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Keeping your valuables safe when travelling

PacSafe Secure Bag

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DSCF0425.jpgOne of the considerations when travelling is how to keep your valuables safe when you are away from your accommodation. As we are on a reasonably tight budget, the type of accommodation that we are booking normally does not have a room safe, also some of our valuable items such as the tablet and mac are too large for a safe. As we didn't want to leave these items lying around our room we investigated what the options were and found that we could buy a Pacsafe bag that we could carry with us that would hold all our documents, cash, passports and technology in one convenient bag. A Pacsafe bag is made from a lightweight mesh which has a strengthened cable and lock that you can attach to a fixed object in your room. Unless a potential thief has a pair of bolt cutters your secure bag isn't going anywhere and you can leave your valuables safe in the knowledge that on your return they should be where you left them.

We give a thumbs up to Pacsafe who have developed a great product that is available in different sizes. We paid NZD$150.00 for a 12 litre bag. Here's hoping we don't run into a bolt cutting thief in the next 12 months.

Posted by Deb_Scott 01:28 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bali - A Few Days In...

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Gunung Merta Bungalows where we are staying is simply divine as you can see from the photos. It is a small family run guesthouse organised around a compound overflowing with fruit trees and tropical flowers. The breakfasts are fabulous but the best aspect of the place is without doubt the view from our balcony. The view from our room is a wall of lush green trees. In the distance you can hear the odd dog barking, roosters crowing, cicadas playing an out of tune violin and Scott exclaiming, ‘There’s a naked man down there!’ The naked man turned out to be bathing in the river at the bottom of the valley we overlooked. We really hope the valley river isn’t Ubud’s equivalent of Ladies’ Beach.DSCF0226.jpgDSCF0191.jpgDSCF0189.jpgDSCF0186.jpgDSCF0182.jpg

Our first day was spent traipsing in the heat to Maya Ubud Resort and Spa to check out their fitness facilities. The AC alone was worth the walk. For a mere $80 per couple for a fortnight, we can use their gym which includes a yoga class everyday and a 20% discount at the resort’s restaurant and organic café. Once we joined the gym, we then set off to find Ubud Bicycle Rental. After negotiating a price for two bikes for 10 days and then haggling for helmets, we had to ride on the back of a scooter with no helmet to choose our bikes. Since I’d been stressing the importance of having helmets for our bikes, it wasn’t without a sense of irony that we then were forced onto scooters without helmets to collect our bikes some two kilometres away.

Five days into our holiday and we’ve settled into a rhythm of waking early, going to the gym/yoga, swimming and lounging about in the pool, having a lovely lunch and then mooching around in the afternoon before we head out to have dinner. It hasn’t been that difficult to stop feeling guilty about wasting time lounging around. Relaxation is coming to us very easily.

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Since we spent money on hiring bicycles for the entire length of our stay here, we thought it pertinent to do a bit of cycling. Somehow though, we forgot just how unbearably hot it is in Ubud. Cycling around in 35 degree heat with 80% humidity is simply not fun. Every single pore of our bodies was oozing sweat and we were awash with it. Not only that but I kind of forgot that all the roads heading North from Ubud are hilly because it is built around the base of the active volcano Mt Batur so we were biking uphill for two arduous hours. We did see some gorgeous scenery though and the return journey was all down hill. Fun! Not too put off from our biking experience – oh how quickly the mind and body forgets! We decided to bike to a restaurant set amongst the paddies some 2.5km away from our accommodation. Didn’t think that the topography would be any more arduous than our bike ride earlier in the day but oh how we were wrong. So wrong. Two and a half kilometres of whizzing down deep valleys and then walking up deep valleys in that damn heat. We arrived cursing our stupidity once again and once again dripping with sweat. Yuck! The wait staff were trying not to laugh as they handed me tissue after tissue - I could tell. On leaving the gorgeous restaurant and it really was amazeballs, one waitress said, ‘We offer shuttle service. Next time you phone. Ok?’

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We are roughly where we want to be with our budget but we could do better. Normally, we revel in finding delicious places to eat and drink an array of yummy mocktails such as ‘Lemongrass ginger fizz’ or ‘Orange tangerine granitas’ but they do cost a bit and we haven’t quite been as frugal as we need to be yet. On a positive note, we have been exploring local places for dinner. The whole time I lived in Jakarta, I only went to a Padang restaurant once for fear of being airlifted to Singapore for emergency digestive tract removal. For those of you who don’t know, a Padang restaurant has all the food on display in the window with a haze of flies buzzing around the fish heads, beef rendang and other assorted diarrhea inducing items. To our surprise, we had an ok dinner for just $2 each and we didn’t get sick! Emboldened by our culinary adventure from the night before we then decided to eat from a Kaki lima. If you’ve travelled in South East Asia before you’ll know what I mean. One person serving food from a tiny little food cart and then you eat it with your hands on a step close by or if you are lucky on a plastic stool. So there we sat, on a dirty step in the dark waiting for our $1.50 dinner AND we didn’t get sick!

Posted by Deb_Scott 04:10 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

Have Technology, Will Travel!

How much technology is too much ?

So we are now under five weeks to "D" day and yes we have had a trial pack which we will explore in some depth later on. I'm going to focus on what we feel we need to pack in the way of technology. Twenty years ago the technology would have been a Kodak camera and ear plugs, in today's world of global communication and access, technology has a whole different meaning. We want to be able to stay in touch, to communicate, to record what we see and do and to share.

In considering what to pack we first started with who the users are going to be and what their level of tech ability is. Firstly there's Deb who tends to have a good grasp of most things that relate to today's devices, (that's a tick for Deb), then there's myself who operates on the principle if I don't know how to use it then I won't get asked to use it and Deb will use it! (that's a cross for Scott).

Firstly, I'm going to list what we are looking to take and then I will give an explanation as to why we need these devices:

Mac Air 10" + Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 + Fuji twin lens zoom camera, + small point & click camera + Go Pro + Kindle + Bose noise cancelling headphones + Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones + iPods + Samsung S5 phone + various cords/chargers = 6.7kgs of technology requiring its own carry on bag.

Here's our logic for what we intend to pack, this will be different for other people:

Mac Air 10": the magic of Apple, small, light and great for processing our pictures and movies as we travel. This is Deb's toy.

Samsung Tablet: excellent for email, internet, books, watching movies, facebook etc. This is Scott's toy to balance with Deb's toy plus it was given to us free from Scott's work.

Fuji Camera zoom zoom: a must for when you are standing at the bottom of the Himalayas in Nepal on a clear day or trekking in the jungle in Asia or in the desert in India. Incredible photos but a little manual adjustment required. This is Deb's toy.

Point & click camera: great for those couple selfies or that quick shot when you don't want to have a set up on the Fuji camera. Easy for Scott to use.

Go Pro: this is our action movie device. Be it underwater movies and photos, the mad jam of India's streets or biking through the rice fields in Ubud, this is a great device which works in with the Mac Air.

Kindle: no room for bulky books, we have all the Lonely Planets down loaded plus heaps of reading material. We anticipate plenty of down time and being stuck in airports, train stations and bus depots.

Noise Cancelling Headphones: Don't leave home without them, whether it's shutting out the passenger beside you on the plane who's snorting and sniffing or munching loudly on their food or you just want to zone out in to your own little world and listen to music or watch a movie. An additional plus for us is it helps Deb handle my occasional snoring.

Samsung phone: the device for emergency communications. For urgent calls and txts to family and friends.

So on the face of it we are taking a lot of tech with us but travelling for 12 month is such an opportunity and we want to be able to record as much as possible on the move plus share what we see with family and friends.

Posted by Deb_Scott 17:12 Archived in New Zealand Tagged technology to take travelling Comments (1)

Preparing for the Indian and Nepal Leg of the Trip

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Surrounded by Lonely Planets, the atlas, numerous items of technology and a huge cheese board full of sustenance, we set about planning our trip on the first Spring day of the year. Since we begin our trip during the peak tourist season, it pays to be organised and a little pre-booked. Currently we have booked all our accommodation and flights from December 11th through to January 15th and so today, we've decided to navigate the nightmare of the Indian Rail network timetable. Although the idea of a year off sounds appealing, it doesn't take long to become anxious and stressed out about budgets and timetables, not to mention the thought of spending every waking moment in the company of each other. Will we want to throttle each other after a month? Perhaps after three? and will I ever get my head around booking trains online with a dodgy, fake Indian cellphone number? Nevertheless, we plunged into it with gusto and after sampling blue cheese, peppered havarti cheese and a creamy camembert accompanied with ciabatta bread and a shandy, we managed to plot out nearly three months of travel through India and Nepal. It looks something like this:
Delhi to Amritsar; Amritsar to Bikaner; Bikaner to Jaisalmer; Jaisalmer to Jodhpur; Jodhpur to Udaipur; Udaipur to Chittorgarh; Chittorgarh to Bundi; Bundi to Ranthambhore; Ranthambhore to Jaipur; Jaipur to Agra; Agra to Lucknow; Lucknow to Khajuroho; Khajuroho to Varanasi; Varanasi to the Nepalese border; Pokhara to Kathmandu; Kathmandu to the Sikkim states and then down to Calcutta. But, who knows? After three months in India we may love it so much that we then take off to the South for a well-earned break on a beach near Goa or flee to Europe.

Posted by Deb_Scott 20:57 Comments (1)

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