The story starts where all the good ones do…with tequila, more specifically, too much of it. The night before we had been having a send off for a particularly beloved Instructor on Koh Tao where I was doing my Divemaster training, naturally this involved drinking more than usual as a sign of respect. The next morning I was due to travel to Bangkok to meet my family who were coming to visit my island paradise. I awoke at 7am feeling a bit dusty as you might imagine, I didn’t have to be at the ferry terminal until 8:30 for the 9 o’clock departure so I rolled over and hit snooze and here began one of those adventures that was hellish at the time but makes for a good story on reflection.
When I moved to London I was met with a new and unfamiliar greeting known as the ‘Air Kiss’. This is where you press your cheek to someone else’s, making an indistinct kiss noise near their ear before doing it again to their other cheek. For us Kiwis it can feel like quite an intimate way to say hello, but in reality the feeling you get is one of polite distance. When you meet a Swedish person they will say Hej (Hey) and then hug you, there’s not one vaguely awkward air kiss to be seen, just a lovely cuddle. For me that greeting perfectly encapsulates how I felt the entire weekend I was in Gothenburg.
Training as a PADI Divemaster will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever undertake, you will be learning and living in paradise. Before you can start you will need to have certified at all previous levels. It will depend on your agency as to what these are called but generally, you will need to have completed the following (or an equivalent):
Stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean with 20 other sun-burnt salty sea dogs. No it’s not the premise for a terrible movie involving a mutant sea creature, it’s actually my idea of the perfect holiday. A liveaboard is a boat-based, multi-day excursion focussed on scuba diving. The name is pretty self-explanatory in that you LIVE, ABOARD the boat without coming into shore (you get it). You and your group will do several dives per day, usually visiting sites that would never be accessible on a day trip which is a major bonus of this type of diving. Continue reading
Trying to move to London is how I found myself at my lowest ebb, in floods of tears in the middle of a Tesco super store in Twickenham. I was pretending I wanted a terrible job, selling awful makeup to gullible people who just wanted to get to the frozen food section. I had had no sleep because of the foghorn style snorer in my hostel dorm room and had been job hunting for several weeks with no luck except for this poorly disguised pyramid scheme. Put simply – IT SUCKED.
From the moment I got back to London I had an overwhelming desire to pack my bags, turn around and go back to Barcelona permanently. I loved the place more than just about anywhere I have been so far. The weather, the people, the food, (I ate an obscene amount of jamon iberico) it was all so good. Continue reading
Flying with Wow Air – Was I going to be wow’ed or is that what I would say when I realised my seat was a deck chair strapped to a bi-plane and the inflight meal would be whatever detritus flew into my mouth? Their constant emails, to tell me my flight to Reykjavik had changed yet again, didn’t fill me with confidence. Continue reading
Dalat sits at an altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level in the Central Highlands. It is known as the Paris of Vietnam and is well known for its flower gardens and rolling hills. I would liken it to Wellington, NZ with its wind and rain, I was properly cold for the first time in months.
For my second day here I took a countryside tour by motorbike. Along the way we visited various farms and factories and got a better look at life outside a major hub. First up we visited a coffee bean processor, Vietnam is famous for its coffee beans and Dalat is covered in trees producing just that. They flower once a year and are harvested by hand. They are then de-husked and laid out to dry for around three days depending on the heat of the sun. Afterwards they are bagged up and sent off for export.