I will be based out in Cambodia…and having visited Cambodia’s neighbours way back when as a carefree backpacker with wee Ruthie and having loved every minute of it, I am pleased as punch to be heading back out that way.
But until it all kicks off I have time for a bit of work and bit of a holiday.
I most definitely left a little bit of heart behind when I left Scotland (did I mention I was quite a fan of that country!) so March is spent in Edinburgh working for an awesome children’s charity and catching up with old friends.
Coincidentally also being there for Josey Jo’s birthday.
Then in April, Singapore a visit to my very good pal and all round lovely person – Mr Benjy Boy Scruffins! This wasn’t my first time Singapore – although this visit is pretty different to my last one as a fresh faced backpacker en route to Sumatra.
Last time…cheap and not so cheerful hostel in Little India.This time…Ben’s rather lovely apartment in the city centre. Ben – my friend – you have done yourself proud. Great job, great pad and great girl by your side.
In all honesty I can’t remember much of my first time here – it was about 10 years ago and for only about 48 hours. This time round I had much more time and as a big fan of walking round generally getting a little bit lost and exploring, Singapore hits the spot. Clean, safe and not too big – what an easy city to be in!
This place is a facinating mix of nationalities, religions, cultures and traditions. In just one afternoon I found myself wandering from the business district – the Singapore equivalent to London’s ‘Square Mile’ – through China town and of course revisiting Little India.
In one block you can pass a Muslim mosque, a Catholic churche and a Hindu temple.
It took him a good hour to break free from incessant questionning from his Singaporean colleagues - where he’d eaten it, how much it had cost, how big the shrimp were, how much chilli was in it, what was the consistency, was it better than so-and-so’s shrimp omelette.
Needless to say a visit to Singapore is not complete without a visit to the colonial styled Raffles hotel for a Singapore Sling! It’s the strangest experience as you walk into the bar and your feet crunch crunch over an absolute littering of monkey nut shells all over the floor.
Now Singapore has to be the cleanest, most ordered, efficient city on earth hence why a floor strewn with discarded shells stands out as being rather odd. The tradition (and this ACTUALLY happens) is that as you sup your cocktail, you shell your nuts then simply fling said shells onto the floor.
Being so close to Indonesia it would have been rude to not sneak in a few days of what I’d heard was some of the world’s best diving in the Gili islands.
So off we snuck!
The journey there was very James Bond. The islands are off the coast of Lombok so to get there involves a flight to the ramshackle Lombok airport, a truck ride to the sea then a speed boat (in our case by the light of a full moon!) to the island.
We were diving with Blue Marlin Dive which is a great wee outfit on Gili Trawangan. 4 glorious days of 30 degree water, 20 metre visbility and more turtles than you could shake a stick at, I was one happy diver! Thanks guys.