Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Kia Ora! (The meaning of this word has been given to me in 59 languages by the bus driver on the Maori night , in English it means hey, hello, hows it going, see you later, and is a fruit cordial.
This is my last day last day in New Zealand, all year I have been looking forward to being here and now its come to an end. Do you remember how long the six weeks holiday used to be? Much longer than the six weeks I've been here. People say old age makes time seem faster. I refuse to believe this over simplified explanation, and firmly believe that the earth is spinning 3.2 times faster than it used to.
Its true to say that I didn't come to New Zealand for a cultural experience. As the Kiwi's way of life is very similar to ours, well similar to ours sometime in the past. Some of the places I have visited have been scarily lacking in people, like Westport on the South Island. A place I can only describe as Blackpool after biological bomb. With the few survivors suffering the neurological affects of the bomb.
I've heard conflicting reports on the crime rates in this country. With people saying that this place is so crime free that they have to import the news from America. A view that I am inclined to believe, especially after listening to 'Pets on the lose' on prime time radio. Unfortunately this is contrasted with reports of this country having some of the highest suicide and rape rates in the world. I suppose this is very possible as the idea of the metrosexual male has yet to cross the water.
One thing that I really do like is the fact that the kids are treated with respect. They are given space and time, you get the feeling that they are loved and appreciated and not judged for their over sized clothing.
Although I called Wanaka home and could imagine living there for a while. I wouldn't like to stay in this country permanently, because I constantly feel like I'm waiting for something to happen - but it never does! which is strange of a country that is crumbed packed with adrenalin activities.
I wish that I understood more about the feeling between the Maori's and the White's. Everything appears fine on the surface, but their cultures are still very different and I wounder if they both respect each others. At the end of the Maori night, we were asked if we had learned anything about the Maori culture and if we had, to take that away and tell others. From what I gather they seemed to love fighting, and would take the occasional break for a song. Not sure what exactly your supposed to pass on??
I think I'm done alls that left is to say goodbye from the country ....
...that is full of amazing landscapes
...where buses offer door to door service
...where you can buy tickets for any mode of transport, activities, nights out all under one roof
...where every sentence is ended with the question, aye?
and where UB40 is played constantly
Location: Napier, New Zealand
Just realised its been a while, I did end up back in Wanaka, however the boys decided to keep moving on to Fox, and as I had been there decided to stay and have my last day on the slopes. Tried out Trebble Cone which is quite a difficult mountain, as it is very steep. I obviously hit a learning plateau, well more a learning dip, because I spent the morning on my bottom. So I decided I would have to try to rectify the problem, and soon realised that, the steaper the mountain the more you have to lean forward?!! Which I suppose makes sense, but is quite difficult to put into practice. Trebble Cone has the best view, probably some of the best I have seen in this county, and I didnt take my camera - gutted! From Wanaka I took a bus to Christchurch via Mt Cook, decided to do that as its the tallest mountain in NZ. Unfortunately it wasnt the clearest days, but suppose it was still worth the trip? I spent a couple of nights in Christchurch, and then flew to Rotorua, on the north Island, an extremely volcanic area that I thought deserved some time. I was there a night, but then decided I wanted a car and it was cheaper hiring one in Auckland. So I headed up there stopped with Claire's friend Anna and her boyfriend Chris for a couple of nights. Which was very cool as they quickly informed me that they were having a bbq the next day, and I thought it rude not to attend. I didn't end up hiring a car, mainly due to my lack of 'actual' license and so headed back to Rotorua on the bus - great! I really hate buses and come to think of it all public transport. Anyways in Rotorua I went to a Maori night and then visited Wai-O-Tapu national park. What I crazy place that is, the ground steams, every where you look there is steam raising from the ground. Kinda like the grids in New York, but for entirely different reasons.
I did think it was quite strange that the Lady Knox Geyser, went off at a specific time every day. However the reason became apparent when a little man armed with soap powder came and sprinkled it down the hole. Basically what this does is displaces the cold water, that is acting as a lid to the boiling hot water. Allowing it to rip, this would happen , every 24 to 48 hours, due to the natural build up of pressure. But it would be harder to charge for, so they give it a helping hand.
Now I'm in Napier, a city that was ruined by an earthquake in the 1930's and the whole town was rebuilt, Art Deco style.
Only 3 more days left boohooo, then back to student life wooohooo!!
See you soon, for what will be my last entry.
Location: New Zealand
I've seen the round rocks!
Once I'd ditched the camper, and boy did that feel good, I checked into a hostel. There I got chatting to two Irish lads Ciaran and Andrew, I told them I was off snowboarding the next day and they decided to come with. Since then they have been my new road partners, well more I have become theirs since they have the car. The day after boarding we headed down to Dunedin, which was colonizes by the Scots, Dunedin is actually Celtic for Edinburgh. From Dunedin we did a day trip up to see the Moraki rocks (aka the amazing round rocks). The boys were as overwhelmed as I was to see these 'almost unique' geological features. No, they were quite cool I suppose, may have been a better day if we had got to see some seals or penguins, but the are a was sectioned of for shooting?
Now we are back in Queenstown, and we did have just done the luge. Which is like a race track at the top of a mountain. Its pretty cool as you have to take a gondola up to the top, and the views are magnificent. I think its fair to say that I am warming to Queenstown, but its not Wanaka, which I think we are heading back to tomorrow. Adious!
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
What a week!
This last week with C has really flown by, but when I look back and reminisce, I realise that we have crammed in an awful lot. After the sky dive we headed south to Te Aunu to see another incredibly beautiful area, Doubtful Sounds. Not meaning to sound unappreciative, but the most beautiful thing down there was the bathrooms at the camp site. Thats probably a little harsh the trip to Doubtful, on a whole was good, we got taken around a hydro-electric power station to start. Then shown the Sounds (which is an are of hills and water, called sounds but are actually froids, which means that they were created by ice as apposed to water). These were supposed to be spectacular, and turned out to be 'nice', however it was an amazingly sunny day and we got to see lots of wildlife. Even played with the Dolphins which were jumping out of the water. Unfortunately the 3 second delay on my camera means that all I have to show is a series of dolphins splashes.
After the Sounds we headed back to Wanaka aka home, to do a spot of boarding. C an accomplished skier had a go at boarding, and took to it like a fish out of water (just kidding babe). Sunday, although it could easily have been a different story, turned out to be a brilliant day, C went back to skies and we whizzed down the mountain together. At this point I would just like to thank Baz our driver is shinning Armour, who lent us money for our lift passes, after we realised, at the top of the mountain that we didnt have enough money on us and had brought out the wrong card!!!!
Its evening now, C has gone and its just me. Time for part 2! Which begins with boarding in Queenstown.
Location: Te Anau, New Zealand
The adrenalin has just stopped after jumping out of a plane on Sunday. Skydiving was amazing, its just a shame that its over so quickly, suppose I'll just have to do it again, maybe do 15 000ft!
We are now in Te Anau, (another very quiet NZ town, I never imagined that I would have this country to myself). On our way down to Doubtful Sounds, another beautiful area. We are booked to cruise around the lakes and maybe up to the Tasmin Sea if the weathers nice. So I'll be may with more scenic views soon.
Location: Wanaka, New Zealand
Hungry, hungover and in a maze??
We are down in Wanaka now, which is undoubtedly the coolest town I have ever been to. I feel so out of place! Nobody is younger than 16 or older than 40, and everybody is supercool. The sizing seems to be a little different here, as everybody's clothes seems to be on the large side. Its like living in a skate video, and the skaters definitely come first. Children come second to the skaters in the play ground and cars definitely get second place in the car park. Another thing that makes me smile is the lingo, listening to adults constantly saying things 'suck' or they are 'neat' or that something is 'farout' is quite peculiar!
Yesterday we went to Puzzling World, a cool little place that you can sit in and do puzzles. Or visit the illusion rooms and then work your way out via a maze. The illusion room was brilliant, especially this room that was on an 45 degree angle. Which meant that things appeared to defy gravity, like a pool ball rolling up the table, and water flowing upstream. Very cool and fitting.
Before Wanaka we did a spot of helihiking in Fox Glacier, and the question did get raised, if thats where Foxes Glacier Mints got there name (thats one for you Rob). Glacier walking was fantastic, the day was lovely, the warmest I've been. The views were amazing, to be fair New Zealand is full of amazing views. Which I dont thing the photo's do justice. Its quite strange everywhere we have been, the locals, ever so proud of there country, keep telling us the best is yet to come?? Which to be honest I don't think is true everywhere on the south Island is stunning!
Next Stop Queenstown.
Location: Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Moving on in our Motorhome
I am happy to inform that things have perked up a little, for a minute there I was worried.
Eventually flew to Wellington, where this time I was met by Claire and Katy - woohooo! Crossed into Picton (South Island) on the freight service, which basically meant that nothing was open so when had a 3.5 hour journey with nothing but kids colouring books to entertain us.
Then I had my first experience of driving the camper, on Queen Charlotte's Pass. Which I think Claire knew was the most treacherous stretch of driving on the trip! Anyway we survived, the journey to be met by some gruesome looking locals on old Macdonalds farm.
The next day we parked up the camper and had lunch by the lake, absolutely beautiful! This was followed by a water taxi to Anchorage, and a very pleasant walk along the beach and in the forest. Panic did start to set in when 1 hour 30 mins into our 1 hour 30 min walk we were heading into the mountains and not back to the beach for our taxi home. Between the three of us we reckoned we could light a fire build a hut and choose which berries were edible.
Ok i'm gonna make it short now as i'm getting bored, been in the internet cafe for hours. Other things seen are pancake rocks, jade factories (to many yo mention, i'm completely jaded) and looked around lake Matheson.
So far New Zealand has been massively lacking in people, and the food lovely.
Location: Aukland Airport, New Zealand
Welcome to New Zealand!
So far not so good, the plane stank, and i was next to the food bit. Slightly worrying.
Got dates mixed up with C, who thought that i was getting in yest, and so booked us fights to welligton for 10am this morn thinking i would have had time to have a good night sleep. Got in before nine so could possible have made the plane, if i hadnt have got stopped at customs and my bag searched. I asked why i had be stopped, to wish i got a rubbishly vague answer. I later overheard them talking, and they wondered how i could afford to go away twice in one yr?????
Oh well things can only get better.
Location: Chorley but not 4 much longer, UK
The New Zealand countdown begins!
Not long now, 11 days to be exact, I cant wait, bring on the exhilaration. The six week adrenalin rush is soon to begin. To avoid hospitalization Ive decided not to go paddling and stick to the less risky activities, such as skydiving, parasailing and snowboarding.
Location: Chorley, UK
Chorley the Centre of the Universe!
Oh its great to be back in the UK, and its even better to be back up north, and just to top it off royally Im back in CHORLEY. Which comes second only to Manchester in the greyest, rainiest places in England category?
Travelling is now a very distant memory, and being back with the folks is very much a reality! In saying g that, its not all bad, I have actually enjoyed being back. My Mother and Step-Father are great comedy duo, and have provided me with many laughs.
Bar laughing I have mostly been enjoying being on the dole and watching Diagnosis Murder. Alas even that my one pleasure in life is soon to come to an end, as I have just got myself a job and will be dole scum, no longer! Back to grown up stuff for me, I think Im gonna have a bit of a... lets call it period of adjustment, when I have to go back to work. As I havent worked since May, and havent seen 9am, since then either! hehe. Thats gonna be fun!
Well that me, might be a while till me installment, as i predict i'll be too tired to type (that sounds famililar?)
Location: Bangkok, still., Thailand
Thailand the Conclusion..................Hopefully!?
Thailand is undoubtedly a beautiful country with lots to see and do. However many parts of it are marred, sometimes by the people, sometimes by the pollution, but often both. Granted the western tourists (like me) are probably the main reason for this.
After my first few negative experience, mainly the lobster, but also the Tuk Tuk driver that took us to see crap shrines, and lots of shops, so that he could get petrol coupons. To the very pushy man in the TAT (Tourism Authority Thailand) that tried to sell us a packaged holiday when all we wanted was a map! I cant help put feel that Im being ripped off, and am very weary of the where you from? question, because you think its being used to decide how much to charge you.
* When you are told that you have the choice between VIP bus and super VIP. What you really have the choice between is a normal bus, and a bus with a toilet.
* Everybody will lie to you, even the sweet old ladies will tell you a fib or two and it is completely accepted.
* The Thai's cant 'loose face' that means that if they have absolutely no idea what you are on about, they will smile and nod, instead of saying they don't understand. eg 'is the bus station this way or this way?' reply 'yes, umhuh!'
* What do Chinese people do with all their photographs?
* Why are there so many, fat or ugly or old, white men with sexy Thai wives???
* Is it compulsory for farang, to carry a Lonely P in Thailand?
Let me end with some of the things that like, an Ice cream van that is a man driving a motorbike with a side car that is refrigerated - pure comedy! Oh can't believe that i nearly forgot about the food. Especially when I've spent most of my time here eating.
And in conclusion to my conclusion I have discovered that there aren't any answers, only questions!