“Just don’t smile,” Che advised me. Suddenly everything made sense, I wasn’t experiencing hell in paradise. I didn’t realise that a natural reaction to discovering the wonders of the submarinal world was the root of all my problems. After all, I had only learnt to swim properly and overcome my fear of deep water three months earlier!
I had been advised to learn how to scuba dive by my friend’s husband when I mentioned I was heading to Borneo. I signed up for a course with Scuba Junkies, who were based out of Semporna, a tiny village on the south of the Malaysian side of the island. They had just opened a hostel opposite their shop, with a bar that served pizzas to the guests, all of which were on pilgrimage to explore one of the dive world’s meccas. Sipadan is a coral reef island, formed on top of an extinct volcano and is teeming with marine life. There were some serious professionals around, including Scandinavian ice divers and specialist deep sea macro photographers. In comparison I was completely out of my depth.
Beezie was one tough lady. She lived in sweet isolation on Cottage Island, a former leper colony, in the middle of a lake near the town of Sligo, Ireland. She rowed herself ashore to swap her potent home brew for produce at the market right up until she passed away. There was a joke that the fish stall would be empty the next day; the trawlers would not set sail as the fishermen would all be suffering a dreadful hangover. As we gently paddled past her former home I admired her tenacity and grew envious of her tranquil residence.
The Mekong Delta is the rice bowl of Vietnam and one of the world’s most productive agricultural areas. It is an immense maze of paddy fields and canals covering an area the size of Wales. Three friends (Fiona, Kate, and Tomo) spent two weeks cycling around the Delta on vintage local bicycles and were completely won over by this area of Vietnam’s charms. In this post, they tell you why, and how, you should do a similar trip!
I entered the sixteen-degree water using a little-known technique named the ‘not too slow so your body doesn’t realise what’s happening but not too fast as that’s just pure pain’. It worked but I was not alone; there were other… Continue Reading →
When you catch a man accidentally admit out loud that a display of flowers is ‘so beautiful’ then you know that it must be pretty phenomenal. Tulips are synonymous with the Dutch and I’d been given rave reviews about the floral shows at Keukenhof, but had also been warned off, with someone else’s advice that it was only for flower lovers. Curious to know the truth, I devised a plan for a thorough investigation.
Who can resist decadent dining, exclusively exploring the seas of a tropical island, topped and tailed with a soupçon of safari? Not I for one! A convenient long weekend, a friend with a tank sized car and a couple of helpful directions later meant I was living that dream. Woop!
Ireland’s fair city, Dublin, is one of twenty officially recognised UNESCO cities of literature. Overflowing with associations to well known bards of the written and spoken word it is an ideal place for contemplating their compositions and appreciating literary wonders.