Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Hong Kong Videos

Quite a shock landing in a typhoon, plenty of wind and rain, just like Yorkshire then!

We didn't quite eat the freshest food we that was available.

Epic show, can't believe they do this every night! And it goes on for about 20minutes. We watched it from Kowloon side, where the accompanying music is played.

The rain was so heavy it was actually exciting to experience. The Buddha was pretty good too, and big!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Work and Running

Sorry it's been so long since i wrote a blog - i've started work and unlike James i can't pop on the blog willy nilly.

It's nice to see James has been keeping you up todate. I found a job one week after i started looking and it came with a car so that took a big finicial strain off us. It was my first interview as well so not too much mucking around. It is for three children two girls and a boy all under 5 years. I've nearly finished my third week and it's going really well.

Working closely with a family and other kiwi's i feel i finding so much about the culture and way of life-
-Children barely wear shoes (it's safe as it is clean)
-The Kindy's (pre schools) are fantastic loads of outside space i'll just have to take a picture but believe me these are the kind of places you want your children going to.
-The value are amazing too. Their curriculum has parts called 'Mana Whenua' Meaning belonging and about children learning, where there place is in society and connecting links with family and the outside world. Also 'Mana Tangata' Meaning Contribution where they are learn they are value as individuals and how they can contribute and make a difference. With these things being learnt from an early age you can see the children would be less likely to go off the rails later on as they would feel part of the community and hopefully respect it.

I could go on forever about my new job but it would bore you to pieces

I have notice James has forgotten to mention HE signed us up for a half marathon, (20ks) I would have happy attempted another 10k but 20 is way too far i think James thought for some misguided reason it would be good for us to run together to bond (he misses football and the football lads i think) unfortunately at 6am i'm not at my best (We've been training before work) and the whole way round our 4k route i'm silently cursing him for getting me into this. I don't even know when it is but i think it's in november -watch this space, Any way James said we're going to do 2 laps tomorrow which might kill me before work. I know your thinking hey that's not far but when you live 10 minute walk from the sea nothing is flat and the route we've been taking goes down to the sea though some bush and then back up again along the road and it's the UP part that is killing me.
But if you don't hear from me and James again it might be because i died on the second lap or kill James for getting me into this.

We've got our first confirmed visitors coming so we're really really looking forward to that (Hooray for the Richardsons) And i'm hopeful that Mum and Dad will find someone to Farm sit so they'll be coming soon too. Also i think they might be some other people in the the pipeline. Just let us know if you're are interested in a stay at Chez JJ.

I've loved reading all the comments you've been leaving us so keep it up. Missing you all but still loving it here.


Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Sunday at the beach

So, it's early spring over here now, and the weekend forecast was for the first time since we got here absent of rain. We decided to visit a popular beach about an hour away, Piha, which could turn out to be our nearest surf beach (once I get a wetsuit and board!). The drive was really nice, seriously lacking in any real traffic (compared with UK seaside routes). The beach was relatively busy, by New Zealand standards, that is there were other people other than us there. This beach actually is quite notorious for dangerous rips, and has a dedicated life guard team with boats and quads, etc. There's actually a TV program called 'Piha Rescue' on over here, but it's hardly Baywatch action, just a few surfers getting too close to the rocks or swimmers getting beyond their depth, etc.

Anyway, here's a couple of pics and a video, yes, I've finally discovered how to upload videos via youtube! Expect more in the future posts. In the middle of the beach there's a huge rock called Lions Rock, which was just asking to be climbed. Actually, there was a path anyway, but I would've attempted it either way.

All in all the weather was great (about 20degrees).


Looking North from Lions Rock

Looking South from Lions Rock (the surfing bay)

Bit of an in joke regarding the bag/packed lunch. When we came to NZ last year we had to leave a remote paradise like beach due to my incessant hunger, and it was a bit of a trek to get back to civilisation!

Monday, 8 September 2008

New Zealand is.........

..........strangely brilliant.

ie: http://www.stuff.co.nz/4685250a11.html

Socially, everything is more relaxed over here. There's mild swearing on the radio, political correctness is no where near as bad as the UK, and people just seem to be able to speak there mind without the fear of getting sued.

The other week was 'Boobs on Bikes' in Auckland, where topless women are part of a parade down Queen St (like Londons Oxford St), as part of a promotion for a local erotica expo. There was some mild protests, but most people just enjoyed it for what it was. It was a Wednesday lunchtime, kids were around, people were on their lunchbreak and it was just a good laugh, nothing sleazy at all.

Now, can you imagine this happening in england? Busybodies in england have trouble allowing mothers to breast feed their babies in public!! Ooh, how disgusting. Get a life! Rant over....

In our first few days over here we caught their parliament TV, which was brilliant. MP's werebeing sarcastic, the 'speaker of the house' was cracking jokes, no one was asleep in the back seats. Kiwi's tend to be more intune with the politics of their country than us Brits, and I think this is one of the reasons. Their MP's are human.

Anyway, back to work for me.


PS-If anyone has an Xbox 360 and play's online, I'll be available soon. Just need to sort out my modem thingy. I'll put my 'gamer tag' in ablog when I get it.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Was it all worth it......?

........Yes! The ability to drive to the slopes on the weekend is an awesome feeling. The drive itself was beautiful; clear blue skies, the rolling green NZ landscape, and the slowly growing view on the horizon of the snow covered volcanoes.

The drive up the mountain was a new experience entirely. We're used to the jagged steep approach roads of the european alps, but this was practically one gradual ascent. The surroundings were different too, travelling through a lush forest for the first half of the ascent before emerging in to a volcanic moonscape for the remainder.

The resort itself wasn't what we're used to either - this was just a place to park your car and get on the lifts, any accomodation is found at the base of the mountains over here. I suppose it's not practical to live on a volcano?! The conditions were really good, a bit icy in places, but generally good snow. The base is up to 470cm, which is about 270cm more than european resorts normally get. It is a record covering over here, and we should be able to still hit the slopes around Christmas time - which is the middle of summer!! One thing instantly realisable is the ratio of skiers to snowboarders. It's at least 50/50 over here, whereas in the european alps borders are still in the minority, probably about 70/30 at most (depending on the resort). Another reason to come to NZ then!

The drive back to Auckland was a bit of a hike, but definatley worth it. I'm sure we'll trim a few minutes off the journey with a bit more practice.

Jody liked it that much that she's gone back there today (wednesday) with Kieran's girlfriend Nic. Jody starts her new job next Monday, so is making the most of her free time, especially now that our gear has arrived!! We'll write some more about that once we've got round to unpacking all the boxes - it's like Christmas, as we can't remember exactly what we packed.

Anyway, lunch is over, time to get back to work.
I'm out for dinner with work tonight.......more free food!! "I'll have the steak please". Need I say more?


One of the snow covered cones

That's Mt Ruapehu

View from the top

If those clouds had cleared you can see the coast!

L-R: Nic, Kieran, Jules, Jody (all borders!)

Get out of my shot, skier!!