An open-ended adventure by Helen
Currently traveling
  • Day32

    U paasha hotel seminyak

    March 23, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    This is the hotel which literally calmed me down as it’s on high floors & has no garden area & no outside bathrooms , it’s also right in the middle of the main road of night life but still so very quiet inside .
    It’s quite unusual as the serve breakfast which is excellent all day up till 23.00 & you can have it either in the restaurant or anywhere you choose ! ... no charge , plus it’s very western style food they even have Heinz beans & brown sauce ! 😂 which suits me & my extreme fussiness !
    They also have a no check out time policy. Their motto is you should check out when convenient for you as long as it’s
    within the 24 hours you have paid for ! ..I can’t compliment this hotel enough, it’s not got any of the charm the pretty Bali bungalows, however as I have discovered these come with a problem so I will always elect to come here in future ...it’s around £70 a night compared to £50 for the bungalows but so worth it ....I’m suppose I’m lucky I haven’t had an issue before now .

    So today is the day jules arrives ! ....he doesn’t land until 22.00.

    However I’m feeling manic again now as We are booked in to another bungalow with gardens & outside bathroom 😱😱😱there’s no way I’m using the pool there or sitting outside as it quite rural !
    So I’ll be staying here in safety until 5 ish as it’s only 10 mins away by taxi to the other place & I’ll go to the airport to collect him as I’m not staying in there alone ! 😂😂😂😂
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    Michelle Bishop

    Sounds like a perfect place if you want to be central - and lucky you, close to the champagne bar!!! Hope you both have a great time together x

    3/22/18Reply
     
  • Day29

    Puri madawi

    March 20, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    So after the debacle with the green snake in the private villa, I hot footed it to where I felt safe as I have stayed at puri madawi hotel around 6 times before ...it’s where we spent my 50 th birthday ...plus I’ve stayed there alone & felt safe it’s very authentic Balinese style accommodation but very reasonable at around £50 a night & as only around 14 rooms in a maisonette cul de sac style ( you go upstairs to the bedroom ) I felt much safer here after the green snake incident and the isolation of the other place.
    The first day was a bit noisy as there was a family with children so I had to put my earphones in, however they checked out this morning & I was delighted at how very quiet it was...in fact I was the only one around the pool ! It was so lovely ...I was reading & just looking forward to the next few days ahead with Jules joining me on Friday , I had been sat at the shallow end of the pool reading my kindle for quite some time then went back over to my sun bed, few mins later a movement caught my eye to where I had just been sitting & a very large thick brown snake was sliding along the edge of the pool ! ....I thought I was hallucinating ! I jumped up & looked around & Sod’s law there was no one ...at all around ...no staff ... No one ! I was trapped as I was the wrong side of the pool to go anywhere ...I started shouting really loudly “ hello “ I need some help .... no one responded ! ....I was desperate ....it was going towards my left at the other side of the pool ...I had no choice but to jump in to the right and swim over to the other side well out of its way & run to get help ... needless to say by the time I found someone it had disappeared !
    2 men came armed with a stick & poked around but they didn’t seem too concerned ....I went to reception & the girl said she had never heard of a snake in the hotel grounds ....my front door to where I had last seen it was about 10 feet away ... I was terrified.... I went & got dressed & went up to the Main Street to try & calm down ...by now I’m sobbing ...I really can’t bear them ....after an hour & a few what’s app messages from jules etc calming me down I decided to go back & see if they had caught it .....as I arrived there was more commotion as another guest had just said it was in the pool ...literally only 5 mins before swimming around !!! It had then slithered down the overflow type hole in the shallow end ...exactly where I had been sitting all morning ! ...more men came with sticks etc but to no avail ....it’s quite elevated so there’s plenty of hide holes for it to disappear down, ...I sat in my room more tears .... I’m shaking by now, went back to reception & asked if they were going to call a snake man or some pest control etc ... nope ... they were not very interested , by now it’s 4 pm & the day staff are packing up to go home....it’s very green & lots of foliage around the rooms.... I got my iPad out & searched for roof top swimming pool & booked myself in to somewhere else where I’m currently on the 2 nd floor in a modern building ...it’s totally spoilt my experience & im now terrified as jules & I are booked in to a rural private villa for a week on Friday when he arrives & an outdoor bathroom .... I don’t think I’ll ever come back to Bali again ... such a shame as it was always my go to place ...everyone is saying it’s so unlucky to see 2 snakes in 3 days ...which I believe ...but things come in 3’s & I’m seriously freaked out !
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    Siobhan Huxley

    😭😢 not funny anymore. How you haven't had a heart attack with shock I don't know! X

    3/20/18Reply
    Gina Freebury

    Oh God 😱😱😩

    3/20/18Reply
    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    See...I keep saying staycations are the way forwards 🤣

    3/21/18Reply
    Debbie Stothert

    That is so so frightening Helen, especially as you are terrified of them.

    3/21/18Reply
     
  • Day27

    Meanwhile ....Back in bali

    March 18, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    So flew back to Bali via Brisbane, made an error with the Brisbane hotel as it was just an ibis budget hotel for one night & it’s was miles out of the city & as I had to be back at the airport for 7 am I didn’t get the opportunity to see any of Brisbane really ....arrived in to Bali on Thursday 15 th March, booked a beautiful one bed private villa with my own pool as I knew that on Saturday 17th it was Nyepi day ( Bali silent day for the Hindu new year ) . The airport is closed for 24 hours and no lights are allowed on at all, there is a strict curfew from 6 am sat to 6 am sun, not allowed to leave the hotel , not allowed to talk or make any noise , police roam the streets to enforce this ...I was looking forward to experiencing this, the first night & build up to this was lovely ...it’s so private & quiet as the Balinese were preparing all the rituals & ceremonies for the day before silent day ...lighting loads of incense & building effigies called Ogah Ogah which are scary looking monsters which they burn like our guy fawkes & they believe any evil spirits will be warded off for the next 12months.
    The children are all in traditional dress etc, so when I awoke on Saturday morning I settled down at my pool for 24 hours of silence & solitude ....around midday something caught my eye in the tree directly opposite my sun bed & to my horror I realised it was a bright green long skinny snake ! I flew in to my room & dialled reception, no one answered (as it’s their day of silence & not supposed to talk )..... I ran up to the security guard at the entrance & was shaking & told him , he was very good as he was not supposed to talk for 24 hours & summoned up 3 young blokes with sticks who were climbing up the trees & shaking them etc but in the time it took for me to summon help the snake was no where to be seen !

    By now I’m on the verge of tears, there are massive gaps under my doors & I was terrified ..... they left me to it in the end & just said it’s gone !
    As you can imagine my day was ruined, I couldn’t relax, I had a few large vodkas & sat with my back to the wall where I had a view of everywhere ! ...as the day went on I was getting more confident that it had gone ( or that could have been the vodka ! )
    But as night drew in & it got dark this was the worst bit as they turned off all the hotel lights in the gardens ...everywhere ...I’ve never known such dark the whole of the island is pitch black ...all I was allowed was the bedside lamp on providing I kept my curtains drawn tight ....this is where my mind started to work overtime ...I watched tv on iPad until midnight then took sleeping pills ...slept until 6 am ....& somehow got through a terrifying evening !
    I was due to check out of the villa on Monday 19 th but I have just booked a room for tonight in the hotel I am going to tomorrow until Friday where I have stayed before & I feel a lot happier as no outside bathroom there & the beds are up some stairs etc.....this could have only happened to me ! All the time I’ve been to Australia & have only seen one dead snake on the road....I’m off to pack now ....& being very careful what I pick up from where 😱🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍
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    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    I don’t know how you put up with it! 🤣

    3/18/18Reply
    Debbie Stothert

    I just think you are so very brave! I hate the dark.

    3/19/18Reply
     
  • Day23

    Last day in fiji

    March 14, 2018 in Fiji ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Leaving Fiji today, very much enjoyed it & a pinch yourself I’m here kind of place ! .....only downside is it’s so very expensive ! ....probably the most expensive place I’ve ever been to , so I am glad to be leaving as feeling very guilty over spending too much money ! ( see jules I do have a conscience , ) ...stayed at the airport hotel last night as it was considerably cheaper ...downside is I now have loads of bugs in my suitcase & cant stop scratching ! 😱....off to Brisbane today .

    Fiji has the best sunsets I have ever seen !
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    Debbie Stothert

    Enjoy Brisbane !!

    3/13/18Reply
    Michelle Bishop

    Get the bugs out and have a nice shower in brissy!!

    3/13/18Reply
    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    Photos are amazing!!! Well done!

    3/14/18Reply
     
  • Day21

    Mamanuca islands

    March 12, 2018 in Fiji ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Went on a full day cruise to Mamanuca Islands on Saturday , the sky was black but it was still very hot . It was about £85 for the full day which included lunch & a free bar on the island 😂😂😂😂
    The crew were lovely & serenaded us with Fijian songs with guitars all the way there.
    Plenty of fish in the coral reef around the island ....and finally got to have a yip with some other people. 😂
    One crew bloke in particular looked after me as could see I was alone & I was grateful for that, he was telling me he had 3 sons who were desperate to try McDonald’s which had just opened on the mainland so he was working extra shifts to pay for a treat for them ....I asked how much it is & he said 45 Fijian dollars ...£17 , he then told me he only earned 10 dollars a day !
    On the way back he went around around the boat playing a song befitting to each persons country ....they played waltzy Matilda for the Ozzie’s and when it came to my turn they played the full rendition of swing low sweet chariot !! I was fuming 😂😂😂😂😂they couldn’t differentiate between English & Welsh even though they seemed to understand the 6 nations rugby etc ...so you can picture the scene out in the middle of the South Pacific sea having the English rugby anthem played to me . 😂

    Burnt my face so have to keep out of the sun for a few days as I’m beginning to look like David Dickinson .

    As we got off the ship I shook his hand & discreetly gave him 45 Fijian dollars & told him to take his sons for a Mac Donald’s ....he was totally overwhelmed .

    Just having breakfast overlooking the beautiful lagoon now it’s Monday morning here 12 th March ...bittersweet day here yesterday as my first Mother’s Day without pat.
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    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    I believe the Chariot he’s referring to has broken down just outside Paris 🤣

    3/14/18Reply
     
  • Day18

    Fiji

    March 9, 2018 in Fiji ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Here I am in Fiji arrived yesterday after the usual drama which follows me around! ...I get to Perth airport very early after already checking in for my flight on line to Fiji earlier in the day , the check In Lady was tapping away for ages as they do & finally said sorry but your not on this flight ! .... my heart sank as with all these flights I’ve booked it would have been an easy mistake to have made an error with something .... I showed her my email confirmation of the block booking I did with all my flights but I had used a company called Opodo which I hadn’t used before so was really nervous , however after a further load of tapping ( I used to work on check In at Cardiff Airport years ago & don’t remember having to write an essay to check someone in !) she finally says ah got you , it’s your surname ...it’s in a different place as it’s double barrelled ! 🙄🙄🙄she then weighs my case & at 26 kgs I though ah good I’m 4 under as I had paid for 30 Kgs with the flight over from Bali to Perth with jet star, she says no our maximum is 23 kgs by now I’m getting pissed off as if that was me I would have said nothing after telling me 5 mins ago I wasn’t on the flight !
    She said Go & take something out ....I said can I just not pay the excess baggage ? ....she glared at me & tapped away again & said 70 dollars ( £30 ) she then had to do a load of paperwork so I’m glad I inconvenienced her !
    So well done Virgin Australia you are shit !
    No in flight entertainment and you have to pay for everything on board .....finally arrive In Fiji & my driver was actually here! There was a kerfuffle as he simply couldn’t believe I was travelling alone 😂off we drive in to the most beautiful green countryside but OMG the biggest shithole ever ! I’ve been to the slums of Nairobi which are supposed to be the poorest in the world but these people are living like cavemen .
    We get to the shangri la & I must say it’s very basic ! I do appreciate where I am in the world but in comparison to Bali which is another third world country, but the 5 * hotels there really are 5* ...here is like a 3* so good job I did book the shangri la and not the Hilton doubletree ! ( I can hear Debbie Stothert laughing at this ) 😂😂. The marketing people have done an amazing job on booking .com at photographing this place, it is beautiful don’t get me wrong, there’s a lagoon all around the hotel with starfish & coral reef etc for snorkelling but the rooms are like 1970 style very basic....I was exhausted so went for a sunset cocktail £8 ( they haven’t kept the prices in line with the 1970 decor !! ) and went to bed & watched coronation street on my iPad ...in Fiji ....😂😂😂😂was asleep about an hour and the phone rang in my room which is the other side to my bed, by time I got there it had stopped so I was awake then...not the best start but I finally took sleeping tablet & had 12 hours sleep & feel fine this morning. We are 12 hours ahead here, I’m currently having breakfast overlooking the Pacific Ocean & the lagoon it’s very beautiful .
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  • Day12

    Day 11

    March 3, 2018 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Travelled from Esperance to Albany which is 480 kilometres, beautiful scenery although quite monotonous at times as so same same views ....many dead kangaroos on the side of the road ! .....they have no road sense at all by the looks of it !
    We were leaving Ravensthorpe when we got pulled over by the police and Michelle was breathalysed, just a random one but it was 10 am so luckily for us she was ok 😂😂😂
    We had some sweets in the car so I flirted with the officer & he said he was open to bribes as he took the sweets but luckily we didn’t need one 😂😂
    We arrived in Albany around 3pm.....Michelle went to pick Madoc up from school and I went for a wander in the high st, a lady said to me “your face looks very familiar” , I replied no you must be mistaken I’m just here on holiday, she said are you Michelle bishops friend ? ..... she recognised me from Michelle’s Facebook pages, that’s how small Albany is ! 😂😂

    Went to see a band called the skapones in the evening at a pub called the white star who were awesome ! Played lots of specials & madness! ....wasnt expecting that here .
    Back to Michelle’s & it turned in to a bit of a party ...lovely evening ❤️
    Next morning I went to visit my uncle Gerald ( my mums brother ) who has lived here for 40+ years.
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    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    You and bloody Madness! 🤣🙄🔫

    3/3/18Reply
     
  • Day10

    Day 10 !

    March 1, 2018 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    First of all happy anniversary to my amazing husband ! ❤️12 years today !
    It’s also St Davids Day & it would have been my dads 81st birthday .
    Michelle & I have had the most amazing day today, we drove to Lucky bay ...reputed to be the best beach in the world... I’ve never seen anything like it ...plus the added advantage of having its own tame kangaroos !! 😂😂....Michelle is flying the flag for St David ( see below ) 😂and we have brought a special wine table which caused a lot of envy from the other girls on the beach 😂😂we also got a bit burnt today too .
    This beach is about 45 mins drive through a National park called Cape Le Grand because this area was discovered by the French in 1792, they only discovered this beautiful area as they were In a spot of trouble & ended up here unexpectedly .
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    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    You can take the girl out of Wales...🙄

    3/1/18Reply
    Gina Freebury

    Looks amazing 😀 love that wine table !! 😍

    3/8/18Reply
     
  • Day9

    No Idea which day this is !

    February 28, 2018 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    So today myself & Michelle drove 332 kilometres from Perth to Hyden to see Wave Rock, a spectacular rock formation that was most unusual , we stayed at a budget motel & they had a pub on site where you bought your own raw piece of steak / chicken etc & then cooked it yourself
    on the indoor bbq ! ..next day we travelled a further 382 Kilometres to Esperance which is renowned for having some of the best beaches in the world, but he time we arrive we checked in to our beautiful beachfront apartment ( it completely exceed my expectations ) and as it was complete furnished & well equipped we put our pyjamas on & I made a curry 😂😂😂here for 2 nights so I’m sure we will do better tomorrow !
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    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    Not a natural surfer are you chicken 🤣🤣🤣

    2/28/18Reply
    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    ...and by the way the Penguin tells me it’s 9 days! 😊

    2/28/18Reply
     
  • Day5

    Day 6 ...nothing happened days 3 4 & 5 !

    February 24, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    I’m still here ! Jules nagging me to keep this blog up but there’s only so much you can write about laying on your fat arse all day !
    Weather has been tropical, ( as in pissing down on & off ) but lots of sunshine in between .

    It’s very quiet here this time, I haven’t found anyone to harass & give a cheery hello & have a yip with .... not spoken to anyone for days 😂
    Lots of Australian Bogans here ( that’s an Ozzie Chav if you don’t know )

    So in my Christmas stocking off jules I had various travel accessories.....including a travel bath plug ! ...I took the piss as you can imagine for him
    Buying such a thing .... however on arrival here I saw I had a lovely outdoor bath ....& guess what was missing ...yep the plug 😂😂😂so I stand corrected ...such a handy thoughtful pressie after all ( as usual with jules )

    Ive got cockroaches in my Bathroom & lizards in my room ....so I’m stuffing pillows against the bathroom door so something can’t slither or crawl underneath from the outdoor bathroom 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍😱

    I bought a bottle of vodka in duty free on Sunday & have barely touched it ! ...the only diet mixer available here is Diet Coke & I’m not fussed on that much so have detoxed a bit, probably wise with my imminent arrival to Australia with the beautiful wineries .
    On that note I will probably wait until I get to Australia & meet Michelle before I update this again ...as I say there’s nothing going on here ...which maybe why I love it here so much but don’t want to bore you 😂👍
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    Julian Harvey-Bennett

    Don’t forget to take the plug with you when leave! 🤣

    2/24/18Reply