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I write with no particular theme in mind, because I am random like that.

Jan
05 2011

10:42 PM

Nostalgia
Travel

Comments Off on I miss this, very much

I miss this, very much

What I really miss – driving further South on the motorways (and occasional, off the beaten tracks), going through small towns, watching the rolling hills dotted with flocks of sheep from the car’s window, and seeing the occasional snow-capped mountain range.

Driving down the motorway to Wellington.
Snow mountains spotted while driving down the motorway to Wellington.

I love long and scenic drives, and last week’s New Zealand trip involved intensive driving. Plus one for me, but unfortunate for the drivers. The drives were long, winding and extremely tiring. I have no idea how they did it, but I have much respect for them.

I’m now back in Singapore. The concrete jungle. Where the only “mountain” we have is actually a hill standing at a mere 105 metres tall (Mount Faber), and the tallest point is only a mere 163 metres (Bukit Timah Hill) – and please don’t ask why our ‘mount’ is actually shorter than a ‘hill’. Where we find ourselves having to squeeze past folks all the time and be stuck in traffic jams, all while considering it ‘normal’. It’s suffocating.

I’m longing for fresh air – particularly New Zealand’s air. I really miss the place. The trip just went by too quickly.

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Dec
28 2010

10:12 PM

Travel

Comments Off on Turning into an icicle

Turning into an icicle

(This is a backdated entry written offline, and published when I – finally – had wireless access.)

The weather here in New Zealand is much, much colder than expected. I found myself horrendously unprepared, and considering how my fellow trip counterparts shivering along with me, so was everyone else.

The temperature dipped to 10 degrees Celsius today. And during the trip thus far, I have never experienced the outdoor temperature rising to anything above 18 degrees.

And it’s supposed to be summer.

Having such cold summers can be quite awesome, though. It is the complete antithesis of Singapore’s hot and humid climate. A welcome change. But only provided if we were prepared with the appropriate thermal wear. (For us equator-dwelling folk, anything below 23 degrees warrants a jacket and below 17 degrees, two. Hurhur.)

Presently, I’m in Christchurch. The weather has cleared up considerably and the blue skies seem to be returning. However, the city is rather messy at the moment due to a strong earthquake (aftershock) that struck the area a couple of days ago.

Danger, keep out.
Danger, keep out.

Several streets were cordoned off, with buildings and businesses shut down due to unstable structures.

An entire row of shops being cordoned off.
An entire row of shops being cordoned off for inspection.

In addition to the earthquake, some freak weather system had hit the whole of New Zealand over the weekend and caused flooding in several areas. Part of the highway we were traveling on was flooded in mid-calf deep water, causing a massive traffic jam that left us stranded for close to forty-five minutes. The weather had also left us stranded indoors for close to two days.

Ah well, let’s call it a case of bad luck. At least, we are all safe and sound.

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Dec
27 2010

10:17 PM

Funny Stuff
Travel

Comments Off on Laughter – what this trip is defined by

Laughter – what this trip is defined by

(This is a backdated entry written offline, and published when I – finally – had wireless access.)

The ongoing vacation in New Zealand has been full of amusing happenings (and merry mishaps) thus far. It’s been about;

1. A GPS named Nicolette, christened by my younger cousin J. Apparently, Nicolette was not very accurate. She led us to an abandoned shack once when we wanted to go to the Geothermal Park, and let us off-track to an unmaintained gravel road in the mountains when we wanted to drive to Wellington. Bottom line is, don’t expect 100% accuracy from a GPS. Needless to say, Nicolette received a fair amount of verbal abuse.

2. My uncle flirting with the lady behind the counter at Subway, Hutt Valley (Wellington) … right in front of his wife. And the lady flirted back. Even gave him a free foot-long piece of bread too.

3. Receiving our rental MPV cars on our first day at Auckland and realizing we had no idea how to operate it, right down to the most basic operation of opening the car doors. We’d punch a button (e.g. to open the door) and something else (e.g. the lights coming on) will happen instead. Imagine that happening ten times in a row. It took us half an hour to figure out the basics, and a further 5 days to get used to it.

4. Merry mishaps such as us causing the curtain rod at our Wellington motel to crash onto the floor when we overloaded it with our wet laundry.

5. Playing silly games such as “guess what Brenda will say when she returns to meet us”, “guess what Jillian will say when she comes out of Subway” and “guess which auntie is awake when we reach the motel”. And the loser has to drink some vile concoction.

6. Playing pranks on one another in the car. Such as putting the air conditioning at full blast when it was already dead cold outside, letting farts rip when everyone least expects it, and pretending to drive off when the last few people are still walking towards the car.

7. Putting the two top snorers in the same room and listening to them PK in the middle of the night. (It sounded like an orchestra in there.)

8. Conversations loaded with too much information.

In the car, on the way back to our motel in Wellington.

J – “Can I bathe first?”
Me – “Sure!”
J – “My backside’s itchy.”
Me – “Okay, too much information.”
J – “I think it’s growing fungus!”
Me – “…”

9. The drives around town with the cousins in the MPV with the windows down, with Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” playing at full blast on the radio with us singing along at the top of our voices.

“I gotta feeling, that tonight’s gonna be a good night,
That tonight’s gonna be a good night,
That tonight’s gonna be a good good night.”
– The Black Eyed Peas

Among many others. Thanks for keeping the smile on my face.

Comments Off on Laughter – what this trip is defined by
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