Time and Importance

What can I say after such a long break? Many things have happened since my last post, things that were of great importance at the time, but has since been filed away in memory along with everything else. Some of it seem like such surreal experiences, as if I has dreamed it.

The most important thing I suppose was my trip back to California to see my family. What a joy that was. I didn’t realize just how much I had missed them. It was as if I didn’t have enough hours in a day. Each day that I spent at home saw me going to bed late and waking up bright and early, something I rarely do unless it was a work day. I wish I was someone who needed only a few hours sleep a day.

I spent half my trip at home and the other half giving Davy a snapshot tour of California and Las Vegas – oh and the Grand Canyon! We took a day trip out to it from Vegas. It was fun, but much too much time on a bus. Good day for catching up on sleep. It was a road trip so I did all of the driving. After Vegas, we went to San Diego, Los Angeles and then a bit of a ways up the central coast. I actually got to see much more of these destinations this time around than the many previous times I’d been there because now I had to show someone else. LA was my favorite stop. I never liked LA previously, but we just did so much in the city this trip including a VIP tour of Universal Studios, went to a taping of Dr. Phil (I was on TV!) and went to see most of the touristy sights. We actually saw celebrities, and all of it was amazing!

I was sad to say goodbye to my family again though, but there was no avoiding it since I had already made my choice. C’est la vie. Getting back to Auckland was in a way such a relief. It was good to get back into my stride, but now comes the hard part of figuring out the next step. The wheels are already in motion, but who knows when I’ll actually take it.

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China 2008

How do you sum up a month of travels in so many words?  There are too many!  It was month of fantastic travels, fabulous food and family…not mine, but Davy’s.  And a whole lot of family it was.  Every city that we went to, there were either family members or friends of the family who were more than happy to invite us out to meals or take us sight seeing.  Never in my life had I been so catered to.  It was amazing.

The Hong Kong skyline was the most beautiful skyline I’ve ever seen.  So many buildings, so many lights in so many colors.  The pace of the city took a bit of adjusting to coming from Auckland where everything coasts on the back of a snail.  Even though we were on holiday, there was no time for relaxation, which was fine by me.  Holiday time is meant to be spent sight seeing and fitting as much as you can into one day.  Hong Kong was theme parks and shopping…and more shopping!

Guangzhou was all about scrumptious food.  I had durian!  We took a detour one day to Panyu and stayed in the most fabulous resort that had white tigers roaming around in a glass enclosure outside of the restaurant.  Crazy.  The twenty hour train ride to Shanghai was shit.  Most of the time was spent lazing around trying to sleep.  We did have a fun round of cards where Davy’s parents lost and had to sing a song each.  Shanghai was totally about being catered to.  Personal drivers, fancy meals in fancy restaurants and tours with personal guides.  We even got to board the harbour cruise boat first before everyone and stay in a private section at the front of the boat which included it’s own grand piano.  Our big event in Shanghai were courtside seats at the USA vs. Australia basketball game.  So many NBA stars only a arms length away; I could have slapped Lebron James in the ass were I not afraid of being thrown in a Chinese prison.

The unexpected surprise for me was about a week long detour to the old capital cities of China.  Suzhou – Nanjing – Kaifeng  – Henan – Xi’an.  So much culture and history.  It was a challenge to try and absorb it all.  Got to see a couple of fantastic shows.  One was about the history of the Song dynasty and the other about the Shaolin Temple.  And I got to go to the actual temple!  Different from what I expected, but still awesome.  The backdrop was breathtaking.  The last leg of this detour brought us to a showdown with the famed Terracotta wariors of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.  We had the edge though due to our moveable limbs and resistence to crumbling.  They did have fearsome [clay] horses though!

I was anticipating Beijing during the entire trip.  I couldn’t wait to see the palaces, the Great Wall and of course the OLYMPICS!  The whole of China was abuzz with Olympic fever.  There were olympic signs and souvenirs in every town that we went.  Thanks to connections and kindness, we received tickets to two events as gifts.  We saw two volleyball games and got to go to the bird nest to see track and field.  We also purchased tickets to see two basketball sessions, one featured team USA and one featured team China.  I wanted to see a badminton game and we attempted to score some tickets outside of the stadium, but got there too late.  A highlight for me in Beijing was my little jog on the Great Wall, an item on my adventure list.  Beijing was defintely all about the Olympics though, oh and the duck, mmmm.  Yummy crispy skin.  Oooh and fantastic lamb hot pot.

After a typhoon delay which granted us our only day of rest, we were back in Guangzhou for a few days and then Hong Kong for shopping, shopping and more shopping.  We were actually 10kgs over our weight limit when we returned, but thanks to Davy’s mom, we were given an extended weight allowance on the plane so we got to keep all of our stuff!  I had the time of my life in China and I can’t wait to go back and see more of the country.

It was then back to NZ, back to the Fat Camel, back to work and back to a few days of finding a new flat.  Hurray for normalcy.

Dead Feet and Empty Wallet

Holy mother effer, I’ve never seen so many Chinese people in my life! I’ve also never been in a more chaotic place. This is like San Francisco Chinatown multiplied by 1000. It’s a challenge not to be knocked over or run over while walking down the busy shopping district of Hong Kong. That in itself is an adventure. Add heat and humidity on top of that makes for a whole lot of sweating asians all trying to go in different directions and yelling at each other while they’re at it!  It isn’t uncommon to see shouting matches.  Funny as.

So I started this blog whilst in Hong Kong, during the second or third day of my month long China trip and am just now coming back to it because we’ve been extremely busy and China has WordPress blocked!  This  then shall mark the embarkation of my mental regurgitation of the goings on during my oh so very long vacay.  Must upload pictures!  More to come later.

The Little People Sojourn

After over a year, I finally got to see some blood relatives! It was fantastic to be around people that I’ve been familiar with for their entire lives. My sister was suppose to have arrived at the Auckland airport at approximately 4pm and my cousin at 4:30pm, but due to unforeseen circumstances, my sister was delayed at the Sydney airport for over eight hours!! My cousin came to my house first at around 6pm and we took her for a very brief tour of Sky Tower before having a delicious Indian dinner. She fell asleep for five hours after that even though she had slept on and off for the last twenty four. My sister didn’t arrive at my door until about 2:15am. Talk about a long flight. She brought with her a video taped message from my two nephews. It was unbelievable cute! We didn’t get to bed until after 4am and I had to work the next morning! I managed to wake up and get to work at a reasonable hour. Because I’d worked longer hours during the rest of the week, I was able to take a half day on Friday. D took them for a tour of the Auckland museum in the morning and then they picked me up at my work place. We then made our way downtown to catch the bus to the Auckland zoo. I was able to get us all in on a family pack, two adults and two children. The lady at the counter asked if the girls were under fifteen so I just pointed out to her that the “children” were the two little girls who at that moment happened to be throwing rubbish in the bin. She said ok and we were through! Although the weather wasn’t very pleasant, company was. We had ourselves a fantastic time admiring animals and goofing on each other. It rained sporadically throughout the afternoon sending us running for shelter when it did.

That evening, we went to dinner at Wildfire Churrascaria, a Brazilian BBQ place. It was meat galore and yummy. The evening concluded with a very looooong, but enjoyable game of monopoly complimented by some homemade mojitos. Needless to say, I was pooped by then end of the night, but we didn’t get to bed until about 3am. My sister and cousin had to catch a tour bus at 7:35 in the morning. I was actually able to wake up and take them there. After they were off, I went back home and slept for another 5 hours! It was delicious sleep. Check out the pictures in the The Little People Sojourn gallery.

Spaceship Adventures

I got out of Auckland! D and I were finally able to get away for the weekend. We went on a three day road trip to various parts of the North Island. I took a half day on Friday and we picked up our Spaceship which is a fully equipped camper van – totally awesome. It had a bed in the back, a cooker, chiller, dvd player, etc. Basically like a portable home sans bathroom facilities. First we headed off to Hamilton (aka HamilTRON – the city of the future, but not really) to visit some of D’s friends. I lost $50 at the casino!! After a tour of the beautiful Hamilton Gardens in the morning, we headed off towards Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty. That night we stayed at a campsite in beautiful Mount Maunganui which was practically on the beach. Our spot gave us a gorgeous view of the sunrise in the morning. It was a very quiet seaside town. We went on a night trip in search of a basketball court where D could shoot some hoops. We found one at a school which turned out to be quite creepy in my opinion. The next day we headed off to Hotwater Beach in the Coromandel Peninsula. You’re suppose to go during low tide, but we got there a bit early because I got the times wrong. I thought low tide was at 3pm, but it was actually at 4:56. We hung around and D tried to dig me a hot pool, but to no avail. All we got was cold water. We even waited till the low tide time, but the water wouldn’t go down. It was still fun though. We stood in the water and dug our feet into the sand to feel the hot water and it was boiling hot! I almost burned my feet. The current was really strong and I was famished so we left to drive to Hahei which was where we planned to stay that night. When we got there, the campsite looked pretty shit, so we opted to find a different city. After a look at the map, we decided on Whitianga. That decision didn’t pan out though as we discovered the town was pretty dead. We got some Chinese take away there though and had a romantic dinner in our spaceship =D. We finally decided to just drive all the way back to Auckland that night. Overall, the trip was fantastic with great weather and all.

Check out some pics in the Spaceship Adventures gallery.

Rendezvous in Christchurch

Christchurch, although pretty, is quite boring. There wasn’t much to do there, but at least it was sunny. I went there to visit my uncle for the weekend and then rendezvous with D who was just finishing up his famil. It turned out to be quite an uncomfortable weekend. I had not anticipated being thrust into the middle of my uncle’s marital troubles, but there I was. The tension was just too much with husband and wife not speaking. I sought refuge in playing with their infant son, poor little baby. I hope they resolve their problems though, at least for the baby’s sake. Meeting up with D was quite a relief in so many ways. No pictures from the trip though as I was deprived of a camera =(.