‘Fin’tastic Philippines

As we’re having such a good time we realised we may not get all of these blogs finished before we return home in July, so for now here are some photos of our time in the Philippines. We’ll update with funny stories when we get chance!

Panglao – Bohol

Flying over some of the 7,107 islands which make up the Philippines was pretty impressiveOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Read more »

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Whoopa Gangnam Style!

With bellies full of Kobe beef and red vino, it was time to bid farewell to our Barnsley buddies and set off yet again as a twosome. It seemed a bit weird for a while not turning around to make sure we hadn’t lost the gang, what didn’t feel weird was the shear relief that we had managed to dump numerous (and quite heavy) souvenirs on the unlikely lads, saving ourselves an absolute packet on postage :). Thank goodness Bryn had only brought 21 pairs of boxer shorts with him to Japan, any more and our free postage could have been down the swanny. Thanks to trusty Peach cheap airways, within a few hours we screeched down in the ‘Worlds Best Airport’ and all we had to do now was track down the aptly named ‘Come Inn’ and look forward to some very hard earned rest.

Needless to say, the eagerly anticipated hard earned rest never materialised, In fact, I’m not even sure why we ever thought, that in Hongdae, Seoul – ‘The Epicentre of Korea’s Youthful Nightlife’ there would be any rest. The Come Inn nestled safely above ‘Kens Bar’ and as we opened the room door to one particular ‘Fog Horn Leg Horn’ American, its a wonder we didn’t just walk away. Oh this place would have delighted the Albert Arkwright’s and Granville’s of this world but unfortunately, despite ear plugs and pillows over our heads, we emerged from our beds the next day sporting bags the size of our mothers knickers and there was definitely two people not appreciating the Open All Hours ‘perk’ of this hostel!

Despite naff all kip, at 8am we were on the tube gripping our list of must do’s which had to be ticked off by the end of our short 7 day stint in Korea. What better way to get a sense of the city than the N Seoul Tower. Standing at 237 metres, it certainly made us realise how big this city looks to those lucky enough to have wings, it also made us realise that this place is just as crazy if not more so than Japan. The first thing you notice at the foot of the tower are millions and millions of padlocks in every colour, shape and size. Knowing that national security is obviously a prominent issue in war torn Korea, we were relieved to find out that these suspicious looking locks are simply a ‘lock of love’ dedicated to all the sweethearts out there who throw the keys away to symbolize unbreakable love! Awwwww (mad as bloody hatters!).

Locks and locks of love
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Kirin Ichiban – Japan

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All aboard the sushi train

In Japan the food options are endless, try ordering noodles from a vending machine, picking sushi from a conveyor belt or even ordering crazy Japanese food from a waitress dressed as a maid. Below are some of the best food items that we tasted during our trip to Japan.

The Japanese version of fish and chips. Prawns, fish, asparagus, lotus flower, aubergine, or anything else they can lay their hands on, are dipped in a light fluffy batter (which has been mixed using chopsticks), then, plunged into boiling sesame oil. As soon as this has been fried to golden perfection it is topped in a bowl of steamed rice and usually served alongside cold soba (buckwheat) noodles which are coated in a gloopy raw egg mixture. Rather than the traditional option of ‘peys’ or ‘beyns’ to go with their fish and chips, the Japanese opt for a slightly different approach and instead can be found topping their lunch time treat with a salt/powdered green tea combo or, if feeling saucy, served with a tentsuyu something you probably won’t find on the shelves next to the tommy k. Expect to pay around 780 yen (£5.57) for a tray with bits of everything.

Japan Tokyo, Disney, Nikko, Mount Fuji 049 (640x540)

Tempura Tendon, Tokyo

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Nikkoji Beer – Japan

Japan Tokyo, Disney, Nikko, Mount Fuji 434 (426x640)
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Konnichiwa Japan and arigato gozaimasu

So, two of us arrived from Malaysia, the other two from Barnsley. United we all were, tired and weary in a strange land of short legs, black hair, slanted eyes, funny writing and a very weird mother tongue. All was not lost, Boothy had packed his trusty well worn Japanese phase book albeit it resting safely in the bottom of his bag. Nevertheless, we managed to validate the rail passes, sample our first porcelain sit down to music and board a sooper dooper train armed with our first beer to transport us to Tokyo.

All aboard the bullet train
Japan Tokyo, Disney, Nikko, Mount Fuji 002 (640x500)

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Asahi Super Dry – Japan

Japan Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, Hiroshima, Osaka & Kobe 457 (389x640)
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Yebisu Black Beer – Japan

Japan Tokyo, Disney, Nikko, Mount Fuji 095 (493x640)
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Keeping up with the Omars – Our Brunei budget

Arriving in a country built on oil and home to a crazy rich sultan who had his pants pulled down for the worlds most expensive haircut at 24,000 usd we weren’t sure how far our pennies would go, however once in Brunei you realise not everyone is profiting from the land and there are still some cheap options out there.

All daily prices below are for the 2 of us (for all the non mathematicians, if you want single cost – divide by 2!).

Being a country of mega Muslims it’s forbidden for unmarried couples to share the same bed, unless of course you pay a lot of money and stay in a swanky hotel. That’ll be us sleeping in the separate gender youth hostel then. Male and female are segerated, and anyone found to be trespassing in the opposite genders corridor  will be punished. It cost us 20 Brunei dollars (£10.55) for our 2 dorm beds.

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A swift stopover to see the Sultan – Brunei

Bandar Seri Begawan
Having booked our shuttle bus to Brunei through the youth hostel the day before, we thought we were in for the usual terrifying and uncomfortable bone shaking 4 hour ride to our next destination. When the door bell rang 5 minutes early and a sweet smiling suited and booted chauffeur greeted us at the door we thought we were also in for a dramatic fare increase. Having our bags carried to a leather upholstered air conditioned private jeep we looked at each other with dread saying the pickup name ‘Daniel’ repeatedly to ensure we hadn’t bummed onto some flash packers private ride. Thankfully, there was no scam and yes it was our ride, bloody nora we weren’t just going to visit the Sultan, we were travelling like one too!

First stop en route to the capital Bandar Seri Begawan was the petrol station just over the border, that’s when we realised just why we were travelling in style, at less than 20p a litre every bugger drives around like royalty.

And we thought Gibraltar was cheap!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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