Archive for February, 2010

Man's best friend in the Seychelles. Presumably this one is attached to metal.

It was probably some divine retribution. After debasing ourselves at the karaoke, the other one and I headed outside whereupon the other one glancing at the car discovered… Do I have to spell it out?



I took myself to the nice happy land of public transport again while the other one huffed and puffed trying to change the wheel. Unable to jack the car up properly, help was proffered along with the discovery that the problem with the jack was that it wasn’t under a bit of the car that was metal so couldn’t get a grip. Good to know.

Silent prayer sent up to car saint for no flat tyre on the drive home, having no tyre to spare.

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Oh so sadly not the case

Day 2 of half term and a receive a text inviting us to an afternoon soiree, A mini adventure as not been to H’s place before,so we set off , fortuitously finding the newbies are behind us (that’s the Seychelles for you) – and they know where they’re going but then they disappear from the rear view mirror. The phone rings and they tell us that we should have turned off by the building with the blue roof – we’d been told red ho hum. Follow the newbies, both cars climb up a very steep hill to find it’s the wrong one so have to reverse back down again much to the other one’s chagrin (I’m thinking if we do this overseas school thing again, perhaps we go to the Netherlands, v flat).

Arriving at H’s and spotting the balloons and birthday cards, the little monkey hadn’t told us it was a birthday party so I wish her happy birthday and then tell her off. The drinks flow, the food is yummy, topped by the biggest most chocolately chocolate cake you’ve ever seen. You don’t see cakes like this just anywhere and I learn that you can get them done at Seychelles airport (where else?) by Skychefs or something- assuming they’re the airline caterers!

could have sworn they wore bobble hats...

H then drops the bombshell that karaoke is next. Let me be clear – I don’t usually do karaoke. My strategy is one of shoop shooping backing dancer. However, during an exclusive appearance at the other one’s 40th where I mauled The Proclaimers ‘500 miles’ relying on a bobble hat and manic marching to get me through (a friend managing to extricate himself from the startled audience, joining me to spare (share?) my humiliation) broke the seal on doing embarrassing things to entertain other people (drunken antics being a separate category and too numerous to cite). As it was H’s birthday not and we had to get the party started, I thought what the hell, can’t let H do it all on her own. So, the other one and S found ourselves in H’s living room with the Grease soundtrack the only karoake CD working – the High School Musical crack of the 70’s. So we got stuck into some groin thrusting for Grease Lightning, disillusioned crooning to Beauty School Dropout and lord have mercy, skipped a solo effort of Sandy from the other one as we couldn’t find it (allegedly)..

It was then someone’s great idea for the other one and I, to sing we go together.

What the chuff?

We go together like biddy bop bop, chitty chang de de dop de wop?? I might have sang. The other one probably sang something completely different.

Danny and Sandy, rock and roll cool, everyone together having a great old time at the fair.

Me and the other one shouting gobbledekook into a microphone with a couple of bemused onlookers.

What a right pair of *obs.

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Spare tyres, keys and swimming the Seychelles way

Ha we dream of tyres like these - not 'goodride' the ones we have (indeed)

Day one of the other one’s half term and it’s ‘doing day’ – aren’t we the funsters?

1. Get spare tyre fixed – at the the petrol station on way to the airport. Approaching tyre place, see three men looking suspiciously like mechanic types look at us and walk past. We wait in tyre place for mechanic looking people. None forthcoming. The other one checks in the petrol station and told they’ve left for lunch. That they didn’t tell us as they slunk past fails to surprise. Head into town.

2. Get extra key for car and also some part or other. Go into car spares shop (for a small island there are many, pimping up cars is a hobby here – Tim Westwood would be right at home), have to ask shop man to speak to our mechanic man on the phone as only they seem to know what they’re talking about. Bit embarrassing as my phone doesn’t work properly – you have to press it in a specific place to hear the other person talk. The other one probably wishes something similar for me but in reverse – you squeeze me, I shut up.A young gofer leaves with key, returns ten minutes later saying it couldn’t be cut. Told there is someplace else in town to get it done so we leave to find it.

3. You can spend an hour in Victoria looking for a shop believe it (it’s apparently the world’s smallest capital) when you have directions like ‘it’s up there near the church’, ‘it’s further up there’, it’s between the church and the market’ before finally being given a road name whereupon it isn’t on that road at all but at the top of it, by the t-junction, on the top of someone’s house. I wanted Anneka Rice to appear out of a helicopter to congratulate me.

4. Back at the tyre place with mechanic looking people there this time. Realise that have our swimmers on (optimistically hoping we had time for the beach) so decide to go for an inaugural visit to the Seychelles national swimming pool across the road while we wait.

5. 10 rupees for an hour (50p) in an outdoors Olympic size swimming pool, the sun shining, the water not too chlorinated, the green peaks of Trois Frere (the mountains) visible on one side, no more than about 15 people and pee risky kids out of harm’s way in the other shallow pool, it’s the best swimming experience I’ve ever had. Even if I am pootling along like an old biddy swimmer doing breaststroke in my bikini.

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Punc(ture) Drunk

Look double decker buses!

You may be forgiven for thinking you’ve read this entry – you haven’t. The other one was in the car and he got a puncture – from one of the new tyres bought after we got the last puncture. That makes two punctures. In about three weeks. As we seem to going through spares with startling regularity, making a journey without one is a bit risky and understandably, we’re rather reluctant to go anywhere. Defeating somewhat the point of having a car.

So now I just go to places in my head. Like London. With its red and bendy buses and underground trains.

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Learning Francais in Mahe, it does not pay

French isn’t getting any better. It’s like the new driving lesson. Only humiliation is twice a week instead of once. Joy. I should have stuck to the dancing – hang on that was humiliating too.

I’m a loser.

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Making like Rosemary the telephone operator

ok, so she's blonde...the sun's bleached my hair a bit...

No stranger to Skype, it proving more than handy during my MBA to keep in contact with my study group, I hadn’t used it for ages but thought as so many places now advertise it on their websites as a way to contact them that I’d give it a go to make some very important phone calls – to people I owed money.

A first mistake was trying to make the calls without any credit belatedly realising that as I was calling landlines as opposed to other computers I had to pay. Duh. So I bought £10 of Skype credit and tried again. La La the phone trilled, blah blah, option 1 the stupid tinny voice went, ping ping ping went my visual digital telephone keypad as I pressed, hello said the very English voice, what can I do for you today?

Anything, everything! I’m in sat at home, on top of a not very big mountain, in a rainforest type thing, on one of 115 islands of the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, 1000 miles from the nearest landmass, which is Africa, been here nearly all day on my own, not spoken to anyone and you’re all the way in London, in England, in Europe and you sound like you’re just around the corner, like you could be one of my friends, and what’s the weather like and are you going to go to Pret for your lunch?, have you got a big fat latte on your desk?, are you going to the pub after work? Maybe drink a pint of Starprammen with cheese and onion crisps and here’s me in baking hot in the Seychelles….ISN’T TECHNOLOGY BRILLIANT?!!!!

And for security, can I have the second and last digits of your PIN?

Oh yes. Of course.

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Three day, 3GB internet frenzy

How could anyone resist?

You have to love the Seychelles. Not just for escaped prisoners roaming the island (I think they were soon scooped up I mean where were they going?) but for the quirks of how they do things.

Take the internet. All providers here offer broadband based on bandwidth allowances (the more you pay the more you have).We’re on Cable and Wireless’cheapest package (600 rupees/£30 a month so not that cheap) for 3GB. We joined end of January, so naturally I assumed our 3GB allowance would last till the end of Fe. Not so. Way too smart – they only work on calendar months apparently. So instead we’re told that we have 3 days to download/upload a month’s worth of internet usage. WAHEY!!Run round house like chickens.

Load me up and let’s mix it up baby.

– YES to Radio 4, 100 objects that tell the history of the world (1-13 down only another 87 to go)
– YES to lots of information about how I might be able to get a Gainful Occupation Permit (GOP) to stop me idling away time on the internet and to get a real job
– YES to Front Row to make like we’re ya ya ya culture vultures a la Mark Lawson
– YES to Big Bang Theory telethon. Bazinga- Sheldon I love you!
– YES to Doctor Who, Dear David we haven’t lost you in Seychelles yet but the end is imminent, sob : (

I near O’d. I had to be forced to go to bed.

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Internet at home shocker!

In just 30 minutes I became a citizen of the world again. I’m jacked in. I’m riding the information superhighway. I’m connected. I’m online. I’M AT HOME! WOOHOOOOOOOOOO!

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Please can we go to Cape Town?

roger that...

I hadn’t banked on having a problem with a credit card – it’s never been an issue before but this time it was. I spent way too much time researching flights from Joburg to Cape Town narrowing it down to 1time flights and mango airlines and then with both tried to book the flipping flights and was denied by the spurious message that my card couldn’t be honoured. What on earth did that mean? I then wasted more time finding phone numbers to call them from overseas and suffered two very frustrating encounters with customer service experiences, one interaction (it could barely be called a conversation) going something along the lines of:

– what’s your last name?
– I don’t understand, what is it again?
– Spell it, I don’t understand?
– T, H, E?
– No, C, T, E?
– No, C, H?
– Spell it again?
– Madam, we’ll be here a long time if you (me?! Like it was all my fault!) carry on like this. Spell it like this E is for Echo..

Meanwhile, on the other end of the phone.. C is for Crying, H is for Honestly, T is for Trying, K is for Kill me now.

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Go to Cape Town!

air seychelles.jpg During our jaunts in Kenya and Uganda, we had agreed that getting away had been a good move and that for us living in the Seychelles would have to involve regular trips off the island for reasons of sanity (any excuse!) With the other one soon to have three glorious weeks off at Easter, a dip into our savings and credit, and we hope to be someplace else – Cape Town. Sure, it’s meant to be beautiful, surrounded by wine lands and the Garden Route but really we just want to shop and I want a large latte with a caramel shot. Hubba hubba.

After the debacle of booking our Christmas trip, this time we’re off the block pretty swiftly and popping into Air Seychelles I hear that I can get a fare for about $350 – not bad. This will only take us as far as Joburg and then it’s another internal flight. We decide to go for only two weeks to limit our spending and before they can put our fare up, I flash the card and get it paid. Job done – so far.

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