Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Post No. 24 - Still jet lagged and Kelly Tarlton's

Well we lasted till 9pm last night before we finally gave into sleep! Part of the reason we lasted that long was due to DIY rescue on NZ telly 2....imagine if you can a macho heterosexual Queer Eye for the Straight Guy based on houses rather then people....fascinating! Also they have Friends and ER so I was in my element!

Woke up at 3am in the morning and started having all these great ideas...okay maybe they wern't so great but at 3am in the morning you think they are great! Think I managed to get back to sleep again about 5am and woke around 8.15ish.

Ended up in StarBucks again for breakfast but a different branch...I know, not very original but they have different food from the UK...yesterday I had Bacon and Egg Pie with veggies thru it warmed up and today I had a croissant with cheese, ham and mustard...quite strange but tasty!

We headed down to the Britomart which is the train/bus station in Auckland and caught the bus out to Kelly Tarlton's , its only about a 10 minute bus ride. Now it was $26 dollars to get in each (which is just over a tenner) so fairly pricey but I think it was well worth the money!

We were in there for about 4 hours and managed to watch the Stingray feed, the fish feed and the shark feed! Theres a Scott of the Antartic exhibit which is interesting and you get to go on a ride round the penguin enclosure! I love penguins - aren't they great!

It was raining when we come out and we got soaked on the way to the bus stop, wasn't that bothered though - it wasn't horrible stinging rain, was just a shower. I was saying to Graeme that this doesn't feel like Winter at all, its quite strange!

So tonight the Lions are playing Manawatu which is the region where Palmerston North is (our destination). So we are gonna head out to see if we can find a pub thats showing it.

Hoping to get some more signtseeing done tomorrow and Thursday as we plan to coach up to Northland on friday.

Post 23 - Auckland - same, but different!

It's amazing how, even on the other side of the world, some things don't change!

Walking down a major shopping street in Auckland, you still see a Starbucks, McDonlads or Burger King every 20 steps! You still get mad people talking to themselves or anyone who will listen.
Sitting in a pub eating a bacon sandwich at 9am on Sunday morning, we were a bit surprised to see someone come in, order a beer at the bar, then go to the corner and put a bet on the horse racing!

On the plus side however, apart from being able to get a beer seemingly anytime you want, it's winter and the sky is still bluer than most summer days in Glasgow! And of course everyone is so friendly! Trailing our multiple suitcases and bags into the hotel lobby, a little old lady, who told us how great the hotel was, offered to help us with our cases. It looked as if she would struggle to lift more than 1 shopping bag, but she offered anyway!

Such an amazing city, you really need to visit to see how great it is for yourselves!

Post No. 22 - Observations

We went up the Sky Tower today - it was absolutely amazing - a must-see recommendation for anyone heading this way! We found discount vouchers in the various tourist leaflets/magazines we have picked up but even at full price it is well worth the money. We also paid the extra $3 to go up to the higher observation deck. We took loads of photos and once we work out how to get them online we will post some!

Went to bed after posting yesterday (around 3pm) and regretted it when we both found ourselves wide awake at midnight! We managed to activate the NZ sim card we have so anyone that has that number should now be able to reach us on that. We heard from a few people by text/phone call after activating the phone which was great!

Managed to get back to sleep around 2/3ish and I was awake again at around 5.30am this morning (a first for me!). Watched the NZ Breakfast telly and then headed out just before 9am. Went to Starbucks for some brekkie and then headed to the bank to activate the bank account. I was very taken by the ATM/EFTPOS cards which have a picture of a horse on them!

So some of my observations so far (see, what a clever title - we were observing from the Sky Tower and I also have some points to make):
* Starbucks is almost half the price here compared to the UK
* NZ Breakfast Telly presenters are really cheeky!
* It's really dark here in the mornings - doesn't get light until about 8am
* For winter - it's not too cold!
* Air New Zealand has a lot of male flight attendents (a few of which are good looking)

More observations to follow!

Oh, I nearly forgot - the Sky Tower has a casino at the bottom of it - we went in for a wander and some lunch....the minimum age is 20....and we got ID'd - how flattered am I? ! And Graeme at the grand ole age of 25 as well....must be our stress-free and laid back lifestyle that does it!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Post No. 21 - Arrival in Auckland

Well folks we are here in Auckland. (All times in NZ time - we are currently 11 hours ahead of you)

The flight was delayed in landing so we eventually made it onto NZ soil around 6.15am. We then had a enormous wait at Passport Control - approx. 1 hour and then had to go through customs where we had to declare our walking boots and my boiled sweets just in case!

The suitcases are a struggle - we managed to get rid of some stuff we were originally planning on taking but they are still heavy and awkward. Its a nightmare lifting them on and off of conveyer belts at the airport and opening them to find walking boots!

We eventually left Auckland airport on the Shuttle bus at around 8am and got dropped off at the hotel. Then came the transporting of heavy and cumbersome luggage up drive to hotel, up front steps, to lift number 1, up to 2nd floor, out of lift, along corridor, then another corridor, then another lift up to 3rd floor (thank heavens our room is right next to the 2nd lift!) We couldn't let ourselves so much as look at the bed for the fear of falling into a sleep-and-comfortable-place-to-sleep deprived coma! So we got showered and changed and headed out.

We have walked down Queen Street and are amazed at the amount of Subway restaurants, Vodafone shops and actual bank branches (theres only like 3 different banks but about 20 branches!). We walked all the way down to the harbour and took some pictures of the Sky Tower and huge PriceWaterhouseCoopers (Gosh - will we ever get away from them!) building.

Now we are at an internet cafe right next to the hotel and can't put the coma off any longer - we are gonna try for a power nap and set an alarm for early evening so we get to catch some of that NZ telly that people are always saying is really good (yeah right!)

Will update again soon - hopefully with some pictures for you.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Post No. 20 - En Route

This post was handwritten in my travel journal (Thanks AU!) at 2pm Saturday 25 June (UK time) / 1am Sunday 26 June (NZ time)

We are now on the 2nd leg of the flight - technically we actually lose Saturday 25 June as we left Los Angeles on Fri 24 and don't arrive in Auckland until Sun 26!

Our body clocks are completely messed up - its dark outside the plane and has been since we left LAX 7 or 8 hours ago.

The 1st leg of the flight (beginning at 4.15pm UK time)lasted 11 hours and we were continuously flying through daylight.

I managed a maximum of 2 hours slepp on 1st leg while Graeme managed a bit more. We've both had a couple of hours on this leg.

The flight has been fairly smooth - although we left late as actual grown-ups cannot follow instructions - they were using the toilet during the safety demo so we had to stop and wait for them resulting in the loss of our take off slot! There also seemed to be a huge delay at LA once we got on the plane and we were waiting to take off for what seemed like an eternity.

We have spent the flight reading, sleeping, eating, chatting to the bloke sitting next to us and playing travel Cluedo (thanks DJ and Craig!).

I'm sure you are all getting sick of hearing this but it still doesn't feel real! Mind you - I have been up since 7.30am on Fri 24 June with less then 5 hours sleep so I am living in a constant dream-like state!

Theres loads more I could say but I feel I may be rambling! Will hopefully supply another update once in Auckland!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Post No. 19 - Nearly......

So we go tomorrow.
Not quite sure it has hit us yet!

It's been strange saying goodbye to everyone, half of me thinks I'll see everyone again next week and the other half panics that no-one will ever come visit and we won't get to see anyone ever again!
I've not been as emotional as I (and a lot of other people) thought I would be but it has been difficult saying goodbye.

The party and this whole last week has been absolutely amazing, its been great to chat with people and catch up and we can't thank you all enough for the good wishes, cards and presents. It all means so much to us.

It feels pretty good that (most!) people would welcome us back with open arms and at the same time they wish us all the best and are supporting us in our decision to go to the other side of the world!

And if you are reading this then thank you for taking the time to visit our blog and see what we are up to. Depending on how cheap and easy internet access is we will be trying to post on here a few times a week so please keep coming back.

If you'd like to hear from us via email then leave a comment by clicking on "comments" at the bottom of this post and leave us a message with your email address! (or just send an email to our Gmail address if you have a note of it)

Hope to hear from you soon!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Post No.18 - Morning after the night before

Really should be sleeping off the effects of last night at the moment, but we really do need to start packing! (which is why, of course, i'm writing a post for the blog!)

Thanks again to all of you who helped us celebrate, it was great to see all of you, I just wish I could have spent more time talking to all of you. Still feels weird thinking about the fact that we may not see some people again. Not sure when this will actually hit home, hopefully it won't be in floods of tears next Friday at the departure gate!

Little picture with our parents, hopefully will get some more pictures up on the website over the next few days.
us & parents at party
If any of you have picture, it would be great if you could e-mail us copies.

Suppose I better go get packing!.....

Post No. 17 - No longer headline news!

Just a quick update on the whole nespaper article. The prevoius posts links don't work any more because the newspaper website has moved out article! If you still want to see it you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, then click on this link.

Anyway, need to go get ready now, our leaving party starts in an hour!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Post No. 16 - Oh my gosh - we might just be famous!

Okay - following on from the photo in George Square I can now provide you with this link

Just in case that doesn't work this is the web address, just copy and paste it into your explorer address bar: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/manawatustandard/0,2106,3313265a6003,00.html

So go see if you can find us.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Post No. 15 - Things NOT to do before you fly....

Number 1 - Climb Trees

So you would think any sensible human being would avoid climbing trees 13 days before they are leaving for distant shores would you not?
You know, just to be on the safe side and not falling and breaking any bones....yet Graeme thought it would be a fun idea to climb a tree in Balmaha (on the shores of Loch Lomond) yesterday.
How funny is that? ! (Note, I can only laugh at this now because he is still in one piece!)

Graeme up tree

On an entirely different note - tomorrow is my last Monday at work for at least a month - woo-hoo! Mondays are gonna be fun for the next wee while!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Post No. 14 - Goodbye Glasgow, Hello NZ!

We got our picture taken today (thankyou DJ!) in George Square in Glasgow with our New Zealand flag (and Graeme's All Blacks top!).
It is quite sad to be leaving Glasgow, it would have been 5 years this August I have lived here. Time has flown by!
The picture-taking wasn't completely random - it is for something specific which I hope to tell you more about in a few days.
So here it is, what do you think?

G&K George Square

Considering we took 3 lots of batteries and still couldn't get the camera to work and then Graeme had to go and buy batteries (£4 - can you believe it!?) I am quite pleased with the results!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Post No. 13 - How can I do it?

lil' lamb

How can I possibly eat lamb when everywhere I look I will see the little cuties jumping through meadows and bleating to their heart's content? I love Roast Lamb and I absolutely adore it with Mint Sauce. New Zealand lamb is supposed to be the best ever, I have to try it.....I wonder if we could just avoid all the places where there are cute little lambs in the fields so I can lose the guilty conscience!

So....3 weeks tomorrow until we fly out....how scary is that?! I can't believe we are nearly there, we have been planning this so long and it is finally just around the corner.