A Travellerspoint blog

Days 69 & 70 8-8-2007 & 9-8-2007 - Franz Joseph

Ice Trecking

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I stopped at Franz Joseph for 2 days so i could do the glacier trek. I opted for the 2/3rds day trek, which in the end turned out to be the right move. The Franz joesph glacier is a bit of a freak of nature> Over the past few years it has begun to increase not retract.This due to the amount of rainfall they've been getting here. At the moment they've been having 30 metres a year, and we thought we got it bad in the UK

So not supprisingly the weather wasnt good. In fact is was throwing it down. In some way this was good, at least there would be plenty of waterfalls to see. The coach ride from the township was only 10 minutes. Once off the bus we went straight in to the trek, which comprised 45 mins walking through rainforest, 30 minutes walking across moraine and 4-5 hrs treking up and down the glacier.

Climbing the ice involved climbing in spiked books, utilising footholes and steps that were being carved by the guides with pickaxes. Every so often we would come across crevasses which had to be jumped if small or crossed via a narrow bridge if larger (at this point you DONT LOOK DOWN). By contrst walking through crevasses is an experiance. trecking through wall to wall blue ice towering 30 ft or more is great fun.

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During the whole of the journey the rain increased, creating small rivers. these would dissappear into ice formed pot holes, which would glug every so often ( like the sound water makes after youve emptied the bath but 10 times louder). It was advised to keep way from these holes, some of these being quite large and meandering through the ice to the bottom undreneath the glacier.

Once at our peak ( the galcier goes on up for 10's of miles) the view down the valley was erie. It was like being on earth millions of year ago, surrounded by rock faces thousand of feet high with cascading waterfalls plumiting down the sides. I'm not sure if the picture below does justice to the view, but in distance you can see the rainforest from where we started

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Looking in to the distance, you could forget that there is any sign of human existance whatsoever (apart from the 20 or so dripping wet trekers and 4 guides). It was about then a mist began to drop down, covering the tops of the rockfaces, but this just added to the ambiance of the place. Going back down was alot quicker, but just a trickey, climbing down seamed more awkward than climbing up

We returned back to the coach, exactly at sundown, Either excellent timing by the guide - more pure luck i think.

It was another thing i'll never forget. Totally knackering, cold,wet, scary but Wow

For anyone who is scared of heights the trek is a no goer- for anyone else it should be on the top 5 things to do list whilst in New Zealand

I understand the Fox Glacier, which is nearby is just as breathtaking.

I stopped at the YHA hostel while at franz, which is a pretty damm good hostel and very friendly. The town itself is small (no ATM beware), but there are a couple of good restaurants and bars -so sorted.

(nb For travelling 2 days is only required here then move on, either to fox, or towards Queenstown.)

Posted by I Langley 03:08 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Days 66 to 68 5-8-2007 to 7-8-2007 - Christchurch

Time to dump the pimp wagon

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Christchurch is a very English looking place and although there isn't a great deal to do here, it is worth a couple of days here to chill out. There some great artwork scattered around the city centre. In paticular there was an array of photos down the street linking the cathedral to the botanical gardens (all the towns and citys each have botanical gardens, although wellington has probably the best one) The Cathedral dominates the city centre, creating a large public daimond where the 2 main roads cross. Theres another street car/ tram which circles this area, picking up at the gardens and local galleries. However these are quite local to the centre and is not really necessary. I used this time to relax. After all the Mayhem that awaits at Queenstown was not far away.

I decided to lose the pimp wagon here (the depot was around the corner). Mainly because i'd been told that the train to Greymouth was one of the best rail rides in the world. Also its hard to take photos and steer a car at the same time.
(It had nothing to do with the scrape i made down the side on the first day trying to get out of an underground carpark, where did that collumn come from?)

The train to Greymouth is spectacular, taking me from the east coast to the west coast and passing some of the highest mountains on the island. Although the train journey was cut short, due to repairs being made in the tunnel at Arthurs Pass. However, the coach from Arthurs pass almost took the same route (except going through the mountain), so nothing was missed. Once at Greymouth i hopped on to another bus and headed for Franz Joseph, (nothing in Greymounth worth stopping over for) where there's an impressive glacier trek i'd been told was worth doing.

The coaches here act as excursions buses, stopping at any points of interest and with the drivers giving a running commentry about the history of the area meant that nothing was missed. How they keep track of every river, mountain and bridge name ( in English and Maori) i'll never know

Posted by I Langley 03:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Days 62 to 65 1-8-2007 to 4-8-2007 Wellington

Welcome to Wellywood

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The drive down to Wellington took about 4-5 hours. Passing the Tongariro World Heritage National Park (MORDOR and Mount Doom to Rings fans) and travelling down the famous "Desert Road"This was an experience if not for re-acting the the majority of the film Dual. Truck drivers over here are Stupidly fast, they drive their trucks worse than a Harry Carr Combi trying to get home from Moy!!! One in particular, decided i was Dennis Weaver for the day and was going to drive up close to me as possible and every so often blow his horn as to say get out of the way. I dont think giving him a friendly gesture helped the matter- maybe he mistook my friendly wave for something else. Anyway this went on for 100 kilometers or so, there's not many places to overtake and i was doing the speed limit, so tough on his part.

I drove in to Wellington just after lunch, and first impressions are not what youd think for a capital city. It's a very chilled place. More importantly it has night life, THANK GOD SOMEWHERE WITH NIGHTLIFE. Courtney Place is very lively, lined with bars and clubs ( no bingo), whilst Cuba street is a more chill out place with some excellent restaurant and a very laid back vibe.

Wellington is right on an earthquake fault (they usually have 3 earthquakes a day although most go unnoticed) and is the reason why most of the buildings are made of wood, this helps towards the charm of the place. Particularly on the outskirts were most of the buildings are positioned on hills and mountainsides.

The Main Museum is Te Papa and is excellent. You can easily spend a day there , plus it's totally Free (donations are appreciated). Its more of a natural history of New Zealand than just artwork ( there is at the moment a great exhibition on in the form of a murder mystery, which is great fun)

I went on another Rings tour and is also well worth doing. Since Wellington was at the hub of everything and is the location of the main studios, there's plenty to see. Sets surrounding Wellington include Rivendale and Helms deep which is now revertied back to a working quarry. You even get your photo taken with elf ears complete with bow and arrow, but thats another story. Peter Jacksons home is here and he is god in this town. Another good reason to take the tour is that it take you to

Its also worth taking the cable car up to the botanical gardens for half a day. it's a decent trek up some steep hills - youll need a pint afterwards or two - Dehydration is very common and must be delt with!!

I noticed Ian McKellan was in town next week doing a Shakesphere play ( I keep thinking of the scene from Extras 2). " I play King Lear, but i'm not really a King" I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face.

For anyone thinking of travelling in NZ, i would suggest 4-5 days here, making sure one of them is friday or saturday. nightlife in NZ is not like the UK, so you need to maximise the nightlife where you can.

I took the ferry over to Picton, which has great scenery along the way, (another roll of film required for the journey, thank god for digital cameras) as it meanders through Queen Charlotte Sound. I stopped in Picton for a night, since it was about 5 PM and i didn't feel like driving another 5 hours to Christchurch.

Picton is a tiny but picturesque port, which can be walked around in 10 minutes, most people opting to travel to Nelson which is not too far away.

So another 4 hrs driving down another spectacular coastal road ( rugged coastline to the left, mountain range to the right, winding roads in front! ) and i hit Christchurch.

Posted by I Langley 03:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Days 59 to 61 29-7-2007 to 31-7-2007 Taupo

Taupos a no go

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It was raining when i reached Taupo, and it was raining when i left. I made the mastake of booking 3 nights here (using the philosophy that any less and you cant get a proper feel for the place). One day is enough (unless you like fishing. This place is renowned for trout). Summer might be a different story. theres more stuff to do on the river. Still it gave me a chance to catchup on things. such as Seing a couple of films. (TIP when travelling, put off going to the cinema, untill you're forced to. i.e. raining and nothing else to do). Short blog, shame my time there wasn,t.

Posted by I Langley 20:46 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Days 54 to 58 24-7-2007 to 28-7-2007 Rotorua

Smells like being back at work with Bill after hes had a curry (sulphur in the air)

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Rotorua is about one and a half hours drive from Hamilton and is best described as Lively. The whole area is mass of volcanic activity. The lake itself was once a volcano and around the edges there are pockets of bubbling pools of water, mud and sulphur. These can be found in pockets all around the town of Rotorua. Giving the town an unusual aroma.

For my first full day i took a locals advise and followed the free trek around the lake all the way to Kuirau Park. Walking through the park is surreal and the bridge over the lake is eerie, not being to see 2 feet in front (i was told the temperature of the lake was over 150 degrees, so not worth a dip). The walk takes about three and a half hours and is well worth doing, if not just for getting you your bearings around the town.

The Second day here, i visited Te Puia, a heavily volcanic area wrapped up with morei culture and history. The visit include a traditional morei show, a couple of walks and an impressive guiser which goes off 3 times an hour. They also have the the national heritage workshops there, keeping the traditions of carving and weaving passed on to generations. If you want a bit of culture, its a great place to visit
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The third day, i took my pimp mobile and set off for the lakes to the south of Rotorua, taking in the Blue lake, Green lake and lake Tarawea. These are great places to chill, not many people go out to them. In the afternoon, i drove to the otherside of Rotorua to the gondola ride up Mount Ngongotaha. There are some decent walks up there. But thats not why i went. I went for the Luge. The Luge take yous to about half way down the mountain, where theres a chairlift to take you back. There are 3 coarses Sceanic, Intermeadiate and Advanced. Everyone has to do the Sceanic before you are let loose on the other routes. It was funny watching the Chinese being told this in chinese, then totally taking the wrong route and flying off. It reminded me of once being in a meeting with a Japanesse Engineer who used to say "yes, yes yes" to everything and then when asked if he understood would answer "No" (you Know what i mean Phil). The luge is great fun. You need to buy a ticket of 5 runs, as anything less is not enough.

Next day. i visited Hobbiton. The coach drive was about 45 minutes from Rotorua. I decided to take the tour from Rotorua instead of driving. I'm pleased i did. The driver is a real charactor with a moustache that Wilf Lung would be proud of. He also must be Peter Jacksons No 1 fan. He knew everything past, present and future about the guy. As he was there at the time he also had loads of stories about the filming that were never published. tie time flew, before i knew it, we were there.

Hobbiton is deliberatly and cleverly protected by hills in all directions, so that no telephoto lenses can be used (mainly because part of the 3rd episode was filmed at the same time as the third). It was also facinating to learn about the process of creating a set of such a size (e.g. having to moving trees and then glueing on plastic leaves to reflect the book), all the way through to the actual filming and the legal complications were happening and are still happening today.

We were taken to locations and were described to in depth the requirments from the book, the interpritation that Peter Jackson gave and even the words from the movie that was spoken at the location. The detail in creating the set was unreal. Some gardens had over 200 different types of plants. The Hobbit holes from a distance looked solid although stripped down from their original glory. In reality the were wooden frames, now looking weathered (it has been 8 years). Even the bridge (which is no longer there) was originally just scaffolding and polystyrene blocks painted. A lot of the hobbit holes were removed by Mirrormax, with the tour company or the owner not able to replace them, again legal complications means they can't touch the site as the holes are not their property (As if Mirrormax didn't make enough money). The tour takes half a day and is well worth the visit if your a Rings fan or just a movie nut.

Saturday night in Rotorua was another quiet night ( I need nightlife). The only life in the town was the Pig and Whistle, which had a band playing - badly. Where is the night life in NZ?

My only regret whislt being in Rotorua was missing out on doing the "Zorb" which is best described as rolling down hill in a washing machine (its a clear three meter ball that you are strapped in to. I'd planned to do this on the way out to Taupo. However the weather was so bad, my plans went to the toilet. However if you do go to Rotorua, it is a must, along with the Luge, Te Puia and bathing in one of the famous spas in. (nb. when travelling, you need at least 5 days here)

Posted by I Langley 00:12 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Day 53 23-7-2007 Waitomo Caves

100 m horizontal doesn't look far. Vertical is a different matter!!

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The thought of doing an 100m abseil doesn't sound to scary (if you say it quick enough) and reading it from a magazine in the UK even less. But it was one of the major items on my list to do and God Damm i was going to do it.

As it is winter in New Zealand, and not that many people around. I was lucky that the instructor agreed to take me down to the caves, usually there is a minimum number of people for the lost world tour. I say tour, more experience. So i just was me and the guide and no more takers.

As was drove up, all around was small hilly pastures. A kinda cross between the dales and telly tubby land. This didn't seem too scary. We approached what looked like a large divot in the ground which had hole about 2 meters wide. On closer inspection of the hole, i could see deep in to a completely different world. A massive cavern of green lined walls stretching down and down to a river i could hear but hardly see. I remember thinking to myself "Oh shit big mistake, at least we don't go down this hole". " And thats only 70 meters" said the instructor. "We're going down 100". the instructor smiled as any colour in my face disappeared.

A few minutes later, we were at the gantry above the drop. Once clipped on, i had to lean back on to a horizontal pole the looked meters away from the gantry. Looking down between my feet. I could see a tiny river at the bottom (in reality the river wasn't that small). I decided to concentrate on the instructor, and with a brief demo of how to descend. I bent my knees, letting the rope take the strain. Wrapped my right leg around the rope for extra control (and somewhere to put my leg) and slowly pulled up the rope with my right hand, allowing the rope through the shackle (ill call it a shackle, it probably has a proper name, but at this time i didn't really care) causing myself to descend.

By the end of this trip i should have firm buttocks, the amount of clenching i had to do. Every so often the rope would turn me around to view the abyss. The cave was lined with plant life and layers of colorful rock formations, totally breathtaking (or was that because i still 80 m from ground zero).
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At this point the instructor took out his camera and said "smile". "The guy is taking the piss" i thought. The decent took about 20 to 30 minutes. Once at the bottom i could relax. Or so i thought as the the abseil was only part of the lost world experience. The view fro the bottom was amazing. I could see the gantry as a blemish on the side of the small hole in the roof of the cave. I could also see the tiny hole that the instructor showed me prior to the drop.

For the next 45 minutes or so was trecking through the cave, passing numerous cave formations and fossilized oyster shells smoothed in to the rocks. Gradually the light from the holes in the roof disappeared, leaving the the lights only from or helmets to guide us through the caverns. Once we had reached our destination, we turned off out helmet lights and looked up to see thousands of glow worms illuminating the cave walls
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We made our way back to the way out, which was in the form of a 30 vertical ladder which rose in to the darkness. Now a 30 ladder climb doesn't sound scary. But in total darkness (apart from the helmet light) on a rickety wet ladder, it is not as easy as you'd think. (i may have been attached to a harness but at the time, thats not much of a consolation)

Another 30 minutes or so walking through caves and i was back on grass. the drive back to Waitomo was short and quiet. I was probably still in shock at what I'd just done. So next bungy jumping. No F****** chance!

Posted by I Langley 21:10 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Summary So Far (USA and Canada)

Good things, Bad things and questions that need to be answered

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So having left America and Canada here my brief summary of the cities

New York (Manhattan)

Good
Central Park - worth the visit alone
Shopping at 2 dollars to the pound
Loads of good tours

Bad
Hotels are expensive
You will end up bankrupt if you spend more than a week here
New Yorkers expect tips no matter what 17% min

Boston

Good
Newbury Street - Boutique shops but a gret places to chill and get a coffee
Blue Man Group- great fun night out
Cheers - No one will know your name but you wont care

Bad
Tour around city ( ok most of the centre was closed for the day, but to winge on about it constantly even when passing area of intrest was a pain).

Montreal

Good
Good shopping centre - all linked underground
lot of intresting architecture -statues and buildings
Good restaurants

Bad
They speak french - enough said

Toronto

Good
Great Plazas
Always something going on
Loads of theatres (3rd only to London and NY)
Niagra Falls a day trip away

Bad
A lot of beggers (though necesserily homeless, some had decent trainers)

Calgary

Good
The place is spotless
Free streetcar through centre of city
Food ia great
Prince Island Park
Cowboy town
letter boxes covered with artwork - bizzare
Cow Statues

Bad
Cowboy town
Country and western music - enough said

Candain Rockies

Good
Every second is like walking in a postcard
Lake Louise
Moraine Lake
Lake Maleigne
Columbia Icefield Glacier
Spirit Island

Bad
Nothing

Vancouver

Good
Stanley Park (inc free bus around park)
Granville Isalnd
Yale
Gas Town
Loads of other areas to visit
Whistler near by
Rockies near by
Vancouver Island near by
You can swim, ski and sunbathe in the same day - but not at the same time- that would be stupid

Bad
Shopping Mall is dull- reminded me of home
Lots of homeless, I mean lots - im sure this will be sorted for the winter olympics in 2010

Seattle

Good
It has good coffee
It has good seafood
has a good art museum
Pig sculptures - bizzare

Bad
Just Dull

San Francisco

Good
Great Artwork -if you like Deco then heres the place ( not the footballer)
Pier 39

Bad
transport system too overcrowded

Overall

Best Bargains

- Fung Wah bus to Boston 7.50 GBP
- Helicopter ride over Niagra about 40 GBP for 15 mins but well worth it
- the parks i.e. free

Rip Off
- tram tour Around Boston was NAFF
- sending stuff home- costs more than the stuff you buy

Most irritating

Having to add tax to every thing US and Canada
American kids - they're just irritating, stupid and rude.
Pan Pipers i think i lost them in San Francisco - (nb i have nothing against Mariache bands (however it's spelt))

5 Questions that need to be answered

1 Why is there alway a kebab shop next door the strip joints? (THAT I'VE PASSED and not gone in ). you wouln't find me dead in there - a kebab shop that is.
2 Baseball - isn't it just rounders for blokes?
3 Why is it every city i go, theres a Jamie oliver book in every bookstore
4 French people - what is their purpose?
5 Has everyone from Harry Carrs found a job now

Useful websites while travelling in USA/Canada
www.hotwire.com - didnt get a bad hotel for the price of a hosel

PS Sorry i havent sent out any emails as yet, Ive lost my contacts list so i havn't got any way to get in touch, so if you can send an email to ilangley@ntlworld.com i can pick it up and copy the address and get back.

Posted by I Langley 19:00 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Day 51 to 53 21st to 23rd July Hamiton NZ

Stop gap before Rotorua

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Hamilton is a small town just over an hour and half south of Auckland. I decided to stop here to take in the Waitomo caves before heading off to Rotorua. The town is pretty quiet but ideal as a base to do the caves (nb. Stop no more than 2 nights here). Theres a bus that leaves at 9.45, which works out ideal. Nightime is pretty quiet. The only livley places is the Sky City and the Cinema in the local mall. However i did get to see the all blacks beat the Aussies in the Rugby (which is always a good thing).

Another strange thing in NZ is their facination they have with Netball. It gets Prime time coverage on TV (they also beat the Aussies that same day). Down side though. I was waiting for the shirt swapping at the end, it just didn't happen.

Posted by I Langley 23:57 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Day 44-50 14th - 20th July - Auckland NZ

It's like England, but with palm trees

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Finally in NZ, and already been away 6 weeks. To say its flown by is an understatment. Having only a 3 hour flight was a relief ( still the flight movie sound didn't work again and they ran out of chicken). I was praying they would run out of coffee (aka airplane) but sadly no. Jumped on the local shuttle bus to the city centre and first thing in noticed (apart from being in fiji clothes and being much colder) was how similar it is to the UK. Apart from the wooden houses in the suburbs you could easily mistake this place for any town in the UK. The weather is similar to what we get in April, which for their Winter is not to bad. Mind you i am on North Island. South island is a different thing altogether. The plan once i get the Pimp mobile is to spend a week and a half on north, 2 and a half on south island. Should be fun.

The day i arrived there was a tri nations rugby match between the all blacks and South africa. To say the island stops when there's a match on is an understatment. I also have learnt the words to the Haka

the Haka

Ringa Pakia A
Ka mate. Ka Mate
Ka Ora, Ka Ora
Ka mate. Ka Mate
Ka Ora, Ka Ora
Tenei te tangata
Pu huru huro
Nana, tiki ma
whaka whiti te ra
A upane, kaupane
Upane Kaupane
Whiti te ra!
Hu!

and the translation is

Tis death, tis death
Tis life, tis life
Tis death, tis death
tTs life, tis life
This is the man the fierce powerful man (the hairy man in some translations)
It was he who captured the sun and caused it to shine
It rises it sets
It rises it sets
The sun Shines

Doesn't really sound too scary if we said that to them in English!!!

The New Zealanders have a different Haka for the Austrailians which i saw at the recent game. I dont think it can be translated (and get past any monitors for the website) lets just say it wasn't friendly.

Auckland has everything going for itself. A vibrant harbour, great scenery, great restaurants and not to be outdone, its own sky tower ( the tallest in the southern hemisphere). This one in true kiwi fashion, has a controlled base jump. Having been up there on the viewing gallery and stared through the glass floor, that was enough. The sign said the glass was a strong as contrete. This was generally taken as an invitation for kids to test it. Why they would try to jump up and down on the glass to test it beyond me.

The Harry potter book came out the other day. Ive never seen so much hysteria over a book. Every one was dressed up, adults and children. I decided to forget the book, go see the movie. (i know its 2 episodes behind) Supprisingly the Potter films are getting better as they go along, usually sequals are Naff, with a few exceptions (star wars and Alien) but even their sequals were dodgy (why Ewoks, it was just plain stupid and as for Jar Jar Binks)

Anyway for part of my time in Auckland i stopped in the local base backpackers, which are great if youre travelling alone and dont mind sharing. I however opted for a room to myself (too much gear put in lockers). The hostels are great to get sorted out with trips and for emailing. the only downside was the screaming woman next door. It sounded like she was in real pain. This went on for several hours through the night. Poor girl. Fortunatly i was able to get the hotel across the road for $4 more. (still using the backpackers for booking and email and damm fine coffee)

Wilst in Auckland, i picked up the campervan (or pimp mobile or mystery machine, as it will be a mystery if it gets back in one piece). Taking it for a spin, i headed up to One Tree Hill,(stange that there no tree there) where there is fantastic views of Auckland. Like most hills in NZ it was once volcanic but now dormant ish!
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My first impressions of driving in NZ in winter is Don't, if you don't have to. Although they drive on the left, there are strange rules you have to be aware of. Rules such as giving way to the car turning right at a junction, when youre turning left, as the same time being aware of people crossing the road. Also, cars can overtake on the inside lanes was well as the outside lanes on motorways. Fortunatly overtaking in my pimp mobile is not a problem. The roads are not the best either, paricularly when wet. A dual carrigeway can turn in to a singal dirt track without warning. Finally the driver here are nutters (must be the extreame sport mentality carrying on to the roads). So my advise is if you can get to where your'e going. Use the bus. It pretty reliable for what iv'e seen and is stress free (nb this is taking to account it's Winter here, driving in the Summer would be much safer).

On my last day i was fortunate to meet up with Eddie Wilde. He was good enough to show me around the suburbs of Auckland, places i would have never found. I can't believe hes been out here 3 years already. I don't think he's does as well. He's having a great time and looks totally relaxed and not regretting leaving the UK one bit. The lifestyle he has here is much more exciting and the cominity around put on loads of things to do (last time Grimsby did something like that did that was Bonfire night. and look what happened to that)
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My final night, i decided to go for a little culture. so i went to see the Auckland Philharmonic with Burt Bacharach at the new Arena that just opened. For those under 30 reading this, who havn't got a clue who he is. I guarentee you'd know at least 10 of his songs. He was one of the worlds most prolific songwriters and has had No 1 records in the 60 through to the 90's (he was also in the 3 Austin Power films and has recorded with Dr Dre, so he still he street cred) As cheesy as it sounds it was a good concert.

Iv'e enjoyed stopping in Auckland. Like Vancouver its a place that grows on you the longer you are there. I could have stopped here another week and gone north . Unfortunatly, north of Auckland is totally flooded and is a no go area. Plus, South Island is beckoning.

Posted by I Langley 15:21 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Day 40-43 10th - 13th July - Fiji

"BULA" from de tropical islands

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Lost day 39, not in a drunken haze. Sunday turned in to Tuesday somewhere over the Pacific, crossing the date line

I stopped at a hotel just outside Nadi near the airport, and for the first night or day i spent sleeping to catch up with my clock.

Once caught up with my sanity, i picked an island and the following day jumped on to a boat for Mololo. Not before briefly visiting South Island, Treasure Island, Beachcomer Island and Bounty (Bounty being famous for Celeb love island)

On arrival (like all the other islands) yourer greated with a traditional fijian ditty and ending with a Load "Bula" they Say Bula alot, I think it hello, either that or "fat bloke", these people are the most friendlest people i've ever met. i dont know how, but within half a day every fijian on the island knew my name (didn't get that in cheers)

Mololo is everything you'd expect from a tropical island, great beach, palm trees and swimming is like jumping in to a tropical fish tank, without the dodgy plastic shipwreck and mermaid.
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Later on there was the cerimonial lighting of the fire, which corresponded with what the natives called "happy hour". Not being aware with this concept. I decided to investiagte. Aparently all drinks are cheaper during this time. What a genius idea. I don't think it will catch on anywhere else. The late meal was a polynesian BBQ (like a normal BBQ but with fruit). This was interupted by a tropical storm. Eating during the storm was ok, after all it was that fine rain. Sleeping in the storm was also fun in my little Bure (shack). Anyway the lizzard i shared the room didn't mind it either. he just sat on the curtain rail guarding the place. I figured that he owned the place and i was a guest.

By morning the storm had gone as if it had never happened. having taken the walk to the top of the island (just like being in lost). i decided to go island hopping for the day.

The boat trip went to Mana, Castaway, Tokoriki, and Matamanoa- next door to which is the island of Modriki- where they filmed Castaway ( the Tom Hanks one, not the Amanda Donohoe one allas, need i have to mention the rock scene!)

The Night meal was excellent again, you can't go wrong ordering fish here. The fijian finished the night with a game which resembled the Whale / rabbit / shark game ( all those who went to Amsterdam in 91(yes that long ago) you know what i mean), But theres is with elephants and giraffes.

The following day i had to go back to Nadi to get the plane to NZ. I probably should have had much longer there. There are so many islands to visit, each one slightly different than the other, but all just as friendly
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One down side there is a Mc Donnalds on the Main Island just outside Nadi, the coach driver calls it "the American embassy"

Posted by I Langley 15:15 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Day 37-38 7th and 8th July - L A

maybe i should have taken the 22 hr bus journey

sunny 0 °F
View RTW & Ians RTW Prov Route on I Langley's travel map.

Had a day to kill in LA before my late night flight.

Day to kill being appropreate after the flight i had coming to LA.

About 30 mins from touch down the plane took a swurve and nose dive for about 10 seconds. Minutes later the captain announded " Ladies and gentlemen thats what happens hen a 747 hits turbulance" The 747 being another plane in front of us that dropped out of the sky in front of our plane. I still have indent from the woman fingernails who sat next to me.

The hotel room had this sign out side my room... I knew there was a reason why i didnt go to Vagas.
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So fresh day ahead and a fresh pair of underwear, i decided against doing the LA tour and headed to the local beach for the day (plus it was a free bus)

The fight from LA to Fiji was damm long 14 hrs. Particularly when you have a dodgy headphone jack and 6 out of 10 movies don't Work. The screaming american kid and the snoring frenchman didnt help. (thnakfully they provided ear plugs) The BA flight had been combined with AIR PACIFIC ( fijis national airline ). I hope the Islands are better than their planes.

Posted by I Langley 00:49 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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