August 21, 2004
Well were finally back home after our 10 month round the world trip. As an experience it was awsome. We did so many amazing things. When I start to look back it kind of blows my mind!.....
Everyone asks where we liked best.....well for us we loved Laos, Uganda/Rwanda, Oz, New Zealand best
Places we wont be visiting again..U.S probably, Egypt(ancient egypt was amazing but modern egypt is a pit!)
Favourite things we did....
Mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Game drives in Kenya, White water rafting in Uganda, Nile cruise egypt, Everything about Oz (particularly jumping out a plane over the great barrier feer and landing on a tropical queensland beach).
Everything about new zealand(particularly flying over the southern alps and landing at high altitude in the snow).
Jesus I could go on for ever......
We were very lucky indeed, our trip went like clockwork and we met some great people.
We are so lucky to have had this amazing experience, we will have these amazing memories for ever.
Thankyou to all our families and friends back home who helped us in many ways, we did miss you all. Thanks also to our friends in Oz and The U.S who looked after us and let us stay with them.
Thanks to the guys from bootsnall for letting us rant and rave on this blog. If anyone needs any advice on travelling to anywhere weve been ,please get in touch, We'd be delighted to help if we can.
Now its time to get back to reality sadly.
The end of David and Kris's Round the World Adventure
August 20, 2004
Second last flight for us!.....flew to nyc with Continental...they werent that good!..plane was really small and cramped....not in the league of Emirates, they were superb.
Getting pretty tired of travelling now, tired of living out the rucksack, looking fwd to getting home!
Anyway, arrived safely and caught the coach into Manhatten from Newark. Couldnt face the subway so we hopped in our first new york cab, cabbie was very entertaining, when we told him where we had been recently, it kind of blew his mind!...so many americans get only about 2 or 3 weeks hols a year and never manage to leave the U.S all their life!....
Checked into the budget hotel that we pre booked... the riverside tower hotel. I'd heard quite a few mixed reports about this hotel, in reality we thought it was fine!..compared to some of the hell holes we've been in recently it was not bad at all.
Main issue is that the rooms are very small by any standards, but basic facillities are good...room had ensuite, decent shower, microwave, a/c and fridge/tv. Not bad for Manhatten and in a nice neighbourhood in the upper west side. Just dont expect glamour and remember the rooms are small!..
Anyway, how did we find newyork.... Well im going to be honest as usual, if something sucks , I will say it did , and if was fantastic, I would say that too!...
Lets say we found it a tad more towards the sucking end of the scale!
Things we enjoyed ....
Central park was nice, a welcome escape from the city.
Went to see Rent, it was excellant, now I know what happened to scary spice (mel b), shes actually really good in rent!
The Intrepid museum is reallg good, its got a massive aircarft carrier, a selection of fighter planes, a nuclear sub( comedically called the Growler...lol) and a concorde!...all of which you can have a good look around in..
Took the staten island ferry(which is free) this sails past the statue of Liberty, and gives good views of the downtown water front.
We chose not to go to the island because we got too traumatized by the humumgous queues(lines).
Views from the Empire state building were amazing, but I dont know if it was worth the 2 hrs that it took to get up there and get back down.
Enjoyed a walk over the Brooklyn bridge
Things we didnt like
Well it has to be said, weve travelled through 17 countries over the last 10 months and we found the newyorkers to be the rudest people we've encountered yet!...Please and thankyou dont really happen much in NewYork. Customer service was often shockingly bad. To be honest it made me angry and I often confronted the rudeness which they really didnt like...but it had to be done, as they were just SO rude!.
There are some really cool old buildings in manhatten but in reality a lot of the buildings are very boring concrete blocks with little character, the empire state, chrysler, flatiron building however were the exceptions.
The subway was pretty rank to be honest...really hot and smelly, plenty of trains running 24hrs but limited information and signs are poor, and gawd help you if you dawdle and get in someones way, or dare to ask directions...
Aw well maybe we have just been travelling for too long...
Another good thing for us was we were able to catch up with Claudia and Kathy the american girls that we met in Malaysia and singapore, it was great to catch up!..hope to see them both again some time in the future.
If your into shopping, Macy's was fab and bloomingdales was crap.
All in all we felt Manhatten was all a bit over hyped and over glamourised, there's a lot of self proclaiming going on...ie were the best in the world at this and the worlds center of the other and the worlds bigger whatever...our advice to some of the americans....get out a wee bit more!..theres a big world out there!, and some of it is even outside the U.S !....Heaven forbid!..
One final bit of advice for fellow travellers...if you can possibly do so AVOID CONTINENTAL AIRWAYS
They demanded money from us for date changes to our ticket. Our ticket allowed us free unlimited date changes. Once again they were downright rude.
We had no hassle with any of the airlines over the past year and made stacks of changes to all our flights, but Continental were the only ones that gave us hassle...they suck!...
July 21, 2004
This is a kind or retrospective journal entry, as we have just completed a month overland road trip between los angeles and sanfrancisco, taking in utah, nevada and arizona as well as california. Due to extremely expensive public internet charges we could not update the journal as we went along....so maybe a month late but better late than never as they say.....
Arrived safely and very jetlagged into L.A after flying accross the international date line from Fiji, we flew 10hrs and arrived about 9hrs before we took off on the same day.....how bizarre..
Spent 3 days in L.A recovering from the jetlag and seeing some of the city.
Here is a short summary of some of the highlights for us over the last month in the u.s.a.Continue reading "L.A to San francisco"
June 24, 2004
Continue reading "Tavewa- Yasawas"
The sea plane was fantastic, the views over the islands and reef were awsome.
It cost us 160 fiji bucks per person each way and took 40mins, instead of 90 bucks and nearly 5 hrs on the boat!...I mean theres no option really specially if a fantastic gadget like a sea plane is concerned!...
After much internet searching os the smaller islands we chose Otto and Fannys resort on Tavewa as we wanted somewhere very escapist, but not too exoensive and with at least edible food.
After a fairly short flight from Auckland we arrived at Nadi airport on the west side of the largest fifji island Viti Levu. Just a brief stop here at the Aquarius resort, this is a new place on Wasawasa Road, right on Wailoaloa Beach.
It was actually a really nice , its obviously pretty new as its all shiney and clean!...great value for the standard of accomodation.
It was really handy for us as it was right next to the jetty where the sea plane leaves.
We arranged to take the sea plane accross to Tavewa the small island we had booked to stay for a week, its in the Yasawa islands.
Just the one night at the aquarius, it was so nice to be back in the hot sunshine again after the coldness of new zealand!.
off to tavewa on the sea plane now...dead excited..
May 29, 2004
After a scenic 2.5 hour crossing through the Cook Straight, we arrived in Picton for the start of the south island drive. Here are the highlights:
Whale watching center - the only place on our travels where we have been able to get out and actually see 4 sperm whales in action (so to speak!). The Kaikoura Whale Watch company are very professional and the boats are state of the art, using hydrophone technology to listen and track the whales as they surface (for just a few mins) once every 30-60 mins. You only get to see them raise their tail once - just before they dive...
The boats also have a plasma screen mulimedia presentations throughout the trip to give you all the information regarding these amazing creatures.Continue reading "South island"
After picking up our latest campervan (a bit bigger and with an ensuite!) we started our 4 week overland journey down to the south island. Here are the highlights of the north island:
Bay of Islands: Took a great boat trip out to the islands and visited the famous hole in the rock.
It was also a good oppotunity to check out some of the local widelife (seals, dolphins, albatross, shoals of salmon etc). Kris got to dive the famous Rainbow Warrior (sunk by the French government in 1985) and I got fobbed off onto a cultural experience at the Waitangi treaty center where NZ become part of the commonwealth.
May 18, 2004
We arrived safely after quite ashort flight from brisbane with quantas. This was our first quantas flight and we were quite shocked to find how crap they were. Some of the crew were pretty rude,the seats were quite cramped and they showed a movie which was about 15 minutes longer than the flight...I mean whats the point of that!....There not a patch on Emirates. We flew quite a few times with virgin blue in oz and found them really good, more room and much friendlier.
Anyway Auckland....well we thought it was in new zealand but really it appears to be in new asia!....auckland really is full of asian people - immigrants and students. Walking down queens street sometimes we seemd to be the only non asian people around. Apparantly they have had a fairly open door to migrants from asia over the last 20 yrs and the majority have settled in auckland.
After we got over the unexpected culture shock we found its a really nice city. Its known as the city of sails which is a good name as there is numerous harbours dotted around the area.
We went up the city tower which gives amazing views over the city and islands and lets you het your head round the geography of the area. We were staying between the cbd and the parnell area. Parnell is a very up market area which lots of posh cafes and shops etc
We decide to get all cultural and did the maritime and national museums which were pretty good. The maori and polynesian cultures are really interesting.
We went up to the K road to check out some of the bars which were pretty good and chatted to some locals about the changes in the racial mix of the city.
Also visited the victoria market.
Stayed in the aukland city hotel which was pretty good value, we even had a telly, fridge and ensuite!!...oh the luxury!....
Weather isnt bad at all, not as cold as we expected and some sunny days, just wait till we go to the southisland!...After our few days in auckland were off to pick up our 4th camper van for a 3week drive down to queens town.
First stop will be the bay of islands...
May 15, 2004
After another great flight back accross Oz with virgin blue we spent our last 5 days in Oz down at byron bay. We picked up a cheap car near brisbane airport and drove the 2 hrs into new southwales to byron.
We managed to get agreat contact from mandy at the no.14 hostel in katoumba for a small self contained studio apartment in byron, so we called ahead and booked it....oh the luxury, our own kitchen ,ensuite and main door.
It turned out to be ace!, and really cheap, we were delighted, no more backpacker hostel hell for a few days anyway!.
We'd read quite a lot about byron and its history as an old hippy colony and surf town, but im afraid after spending a few days there, it wasnt quite what we thought.
In reality theres very few hippies there now, they've all moved inland to Nimbin and byron is yet another backpacker resort now sadly. Off they hop, off their packpacker bus straight into the backpacker hostel, eating in the backpacker restaurant and drinking in the backpacker pub and booking all their tours in the backpacker tour agent offices......its so sad !
Anyway...enough of that, yea its now a dedicated tourist town, but not a bad place to spend a few days.
Its got some cracking beaches with good surf and really clear water, we thought the beaches were much better than up at Noosa where the water was a bit murky. We took a wander up the lighthouse which gives some awsome views of the coast.
We were lucky our studio was a bit out of town so we werent traumatised too bady by the backpacker brigade......or backpackages as we now call em.
We took a ride up to nimbin to check it out and also the sunday market, it was quite cool and friendly, comedy to watch them all dancing about on the village green dressed as fairies etc..
Before we even got the car parked in nimbin we were offered grass!!...amsterdam doesnt have a look in here!...lol. We were only there for an hour or two and must have been approached about 10 times with offers of "smoko"...
All in all a great chilled last few days in oz. On the way back up to brisbane we took in dream world on the gold coast, a coupla good rides but not really up to that much, def not worth the 60 bucks!...it was funny to see the tackiness of the gold coast...kind of benidorm in Oz really Bizarre that its advertised as some kind of glam coast cause its concrete geometric blocks beside some surf beaches......really naff, glad we didnt spend any time there...
anyway off to new zealand we go...
May 06, 2004
Thanks to good old virgin blue we managed to squidge in a couple of weeks over in W.A.
What a difference to queensland!....its a humungous desert basically, this pic shows what its like as you drive along for hours and never see another car or person...
WA borders on the Indian ocean!...The heat is a dry heat very different from the east coast. One awful feature though is the flies, in some places they are in tolerable, everyone wears those mad hats with nets. It spoils the beauty and enjoyment of the region sometimes.