Whakapirau beach

Not far from where I am currently staying is Whakapirau beach which sits at the head of Kaipara Harbour. There used to be a fabulous oyster processing shed here but it seems to have closed down. Darn, I was looking forward to a delicious feed of fresh oysters. Oh well, I shall have to pick them myself now.

There is a great swing off one of the huge trees right on the beach. Thankfully that was still here!

Waipu Matariki fireshow

Happy Maori New Year! Matariki is the Maori name given to the Pleiades star cluster, or by the name I’ve known it by, the Seven Sisters.

Waipu a little town near to Maungaturoto were having a fire show in celebration of the 2010 Maori New Year. The Maori New Year is marked by the rising of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon.

Despite the look of rain a good turn out showed up for the 6pm fire show. Not a bad night out for a little NZ country town!

Kaitaia road trip

The best fish and chips EVER can be had at Opononi fish shop. Their breaded hoki fillets are the BEST!

We also took the ferry across at Rawene for only $12.00 it is worth a ride on a beautiful day.

We took a trip up north to visit Steve’s parents. Perfect day for traveling and seeing the countryside.

Hong Kong, China

Love, love, love Hong Kong. The heat for one thing was incredible. Finally bliss to strip off and not have to wear thermals all the time, you need to wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen which would have been good if I didn’t have to toss it at the airport security point!

Our three nights here were fantastic with some excellent meals and just wandering the streets at night where the humidity was still at epic proportions. If you have been to a tropical location before you will also notice that most living bug-like creatures grow to epic sizes including their snails. I was quite thankful not to run into any spiders as I’m not a fan of foot sized creepy crawlies.

HK Disneyland was rather crap but I’m glad I can mark that one off my list of worldwide Disney’s to visit. Even Eurodisney was better. Just really lame rides in HK. I think they definitely go for cuteness and not thrill seeking.

Had a fantastic Korean meal as well as some delicious crab from a local, back street vendor. Still standing so that’s got to be good. Anyway, I would highly recommend HK. We stayed on Kowloon Island near Ya Mae Tai station and loved it. Three days just wasn’t enough time to explore. I wouldn’t bother with the evening light show on the water but the Walk of Fame is great around this area anyway. The cooling breezes off the water are lovely at night.

Getting to and from the airport is a breeze. Everything is so easy and air conditioned. I thought Germany was efficient. They look positively relaxed in comparison to the Chinese. The skyscraper homes were also amazing as were the chaos of people. Even though there are thousands of people surrounding you I was amazed at how respectful people are of keeping a personal space between them. Also, respectful of keeping their mobile phone conversations personal to themselves so you don’t have a constant barrage of mobile ring tones and screaming idiots. Everyone’s phones appeared to be on silent vibrate and then when they answer the caller doesn’t have some ridiculous conversation at the top of their lungs. Loving HK! The same goes for general conversations on the street and the flow of foot traffic. How can a city with a mega population just run so beautifully and be so clean! Amazing on so many different levels. I would visit HK in a heart beat.

Shopping wise -there is plenty of trash to be purchased but the big electronic ticket items didn’t have a cash price difference. We had done all the price shopping before coming here and really there were no major bargains. I did love the fashion sense though. Incredible individual labels if only I could get my western sized butt into any of it!

Any country that you have to catch a train to get to your plane gate, has to be an epic one to explore!

Bremen, Germany

We really enjoy Germany and in particular staying with our friends H and U in Stuhr. The weather was lovely for us (only 1 day of rain) and it was great to slow down after a fairly hectic month. We are now back in Newport with M and the cats. Yes, Clarityn is a must for me with my cat allergies. Blahhhhh.

Anyway, here are some pics from our time in Germany where we managed a couple of bike rides, lots of yummy food (in particular the weiss spargel/white asparagus which is in season at the moment and totally yummy), church services and touring the countryside.

Heathrow terminal 3

We got here from Wales with plenty of time to spare. I was rather thankful for this given we were over the weight limit by a significant amount and at £47 per kilo this required some repacking. What I failed to realise in my rush was that I managed to take with me all the liquids which of course are not permitted through security in the quantity I now held! Some more repacking and sharing the liquids with Steve. Unfortunately my shampoo, fav red nail polish and beloved Olay were among the items that had to go! The young lady working at Krispy Kremes scored big time today, she was chuffed.
We ended up taking the Heathrow Express (yep John, I caved) and paid the £18 each instead of the underground as the bags were too heavy.
Loving the airport with lots of room, ok lighting and plenty of shops to browse. Anyway I have managed to use half my iPhone battery life so far today. Goodbye England, Ni hao Hong Kong!

Gliding in Chippenham

A wee bit of a late post but I really enjoyed my day out gliding in Chippenham. Thanks M for arranging this. It was a great day, perfect weather and really thrilled to see the Air Cadets are full of enthusiastic kids. Wish I had been aware of them as a group to join when I was younger!

I was really surprised to find out that launching a glider isn’t just done by another powered craft but among other things also by a bungy cord attached to a machine at the other end of the field that pulls the glider into the air. Very cool! I even got to fly the glider as well. Awesome times.