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Life's adventures

Author: Joe Bernardes (page 1 of 21)

COVID-19 How did we get to this?

It seems like a long time ago that our freedoms were greatly restricted. Although most of the restrictions have now been lifted here in the UK as of 22nd January 2022, we will still be left with some control measures. ie Covid passports and travel restrictions to mention a few. But the worrying thing we are left with is a social divide. Personally, I have seen a lot of tensions between friends and family. The Vaxxers and Anti Vaxxers. Each group stands steadfast to its beliefs. Arguments are fierce and run deep, each standing their corner with quotes and examples of people either dying from the Virus or Vaccine.

The main question is who is right or not. Or is it really that simple? The balanced view looks to have left the room. Most people I speak to seem to stand behind corners, shouting abuse to each other. The question I find myself asking is where do we get our information from. The so-called trusted platforms such as our government, BBC News alike seem to have lost their way. With the recent party gate leaks frantically being covered up by the government top brass leave me mistrustful.

This has left me asking a lot of questions about where we get out information. It seems that the mainstream media pushes their views or maybe even their political agenda. I was under the belief that news was meant to be impartial but that is a distant memory or an idea of a free press which just isn’t true.  Thank goodness that there are some platforms such as the Joe Rogan show that tries to give a balanced view.

COVID-19

COVID-19 Is taking hold. People are scared. Economic disaster is looming and worst of all, there seems to be no end in sight.  I have no words to describe the worry that is lurking inside of me. I do not worry for myself but for my family. My elderly mother in particular. This disease feels like it was designed. I can see the fear in people. I can feel the tension and panic in people.  Be safe everyone.

 

 

Mallorca A Joy To Ride

Spain’s Mallorca is a joy to cycle with friends. A long weekend break in the North of Mallorca proved to be a wonderful break from the rain a cold of London.  I landed in Palma and transferred to Port de Pollença.

My group had already arrived and were already saddling up for a ride out. Some had brought their own bikes but most of us and rented bikes from Pro Cycle which is a stones throw from our hotel.

The bikes had been arranged by Mallorca Cycling Tours  Who guided us on our weekend break. Their knowledge of the island is great and really made our beak enjoyable. They also made sure that everyone rode to their levels.

The weather was just right and even in October suncream wouldn’t of gone a miss. All in all the weekend was a great break and I would highly recommend a cheeky break in Mallorca.

 

Setting Sun In Thailand

As the sun sets below the sea line and day turns to night I reflect on my time in Thailand. It’s been a relaxing and thoughtful time. I’ve enjoyed seeing new sights at a relaxed pace. I’ve seen a few temples in Bangkok and relaxed on the golden sands of Karon beach Phuket.

I’ve pampered myself with body massages and had more than a few pedicures on my well-trodden feet. I’ve sat soaking up the suns rays with the sea breeze cooling my shoulders whilst people watching. I would say that I am not one for sitting on the beach but that is not the case here. I’ve really enjoyed doing just that.  I’ve taken the time to indulge in me. Watching YouTube, listening to podcasts and enjoying a few beers too.

I’ve missed friends, family and loved one and look forward to seeing them. I think next time I visit Thailand it will be with my partner. The unit then thank you Thailand.

 

 

Finding fresh air

I’ve been in Thailand for a week now. I landed in Bangkok and decided that I would spend a week in the city. That was a big mistake. I’d booked an apartment prior to coming in Thong lo area which cost £250, so not a nightmare.

Having never been to this part of the world I wanted to explore the big City for a while. I like to walk and explore and feel the city and the vibe of a place. What I very quickly found out is this that no one walks. Even the locals don’t really walk and that’s because of the oven heat and the most saddening part, is the pollution. It’s really bad. You can taste it in your mouth. It fills your lungs as I’ve never experienced before. So when you see Asian people walking around with face masks you know why. It’s not a germ thing. I assume that Japan or major Asia city is the same.

After walking for a good three to four hours you will be completely soaked in sweat and you will be wasted. After a few days of this, I found out that the best way to get around was on the train which covers a good part of the city but not all.  My favourite was by canal boat. It takes you into the old part of the city and connects you to the main river Chao Phraya. My last day there I took the river cruise which is really cheap.

Of course, the major sights were explored such as the Grand Palace but they were completely mobbed. For me, I like to try and find the hidden city which I did on foot. Walking into slum areas along the canal footpath getting strange looks for the looks as to why the tourist is here in our back yard, but never once did I feel in danger. In main I think Bangkok is a safe city. The danger comes in the form of the bars, Tuk Tuk drivers and certain restaurants looking to cash in on Tourist. They will rip you off in a heartbeat.

The other thing is the sex trade and middle-aged European white men looking for sex or a young Thai girl.
That made me feel a little ashamed to be white and middle-aged. Travelling on my own which I know is not the norm, I felt people were looking at me like that. Look here comes a man looking for sex and or bride and to tell you the truth it made me feel bad. But you can not hide from the truth. You see a lot of that in Thailand. Lots of middle-aged to older white men with Thai girls. Maybe its true love or deep pockets.

Time to get out of smog filed Dodge.

So I’d seen some of the city and I’m sure I could have seen a whole lot more if I’d researched it better. My copy of Lonely Plant guide to Bangkok got a light reading for inspiration but in the main, I got a flavour of the place. I’d planned on going to Chiangmai but the heat in Bangkok was so much that I felt it was time to hit the beach instead of more city adventure so I booked a Flight to Phuket.

I got into Phuket at about nine at night and took a cab to Patong beach where I’d booked a hotel for a night. Checking in I got into an argument with the receptionist as she wanted to hold on to my passport or give them 2000 that as a deposit. After a game of bluff where I said that I was off unless the changed their mind about the whole deposit thing, I went to my room. Very tacky place. I walked down the Patong road where all the sex bars are with girls and men are offering you a free drink if you coming into their bar. Girls dancing on podiums wearing close to nothing. It’s a sight for the senses. Within half an hour of being in Paton, I knew this was not the place for me. I managed to make my way to the beach front and got speaking to a Spanish guy with his Italian wife who lives in Southgate North London. We chatted as we walked and it was nice speaking with what a called a friendly couple. After we split a went into a bar and asked about other fewer tourist areas. Karon Beach was chosen as the place I’d go in the morning. The next day I walk around getting one last look at Patong and got ripped off for breakfast. They changed me 200 Bhat for a one egg omelette. As I said before its not the thefts that will get you. Negotiating a taxi is hard work. Example. I have changed 800 bhat for an hour-long drive from the airport to the hotel. Seems fair. The drive from Paton to Karon Beach is about 15 max 20 mins and every taxi stand/driver want 500. Also now of them want to go on the meter. There are metered cabs but getting one is a different story. In the end, I got a taxi for 250.

So far my stay in Karon at the Kata Tranquil Villas has been ok. And learning my lesson from overbooking my stay in Bangkok I’m only booking a day or so at each place. I’ve booked two days at a different hotel closer to the beach at Karon Beach and maybe I’ll move to a different beach but for now, I’m chilling at Karon in the hot sun with a cool sea breeze.

What I’ve learned so far.

  1. Don’t book a hotel for too long. You might not like it or the area.
  2. Don’t trust the bars or restaurants. They will rip you off. Also, make sure they have their prices displayed.
  3. Don’t trust a cabbie.
  4. Learn to negotiate with a smile
  5. Last, of all, put it into perspective. Don’t start negotiating over 50 or 100 Bhat its about £2.00. Some of these people are poor and just looking to make a life.

Lucky to travel

I’ve been lucky to travel and some of the places I’ve visited are wonderful. Just before I sent off on my new adventure to Thailand which I am sure will bring some amazing photos I thought I’d share a few photos of past travels.

Bangkok

Thailand Bangkok seems a million miles away, but this coming May I’ve booked my place to visit this far away land. My mind wonders with thoughts of new experiences and sights filled with vibrant colours, smells and un-comprehendible conversations.

I  look forward to midnight markets filled with people selling their wares, street food cooked in front of you to the Buddhist temples laced in gold.

I hope to stay in Bangkok for a few days and then travel Chiang Mai and then maybe on to Laos or Burma.

I’ve been thinking about buying the Lonely Planet guide Bangkok. What do you think

My New Daily Ride

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally got my self a new daily ride. My old bike, a Specialized Secteur comp which I got back in 2012 had seen better days. So the time was right for a new bike. I wanted a bike capable of going on dirt tracks so I settled on Specialized Diverge.