives you a better understanding about the cultures of others . Its funny as they have the their own views on stereotypes – for example everyone in Brazil started calling me a football hooligan once they found out I was English. I do have to chuckle – I found a very funny quote whilst reading the other day which I will share with you:

Heaven is where the cooks are French, the police are British, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian and everything is organized by the Swiss.
Hell is where the cooks are British, the police are German, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, and everything is organized by the Italians.

I did have a laugh over this. Right I started this off with the question of what my favorite country was?? A year ago when I finished Central and South America my top three were Panama, Brazil and Colombia. To be honest not a lot has changed… looking back at things Bolivia probably should have been in there and Indonesia was awesome in Asia so I suppose I have a to five – I know it doesn’t strictly answer the question but that’s as good as your going to get I m afraid!
NYC Skyline

NYC Skyline

Chris’ top 5 Countries (in no particular order and Im excluding the USA)

Brazil
Colombia
Panama
Indonesia
Bolivia

Until Next time...

Posted by dezmondos 09:52 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Cambodia

Temples and a bus crash!

sunny 32 °C
View Chris' round the world trip on dezmondos's travel map.

Last time I left it I think I was on a bus on my way to the Cambodian border – which I might add is notorious for scams and cons. I arrived at the bus station about 6km from the border of Poipet and I heard it was 80bht for the ride and when I asked how much the Tuk Tuk driver said 80bht straight away – obviously something was up lol.
Well timed shot in Ankor Wat

Well timed shot in Ankor Wat


Then he dropped me at the side of the road at this building that said Cambodian Immigration, hmm… I swear that should be after I get stamped out of Thailand – the guy came out and greeted me and was like come in come in, welcome to the Cambodian immigration – now I aint stupid – but obviously a lot of people are as they were paying $45 for their visa there! I asked the tuk tuk driver to take me to the actual border, which his response was very rude. I found out that a lot of people get really hounded by these people to buy the visas at these places. Luckily I could see the border crossing so I said goodbye – in a very polite way of course and headed to the border. I have just been reading this paragraph back and it does bring a smile to my face… my mum reads this blog and when reads that I had yet another argument with a taxi driver it will prove her theory that I have a vendetta against them. Which I haven’t of course ;-) I just hate getting ripped off! Im going to start a revolution against them ha.
Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuk


So across the border and it didn’t get much better to be honest… the bus companies are all set prices from the border so it costs a flat $9 for the 3 hour journey – not bad you think but when they stop at a restaurant – one that they have an interest in – when you are just 20 minutes for your destination it does get on your nerves – and to top it off they said we were staying there for an hour! Yes one hour! I almost got a taxi there and then, out of protest no one on the whole bus spent a penny in there (step one of my revolution).
Right enough with my moaning – Im not painting a very good picture of Cambodia am I?? I met a few people on the bus so we teamed up and said we would all rent a Tuk Tuk for the day and head to the Ankor Temples. Now I said it takes a lot to impress me these days but I was very impressed – we started off at Ankor Wat in the morning which was without a doubt the best temple I have seen, and I ve seen quite a few on this trip. It really is huge! I can see why it was so busy. We headed to Ankor Thom afterwards which was almost as impressive – Ankor Thom has a maze of tunnels and steps, it quite easy and we all did get separated but we all met up back outside. We stopped for lunch and headed to Ta Phrom , known by all the Tuk Tuk drivers as the Tomb Raider temple as apparently it was filmed there. Ankor Wat is a more impressive temple but this one was my favourite, it has been left untouched and unrestored. The trees have grown over the buildings and it looks amazing! Just see the photos.
The Ankor gang

The Ankor gang


It was getting close to sunset and we heard it was best to see at a temple on the hill over looking Ankor Wat, it would have been very nice if there wasn’t another 500 people up there with us. I have to admit temple aren’t really my thing but if your in Cambodia you have to go and see this place – its amazing. We returned back to Siam Reap in a pretty disgusting state – it was so dusty around the temples my clothes were all brown along with any part of skin showing. We went out that night and to my absolute delight the local beer was only 50 cents – awesome!
Ta Phrom

Ta Phrom


Now I was on a pretty tight time scale as I wanted to get in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville before I had to catch my flight back in Bangkok to Hong Kong so the next day it was off to Phnom Penh. One thing you realize when you get buses that all the advertised bus times are wrong and not just by an hour – our 5 hour bus was actually an 8 hour bus to Phnom Penh, anyway we arrived to late to visit the Killing Fields so we headed to S21 – the famous prison that thousands of Cambodians were held, tortured an d killed only four decades ago. I didn’t know how to feel really – its got hundreds of photos of the prisoners and what happened to them. It wasn’t the nicest experience – I mean we all know people get killed in wars but this was only 40 odd years ago and is the reason there are hardly any old Cambodians here. The feeling was even worst when we visited the killing fields – this was just one of over 200 that were around the country but it has been opened up to the public. We hired a guide because I really wanted to understand what happened here. It was shocking to say the least to hear his stories. Bodies were buried everywhere, we were walking over bones that come up through the earth during the rain. It was a must see but not in a good way if you understand what I mean.
What a photo

What a photo


That afternoon I headed down to Sihanoukville on the coast I fancied a day or to on the beach to relax – didn’t quite happen though – the beer was only 25cents in the evening and my first night there had me feeling so rough I wasn’t sure if I could handle another. It isn’t exactly what I would cool a pretty town, its just a tourist town – the beach isn’t that impressive either but I had a good time and got the night bus to Bangkok which was advertised as being 15 hours – likely story. The bus was so uncomfortable in the seat I was quite happy when we crashed… yep, went straight into a car – or the car went into us – I wasn’t quite sure, luckily no one was hurt but the bus and the car were pretty totaled – so we were on the side of the road when another bus pulled up – me and two others were heading straight to Bangkok so they put us on that bus so we could make our connection so we had to sit on the steps of the bus – luckily we were only an hour away from our connecting bus so it wasn’t that bad.
S21 Prison

S21 Prison


We had an hour stop over to wait for our bus where a Canadian guy was going off at the guy that was sorting the bus connections – I actually had to step in- everyone was just watching! It was all over the fact that he was told that it was a direct bus to Bangkok and he had to wait for a connection – ok he was lied to but everyone was – no need for that at all. If he gets upset over the way things run over here maybe he should go home – which is exactly what I told him – he really got on my nerves…
Ankor Wat

Ankor Wat


We had another couple of annoying stops but made it over the border pretty quickly nothing like they way over. When we got to the otherside we were expecting a bus but instead they crammed us into a mini van – my legs were around my head!I was soo thankful when we arrived in Bangkok! So I writing this while having a beer outside my hotel – Im going to try and fit in a dentist appointment whilst im here and just catch up with a few things. But you know what I wasn’t the biggest fan of Bangkok before but this is my third visit now and its grown on me – I love just sitting watching the people go by… with a beer or two obviously.
Killing Fields

Killing Fields


Next Bangkok to see Fion!

Posted by dezmondos 05:50 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Thailand with the family

A couple weeks of luxury

sunny 35 °C
View Chris' round the world trip on dezmondos's travel map.

We arrived in Bangkok after a relatively easy journey – the bus was good and apart from border control not believing my passport was mine (most probably due to my beard) it went without a hitch. I met a Kiwi, American and a Welsh girl on the bus so we all headed to Kho Sahn road to find some accommodation.
That day we headed off to Chatichuk weekend market – it is huge! Not full of all the junk that is usually sold in Bangkok either. It was worth a visit but I walked away empty handed as usual as I have not room what so ever in my backpack. I did enjoy negotiating with the taxis however, one piece of advice – never take a tuk tuk in Bangkok – always take a taxi they are a lot cheaper and never pay more then 80Thb for a ride in town.
Kao Sahn Road

Kao Sahn Road


We had a night out on Kho Sahn Road which is crazy – the place is open all night. Liam and the American guy started to buy silly souvenirs which attracted all the night sellers which was only slightly annoying lol. The next night we decided we had to go and see one of the famous ping pong shows in Pat Pong. There are so many places just trying to rip you off that you have to be a bit careful. We managed to get a good deal and watched a show… It was more like a freak show… Im not going into details on here but there was ping pong balls, darts, cigarettes – one even wrote my name on a piece of paper! Needless to say I burned it!
My sis and mum

My sis and mum


We stayed at D&D’s in Kho Sahn Road which has a roof top pool – worth every penny! The next few days were spent chilling by the pool and buying t-shirts, eating, drinking oh yeah and got some more nail art on my toes with Shona. It wasn’t what I call a relaxing few days in Bangkok but I had a good time. I met my mum and sister at the airport and we headed to Ko Samet the following morning for 8 days of rest and relaxation on the island for xmas. Its a really nice island – very touristy but name me an island in Thailand that isn’t? It ain’t that cheap either – I would almost say it was English prices, but I had a bit more to spend as the accommodation was paid – thanks mum!
Vodka bucket

Vodka bucket


It was a really good week and it was great to see the family again. We did a tour around the island and I tested my new camera out underwater – and it worked woop woop. No more broken cameras due to water! I went fishing one night on a squid boat which was also pretty cool. I caught about 10 squid and an octopus!. It was pretty chilled out in the evenings, I did have one big night out which I cant remember much about the night apart from trying to negotiate with a taxi when I couldn’t remember even where I lived.
So it was a really good time in Ko Samet with my mum and sister and we headed back to Bangkok for New Years Eve – we visited a few markets and headed to an Irish Bar in Kho Sahn Road for new years eve which was an experience!
Fire Show

Fire Show


So the family headed off and I had to decide what to do next… China was off the agenda due to it being minus 6 in Beijing and I was thinking about going to India but the visa would take over a week to get due to it being new year so I decided to just go to Cambodia and then decide. So Thailand was good but it was a little bit of a disappointment – its more expensive, more touristy and everything is to easy to organize – god I miss South America! So in spite of being able to get a bus from the door to Cambodia I decided to do it myself and set off on my own to the bus station and the border.
Just Chillin'

Just Chillin'


Next stop Cambodia

Posted by dezmondos 05:40 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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