Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So Very Cool

Two posts in one day - shocking. What do you expect now I'm back to work ;-)

Just had to show you the extreme awesomeness that is this news article:

Ultimate exca-vacation

That is all.



So we made it home again.

You may have noticed the lack of photos posted, but honestly - it's for you're own good! We came back with over 3,400 photos - but that is from 36 days, and two cameras!

We have started going through them now severely trimming them down - it's like "yeah these are all great photos - but we don't need eight photos of the same mountain. From the same angle."

So once we've got things organised a bit better I'll be posting some highlights here.

But we had a fantastic time - loved every minute of it.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Best. Day. Ever!

We have nearly finished our Safari tour - photos later when it's not 4 million degrees.

We have been in the national park and seen lions and elephants and zebra and giraffes - extremely close...

We are now in Zambia - today we saw Victoria Falls - we flew over them in a helicopter this morning - then this afternoon went out to Livingstone Island where you can swim in a pool RIGHT at the edge of the falls. Amazing pictures - I cannot think of a crazier place to swim!

Have to go now - this is costing me 300 Kwachas per minute!


Sunday, October 12, 2008


We have survived our first two nights of camping!

We had to be at a hotel in Windhoek at 10 am on Wednesday to meet our tour. We expected to find a big safari truck, but instead we found a guy with a sign and and a van. And there was only one other guy on the tour! (Plus the four of us). Hmmm, this might be interesting.

And it got even more interesting when our van driver was stopped at a police checkpoint outside the city and had to turn back because he didn't have a fire extinguisher!

Once we got underway again, we got an unexpected chance to appreciate the scenery while our driver changed a flat tyre...

Once we got to Sesreim though, we discovered our Van Man was just a transfer and we met up with the real tour, and an actual safari truck:

Our tour group is cool - with 14 people in total; 5 Australians, 2 Danes, 1 Portugese... as well as 2 Italians who don't speak much english! There are two guides as well - Rino and Willie, who are great fun.

We set up camp under the stars: (bonus points for whoever names the constellation visible here)

The camp was actually really well equipped - with a toilet block and hot showers... but somehow I don't think they'll all be like that!

And then went out for a sunset walk in the dunes. The next morning we got up ridiculously early to see sunrise from another dune, but I think you've seen enough sand for the moment, so I'll skip those 300 photos :-)

Later that day we did a 5km walk in the desert (which is HOT) and saw the Dead Vlei - which is ESPECIALLY hot and dry - even by desert standards!

That evening we took a walk down into Sesreim Canyon...

And saw our very first (WILD) live snake! It was pretty small, but also very poisonous, and sounding very pissed off the way it was hissing!

Yet another gorgeous African sunset to finish an amazing (and tiring) day!

We are heading north tomorrow, away from civilisation, so I'm not sure when we'll get to the next internet cafe. We'll post when we can though - so keep checking!


PS: Also got a chance to try out the underwater camera the other day.... and it works!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sand, Sand and More Sand.

We had the wedding on Saturday, it was very nice and everyone looked lovely etc etc.

No time to blog about that just now - just enough time to load a few photos of ... sand.

The day after the wedding Ronald (he's my brother-in-law's brother-in-law - work that out!) took us out to find some sand. As I mentioned earlier - that is not terribly difficult in Swakopmund. He took us out to Dune 7 - which is apparently the 7th tallest dune system in the world. And we climbed it....

Picture walking up the downwards escalator - except it's sand... and twice as steep.

I just about died. I was seriously considering telling the others to send me a postcard from the top.

Quite satisfying once you're up there though..... and it's a long way back down (check out the size of the cars) - but much MUCH quicker.

The views from up here were amazing though - and for the first time we really felt like we were in Africa.

We are back in Windhoek now - officially starting our Safari tour today - but we don't meet up with the group until tomorrow morning.


Sunday, October 5, 2008


We made it to Namibia!

Sorry, no photos just yet, as the internet cafe I have found has a 'no USB' policy.

We spent one night in Windhoek (the capital) after our flight up from Cape Town. The next day we caught a minibus shuttle out to Swakopmund at the coast (4 hours - but so hot it was much worse than the 19hr bus ride!)

Here we met up with soon-to-be extended family, and had a 'Braai' - (a bbq).

Swakopmund is an amazing town - the sand dunes are literally right up to the edge of the houses - I'm sure they have to go out each day and sweep the desert back!

I'll find some way to get some more photos on here.

I have to dash off now, because the wedding starts shortly.


*cough* Guest Book *cough*

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blame it on the rain

Today is our last day in cape town. We leave for namibia early
tomorrow morning. We are planning a drive around the cape of good hope
in the rental car today. The weather has turned a bit rainy, but we're
glad we had an awesome sunny day on sunday. And it never rains in
namibia anyway!

Sent from Gmail for mobile |

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cape Town!

We made it to Cape Town! And we survived our 19 hour bus trip. The bus was actually more comfortable than the plane, with nice soft seats that reclined a looong way. Got to see some of the countryside as we were going along too - lot and lots of very dry land! Even saw our first african animals... well, they were sheep and cows and goats - but they were african! Later on we saw some ostrich and some kind of Bok.

Got a glimpse of some real african poverty too - shanty-towns made of corrugated-iron houses, and only a bit further up the road (presumably) rich vineyards!

On arrival at Cape Town we had some drama, walked to the car rental office we had booked, only to find them closed! It seems they had lost our booking. But we got it all sorted in the end and have picked up a shiny new Toyota Yaris today.

Better go, time's running out at the internet cafe - but don't say I never blog!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bring on the bus!

We made it to joburg, and luckily enough so did our luggage. We had 12 hours to kill before the next stage, so we really wanted to see the apartheid museum.

Luckily, we were able to find a place to have a shower and a rest beforehand, so we went off to museum feeling slightly more human.

The museum was amazing. You just walk through it thinking 'how could anyone think this was a good idea?'

now we are at the bus station waiting on the bus that will be our home for the next 19 hours. It's a luxury bus, but after the movies-on-demand on the plane - will it stack up?


Sent from Gmail for mobile

Friday, September 26, 2008

Halfway round the world...

We have made it to bangkok so far. I'm writing this on my phone from the airport. Now that's commitment! We're waiting for our connecting flight to joburg. I'm loving the individual screens on the plane, and movies on demand. Already watched indiana jones, iron man, kung fu
panda and speed racer. Awesome.

Sent from Gmail for mobile

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Twas The Night Before Take-Off

Twas the Night before Take-Off
And Jason and Juliet
Were just so Excited
They couldn't get to Bed

The Bags were all Packed
The Lists Ticked Off
Just a few more Hours
And then we'll be Off!

Do you like the clever way I rhymed 'off' with 'off' there? Amazing.

So, we're all packed. And we've managed to come in at the right weight with our luggage which is nice. We have no problem with the airline's 20kg limit, as the safari tour we are going on has a 12kg limit each! Lucky we're light packers!

Our flight leaves at 1:15pm tomorrow. Helen is picking us up to take us to Auckland.

Not sure when we'll get to do a blog after that - so here's a run down of the plan:

Fly from Auckland to Bangkok. 3 hour stopover.
Fly from Bangkok to Johannesburg. 12 hours there (6am to 6pm). We only have two objectives for our time in Jo'burg - see the Apartheid museum, and not get killed. We'll let you know how we get on.
Then at 6pm we board a bus for a mammoth 19 hour bus trip from Jo'burg to Cape Town. It is 1500 kms - the same as the distance from Hamilton to Invercargil.
Arriving in Cape Town we will pick up a rental car and drive to our accomodation for the first shower in a very long time!

Wish us luck!

(I have my phone with me (Jason), if anyone wants to text).


PS: Got another email from the travel agent today - saying the airline have changed the flight time again. The day before we leave. Awesome. Just about fainted, but turned out it was only a five minute change to the departure time from Jo'burg on the way home. Why even bother to tell us that? We have to be at the airport three hours early anyway!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Final Countdown (do de doo do, do de do do doo)

Holy crap, three days till takeoff.

And no posts here for over a month.


(I know, you're not shocked at all).

Strangely, I've had heaps to blog about too - just no time. That's not very promising for future posts I guess, but we'll see how we go.

I've even set it up so I can blog from my cellphone - if I have coverage of course.

So in the last month... what has happened. Hmmm.

We finished all our jabs at the doctors. I ended up having 8 jabs in total, and two bloodtests. Juliet got away with only 5 jabs and one bloodtest. We had to have the bloodtest to see if we were "rabies proof". We both got good antibody results, but we still won't be lining up to be bitten by any wild dogs/monkeys/bats/used car salesmen etc.

We went to the theatre and saw Cats with Zac. You can read about that on his blog. Oh, hang on, he hasn't posted for 5 months! tee hee hee. (Hello Kettle, I'm Pot, you're black!)

We picked up our tickets from the travel agent. We had a mild heart stoppage when we got home and found that the e-Ticket for the airline had the wrong date for travel. We had changed the dates since we originally booked, but the e-Tickets still showed the old dates. Got back in touch with the travel agent and found that the booking is actually correct - we are booked for the right days but the airline doesn't actually provide new e-Tickets. We just rock on up to the airport with the wrong date on our ticket and apparently that's OK. Riiiight....

We went and saved the environment with Jess and Frosty. Took part in the Hubbards Carbon Crusade and went for an 8km walk and planted four trees each.

We got a phonecall just last week from the travel agent - saying the airline had changed our flights. Queue major heart stoppage - seven days out from departure and all our accommodation is booked - how can they be changing flights? It was OK though... turned out to be only the very last flight home from Bangkok to Auckland that got changed. Now we are having an extra day in Bangkok (at the airline's expense) and oh deary me, have to have another day of work. :-)

Then of course there's be all the last minute organising - getting a house sitter in so we don't leave our shiny new house empty for 5 weeks ... buying up half of the stock at Kathmandu for our safari tour ... and last night we started to pack!

Lord knows how I'm going to sleep the next few nights. I'm way too excited.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Stop The Presses

Stop The Presses!

I bought petrol tonight, and it was under two dollars a liter! Sure I had to use a discount coupon, and even then it was only $1.989/L, but still worth celebrating I thought. Now this week I might have a little money left over for cheese...

While I'm on the topic of petrol, time for a rant. I don't really mind that the price of petrol is going up. I know the world is running out of oil. (Doesn't explain cheese though - what's up with that? Damnit I'm getting sidetracked). What really gets my goat is the fact that these places still call themselves Service stations. I can't remember the last time I got anything remotely resembling service at one of these. In fact they make you do everything yourself. And they're so paranoid about people doing runners that everywhere is Pre-Pay. Which means me having to line up TWICE. Once to say "I'd like to top up my car at pump seven please, I promise I won't run away" and then again to pay. (What's next? Pre-Pay CHEESE? Sorry, tangent again). And why are the lines so long each time? Because there is only one munter of a staff member when you have forty-three pumps, a mini supermarket AND a coffee shop to run.

(calming breaths)

One day. The people will revolt.

(end of rant)

The other bit of excitement for us today was going in to the travel agent to pay up the balance of our air fares and safari tours. No going back now! Can't wait until the tickets arrive. Only 45 days until takeoff now!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Look Out Tiger Woods

Sunday was a corker day, and we decided to head off for a game of Pitch 'n' Putt. Just like regular golf, only smaller.

Competition was fierce, but I managed to win at the end of the day, with a staggering 55 (par was 27) versus 57 from Juliet and 60 from Zac.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

I see that they are now making a NZ version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? I'm looking forward to that show. Sadly I know my own non-existent sports knowledge would doom me to fail.

Anyway, Zac, Frosty and I got our own chance at being millionaires tonight at a Millionaire's Night Out, hosted by Innovation Waikato.

Thirty bucks entry got us a cheque for a million at the door. Then we took the cheques to the croupier and he exchanged them for... ten chips. Yep, ten. Minimum bet is 25 grand is this casino boys and girls. High-rollers all the way.

With BlackJack, Roulette, a Winning Wheel, Crown&Anchor and Texas Hold 'Em to play, we knew that the poker was our best bet for becoming rich. Only Frosty managed to secure a spot on the table to start with though, so Zac and I tried our hands at BlackJack. Which it turns out is not so fun when the dealer gets 21. Again. And again. And again.

So a wee bit poorer we pushed our way through to the poker table, and saw that Frosty had already tripled his pile of money. We played for a while, constantly dribbling money away until finally I had a good hand. I had King/Ten spades in the hole and there were three spades on the table. A king-high flush. The bet kept going up, until (just about wetting myself) I pushed my last chip - the big half a million I'd been saving - on to the table. "All in".

Time to show the cards. I triumphantly show my King/Ten for everyone to admire, which they do, until the next guy flips over his Ace/Jack. Of spades. An Ace-high flush.

I think I just about fainted. I was pushing away from the table to stagger away when someone called out hey - you won! Turns out the guy who beat me had less money, so couldn't match the bet. So he couldn't win it all, but only up to when he stopped betting. The rest was mine! I think my hand kept shaking for the next half an hour.

I finished on about 5 million, while Frosty topped 12 and a half. Zac risked it all on the last hand of the night and lost it all. Sadly we didn't win any prizes, but a great night was had by all.

There's a photo of the three of us somewhere amongst this lot.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Mellow Yellow

So this is my exciting new camera, all ready to take away to Africa.

It's just like the one Toni got ages ago, except hers was pink and mine is yellow.

I bought it from Expert Infotech, an online store based in Auckland. I highly recommend them - lowest price and good service.

Speaking of lowest price, I found them on PriceSpy - which is another handy website.

I've been looking at the camera for a while, and after seeing it online for over a hundred bucks better that anywhere else I'd seen it I decided to purchase it then and there and pick it up while we were in Auckland last weekend. In case you didn't know, I'm cheap :-)

So on to the camera itself - it is 8MP (which is crazy in that my giant digital SLR from a few yeards back is only 6MP). It also does movies, has a whole host of specialist settings like "BehindGlass", "Fireworks" etc, and the menu system seems to be really easy to get around.

It also has a panoramic photo-stitching feature which seems even better that the one on my old Canon camera, which I loved.

But the real beauty of this camera is that it is waterproof. No extra housing or anything required - waterproof to 3m straight out of the box. That's a real plus for me. Not that I really intend to be submersed in water during my holiday, but then, I never do! I also figure that if it keeps the water out it must keep dust and sand out too - and I'm gonna be encountering plenty of that I'm sure. Plus there's the ever present danger of dropping cameras into toilets.... (hey - it happens a lot thank you very much)


Thursday, August 7, 2008

The End Is Nigh

Made it through three nights, and Juliet is back tomorrow so I can go back to eating decent meals!

I've been filling my bachelor nights with movies recorded long ago (I love hard-disk DVD recorders). Tonight was "Love Actually". Which I have to say is an absolutely fantastic film. Such a great cast, and so many interwoven storylines. And where else can you get pure honesty like "come on then, let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love".

See you tomorrow with a review of my shiny new camera!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Well, two days down and one chicken dinner.

Eating my own cooking is probably good practise for Africa anyway eh?


Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Juliet has gone to Taupo for work again, for three whole nights! That's three dinners I have to make myself (panic!).

If blogging stops over the next few days it'll probably be because I've gone feral.

Although I managed tonight OK, but even I can cook sausages. Tomorrow night will be far more challenging.... chicken!


Monday, August 4, 2008

The Pox

Went along to the doctor this morning for our follow-up jabs. Juliet and I both got our second Rabies shot. The rabies one is quite exciting actually, as it is bright pink and they inject in just under the skin so your skin swells up in a little pink bubble. We've still got one more to go, so I'll try and get a photo next time.

Also my blood test results were back. I'm already immune to Hepatitis A, however not so lucky with chicken pox. Turns out the good fortune to not get infected with this disease as a child is actually bad fortune, as it's even nastier to get it as an adult. (It doesn't go as far as making you sterile though, as some other childhood diseases can do to adults!). So that's more injections for me! One today, and another in six weeks. I would have preferred her to not read out all the possible side effects though!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Requiescat in pace

Well we are back from our weekend in Auckland - with many stories to share... but none quite so urgent as this one.

We arrived home this afternoon at four PM to find our beloved letterbox looking like this:

The very same letterbox we made ourselves, of our own design, our own sweat and blood when we moved into our new house! Don't believe me? Here's proof:

We've done some patchwork to keep him stable and comfortable for the next few days, so he'll be able to continue his much loved job of collecting our mail and directing people to our house for a few days yet, but we know he'll never be the same again. We haven't got up the courage yet to sit down with the letterbox and tell him he'll need to be ... replaced.

We suspect the extremely high wind was the culprit, so the new model will be uber-reinforced. We have the technology.

I'll have to sign off there, and go find a quiet place to reflect on the good times we've had.

And here's us and our letterbox on better days, the way we'll always remember him.

Requiescat in pace, letterbox. Requiscat in pace.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Magic Slippers

I see some people are stumbling across my blog - which makes me think - what the hell are you people doing? I haven't posted for months! But it's nice that you still do check every now and then. Special mention to Karl, who managed to comment on the first post almost before i finished writing it.

But you aren't posting your top five destinations! (Except for you Toni - thanks :-) )

Where do you really REALLY want to go? Where would you be looking for the next plane to if you won a hundred billion dollars? (But not a hundred billion Zimbabwean dollars - unless your wildest dream is buying four oranges....)

My top destinations at the moment would have to be:

Iceland. Sit in natural hot pools with snow and ice all around... look across a canyon from one continental plate to the other ... cool :-)
Egypt. Definitely gotta see the great pyramids, and I don't know if you can get inside them these days, but surely a hundred billion has got to get you past some red tape?
Thailand. (and no, not looking for lady-men either). After Margaret's tales of Thailand I really want to go there. Ride elephants, pat tigers, stay in 5 star hotels for about $1.25.

I'll have to back to you about the other two....

And keep guessing on the women's cricket thing too. I can tell you all guesses so far are too recent. Head back in time...


PS: We're going to Auckland this weekend, so apologies if there is a gap in the posting.

PPS: If you missed the point of the title - I was going for a Wizard of Oz thing, tap your heels together and go wherever you like.... Well it made sense to me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Smarty McBrainyPants n Co.

We are just back from our somewhat irregularly held quiz night at the Ruakura Campus Club. We've been going here for over a year now, and our track record hasn't been the best. Not that we're the worst or anything. We're usually squarely in the middle, just outside of the top four prize winners! But it's a lot of fun, and they have a really good handicap system which stops the same people from winning all the time.

Anyway, tonight we won! There was a tie, and we won the tie-breaker. And here is that tie-breaker question for you fine folks...


What year was the first women's cricket match reported?

Happy guessing....


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vote Now!

How much do you wish YOU were going to Africa?
Vote on the poll over there ---->>>

You can vote for more than one option :-)

Leave a comment or write in the guestbook - what are the top five places in the world you'd love to go? Do you want to see all the touristy things like the Pyramids, and the Leaning Tower, or would you rather get lost in some Amazonian Rainforest?

58 days to go!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Introducing... The Human Pincushions!

High on the the list of objectives for our trip to Africa is this:

It's pretty up there. So with that in mind we went today for a trip to the Travel Doctor. These guys are sprinkled at medical centers around the country and know stuff like what deadly diseases you need protection from in different countries. Seeing as part of our holiday involves a camping trip (more details later) we are probably going to be a bit more exposed to nasties than if we were staying in 5 star hotels. So after a 1hr consult with the doctor, it was off to the nurse for the jabs.

I am now the proud owner of shiny new antibodies for Polio, Typhoid, Tetanus and Rabies. Yep, FOUR injections. Then, not content with that number of holes in me, they took some blood too, to test for the antibodies for Hepatitis A (as I think I've been immunized but not sure) and Chickenpox (as I don't think I've ever had it and it is nasty to get as an adult apparently).

Juliet managed to get away with only 3 as her tetanus was up to date.

We were especially pleased that they managed to get all our injections into our arms, and didn't have to go looking for other places to jab!

So after all that, and a 20 minute spell to make sure neither of us was going to faint, it was time for the painful part - paying at reception. FIVE HUNDRED BUCKS if you please! Well, it was either that or stay in a bubble while we're in Africa.

We also picked up some pills to ward off Malaria, which we have to take every day we're in the malaria zone, and for a month afterwards.

Well at least it's something crossed off the list... although we still have to go back 3 or 4 times for various boosters before we go.

Better go now, I can feel the PolioTyphoidTetanusRabies cocktail kicking in...


Risen from the ashes...

Time to turn over a new leaf.

A clean slate.

And all those other cliches.

Only 59 days to go until we leave for our African Adventure. Join us as we prepare for the last holiday we'll be having in a while!

We'll be throwing a few other topics into the blog as well, I know there are people still waiting for new house photos, and then there's the deck, and goodness knows what else.

Wish us luck!