Beautiful New Zealand – My Middle Earth and a Habitat for Hobbits

I realised a little while ago that I tend to rave on about places in Asia that I’ve been to – especially Elephant Nature Park – but not really raved very much about the beautiful little country of my birth. So here’s a little rant about my place – Aotearoa, ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. Also know as Godzone by the denizens of the land, or Middle Earth to the world, since Peter Jackson used the exquisite scenery here as the background for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. We may not have elephants here, but we do have hobbits. Yessss, we doesss.

The North Island of New Zealand (Middle Earth) with directions on where to find stuff.

The North Island of New Zealand (Middle Earth) with directions on where to find stuff.

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Yawwwwnnnnnn – I Luvs Travelling, I Does…

After being on a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai all night, we arrived at Bangkok at 7-something this morn. It’s now 10-something this morn and we’re sitting around our hotel waiting to check in, which isn’t supposed to happen untl 12 noon. I’m typing with one hand and holding one eye open with the other. I just looooove travelling – it’s so great to get outside one’s comfort zones from time to time. Did I mention I was starving too? Yawwwwwn…

My left toenail for a coffee…

Yeah, alright. Betcha you don't look so great in the morning either.

Yeah, alright. Betcha you don’t look so great in the morning either.

Thailand 2013 (3) The Mad Inventor’s Toasting Machine and the Train Journey that Wasn’t

Gosh I'm tired. Think I'll go have a nice quiet snooze beside the railway track...

Gosh I’m tired. Think I’ll go have a nice quiet snooze beside the railway track…

I love that even moderately-priced hotels have idiosyncrasies galore in Asia. When going to the hawng nam (toilet) in the lobby of our hotel, I had to physically pick up the sliding door and heft it across the doorway before locking it with one of those safety chains that are often used on people’s front doors. In the breakfast room, they have a fascinating toaster that looks like it’s out of a mad inventor’s workshop. Your bread goes up a conveyor belt, is toasted under hot elements, then the toaster spits your toast back out the bottom. Unless it doesn’t, in which case you are required to perform delicate surgery with a pair of long metal tongs, potentially receiving a free new hairstyle courtesy of the hotel. Service plus around here…  Continue reading

I Want to Ride my Bicycle…

We survived the visa run to Myanmar and now we want to hire bicycles and ride around Old Chiang Mai. Many mysterious lanes abound. Looks like rain though, so we might walk instead and do a bit of a recon. It has nothing to do with sleeping in a tad and wasting half the morning already. Nor is grinding to a halt over coffee and banana pancakes relevant…

Scorpions – We Luvs Them!!

Today we went to the Siam Insect Zoo to play with scorpions and peruse terantulas. Lovely beasties!

Tomorrow we’re popping over to Myanmar (Burma) for a few minutes (as you do) to do a visa run. We need to extend our visas for Thailand and have decided not to go to Cambodia, which would been the alternative method, so we will do a mad dash up to the Golden Triangle instead. We will technically step over into Myanmar, wander about for 30 minutes and reenter Thailand with a 15 day extension stamped in our passports. What can go wrong, right?

So durned cute and cuddly.

So durned cute and cuddly.

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Thailand 2013 (2) City Cats and Condensed Milk by Marcel Marceau

I'm little, but I'm loud and I've only just started on you...

I’m little, but I’m loud and I’ve only just started on you…

Continuing from my previous email, where we had just got to bed in our hotel in Bangkok.

 Breakfast was a buffet that came with the price of our room. I chose a harmless little number that turned out to be really hot curry. Who would do that  to someone without at least planting a skull and crossbones flag beside it? Sadists!! Thankfully there were several sorts of pastries to compensate for the singeing of my tastebuds. Sadly, they didn’t have condensed milk to pour over them, like they did last year. And you try to explain ‘condensed milk’ to someone that doesn’t speak english – no amount of miming covers it, so I just gave up and scoffed them dry. At least they soaked up the curry. 

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Two Dentists in One Day and the Unusable Swimming Pool

I'm cool and refreshing and you can't use me. Na na na na nah!

I’m cool and refreshing and you can’t use me. Na na na na nah!

I went to two different murder houses, erm, dentists today. Both lots had a go at me and then at my wallet. Still, my wallet actually survived (as did I, obviously), which it never would have done back in my mother country. Continue reading

Thailand 2013 (1) – Volcanoes, Icicles and No Camels and Welcome to Your Asian Experience.

The volcano we flew over.

The volcano we flew over.

Hi all. As you can see, we made it to Thailand safely and are still alive and kicking so far.

 We got to Auckland Airport with plenty of time to spare, and managed to get the Malayasian Airlines staff to accept our slightly overweight luggage at check in – we have our wonderful donors to thank for that: Whangamata Library who donated books for Cambodian kids, Whangamata Vet Hospital who donated syringes, gloves, IV lines, etc, for the Elephant Nature Park clinic, and Sunny’s, Whangamata who gave us coloured pencils and half a carton of kids t-shirts, also for kids that are less fortunate than us. Awesome people, bless their lovely hearts for that! Peter modified a large plastic toolbox to use as a suitcase, which gave the check-in staff cause to wonder if he was transporting tools, but it was more along the lines of a good hard shell, somewhere to sit while waiting in line after line, as you do when travelling, and also a rather marvellous vehicle for scooting around the large international airports. We can duly report that this worked very well, as well as amusing airport staff. We try to be adult, but it doesn’t always work out that way… 

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