You sexy Monk you!

I don’t particularly have one type of guy that I fancy, but after being in Thailand for just over two weeks and not seeing anyone that I thought was remotely attractive, I started to become a pervert. I knew I had to get back to England for the men asap when I saw a Monk walk past and I fancied him. Yes, a monk. A holy man. A member of Thai society that does not even speak to women. How could I fancy a monk god damn it?!

I was just grateful it wasn’t just me; one of the other girls in the group had noticed him too, but we were both ashamed of ourselves. To be fair to us he wasn’t the normal monk that you expect to see, like this monk that we first met.

The ‘’sexy monk’’ was tall, (Thai men are short, a simple fact) broad shouldered, muscled and covered in tattoos, with that and a skin head, he seemed like a bit of a ‘’lad’’, a monk lad, but actually just a monk. After seeing this monk, we actually found out more about these religious men and found out that these ‘’laddish’’ qualities were actually for spiritual reasons. Monks shave their heads and remove their eyebrows because they are seen to be signs of vanity, and when living a pure life, like a monk should, vanity has no place. The tattoos are also spiritual symbols, and many monks believe that the markings on their skin give them magical powers. For instance, in Thailand, if a monk has a tattoo of a tiger on his back, then he can be seen to possess the magical strength of the tiger. Others even believe the markings on their skin allow them to do certain things such as fly.

Monks are normally given offerings of food and gifts, there is no system as with Christian priests who are given a house attached to the church, or the Salvation Army who are given a house and a car, monks live solely on donations from the members of their village. Women however are not allowed to touch the monk, all offerings have to be placed onto a specific white cloth or bowl, where the monk will then take it. Speech between women and monks does not occur. See, no chance of me chatting up the fit monk, I wouldn’t even be able to ask his name.

Not that I would be able to understand, the Thai language is mostly tonal, so basically on some instances the exact same word can be said three times with different tones and mean completely different things. Imagine ordering a drink but what you’re really saying is diarrhoea, really complicated right?! So basically, I avoided the fit monk, washed my brain out with Holy water and promised myself to never think like that again because it is disrespectful.

Also, according to my volunteer leader,  the condoms in Thailand are a lot thinner than in the western world, i’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or not ;)

 

Taxi from the hard shoulder please!

On the theme of missing events, such as my graduation because of Hideout Festival (no longer a panic, I’m back in time!), on one occasion I almost missed the actual holiday itself. This holiday was to Turkey in 2010 with my friend who has family living there, who we would be staying with, and her boyfriend was driving us to the airport….

There should have been no problems. Should. We were all packed, the luggage was acceptably under the required weight, we left on time and knew exactly how to get to the airport. Not even a SatNav needed! All good so far… well it was, until the car completely cut out while driving down the motorway. Now I am not going to make any claims that I understand the mechanics of cars, or that I will be able to explain what happened correctly, but imagine this.

Imagine that you are driving 70mph on the motorway when your car, “turns itself off”… There was no power to the car, the driver had no control of the clutch or the speed of the car, so he had to simply brake and allow the car to glide onto the hard shoulder. Scary huh? But as well as being scary, you have two girls now stuck on the side of the motorway who should be at an airport.

The options available to us were not vast, we could not afford to buy another flight ticket if we missed this one, we had to get on the flight, we needed to get to the airport. Even if we waited a million hours for the AA the car would probably never get fixed, we needed to get someone to pick us up and explain to them where to pick us up from…

We set about ringing everyone we knew to try to see if they could possibly pick us up, forgetting that the reason the boyfriend was taking us was because no-one else could. After many failed phone calls, whereby all we had achieved was ridiculously high stress levels, someone suggested ringing a cab.

Now once again my road etiquette is not what it should be, I am not a driver, just a passenger that never cares to pay any attention to directions or the rules of the road; however, I do know that getting a cab to pick up people from the hard shoulder is not acceptable, potentially highly illegal. But as it was our last option we crossed our fingers and prayed we would find a cabbie desperate enough for the money to do it.

And surprise surprise, in London we were able to make this happen. It was a case of third time lucky, but we found a cabby, explained the situation and managed to get him to agree to pick us up and drive us to the airport.

After the serious issue of explaining exactly where we were on the hard shoulder and having a large dent taken out of our spending money, we arrived at the airport, raced to the desk and managed to get our flight. Phewww. So after our ordeal during the day this is what we did when we finally got to Turkey…

 

Well deserved I feel! :)

Graduate at Hideout Festival?

As you would have seen from the previous blog about Hideout Festival, I had messed up my dates and  was terrified that I would not be back in the country in time for my Graduation. So this is just to let you know that I graduate on the 6th of July, meaning that I don’t have to worry about it clashing with the festival!!!!

This now also means that hopefully, I should be very tanned for all those graduation photos! ;) Winning!

Scottish Monopoly Money ATM’s

When people talk about travelling the main things they talk about are learning new things and having different experiences, but from my experience you don’t always have to go too far to get that. Take me in Scotland for example; while going to the Morrisons ATM to get some money out for that night’s drunken outing I was literally flabergasted to be given Scottish money. I thought this was a weird prank, and that a camera crew would jump out at any moment.

My shock forced my friend who lives in Scotland to come and pull me away from the cash point telling me that it was ‘’normal’’ and to stop being weird, I simply didn’t understand. Yes of course I knew that Scotland had different money to England, but I had no idea that they actually used it!? I assumed the Scottish money was the same as the English £5 coin, they exist, but no-one actually uses them. Right? Nope, I was wrong; people in Scotland actually use their own money.

It was after realising that I had ‘foreign’ money and that really and truly, I was in a different country, I decided to become the full blown tourist [see blog about the mountain for an idea of what a useless tourist I am], which is why I took the picture above. Always living in England and therefore Britain, I had lost sight that you can go a couple of hours on a train up North, and the way life is lived is completely different, I mean Scottish people use monopoly money as actual tender, imagine that!

For me, having different money instantly means a holiday. It means new, foreign and it also means I have to stand like a retard, in shops trying to work out conversion rates to see if it is cheaper to buy my Chanel perfume abroad, maths was never ever my strong point…And while the conversion rates don’t apply in Scotland, the excitement did. Small things please small minds and all that!

Hideout Festival Cock Up

As I promised from the ‘About Moi’ page, this is a blog about the up and coming travel plans I have. As you will have gathered from the ‘Sa Wa De Ka’ blog post, I often book holidays on a whim, and this holiday is no different. One of the girls from home texted everyone about going away over summer together and I suggested Hideout festival in Croatia. This became a winning idea and we decided to have a little Google. During this Google session I managed to find a package deal that included the festival ticket, flights and accommodation. So good so far. The night we ending up booking was the night lots of the big acts were released, so it was a mad rush to book it in time. I phoned the girls as they were booking it all together in London while I was still in Reading, but the phone call was so that I would still be in the loop with what was happening.

On the phone the girls then told me they had found a different, better package deal for the same price. This package was a 10 day party bus tour to Croatia, stopping off for a night out in Munich Germany, on the way there and back. This package also included the festival ticket and an upgraded accommodation to the previous flight package. Now I’m an easy going person and all the girls were really excited about the trip so I agreed on the new package and we booked.

Now here’s the funny bit. I am well aware that getting a bus to Croatia from England will be a L O N G ordeal, I’m also aware that after a couple of days the bus will inevitably smell, and that although it is called a party bus, after the first two nights it won’t be much of a party anymore. And I am also fully aware that the bus will be full of pill heads hoping to smuggle large quantities of drugs across the border.

The funny thing is I am pretty sure some of my friends will not be aware of any of this and the first time they think about it will be when they read this blog. I am so excited to see their faces when we get on this bus. My friends are very ‘Essexy’ and taking them to a festival with this sort of music will be hilarious. One of the friends I am going with only really listens to music that plays on the mainstream chart on the radio, and when she came to one of my house parties in Reading she actually asked who was singing when Mumford & Sons was playing…. Can you see how fun this festival will be for me? I am so excited, for the festival, for Croatia and for my friend’s reactions.

Here’s the other funny bit, the bit where I slipped up. We booked this festival now weeks ago and it was only last weekend that I realised I have messed my dates up. My graduation dates are a possibility of the 4th, 5th or the 6th of July. When I first looked at the plane package for Hideout, the date I arrived back was the 3rd, all good. I stupidly forgot that this bus tour will obviously take longer to get back… My arrival date is the evening of the 4th, evening means about 2am by the time I get home. So basically I am fucked if my graduation is the 4th. My options are as follows;

Graduation on 6th July: Woo! Everything is all gravy baby!

Graduation on 5th July: I will be an absolute state for my graduation as I will be tired and just a complete mess from the week at the festival…

Graduation on 4th July: I am fucked. On the stop off in Munich on the 3rd my only option is to get a plane home. Once again; a plane while I am a massive state.

So guys, feel free to laugh at my expense, but do me a favour and keep your fingers crossed that my graduation is actually on the 6th, so I can enjoy Hideout in all its glory without worrying about remembering to get a plane back from Germany so I don’t miss my graduation…. whoops!

Kissing Morphs and Pro-Plus Luxury Tents

Reading Festival 2010

Festivals. What an absolutely brilliant idea, whoever first thought of them, I salute you. My first festival was Reading of 2010, fitting as I go to the University. It was, in short, the best weekend, ever. I’ve found that festivals are the perfect time to meet new people. Everybody is furiously drunk, running around singing and getting themselves hyped up for the act they are eagerly waiting to see. So you talk to people, you become friendly; you are in tents waiting for music, squashed together, so you end up talking to your neighbours. People come to festivals in groups, your group meets another group, you sing songs with another group, you fight against fire with another group…

Here is one of the friends I made, I have no idea what his name is, but for the sake of this blog we will call him Morph.

 

This is exactly the type of things you WILL do at festivals. In everyday life, in the park, I would not have kissed this strange man. I am particularly fussy when it comes to men; all I knew about this one is that he fits the height bill. But here, at Reading Festival, it was completely fine.

Here is another person some of my group became friends with: Sleeping man.

 

Tents: this is another necessary aspect of a festival. The tent I stayed in was nicknamed the luxury tent. Not because I am a posh nob that can afford some sort of magnificent pop up tent with bunk beds or anything, the name was ironic. The luxury tent was the property of my friend, the girl I was sharing the tent with. She told me she had a tent, fine, lovely jubbly, sleeping arrangements all sorted. However, what she didn’t realise was that she didn’t have a tent, she had half a tent. The tent was missing a pole, so it was lopsided and the inner and outer material touched. The piece of material covering the small opening at the top of the tent was also missing. Therefore, the luxury tent earned itself a black sack, Tesco’s bags and red poncho hat, to stop the rain from pouring onto us, only dripping instead.

 

This tent was obviously awful, but soon became the most popular; it was only a three man tent (code for one man, one child and a midget) but we seemed to be playing a clown car type game, trying to see how many people we could fit into the tent. Yes, the tent did get damaged more. Yes, me and said friend had to continue sleeping in the luxury tent. Did we take the tent home? No, and that’s my fault, here’s how.

Pro-plus: By all means if you want to stay awake during a festival all day and night, take pro-plus with alcohol for breakfast (my choice was Strongbow with blackcurrant Sourz), and then continue to drink all day and all night. But do not do what I did and take 8 tablets. Combined with a daily diet of alcohol, it felt like I was having a small heart attack. Add this to being crushed because you were at the front for Blink 182 and you have a disaster, a disaster in the form of a small passing out, drunk, delirious Sacha. So Sacha decides to get a giant Yorkshire pudding to eat (best food stall!) and make her way back to purple camp. What I didn’t intend on doing was losing my way and walking round the entire festival site, for hours…

On finally finding the campsite and the luxury tent, I realised my phone was dying. Due to the pro-plus and the Blink 182 crowd crushing I went a little bit mental and decided if I needed to contact the people I was at the festival with, I would have to write down their numbers. I had no pen and no paper. So I decided to use my eyeliner to write peoples numbers on the inner lining of the luxury tent, while I held a small torch in my mouth. After writing on the inner lining I ripped it out. When my friends came back to see me in the middle of this act, they obviously thought I was mental. So that was the death of the Luxury tent. He lost a pole, an inner lining and his top covering, but he had a great time at Reading Festival, and that’s all that matters!

 

(Really bad picture, but this is the final hours of the tent…. Also notice how all the ones in the background are still standing…)

Culture Loving Food Whores

I am someone that likes food, lots of it, in all sorts of variations, all the time. Understand that I like food yet? So because of this I am not a size 6 twig, so upon going to Turkey with a friend in summer 2010, who has family out there because she is half Turkish, it was an absolute honour to be told that I am ‘’too skinny’’ and that I need to, ‘’eat more’’. I was then presented with the most ridiculous sized plates of food to consume. Even I was intimidated, I felt like I had unwillingly been thrown into an episode of Man Verses Food. There was no doubt in my mind that I would lose, because for one thing, Turkish people seem to love carbs, all of them, all at once.

One meal eaten at an Auntie’s house consisted of the most amazing spicy flavoured lamb meat and salad with the following carbs:

  • Bread; It appears in Turkish culture that it is a crime to not eat bread all the time and with everything. Bread is always there. You will eat the bread Sacha. Try and eat the bread Sacha.
  • Rice; plain, (appears the easiest to consume out of the food mountain).
  • Potatoes; a strange mashed form with other vegetables and spices hidden inside them.
  • Pasta; cooked in double cream and a variety of other things.

Amount of carbs are verging on absolutely ridiculous now aren’t they?

  • Breaded cous cous balls; see the holy bread is back!
  • Potato wedges; well why not hey?

I’m sure we’ll all agree that this is crazy, and would take about 5 hours to eat (yes, yes it did) but for any foodies out there, hook yourself up with some plane tickets to Turkey immediately. If you are a girl, the Turkish community will be sure to attempt to fatten you up as soon as you land. In case you are purely a reader of this blog and do not know me and now think I am 20 stone, I can assure you I’m not. This is me on the balcony of another Turkish Aunties house, please excuse the ridiculously posy picture, I am slightly embarrsed about using it, but it is the only full length one with a bit of scenery in the background. So I can pretend to you all that I didn’t just go on this holiday to eat. Which I didn’t do I promise….

Check back for other posts about Turkey where I actually tell you about things I did. I haven’t time right now, as I should be doing assessed essays… whoops! ;)