ANZAC day

This whirlwind stay in SE Asia keeps on going.  Since last we left our hero, I was in Chiang Mai getting impromptu showers from the locals.  After that we went to Hong Kong.  What an amazing city, though I think I can tell that the Chinese have taken control.  There are some odd inefficiencies that I cannot believe were there when the British were in control.  It took about an hour to get through immigration, and another two to get our luggage and get to the hotel.    The weather there was on the dreary side, but we still got to tour a bit seeing a very eerie Buddah on Lantau island.  The clouds were hanging very low that the face was masked by the fog.  Added to the magic of the place.  The city is quite magical at night with the whole city giving a light show (really!) for the crowds to enjoy.  When we got there I learned that Disney had opened a park there last year, and for the silliness of it we went there on our last day there.  As it was a Monday, and a bit rainy, the park crowds were minimal with the worst line lasting an interminable 15 minutes :-P  So now I’m back in Bangkok.  Yesterday (April 25th) I took a tour to the (in)famous bridge over River Kwai.  I actually learned that the proper pronounciation of the river is Kwae; kwai is a water buffalo and rivers are not named after animals.  The tour took us to the JEATH museum that had some interesting photos.  While going through the museum I noticed the guest registry and read the last few entries.  Just about all of them were from Kiwis and Aussies noting “Lest we Forget” and ANZAC day.  Then after the museum we drove past the graveyard for the soldiers and we saw a service going on.  It was then that I remembered that April 26th is ANZAC Day.  To which I felt lucky and honored and sad at the same time to be visiting such a site on that day.  The soldiers who were POW’s in Thailand under the Japanese were brave men, who were forced to work in terrible conditions and suffer greatly for their labor.  Their sacrifices are not forgotten and never will be. 

On a lighter note I am off to my last new country tomorrow: Indonesia.  I will be in Bali for 4 nights before spending my last few days here in Thailand.  It is amazing how fast this past month has gone and what I have seen and done.  I have taken hundreds more pictures, and will upload more when I get a chance. 

I haven’t forgotten

I’ve spent the past week and a half trying to recover from a cold and jet lag 😕 . Yesterday was the first day I really started to feel normal 😎 . I am still working on the slide shows, and they should be up in the next week or so. I’ve broken them out into 7 different pieces. Six of them are my trip pics, broken out by the different “stages” I had while travelling. The seventh slideshow is purely flowers I encountered. Most of the slideshows are in the 70-80 picture range, with the NZ South Island taking the prize for most pics (108). 😯 😀

2332

g’day

well I’m back on this side of the planet. It took just about 24 real hours to get from the door of the hotel to the door of home. Though clock-time I left the hotel at 3pm, and got home at 10 pm. A real mind-bender. I ended up watching 3 movies on the flight from Auckland to LA, which kept me entertained. I pseudo-slept as well, so I was alert enough in LA to function. The annoying part was the second flight that took an additional 5 hours. I wanted off the plane after 3. 👿 Somehow I totally surprised my mom when I called her once I reach US soil, she thought I would be arriving Thursday. :mrgreen:

I’ve spent today trying to recover, and transfered all my photos from my laptop to my main computer for organization. I took a total of 2,332 pictures on my trip! 😯 So it might take me a few days before I have a slideshow to offer.

I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but all my posts I time-adjusted so that they had my local time wherever I was. I figured that would be better story telling than if you sall all my posts dated in the wee hours of the morning. Now if you excuse me today is a nice Friday afternoon, and its lunch time 😛 (In Auckland it is Friday the 22nd, 12:15pm. at this time)

Cheers

Whale of a time!

Hi folks 😀

Auckland is pretty darn cool. Day one, after my hotel-swap was spent jumping from (and off ❓ ) building to building sight seeing. There is a cool maritime museum here, that was quite interesting with a lot of history and a really good section on the Americas Cup and the race around the world. Yesterday I did a little more walking around the city, then met up with a couple of friends that I made during my dive trip (that feels like sooo long ago now). They gave me the non-tourist tour of Auckland and its surroundings. It was nice to see that New Zealand does exist outside tourism, and it was quite refreshing to see that side. We reminisced about our dive trip, and apparently our group was in fact the best group the dive shop had had in quite a while (my buddies were able to hang out in Cairns, where the operation is based out of, and caught up with the crew of our voyage). 😆 😀 It was hard to say good bye to them again at the end of the day, and I’m sure we’ll keep in touch.

Today I did some more sight-seeing 😯 I went to the Auckland Harbor Bridge and bounced around there for a while ( ❓ ), then by chance I saw a dolphin watching tour that was about to leave, and I hopped on that. I swear I must have seen over 200 😯 😯 😎 😎 😎 dolphins all in one place. Truly amazing. Then after that we were very lucky to see some killer whales. 😀 😎 Now I’m off to take a shower, and get ready for the night. I’ll be eating at the top of the sky tower in the revolving restaurant. I feel like I’m top of the world, while being at the bottom of it. This meal is my final one down South, and I’ll be heading north right back into fall. It is really weird, I left the USA in Summer (OK, almost fall, but it was still quite warm out) down here where it was the very end of Winter and heading into Spring. In fact while I’ve been down here, we have set our watches forward for Daylight Savings time. Tomorrow I fly home right back into Fall and I believe next week we “fall back”. So in effect I have expirienced a whole year in a little over a month’s time ❗ And it has really flown.

I am not sure if I’ll be able to post anything until I get back home. Tomorrow will be one of the longest days of my life. My flight leaves Auckland tomorrow night at 7pm, and arrive in Los Angeles tomorrow morning (yes, the same day) at 10am, and get back home to NYC at 9pm. So while it is only 2 hours difference, it will be an eternity.

I’m going to miss this side of the world. The people here are the friendliest around, and I can see why a lot of people come back.

I’ll be posting pictures, and a slide show when I get home. (could Oz or NZ become my home, I wonder?)

Cheers

In Auckland

Hi from Auckland! 🙂

This morning I took the train from Wellington to Auckland, which took all day. While it was a pretty ride, it was overcast and rainy, so I opted to enjoy the scenery without taking pictures. (I already have a ton of pics of fields with sheep in them anyway).

So the travel agency through me a nasty curve ball. 👿 I got into Auckland around 8:30pm, and went to hail a cab to get to my hotel since oddly I did not have a pre-arranged transport, which has been the norm for this trip. I ended up sharing a cab with a canadian lady, and she got dropped off first. I then asked the cab driver how close my hotel was, and he said it was about 2o minutes outside the city, next to the airport. ❗ ❗ ❗ 👿 😡 🙁 D’OH ❗ The whole purpose of me staying a few days in Auckland was so I could tour it easily, not commute from a @#$%! airport hotel. By the time I got to the hotel, I was fuming. Nothing could raise my spirits. Of course the hotel did not have a free shuttle to the city, and I would have to take an airport shuttle back and forth. As I went to get a mediocre meal, I picked up one of those city guides at the pamphlet section of the hotel, and looked up other hotels. I decided then and there to swap hotels after dinner. 💡 I did. And now I am my happy rosy self again. 😎 😀 I am now in the center of town. In fact, I bet you all could find a picture of the hotel from any city picture of Auckland.

Go find a picture, I’ll wait…

😉
Found one? Good. Now see that big pointy needle building in the center of the city? 😀 Yup, I’m at the base of that. In fact, it is an entertainment complex, so if you excuse me, I think I’m going to go hit the bar. 😎

More Geekdom

Howdy Y’all!

Well today I did another Lord of the Rings tour and saw a few cool sites, around Wellington, and even got a peek at one of the sets for King Kong ❗ 😯 (apparently the area for Skull Island, oooh). Sorry folks no pics about that, there were several very imposing guards who would have been glad to take my camera. If you are really curious, just click the link above and you can go to a spy site. 😈

I just got back from my first Rugby game, and the local team, the Wellington Lions, won! Huzzah! Got back to the hotel, and started chatting with the guy at reception, and you won’t believe this… but… the team stays at this hotel! 😯 😯 So there is the slight chance that I might meet up with these guys later tonight! (though they are probably out celebrating, and I do have an early train to catch tomorrow to Auckland.

The game was exciting, and I can say with ease, that Rugby beats the snot out of football any day. There is constant action, and the players aren’t sissies that need padding. Even when one guy was injured on the field, while the docs were looking him over to make sure he was OK, the game still continued. (The injured player was able to walk off the field with some assistance, so he turned out to be OK). I was surprised to find that even though this was a semi final game, the stadium was not packed. I easily got tickets yesterday, at the post office, for great seats. I had the equivalent of seats 30 rows from the field at the 50 yard line, and I only paid about $30 US dollars. What a bargain! And I had opted for the more expensive seats that were covered. Had I gone for the cheaper seats (uncovered) I would have been even closer to the field!!! I was chatting with a friend yesterday, and he warned that Rugby matches tend to get violent. I am happy to report that I only lost two teeth, and the other guy went home crying. Actually NZ Rugby is quite civilized, and there was not much taunting or danger to the audience at any time. Cool! Oh, and Wellington is such a cool city! My hotel is clear across the other side of the city to the Stadium, and I walked there in about half an hour. The stadium is situated right at the train station, so all have easy access to it, and trains were apparently scheduled to arrive right before the game, and leave after the game. No traffic jam! I remember going to a Jets game, and spending about an hour to move a mile. Not so here. 🙂

Cheers all! 😎

On my own again

Howdy all.

Well the coach tour ended a couple days ago in Christchurch, and I have spent the past days touring on my own. I have seen a couple of different cool museums, and have done some great walking around the nice city. Yesterday I went white water rafting which was really cool! 😀 There were a couple of class 5 rapids which we went through :mrgreen: Today, as a final hurrah of visiting Christchurch I took a tour of a fudge factory. Needless to say there were several samples to taste, and I think I’ve had my fill of chocolate for the rest of the year. I took a flight over to Wellington, and I’m now in the process of planning what I’ll do here. 😎

Cheers

Mountains!

On a slow terminal here, so I’m going to keep this somewhat brief…

Two days ago I took a flight over Milford Sound, and all I can say is WOW! 😎 😀 You have not seen cooler mountains! I had the perfect blue-sky day, and perfectly snow-capped mountains that made my jaw drop, and I’m still struggling to put it back in place! 😯

Yeserday I was in Dunedin, and went to a penguin sanctuary and got a couple (make that 30+) pictures of penguins. Later that night I met up with my friend from Mexico, and had a blast catching up with where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing for the past 15 years. 🙂

Today I’m in the sleepy town of Twizel, and tomorrow is the official last day of the Coach tour back in Christchurch. I’ll be spending a couple extra days there, then going to Wellington, and finally Auckland.

More later folks!

Cheers