Climbing Mount Kinabalu…a good attempt

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Countless obstacles revealed themselves as we faced the challenge of summiting the worlds 20th highest mountain. With no training, mountain knowledge or appropriate equipment, we spontaneously took on the challenge of reaching the 13,00 ft peak. After 6 km of stair climbing to our base camp, our spirits were high in anticipation for the 2am summit sunrise hike. Oblivious to the reality of the given weather conditions, we scaled rock faces and …. more stairs to come to the final checkpoint of the trail. We soon realised we wereย the first people up the mountain, we had lost our guide and there was no one following us.

At this point we met some random english backpackers. Considering the sub zero temperatures and our highly inappropriate gear (i.e. exercise pants and cotton rain jackets) we penguin huddled in the toilets for a solid 45 minutes. Soon after a ranger came through only to tell us to turn around because of the dangerous weather and that most people had stopped far before us to go back.

We were sincerely disappointed but it was indeed an adventure.ย _MG_6620

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Spending Time with my Extended Family

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Meet the faces of my new love affair. Some people crave the touch of another’s hand whereas I savour the moment their slimy trunk curls around my fingertips. Don’t be mistaken, this is not love, this is food. To appease my mind I like to think they love me because I give them food. I can live with this. Here are the beautiful elephants that we cared for at the WFFT sanctuary.

For some additional information on the Thai tourist industry and the consequential exploitation of animals have a little read from below

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatlife/11048530/The-dark-side-of-animal-tourism-in-Thailand.html

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Ba Be National Park

Located in Northern Vietnam the Ba Be National park is truly spectacular and unspoiled by large tourist groups and people in general. With only small villages surrounding the lakeside it was the epitome of tranquil in comparison to Hanoi city. We walked around the lake during the monsoonalย rain, with every motorbike riding past us thinking we were legitimately crazy to be outside. That evening we enjoyed staying with a local family who could not speak a word of english which was really quite funny as in the name of good budgeting we declined bringing an english speaking tour guide. The following day we took a boat trip out to the caves which was stunning in every sense. As our final venture in Vietnam, Ba be was great, far greater than the 26 hour bus trip to laos that evening…. but that is another story

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Ha Long Bay – Vietnam

IMG_5176From the empty deserts of Namibia to the hustle and bustle of Hanoi city, least to say there has been a slight change of scenery. As I Embark on my backpacking journey throughout southeast Asia, it should be interesting with our minimal daily budget and tendency to get ourselves in a struggle. We first went out to Ha long bay, a collection of 1969 limestone islands off the coast of Vietnam. They traditionally believe that a dragon burrowed beneath the bay and spat up these islands, hence the name “Ha long”, meaning “Descending Dragon”. Considering it is the peak of monsoon season, we were blessed with blue skies and still waters. It was so beautiful and just unbelievable. I am excited to see what Asia has in stall for us over the next few months, the cultural differences are enormous and hilarious, I don’t think I will ever quite master the art of crossing the road here.

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Where the Wild Things are

IMG_3714A small collection of game photos


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Deserted

Photos from our safari throughout the Namibian desert encompassing the Fish River Canyon, Dune 45 and Deadvlei…. a long with a few highway shots, it seems as though our boredom during a 4 hour breakdown in the middle of nowhere became somewhat productiveIMG_4786 IMG_4959IMG_4800 IMG_4970 IMG_5010 IMG_5035 IMG_5021 IMG_5080 IMG_5093 IMG_5136IMG_5112

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The Himba Tribe

IMG_4524Whilst touring through the Namibian Desert we had the privilege of being introduced to the Himba Tribe. The Himbas lead a completely traditional lifestyle, resisting western influence and remaining true to their traditions. It is largely a female society wit few en (due to polygamous relationships) and many children, both maternal and adopted kids that were otherwise abandoned. The women coat their hair in vibrant red okra denoting various symbols such as when they are fertile/ready to marry. The women were never allowed to wash themselves with water once they reached puberty, they even washed their clothing (what little of it they had) with a variety of herbs and smoke. It seems to work. They dress for the heat, not wearing all that much and leaving their bodies entirely exposed with the exception of leather garments they had crafted.

Whilst their culture is fully intact, they have not been left behind in the world with the government supporting their small school where the kids proudly demonstrated their ABC’s and other songs. The people of the Himba tribe were exceptionally kjnd and inviting, not only to purchase their crafts but to invite you into their lives whole heartedly. Their beauty is so radiant, ย their intentions pure, there is definitely something sacred about such unspoiled places and people like this.


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