Another dinky update

Co-national flag for use on sea and abroad. Fr...

Co-national flag for use on sea and abroad. From 1978 the sole national flag of Greece (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just a reminder that after a lengthy stay in the UK, Gillian and I will be off to Jamaica in October for our wedding. I’ll try to keep things updated, but there’s no guarantee depending on affordable wi-fi access! If we’re really lucky, we might be able to visit one of the other nearby islands/countries but there are limits due to how long we have to remain in Jamaica before/after the wedding for legal reasons. Basically, if we’re not there for long enough then our marriage wouldn’t be valid!

We’ve also just booked our summer hols for 2013, and will be going to Crete. This will be my first time in Greece, and although it’s a package tour (no backpacking with three kids!), we’ll still be trying to cram in a lot of activities and excursions for me to report back on. The hotel claims to have free wi-fi, so with luck I’ll be able to keep the blog updated too.

The plan is to maybe have another break next year with the kids (looking like Center Parcs) and a long weekend somewhere just for Gillian and myself. I’m thinking Syria, but I don’t think she’ll be up for it somehow…

Enhanced by Zemanta

Plans for 2012

Русский: Флаг Ямайки Slovenščina: državna zast...

Image via Wikipedia

As expected with my settling down, the travel blog has gone a little stale. I’m glad to see it’s still getting some views and comments though!

This year, there’s one major plan and possibly a short break also. Nothing organised for the short one as yet – it’ll be down to time and money – but the major plan is in October. My fiancée and I will be tying the knot in Jamaica! All booked and we’re working towards paying for it. The aim’s to do a little bit of touristing and some diving when we’re there.

One downside to the marriage arrangements is that we have to be “resident” in Jamaica for a certain number of days before and after the ceremony to ensure that the marriage is legal. This restricts us to the one country for the majority of our trip. A shame as there are several other nations within a short boat ride that we could visit (Haiti and Cuba for starters).

For the purposes of keeping friends and family up to date with the romantic side of things, I’ve started a new blog – an offshoot of this one. There will, inevitably, be some cross-posting with this blog particularly around the time of the wedding but I’ll try to keep travel-related posts to here. At present, there’s very little up there, but I plan to get some pictures online over the coming week.

As for the short break, a few ideas are floating around. It needs to be somewhere that Gillian and I can visit for a long weekend, so will likely be in Europe. I *may* be allowed to escape for a week on my own around Easter. If funds allow it I’d love to try and visit the places I decided against in 2009 for financial reasons – Syria, Lebanon and so forth. I’ll obviously have to keep an eye on the political climate should I opt for them.

I’ll also try to add more photos of my past trips to Flickr and link them here so – time allowing – expect some more gallery posts.

Apologies again for the big gap in posts. The blog is still “live” – I’m just travelling a lot less these days! Oh, and with a baby on the way (due in July) I doubt we’ll be doing much over summer!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Katie & Ben’s wedding – Koh Samui

Sadly, I couldn’t get to the wedding because of work commitments… but Katie and Ben almost didn’t make it either! Due to a handful of incidents involving forgotten cases, volcanoes, monsoons and bad airlines, what is usually a stressful time for any couple became unreal for them.

However, thanks to Holiday Inn Atrium, Singapore and Napasai Koh Samui, things ended very happily indeed! I don’t mind giving credit where it’s due and Katie tells me both of these places went above and beyond to help smooth things over. I’ll let her tell you the rest in her own words from an email she sent. Published with her permission and I’ve only edited it for appearance’s sake.

There are also photos of the wedding on Esther’s blog.

I thought I’d write a wee update while I am now emotionally stable and awaiting the Big Day to kick off in a few hours.

It has been the most stressful week of our lives.  It all started in Darwin, one of my bags got left in the boot of a car on the airforce base (containing the rings, flight details, veil, ipod, camera…)  and we were at the airport. We managed to get the bag as Ben’s friend had runway clearance so made a mad dash from the airport back to base to get it via the runways!

Then we were delayed due to a volcanic erruption for 4 hours.  We arrived in Singapore, myself Ben, Richo and Nordo where we found Ben’s aunty and cousin. We ended up arriving at 11pm and my friends Li and Andrew took us out for dinner in Singapore that night. We crawled into bed at 1am.

The next day we went to Universal studios in Singers which was lots of fun! Crazy rollercoasters.  We headed to the airport at 4pm for our 8pm flight to Koh Samui but were not allowed to check due to severe flooding in Koh Samui. They eventually checked us in at 10pm, after 3 hrs in the departures they cancelled our flights. We were now a party of 7 as American Alison joined us.

Bangkok Air were awful, they couldnt tell us anything and sent us back through immigration, where immigration tried to take our duty free off us. Ben cracked it as we had been waiting for hours and immigration wanted us to get refunds on our booze, but we all just walked past them and kept our drinkies!

Bangkok Airways then left us to fend for ourselves!  Finally at 4 am we found a hotel to put all 7 of us up for a night. Amazingly the Holiday Inn were fabulous! They upgraded us to suites and gave us free breakfast. The next day we had no idea if we were flying out, the airline did not call us we had to call them every 2 hours. Then they told us we would not be flying out tonight due to the storms and the airport was still under water.

I went to the poshest shopping centre with Alison that day and when she went into the changing room, I had a very public meltdown! I cried my eyes out.  I came back to the room and cried for 3 hours!  11 months of wedding planning and waiting to see friends and family about to disappear!

The Holiday Inn were fabulous, they allowed us to checkout at 4pm! We then arranged to stay another night as the plane was cancelled and they had no rooms left but put all 7 of us in the Honeymoon Suite.  They also gave us keys to the Executive Lounge for free nibbles and alcohol. Pour your own. As you can imagine we were told we were definately not flying out that night so we had a very drunken night courtesy of the Holiday Inn!

We returned to the Honeymoon Suite and drank our duty free as they told us we would not be flying out until Saturday afternoon!!! OMG after the wedding!!!

I had friends and family stuck in different airports, and we were not going to see them! We thought we would have to get married via Skype!  Also friends on Koh Samui had been sand bagging the beach and wading through water waste high to get food and water!  So we drank lots to commiserate!

Then at 11pm we got a phone call that we had to be at the airport in 1.5hrs to fly out to Koh Samui. As we were rather drunk, Alison was passed out on the couch! we got to the airport and boarded the plane with some more guests.

The landing was worse than the Universal Studios rollercoaster! We missed the runway and had to ascend at the last minute! We thought we were going to die. However we finally got to the Napasai at 5am.

It was too wet to bring our luggage so they took Ben and I  to the room and said they would bring our bags in the morning and check us in. We got 4 hrs sleep before going to breakfast and checking in wearing the same clothes!!! Gross.

The funny thing was I was convinced that they had us in the wrong room, so I told Ben not to touch anything as we were supposed to have a pool villa, but there appeared to be another residence further down the hill that had the pool! We then told reception who pointed out that we had the entire hill side consisting of two houses each with bedrooms, set among tropical gardens on the mountain, a separate lounge house and then the pool and pool lounge area was also ours!!!!!!!!!!!  Amazing, it is spectacular.

We had a “thankgod we made it party” at our villa on thursday night – the day we arrived, as it’s so massive, instead of the Hen and Bucks do as the town was so flooded.

The Napasai have been lovely. We have settled for Backup plan C for the wedding venue, we have canned the marquee but its all good. In fact the reception venue is better than a marquee on the beach.  All 61 guests are here including us! And there is a tiny bit of sun.

The most hilarious thing is I had my make-up and hair trial yesterday and I have a team of ladyboys! They look more feminine than me!! I have never seen the assistant who sweeps the floor strike a pose so much in the mirrors than one of these ladyboys!!

So that is the excitement and dramas, I think i need a holiday to recover. Who could predict we chose our wedding venue to be declared a national flood disaster zone.

Ben and I have been exceptionally lucky that everyone is here and have just been so fantastic to us and supportive, the Holiday Inn Singapore and Napasai have just been outstanding.

Now I am getting very excited as the big day is about to begin and the preparations start! Bring on the ladyboys!

All I can add to that is my personal thanks to Holiday Inn Atrium, Singapore and Napasai, Koh Samui for looking after my friends so well. Katie and Ben took such great care of me the last time I was in Darwin, and it’s lovely to see karma giving them some help in return.

Guys – have a wonderful life together. I hope it’s full of many more, less stressful, adventures than the past week has had for you!

Enhanced by Zemanta