Tag: travel

International Travel Kicks In.

International Travel Kicks In.

Finally, international travel has kicked in, and I’m able to leave N.Z. to go and visit my daughter. 

The first step was flying from Tauranga to Auckland. Over the past couple of years, I have seen planes flying over my home, and every time it goes through my mind, that’s where I want to be – on that plane, either coming or going.

I have a love of airports. They signify off on another adventure, or yay, I’m coming home. Both are just as important. The adrenaline and the build-up of excitement are half the fun. Then boarding and strapping in and knowing that I’m on my way always gives me a sigh of relief that I made it.

The pre-takeoff this time was more than just getting excited. I also had to be very aware of where I went, of masking up and not going anywhere there were crowds of people I didn’t know. The last thing I wanted to get was the Vid.

My preparations were rewarded. I was clear to travel. The Australian (sorry, I meant to say I was headed to Aussie) DPD (Digital Passenger Declaration) was a lengthy process. Downloading the app was a breeze, but then filling it all in was not the easiest, and I’d hate to think how elderly folk would get on, especially ones who don’t like using their phones.

Asking for specific vaccine dates meant rushing off to my purse and thankfully finding the wee card I’d been given showing the dates I got injected. The International vaccine passport shows only the third one. So that was one heart-stopping moment for me.

Next, scanning my passport – yes, that worked. But then I also had to take a selfie, and quite frankly, that was not easy. You see, I had to remove my glasses which meant I couldn’t read the instructions as I tried to line up my face to the camera. It took more than a few tries, but finally, the green light appeared, and it was done. On reflection, I could have at least combed my hair!!!

Thankfully I’m familiar with the Air N.Z. app, so that side was easy to navigate, and it seemed I was ready to fly.

My three a.m.er friend Kathy (you’ve met her before HERE) picked me up, and we had plenty of time to check me in, get a coffee and chat together before she needed to go.

Checking in at Tauranga, it was a blessing that I was checked all the way through to Sydney. Why? You ask. Because I only had one cabin bag, which could only be up to 7Kg. Of course, my ‘handbag’ was oversized and stuffed full of all the heavy things. Realizing I didn’t have to contend with bag weight in Auckland, as soon as I got to the table and while Kathy got the coffee, I transferred most of that heavy stuff into the cabin bag.

Oh, the things we do!

Then we were off.

International Travel

Once in Auckland, it was time to head over to the International airport. WOW! Desolate is how I would describe it. There was just no one around.

International Travel

Checking through security was so much faster than I remember. It took me back to before 9/11 when you just showed your passport and boarding pass and put your bags on a conveyor belt (minus the hoopla of liquids in a plastic bag, laptops visible and coats and hats off).

By now, it was lunchtime, and I was a bit peckish. Nothing was open – I mean, even McD’s was closed – when does that happen? I finally managed to find a muesli bar that was dairy-free in a store that sold magazines, books, soft drinks and lollies. Then, after sitting, eating and looking out at the very few AirN.Z. planes on the tarmac, I headed to the gate.

Oh! So that’s where everyone was! The place was packed. People were reading, on their phones, on computers and doing crosswords. Others were simply sitting in the chairs gazing out the window. Hmmm, so everyone was going to Sydney?

And sure enough, when we boarded the plane, they all were!

International Travel

It was a smooth flight. Then straight through customs without a fuss and out the doors to my waiting daughter. The hugs were immense, and the tears flowed.

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally free to go where I want.

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The Wellington Experience

The Wellington Experience

The last time I was in the windy city (Wellington) was seven years ago. Not a lot has changed, only this time the weather was balmy and calm.

Flying in on a Friday and flying out the following Monday, I certainly jammed a load of stuff into the three days in the city.

Don’t worry; I’m not about to give you a travel log description of what I did, that would be as boring for you as the neighbour’s slide show from their campervan trip through the Australia outback.

 

But what I will say is that you can make it fun anywhere you go if you just keep your eyes open for the odd, the curious, the beautiful and the downright emotional.

 

However, I will give a plug to the WW1 exhibition.

Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War” at Te Papa. 

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so moved by a museum display as I was with this one. In my mind, Peter Jackson nailed it. Informative and brutal, sad and a little humorous, it told the story of Gallipoli from the soldiers and nurses who were there. The models were massive at around 2.5 times human size, and each one depicted a frozen moment in time. The walk through a trench briefly captured the horror of war. If you are ever in Wellington, I highly recommend this.

 

My son took me to the ballet, Giselle, which we both enjoyed and to the art gallery for the weirdest exhibit called “Creature” by Berlin-based artist Marianna Simnett. Four short films, quite an unusual visual effect from four different screens. I must admit, though, that I couldn’t watch all of it; bit weirdly gruesome for me. To give you a clue – one was about mastitis… I really didn’t need to see the pus oozing from the teat! Made me grateful to be vegan!

From the games of chess, listening to Sam and James (from Black Spider Trio), playing gypsy jazz in the cutest Italian restaurant, exploring the city, walking the beaches and eating great food, all up, it was an excellent adventure.

Enjoy the Wellington Gallery!  Click on an image to enlarge the gallery.

 

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Going Round in Circles on a Travel Adventure

Going Round in Circles on a Travel Adventure

Make it fun no matter how crazy it seems.

We always talk about life being a journey, well I like to think that it’s more of a travel adventure. And to prove my point, life can send you on a merry dance, and you feel like you’re going round in circles. It’s entirely your choice how you decide to embrace it. Will you get annoyed? Or Will you make the most of it and enjoy the ride?

An example of this happened to me recently.

I was invited to stay with some friends who had hired a home in a picturesque part of the Coromandel. My friend had texted me a few days before with the address; 5 Scenic Place. They had arrived the previous day, and I received a text telling me that it was an incredibly steep driveway and I should be careful.

This particular place was several hours drive, so I planned to leave in plenty of time to call in to see my brother en route. Now I must add here that it has been quite some time since I had driven north of Tauranga and so I was utterly shocked at the number of roadworks that were taking place.

Travel Adventure

It always has been a rotten stretch of road between Tauranga and Katikati, but the signs saying Omokora to Waihi upgrade did not bode well. As I approached the notorious Apata part of number two state highway, I could see this was going to be a very L..O…N….G trip.

A journey that used to take half an hour stretched into an hour, but it didn’t stop there as more roadworks cropped up along the way. Finally, the road was clear. Over the hills I travelled to get to Whangamata, enjoying the glorious sunshine and free driving. Didn’t last! The journey was suddenly stymied by the ignorant, inconsiderate campervan driver who has no idea how to be courteous to the banked up vehicles behind.

Finally!!! I arrived at my brother’s home and had just enough time to say hello, have a hug, a bit of a chat before I was off on the road again, navigating through the endless lines of vintage vehicles which were pouring into Whangamata for the yearly Beach Hop gathering.



But at last. The freedom of the highway.

Putting the address into Google maps, I was a little perplexed to see that Scenic Place became Scenic Drive and wasn’t strictly at the particular wee beach I thought, but the one next to it. Oh well, perhaps there was a bit of confusion – I know I get a bit disorientated as there are several beaches very close to each other, and I can never remember which is which.

So, putting trust in the GPS, I sailed off in the direction the nice Google lady told me to go. However, arriving at number 5, I discovered two things.

  1. The drive was perfectly okay and
  2. The people in the house were not my friends.

After speaking to them, it was evident that I was at the wrong beach.

Hmmm, oh well, it was a beautiful day and not dinner time yet, so I called my friend and left a message and decided that I would head to the beach she has given me and ask someone there where Scenic Place was. Perhaps it was in a new subdivision, and Google hadn’t caught up????

Once there, I spied the cutest restaurant in an old church and decided that, surely, someone in there would know. As there were no patrons, the owner and the chef were out on the deck enjoying a beer. I was in luck. They had all the time needed to try and figure out where the elusive street would be.

These two fine gentlemen had never heard of this particular street. So, I explained the steep driveway adding that my friends were in a four-bedroom AirB&B. This led the restaurant owner to make a couple of phone calls, and finally, everyone agreed that, in all likelihood, the street was Sally Place as it fitted the description.

Please know, Reader, that I was continuing to try and reach my friend.

I logged the new address into Google, and off I went telling these nice restauranteurs that if I had no luck, I’d come back for a beer and wait till my friend got in touch with me.

The driveways sure were steep on Sally Place. Finding number 5 was rather a mission though, as it was like a rabbit warren of houses dotted on the hill, and most of them were very obviously empty.



Try and I might I could not find 5. It was there somewhere but well hidden. So time to ask again. Another very obliging chap came to the door, and when he found out what I was looking for, he went back inside and returned with an aerial map in hand of his home and surrounding houses.

We found number 5 on the map, the one with the white roof. So, back halfway down the hill, I turned off onto another driveway that weaved back up the hill heading for 5.

  • Again, I was thwarted as the couple I could see on the balcony were definitely not my friends.
  • Again, a keen stranger was eager to help solve this mystery. But alas, we were stumped.

No problem. I figured I’d head back to the church restaurant and wait it out. But there was no need as just as I was back on the flat ground my phone rang and it was my friend.

She was genuinely so sorry; she had forgotten to add the actual street name. You see, the house was named Scenic Place, and the street was Francis Drive.

It was well worth the time and effort to get there. Yes, it was a steep driveway, but the view from the balcony was spectacular and the company of my friends magical. And as a plus, I’d met some lovely people along the way. Such is life being a travel adventure!

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Airport Protocol

Airport Protocol

A massive exercise ensued on Friday

as I packed up from Lily’s home and got myself to the airport – a three hour drive – in time to catch my flight to Sydney.

You know that saying “The best laid plans ….”?? Well it sure applied on Friday. The aim was to be away from Lily’s by 10 a.m. Hah! not a chance, especially as I didn’t get out of bed when I planned to and then, to make matters worse, I mucked about on my computer clearing emails and checking Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc (as any good social media buff does)!!!

Then it was all a mad rush to get the last of the packing done, the cleaning finished and the car packed.

Fortunately, dropping off my house-sitting gear was on the way. But I did have to “dump and run” which was not what I had intended.

Airport here I come. Oh what a slow trip on the second half. The closer I got to Auckland, the worse the weather became. By the time I hit (oh, not literally), the motorway the rain was a steady ‘wipers on full’ mode. Parts even were at a crawl as visibility was so bad.
And, due to the fact that I had “dumped and run” as mentioned above, I did have some time up my sleeve to weather the rotten rain. Got to the airport bang on the dot of 2.30 and dropped Trev off with the nice man who took Trev away to be stored.

Got through departure gate without much hassle… did have to go into the little pod, stand on the yellow feet and put my arms up, then get swiped with the wand thingy, but all good – I may look random, but not that silly!

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-2-11-47-pmThe abysmal vegan choices at the airport very quickly became apparent, but decided that now would be a good time to start to lose a bit of weight! – Yeah right…. you’re talking to a foodie!
Posted the image on twitter – probably one of the most liked and shared tweets I’ve ever done.

I still love airports though. When I’m at an airport I’m either going somewhere that I want to be or I’m coming home. It’s not often I don’t enjoy coming home. So airports for me are never stressful as long as I’ve got there in time. Even when things don’t go according to “easey peasy” mode, I try not to get too upset. Stuff happens, especially stuff out of my control – so I just try and roll with the punches.

For example. On the journey back home. As I only had carry on bag and didn’t have to wait at baggage collection, I disembarked fully expecting to be through and meeting Trev’s driver by 3.30. Nup.The Chaos Fairies were in full flight starting at the quick e-passport kiosks. Put in the passport to get the message that the kiosk was not working and to try another one. O.k., fine, I’ll wait till one is free – Oh, there’s one. In the passport goes again, waiting, waiting – message reads – please proceed to immigration officer. Maybe I’ll try another one just to make totally sure. Yup, please proceed to immigration officer.
Now the line for the manual immigration checking had grown somewhat as people had collected their bags and there were several flights in at the same time.

No worries – get in line.

Always an up-side. Got talking to the chap behind me who had come in from the U.K. Turns out he is an entertainment promoter and here sorting out the last details for the upcoming tour of Michael McIntyre – wouldn’t mind going to that show. Anyhoo, he had high praise indeed for the comedian who, of course, we only ever see on the telly.

Passport finally checked, off to breeze through customs. Round the corner – duh! another long, long line. Two officers on checking custom declaration forms …. thoroughly!!!! Many having to go through bio-security.

Then my phone rings – Trev’s driver wondering where I was as by now it was after 4 p.m.

But got through I did and Trev was waiting.

A much better drive home in sunshine. Picked up the house-sitting gear on the way and managed to be at my new digs with cat called Quinn just before 8 p.m.

Did I go to bed early? You bet your sweet booty I did!!!

p.s. – Sydney airport didn’t have a great selection of vegan food either – went all over the place trying to find one banana …. the kind lady where I got my coffee felt sorry for me and gave me a strawberry.love to travel

Finally found a falafel wrap to take on board for my lunch – so Sydney was one up on the vegan fare over Auckland.

 

 

 

 

 




A Snapshot Look At Me?

A Snapshot Look At Me?

Here’s a repertoire of what makes me frown or smile:

What gets me pissed off:environment

  • The incredible abuse we do to the environment – well that’s just ongoing.
  • The blatant sidestepping of the government so issues don’t have to be addressed.
  • The fact that something else comes along to take the short attention span of the media and the public away from something else.
  • The TPP – which currently seems to lie dormant in the minds of the majority due to the fact we’ve got the Panama Papers to keep us busy … my view? The stopping of the TPP is more important.

What saddens me:syrian refugee crises

  • The terror, the hatred, the pain that innocent people around this world face because of the incessant greed both for wealth and power of a few.
  • The destruction our species has done and continues to do to this stunningly beautiful and kind planet.

 

What makes me proud:no GMO

  • My children as they are all exceptional adults who care about others, never judge and care about animals and the environment
  • The work that is done by people for the underdogs of this world – both human and non-human.
  • Those who actually give a damn about the world.
  • My friends/family who succeed on their chosen path – more so if I’ve lent a helping hand.

What makes me laugh:cat meme

  • The calamity that is happening to the Republican party now that it seems like The Don is all they’ve got.
  • The jostling and the playing of games our politicians do – pretty much regardless of which party they’re from.
  • Most of the Gifs and Memes on FaceBook – now they’re clever
  • Cats
  • And pretty much anything – I seem to find amusement in the oddest places and the smallest thing = I just love to laugh.
Auckland Airport
And if you don’t know where this is – it’s the check in area for AirNZ Auckland Airport where I’d like to be right now

What I love:

  • Having a coffee with a friend or friends/family – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be coffee!
  • Muck around on the internet or my computer.
  • Making graphics (see all images on this blog) – one day I’ll get into Gifs!
  • Airports – means I’m either going somewhere or coming home!
  • So let’s put travel in this category.

 

Obviously, there’s lots more, but that will give you a bit of a look into my world…. perhaps I’ve had one glass of wine too many!

 

 

 

 

 

 




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