Holidays
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Holidays...                                                                                              

 

Holidays, lots of them.......some comments on some of them....

Jamaica    A terrific time - hire you own guide and minibus-for-four and off you go wherever you like. Great beaches and seafood. Shop for mahogany carvings, definitely worth bringing back. Don't walk about alone away from tourist areas. Street touts a complete nightmare. Other than that, highly recommended. Goat curry - yum yum..! Red Stripe beer as it's supposed to be....and Blue Mountain coffee...  and rum you could use for stripping paint....

Hong Kong  - Causewaybay (with visit to Macao and China)   Another great holiday - there's a lot more to Hong Kong than just night-shopping in Causewaybay although this was always a highlight (as it was for the locals..!). Good for antiques, too, mostly smuggled across from China. Food proved surprisingly difficult - if you want to eat cheaply get the picture menus, otherwise you might end up eating the skin off chicken's feet - we did! Oh yes, don't forget the Tsing Tao beer brewed in China......green and very fresh....

Goa - Chicalim   Arrived in the dark and on the taxi trip (1950's Morris Oxford Hindustan) to the guesthouse we were scared to death - no streetlamps, only glimpses of locals crowded around tin shacks cooking food on open braziers and then pitch dark again for another hundred yards....eeeeek.....what have we come to..? Next day, brilliant, right to the end. Took my PADI (diving certificate) through the only diving school in Goa just set up by an Edinburgh guy. Typical sea temp 26C in November. Ate in beachshacks every night with others from our guesthouse. 1.50 for an evening meal. Buy the local kids on the beach a meal for 50p each. Spend a day on a beach 5 miles long with nobody else in sight - your 'taxi' driver will sleep in the shade all day and wait for you.  And the finest tasting beer we have ever come across - yes, local Kingfisher, but nothing like you'll ever find here.... even the non-beer drinkers drank this and nothing else.... 

Thailand - Bangkok/Pattaya then Bangkok/Changmai/Phuket  Twice (brilliant so we went back.).What a buzz! Do Bangkok and the night markets, eat off the street vendors, some of the tastiest and safest food you'll come across. Buy your favourite Rolex or Tag Heur but shop around - the best copies are very good but cost a little more. I have one that I still use every day - 7 years on. Visit the sex bars, couples welcome. Go north to Changmai and 'the triangle'. Antiques from Myanmar (Burmese) temples. Opium antiques - pipes, weights, scales etc. Finish off in Phuket or one of the other beach resorts - pure luxury on a budget. Fly Thai Airways...superb. Split your journey in Egypt like we did...

Egypt - Cairo/Giza   Three day stopover - ate in the 4-star hotel and in one of the few recommended (inspected) restaurants, as we knew of the reputation for stomach-bugs. So we avoided any problems? No chance! Fine until waiting in the airport to fly on to Bangkok - actually waited in the toilets and ended up in a Thai hospital with severe dehydration. Spoilt by locals demanding money at every turn. Interesting place but a touch uncomfortable at times. Pyramids amazing but totally under-exploited. No proper tours or guides (just local boys), no visitor centres, no souvenirs - they could make a fortune but don't - easier for them to just to stick their  hands out and ask for money and then get nasty when they don't get any   

Turkey - Altinkum   Spoiled by street-vendor hassle. Locals are simply a pest. Only escaped it in Bodrum - very cosmopolitan and interesting. Otherwise a very, very surprising country - not what we expected at all. Go on the night-away trips - unbelievably cheap - visit Ephesus and Pamukkale - superb Roman settlements. Mountain scenery to rival Scottish Highlands. Good shopping esp. leather. Have a Turkish haircut - it's a day out - apart from actually cutting it, they burn the hair out of your nose and ears, fling in a neck massage, then hand you coffee and licquer at the end - you'll have earned it..!

Lanzarote - Puerto del Carmen   Three times - very clean, packages great value (incl. villas early season). Easy, laid back, no lager louts, high standards. Hire a cheap convertible before you go for the whole holiday as the roads are very quiet. Visit the caves, the volcanoes and the volcanic vineyards - and buy some vino..! Drive to the north of the island for the spectacular views. Very relaxing.

Cyprus - Paphos   Twice. A great island and so much to see, as it's BIG. Go up into the high villages or into the Troodos mountains themselves. Ski then fry in a beach resort the same day. Great Roman remains.. Fantastic scenery. About as good as it gets without going longhaul. Under-rated. Hire a villa with pool before or after high-season.

Greece - Halkidiki/Thassos   Thassos three times (we have family there) - very clean and green island. Take a jeep up the mountain roads. Great beaches/scenery. Very laid back.

Cotswolds - Cheltenham/Gloucester etc   Our favourite UK destination after the Lake District. Rent a country cottage with a log fire.

Spain - Nerja/Maro   Caves near Nerja (Maro) are the most impressive we've ever seen. Drive to Gibraltar with your Spanish hire car, take passports, queue for a while and drive on to the rock. Take the cablecar up to the monkeys. Watch tourists (and guides..!) feed them despite the dozens of signs saying that it's killing them (their correct diet is put out every day for them). Eat locally - had 'rabbit with sanils' one night - thought it was some sort of veg or spice - turned out to be a misprint - for 'sanils' read 'SNAILS'...!

Portugal - Algarve   Choose somewhere else....Majorca, Spain.....anywhere....or stay at home.