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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Off to Bangkok............JIBBY JUha, catching a plane in three hours.................. JIbbY Jibby Juhaaaaa!!!! People are very nice here in Hong Kong, so polite, wishing you a good day, talking to you on the elevator.... very nice place to visit...........Goodbye Hong KOng!!!!
Pollito

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Hong Kong
So now we are in Hong Kong, it's like comming to Europe again. Of course alot of Asian looking people, but they all act and dress in a european way- really strange, everything is way to expensive as well. Now I have had my good coffe and good food dose (I was really missing good coffe) and just wanna go to Thailand. There are to many tempting shops with nice kinds of everything here and I wanna go before I'll buy something to expensive and silly. Cheap markets in Thailand are waiting to be discovered.
Life is good- we went yesterday and watched a bit of rugby, it was a real thrill, nice atmosphere and a nice feeling to sit in a huge stadium with the green grass in the middle and those flashing lights around. We met up with Olivers friend, Chris- very nice funny boy who used to do some travelling with Oliver. Unfortunatly we have been a bit sick, caughing and not at our very best, but I think we are getting better. Just hope we didn't pick anything horrible up from China..... no no can't be. Anyways tonight we are going to watch the battle between Manchester United and Arsenal... very excited and hope my team (united) will whip their arses. Love to everyone, next time it will be from Thailand.... I'm so excited ... I just can't hide it... I know I know .......
Goodbye and Oliver says.... thanks for all the comments .. hehehehe
Pollito

Friday, March 26, 2004

just got to let you know that Ditta is now standing in the reception of the hotel with two big balloons up her jumper and winning a lot of admirers in the process.

Lay Charles

After a hard and unfulfilled day in the "tourist sightseeing state tunnel cooporation tour train" and a trip with the "Shanghai Ferry Company Aquatic Tourist Bus Branch" we rewarded ourselves with a 60 minute "full body" massage, not knowing quite what to expect. Well what we got was fantastic, the only way I can describe it is that it is like being beaten up by Bridgette Bardot. My guy was blind and even wore the big Stevie Wonder dark glasses and rocked his head as if to the beat of "I Just Called" as he worked on me. Well, they say the other senses of a blind person are heightened and I am sure that as he was standing over me carressing my neck with his firm yet tender fingers my hands accidently touched one of his heightened senses. I thought it would be me that might lose control with all that intimate touching but he was good at his job so why shouldn't he get a little into it? Or even a little out of it? That aside, it was very good and extrememly relaxing, not a part of my body (except the bits and pieces (that's dick and balls mum)) was left out. I lost my composure a little when he flipped me over to go to work on my head and then crashed to ground as his plastic seat shattered under him into 20 pieces. Like a good pro though he jumped up, dusted himself down and carried on. Judging by the noises Ditta was making she seemed to enjoy her massage too and we left feeling like we'd just been at an all night trance party with Bob Marley.

So that is Shanghai, up early in the morning to catch a flight to Shenzhen and then over the border to Hong Kong. Ditta promises to write a report from there. I am catching up with Chris Fay, an old friend of mine, down there, who has promised me that we have 4 years of drinking to catch up on. So don't expect to hear from me for a while.

Big hello to Ralph, my Dad.

love to all

Oliver



Thursday, March 25, 2004

The Shanghai Express

Benedika is sleeping away in the ladies dorm room and if I bang on the door any harder it may fall down, so I have decided to come and post a report and wait for her to wake up naturally, I just hope that is before our train to Hong Kong tomorrow lunchtime.

I think I said last time I wrote that we were planning to take a train to Shanghai on some hard seats. Well... I was already starting to regret this a little as the night before I had been out with the boys from the hostel and only slept a few hours, still I thought, how bad can these seats be?

We got on the train at 8pm and found that we were the last to board and that we had two seats close to each other but not together. Now these seats are in blocks of 6, 3 facing another 3 and then on the other side of the train blocks of 4. The seats recline to about 85 degrees giving you the sensation that if you even dared fall asleep you would topple forward and land your face in the groin of the person opposite. They also kind of go in at the lower back and then out again at the sholders, and they also really are hard seats, probably the hardest, most uncomfortable seats in the world. Those who don't know me may think I am just not used to uncomfortable travel, so let me promise you this was beyond uncomfortable.

A few hours into the ride we discovered that the 10 hour journey we were promised was actually 14 hours and it also became apparant that noone esle in the train was planning to sleep, maybe in the knowledge that it was impossible, so they talked and talked and talked. We did meet some nice people who couldn't work out whether Ditta was from Southern Iceland and Independent or Northern Iceland and therefore British and told us a lovely story about how St Patrick removed all the snakes from Iceland and that is why you can't find any.

So they didn't turn the lights out although they did, interesting, draw the curtains, presumably the save our eyes from the pitch darkenss outside. Inevitably at this stage we both started to feel sick, for the first time on the trip. So the talking continued, the seats became more and more unbearable, the lights shined down and just as I was planning to end it all by jumpng out of the window, the train stopped and wouldn't start again until the sun came up and the sun wasn't to come up for another 4 hours. At this point the Chinese decided that sleep was a basic necesity of life and dopped effortlessly into unconsiousness. By the time we got going again I was too tired even for suicide so decided to join Ditta in her trance like state, not sleeping, not awake, just in some other place wishing it would all just end.

The 10 hour ride which was actually 14 turned into 19 and we eventually rolled into Shanghai at 3pm, got off the train and had a fight. I can't even remember what it was about, I don't think that even matters, it was always going to happen after that journey. We came to this enourmous hotel the size of a city and odd things started to happen.

Bear in mind that we were in a dream (nightmare) like state, bearly consious. We were standing at the reception and a Welsh guy was going on ad nauseum about mice in the room. We went up to the restaurant which said it was closed and that there was no other food in the building. In the next room was the bar which of course had food. So I asked the barmaid if there was a travel agent in the hotel, she said there wasn't. I walked down the stairs and there was the travel agent. I then went to the reception, passing another restaurant, and asked if I could make a call. Apparantly I couldn't do so anyway in the area. I walked out of the front door of the hotel and there was a place to make calls. Then back to the travel agent who told me that the train service from Shanghai (population 10 milion) to Shenchen (8 million) had just been permenantly cancelled. By this stage I didn't know whether I was Arthur or Martha so I went to bed.

Time to break that door down.

Oliver

p.s. Shanghai is beautiful.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Following the revelation that my mother is reading the BLOG, I have made a promise to myself that I will make more regular updates, we'll see. Well... we are still in beautiful Beijing, a week here is just not enough time but time is money and it is money to move on. We have two enticingly named "hard seat" tickets on the train to Shanghai tonight, hoping they may offer us a smidge of softness. Then from there we are Hong Kong bound to watch the Rugby Sevens tournament, something Ditta is really looking forward too.

No real stories to tell from here, at least not interesting ones, and a throbbing hangover isn't helping my creative spirit, so we'll keep this short. Everything about Beijing is BIG, I feel like an ant walking around, it takes an hour just to walk around Tianamen Square. Communication is as interesting as it gets, anyone who has seen "Lost in Translation" will understand how frustating yet hilarious it can be just to order a coffee. We have been shopping like crazies too, Ditta has a new wardrobe and I have the world's largest DVD collection. One other notable thing about Beijing is the amount of Spanish we have been speaking, it is a wonder there is anyone left in Spain going by how many Spaniards we have met out here. We went will two of them to see the Great Wall and had a nice picnic with beer and "Top of the Pops" on the BBC world service sitting alone on a crumbling section of the wall, surrouned by mountains and small farms. The serenity was broken by the inevitable appearance of some American tourists but by then we had had our moment.

Well it is time to take one last taste of this city before we catch our train, I hope or backs can take those seats, I'll let you know.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

The great wall of china!!!
hello hello, we just came back from visiting the great wall of china- it was absoulutly amazing and we had the greatest day. I took about 36 photos- just couldn't seem to stop. We walked a rather authentic walk through it, the government have already closed it down, but you can still walk there and it was so beautiful, we went with a spanish couple we met at breakfast this morgning and an irish boy who we know here from the hostal, again we ended up practising our spanish- which is of course always very good, and all af them were just wonderful people. Now we are on our way to watch the movie Cold Mountain and relax after all the exercise we got done today. The DVD's here are so cheap- Oliver is going absoulutly crazy and can't stop buying them, a movie costs about 1 dollar and I think tomorow I will go and buy some for the familymembers who have a DVD player at home.
I really feel good here in Beijing, there is just so much to do and see still, so I will definetly be coming back here one day, the atmosphere is so good here it's breathtaking. Probably we will be leaving for Shanghai tommorow and then to Hong Kong for a long weekend. I'm gonna be missing Beijing though............but thats life when your travelling many countries in a rather short period of time I guess.
With louds of love to everyone of my friends in the world and family in Iceland
Benedikta
P.s.
A special welcome to the website today gets Olivers mother, Marian. It made him really happy that you were reading up on us, and he promises to write a short story tommorow!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Hann a afmaeli i dag
hann a afmaeli i dag
hann a afmaeli hann pabbi
hann a afmaeli i dag

........innilega til hamingju med daginn elsku pabbi minn. Eg sendi ter risastort fadmalag i huganum.....vertu vidbuinn.

Af mer er allt ofsa gott ad fretta, vid forum i gaer ut med vinum hennar Audar fraenku ur sendiradinu, ofsalegt fjor- hittum sidan folk ur spaenska sendiradinu, tannig vid toludum meira og minna bara spaensku i allt gaerkvold... eitthvad sem eg atti ekki von ad gera herna i Kina. Eg endadi samt kvoldid med ofsalegum grati, en a leidinni ut af stadnum sem vid vorum a hitti eg fyrir konu med tvo born med ser ad betla, eg er ekki von ad taka betlara of naerri mer og buin ad sja alltof marga a lifsleidinni, en tad var eitthvad serstakt vid tessa litlu fjolskyldu. Eg keypti handa teim nudlusupur og litli strakurinn knusti mig og knusti mig og sagdi thank you thank you og tau brostu oll ut ad eyrum, og eg bara gjorsamlega fell saman, tad var eitthvad i augunum hans sem snerti mig. Tad er erfitt ad utskyra tetta, mer fannst bara heimurinn svo orettlatur og eg bara vona ad eg geti einhverntimann haft einhver ahrif tannig heimurinn verdi orlitid betri. Tetta var samt bara ofsalega god hreinsun, tad er stundum svo gott ad grata. Allavega tetta var svo sannarlega augnablik sem eg gleymi aldrei. Jaeja nog af tilfinningavaelinu i mer, vid aetlum ad fara nuna ad rolta um borgina og sennilega bara taka tvi rolega i kvold, tvo tvott og slaka a. Vid erum ad hugsa um ad fara til Hong Kong tarnaestu helgi, vid erum ad reyna ad taka akvordun um tad eins og er, en tad tydir sennilega ...bara sennilega ad vid sleppum Vietnam- timinn er svo naumur, en vinur Olivers er ad fara til Hong Kong vegna einhvers rugby mots sem verdur i gangi tar. Tetta kemur allt i ljos bradum.
tangad til naest kaeru vinir, eg vona ad ollum lidi vel og hafi tad gott.
P.s. tad er lokad fyrir bloggid herna i Kina, tannig eg hef ekkert getad kikt ennta a commentin fra ykkur, eg get bara uppfaert tad, en einhverra hluta vegna loka teir fyrir siduna.
bless i bili
Kjulli

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Afmaeliskvedja

Elsku Hekla min, Innilega til hamingju med afmaedid titt tann trettanda. Eg er mjog svekkt ad hafa misst af tvi en nuna er eg a leidinni e baejinn og aetla ad kaupa eitthvad fallegt handa ter. Um midjann mai lofa eg ad koma i heimsokn til tin med risa koku og gjofina tina. Eg finn abyggilega lika eitthvad fallegt til ad gledja hann Solva.
Risaknus og risakoss.............og eg sakna ykkar ofsalega mikid!!!!!!!!!!

Sjaumst bradlega

Ditta fraenka

Hello All, Ditta has finally let me write a report having had me chained up in the kitchen and laundry room or running around town arranging her tickets to see the Chinese/Mongolian/Russian chippendales. Don't believe anything she tells you to the contrary.

Well.... there is so much to report that I don't think I really have the strength to tell it all, besides, I doubt I would be able to hold your attention for long enough. There are tales of utter ticket buying confusion in Moscow, architectural beauty in St. Petersburg, breathtaking natural scenery at Lake Baikal, a narrow escape from abduction and potential alcohol poisoning at the hands of Armenians on the train to Irkutsk, and a heartstopping moment as we got our first glimpse of Tianaman Square bathed in a midnight mist. These stories, however, can wait for another time.

Last week when I was sitting in traditional costume in a Mongolian Ger (tent) being treated to bowls (I mean bowls here too, not cups) full of vodka, rice and biscuits, I wanted to tell a story of a simple folk sharing all they had with a weiry traveller, touching his soul with their generosity. As it turns out the story is of an Englishman's naivety, a Mongolian's greed and an Icelandic girls's love of eating!

As i would like to see Beijing pretty soon and you, I am sure, have better things to be getting on with, I will tell you only the highlights and not the full extraordinary story. Ditta and biarrrrrrrma, our Mongolian friend, had gone horseriding and I had been offered the chance to see a "traditional Mongilian family" I don't want to sound like a miserable bastard but I couldn't be arsed really but felt it to be a little rude to refuse the offer. So I walked about 1km to the horseman's tent (let's call him Fagan). He met with his brother along the way and we all went in together. This is where the vodka came out, at 11am! I had one, observing the tradition of flicking the stuff all over the place with the marriage finger on my right hand and then smearing it on my forehead. Fagan's brother had one, Fagan had one, I had another, brother, Fagan, me, brother, me, brother, me, me, me, me and me. The bottle was empty and the room started to spin. In the middle of this I was fed a bowl of par fried salmanella rice and invited to try on his traditional Mongolian jacket, removing mine in the process.

After a while, Benneshdikktaa and Biarrrrrrrrrrshma, as they were at this stage known to me, returned from their trek and had a bowl of dissentry seed themselves before we were all invited outside to feed the horses some pollyfiller. I made myself "useful" by chopping some wood and wandering around dribbling while the woman tended to the horses. As we were to later find out Fagan and his boys were in their lair rifling through my secret! pockets with their grubby fingers stealing our money. After a while we all trekked on horseback to our Ger, which incidently was squeezed between a scapyard and a Russian lackofstyle hotel, not lending the air of Mongolian countryside authenticity we had craved.

Back at basecamp I offered fagan and his brother some expensive wine and a bargaining scene was played out over the price of the morning's activities. Fagan charged more than was originally agreed, leaving us a little short of readdies. After they had gone, Ditta's tapeworm kicked in demanding it be fed some pasta and coffee. Because we had been charged too many Mongolian Tugrugs for the horseriding, we needed to use the dollars from my "secret" stash. On inspection we discovered there to be 124$ cash and $150 in travellers cheques missing. Biarrrrrma, to her credit , immediately said we should go to the police. I didn't believe there were any in this town of 7 people and 47 horses, but there were in fact two who immediately took our side in the matter. So Fagan, who took us to the police!!!!!!!!!!!!!, the Police and we walked around town, stopping occassionally so Fagan could be shouted at about his dishonesty, which he denied profusely in Monglian, a language that at this stage I believed I understood perfectly.

So off we went to search his Ger, drawing more of the townsfolk into the rambling ensemble. Biarrrrrrma was admirably translating my mumblings about staying in middleoffuckingnowheresville until the matter was resolved and about having friends in high places and them being in serious trouble if the money was not returned and bla bla bla bla bla. Fagan was stripsearched, his place looked over and surprise surprise, nothing found. So.... back we went to our Ger, which apparantly also needed to be searched. Biarrrrma had by this stage told them her friend, the big inspector of police, was coming down from the big smoke, which got them all a lot more worried than my threats had. Anyway, we sat in our Ger for what seemed like hours, Ditta feeling a lot more uncomfortable than I for obvious alcoholic reasons, until eventually, when all hope seemed to have been lost, Fagan confessed and the money was returned.

We were asked if we would like Fagan to go to jail but decided to be the better people and opted for leniency, instead hoping he would learn from his mistake and go on to lead a better life and, who knows, maybe even help others along the way in true "Les Miserables" style. I have my doubts.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Beijing
Just landed about five hours ago, just had a wonderful shower and can't wait to take a better look at this city, I can feel that we are gonna have a good time here. Everything looks so different and beautiful. We had a little robbing incident in the countryside of Mongolia, it was quite interesting and one of the strangest situations that I have ever been in- I promised Oliver that he can tell you that story- and hopefully that will be on the blogspot tomorow. So pretty much we were a bit disappointed with Mongolia - I think we just put our hopes up too much, but we are really excited about discovering China and it's getting warmer as well, wich is a good thing indeed. Now we are gonna go and walk around for a little while and then have ourselves a good good night sleep and wake up happier than ever before tommorow morning. The computers work alot faster here than in Mongolia, so I will hopefully update again tommorow........ Until than.......bye bye and have a good day :)

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Ulan Bator, Mongolia
Sain bain uu (Hello in mongolia); We arriaved here at 6:15 this morning and guess what there was our friend Bayarmaa and her mom waiting to pick us up, ....oooo it was so nice to not have to ramble around with those heavy backpacks looking for a hostal in the dark. They took us to their appartment and gave us food ( which was very good, cause they weren't selling any food at the train and we were getting very hungry......and you know what happens then... 2+2=4). And we laid down there for a while to get the train out of the system and they were just so nice, at about 11:00 they drove us to the hostal and we settled in. We are liking the first impression of this city, Mongolians seem to be alot smilier than the Russians, thats actually not so hard to do, so what I mean really is that they seem so friendly and I think we are gonna have a great time here. This will have to be short this time, cause Bayarmaa is gonna call us in a few minutes to make some planes.
So Ollie gives a big hi and thanks for all the birthday wishes and Promises like always that he will write tomorow.....will see!!!
Bayartaii (goodbye) and take care
Pollito

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Irkutsk and Lake Baikal!
Hello everybody, we arrived here to Irktusk on thursday after the funniest and strangest train ride that I have ever experienced. On friday we came to this same internet cafe that I'm sitting in now and I wrote a huge blog and Oliver as well, but the computer system crashed and it wasn't possible to publish it, so I think I'll make the siberian rail way story a bit shorter this time. Basically we met some wonderful russians, Juri is my all time favorite russian man. It took like three hours to win him over, but after that he was just such a nice man. He didn't speak any |english| spanish|icelandic| but a little bit in german, so we always had a paper and a pen to draw, and sign language worked like magic as well. We shared a cabin with the russian Juri and a swissJamaican boy named Roger, very funny boy with a Jamaican english accent and a wonderful laughter. Next to us we had an Armenian team of big men, very generous people, a bit smelly ( hope they don't know about the blogspot) But just wonderful, they only drank vodka and strong brandy and you kind of had to drink with them. The train ride went by unbelievebly fast, but Omygod was the shower good here in Irkutsk- you really get stinky, but everybody does- so who cares!!!
We met up with a english couple at the hostal called Rose and Jim, and we went with them to Listvyanka, which is a cute little village by Lake Baikal (the deepest lake in the world 1637m, and holds 20% of the worlds fresh water). The most amazing thing is that it is completely frozen and you can jump up and down on it, Oliver really liked that. As well it was his birthday on the 6th of march and I didn't have any present- I'm really a horrible person, but in my defense we are always together so it hasn't been easy to just find something nice and special. And when we had coffee that day by the lake- I asked the cheesiest live singer to sing Happy birthday for him. I think that made him quite happy. Than we cooked at Jims and Roses place and had a birthday cake, so I think it all worked out to be a birthday to remember, by the way I'm waiting for some big changes in him cause he is thirty years old now, I think he's gonna be more serious from now on :)
Ok ... let's wrap this up, In a few hours we are on our way to Mongolia, that will be 36 hours of train.....can't wait......so excited.....I'm gonna be done with trains when this trip is over. Anyways we are in touch with a woman there called Bayarmaa and lives in Ulaan Bataar who we will meet up with, and she is gonna show us around a bit. Just wanna thank my friend Kiddi for that, cause he was there not so long ago and set this up for me, and I am so very very grateful. It makes such a difference to know a local person, and not just going everywhere the Lonly planet telles you to go. Thank you Kiddi!!!
Now we are getting very hungry, both of us have very good and healthy appetites, but if we get too hungry....we get irritable and could easily have a little fight .... so I guess we should hurry up and eat before something bad happens. Have a wonderful day everybody, Hugs and kisses and thanks for the comments,, it is so good to hear from you friends and family. Oliver gives a big HI to everyone and is honestly writing very soon, last time he did it all got erased, so he is still recovering from that. Pollito

Elsku mamma og pabbi, mer tykir leitt ad skrifa alltaf a ensku, en tid verdid bara ad plata Sveinbjorn til ad tyda tetta bull i mer. Takk fyrir allt... alltaf, elska ykkur endalaust!!! ykkar dottir Ditta











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