singa pura

today we depart the extremely clean, scenic and slightly controlling citystate of singapore. it was a short but eventful trip and we are now moving on to hanoi in vietnam.

our hosts were the lovely joanna and kevin, currently working in singapore and inhabiting a fantastic apartment overlooking singapore's largest area of jungle, as well as the skyscrapers of downtown. we had a fun time with them seeing the city sights and watching birds and monkeys from our perfect perch.
our good friend josh continued his habit of meeting us all over the world. here we are riding the MRT (subway). we were enjoying the funhouse mirror so much and laughing so hard that we missed our stop and had to turn around and head back. a singaporian was so enthralled with our antics that he missed his stop as well and sheepishly followed us back on to the returning train.

josh and i each bought handmade scalp stimulating chinese combs in china town. after 20 min of hard bargaining we managed to acheive a 0% discount. after our purchase we met our friend aaron at a bus stop. he arrived across the street with a friend of his from school. she was asking him about the 3 of us and who was married to who when she looked over and observed "your friends are combing their hair." "yes," aaron confirmed, "yes they are."

the temple of buddha's tooth. they announced the closing of the temple with a skull piercing wooden gong that is reputed to calm the spirit but made me jump out of my skin.

this is another international roomate reunion. josh and ty and me where all together in egypt and now josh and aaron and i are enjoying our brief togetherness in singapore, coincidentally also consuming cheap juice.

aaron is here studying international relations at the national university, home of democratic socialists, hot pants, tasty malay food and cheap juice.

IVCF was responsible for bringing us all together in lethbridge.

singapore has quite a controlling government (their gum policies are the stuff of legend). this campaign is particularly intriguing for one of the safest countries in the world. how many other govts would start a campaign to claim, "seriously guys, there is crime here... honest!"

we also explored joanna and kevin's forest on foot, enjoying the monkeys, monitor lizards and turtles.

at singapore's jurong bird park we peed in the most beautiful urinals i have ever seen.

aaron's roommate sharif joined us to marvel at the astounding avians.

we have lots of other stories and pictures, but i am currently being antisocial, so i will leave it at this. tonight we sleep in vietnam!


goodbye NZ!

today we are leaving new zealand and moving on to singapore to visit joanna and kevin, aaron and josh. joanna and kevin currently live in singapore, aaron is going to school there and josh is coming to meet us! exciting stuff, but kylie is not sure what to do with all her almost empty packages of gum.
our last days in new zealand were spent in the bay of islands and with my parents and julie and lowell in whangarei and kumeu. above are pictures of our sailing trip in bay of islands. it was billed as a trip with a potential to swim with dolphins, but once we were on the boat they added multiple caveats. we can swim with dolphins... if they dont have any young, if they are not feeding, if they are not travelling, if they are in a playful mood... so we didnt get to swim with the dolphins. :-(

we did however get to see multiple dolphins extremely close. they obviously wanted to play and continuously sidled up to the boat to blow water on us or slap their tails
or rub themselves on the rudders... this happened alot.
this guy had an encounter with a boat propeller, but apparently is healing well.
i was disappointed not to get in the water, but i have had that once in a lifetime experience already in zanzibar (no restrictions there!), so i cant be too sad. the day was amazing regardless.

on the way back from bay of islands we visited the kauri forest and basked in the presence of the biggest trees in new zealand. they are wider than the douglas firs of coastal BC, but not nearly as tall.
in the forest, gus rolled over to 50,000 km. we have personally put around 10,000 km on him, but we will still be able to sell him with low mileage! good find lowell.

that reminds me, we have never given you a tour of gus. we are really going to miss this plucky little motorhome. he would be intimidated by all the behemoths back in canada, but for the 2 of us he is just perfect.
here is the interior with the bed flipped up for more space. the seat by the table can face either direction, but unless we needed the seatbelts we left it flat to maximize useful interior space. note the 6 inch JVC speakers with beautiful built in boxes.
here is the console: note the flash backup camera/flatscreen, as well as the new panasonic CD player that lowell installed. also key is the tweeter in the top right (easily modulated by adjusting the sunvisors). when the bed is flipped up the 4s in the dash, tweeters on the roof and 6s in the back make for amazing sound through the cabin... perfect for watching lord of the rings on our laptop or blasting tunes while tidying or lounging on the grass outside. our own hometheatre away from home!

the back comes equipped with a 2 burner gas stove, fridge and sink, as well as copious cupboard space. we also had a toilet and shower which we used only for emergencies or convenience. we found that botanical gardens made great camping spots throughout new zealand. the concatenation of large parking lots, free bathrooms and beautiful gardens in which to enjoy our breakfast worked for us.

i think those are the high points... i could rave all day about how wonderful this campervan is, but we have to finish packing. it will be hard to go from copious cupboards to one backpack again! we have gotten used to travelling in luxury. goodbye gus. we will miss you but we known your other owners will treat you well in the next few months.

after camping in kauri forest we returned to tidesong and met julie and lowell and my parents... fresh off the plane.
we introduced mom and dad to boogie boarding and they loved it.

my dad caught the very first wave he tried and he was hooked. we were surprised he still had a voice after all his whooping.
we had a borrowed surfboard as well, but it was a shorty and was really tough to stay on for us beginners. i only made it up one or two times, and was almost decapitated on several occasions.
being the prairiest of prairie girls, my mom took a bit of coaching, but once she got the knack there was no stopping her.
as mentioned previously, kylie is a pro.
they also enjoyed kayaking through the mangrove forests surrounding tidesong.

once again made our own pizzas in an outdoor oven. my dad is eyeing one of these hotties as a project for their own backyard.

this is a picture of a nordic fishwife on the wall in tidesong. and we thought she was from lethbridge! now she lives in seattle... what a globetrotter.

we are sad to say goodbye to new zealand, to our family and to gus. we will miss them all. new zealand isnt that big, but even in 2 months we havent seen or done half of what we wanted to. i suppose we will just have to come back.

now i am looking forward to doing some more challenging travelling. new zealand feels like a tropical canada. it is spacious and safe, people are very friendly, they are an ex british colony with a big brother complex and the attractions mostly involve natural wonders rather than ancient temples or bustling cities. it is the easiest place we have ever travelled to. moving on to southeast asia will be a big adjustment, but i am excited about it.

goodbye new zealand. next stop singapore!


north island redux

a lot has happened since our time at abel tasman. we are now back on the north tip of the north island, having worked our way up over the last week. we went for a kayak in the bay of islands today, it is past our bedtime and i have eaten too much chocolate. i am too tired to put these pictures in order or do much in the way of narration.

these first 2 pictures are of kerosene creek, not just a hot springs... a hot waterfall!
we have these for supper a lot. egg and cheese and tomato and avacado sandwiches. sometimes i put on a bit of salsa as well. thanks julie for pointing out the inherent goodness of this combination.
our dinner in nelson one night. a hot stone grill so i could cut my meal up and grill it piece by piece exactly to my liking. i really like things to my liking.


rotorua museum - former 1800s hotsprings wonderhealing spa. also a section on an all maori division in WWII. very interesting.

some of the best mountain biking i have ever done was in rotorua. when i asked for trail recommendations i told the rental lady that i enjoyed technical downhill but i was wrong. it turns out i actually enjoy buttery smooth superfast cross country through beautiful palm forests and mushrooms right out of the smurfs.

this is me liking stuff that is to my liking.
i was so excited about the trails that we stayed an extra day in rotorua and i took kylie biking the next morning. she enjoyed it, but she has learned that i dont remember climbs. the elevation gain of hiking or biking is always minimized in my memory. it is only when i brought kylie up with me that i realized the grade and length of hill i had dashed up the day before in my zeal to be on a bike again. regardless, kylie tackled with ups and downs with aplom.

in rotorua we dug a hole in the sand and hot water came into it and we had our own hottub. it was so hot that i had to mix in water from the lake to be able to sit in it. great for mountain biking recovery, although we also had 3 beautiful hot pools to choose from at the camp we stayed in. all of rotorua is riddled with obvious geothermal activity. there is bubbling mud and steamy waterholes all over town.

the hamilton gardens were amazing.
a chinese scholar garden

i would like to build myself an indian pleasure garden.

this morning kylie made pancakes which we ate by the beach on some unpronounceable bay.
the beach featured this giant mangrove tree with 3 separate trunks. all one tree. its a trinity.

kylie fulfilled her life goal of having fish and chips and L&P.

today we went kayaking through the bay and explored 2 islands.
tomorrow we take a boat trip to another island and hopefully see some dolphins. then its off to a forest and then back to tidesong to meet lowell and julie and my parents! it is gratifying to me to be excited about traveling with my mom and dad. it speaks to our relationship and how much i think they will enjoy new zealand.