Archive

Posts Tagged ‘NZ’

Important conclusion from 3 mths away:

5 February, 2009 Leave a comment

The 6 P’s of massage measurement:

Psychological benefit; Physical benefit; Pain; Pleasure; Pennies (value for money); Peculiarity (novelty value)

massagemeasurement_090203

Location update

19 January, 2009 Leave a comment

last couple of days saw:

Snorkelling in Goat Island Marine Reserve with lots of wrasse, angel fish, cat fish, …

Down to Cambridge to hang out with the Laws. Oh, and on the way getting stopped by the law as well for doing 122kph in a 100 zone. The speed limits are ridiculous, and what they call a motorway, we call a road. Sunday was Rotarua’s excellent Te Puia and then to the amusingly titled Agrodome for some agroventure. Nothing to do with aggro. But in this case getting thrown about in a tiny boat with a huge engine on the back riding on about a foot of water. thoroughly recommend it.

Then back to Auckland for the final 24 hrs in NZ. Dinner with the Marshall and then, 24hours ago, getting up to drive to the airport, fly to sydney, then here to HK.

NZ advertising rules

19 January, 2009 Leave a comment

Rule #1: Shout. Always. If you think you’re shouting loudly, you’re not. Shout louder. It’s like british people who can’t speak a local language when they’re oversease. When in doubt, shout slower and louder.

Rule #2: Create a banal slogan (preferably with a terrible gag in it) to go with the company name and the special offer. Then shout it.

Rule #3: If at all possible, get the owner of the company to do the ad. There are more personal endorsements on air here than when Viktor Kiam and Richard Branson were doing their worst.

Rule #4: Remember that there appears to be no regulation of taste and decency whatsoever. 10am on a Sunday morning and you will hear an ad for “Make her happy, make yourself happy. Get over that embarrassing erectile disfunction with…” on their equivalent of talksport. And of course there’s the ad for “Christchurch’s most discerning gentleman’s club.”

Rule #4a: This can be extended to the sensibilities of the inhabitants, who won’t think twice about putting rather unfortunate messages side by side. To amusing effect, though, it has to be said. See here.

Gingerisms

19 January, 2009 1 comment

Now that I am posting this from the land where I look more freakish than ever, HK, I can add a couple more gingerisms.

A new word to describe a person of the red headed persuasion: fantapants. Source: More FM, Hamilton area, north island New Zealand. To this could be added “tangopants”, but as it’s a creation of the girl, I don’t think that counts as common parlance as yet.

Tags: ,

Getting Luckier – in Russell

19 January, 2009 Leave a comment

Just when I thought it wouldn’t get any better, the Bay of Islands, and in particular Danielle and Dino, our hosts at La Veduta in Russell, topped it all.

This was, I think, the 4 best days of holiday I have ever had. That’s not La Vedutahyperbole either.

Danielle and Dino are hosts of the old school. Their home is immaculate and the attention to detail tremendous. But best of all is their joie de vivre and the obvious delight they take in hosting their guests’ every need. There are so many things I could mention, but afternoon tea with homemade cake on the terrace, followed by a cool glass of something and watching the sun going down… or returning from town with 4 americans in tow to be filled with the house port and (blaming the girl here) starting up a round-the-piano singsong (Danielle’s Je ne regrette riens was a masterpiece. I bellowed Danny Boy with only 30% of the words and in a pub singer style. Nana would have been proud).

Russell itself is a very picturesque little town of 650 inhabitants, swelling to 2500 in peak season, which was the original capital of NZ – and then became the den of iniquity, earning the name The Hell Hole of the Pacific. Nice. Couldn’t be more opposite now.

And then the highlight could be the day on a massive cat sailing round the bays but that’s beaten to the post by behaving like a pair of adventurous ten year olds and winding our way round Topeka point. (will find a link in google maps, but HK web access proving a handicap). Anyway, the point is that there is NO path round the point. It’s impassable. You have to climb, slither, and at some points swim round craggy rocks. Well, I say impassable… clearly there is a path now – forged by us. Much fun.

Getting lucky

11 January, 2009 Leave a comment

The weather was pouring down… chucking… bucketting… but we were told that would make the waterfalls even more spectacular. And it did.

Doubtful Sound is the place they used for the last scenes of the LotR trilogy. 1km peaks drop straight down into the dark waters, covered with unfeasibly verdent life which shouldn’t be able to hold onto such a sheer cliff… and when the waterfalls flow, they pour from every crevice.

The rainforest’s balance is out of kilter. The signs are there for those who know, and our experienced skipper Lance knows all there was to know about this area after 20 years sailing it. But despite the depressing signs, it is still some of the most impressive wilderness you could ever see.

Snorkelling with wrasse, starfish, box fish and an abundance of flora… Walking free in the rainforest and getting lost in the undegrowth… Finding a pod of 12 bottle-nosed dolphins larking about in the West Arm of the Sound… watching the seals 5m away as they play and preen and soak in the sun.

In between came ever-flowing tea, cake, hearty breakfasts, lovely lunches and delicious dinners mixed in with a splash of wine and a dollop of banter in the galley. And to add a bit of variety with a game or two of cribbage, poker, a sing-song and a professional dulcimer-player.  I love you Neal.

And now back to Arrowtown, and tomorrow the drive to Christchurch and a flight up north. It’s difficult to see how anything can top the last 4 days, but you never know…

Location update

4 January, 2009 Leave a comment

No pics at the mo cos i’m having to use hotel wifi which costs a load…

But am currently in Thomas’s Hotel in Queenstown having spent most of the afternoon in the brewery playing pool.  Last couple of nights in Christchurch (thanks to the lovely Lawson and Lee-Ann) and before that a night in the plastic paddy centre of the world – Donegal House – in Kaikoura.

A couple more days here, and then off to Doubtful Sound.

Tags: ,

Drinkery

4 January, 2009 Leave a comment

If you’re going to bastardise the language – at least be consistent

From the use of the word Brewery, the Kiwis have decided that Winery is the right way to describe a vineyard which then goes on to make its own wine. I can go with the idea that there’s a difference between a winery and a vineyard, but only just. However, to add insult to injury, they add cidery to the list of linguistic crimes …. whereas we all know it’s a B&Q colour at best. an adjective, surely, not a noun. But, alas, i am a lone voice shouting irrately in the wind. But what really winds me up is that, on the same sign as Winery and cidery, they decide that the place where fruit juice is made into a commoditised drink is called a… yes, come one… a Juice Factory. I despair. Juicery is horrible – but consistency would have been appreciated.

Kiwi Advertising

4 January, 2009 Leave a comment

Today’s advertising gems from the land of the long white cloud were the following. You have to imagine that they’re being read in the classic shout-and-it-will-sound-exciting radio advertising technique as used in the 80s:

1. “Get down to your local movie rental store (sic) and hire two movies over two days and get one hot danish adult movie for just $1. Yes, that’s one hot adult danish movie for $1 when you rent two movies this weekend. That’s more pastry than you can handle!!” [ok, so i added the last bit myself]
Does anyone else think that sounds wrong?

I heard it on The Edge radio station, which is their equivalent to XFM, but that’s no excuse. Is there no Advertising Standards Authority?

You can add on top of that example no.2:

2. “Come to Calendar Girls – where there’s always something to see – Christchurch’s only venue for the discerning gentleman.”
Again – am I missing something? I mean, I know these Kiwis are studiously chilled – but have they no sense of propriety at all?

This was before noon, for God’s sake… not even the time to get a decent G&T inside you…

Abel Tasman

29 December, 2008 Leave a comment

You wake from a snooze on the beach in 27degree heat… feel a little dozy… gaze out to sea… and.. what’s that in the water? It’s a couple of dolphins! and, just a bit to the left there’s a few more! No, there’s another, well, at least another 18.

I’m surprised at just how impressive it is to see a pod of 20 dolphins in the wild. Some playing, some just mosying, some ducking around the boats that have pulled alongside to watch this spectacular site.

The Abel Tasman park is simply superb. The huts and camping grounds are well equiped and maintained, the beaches perfect, and what makes it so much more enjoyable is that, because there is no litter, no deckchairs, no towels, no hotels… virtually no signs of human interference, you get a rare sense of natural beauty at it’s most unspoilt.

Waking in a winery

23 December, 2008 Leave a comment

Straw Lodge is great. Am sitting in the garden of our suite, the stereo has some chilled tunes and the view of pinot noir vines against a backdrop of mountains is only enhanced by birds twittering and the rain pattering down.

Nettie and Jane provided a tasty breakfast of local produce – the best I’ve had in 7 weeks of travelling – which lived up to last night’s dinner platter, again of local produce, which included hot smoked salmon, venison, turkey, their own olives, and both a rather good sauvignon blanc and the pinot noir.

Spending yesterday afternoon cycling round dirt tracks and roads to cellar doors so that some of the friendly winemakers can take you through what they make – and perhaps more interestingly, why they make it – is a great way to spend a holiday. Helped, by the good company, of course.

The NZ experience so far has lived up to expectaions. Seeing the Marshall in Grey Lynn, Auckland was great fun. Nice to have two semi-retired web professionals just mooching about on Waiheke island and trying the Cable Bay selection and cheeseboard. Then down to see the Law clan in sunny Cambridge. Ok, so it was pissing down for all of Saturday – but that didn’t stop us sorting the feng shui of home. You wouldn’t believe how much settling in with friends at their house, and sorting out the home office is a satisfying experience. It gave me a sense of adopted home for 36 hours. A good respite from constantly living out of a bag. And I got to learn about Ben 10 as well.

And, with little flutters of excitement building, getting an early morning bus back to Auckland Airport to pick up the girl. NZ1 delivers her safe and sound and hardly jetlagged.. and we head to Mollies. Awards galore, and when you get there, you can see why. A really special place and i’m so glad i picked it for our first day back together. Sumptuous, tasteful but not ostentatious, luxury.

Monday we flew down to Wellington and stayed in the Museum (not Te Papa) before getting the early morning ferry over to Picton and then a short drive to here.

It doesn’t feel like Christmas eve. Going to a couple more wineries this morning (Bladen, Wairau River and Seresin yesterday) and a chocolate factory. No midnight mass. No last minute shopping. No carols. No cold. No hurrying into a pub for a warming beverage.

No family and friends neither. Which I miss. But thinking of you all.

Feels like it’s going to be a happy christmas and a good new year.

Gulliver’s disinfected boots

17 December, 2008 Leave a comment

A very long day… I got up on Tuesday morning, went out to Valparaiso on the Chilean coast and looked out across the pacific towards NZ. When I got back to Santiago, just had time to pack and have a beer with the expats before getting in a taxi to the airport.

It’s now 0600 on Thursday morning and I’m on the same day. Grabbed a few hours of sleep on the LAN  flight (decent food, good service, nice seat, nice neighbour… shame about the film selection. Hellboy 2 the stand out, del Toro is outstanding, can’t wait for his Hobbit) and now am standing at the Samsung shop’s online terminal watching israelis opposite me do web searches for hotels to stay in Auckland. Boots may have lava damage, but are now v clean after BioSecurity clean-up.

I have the luck of staying with the lovely Kate Marshall today/tonight and then rendezvousing with the equally lovely Adrian Law tomorrow (better golf, worse legs) … it’s so nice to have such welcoming friends.

Immediate observation on the Auckland Airport inhabitants: I have switched from a Mayan land of miniature, round faced people, to a Polynesian land of supersized roundfaced people.  One flight has turned the gulliver experience on its head.

Mexico City / NZ

6 November, 2008 1 comment

Mexico:

  • Hotel booked: Hotel Casa de la Condesa as recommended by Aran, who’s being wonderful. Knows everything, which isn’t that much of a surprise as he’s the man behind http://www.insidemex.com

NZ:

  • Doubtful Sound 3 day boat trip also booked. Now looking into Abel Tasman or the Routeburn treks…
  • Christmas with Fi’s friends Hannah and Steve. They’re golfers. goody.

Round the World: Decision

23 October, 2008 Leave a comment

So, the plan is:

Peru – Guatemala – Belize – New Zealand – Hong Kong – Syria – Jordan – Blighty…

Now all I have to do is book flights, find hotels, find trips, plan to leave the house for 3 months… easy, eh?

%d bloggers like this: