zaterdag 18 juni 2011
zaterdag 28 mei 2011
zaterdag 9 april 2011
Dress-to-impress volleybal toernooi zondag! Thema:net als in de film. Mijn team:Karate Kid. Tevens verzoek om Japan te helpen via rode kruis website (www.nederlandhelptjapan.nl) en giro 6868. Japan heeft onze hulp nodig! Oja, 13:00 eerste wedstrijd in Westerwatering sporthal, voor de duizenden fans... Tot morgen!
zondag 3 april 2011
woensdag 30 maart 2011
dinsdag 29 maart 2011
vrijdag 25 maart 2011
25 March 2011.
Less than a week left, here in NZ, before we fly back to Singapore. Today we went into town Greymouth, as said earlier, when we had Library Wifi access.
We had clear skies today, great for the drive from West to East, via the beautiful Lewis Pass between and over the mountains. Had a sunny picnic at the river somewhere along the road. In Hanmer Spring we ate at “Robbie’s” cafe, just because we know a Robert at home :-) and the menu / food was good too!
We have wifi via the library again. Seems they opened up wifi for free, because of the quake, so people can get in contact with each other.
We were partly able to skype with ilja, just to say hello. But line dropped frequently. Anyway, tomorrow we are going to the hot pools and spa! Relaxing! Maybe we might watch whales and dolphins later in Kaikoura, before we go south to Christchurch and Banks of Peninsula and spent the last days of the holiday.
Today we were in an i-Site information desk, with brochures and booklets of hotels in Christchurch, many of them had stickers on it “Closed due to Earthquake.” Some of those things you will only notice, when you are getting closer to that town.
donderdag 24 maart 2011
dinsdag 22 maart 2011
zondag 20 maart 2011
zaterdag 19 maart 2011
dinsdag 15 maart 2011
15 March 2011
Today we woke up by the alarm at 7am, as we did want to get up early and walk to the view of views of the mountains, reflecting in the mirror lake. It was early, and we had little breakfast to safe time and use it all for the 45 mins walk. A lot of fog was there, but the best luck we could have, after a full night of heavy rain, was an almost clear blue sky. Great for the walk and the pictures. The walk was great in the dense forest. The lake was indeed a perfect mirror early in the morning, with almost no winds and the fog away when we arrived at the best picture spots. The mountain reflected great, and we took a lot of pictures and shot some film. After this 2 hour trip, we continued, as we had more than 300 km of road to take over, between and next to the mountains. Via the Haast Pass we travelled south, targeting a town just before Queenstown. Its called Wanaka. The road and its views is sometimes spectacular. We stop at a special salmon farm that uses the mountain streams for its fish, and have smoked salmon sandwiches and a big homemade chocolate muffin. Along the road, we stop some times to watch the beach, waterfalls or great outlooks over the lakes and mountains. But the stops are short, as the sand flies are with more than we can kill and they are thirsty like hell. Acting like… real bugs. In Wanaka we find a campsite, after first getting into the little town and do some shopping. We eat early, read the news of Japan in the newspaper, relax with some movie and prepare some blogs, so later we can upload them when we have WiFi…. Queenstown should have a McDonalds, so the family, friends and colleagues should be able to watch these blogs quick this time… and we might catch a burger or ice-cream, who knows… its still holiday.
15 March 2011
I will need a lot of time to sort out the movies and pictures we shoot here. But to be able to post some quick pix I also used the less professional gear too, like my iphone, to grab some quick pix to share on the blog. As the WiFi is slow in most cases, if we have any at all, so smaller low res pix is what I used for this blog.
Hope you are getting some of the views and fun we have here...
Having lunch during the road trip, just near a lake between the mountains… what a view.
Abel Tasman, with gold beaches and crisp clear blue\green waters.
Pancake rocks at the West Coast
Falling rocks, and ice, near the Fox Glacier.
zondag 13 maart 2011
We are going to meet the ice on the mountains today. Preparing for cold and maybe rain later, but we do not melt from both ;-)
So saying goodbye to the Hokitika, Sewell street where we were at the library, lifting on the free WiFi connection there. Thanks and take care all!
Also thanks for the reactions by email, sms etc about the news and questions. Much appreciated. despite wifi or gsm connections are mostly not available, we are doing ok now. :-) bye.
vrijdag 11 maart 2011
11 March 2011 22:00, Abel Tasman Park, NZ South Island
This is not a normal blog, its a blog because we can not sleep. We just watched some comedy series on the laptop, and were starting to prepare to go for bed. When we heard a motorbike (later I understood it was the park ranger on a quad motor bike) and a lot of talking. Than the bike approached our place, it was already black dark outside, so we wondered what was going on. I thought, checking if we paid for the campground. But no, it was the park ranger on duty, coming to inform us, to be prepared to evacuate later tonight, when needed, as a massive 8.4 earthquake shook Japan this evening. The whole pacific was alarmed of a potential Tsunami. Later tonight, we would get more info, if it was really the case, approximately between 02:00 and 04:00 am tonight. In that case we would need to get in the campervan and drive up the main road as high as we can.
So you understand, that while we planned to start sleeping, we are now fully awake. In fact, we started to unwrap and put aside the tent, table and chairs, even put the keys in the car, so we could run away in case its needed. Whow… this New Zealand trip was planned as an adventure, but these past weeks beat all expectations…. a bit too much I am telling’ya!
I asked the guy, how bad it was… He told us it was the heaviest one Japan had seen. He mentioned the first news was about destruction to buildings. A little more than a year ago, we were in that area on a holiday and made some friends and have Japan in our hearts. So this news also hits us in that respect. I hope its not too bad for them, but 8.4 o my, Christchurch was bad, and that was a lower power earthquake compared to this one.
woensdag 9 maart 2011
Alarm went off early today, making sure we were catching the ferry to the South Island. So we say good bye to the North Island. The north where our real holiday started by arriving at Jolyon’s place(again thanks mate, really appreciated we were welcome), picking up the rental van in Auckland, went to the most northern point of New Zealand, felt and smelt the heat and gas of volcanic active areas, put our feet in hot water beach, slept between a million mosquitoes, burn in the sun, saw 75% of the months average rain fell down in three days (including inside the tent), repaired the poor maintenance on the spaceship battery, camped in the middle of the forest, walked around the volcanoes where Lord of the Rings was recorded(Mount Doom and Mordor) and so much more. Quite a privilege to experience all of this on this adventure.
Currently writing this blog, while on the ferry. In a little over three hours we arrive in Pickton. From there we will travel by car to Nelson. I will use these hours to write the blogs of the other days, of the past weeks. Did not have time, was too busy during my holiday :-) Cheers.
dinsdag 8 maart 2011
9 March 2011
We woke up at the great campsite here in Levin, which is in the South West of Manawatu-Wanganui. The campsite was clean and had separate showers, which looked like private cabins for washing and showering. The best seen so far, while the other campsites were good as well. We had breakfast with toasted bread and went off to Wellington. Still a 1.5 hour drive and we arrived precise at a little before 10am, when the museum opened its doors. THE museum I should write. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, a free and one of the largest national museum in the world. We spent almost 4 hours roaming around. Outside walking in the city with its nice shops was good too. We checked in at the Motor in Hotel. Refreshed and went to a by Lonely Planet recommended Japanese restaurant. That was indeed awesome food. Made sure to backup all pictures and load all electrical machines now that we had our own hotel room, ready for the next weeks, on the South. `cause the next day we will take the 8:30am Ferry to the south.
maandag 7 maart 2011
8 March 2011
After a very cold evening, we had breakfast with the best view so far. We were looking straight at the Mount Ruapehu, of of the three mountains/volcanoes here. Its here also where part of Lord of the Rings was recorded, Mount Doom its called in the movie. Its also the starting point of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
We set off to have a 3 hour walk across this beautiful scenery. A great walk, with nice sunny weather and great views on this big giants. The path we followed, was leading to an awesome waterfall dropping 20 meters of a cliff. We had a little picnic at this great site.
After the walk, we went up the mountain by car via the one road to Whakapapa Village. Its where the rough terrain inspired the director of LotR to shoot the Mordor scenes. All red and black lava and very rough terrain. After this we set off for a long drive to Wellington, and would see how far we were able to travel today. We ended up in Levin where we found a very nice, clean campsite. The nearest supermarket provided us with a nice steak and mushrooms, so dinner was easy arranged in the kitchen too. We bought some internet/wifi hours, so we could arrange an hotel and the ferry in Wellington. All from the laptop, wireless in the car on the campsite. Watching a piece of Lord of the Rings on the car DVD player and going to bed.Funny, that was much different a few years ago with camping. ;-)
maandag 28 februari 2011
Its late night, so not having energy nor the time to write a long story. But today we had arranged the flight change and after many hours and again disappointing services (or the lack of it) of Spaceships car rentals, we finally have our spaceship and the journey can begin tomorrow. Of course, there was again a setback… the week we did not have the camper… we have to pay anyway they said. As its related to a natural disaster, they leave all the risk with the customer. So much joy we get from these people… when back in NL, this for sure gets my focus again. First time in my life, I get tired, sad and stressed of a holiday. now first leaving this kind of shit behind and enjoy the real holiday stuff… ‘cause that is soooo much needed right now.
zondag 27 februari 2011
After a 35 mins call with an Indian call center of Singapore airlines, I was after many talks, explanations of the (earthquake)situation and repeats(due to the bad phone line) able to get our flights changed at no charge on March 31. Not to fly back from Auckland (which would cost us again 3 days and 1072 km of travel) but from Christchurch. A challenge completed with success, but after all I am working for a few years with India, so I was able to have a good call with the lady on the other side of the line. And I gave here a 5 out of 5 score in the survey I was asked to do. :-)
An other success was the fact that I discovered myself a kind of bug in the iPhone, that repeatedly is trying to sync data of my address book between iPhone and gmail on the web. While not having an internet connection, not getting error messages, the phone kept trying endlessly this was draining my battery every 6 hours or so. Now that I discovered this, I removed the gmail account on the iPhone that syncs with my address book. Now my iPhone lasts the good old standby time of some days, like in NL (where I do not have that problem, as I always have wifi or 3G).
One thing left, is to bring back the rental car and exchange it for the Spaceship campervan. Also arrange for the bill, as we payed for more days, than we now will actually have it. So I want a reduction. Not sure what can be done with the 1072 km and 3 days travel we had to do, to get this spaceship. Lets see later today.
PS The sunshine is replaced by rain at the moment, but my feeling is that our holiday is starting anyway…. we do not melt from rain. :-)
woensdag 23 februari 2011
23 Feb 2011
I am not allowed to complain, compared what the people in NZ are going through, so I don’t. Fact is that our travel plans are messed up badly now too. First we were stuck at Singapore Airport, not able to do anything as we had to stay close to the flight information sources. In the meantime we tried to get contact and information of WorldTicketService and Spaceship, but they were unable to provide information, so we had to stay with the Singapore Airlines information and plans.
They flew us to Christchurch, with a stop at Auckland, but we were not able to get off at Auckland. While in the plane in Auckland we used the roaming option on our phone to connect to email, at 10 Euro / Mb. The email we received was not good. Spaceship depot was crushed and so were the campervans. Also nobody was going to Christchurch anymore, so no vans were returned either. With this information we rather got off the plane, but were not allowed to, so flew to Christchurch knowing we had no transportation, no place to sleep and no back up plans.
The arrival was smooth, nice weather here. At the airport we phoned a lot with spaceship, who tried to help us with alternatives, which were minimal. Expensive flights back to Auckland, rental cars, pick up spaceship vans in Auckland after a day or 3, bottom line in Christchurch nothing was possible.
At the moment of writing, we are waiting for more news on the possibilities for us with spaceship trying to get a flight and rental car to/on North Island where we than would have 3 days to drive the car back, do sight seeing and pick up the campervan, to really start our holiday. Until than, even after 4 days travelling, it has not really started yet. I keep thinking, for us its just bad luck and inconvenience, for the people here who lost people, its a disaster.
23 Feb 2011, Singapore Hotel.
So our journey started a few days ago, with the flight from Amsterdam to Singapore. A long flight, bit bumpy now and than but with good service and meals. At the Singapore airport we arrived at 6am local time in a quite, modern and spacey airport. The check in at the Ambassador Transit Hotel inside the airport, was smooth and simple in Terminal 2. 107S$ for 8 hours, +/- 50Euro. Simple rooms, with showers and the most important, a bed to sleep.
The next morning, well morning for us, but 15:00 Singapore time the alarm went of and we prepared for the day. Got some cash from the ATM and try to make arrangements with Egon, a former colleague who now lives in Singapore with his family. It would be a very tight schedule to meet in the center, have a beer (again its late afternoon local time, but my stomach was more into Cornflakes with milk than a beer, but… what the heck it was holiday ;-) ) and than go quickly back to catch the flight to Christchurch, New Zealand.
At the internet spots we went online to book the campsite for the first two nights in Christchurch so we could explore the city and the coast area’s. While posting on Facebook our status and next spot, I got a reply from a girlfriend of ours in The Netherlands on this Facebook status update; “Did you hear about the earthquake in Christchurch?”. We immediately went to www.cnn.com to check the news. 65 death, major impact to the power-, water- and road infrastructures. Buildings collapsed, landslides and people still being trapped under the bricks etc.
The airport information desks had no information yet. A bit later we got information that at 18:00 hours they would provide more information and in the meantime we were allowed to grab dinner at the cost of Singapore airlines. In Terminal 3 we went to a Japanese restaurant and had our dinner. The flight was indeed cancelled and we went to a well prepared counter for our cancelled flight. They explained precise what was planned. Providing all our names and phone numbers, so they could reach us later when needed. Get a sticker, that would indicate we were people from the cancelled flight. Which helped with getting through customs, get a free taxi, check-in at the brand new (it smelled new still) Parc Sovereign Hotel in the centre of Singapore.
Hotel was good, dinner there was so-so, not too good, but it made your appetite go away for a long time afterwards. Which was a good thing, I think. ;-) In the evening we went to the close located, Little India District. Many shops already closed, it was 21:00 hour, but still it was fun to walk around. Very hot and moist though, so even walking very slow made me sweat.
The next morning we had a paper under the door with additional information, although not clear if the flight continued today or not. At 10:30 they had a briefing in the lobby, we would check out, get into a bus and go to the airport for the flight at 16:00.
In the meantime we read the newspapers reporting about the quake and the damage it caused in the 350.000 people city.