Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Muay Thai week 2 - a pictorial

Rather than bore you with words, I thought you might like to see me in action - boxing shorts and all!

Entering the ring

A nice front kick

Just look at the focus...

Knees are great fun but they kinda hurt like hell

Even in the ring you still have to do push ups at the end of each round

It was a tough day at the office, particularly as I'd just finished a 2k run before I got in the ring. And it was the 3pm session so it was slightly 'warm'.

Posted from somewhere round the world...

Location:Rawai Muay Thai Gym

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Beach training ... Warning some images may disturb

After 10 sessions or 22.5 hours of training in the gym we get to go to the beach on Saturday mornings. The session started with a warm up run to the end of the beach and back. Trust me, I was well and truly warm at the end of that.

The whole session was cardio, so you may think that I've popped into the ocean for a little swim, but I can assure you it is all sweat. As I said in the heading, some images may disturb you.

I'm standing next to Sid, my fav trainer (he's much stronger than he looks) and some Aussie's who were training for a week. This is before training started.

Upper cuts ... 14 times zig zagging up the beach x 3 circuits.

If you don't bow at the start and end you have to do 20 push ups. Remembering to bow becomes pretty easy.

10 knees on each leg .. they are about as much fun as running on soft sand.

This is probably knees as well but looks like I've stopped for a breather. The shining sweat look is so not good.

After other sprints with punches x about 3 or 4 circuits we got to swim. A few of us stayed at the beach for the day as it was bloody hot. So hot in fact that I sat under an umbrella all day - and I never do that!

There will be some gym pics coming soon, but they are going to be even more unflattering so will come with a warning.

Surprising really how something so hard can be so much fun.

Posted from somewhere round the world...

Location:Nai Hahn beach (not correct spelling)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly...

So let's start with the good...
This morning at training we did the warm up then headed to the end of the gym where all the new people train. I was ready to get started when my friends Annalie, Sophia and I were pulled aside by the trainers. Next thing we are being taken to the main group. That's right, after only 3 days we have graduated from beginners muay Thai. Very impressive indeed, particularly as some of the guys that started with us are still in the beginners group.

The other good thing - the regular group get to go in the ring. We fight 4 rounds one-on-one with a trainer. He calls out the moves (often in Thai) and you need to follow. This is lots of fun but a bit interesting as I often get my left and right confused. My right elbow punch is getting really good, if i do say so myself.

The bad ...
Well this afternoon I was back in the ring sparring with this dude who really couldn't speak a lick of English. trying to explain that I can't kick with my injured right foot was a laugh. Anyway we're fighting away and next thing go for a big left kick. Now with Muay Thai kicks you need to swing your hips and leg up and across so you hit the pad with the front of your foot and shin. This is much harder than it sounds- particularly if you have short legs to start with, so struggle to get the height needed - and if you are particularly bad at twisting your leg at the same time. Anyway, I lost focus a little and went for the traditional Aussie rules drop punt. But I even got this wrong as I forgot to point my toes down. I'm fairly certain my second toe on my left foot is broken or at least severely disfigured. I now have my second toe taped to the third toe. Makes wearing my havaianas a challenge. I have now retired from the side kicks at waist height - probably should never have attempted them in the first place!

The ugly...
Well that would be my toes. Big toes taped up to stop the blisters from all the twisting and now two toes taped together. The other ugly thing is how everyone looks after about ten minutes of training. Think back to my description of the rivers of sweat. The afternoon sessions are particularly bad. It's quite warm at 3pm, the humidity is at it's peak and there's not a drop of wind. People were dropping like flies today. Along with the sweat soaked clothes, faces are red or purple - it's not a pretty site.I must take some photos to share with you.

Anyway, I've managed 8 sessions so far. There are only a few of us who train twice a day, but for now I'll keep it up - taped up and hobbling.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Oh my ... thai

Oh my - thai, what was I thinking. Training for 4 hours a day is in itself a challenge, but throw in the heat and humidity and it's a whole lot worse.

I survived a full day of training yesterday. I actually quite enjoyed it. Once you get past the fact that you (and everyone else) have become a river of sweat. Now I'm not talking a little shine here, I'm talking about rivers of the stuff running off you. Probably a good thing the gym is open air!

We do get lots of short water and wipe-the-sweat breaks, but each break starts with 10 push ups and 10 sit ups. That's a hell of a lot over a 2 hour session.

I had plans of having the sleep of my life last night. But although I was knackered, I hadn't factored in the sore body business. It hurt to lay down (beds in Asia are very hard), it hurt to roll over and I'm just lucky it didn't hurt to breathe.

But I got my sore self down to the gym this morning to do it all again. Things were going swimmingly (think sweat) when one of the trainers stepped forward just as I launched a big right kick. The top of my foot and his knee cap are never going to be the same again. After the VERY loud swearing (me) and yelps and giggles (him) we surveyed the damage. Ice was administered and I was able to finish the session - punches and elbows only, no god damned kicks.

I hobbled home feeling sore and sorry for myself and wondered if my career as a muay thai fighter had come to an end. I had a swim and a snooze (the fighters daily ritual) and headed back for the 3pm session. There were cheers from the trainers - I don't think they expected me back for a while. I swapped kicks for more punches but otherwise survived the session quite well.

Might hobble back again in the morning.

- Posted from somewhere round the world...

Location:Happy elephant resort

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Scooter-ama day

Today was my first muay thai experience. And what an experience it was. Note for tomorrow morning, no need to warm up for an hour when walking out the front door makes you hot!

Sid was my trainer and he showed a lot of patience and a sense of humor, particularly important when my right kick kept landing lower than the padded belt he wore strapped to his hips.

This is my pristine gear before today's training. The shin guards are yet to be used, I think I need to work up to that stage.

But the more exciting news of the day is that I'm now the proud owner of a scooter, well owner for the next month.

I don't think I got the beast over 40k's but I looked very dashing in my lime green helmet. The dude at the shop across the road, who was foolish enough to hire me the beast, and i have an agreement. Scratches and dents are all part of the package.

I managed to find a great but busy beach for the afternoon. Hired my deck chair and was set. That was until I needed to come home and nap. If 2 hours of training wore me out today I might be in a coma come tomorrow night after 2 x 2 hour sessions.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rawai, Thailand

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Where am I and where am I going?

So where am i and where am I planning to go over the next 14 months and how did I come up with the not-round-number of fourteen?

I am currently in Thailand, stop one on my adventure. It is day 2 and I am settling in to life at Happy Elephant Resort in Rawai at the bottom of Phuket island. I chose this spot because of the muay thai camp in the area. The initial plan was to stay here for two weeks then move to a beach hut somewhere for the next couple of weeks. But plans have changed already.

I decided that the monthly rate for my room and for the training were too good to pass up - so rather than wait and see how I liked and survived intensive training,I have jumped right in and booked and paid for a month. OMG I hope I like it!

If I ever survive the next four weeks then I head to India. The plan goes like this.....
17 March - 27 April, India
This includes 22 days on Intrepid then on to Mumbai, Goa and Kerala (although I have got a double entry visa so could pop to Nepal if I feel the urge)

27 April - 21 May, Sri Lanka
The first couple of weeks I'm booked into an ayurvedic retreat, then kicking around and catching up with my buddy Rukshan who happens to be there at the same time as me

21 May - 4 June, Japan
Hanging out with Anita and Kathryn. No plans cause I think Kathryn has been appointed tour guide

4 June - 26 June, UK (with maybe a few days in France)
Catching up with Kristen, Katie, Anthea and Simon

26 June - 29 July, Egypt and Jordan

29 July - 11 Sept, Turkey and a couple of Greek Islands

11 Sept - 3 Nov, Spain, Portugal, Morocco and hopefully the south of France if I can afford it

3 Nov - around early March
Mexico and Central America - plans are quite vague at the moment, but I fly in to Mexico City and out of Panama City

Quick stops in Miami and LA before landing back in Thailand by 14 March 2013.

I have booked an around the world ticket out of Bangkok which is valid for 12 months, with a month in Thailand at the start and finish. This all depends on how the money holds out of course.

Now about that Muay Thai ... I went down to the gym and purchased my gear and got sorted to start on Monday (Sunday is a day off) and somehow decided it would be a good idea to start tomorrow with a one-on-one session. I'm sure I'll survive?!?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Happy Elephant Resort, Rawai, Thailand

Friday, 17 February 2012

Last night in Australia fraught with technical difficulties

For those that know me well, you will know that technology and I are fraught with difficulties. I've spent way too long tonight trying to work out how to add photos to my blog. It seems that an iPad has lots of just discovered limitations.

Then I remembered I'd downloaded the blogpress app. So here I am. I also realized that the pic I wanted to post wasn't very interesting ... so I'll put these hours down to experience.

The pic below or exhibit A as I'd like to call it, is of my stuff. For those of you familiar with the standard Perpetual backpack, you will realize just how small my pack is. Thank god I'm an organized freak. I have packing cubes. What a wonderful invention. You can fit so much stuff (as listed in the last post) into a small space.

You can also see from exhibit A that I have purchased what I commonly call ugly tourist sandals. The thing is, these ugly things are the most comfortable footwear ever to don these feet. Obviously I've opted for comfort over style now that I'm a vagabond.

My last post from Aust was going to be my itinerary. Guess I'll just have to post that from the FIRST class lounge tomorrow.

That's right folks, I've managed to get my hands on a complimentary pass to the top notch lounge. Thank you Alan Joyce. I guess a vagabond should leave the country in style.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:The noisy apartments across the road from my fab moved out of home

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Now it feels real....

So the removalists have come and gone. All of my worldly possessions have been packed into a cage type thingy, locked up and taken to some storage facility somewhere. It was a bit sad seeing the last things taken out of my fabulous apartment. But at least I have the keys til Friday so can use the gym and pool for a few more days.

Now to the pack. It is full. Very full. Probably a bit too full. My pack contains the following stuff to keep me going for the next 14 months...
The clothes:
5 x pants/capris
3 x tshirts
4 x other tops
2 x skirts
The obligatory smalls (for those who like detail there's 8 knickers, 4 socks, 2 reg & 3 sports bras
2 x singlet tops
2 x shorts (one pair for sleeping)
3 x training tops & shorts
In compression bag - 1 x spray jacket, 1 x cardigan, 1 x hoodie, 1 x long sleeve tshirt
2 x swimmers
1 x sarong
1 x comfy walking type shoes (not called hiking shoes cause I don't hike)
1 x runners
1 x walking sandal type things, look a bit tourist-like but damn they are comfy
1 x flip flops
1 x scarf
The other stuff:
iPad & charger
Digi camera & charger
Mobile phone & charger
Kindle & charger
3 x padlocks & 1 x lock with wire
International power adaptors
Universal sink plug & clothes line (for washing clothes)
International travel alarm clock
Safety pins & bulldog clips (cause they're handy)
Snap lock bags ( cause they are also handy)
Lots of hand wipes & hand sanitized (for india obviously)
Travel towel
Silk sleeping bag
Waterproof cover for pack
Very cool folded very small but opens very big bag (just in case)
Fab journal Kathryn gave me for Christmas
Plastic door stopper (so baddies can't get in my room in dodgy places)

Insect repellant
Ear drops
Shampoo & conditioner
Moroccan oil (can't go anywhere without it)
Brush & comb
Body wash
Other bits and pieces of bathroom stuff
And a bag of various drugs and first aid basics
Small foundation & mascara
Nail scissors
And lots of little packets of tissues. Commonly called toilet paper when I get to India

I think that's everything. Now can you see why the pack is full. I can't work out what I can remove to lighten the load. I'm sure I'll soon work it out if I struggle carrying the load!

Monday, 13 February 2012

The last night in my apartment

With four nights left in Australia for 2012 I'm finally feeling organised. The apartment is packed already, although I may have peaked a bit too early. It's only Monday and the removalists don't arrive until Wednesday morning. But I didn't want to leave things til the last minute, so I'm living amongst boxes and plastic creates.

Tomorrow I need to pack up my bed and get all the linen washed and packed. I'm moving across the road tomorrow arvo to a self contained apartment - it will be my first night living out of my NVB (not very big) pack.

Speaking of the pack, the trial pack was a farce! I repacked today and couldn't fit everything in. Admittedly I had added a few bits and pieces which I assumed would be fine. Oh how wrong was I. I've since pared back the clothes and other stuff, rolled things a bit tighter and generally made everything fit into the NVB pack. I'm sure I'll be feeling smug with my NVB pack when I encounter other vagabonds struggling with oversized packs on their backs, but today it nearly did me in.

I've ticked everything off my to do list, am lunching lots and only have one MORE visit to the dentist to go. Yes, that's right - my planned one visit to the dentist has turned into three. Today's visit was a clean. I've obviously now got very clean, $200 clean teeth. Dentists need to realize that soon to be vagabonds haven't got an extravagant dental budget. Tomorrow I am visiting the dentist for the third and final time. I'm going to be the proud owner of a filling. I can't wait to find out how much I pay for that privilege!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Indian visa saga ...

... So I left it to the end of Jan to apply for my visa for India. The indian visa is current from the date you receive it, not from the date you enter the country. Given that standard visas are for three months (or so I thought) I needed to wait to apply so my visa didn't expire while I was still in India. I head down to the visa place (outsourced - can you bloody believe it! Australian companies outsource to India and the Indian govt outsource to Indians living in Australia), anyway, the room was packed with people. I had a sinking feeling that things were going to go terribly wrong. Turns out, my new found techie skills had me at an advantage. I had done all the paperwork online (just a new service), paid online and created an itinerary so show why I couldn't live without a double entry visa (made up- just in case I get the urge to pop to katmandu). I chose an option from to dozen or so listed on the little machine, got my ticket and proceeded to panic in the photo booth. Emerged from behind the booth curtain as the proud owner of 4 x very bad shots. Fossicked for a seat amongst the mass of humanity and prepared to wait. Next thing I know the flashing number machine is singing my song - head to counter number 15. The very serious man asked me lots of questions which apparently I wasn't supposed to answer (ie I talked too much) and told me 5 working days very minimum. That was ok cause I had 12 not-working days left in the country, no drama. But that night I started to panic. What if the mass of humanity waiting for a visa caused delays. The dudes had my passport, so I couldn't leave the country if I wanted to. Then yesterday I get both a text and an email. Not real sure what they were telling me but it was something about starting processing. Starting, you've had my precious passport and a massive wad of paperwork of two whole days.More panic. Then today I get a text to say my docs were being dispatched. Having forgotten I'd coughed up for courier delivery I started to wonder where my passport was being sent. I get home tonight from yoga and meditation feeling very zen and there at the concierge desk is a courier bag. It's my bloody passport complete with a double entry visa inside. All is good with the world. And, the bloody visa is valid for six months!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

It's February!

It's February which means I've finished work or am gainfully unemployed as I'd prefer to think of it. Feb also means that it's not long until I leave Australia for over a year. OMG! February is also supposed to mean hot, sunny days ... and it's bloody raining and 22 degrees on my first day of freedom. The weather report showed a calendar of Feb and there's only one rain free day for the month. Obviously that's the reason I'm leaving the country! So how's the to do list going? I've managed to tick off my visa for India and have opened a bank account with no international fees. I've also finalized my itinerary and paid for my RTW ticket. Great news, the price came down by over $200. That actually means that I've made money today, not bad for an unemployed soon to be vagabond. I've booked the removalists, booked accommodation across the road for my last few nights and have purchased more training gear. It might seem foolish to be shopping when I'm about to leave the country but I worked out that I will need at least 4 sets of training gear to get through a day at Muay Thai camp. So much exercise and so much heat ... what was I thinking??? So the next big challenge is to do a trial pack on my backpack. I'm so not enthused. Not only do I need to decide what to pack, but I need to work out how to make everything fit into a not very large 60 litre pack. It's not going to be pretty. Wish me luck!