Where are we?

13 July
(Thailand - Argentina)

Deb is on blog strike until I put something up - I’ve been a bad/lazy travel writer - but we’ve just been having too much fun to sit down and type. It has been more than a month though so I feel sufficiently guilty to say hello. We’re in Argentina at the minute - which means we’re on the home stretch I guess - having crossed the dateline, the equator and pretty much most of the globe…

And in thirty words or less: Thailand was relaxing/sleazy/fun/mad/warm. Singapore was mind-boggling. Oz was far more fun than I ever expected and Argentina is something very special.

That’ll have to do for now - there are plenty of pics on flickr if you feel so inclined and in case ye didn’t know already - we miss ye.

6 June
(From Hong Kong to Thailand)

We didn’t get a chance to post from Hong Kong - we were just doing too much!! Hong Kong is fabulous, it’s has the perfect balance of East and West. Pretty much everyone speaks fairly decent English but it’s still fundamentally Asian. We stayed in Kowloon it’s on the mainland side so we had great views of Hong Kong island. We took plenty of pics of the light show they do at night on top of all the skyscrapers - it’s really cool! We spent loads of time wandering around the markets in Kowloon bought all sorts of random stuff!

The YMCA was a fabulous place to stay, there’s dorm rooms but we went for a private room and it was like any good hotel…have to say I’d recommend it for anyone going to Hong Kong. There’s loads to do on Hong Kong Island too there’s a really cool food market that runs up the hill (I recommend starting at the top) you can get to the top on this huge escalator literally only built to get people up the side of the mountain. There’s some fabulous restaurants and bars up there too…food is absolutely gorgeous!!! We also took the Peak Tram, which as the name suggests brings you right to the top of Victoria peak. It’s kinda scary going up because you’re nearly horizontal but the views are worth it! I expected a little platform when we got up there but it’s a huge complex loads of shops and restaurant’s, a Madame Tussauds (somewhat random) and a Bubba Gump (tasty shrimp) and you can go up to the top of the tower to the viewing platform which is amazing! I’ll definitely be back to Hong Kong at some point it’s one of the coolest places we’ve been so far!!

We landed in Bangkok last Monday, it’s a manic city again loads to see and do but there’s an element of seedy in everything. Loads of warnings about cons and such, several of which were tried on us which really puts a dampner on it. It’s a fairly dirty city too lots of cockroaches which we haven’t really had in any of the cities until now. The temples and tourist sights are funky and the hostel we stayed in was cool! The night market was fairly close to us so we walked up bought some gorgeous knock-off bags :) but the buildings on that street are all strip clubs and you’re accosted by guys trying to get you into them…it’s funny the first 3 or 4 times but by the 22nd time you’re ready to kick them! The food in Bangkok is amazing though you can get just about anything and obviously the Thai food is top notch - seriously hot though!

We were 5 nights altogether in Bangkok and after 4 cities in 5 weeks we decided to take 2 weeks to relax and flew down to Koh Samui which is a little island off the Gulf coast of Thailand. It’s gorgeous here!! We’re staying in a fabulous villa that we got a great deal on - pics below - it’s just paradise here. We have a huge 4 poster bed, living room with satellite TV, this huge stone bath and our own private entrance to the swimming pool. It’s called the Montra if you ever want to relax in the sunshine this is the spot to do it. We’re about 15 mins walk to Lamai  beach but you don’t really care because the pool is so gorgeous!! The food here is really good too. We’ll be mostly relaxing here but the next island is Koh Pha Ngan and it’s fairly famous for the Full Moon Parties so we’re heading over to that on Sunday night with another couple we met here…so it should be a laugh! Although drunken and sea-sick on the ferry might not be!! Lol!!

Anyway sorry it’s been so long since we were in touch - will make sure to be on a bit sooner next time so you don’t get a novel like this again!!!

17 May

Hello from Shanghai

We arrived here on Friday after taking the first of our China ‘crazy-trains’… 12 hours in a cabin with some lovely Beijing girls. Except we forget to tell them that Irish folk don’t do 5am, especially not Deb!

Our last few days in Beijing were great - mostly we just chilled by the lakeside, explored the crazy hutong and shopped. I tried to convince Deb to kayak on the lake with me but I got a wallop for it - and a grumbling complaint about the great wall… best not to tempt fate. ;)

On Wednesday we met the OTHER Rick O’Shea which was funny - Rick was great and gave us tons of advice about where to go/what to visit, especially around Hong Kong.

And now we’re off exploring Shanghai - bright lights and madness with some very VERY tasty snacks. Nyom nyom.

12 May

We visited Beijing Zoo – home of the Pandas. As you can see from the pic’s Dave was extremely excited to see them and I have to say they didn’t disappoint. We got there bright and early on Saturday morning, just in time for feeding. There are more of them than I was expecting and they were playing together in their enclosure…all very cute. However that’s where the cute ends, the rest of the ‘non-profit’ animals are not well looked after. Their enclosures are tiny and for animals such as the bears, their concrete world has no resemblance to their natural environment. Unless they can make some money out of a show the animals don’t seem to get too much attention – and the aquarium is just the same. Admittedly, it looks incredible but the disparity between it and the zoo over shadowed some of the fun. Though there were sea turtles…. :)

We took a long boat ride from Beijing Zoo to the Summer Palace. This is where the Royals would retreat from the Forbidden City during the blistering heat of the summer months. It’s a huge complex of buildings, half of which we didn’t get to see due to sheer size of the place. We did walk the Long Corridor at 728 meters it’s the longest gallery in the world; with 14,000 painting adorning it’s beams. At the end of the corridor is the Marble Boat, famously rebuilt by an Empress who spent all the money earmarked for the navy on restoring it and the Summer Palace. Oddly enough it’s neither marble nor a boat, it’s wood painted to look marble and more of an ornate pier…but who are we to question these things!

After a day of just floating about Beijing to recover from the Summer Palace we hit the Great Wall. The tour we opted for meant a 3 hour bus journey at 6am but was far removed from the standard tourist trails. And it was far removed…. from everything!

What nobody told me was that the tour dropped us off at one point and we had to walk 10km to the next pick up. This meant pain and suffering for all – my feet and Dave’s ears. Luckily we didn’t have to trek all the way back down again - instead we took the optional zip wire over a lake and landed in minutes - my feet were thankful of that until I crash landed at the bottom.

It did look fabulous though.

9 May

The subway is the best/easiest way to get around Beijing - next to cycling. And now that we’re masters of the subway we decided to see how far out of the way we could get… two transfers later we were at the gates of the Temple of Heaven! :D A park bigger than central Dublin, nearly.

This place is amazing - with some ancient temples and even older forests, planted more than 800 years ago. Highlight of the Temple of Heaven had to have been the echo wall (it can carry your voice 60 metres when you shout at it) and the ballroom dancing lessons, check out the pics!

Just opposite the gardens is the Pearl Market - one of the craziest, busiest places I’ve ever seen. You can pick up just about anything and the stall owners will do just about anything to get you to stop. So manic but great fun to just get lost in.

Have we mentioned that Beijing is swarmed with cyclists yet?

On Friday we cycled from the hostel down along Hou Hai Lake until we got completely lost in the middle of the Hutong. After some rambling, crashing into a rickshaw and some map reading we managed to find a great Peking duck restaurant, Beijing’s specialty dish.

And if the tastiest duck in Beijing wasn’t enough - then we even got a show! (A hoola hooping gymnast and er… a karate tea pourer)

7 May

When you last heard from the intrepid duo they were knackered and a little awe struck….

Hey! We conquered the Beijing subway system - which was far easier than expected. We’ve cycled a few dozen miles, tackled a boat journey along one of the many canals and walked… walked so very far.

Once we got settled in and slept a little we explored Houhai lake, where the hostel is -  the stares from beijingers can be a little off-putting as we trundle by (carrying the inevitable bottle of water) but everyone is friendly and very willing to help. And of course we got our first bite to eat (duck tongue and venison tendon, tasty) - before heading back and sleeping, again!

On Wednesday, despite some dubious navigation from yours truly, we visited Tiananmen Square - the galleries, the museums, monuments, moats, gates, hutong and the food. (Nyom nyom) Tiananmen is vast and crammed with people - all of it under the gaze of the huge Mao portrait over the gates to the Forbidden City.  When we got off the train we were accosted by two students trying to get us to buy art from their college - it took a while but we managed to escape and flee behind the walls of the Forbidden City. Indiana Jones has nothing on us…

Next stop is the Temple of Heaven but before that - some food and maybe some sleep!

6 May

Some pics from Tiananmen Square and beyond :)

5 May

This is the one where Deb enters the blogosphere for the first time:

Landed safe and sound, it’s absolutely amazing here!!! There’s millions of people but the place is so quiet, it’s really surreal! The hostel we’re staying in is fairly cool, basic but clean enough that I don’t need my disinfectant…i think that says it all :)

There are tiny flowers/dandelions floating through the air everywhere -gives the place an incredible dream feel. Still trying to get used to being stared at when we walk through old Beijing… odd being a novelty.

We didn’t do a lot today, just wandered around our district, there’s a gorgeous lake beside us with little Chinese fishermen dotted around it so we strolled around that. Sounds ever so romantic, but we were sweating and didn’t want to touch each other! Lol! :) The food is gorgeous way less scary than I expected, however Dave did eat Duck Tongue and Venison Tendon…I stuck to chicken wings and Peking duck, yum!!!

Dave stuck a pic up on twitter I think… (I did, it’s here)

We’ll be doing some more exploring in the next few days so we should have some pics of Tienanmen Sq, the Summer Palace, Great Wall and other such Beijing fabulousness!! So we’ll post them up when we do!!!

30 April

I ditched the watermelons (though I will be on the lookout for a square one in China now!) and the book problem has been sorted… kind of. (Someone very kindly has given me a Sony Reader for the trip - it is incredible!)

The party was incredible - I’ve no hair left and fuzzy memories from after midnight - a huge thank you to everyone who came along. And in all of that excitement I managed to pick up a pair of the sexiest sunglasses ye ever did see too… with a lot of help from a very patient eye-wear/fashion expert in the Great Outdoors.

A quiet weekend ahead wrestling with backpacks - maybe get some sleep and have some fun with family too. And of course, you’re dying to know what books I decided to bring with me:

  • Vladimir Nabokov - Pale Fire
  • Gabriel García Márquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Truman Capote - In Cold Blood
  • Malorie Blackman - Knife Edge
  • Malorie Blackman - Checkmate
  • John Lennon - When Love Comes to Town
  • Marvel - Wolverine Essentials
  • Patrick Ness - The Ask and the Answer
  • Dav Pilkey - Captain Underpants Anthology 2
  • Thomas Pynchon - V
  • Thomas Pynchon - The Crying of Lot 49Lonely Planet - China
    Lonely Planet - SE Asia
    Lonely Planet - Buenos Aires
    Lonely Planet - Rio

Hopefully the next time we put something up it will be from Beijing. (Gulp)

23 April

Right now we’re in Dublin, mildly freaking out as the last few bits are sorted - namely I need to get a pair of sunglasses…

Take off is sometime on May 4 (landing in Beijing the next day) and sleeping off any jetlag from there on. Until then there won’t be much happening on this page - except maybe a poll on what I should pack. How essential are 34 watermelons? Or 27 books for that matter!?

Written by david. in: Uncategorized |


  • Pack precisely as many books as you’ll get through before the next bookshop. Other than that, packing’s not important.

    Comment | April 23, 2009
  • Just bring one or two books. You can then swap them as you go along, a lot of hostels and even some cafés frequented by travellers will have a book shelf, the only rule being that if you take a book, you replace it with another :)

    I love the Indiana map!!

    Comment | April 23, 2009
  • Have a total of 15 books - prescribed reading and stuff I’ve been keeping for the trip. After that it’s anyones guess…

    I just wanted an excuse to create an Indiana map :D

    Comment | April 23, 2009
  • Arse!

    Comment | April 25, 2009
  • Jenny

    Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!
    15 books? Probably a few too many! That is room for about 6 more pairs of shoes (or approx. 12 pairs of flip-flops- I’ve done the research).
    34 watermelons sounds about adequate. I’d recommend the Japanese square variety, it will make packing far more simple.

    Comment | April 26, 2009
  • macoosh

    I say pack NO books — buy one in every country (or major place w/in a country) you visit. Since you’re a book person, they’d be fab souveniers. With all that assumed added weight at the end, I wouldn’t bring any add’l books. Maybe 2 for good measure though. :)

    have SO MUCH FUN.


    Comment | April 29, 2009
  • @Niamh Bartering with books… I could be a millionaire!

    @Darren Your FACE!

    @Jen Hey you. Deb has already comandeered a significant amount of my case as overflow… I may come back a hunchback.

    @Macoosh That’s just crazy talk. NO BOOKS?! Though I will be picking up a few more en route - hoping to meet some editors/publishers as we go…

    Comment | April 30, 2009
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude is great. s’all I gotta say.

    Comment | April 30, 2009
  • @ Sinéad I picked it up a few months ago and never gave it a proper go. So this time I shall. Promise :)

    Comment | May 1, 2009
  • [...] Where are we? [...]

    Pingback | May 4, 2009
  • juliette

    Yeay for captain underpant!! As for In Cold Blood, yes, but not alone in a dark place… The ASk and the Answer, well, we’ll let you know all Patrick Ness’s secrets after the conference. Or not… ;o)

    Comment | May 4, 2009
  • Mary C

    Hey guys - where are you? Wakey, wakey - its now Tuesday morning and you should be in China and giving us an update on your trip. Knowing you two, you are probably still in the leaba!
    Debs - thanks a million for the plant - I will try not to murder it (as requested).
    Have a great adventure!

    Comment | May 5, 2009
  • becky

    miss you and deb already!!!

    Comment | May 5, 2009
  • Bob

    Capt. Underpants and Malorie Blackman both get a major thumbs up in this house. Can’t recommend Pynchon, In Cold Blood or the Sony Reader highly enough myself. Happy travelling and reading.

    Comment | May 5, 2009
  • Great update Debs - you realise of course that this means you’re a blogger now??

    You’ll both always be a novelty to me ;-)

    Comment | May 5, 2009
  • Yayayayay!

    Comment | May 5, 2009
  • Niamh

    Wooo, sounds like you’re having a blast and seeing as much as you can!! Love the pics from the Great Wall.

    Debs-you can never say anything to me about bogging now :D

    Comment | May 15, 2009
  • Debs

    @Becky - we miss you and stevie too hun xxx ;)

    @Darragh - not sure if I should be offended by the novelty comment…

    @RPs - thanks for the yay x

    @Niamh - this is only a 3 month situation, I’ll be back to my old non-blogger ways when I return to Dublin :)

    Comment | May 15, 2009
  • Oh wow, I never realised you guys were heading to Singapore.

    Would I be too much of a bitch if I asked you to possibly pick me up some new manga that comes out while you’re there, rather than me getting it from eBay :D

    Comment | May 19, 2009
  • Loveliness!

    Comment | May 25, 2009
  • Just thought I’d check in and let you know I was thinking of you both!

    Comment | June 24, 2009

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress | Content is copyright David Maybury, unless otherwise stated.