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Pip's year exploring the world!

Welcome to Pip's Travel Page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read (if you are bored/want to be jealous/trying to procastinate.....). Leave me messages to say hi!

Diary Entries

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

So I am now home from my adventures.....have been for a week now. Settling back into life slowly - it has been nice catching up with people, walking in the sun, reading books in the sun - chillining out is something I haven't done a lot of over the past year as there has ben too much else to do!

So a huge thank you goes out to all of you who have read my blogs, looked at my photos and left me messages - thanks for making this site worthwhile! And a bigger thank you to my mum and dad - the year wouldn't have been possible without your support! Love you xoxo

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, 07 January 2009

Location: New York, USA

Quick update:

5th - went out to Liberty Island and Ellis Island - very cool and really interesting. Had my own personal tour guide as no one else was around! Met up with Tim and Mon and we caught the Staten Island Ferry (wering our green crowns - only idiots doing so!). We grabbed lunch, then wandered along Wall Street. I then left them and went to Ground Zero and the Chapel with information - really moving. Went out for dinner with 2 chicks fromt he hostel then went to the M n M store to find out which M n M flavour we were - I am an Almond Mix.....

6th - Slept in then walked p to Tim and Mons apartment. We walked to the LOVE sign, then went to Wolman Rink in Central Park to go ice skating. Not too many people there, so was good - none of us fell over! Went to the zoo in the park, then the FAO Schwarz toy store - had a go on the Big Piano (not quite as good as Tom Hanks in Big....). Sitting back at their apartment eating Birthday Cake for Tim - yum!)

Sunday, 04 January 2009

Location: New York, USA

Real quick update:

first of all: Happy New Year to all of you!

On the 30th December I left England and flew to New York. Met Anne at the apartment - and got some food before she went to bed and I had a drink with some of the others in the apartment.

31st - was snowing!!! Had breakfast in what came to be our local then headed south to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge - not much of a view due to the snow! Had pizza in a famous pizza place (one of the Ramones came in and did the whole I don't wanna queue thing!). Wandered in the afternoon. Spent New Years in a nice pub off Times Square (where it was warm and the food was great). Went outside as the ball dropped and were showeded in confetti. Times Square was mad!!! \

1st Jan - we got a really good deal on bus tours - so did both the Uptown and Downtown trips to see all the main sights - Empire State, Ground Zero, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, Central Park, etc. Had a quiet night.

2nd Jan - as part of the deal for the previous day, I also did a Brooklyn tour, a 2 hour cruise - saw the Statue of Liberty up close! The lights of Manhattan started to come on part way through the trip so it was really pretty. Anne and I both did the Night Tour - which was really good.

3rd - checked out of the apartment and moved my stuff to the Big Apple Hostel in Times Square. Went to Century 21 with Anne then the Hard Rock Cafe (had a HUGE cocktail). Anne left and I headed off to explore Times Square more. Went out for dinner with a chick from my room (aussie teacher).

4th (today) - Went up to Empire State Building to check out the view - could see all of Manhattan, out to New Jersey, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Saw the Flatiron Building, walked in Central Park for a few hours, then went to the Gugenheim Museum.

My lil' cuz Tim is in the Big Apple with a friend of his - might get to catch up with them tomorrow - but the plan is to go ice skating in Central Park in his birthday!

lotsa love

Monday, 29 December 2008

Location: UK

I am back in London after a lovely week spent in Bansko, Bulgaria with cousin Nat, Hayley and Jack. We caught the train to Manchester last Saturday, and then flew to Sofia, Bulgaria and bussed to Bansko - a ski resort south of Sofia. Got in late and had some food then went to bed. Got skis, boots and poles the next day and had a lesson with a lovely guy called George. Spent the next 6 days skiing, having lessons, eating (lots), exploring the town, being snowed on, falling over a bit (I had one major crash on the last day - went through some 'icing sugar' snow which made the skis stop dead - I didn't so went flying straight over the top and managed to twist my leg as I did it - sore for a couple of days but is fine now). Haven't got any photos of the skiing as I have to get them off Nat - but there are some of Bansko.

We had a lovely Christmas - opened pressies from the family and each other - very spoilt! Went skiing for several hours - it was snowing on the slopes and in the town so we really did have a white Christmas. Had a huge meal at the hotel - couldn't eat it all. Were....ah....treated to a folk dancing display which was interesting.....bit strange that it had a bit of lap dancing and the male dancers looking up the females dresses - little bit disturbing!

It was a great trip away - and the muscles have stopped hating me which is GREAT!

Back in London - but not for long. Am heading to New York tomorrow for 2 weeks on the way home to NZ! Hanging with Anne and then Tim - so will am looking forward to that.

Lotsa love and hope you all had a merry Christmas and will have an excellent New Year.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Location: UK

Just a quick note to say that Wicked WAS wicked!!!!! Such a good show - right up there with all-time favourite (hard decision to make though).

Monday, 15 December 2008

Location: London, UK

My last full weekend spent in London was a blast!

Friday night - missioned home from work and got into warm clothes before meeting Kateie, Brady and Rebecca in Hyde Park to go to the WInter Wonderland. Wandered around the Christmas Market and had some dinner before getting kitted out in ice skates to go skating on the outdoor rink. Was a bit nbervous at first, but Rebecca wouldn't let me stay by the rail and guided me round till I was fine on my own. Had some near misses as out of control people almost take you out, but the only time I fell over was when I tried to stay on one foot too long (a bit cocky) and fell over. Very funny (expecially when the marshall gave Rebecca and Katie an evil look for trying to take a picture of me!).

Saturday I got SOAKED - headed to Westminster Abbey to look around (very pretty) before going to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace - was cancelled due to rain........Met ebecca in Covent Garden to go to the NZ shop (Christmas Pressies) and then missioned home to get changed (into pink, neon, fishnet, etc.........) and headed to the Renaissance Rooms in Vauxhall for an evening of Roller Disco fun! Had to wait in the cold and rain to get in but it was worth it. Another fun night - laughed or arses off as we treid to dance on skates. Managed not to fall over this time! Did endup in random peoples arms if they couldn't stop in time and came into the back of you!

Sunday was spent out for brunch with Nat, Hayley, Jack, Rebecca and Kathryn - then me and Becca headed to Camden Markets to get a few final things. Then we moved some of Rebecca's things into her new flat before I went on a date..........Met a nice guy (mmmmm...South African) on the train (has been on my train for the last 6 weeks, but he has only just plucked up the courage to say more than 'hi'. Amyway, we went out for a drink, and just clicked - he is funny, sweet, has solid arms (!), (mum, you would like him sooooo much more than Kevin), and we just talked and laughed for hours. He drove me home (a good sign that someone will drive 20 mins to drop you off as they don't want you catching the tube alone at night - plus he actually owns a car in London - also has a house - and another in South Africa). Anyway, am seeing him again tomorrow - not sure whay though as I am only here for another few days.....sadly a case of really bad timing! Potentially amazing guy at the worst time. Oh well - c'est la vie

Off to see Wicked (Musical tonight) - and havig a Christmas Dinner wth Rebecca first.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Location: UK

Am not even going to bother apologising this time for not writing - having too much fun here!

Quick updates for those who care:

Last update was the end of the Egypt trip (which I literllay just posted), so here is what I have been doing since then:

Have spent lots of time hanging with Rebecca, Peita and Katie - doing random stuff (Body Worlds, Musicals, Abbey Road, markets, comedy nights, School Discos (got a bit took us 2 hours to get home as we were talking and got on the right bus.....going in the wrong direction......not such a good plan at 4am in the morning........and we didn't even realise we were going the wring way for about 20 mins!), movies, cemetary visits (blame mum - although I have to admit it was kinda cool searching for some Lewis rellies and finding that their headstones were still there (one couldn't be read though), museums, hunting street art by Banksy.....the list goes on.

Have had a couple of great weekends since Egypt. Went to Poland to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau with Rebecca, Katie and Brady - but again the photos are up for that weekend.

Same goes with Bath and Bristol with Rebecca - photos up of another great weekend.

Just finished my 2nd to last week teahcing at Barking Abbey - will be sad to say good bye as this is the school that I have enjoyed most while I have been here. Went out for dinner last night with the science department - nice restaurant in Canary Wharf.

Tonight I am going ice-skating with Rebecca and Katie which should be lots of fun (or maybe just really funny.......). We will see........

lots love

Monday, 03 November 2008

Location: UK

Back in London and back to work after a stunner of a time in Egypt. Had so many exciting things to tell you all but after we left Luxor we never had time to get to the net in Alexandria or Cairo and never actually had internet availability in the Western Desert and the Oases!

After leaving Luxor, we had an overnight train ride to Cairo (arrived early which is really unusual for Egypt), then got on a different train to Alexandria. Arrived there (in rain - not impressed) in time to dump our gear and meet our guide who took us to a cheap, but nice place for lunch. From there, we went to the catcaombs of Kom as-Shuqafah, very cool as they were an interesting mix Egyptian and Greco-Roman styles. We left them and went to the Kom al-Dikkah, a old Roman bath house and theatre. The best thing about this place was a stone circle that you stand on and speak. Due to where it is positioned, you get a loud echo that makes you jump, swear, then laugh at yourself. Next up was the modern Biblioteka Alexandrina, the new library. Had a tour there - interesting building, but I didn't need to tour it (took too long). Last stop on our tour was Muntazah Palace, a Turkish Palace that was abandoned when the Ottoman Empire fell and is now a hotel complex. Went back to the hotel to dump our gear and go out for dinner. Was a horrible seafood dinner (YUK!). Went to bed then got on a train for a 10 hour ride to Siwa - out in the white desert (right out by the western border with Sudan). Met a man (Bendhary) on the bus who owned a restaurant that we had a few meals at while we stayed. Explored the oasis (Siwa) for a couple of days - went to swim in Cleopatra's Pool (and another smaller one), saw old ruins, and laughed our way through a donkey taxi tour. Bendhary propsed to me (as in a real one - not the touristy - 100 camels type offer, but an actual 'come and live with me in Siwa, or in Cairo (when I said that it was in the middle of nowhere) - mum was pleased that I turned him down. After Siwa we headed into the Western Desert for 4 wheel off roading - lots of fun. Had a night camped out under the stars - very cool after a day spent seeing crazy rock formations, endless sand, camels, etc. After the desert it was back to Cairo where 4 of us went to the Sound and Light show at the Pyramids. This was surprisngly cool - so well done (if a bit cheesy). My last day was spent out at the Step Pyramid at Saqqarah and the Markets befroe flying home. Last weird Egypt experience was with security guards at the airport who pulled me aside, then tried to take my picture. Strange.

LOVED my time in Egypt - my 2 favourite places this year are now Egypt and South Africa!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Location: Luxor, Egypt

What a few days we have had!

Left Aswan at 10am in the morning and jumped onto our felucca - absolute luxury! Big sail boat with matresses and pillows spread out so that you could lax out either facing each other or looking out to the Nile. After a few hours of sailing - I had a go at stearing (?) the rudder - quite hard work actually. Back to chilling out. Stopped for lunch (lovely food) and a weird toilet stop where little kids tried to watch you. Sailed on to our stop for the night, set up our toilet tent (western toilet even) and had dinner as the sun set. Had a bit of sining, dancing, etc on the beach with the other intrepid group, then went to bed. THey put up a mosquito net so we didn't get bitten. Was lovely to sleep on a boat with the sound of the Nile in the background. Woke to see the sun rise, then start our 2nd day of sailing. Had a 2 1/2 hour stop to see a camel market (closed) but saw other camels anyway. Back on the boat to cruise to our next beach for the night. Had a swim in the Nile when we arrived - refreshing. Another lovely meal and funny evening of cards (got dicked at Gin by Campbell) and learnt some arabic swearwords before bed.

Early start to leave the felucca and catch the convoy to Luxor (3 hours). Arrived in time to check in to the hotel, then head to Karnak Temple. It was HUGE! Amazing temple complex - saw the must sees - avenue of Ram Headed Sphinxes, Sacred Lake, Lucky Scarab Beetle (waled around it 7 times), Hypostyle Hall (massive pillars), etc. Spent a few hours there with our brilliant local guide. Rico then took us on a walk to see Luxor Temple lit up, then out for dinner. Back to bed as we had an early start the next day.

Today we were up before 6am for breakfast, then our guide took us to the West Bank to se the Collossi of Memnon, then on to the Valley of the Kings. Great place - went into 4 temples - Seti II, Ramesses IV, can't remember the name of the next one (terrible memory), and Tutankamuns temple. They were all interesting, great carvings, paintings, hieroglyphics, sarcophogus, etc. Was surreal to see the mummy of King Tut - the most famous of all the Kings! After that, we went via the Temple of Hapshetsut (carved into a huge cliff), then to the tombs and village of the workers (who dug the tombs in the Vally of the Kings). Great to the see the contrast here - but also nice to see how much work they also put into their own tombs. I spent the afternoon with Fiona and Rebecca wandering the soug (we all bought some papyrus), tehn went to the interesting and well laid out Mumification Museum. Wandered back to the hotel for dinner and just waiting to catch our train to Alexandria.

Love Pip xoxo

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Recent Messages

From Janice
How is the head? Not long now. See you at Wellington airport and I'll have lots of hankies.
Save flight.
Love mum
Response: Head is fine now thanks! See you on Sunday - I will need them (so will you)! love you too. xoxo
From Janice
Happy New Year to you too. have fun skating. Sounds like you are enjoying New York. Wish Tim a Happy Birthday from us and enjoy the skating. Enjoyed Nat's skiing video of you and Hayley. See you soon. Love mum
Response: Had lots of fun skating today - didn't fall over (Tim says 'hi gorgeous'). Happy New Year to you too! See you real soon. xoxo
From Rebecca
Nice feature page snowman photo!!
Response: Famous!
From Janice
Sorry about the South African, not as I am looking forward to you coming home.
Love Mum
Response: I didn't think you would be sad:)
From Rebecca
Do you think people might get the impression we're mad?! Oh no wait they know that already - these crazy photos just confirm it!!
Response: Is a bit of a worry the sheer amount of evidence is to confirm hat we are mad though.......we can't even attempt to discount it!
From Mum
Hi Pip,
Thanks for the update and see you soon.
Love Mum
Response: Hi mum - no prob - will put some more pics up in a few hours - see you in less than a month! Love Pip xoxo
Woo! I love Banksy - so cool you got to see some of his stuff in real life! Awesome to see your latest piccies, although some a little sobering, keep on getting around and about and hope to see a few more updates before you're back!!! lots and lots of love,
Mia xxx
Response: Hey Mia!

Saw more Banksy stuff this week too. I will put some more pics up this weekend - going ice skating so might try and take some photos (unless I spend too much time on my arse). Hugs and kisses - looking forward to seeing you.
Pip xoxo
From Aunty Robyn
Dear Manisi
Oh, what wonderful Egyptian photos you showed us - Gampi enjoyed them too - and now your fireworks and museum experience back in London. We saw some of those amazing oversized (and undersized too) humans in a gallery in Edinburgh. Time is marching on and it won't be too long until we see you again.
Love from us here to you there xxx
Response: Hope you are all recovered from the big birthday weekend! Not long at all and still lots to do before I come home - still museums and silly London photos to take - we took the Beatles on Abbey Road pic this week!

Lotsa love
Manisi xoxo
From Janice
Great photos thanks Pip, we certainly enjoyed them.
Love Mum
Response: Ta mum - there will be a few more up as Becca has just put hers onto her computer! Love you - P xoxo
From Janice
Hi Pip,
Egypt sounds very amazing. I hope you don't get offered too many camel or you just might stay there. Boo Hoo.
Love Mum
Response: More GOLD camels have been offered! Now that really is tempting! Nah - wouldn't stay though as you get sick of the constant hassling - good for the ego though! Never had so many blatant stares at the chest. Love you too xoxo
From Aunty Robyn
How exciting to see some news from Cairo - thank you. There will be some more "pinch me" moments for sure - enjoy. Love from all of us here.
Response: There have already been more pinch me moments today! love to the Gyles family too.
From Pete and Karen
We're really enjoying the Contiki blog. Reliving our memories exactly but we had 25 days camping. Guess you're doing it soft in cabins. Did you go to the little town with the Toture Museum? Keep the blogs going please. Thanks
Response: 25 days camping?! I did take the wimp option - I don't think I could handle shifting tents every day! Was great fun exploring Europe. Nah, didn't go anywhere that had a torture museum or I would have gone for sure!
From Mum
Hi Pip,
Thanks for the photos. Much appreciated by all.
Love Mum
PS Always a Mum - check for spelling mistakes
Response: That was very teacher-like of you - I will make more of an effort to check the spelling :)
love you too xoxo
From Gary & Jen
Thought we might have gotten details on what Ma & Pa are doing while over there, obviously you are leading them astray and you have no time to fill us in.
Response: We were sooooo busy while they were here that I didn't get a chance to do this! Very sorry!
From MIA
UPDATES PLEASE! Dying to hear what you and the parentals are getting up to!!!!
Love and hugs,
Mia xxooxx
Response: Sup Mia!

Very slow with the updates - but I have finally put some pics up.

Much lufs, Pip xoxo
From Satay man
I guess now that Ma and Pa are in residence you are - at long last - behaving yourself - remaining sober - and got out of male clothes and back into your dress and bobby sox! Hope Ma and Pa had good trip and hope they were delighted to see their Pip on arrival. Josephine coming to visit you next week. She is off to San Fran on Tuesday and if they kick her out of the States she will come and bunk down at your place. She don't like snails - but as you would guess I love them!
Response: I always behave myself - unlike you! Yup ma and pa are here and they are sooooo happy to see their favourite daughter! Both asleep on the bed at the moment as has been a busy few days in London. Off to Dublin tomorrow. Would love to see Josephine (but she is too well behaved to get forcibly removed from the US - am sure they wouldn't even let you in though!). I am not surprised you like snails - you had us eating lots of weird stuff in Singapore! Love Pip (and her sleeping parents)
From Aunty Robyn
Dear Manisi
We've just farewelled your parents as they wing their way over there. I was most impressed at how well you had been keeping us informed until hearing from here the reason for a missed bus!!! Manisi's reputation sure has taken a dive now. Enjoy the rest of your bus trip; enjoy being with your parents; and give my girl a big hug from her Mummy Dearest.
Response: Aunty Dearest - the reason for the missed bus was not as bad as you think - I was just blind drunk - nothing else!!! My parents arrived safe and sound - bit tired now though! Spent 2 days checking out London and are off to Dubbers tomorrow. I will give your big (but little) daughter a huge hug and kiss from her MD! Lotsa love
From Vonnie
Great photos fab travel log makes me want to do it again have a great time with mum and dad looking forward to hearing all ablout it. Lots of love See you when you get back
love vonnie and john
Response: Thanks Vonnie and John - I have taken SOOOOO many photos this year! Loving Italy at the moment! Can't wait to see mum and dad! Only like 10 days to go!!! Lotsa love Pip
From Auntie Ellie
Hi Pip, It has taken me all this time to catch up with your diary and pics - really enjoyed them. Lots of memories there for me. One in particular - we worked at Audley End for 3wks - not in the stately home, but in a 1/2 timbered
Elizabethan house caring for a demented Lady Scoones whose husband had been High Commissioner for NZ many years before. Each morning Duncan would walk down to the family farm to collect fresh cream for our porridge- yummy. Now sadly he too doesn't remember any of that.
Will be looking forward to & Dad with you. Love and Take Care.
Response: Hi Aunty Ellie - wow! Was that the house by the gardens? If it is I saw that too! Yeah - I can't wait to see my mum and dad - it will be great! Lovely to hear from you. You and Uncle Dunc take care too.
From Aunty Roselyn
Hello there young Pip!
Great to read your blog and catch up with what you're doing! I know Mum and Dad are getting excited about their trip now, just hope you put on some decent weather for them.......
Its great to see you're doing the whole "London thing" visiting all the obvious places like the V & A etc, I dont think my daughter has done those yet, but maybe she's waiting until I get there (and Fiona too)
Keep well and keep having a fantastic time,
Lots love Roselyn (& Geoff)
Response: Hi Aunty Rose - I am pretty excited about seeing them too - as for the weather.......I figure that when they arrive mid-August is should be nice (but we are only in London for a few days!). I have been trying to do something Londony every weekend - so this weekend was the Ritz for High Tea (lovely and soooo fancy). When are you coming over? Is that wour holiday since Geoff is doing Antarctica? I will have LOTS of photos to put up over the next 6 weeks - I just have to find a time (but also a place) to do it - trying to find cheap internet cafes while travelling - but wanting to spend time seeing the sights! Hope you are all well and don't have winter colds! Lotsa love - Pip
From Mia
I should have told you earlier - Paul's sister works for the V&A doing buying stuff. Sounds just amazing there, I'll get there one day! Lovely to see some more piccies! lotsa love, xxxxooooxxxx
Response: Well tell Paul that his sister is doing a wonderful job - the stuff is amazing! Love you too - Pip xoxoxoxo
From Uncle Gary + Auntie
Of course we are reading it. Keep doing the things that you want to do and also those that you don't, they will be some of your best memories.
Stay well.
Response: Great to hear! I will - I am building up a HUGE memory bank over here -so much to look back on and smile about! You both stay well too
From Mum
Most impressed with the latest update - 2 in 2 days. Glad you enjoyed you lonch with Peter Pan. But flood gates & insurance maybe I won't come after all.
The one who cries
Response: I thought that would impress you :) Knowing my luck - you won't cry anyway!
From Mia
I read it too!!! good to hear you're having a blast, it didn't feel like 6 pages when I read it :-)
My very unexciting weekend involved doing stuff to Nat's house and lots of washing - sooo not good compared to you!!! New job (well not so new now) is good too, it's strange that on a sunday night I'm looking forward to the morning... scary infact! Lots of love and hugs to you, and remember it'd be much easier to update a little often and you'll get fewer complaints from the parentals.
xxxxxooooo mia
Response: Hey Mia
wicked to hear from you! How very domestic of you - what a good girl you are. I haven't caught up with you new (old) job - where is it and what are you doing? How is your lovely man? Hope you are both well and happy! lots of love and hugs being sent back to you xoxoxoxoxo
From Uncle Roger
Not one word had me bored! Yes more frequent updates would be great but, hey, who cares so long as you are having a good time and having lots of different experiences, all is good. The white cliffs are definitely worth seeing.
Your Aunty is very happy to read of your travels but still has not got itchy feet.
Bet you can not wait for Mum and Dad to arrive, I reckon the pom's had better take out special flood insurance for that day! Tee hee.
Response: Hey Uncle Roger - glad to hear you weren't bored! Aunty Robyn's feet might get itchy when she gets to see photos of your next beg trip - its only 6 months away now (one of my students went to Antarctica and LOVED it - said it was the best place he has ever been to and even though he is only 16, he has done quite a bit of travel already!). Yup - about 7 weeks until I see my ma and pa - can't wait! Nah, London won't need flood insurance, but they might to open the Thames Barrier to let a bit of extra water through!