Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bula bula from Fiji!

Yo yo yo! Its been a whole nother country since I last blogged but here I am in the city of angels! However, this episode is mostly concerned with the delights of Fiji. The flight there was pretty grotty, very hot and busy as it was one of those double decker planes (we were downstairs with the riff raff though) and the little screens that I love so much didn't even work. Needless to say after that I wasn't looking forward to the 10 hour flight to LA.

Anyway we arrived at our resort with no problems after feeling like we had returned to Asia in the heat and with the questionable driving methods. Thought I saw a dark shape dart into the bushes as we walked down for dinner but put it down to being tired. Restaurant was okay, nice food and good service, although we did have to get used to what we now know as 'island time'. We often played a game of timing how long it took to get a menu, then how long until our order was taken etc. The record was an overall time of nearly 2 hours to get lunch. It may not sound fun but it kept us entertained. On Monday it was my birthday, but as we had said we'd have a nice chilled out time it was a lazy day with a cocktail or two. It was a lovely day but it made me miss home as I'm used to seeing everyone on my birthday! We had decided to stay in one place rather than island hopping as the whole point of our visit to Fiji was to be beach bums and do nothing at all to prepare for our hectic trip across America.

Anyway, the whole trip was lovely and lazy except for a few stressful times... remember that dark shape I'd seen on the first night?! Turns out that when night comes and the sprinklers switch on, our resort is also a well known meeting place for the island frog Mafia. Im not sure if its public knowledge but I really really do not like frogs, and every night there would be about 3 just sitting waiting for us between the pathway and our front door. They definitely planned it, and it all culminated when there was one so fat and stubborn that no matter what we tried it would not move. Sean ended up throwing a pebble at its head which echoed with a surprisingly loud clunk and then the frog finally got the hint and hopped off to its lair.

The only other dramatic thing of note that occurred over the last week was a really weird confrontation, which baffled me for a long time after. We had been sitting by the pool all morning and popped for lunch, leaving our bits and bobs on our loungers (as you do).  When we walked back over to our beds less than an hour later, we were pretty surprised to see a middle aged Russian man and a very young pretty Thai girl sitting on them. Just to clarify, there were only about 4 other people anywhere else in sight and about 20 free beds. The girl had moved Sean's stuff to an alternative bed, but the man had just made himself right at home on my towel! We went over and I told him it was my stuff to which he replied 'yes?' and stared at me like I was a moron. Sean got the same response from the girl and meanwhile the bloke was having a nice lie down on my towel - gross! But he would not move, so in the end I had to try and get my towel out from underneath the quite substantial man! It must have looked ridiculous, me basically wrestling with him to get my towel when every other bed around was free. In the end my superior muscle won, which rewarded me with a very dirty look. What baffled me was firstly why sit there out of all the available beds, secondly WHY would a well off man want my ratty towel which has been round the world with me?!!! Its a mystery that I will never understand I think.

Anyway, other than these distressing events, Fiji was beautiful and very relaxing just as we'd hoped. We left on Sunday evening and had a 10 hour flight and landed...on Sunday afternoon. Very confusing as I am now behind England instead of in front as I have been. So far USA seems fab, everywhere you look there are food outlets, and I mean EVERYWHERE. our hire car is very swish after Ron the Mitsubishi and we went to our first mall today where the clothes were soooo cheap. Managed to resist but have got big plans for our last few days in New York!

Anyway its bed time for me, its been Sunday for 43 hours for me and there is lots to do tomorrow! More on that next time....

See you all in seven weeks!

Friday, 17 August 2012

So long and thanks for all the fish.

I haven't got much to report since my last update, but am blogging anyway because the day has finally come... we have spent our last day in New Zealand. It seems suitable to write from this amazing country one last time before I get tangled up in all the new adventures that are waiting for me!

Since last writing we have had a massive bit of luck and been able to sell our beloved Mitsubishi, Ronald. We sold him for the exact same price we bought him for 4 months ago, and have only spent a bit on some new tyres so we were made up when we basically got our money back! Have already booked a show in Vegas to celebrate and treat ourselves. The other highlight (aside from a few bikini sales) was our visit to cathedral cove, which is the most beautiful beach I've ever seen and also happens to be where they chose to film Narnia (anyone spotting a theme with my choices of tourist attraction?). So this week I have been to the Shire AND Narnia, my life is literally complete.

Was on Skype the other day in the hostel to alic and ant. Just a normal Thursday 8am, we were laughing and chatting away when very suddenly there was an enormous pink fish held up between me and my webcam and all I could hear was laughter... Grant, one of the permanent residents had been given some freshly caught snapper and was keen to show me. He has a heart of gold but not the most ideal timing skills and was apparently so chuffed that he just couldn't wait until I was off the PC. I think alic and ant assumed I knew what was going on so went along with it, until grant left and I assured them I was as baffled as them about the origins of the fish and the reason it had made it onto Skype. The entire scenario was then repeated when he had filleted the fish and came back. Then wandered off leaving me with the fish on my keyboard! I did go traveling for new experiences and this was definitely one of them.

We got to Auckland this afternoon and had a little stroll around and stuffed ourselves with Asian food while we can get it. Now we are sitting in our room wishing time would hurry up as we are so excited for the next chapter. New Zealand has definitely been the most stunning country so far, and has come to feel like home. I think I might be a bit of a country bumpkin when I get home, I actually saw a cow being born today!! I'm sure a few trips to Oxford street will sort me right out though.

So there you have it, my time as a hobbit is officially at an end. I am pretty sad but have promised myself I will be back, plus its hard to feel too sorry for myself when we will be jetting off to Fiji tomorrow!

I will leave you with that envy causing thought, and who knows where I'll be next time I write. One thing is for sure though I will be officially on my way home!


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Hobbits at last!

Well, this is going to be an embarrassingly long blog as its been about 7 years since I did the last one, a fact I only realised yesterday. So where was I ... oh yes Milford Sound had been amazing and the west coast was just waiting to be discovered. First stop was the Fox Glacier. Like the mints. Now I am experienced in glaciers, having already seen a grand total of 1, but this was pretty impressive nonetheless. You could pay hundreds of dollars to be led there by a guide or just walk there for yourselves so we did that! Even better, we discovered a secret trail that led to a lookout which overlooked the entire valley an glacier. It was a bit more impressive from up there anyway, and like nothing I've ever seen before.

From there we went to see the next glacier, Franz Josef. Not sure what kind of mint that one was named after, but it was equally impressive. There was a sign to show how far it has receded in the last hundred years, and the difference was huge. Luckily we discovered 'glacier pasties which helped us get over the shock. Weather was beautiful and we ended up playing scrabble and drinking beer in the sun. Was going brilliantly until I discovered that the sandfly population had set up a drive thru on my feet.  Bad times. And about to get worse...

Had 2 more stops on the south island which were both lovely towns but less than impressive fellow hostel guests. In the first we met a 60 year old from Preston who told us where we could 'score some weed and used f and c words all over the place. In the second we seemed to have stumbled into a Mafia sort of set up and were not welcomed because we were not German or Chinese (that may be a guess..). Either way, I will say this for the south island, they have public toilets EVERYWHERE. Was suitably( impressed due to being the owner of the smallest bladder in the world.

We returned to Wellington last Monday and I was reunited briefly with my favourites from inland revenue. Was weird to be back in Welly and staying in a hostel! We stayed long enough for Ron to (somehow) pass the equivalent of an MOT and then were on our way to see what had north island had in store for us. First stop was Ohakune and a lodge called the hobbit. You can't imagine how happy I was about the hot tub until you have gone 6 months without a bath! (I have been showering just to clarify...) then we went exploring mount ruapehu (aka Mordor). Didn't find any orcs, just lots of rich people skiing. Our first sight of snow though and it was pretty impressive. Not sure if its been in the news back home but mount tongariro which has been dormant for over a century erupted the day we got to... tongariro national park. Talk about timing! Didn't see anything though not sure whether that's a good or bad thing. We also stayed in lake Taupo and saw yet more new sights, just when I thought NZ was running out of ideas. Saw some amazing bright blue rapids at Huka falls and discovered an alarming amount of geothermal activity including steam pouring out of craters in the ground and mud bubbling and hissing at us. I felt like we were in Jurassic park! Less dinosaurs mind you. Cost us about £3 to get in and well worth it! Especially when we got to Rotorua (smells like eggs) and it cost about £40 to get into a similar attraction. We are cunning little people though so we walked to the top of the redwood forest right behind the attraction and watched the geyser for free! Muahahaha.

Only one more thing to tell you about then I promise I'll stop...yesterday I finally made it to HOBBITON!!! It was every bit as good as I hoped, someone had even left the door open for me at bag end. I had to be dragged away as everytime you look you just see more and more detail. It was like all the hobbits were out for the day and would be back later. Very glad I didn't come a few years ago before they had rebuilt it all for the hobbit. My life ambition to go to the shire is now complete.

We are now in Whitianga with only a week left in NZ. Just watching the diving and planning to get up early to watch the spice girls do the closing ceremony tomorrow morning. Will try not to leave it so long until I write again, and Janine... I have no idea how to change the font on this thing I'm sorry!

With lots of love from the sunny east coast, plus lots of national pride at the moment.