Surprised Seattle, Visit to Vietnam and prepping for the Great Mongol Rally
01.05.2015 - 14.02.2016 3 °C
So 2015 was a pretty crazy year and most of the time I found myself too busy or exhausted to do much blogging. After the trip to Lithuania, I decided to concentrate on studying for my TEFL course...by which I mean procrastinating like a bitch for months. In between procrastinating, I found time to make a surprise visit to Seattle to see my friends, secure a 2nd place at Douglas soapbox, walk half of the Parish Walk, complete Tough Mann, take my brother to Vietnam, and (saved the best til last) .... began planning for the GREAT MONGOL RALLY. Needless to say, I never completed my course, however the work I've done is not lost and I can resume my studies later in the year when there is less fun to be had.
The surprise visit to Seattle was a difficult one to arrange and equated to about 23 hours of travelling to actually get there, with only 4 and a half nights with my friends. The second hurdle occurred when Amber (who knew nothing of my visit) decided to get drunk after her shift and not return home until about 4am. What a bitch. When she finally returned, she stared at me like some kind of deranged psycho for about half an hour before going to bed. The rest of the trip was naturally a success, even in spite of the usual obscene amount of fannying on their part. What did we get up to? Well, we drank a lot of bloody mary, went thrift shopping (naturally), bought the infamous hotdog suit, baited some Canadians at a baseball game, snook into a music festival, went whale watching, managed not to capsize a canoe, smashed a full bottle of gin, ate sushi, swam in a lake, and spent about 2 hours deciding not to get a massage. All round, fab trip. It almost seemed my bad luck had finally ceased - I mean, I even managed to get back without any cancelled flights, without anyone being hospitalised, and without getting completely lost. It was extraordinary.
Returning back to the island, my focus was on pole position. I wanted a win at the Douglas soapbox. Being pretty much completely inept at anything remotely mechanical, Daddy Russell (aka The Ronnie Monster) made his vision come to life and built an absolute beast of a soapbox. On the night, we took it in turns to fly at speeds approaching 100mph down the track, in between beer guzzling, and secured a second place and highest jump award. Perfecto.
Viking longboats closely followed the soapbox and The Rovers team, 'Everything is Oarsome' as usual took the fancy dress prize and had an epic day as per usual.
By September, it was time to jet off again. This time I was flying out to Vietnam for 2 and a half weeks, and taking with me my darling brother. How ironic that my favourite travel companions boil down to my brother, and my good friend Yvette who is also Will's exgirlfriend, and who I visited India and Lithuania with. The last time I travelled with Will, we skydived (skydove?), bungeed, imitated elves, swam with dolphins, got drunk a lot, and did the Haka, so my expectations were high. It didn't disappoint. Will was overwhelmed by Vietnam from the word go. Its hard to describe so I'm going to let a couple of pictures do the talking. We met up with a good friend of mine in Saigon, and a famous swaggering policeman took us for fried duck embryos, tripe and cheap beers. We moved on to my 'old home' in Nha Trang where we met my surrogate Daughter, Babyduck, and my VGBF (Vietnamese Gay Best Friend) Bi, along with Vy and new friend Kiwi Chris. Together we visited an orphanage with rice, milk and noodles, drove motorbikes, went to the beach, and yep, you guessed it...got drunk a lot. Here's a pic of Will enjoying a beach party a bit too much:
We eventually left by way of an overnight sleeper bus which almost got the better of Will, who did NOT enjoy it at all, and was probably left feeling further frustrated by the fact that I managed to grab about 14hours sleep!. We moved on to stunning Hue (mucho pagodas, temples and ruined cities) before heading to Dong Hoi where after a great day driving through beautiful countryside, trying not to get mowed down by bat-shit crazy drivers, disaster finally struck and I got ill. We still managed to enjoy a night of...well this:
After an obscene amount of fannying about with trains, we finally escaped to Hanoi where we had an absolutely ace time. Unfortunately we had to miss out on Halong Bay but we did chance a getaway to Mai Chau, visited museums, saw the water puppets, and yep, you guessed it, DRANK A LOT OF BEER. Unfortunately I once again got ill and almost shat myself in the airport and on the plane. I mean, really guys...it was so close.
By the time I got back from Vietnam, I managed to round down my search for a Mongol Rally partner and pay a deposit with some random guy from the internet WHAT!!! Its fine!!! It's been several months since then and said co-pilot is now due to visit our lovely island in less than 2 weeks time. How exciting. We have got our car, The Purple Turtle which was purchased for a bag of crisps, raised over £500 for charity so far, appeared on local radio, in local newspapers and are generally just having an awesome goddam time planning the bastard trip! 17 countries. 10,000miles. camping. parties. shenanigans. camels. And the best news today...Ankit (our Indian Internet friend) has finally FINALLY secured a place on the rally, after a seemingly endless mission, including a lot of pleas, to get himself onto a team. See you at the start line Ankit!