zaterdag 18 juni 2011

De route voor Limburgs Mooiste wielerronde staat vast.

Hi Fans ;-)
De route voor Limburgs Mooiste wielerronde staat vast.
Ik gebruik Runtastic, maar ik heb geen idee of ik mijn iPhone zolang kan gebruiken (tussen de 4-6 uur fietsen). Misschien lukt het, maar dan zal ik mijn telefoon uit moeten doen, denk ik.
Als ik Runtastic kan gebruiken, kunnen jullie Live volgen waar Diego en ik rijden (net zoals op de TomTom ;-) ), en jullie kunnen "juichen" op afstand via facebook/internet.
Mooie techniek tegenwoordig ;-)
Mijn Runtastic Profiel staat hier:
We zien wel. Eerst mooi weer en dan rijden :-))
Zin in!

zaterdag 28 mei 2011

What an odd product!

When we were traveling in New Zealand, we were in a shop with small stuff for in the house. Stuff for the kitchen, livingroom, candles, etc. The usual stuff.
But we also saw this product. It looked like some product they sell in Amsterdam in adult shops, but with a baby face? When looking up close, it was "something" to put tissues in. A tissue box! Strange!
Posted by Picasa

zaterdag 9 april 2011

Volleybal Toernooi en HELP JAPAN.

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 ( 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

The eagle has landed. Thank god.

Yeah! We are back home! What a flight. They warned for turbulence due to bad weather near the caspian sea, they were right. Almost 2 hours of heavy turbulence, made some people feel very sick. Sheila beat a new record with using three bags for flight illness. Luckily I did not feel hungry, so did not eat much, so felt not sick and had no problems,thus I appear not in the high score at all :-)… but did miss my night sleep :-s grrr. And the last days were energy consuming already. Singapore was fun to see. A little too hot and sticky for me, but I did like the shopping, sites and great food. Especially the Paradise Dynasty ! Incredible good food and great ambiance. We found it via an iPhone travel guide app, and when coming out of the restaurant they had an enormous queue of people waiting to get a seat. So we were not the only ones finding this place so cool. Dumplings are specialties here. sooo good. Whenever I will be back in singapore this is the place I at least will visit again. Unfortunately I was not able to meet up with my old buddy Egon. He was on holiday outside Singapore and when we started the holiday we had the Christchurch earthquake aftermath to worry about. Hopefully next time. The holiday was very busy. We have done and seen so much we need some time to recap all the extraordinary moments. We had some bad luck and a stressful time, the first time during a holiday I questioned when the real holiday would start. But we overcame the issues and had the privilege to do and see so much beautiful sites. Thanks to friendly people along the way, the beautiful nature and Sheila and I kept going. The magnificent and great adventure became a reality. Untamed wilderness, golden beaches, rocky beaches, rain forrest, dry grass land, dozens of waterfalls, lakes and rivers, ordinary sheep, extraordinary penguins or royal albatross and dolphins, sting rays, high speed jet-engine boat in canyon rivers, romantic boat in fjord of Milford Sound, picnic at sea-level at the beach or all alone at the top of a volcano with views like an eagle with only the sound of the wind… damn I already miss the lifestyle we had and that gorgeous nature. Good bye New Zealand. who knows we will meet again someday. At least I meet you in my videos, pictures and my mind. Cu all. Marcel/photokingh out.

woensdag 30 maart 2011

All packed

We Cleaned and packed our stuff. Sunny in ChCH at the moment. Last day. We check out the beach. Maybe shopping-mall and the Arctic science center and call it a day, a NZ holiday even. Last campsite will be near airport so we can easily return the spaceship avoiding traffic. And flight check in we partially did last night via Internet. On our way to two days Singapore. and than… yep than unavoidable heading home to arrive at 7am Sunday. Brother cu than. Thanks for being there for us! Kingh out for now, heading to a beach picnic. :-)

dinsdag 29 maart 2011

How was your weekend?

Saturday morning Breakfast outside in the sun, shopping and buying cool shirts and sweaters, hours of Spa&hot pools, lunch in restaurant, dinner too, being 1 of 4 on a campsite in the middle of a forrest, skyped with mum and dad, skyped with father of sheila, got email of friend in japan she is OK, killed 20 sand flies, sunday driving between mountains, Forrest,next to the sea, seeing more red with white dots mushrooms(?) than ever before, watch cross motorbike race in the mountains, encounter with blue eyed penguin even touching one, filming fighting sea lions(waterproof street dogs), see groups of dolphins, walk a trail on the cliffs of Kaikoura, end up at a camping with again hot tubs, to close the sunny Sunday with see and hear tents blown away and smack agains our car in a sudden storm that dropped "out of the high mountains" glad our car was only shaking, not flying. So, we had a great weekend that we will remember for a long time, how was your weekend? :-)))

vrijdag 25 maart 2011

@Hanmer Spring. Did the Lewis Pass today.

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

Arthur Pass completed. Greymouth.

What a magnificent drive we had the past two days! With the grand final of the Arthur Pass. All with blue sky and sun. Finally some luck :-) Almost can not wait to work with my photos back home. But we have a little week left. We are today (25th march) in Greymouth. Back for one day at the west coast. The library has free Internet so we can upload some small updates. After shopping here we continue with the Lewis Pass back to the east. Heavy rainfalls are expected this weekend, so need to check the weather for our last week.

Mount cook, glaciers and lakes

22 march we went to mount cook, the second time this holiday, but now approaching from the south east. This mount cook highway is driving straight at it. What a magnificent mountain. What a road. Wow! Superb! And this time we were lucky having the sun shine right at the mountain and it's glaciers. We did a small hike of 1 hour to view the blue lakes(which appeared to be green to me), but so super cool to see the lake, glacier and big chunks of ice floating in the lake. Well worth the climb. We set course for the next big lake to drive to and camp. (at the time of writing I forgot the name and could not switch apps without loosing the current text). In the evening we have dinner in,according to lonely planet and now also according to us, one of the best Japanese dinners in NZ. Mount Cook salmon farmed right at the corner, so fresher fish you almost can not get. It was goooood! 23 march we do not drive away right after breakfast, but go to the hot pools and spa to relax in the warm mineral water in the sun. In the forrest on a hill, with view on the lake and mountains. I know worse places to spent your time ;-) After two hours we are relaxed and clean. :-) buying at the bakery some fine food and enjoying it near the blue lake in the sun. After watching the scenery for some hours including the most photographed church of new Zealand, we set off in the afternoon further north and to the inland. Highway 72. After going into the inland roads, I never had so much road without curves. The record of the day was 15 mins at 100km/hour and not one turn, curve/bend/twist or other car. Arthurs pass we wanna drive tomorrow, back in the mountains again. whoopie!

dinsdag 22 maart 2011

Royal albatross and yellow eyed penguins seen

We have seen very rare species on this planet. From a distance to not disturb them, but great to watch. Penguins getting on the beach near dusk going back to their nests is great to see. Not many, only 4 in two hours, but as said they are threatened with extinction , so we were lucky to see these at least. We are now heading towards mount cook! Lets hope the rain stops traveling with us this time. We decided after this mountain to travel over the pass Arthur and pass lewis, next few days. We had to change plans because of the earthquakes and as we heard on the radio they still have red zones in christchurch, so seems we need to skip that part of the plan. Driving between the mountains is always fun. It's rough here, I like that!

Fok, Najib gemist!

Vandaag wifi en email kunnen ophalen. Hebben we een email dat we morgen(gisteren inmiddels) naar Najib gaan. Fok! Geen Najib waar we al 5 jaar kaartjes voor proberen te krijgen, weg geld en geen leuk kado voor mijn bro. Omdat ze voor deze voorstelling door-verkoop verwachtte hadden ze dit laat-laten-weten-systeem bedacht, zodat mensen de kaarten niet met winst gingen doorverkopen. Gelukt hoor! :-((((

zondag 20 maart 2011

Dunedin with rain. Mike birthday!

Today we wake up with drizzle and many clouds. So the sun was not able to stay after a successfully comeback yesterday afternoon, which was right in time to see the great royal albatross. What a width of wings those creatures have. Let's hope that in the 500 pictures shot at least one passes the quality checks ;-) We also went into the Dunedin city center for some shopping. It's a nice city with lots of shops. Here in NZ it's now 21 march, so the birthday of my brother Michael. I congratulated him at noon last night already with a SMS, which is funny as it than was still 20 march in the Netherlands. Today we go again to the center of Dunedin to visit the Cadbury Chocolate Factory with a tour. Funny in Japan we went to Mazda and now we again have an opportunity to see a factory operating in real time. Only this time we are getting samples of the products ;-) After this 75mins tour we will be heading North, Moeraki Bolders. Close to Oamaru. Also some seals might be viewable there, although we already saw many, it keeps fun to watch them. But first we go to the chocolates and will buy something to eat with our tea to celebrate my brothers birthday. Just like we did a few days ago on my mothers birthday. :-) see ya!

Dunedin today

No rain anymore. Tomorrow to chocolate factory. Guess who asked for that!? :-) Short msg as we are on the middle if town outside on some unsecured network. Thanks. Heheh. Mike, happy birthday! Only a few hours here in NZ and I will say cheers to my brother! Stan I heard the sad new of the dog:-( we think of you guys from the otherside of the world. Ps they have a Great King street, love it they respect me with a street name ;-)

PhotoKingh is in Queenstown

Today we arrived in Queenstown. The weather is great with blue skies. As you noticed we found some wifi spot to sync our blog and check emails. Have fun and greetings from Marcel and Sheila. Ps mum has birthday the 17th, here in NZ that means almost half a day earlier we can celebrate that already. :-) We will buy something sweet for with the tea here! Happy birthday mom!!! We first went to Arrow Town. A small town with some old wooden buildings and some of the old settlements of the Chinese, when they came digging for gold. While driving to Queenstown we drove past the jettop boats attraction. This super fast boats racing between the canyon in the river. We went in for an half hour action trip, so cool!!! At queenstown we sat at Starbucks for a hot chocolate and a cinnamon role.

PhotoKingh is in Queenstown

Today we arrived in Queenstown. The weather is great with blue skies. As you noticed we found some wifi spot to sync our blog and check emails. Have fun and greetings from Marcel and Sheila. Ps mum has birthday the 17th, here in NZ that means almost half a day earlier we can celebrate that already. :-) We will buy something sweet for with the tea here! Happy birthday mom!!! We first went to Arrow Town. A small town with some old wooden buildings and some of the old settlements of the Chinese, when they came digging for gold. While driving to Queenstown we drove past the jettop boats attraction. This super fast boats racing between the canyon in the river. We went in for an half hour action trip, so cool!!! At queenstown we sat at Starbucks for a hot chocolate and a cinnamon role.

Milford Sound

From the expensive, without unpaid showers campsite in Queenstown we set course to Milford Sound fjords. A long bit boring drive until we reach lake Te Anou. From there it gets more and more incredible. We have rain during the trip. Not as much rain as fell last night. 3 hour drive gave us still 20 mins to buy tickets and onboard the vessel. Incredible views of high mountains in the fjord-land. We had rain, but the boat-trip we were lucky , finally, the sun appeared. We travelled on the same single road back, and decided to camp in the park near the water without facilities.

zaterdag 19 maart 2011


20 March 2011

We are in Dunedin… so you know. No time for long blogs ;-)

The weather was rainy the last days, lets hope some sun comes in today. At least its dry right now.

dinsdag 15 maart 2011

Mirror Lake with view on Mount Cook, drive to Queenstown

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.

Just some quick pix

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...


IMG_0847 IMG_0855

Having lunch during the road trip, just near a lake between the mountains… what a view.



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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

Going to Franz Josef today

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. 

14 maart update

Here à copy of an email to family. To avoid retyping : Hi, Ik heb internet hotspot gevonden in bibliotheek hier. Wie had gedacht dat ik nog eens in een bieb zou komen. We hebben weinig internet omdat we in de natuurparken camperen. Vaak ook weinig gsm bereik. Er is van de aardbevingen verder hier in NZ weinig te merken. Wel zijn we in de nacht gewekt om voor te bereiden van een evacuatie van de campeerplek, gelukkig is dat later niet nodig gebleken. Geen tsunami hier in NZ. Maar wel onrustig geslapen zo aan de kust. Je ligt dan toch elke golf te "meten" voor je gevoel. Het had zomaar ons kunnen raken. We waren ook gewaarschuwd. De volgende ochtend werden we wel om 7am op zondag wakker, omdat het regionaal nood/luchtalarm af ging naast onze plek tussen de bergen. Kabaal. En wij vlug aankleden, ready maken voor de volgende ramp. Maar het stopte na paar minuten en niemand wist wat er was. Ach, het zou een avontuur worden, dat stadium heeft deze vakantie al ruimschoots bereikt. ;-) "gewoon" vakantie nieuws is er ook hoor. Glowworms gezien in grotten en regenwoud. Blowholes, pancakerocks, zeehonden, super grote stingerray die voor me langs de kust aan het voedsel zoeken was, golden beaches van Abel tasman bays, mooiste wandeling langs kust, riffen en in regenwoud. Goudgeel strand, bergen, groen woud, blauwe luchten en zwarte sandflies. De campings zijn schoon, goeie kookspullen en vaak ook met douches, dus we stinken niet en eten goed. Alhoewel we beide strontverkouden waren, dus misschien roken en proeven we het niet ;-) Verkoudheid slijt nu langzaam, dus hopelijk voelen we ons snel weer beter. We hebben nog veel plannen hier namelijk en weinig tijd. Het land is prachtig mooi. Ongerept op de meeste plaatsen. Stadjes zijn erg klein, genoeg voor een boodschapje ofzo. Hier in de bieb zie ik nu ook de kranten met verwoestende foto's van Japan. Japan, waar we bijzondere gevoelens voor hebben gekregen na de prachtige reis. Doet zeer te zien wat daar is gebeurd. Later zullen we nog in christchurch zijn. Aarde blijft bijzonder. We gaan vandaag naar de gletsjers aan de westkust. Inkopen zijn gedaan, dus in geval van nood kunnen we eten en drinken, hopelijk valt het mee met de pech en hebben we nog 3 weken geluk en plezier hier. Wij gaan ervoor. Groetjes aan iedereen. Mam en Mike alvast fijne verjaardagen, we zijn er niet bij maar denken wel aan jullie. En anders adviseer ik het hier te vieren, daar zijn wij ook en het is hier verdomd mooi! Groetjes, Marcel en Sheila.

vrijdag 11 maart 2011

Earthquake Japan… Tsunami warning at our campsite

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

Bye North, Hello South!

10 March

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

Wellington, city and museum trip

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

Tongariro National Park

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. ;-)


Never had internet. Now quickly stopped at McDonnalds pure for wifi. We are good. Had troubles with the car, battery went broke switching off all lights, fridge, etc. Car repair shop fixed it for me. Spaceships will have a lot of wordswith me later. We had lots of rain, 75% of the whole average month in three days. Even some tracks were closed. But enjoying the sun, vulcanic activities. Heading to south of north island, to mount Doom. :-) Bye all.

maandag 28 februari 2011

Hergebruik van nederlands emailtje :-)

We hebben straks minder of geen internet, zal af en toe moeten betalen voor een uurtje hier en daar. O.a. reserveringen of updates te kunnen sturen. mijn telefoon doet het weer goed, was setting die hier niet werkt. Hopelijk was vandaag de laatste domper, nu financieel gezien dan. We moeten gewoon volle mep betalen ondanks week later spaceship. 11 autos stuk van de honderden die ze hebben, klote dat wij dan net de dupe zijn en de pijn niet gespreid wordt of gedeeld. Als we thuis komen proberen werk van te maken met spaceship, worldticketcenter en verzekering. Tussen de 500 en duizend euro praten we over, met bijkomende kosten. Los van verlies vakantiedagen. ff focussen op genieten en ontspannen, het vele reizen, rondzwerfen, regelen kost veel energie. Sheila is ook verkouden geworden. Niet erg maar wel signaal om op de gezondheid te letten. Schrijf ik, terwijl ik zelf om 5 am klaar wakker lig te wezen :-/ Eerst echt op reis en dat loslaten. Het zou het genieten alleen maar in de weg zitten, als we ons er om boos zouden maken. Soms heb je gewoon pech. Uiteindelijk zitten deze twee hobbits toch wel aan de andere kant van de wereld met prachtige natuur, en nog mooie dingen in het vooruitzicht. Kamperen, cruisen met de auto, berg wandelen, picknicken/bbq nu en dan... Dan zal het vakantiegevoel pas echt loskomen. En de fotos, want photokingh heeft nogmaar weinig kunnen schieten. Dank voor alle interesse en steun afgelopen weken.

Finally we rebooked the flight and have the camper now

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

Little successes :-)

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. :-)

update 27Feb, Auckland

Quick update, as we do not have much wifi/time, so copy and paste a bit from an email I sent to family. So here on the blog people know we are ok, and what we are up to. (use google translate ;-) ) We zitten in Auckland. Mars flink door gereden, en ook mooie dingen gezien. Prachtig weer, 20 graden, dus goed te doen buiten. Wel smeren, door het gat in ozon laag verbrand je hier al na 15 minuten. In Auckland zit ik bij Jolyon in huis, een oud IBM medewerker die in NZ is gaan wonen met zijn gezin. Leuk. En super aardig van ze. We hebben weinig internet onderweg, mijn iPhone doet ook raar (batt loopt heel snel leeg en soms stuurt het 7 x dezelfde sms.). Morgen, maandag, mogen we de camper ophalen, dan kan het echte reizen gaan beginnen. Vervelend allemaal en deels denk ik had het voorkomen kunnen worden, als het reisburo actief was geweest, had ons 4 dagen reizen met bus, boot en auto bespaard en natuurlijk onze vakantie dagen. Maar ik heb de verwoesting met eigen ogen gezien in het getroffen gebied. Huizen en panden in puin. je kijkt zo enkele verdiepingen bij mensen naar binnen. wegen afgesloten. huilende mensen, die vragen of anderen wel stroom of water hebben.... winkels dicht, met de omgevallen paspoppen nog door het raam. Huizen met "no entry" erop, omdat de boel elk moment kan instorten. rijen met autos voor benzinestations, gaten in de wegen en het leger die weg afgesloten houden en bewaken... kortom, voor ons vervelend qua reis, maar voor anderen echt een ramp. Als we onze eigen reis vervolgen en wat rust hebben, heb ik misschien tijd om de blog beter bij te houden. Ik heb wel wat dingen al getyped, maar omdat ik geen wifi heb, heb ik ze niet kunnen oploaden. Wat ik tot nog toe maakte, moest in een paar minuten dat ik wifi had.

woensdag 23 februari 2011

Holiday still not really started yet…

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.

Journey started but also not yet

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 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.

dinsdag 22 februari 2011

Earth Quake in Christchurch NZ, we are still ok

we are still in Singapore, checking if flight continues or not.

Safe in Singapore, now to Christchurch... but earthquake?! :-(

We landed safe in Singapore (great flight services!), slept in a airport hotel and were on our way to visit a friend in the centre for a beer and than fly to Christchurch. Just posted that on facebook, when a friend in NL reported a devastating earthquake hit New Zealand.... 65 dead already. :-( Poor people!! We fly in a few hours to this town, and also had a booking at the campground near this city. Not sure what we can do, but my mind says tourists should stay out.... so will see what will be happening.

zondag 20 februari 2011

Let the trip begin

A few hours are left before the lift off for flight Amsterdam to Singapore. Bags are packed, batteries charged and only a good night sleep is left "to do".
It will be an early wake up and a long flight, but for a big trip , investments must be made ;-) 12 hours wait in Singapore, (we hope to meet an old friend there and also made a reservation for the Airport Hotel for some sleep and fresh up), before the 10 hrs flight Singapore - Christchurch will fly.
Today our parents came by to say goodbye, and we even went to visit the Greek restaurant for an excellent dinner. Lets back the small bags and call it a night.
Let the trip begin.