Archives for the month of: February, 2009

I’m in Fiji!!!
I would have told you earlier but as some of you may have noticed there was some website messiness where my site appeared to go down. Thanks to the rapid response of united hosting it’s all sorted (I just mailed their support and said help and they did the rest!)
So I’m in Fiji, there is a lot more rain that I expected, as it’s still the wet season at the moment. This is actually quite a relief as when it’s not raining it’s crazy hot and I tend to break into a sweat from such heavy actives as sitting and lying.
Tomorrow I’ll be doing my first dive session in the ocean having done three pool dives to learn the basics.
It’s all pretty good although when I have to clear my mask by blowing through my nose (getting rid of any water)… yeah I can’t do that.
But the instructor is very good and has given myself and Mimi some exercises to do to help us. He is confident that we’ll have our open water certification by the end of Sunday along with the rest of the group.
I’m staying in a genuine Fijian village at the moment which is certainly quite an experience. I wouldn’t say that it’s all been good (not getting enough sleep mainly) but with a few more days to go who knows how things will pan out.

Last Friday I was at a loose end. I didn’t really want to spend any money but I also didn’t want to mooch around the hostel doing nothing or reading or something like that.
So I went for a walk, and ended up sitting on a bench by the marina watching the world go by. After a while of sitting a woman sat on the same bench. We got to talking about this and that. After an hour of increasingly involved chat she suggested that we get out of the wind and get some food. It was cold so I was all for that although I have a few second thoughts about getting food – it would involve spending money. I went anyway.
So there was lots of talking, a few drinks and a damn good main followed by an equally good dessert.

I’ve always been a bit unsure about modern etiquette at the best of times so I had no idea how to handle the whole money thing. Especially since she’d be getting the drinks and although she said she got them for free because her brother worked behind the bar I did see here with a card out and in a reader.
When she went to the toilet I got the bill and put my card down – seemed like a gentlemanly thing to do. However she got back before the bill + card was collected. This was when I realized that this is definitely the 21st century.
‘I’ll get this – I’m not on a budget and you are’ She breezed.
‘Are you sure’ – I had no idea how strongly I should argue this point.
And that was that, free dinner!
As we say here in NZ – Sweet as.

I’ve been getting a lot more spam recently, has anyone else been noticing this?

I put my van up for sale yesterday morning. And still today afternoon no-one has bought it!


I arrived back in Auckland on Monday (yes this means that my blog is now actually up-to date!), and it was not a good day.
Let me recount:
Firstly I had to look for a post office as my van was actually no-long road legal (something like road tax and some other thing which I don’t quite understand – miles for diesel). While looking for a post office I dropped in at a travel agent to get a plane ticket to Melbourne. This was all going fine, but it turns out that you have to get some fancy visa thing if you get a one-way ticket, so I got my return ticket from Sydney to Auckland for Saturday 25th April – yes this means that hopefully I’ll be back in the UK on Monday or Tuesday of that week… Haven’t sorted that trip back yet so we’ll have to see.
Anyway that was a lot of faff as there were refunds and re-payments as these details became clear.
Then my card got cancelled, because I was using it in NZ. Yes despite the fact that I’ve been using my card in New Zealand for the past three months didn’t seem to matter one jot.
On the plus side the bank sorted it very quickly, so it’s not all bad.
Then I had to go to the post office and queue up three times throughout the morning. Once to find I couldn’t pay by card, once to find that I hadn’t filled in one of the forms fully and needed to get an address from one of my documents and lastly to actually get the damn things.
Back at the hostel I met with my new room-mates and we went out for a drink together. Things are looking up!
But because I hadn’t eaten all day while sorting out all this junk I got far far too drunk and was sick in the room, promply alienating two of the three other guys.
Tuesday I did nothing other than watch films, I was feeling quite sorry for myself.

I hope this doesn’t come across as too much of a massive winge, things are good now, but this travelling lark isn’t always sweetness and light 🙂

I generally disagree with being labelled a lucky guy but this is an exception for sure!
When I was in Rai Valley, WWOOF’ing, my hosts let me know that they were booked up for the next month or so. Despite this obvious warning that things were getting busy (which would reduce my chance of getting a host) I didn’t get around to e-mailing some farms until the last minute. I didn’t hold out much hope so I mailed 4 people at the same time. The next day I had four replies, two were happy to take me. One was a B&B by the coast and the other was a home in the countryside. The B&B could take me immediately and the house was busy until Monday (this was all discovered on a Thursday). For no reason other than ‘gut feeling’ I went with the house and milled around the area for the weekend. I spent some time at the beach.
I had definitely picked the right option, as you can see:
The second lounge
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I took the ‘other’ ferry company back to the North Island. For no other reason than they are cheaper. This time the trip was boring. THey had a proper on board cineam but it had two problems. One – you had to pay for it, two – they were showing films I’d already seen.
After getting bored of taking photos of the landscape (or more acurately cold from the wind) I spent the rest of the voyage listening to music on my iPod.
It feels good to be back on the North Island. No idea why. Perhaps it’s just because I spent another few days in Wellington – I like the city quite a lot. This time however I didn’t stay in a hostel in the city, I just drove out and found a place to parkup and sleep – then drove back in again. Parking is expensive enough without adding somewhere to sleep on top of it!
I emailed some places about WWOOF’ing and then drove upto Hawkes bay.
First place I visited was Hastings – I didn’t like that at all, literally I stopped, got out of my van, got about as far as sniffing the air nad got back in my van and drove off.
Then I visited Napier and I liked this town much much more. Very nice, I spent the day there and watched Revloutionary Road (I try and stay out of the sun between 11 and 3 as I don’t like the idea of skin cancer). Good film. Quite sad.
I then broke alll tradition and stayed in campsites for two consecutive days!

Working in Rai Valley for about ten days my main ‘WWOOFer’ task was clearing out a warehouse full of random bits of junk. Well I thought it was junk but a lot of it was useful (apparently). Anyway it was quite a task but I learned something interesting about myself. There were lots of motor driven items in the mess, and most of them were to be thrown out – but the motor winding had to be removed to be sold at the scrap yard. Craig had a very pragmatic way of getting the windings from their housings. Simply smashing them with a sledge hammer.
Despite the generally held belief that destruction is fun I just didn’t get into it, taking to a mouting in a more intelectual manner with a spanner and a slower disassembly was something that I enjoyed much more. Thinking back to my life as a person I realised that I have always enjoyed building or creating something – even if it was mess or something that never got finished. Does this mean I’ve got more of a creative or constuctive soul? Well I’d like to think so, there is a sense of satisfaction when you have built something (real or virtual) and it works that you just don’t get my breaking something. Even the momentary elation at smashing something seems to be a feeling that I just don’t get. Probably it’s related to my gentle demeanor.