Monthly Archives: December 2010

Dec 31, 2010

last day this year… I got up and walked up to the Christchurch Art Museum.  I was lucky enough to get a nice tour of the place.  Once again, a mix of modern art and good old “you can tell what it is art”… They had some real nice pictures of ships in NZ harbors and pastoral scenes.  Nice to have someone explain the pictures to you.

I then went and walked through the Christchurch Botanical Gardens.  Very nice place full of people, I was amazed at the size of some of the trees.  I put up a picture of me next to a real big one.

Later on I plan to go and have a nice Indian dinner and then go to Cathedral Square and be entertained by rock bands and fireworks.

I bought a bus ticket and hostel room (Black Sheep Lodge… I think mom would get a kick out of that name) in Queenstown.  I leave Monday Jan. 2, 2011 and will be staying there until Jan 7 and then probably return to Christchurch so I can fly up to Auckland on Jan 10th.  I hope to get a day tour of Moffit Bay when I am in Queenstown.

Jan 1, 2011 (McDonalds free wifi in downtown Christchurch)

Last nite I went to a local India place with a retired professor from southern California.  I had rice, califlower, potato and some kind of pomagrante sauce and some garlic bread.  The food was from southern India, very spicy, and it was excellent.  I took my time eating it, had a glass of Merlot and really, enjoyed my fancy dinner. (about 20 US bucks).  It was nice talking to an educated man.

After dinner we walked up to Cathedral Square and joined 25,000 people there.  They had a great stage, great amps and a very big TV screen in front.  all the entrances had cops and no drinking signs.  The music consisted of 2 guys and 2 dancing ladies playing old American disco songs.  Then a real big rock band with a big lady singer came on.  They had a horn section and played for several hours.

After 2011 happened they had a fireworks show from top of one of the buildings on the square.The people of Christchurch have had it tough, a major 7.1 earthquake Sept 10 and over 3000 aftershocks since then, including a vey large one several days ago.  There are many buildings still closed and you can see cracks in many of the old buildings.  The cross on top of the cathedral fell down.

So it was a new years event that I will not forget.  I feel very lucky to have the chance at seeing these things.  My friend from California had a theory on all my good luck on the road.  He told me that I take chances (which means I do not plan everything ahead of time) and the amazing things I have experienced is a reward for the chances I take.

Of course the kids in the hostel started to drink way too early.  The girls in my room were looking for their phone and did not know what happened to all their money.  The last thing they knew they were in an Irish pub some place in town.

My room now has 2 girls from Taiwan (“not China”), one Korean guy, a guy riding a bike from the UK, a german and a Scottish girl.  I am still getting lessons in Chinese and Korean…. writing down all my new words in my notebook.

Today I plan on getting a bus to the waterfront, getting some veggies, fixing a nice dinner and watching a movie at the hostel.  A beautiful sunny day here with about 12 hours of sun… We are south of Tasmania and tomorrow I wake up early, get picked up at the hostel and then a long bus ride to the south central part of the south island…to Queenstown.  gonna put up some pixs… my links are on http://www.helderweb.com and how about some comments, if anybody is reading this thing… I will also accept spelling corrections.. Happy 2011 to all those I love.

 

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Viet Nam Visa

after being closed for the past 2 days I got to apply for a visa at the VN Embassy here in Wellington.  It cost 110 NZ dollars and I had to find a Post Office open to obtain a registered envelop.  They are going to send my passport back to me care of the Auckland Hostel.  I hope it works because I can not leave NZ without my passport.  I tried to get a visa before I left USA but you can not apply before 6 months and I was headed to Brasil and could not do it.

Hopefully i can get my India visa in Singapore or HK.  pain in the butt, it seems with all our computers the process could be done on site…  today will be easy…hanging at McDs drinking coffee and using their wifi.  tonite I get the ship to the south island.  had a nice time saying good bye to my friends here.  I even played guitar with another traveller.  Believe it or not, he offered to give me his little guitar… amazing huh.  I told him, that it was just too much to carry a guitar with me.  but karma is working for me.  I got my exercise in today by walking all around this town looking for an open post office.

Yesterday I took a tour of the NZ Parliament.  It was very nice.. the tour brought us all through the place.  The parliament has signs all around the debating chamber with the names of places on earth that NZ has sent soldiers.  I was amazed at how many places I have visited where they fought especially Crete and Gallipoli in Turkey.

Last nite I had a great conversation with a beautiful lady from Sao Paulo.  I loved using the little Portuguese that I know and my love for Brasil showed.  She told me that is where I was going to live.  Well maybe in the winter time.

sunny day here and I feel great.

South Island Tomorrow

Will get a night boat over to the south island late tomorrow, then a train to Christchurch for the New Years.  I bought a flight from Christchurch to Auckland for Jan 10 and then off to Sydney the next day.  It has been windy and somewhat “not hot” here.  Today I visited the Parliament and took a tour.  Very impressive!!!  A group of us nerds are sitting here in the dinning room with our little netbooks.  Eddy from Aberdeen gave me plenty of new movies… I now have the HD set of Lord of the Rings…just need to find the time to watch it.

Visited the Embassy of Viet Nam and India today.  Getting the visa’s will be trickly, probably get the Indian one tomorrow and the VN one in Singapore or Hong Kong.  The trick here is that they take your passport for up to 10 days… seems like a big problem to me now, but I am sure it will work out.

hope all your driveways are now clear from the white stuff.

Have been working on my website and now I have some links up to this blog… still a work in progress.

Robt.

Stuck for a few days in Wellington, NZ

the boat over to the south island has been booked pretty solid… I finally got a ticket late Wed to get over there.  Then I take a train later in the day to Christchurch.  Will arrive there and I have a hostel paid for.  I bought a plane ticket back to Auckland on Jan 10 so I can fly to Sydney on Jan 11, 2011.  So I am all set up for New Year.  I will see how much of the south island I can get to see… It is not about the quantity of places but the good times seeing things.

Yesterday I went to the National Museum here in Wellington with my 2 french friends… it was packed with people, as it was Boxing day.   The place was very nice and we only saw half of it.  Plenty of displays about the earthquakes and fault lines and volcanoes.  It is right on the sea and the sea was rough yesterday.

After a failure of a dinner the other nite I treated myself to a real good one here.  Salmon, great veg sauce and some wheat pasta.  It was so good and I have another little piece of fish for tonite.

This city is windy and it got a little cold last nite, I walked the streets and sat down to listen to a street guitarist.  He had his guitar tuned to Em and he was an expert.   I just relaxed looked at the buildings and thought how wonderful it was that I was able to get to a place like this.  Wellington now is a place for me, not just a name.

Not sure about today, I am sure I will walk around the city… it is nice to have access to free wifi.  I spenty plenty of time in Brasil, just looking for a wifi signal.  Next time I travel I will have a smart phone.

this will have to do for now… Christmas was sure different this year.

 

Christmas Day in Wellington, NZ

I am in a big inner city hostel on the south shore of the north island.  I had some beers last nite with some French and Germans and it was very nice..I was worried that I would by myself last nite but it was very nice…  I walked out to the piers and got to see some sting rays in the ocean and met a lady who was from Cooperstown, she went to St. Rose and worked in Provincetown.  how is that for coincidencesssss!!!!

Today I walked out along the ocean front and saw the train station and the Parliament Building…  They have a bbq today here, but not for me.  Hope to make something later…

I got to see Abby in her Christmas PJs with frogs on them.  She was very excited about Santa and Jordan sent me a picture of the christmas tree in the living room….very nice and the place looks clean.  I got to talk with Rik and that was nice.  He sounds very happy (and sleepy).  Zachary sent me a nice email.  talked with Joanne, Jeannie and Billy.  Could not get a hold of Jack.

Had a nice text conversation with my friend Hadi from Mashad Iran.  He is studying computer science in Scotland and it was so nice to continue our friendship.  He invited me to visit, and I hope I can get to the UK next year.  I also had a nice conversation with Chip, from Iasc, Romania.  He is planning to work in Cape Cod this year.  That would be great, he is a nice guy.

Not much else going on here, A guy from Scotland has some rum and I will probably have a drink later.  I let the French use my computer to send messages home and they were happy.

One good thing about Christmas… it will not happen again for another year.  Hope to get my ticket to the south island tomorrow, if not I will be happy here on the north island.  Not really driven to get to all places, sometimes it is nice to hang in a place and really enjoy it.  Wellington is a very nice place.

cheers to all

Christmas Eve on the North Island of New Zealand

i am about 8 hours north of wellington at a very nice hostel in the country…will go with my australian friend to Wellington and I have booked a room at the Nomad Capital Hostel for 2 nites, then a boat ride to the south island and then a train to Christschurch.

Hope to enjoy my nite in the NZ capital… will be myself as my Australian friend will drop me off and go to his cousin’s house.

NZ is very clean..bought some nice kiwi fruit which tastes much better then the ones we get from here.  The avacados are great too.  the mountain scenary is dramatic and I hear the south island is great…

when i got here last nite the guests were all in the big room watching Lord of the Rings…gonna have to get those films.

once again, that’s all I got

Dec 21 2010

Dec 21, 2010 Rotorua, NZ – Funky Green Hostel….

We drove down from Auckland yesterday and the north island is a beautiful place… It reminded me of the Schoharie Valley.  Plenty of farms, cows, sheep and well kept homes.  We got to Rotorua and checked into this hostel which is excellent, plenty of people from all over the world and a whole bunch of travellers my age!!!

This is somewhat like Lake George, plenty of motels and a big lake surrounded by volcanoes and geothermal stuff.I went shopping for some pants and a couple of shirts… My Brasilain wardrobe is too thin and warn.  Angus and Paul are great guys to travel with… they have somewhat of a plan and I am along for the ride.

We are going to keep on the north island and drop Paul off in Auckland so he can fly home and start a new job, then the big guy and I will go by ferry to the South Island and end up in Christ’s Church.  Angus flies out of there to Melbourne.  I will get a bus back to Auckland to fly to Sydney on Jan 11, 2011.

Not really sure where I will be on Christmas or New Years..but all seems to be going my way.

We went to a great place today and saw a geyser and walked around a national park with plenty of different color water pools and beautiful trees.  It does look like Lord of the Rings…Still doing my diet, one of the people that works here is Canadian and a vegan.  He gave me some hints on an easier way to prepare food and keep up my energy.  Not sure what I will do tonite, sure it will be great.  I did buy a box of red wine…..

Next few weeks….

On Monday morning we are going to rent a car and leave Auckland.  I am going to travel with Angus and Paul, 2 guys from Australia.   We are going to head toward the South Island and see what happens.  Today we went to the Aquarium and it was fantastic.  It is raining here but I have had a great 2 days.

Who do I know in New Zealand?

Sunday Dec. 19, 2010 Freeman’s Bay, Auckland, NZ

I called up Auntie Irene last week to tell her I was off to NZ.. She said…oh Bobby that is nice…Who do you know in New Zealand?   I told her nobody, but I will get to know people there… And that came true last night.

the trip from Buzios went amazingly well..flights were easy, just long waits at Rio and LAX.  US Homeland Security were actually very nice for a change.  No special inspections of me or my stuff.  The body scan at LAX was not so bad.  I am starting to like the trip from US to Brazil…keeps getting easier for me.

When I left LAX on Quantas, I was surprised at the change.  The Airbus was smooth and quiet.  The audios video stuff worked, the beautiful voice of Kay, our Flight Coordinator assured us of a smooth trip.  I was lucky to have a great seat mate.  Bill is a grad student at Ohio State and was on his way to Christ’s Church and then Antartica to work for the National Science Foundation.  I told him that I knew Karl Doll who flew to Antartica for the NYS Air National Guard.  He told me that they are still doing that.  The trip across the Pacific was long but I got to sleep and the food and conversation was good.

When we came into Auckland we could see the ocean and bays surrounding it.  The hills were green and reminded me of Ireland.  No problem at the airport and I got a shuttle from the airport to the Hostel.  There were a 4 people in the van from USA and they were loud and obnoxious….

I checked in at the hostel, plenty of Germans here.  One of the persons in my room is from Rio and we had a good time talking about Brasil..  I walked to the supermarket and bought some food and was surprised how expensive things are here.  Auckland is so civilized with plenty of well kept homes and a big downtown with plenty of shopping, food and strange things… like Hari Krishna people doing there thing and people dressed up like animals protesting animal abuse.  Nice to be in a country with warm water in the sinks again.  I got a ride downtown from a guy I met on the street fixing his Volvo… we started to talk about cars and he offered me a ride down to the center of town.  I was looking for a hoody because it is damp and cool here and I am dressed for the tropics.  I did not find anthing yet.

I cooked a great dinner with rice, veggies and a great salad with avocados and mushrooms.  I met 2 guys from Australia who just arrived with 2 bottles of Irish Whisky and ready to party.  Angus is 23, covered in tats and John Candy large.  He will be here for 3 weeks and I hope to travel with him to the south island.  I got to talk with people from all over the world last nite…hostels are amazing.

So it is raining and my plans for today is to visit the Auckland Aquarium, maybe just hang out and relax….  My trip has been fantastic and I love to read email and facebook from my friends and family.

promise to post some pixs later.

 

going around the world is tough

Dec 15, 2010, Rio International Airport
got up this morning in Buzios and Anthony was busy building a new door for the kitchen, yesterday he and Adrian cut a new hole in the concrete wall of the living room.  This will eventually be a bar for the hostel…it was a big mess and it turned out pretty good.  My role was to clean the mess up and support the effort.

We ran out of LPG as Adrian was cooking french fries and pizzas… we started a charcoal fire in the bbq and then it started to rain.  We got a beach umbrella to cover the fire and I got it going with some wood scrapes and paper..  I am pretty good at building fires, alot of practice over on the Cape.The pizzas were great and Adrian made 4 of them and plenty of no cheese pizza for me.  I think they tasted better smokey and a little wet from the rain.  Nothing can stop hungry people!!!!

The family went to bed early and Adrian, Debs and me stayed up late drinking some beer and sitting up on my veranda.  They were a pleasure to live with and I hope to see them again, someplace on earth.

I packed up this morning and they walked me to the bus stop and off I went to central to get the Rio bus.  It was a long rainy trip and Rio looked so nice with plenty of mist and clouds.  Jesus was up there looking down at Rio and when I got to the bus station I got on skype and talked to Jordan and my beatiful first grandchild.  I then caught a bus to the international airport, went through security and here I am writing my blog update on my netbook.  This should be an interesting couple of days.  Rio to Charlotte, to LA to Auckland.  My mp3 player is all charged and I bought some duty free Jamiesons whiskey for the trip… just little one shot things.  gonna get on the plane in a few….