Monday, December 04, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Here is another of my adventures;
On Monday morning I fed all the birds in my Aviary, there was two female canaries sitting on eggs, four big chicks that had just left the nest and were still being fed by their parent birds, plus about 7 other males and a female canary, also some native birds, it was a good aviary all pretty with one yellow bird and all the rest various colours of orange.
During the afternoon we looked out the glass doors in the dining room and saw 7 of our Canaries sitting on the grass outside the bird aviary, having a cute wee picnic on the grass! They looked so happy and relaxed and so in the wrong place.
The little devils had just wandered out through a tiny crack in both the doors. The doors are warped after so long being weathered by wind and rain and sun, but it is only a small crack, how all of them did the, 'follow the leader' thing I will never know, the doors were all firmly shut, that's the only way they could of got out. Leaving behind 2 females on eggs and 4 fully fledged but still not able to feed themselves, chicks. These will die soon without the males to feed them, I had hoped the females might but they are not their chicks and they won't leave their eggs, but they won't hatch either as the female is usually fed by the male while on the 'sit'. All too much, I can't believe I now have no male canaries, we have been trying to buy one but no none of the breeders will sell any presently cause theirs are all mated and nesting too.
So I was a rather upset, desolated really. Oh ofcause those happy picnicking birds eventually flew up into the strong winds they went up up and away, we found one 3 doors down the road up in a tree but not catchable really. We sent in the cats but they never even saw one I don't think. Useless cats. Very cold last night too, not actually freezing, most likely they didn't survive the night, but if so they didn't come back.
So next morning we went into town and bought an extremely expensive bird from the Pet shop, the assistant would not guarantee that is was a male, but they were 'fairly sure' it was. Soon as I got it home it started making female noises and I knew it was not a male. I rang my daughter in Nelson and told her of the loss of most all of my birds and she rang the Nelson Pet shop and found a lady with two male canaries extra who lived in Wakefield, a small rather remote village in the mountain region inland from Nelson and Blenheim. I rang, Sheryl, and she said yes I could have these two birds for free if I just come over and get them, a 200km each way trip, I said yes immediately we would be there by lunchtime! And we were, collected the two birds and raced back home.
Actually we didn't race anywhere I demanded the car be stopped frequently so I could take lots of photos of the trip; one day you will see our day trip to Wakefield on Fotki I hope or Webshots, ( I don't seem to be able to post photos on here at the moment, sometimes I can so I will keep trying) and you will see exactly what NZ backcountry mountainous inland area is like. I have just managed to upload a photo, it is not the one I wanted, this shows vineyards in the Wairau Valley on the way to Wakefield.
We also had to stop on the drive over as there was tree felling happening in a forestry area, so we quickly gathered up some of the broken branches and pine cones, packed them into the boot of the car. So we have quite a lot of extra firewood too towards next winter.
Also while waiting for our Pizza to be prepared and cooked at Wakefield, for lunch, I played the poker machines and won $30 so that meant even our petrol money was covered. Basically the trip would not have cost us anything! Amazing.
The birds are nicely settled in my aviary now singing loudly, and the little chicks must be being fed because they are still alive 3 days after the parents flew away.
Now I have three females and two male canaries, the new males are both a beautiful golden yellow colour, the one I paid so dearly for is an ugly dull brown with vague orangey tints! Plus some wild birds I have rescued from the cats over the years.
I am so much happier now, knowing I did everything possable to save the lives of my chicks, they may still die, but thats life I guess.
PS; In fact all four chicks did die five days after the parent birds left home.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Here I have many albums of photos, including my Great OE to India and Nepal some years ago and many other travel destinations we have been to more recently. A very good site.
I shall continue to place more photos in here.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I was out driving a busy Saturday night and doing pretty well too, the operator called me around to the depot to pick up a chap at around 3.15am, so I went round and there was this big black man waiting for his taxi, talking very seriously to the operator lady. He came out and hopped into my cab and asked to go to Leeway's backpackers, pick up his gear and take him somewhere else. Now there was something about him, a sort of desperation, he was all agitated and concerned, also quite drunk. Halfway to the backpackers he asked whether I could take him to another backpackers in town, but at that time of night, I knew nobody would be open for guests to arrive, then he asked if I could take him to my house if I had a spare room! He begged and pleaded in a nice way for me to help him as he said he was in trouble. Normally I wouldn't take much notice of this nonsense specially from a black as coal type Fijian man! (I am a racially biased person I know!) But something made me say, ok, it will cost you but I will take you home, and got on the RT and got the operator to phone poor Erle and tell him I was bringing home a house guest. The operator said he had asked her for a bed for the night too, but she has no spare room.
I charged him only $45 a night. Cheap as.
When I got to our place the poor man Jonathan we called him, though that is not his name we couldn't pronounce that, took one look at our garage and wanted to run as he thought that was where I was going to have him sleep! Now that says something about him and his culture I guess and the way Fijian workers are treated out here too.
As I walked inside Erle came out very wide eyed and open mouthed when he saw me strolling in with a huge black man close behind me! I had to return to work but Erle took care of Jonathan just fine.
In the morning we set out to find out what was wrong with him, why he was so worried and upset. Turns out he was being bullied badly at the backpackers, having bottles thrown at him and insults and maybe more stuff, and Jonathan was scared he would retaliate if he didn't get away from it all. Retaliation would have meant he was deported immediately as he is out here on a visa to prune the grapes and it was due to run out soon, he wants the visa to be renewed so he can continue to work and earn money.
Funny thing is I quickly forgot his colour, he was a very nice man better educated that either of us, the son of a Chief, a member of the council in his district in Fiji, married with a couple of kids and is a farming man that can build bures ( the native Fijian building that tourist resorts all use for the most expensive rooms) Erle just got on with him so well that he was invited to stay another night but at 9pm he decided he must go back or he would still be sent home as he must live where he is ordered - at that backpackers. Erle is going to meet him next weekend and take him to help prune Mums trees and maybe to stay over night too. Strange how things happen isn't it.
Oh I continued working till 5.30 am that night as it was so busy, so I slept away alot of the time Jonathan was here. He was very grateful for our help and offered to do any outside gardening type work, that sort of shows he is a nice guy I think.
I also had an unpleasant incendent in the taxi.
The nasty adventure....this was Friday night about midnight.
I had to call the Police to assist me with a very drunk young women who drunkenly dropped her steak and cheese pie on the brand new taxi seat, when I complained and tried to clear it up, the dirty little drunkard grabbed an handfull of the meat and very runny cheese and ground it into the other seat and smeared it all over me too! Yukky. Then she really did a bad thing, she clambered over the seats to the front of the taxi and stole my Taxi ID Photo Card, without which no Taxi driver can drive in NZ, jumped out and ran away up the long drive with it, I tried to give chase but slipped and fell into loose gravel and grazed my knee - the broken leg knee ofcause, and its still sore.
The Police came straight away two sqaud cars of them and told her off, (she now has a Police record) made her return my photo and said if it needed it she must pay to have the seat cleaned. But I didn't want to go off the road for the rest of the night so, I went back to the depot and cleaned the mess off myself, so well that in the morning you couldn't tell it had been so filty. But I did lose an hours work time.
So that is the third time I have called the Police in 12 years and second time its been a female. If she had lost that ID Photo I would not be able to drive til I had a new one processed which takes about a month. Taking the ID was a criminal offence.
These events are fairly rare, mainly it is all plain sailing taking happy customers to where they want to go and being paid to do so. They all get out of the taxi and say thank you, nine out of ten turn and wave good bye to me. I am freindly to them and they are freindly back - usually.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Erle, my Husband has just celebrated his 70th birthday, he doesn’t look his age, but his 70th has arrived and must be celebrated. His sister Daphne who lives in Townsville Australia, wrote several months ago, to say she would like to come over for Erle’s birthday.
After lots of thought Erle decided to have a nice Birthday Party to celebrate. My birthday last year held at Grovetown Country Hotel was handled really well and everyone enjoyed them selves, so they were the first place thought of for the evening’s festivities. My birthday was in the summer and we could all be outside in the Beer Garden, August is in the depths of the winter and far too cold to be outside for very long, so this party was all held in-doors in the lounge bar and dancing area of the hotel. Only the smokers of the group dashed out every now and again for a quick smoke.
Eighteen people were invited and 20 people attended – not sure how 2 extras turned up, but it all worked well and we were glad to have everyone there, the more the merrier. Daphne came from Australia, 2 came from Timaru and one came from Nelson to celebrate Erle’s birthday. Unfortunately Erle’s son and granddaughter from Australia were unable to come over at this time
The Grovetown Country Hotel had a couple of blazing fires going to keep us all toasty warm, Erle put plenty of money on the bar for everyone’s drinks, I kept the chips and dips and cheese and biscuits moving around the room, I love to do take the nibbles around cause it means I get to chat with every person there, and I can nibble while I chat.
It had been arranged that the Hotel would supply lots of finger food later in the evening rather than a sit down meal, and there was a great selection of good hot food that we all enjoyed.
I managed to get pretty merry on all the lovely Sauvignon wine, far more than I would usually drink so it went right to my head as it did for many of us. Was lovely that we all relaxed and had fun.
It was a lovely celebration, all our guests have returned home now, it is very quiet around here now, I only wish we held these party’s more often, I have suggested that Erle could have another 70th party next year and the year after, but he is not too keen at the moment. Maybe we will think of another good reason for a party before then.
Photo shows Erle and I as he cuts the birthday cake, which was actually a large Pavlova, big enough for us all to enjoy.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
More stories from Langkawi.
Some of you have asked me about writing up more of our adventures, so I will try to answer everybody’s questions.
Yes there were other New Zealanders there, there was another couple, Van and Jan, from Waitomo, who arrived on the same plane as us, and left on the same day we did, we were even taken in the same transfer vehicle. We ran into each other quite often and it was nice to hear our own accent among all the foreign tongues, but we didn’t do any sightseeing together as they were very together; enjoying each others company, just as we were, so we didn’t intrude. We did however have the last big fish banquet together on the last night, on separate tables, but close, and we kept visiting each other to remark on the lovely prawns and the smallness of the tiny clams and mussels or the way the salmon was cooked etc, spurring each other on to eat considerably more than we might of. Certainly, it was a lovely, enjoyable meal.
There were several from England, one from Rumania, South Africa, Portugal, Austria, Kuala Lumpur, Pakistan, Japan, China and a number from Australia, as well as all the Saudi Arabian and other Arabs, dressed quite differently, from countries I didn’t find the name of, naturally we didn’t speak with even a quarter of the people in the 500 chalets. Many families had children with them.
Every day we used to watch in amazement as a Saudi family left their chalet further down the mountain, for breakfast in the lobby restaurant, on the shuttle, There was a man and 3 adult women plus an old lady plus at least 2 small children about 7 or 8 years old. As their chalet was the same as ours we wondered where they all slept; as our chalet had only a large king-size bed and a small divan daybed, we sort of figured it was the Arab sheik with his 3 wives in one bed, mother-in-law and kids in the divan!
Erle and I drove our wee rental car up toward the Seven Wells Waterfalls, then had to climb up a million steps up a mountain to get to where the lowest part of the waterfall was, going up to the top was out of the question! We found it very nice and cool and peaceful at the rock pools. Well worth the climb, wish we had brought our swimming suits; we almost had the place to ourselves, as it was too steep for most of the people who start out walking. On the way down I photographed the two monkeys grooming each other on the path, these monkeys followed us right down to the icecream stall at the car park. We sat and ate a lovely icecream beneath a shady tree and those monkeys rushed at me to steal my icecream and may well have got it, though I moved quickly out of the way, but the stall owner quickly got out her shanghai and hurled a stone at them. Apparently these monkeys frequently manage to steal people’s icecreams, but not mine!
One of the shuttle drivers told us of a Monkey called George who learned to knock on the door of the mountain chalets, when the resident opened the door, George was in like a shot, straight to the refrigerator. He would quickly open the door and take all the cashew nuts and chips from the mini bar, then sit in the corner and eat the lot. Which is why there is a lock on the cupboard where the fridge is kept! His brilliant brainwave didn’t do him any good long time, apparently the management had to shoot George in the end, as he couldn’t be stopped from his naughty behaviour any other way. Yes, there were snakes in the jungle, we only saw a python that was the pet of one of the locals, but I know there were also adders too. We did see a big black scorpion in the jungle and gave it a wide berth, and a large monitor lizard high up a tree.
As we walked each evening to the Oriental Village for our dinner we stopped off to speak with a girl who lived there, who owned a lovely ginger cat called Long he looked similar to our lovely Burmese cats and we couldn’t resist making friends with him, normally I wouldn’t touch an animal when overseas, (Years ago, I saw a girl who had been bitten by a rabid dog in India, who needed nasty injections in her stomach everyday. That put me off animals even domestic ones when overseas.) Long was a very nice cat, we never even asked his mistress’s name, but she chatted to us each night. Most Malayan cats have short twisted tails, but Long’s tail was nice and straight, we were told the monkeys bite the cats tails off, haha, but I don’t believe that story. The resort had many feral ex domestic cats running in the jungle eating all the small birds, which is why there weren’t many.
What else is there to do in Langkawi?
Heaps of things we only scratched the surface of all the things one could do, lots of water sports for instance, we watched a chap going para-waterskiing using a parachute behind a speedboat – far too dangerous for us!
There was a cable car very near our resort but as I am scared of heights I couldn’t bring myself to go up it, when I heard there was a long swing bridge up at the top to be walked over to get to the downward flight, I knew I wouldn’t be going up there. Someone would have had to blindfold me then carry me across the bridge; even then I am not sure I would make it.
Also an elephant was giving rides to people but I have had many elephant rides so didn’t do that, Erle didn’t want to really.
There is a snake sanctuary, but one snake is more than sufficient for us.
We would of liked to have gone out in a boat, island hopping or fishing, mangrove tripping and Eagle feeding or just sightseeing, but we were too worried about finance when we had the chance. Also I couldn’t budge them on the prices, these fellows were not into bargaining, and I had an appointment to go on a jungle trek, to see the flying Lemurs, birds, flowers and other interesting things with a naturalist that afternoon, so we didn’t bother trying very hard. But basically we did most everything we wished too. There is also a nice big mountain you can drive up usually but with all that torrential rain we had the roads became closed, I am told there was a wonderful view from up there, just as from the cable car, but, I wouldn’t have seen anything there as my eyes would have been tightly closed.
Friday, August 11, 2006
[Sorry, there can be no photos with any of the story as my computer does not allow 'cookies'.]
The last day dawns, how happy we were just enjoying ourselves and relaxing into the life of a travelling person, too bad all good things must come to an end, eventually.
We jumped out of bed caught a shuttle down to the wonderful breakfast buffet, to have our last great feast in Langkawi. We once again had fresh pineapple, watermelon and honey dew melon with orange segments squeezed over it all, a chef cook us an omelette, with cheese, onion, mushroom and chicken in it, eaten with an assortment of every known thing it is possible to have for a Western breakfast, and I usually had a roti as well, that’s an Indian breakfast pancake type of thing, there are many accompaniments to these but I managed to restrain myself from having major meals of curry for breakfast (choice of about 8 different ), and there was also all the enormous range of things the Asian people from all the Asian countries eat with their rice porridge, all yucky looking, I have never tried this breakfast except for the chicken cooked in coconut milk, which I just love and search out every time.
Then there is a huge range of every type of bread and pastries, muffins and cup cakes known to man, not sure how many varieties of breads there were but there must have been at least thirty sorts. Who wants toast when they can have Danish or croissants or some other dainty pastry item? Once we saw others were doing it, we took a small handful of the cup cakes with us to have for lunch or with coffee during the day. Served with coldish stewed coffee, the only thing everyone could fine a fault with that the management could improve on.
This was always a leisurely time of day, some people spent hours in the breakfast room writing up diaries and postcards, but not us we had lots to do, especially today. So it was back to the chalet to pack our suitcases in preparation to having to vacate at lunchtime, then we were off to the ocean for a last swim in the warm water. We only ever saw a couple of little fish in this part of the sea and there were no dangerous Jellyfish, that plague most of the tropic beaches now days.
We settled our account at the resort and wonder of wonders they handed back most of the money Erle had paid in to cover all expenses, so finally we could indulge in a little souvenir buying, funny how when we could we no longer wanted to. Still we got a small wooden cat for the collection we have at home, a nice Jade pendant with the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rooster, for me, and several t-shirts of Langkawi, you just have to have some of them.
The management were so nice when we checked out, they offered us a hospitality room for the last hours in the resort, as we had to wait till 4.30pm to be picked up, we gratefully accepted this offer, which turned out to be not just a room but another chalet, this time one right on the water in the area of the rich and famous that costs an arm and a leg! Naturally we photographed the view from this exalted residence and thought how we might pretend it was our chalet, but we are too honest! It meant we could have a shower and a coffee and a lie down if necessary and best of all there was a welcome complimentary box of Belgian seashells chocolates, they didn’t last long at all. There were also more cosmetics than is usual, there for us to use, cause everyone who goes there already has their suitcases in the Luggage room.
In time we were picked up and transferred to the airport, all the shuttle drivers and security and the Concierge desk people all came out to the vehicle to wish us a fond farewell and asked us to be sure to come back. This farewell was only to us not to the others in the vehicle they made that very clear, as we had made a big effort to be friendly to all these people. Just made our holiday better, I just loved to see their faces all lit up with ear to ear grins when they saw us, that’s what prompted me to be very chatty to all the Malaysian people. Speaking the same language is not all that necessary, the photo I sent of me by the shuttle with two Saudi Arabian girls with their arms around me all friendly, could not speak a word of English, but I drew a tick on their hands because they had been good, and smiled at them, once their Father told them it was a nice thing to do they were all over me, it was very nice.
Yes, we were sad to leave, we most likely won’t go back, we would rather like to, but the flights to get there are so long and wearing it takes a while to recover from such long hours sitting in airplanes and terminals, then the 4 hours of driving to come home from Christchurch! It’s a bit much.
How much money did we actually have over there? We think maybe about $1000.00 (some spend in Duty Free before we even left New Zealand,) as we intended to use the credit card for meals and rental cars; we came home with about $500.00. (Some of which we needed to pay car storage) Didn’t spend much, as we had to keep as much money as possible in case of emergencies that can and often do arise, but in this case did not.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
While we were quietly strolling along the jungle path, we heard the sound of a couple of fighter jets zooming around the bay; they circled a couple of times noisily. Now at home in NZ this would not have been of any note, no worry at all, for NZ has no enemies who might send fighter jets in to scare or worse, but this was a foreign nation. I clutched at Erle and asked just who were Malaysia’s enemies? Do they have any; we supposed they must do seeing NZ kept a peacekeeping force there for so many years. Did all those Arabs that filled the resort have any bearing on the jets being there? Were they likely to be throwing bombs at us any moment? Makes you really appreciate the peaceful life we live in NZ.
No of cause they didn’t bomb us, but they had us a bit unsettled there for a moment.
From our balcony high up in the trees we were able to watch the monkeys swinging through the trees quite close to us, there were two completely different species; a grey/brown small one called Macau’s I think, that eats just anything and everything from the rubbish bins etc and a larger black one with white patches around their eyes, quite pretty and a vegetarian only eating fruits. There were also other animals climbing around in the trees, like squirrels of several different types and we saw a sloth, but there were also many different flying Lemurs and Tapirs, a thing like a pig but with much longer legs like a small horse and other stuff we only saw pictures of, and huge birds approx 3ft long Hornbills bright yellow coloured, we had a pair flying around noisily a couple of times, they crash into small branches of the trees as they land.
Erle and I eat a lot of fruit, especially when we are in the tropics, we buy it up from small stalls at peoples gates, very cheaply and its so nice and fresh doesn’t last long usually. Plus that gives you a lovely chance to have a nice chat with the locals.
We had been sitting on that balcony again gobbling bananas and rambutans before going off for a swim one afternoon, we left one small banana on the wee table, quite stupidly! We did shut the door before we left the chalet but didn’t bother locking it –we were 10ft at least off the ground and the back door was locked.
When we returned and opened the back door we were greeted by a gosh awful mess. Plastic bags all torn up paper bags too, things from the dressing table all thrown around and little sticky handprints everywhere. Plus not a sign of any fruit in the place, monkeys had just climbed up and opened the door and helped themselves to anything they fancied, fortunately the house maids had seen and heard them and driven the pesky monkeys out before they investigated our suitcases, where there were some cashew nuts, well hidden I am glad to report. Could have been much worse, they didn’t find the Rum bottle, but it still took us a while to clean up, monkeys can leave quite a mess as the darn things are not house trained!
We had been hearing a lot of Chittering noises during the nights, just outside and suspected that there could be a squirrel nesting in the trees close by or even the roof of our chalet, though we tried hard we never managed to spot what was making all the noise until the last day. Mrs Black Squirrel seemed to bring her young dainty baby squirrel to visit us. We were so delighted we forgot to photograph them ofcause, we just watch enthralled as both of them dashed about on the small branches very close to us. She had been nesting in the roof as we thought. We also saw red Squirrels in the trees from time to time.
And amazingly a quite large Sloth, about large dog sized with no tail, hanging below the branch making its was slowly until I turned the torch on to it. Made pretty good time then as they are very noctural.
Steamboat – or the tale of two drunken diners.
Saturday night came around and we felt the need to celebrate, after much nonsense talk of hitting Nav’s or Goats or maybe the Boch, (Blenheim’s Nightclubs) we decided on having a Steamboat meal, a Chinese/Thai meal involving the cooking of many different types of food on your table, you have your own little burner, a huge platter of fish meat seafood, shellfish, vegies, and odd mushroom variety’s even seaweed, once its all cooked and eaten you are then supposed to drink the wonderful broth that has been formed in the special divided pan it is all cooked in, one half had plain chicken stock and the other a hot spicy Tom Yum Thai soup- I used that one.
Sounded like a great idea, so we dressed up a little, had a couple of rums, and caught the shuttle to the Oriental Pearl Restaurant. Why oh why, did we decide then to stop off and enjoy a few happy hour cocktails; Pina Colada is so yummy, we were having a fun time! Joyfully we tripped to the Oriental Pearl, ordered our steamboat, which takes quite a while, now what possessed us to have a nice glass of wine while we waited!
Thoroughly three sheets in the wind, we manfully attempted to make a start on the truly delicious food, using chopsticks for a short time before we resorted to the ladles! We munched our way through the mainly lovely tasting goodies we managed to fish out of the boiling steamboat pan, slopping quite a bit all around the table. Little Chinese were asking if everything was ok? Wonderful thanks we trilled! Tossing, a shrimp and catching it deftly, sort of.
Suddenly we looked at each other and realized that one more mouthful may have us bringing up the lot. Safe to say by now we had the full compliment of sheets billowing in the wind. I airily told the little Chinese to take the steamboat away to the kitchen and let all the staff enjoy it – we only got about halfway through and certainly never even tasted the delicious soupy broth, they said yes they would all eat it up it wouldn’t be wasted. Then, while we were almost incoherent, it was give our chalet number for them to charge the meal against- it was such a hard number to remember 4137 I do believe we gave them every combination of those numbers plus a few others, before we waved the room key at them, held on to one another and staggered out, poured ourselves into the shuttle and entertained the driver all the way to our chalet where we fell on the bed and watched the room go around and around. Taxi drivers that hardly drink should never go out celebrating!
Oh Yes; I told the Oriental Pearl I would rate their performance on the Internet, I can safely say their steamboat is very good – I think! Sure wasn’t expensive thank goodness.
We were awaken an hour or so later, the phone rang and a little Chinese voice said ‘ah so that is your room number.’ And hung up, THE CHEEK OF THEM!
Tiger Prawns or the most expensive meal we have ever eaten.
Several days later the money was still holding out ok so instead of eating at the Food Court we drove into a tiny fishing village to look out a restaurant of some kind, and found it. Virtually just a shack made of three sheets of corrugated iron, on the side of the road, we were seated out under the pretty red bougainvillea and we ordered Tiger Prawns or rather I did, Erle went for a whole snapper. The man asked how many Tiger Prawns I would like and I said oh two or three I might share them with Erle, I wondered why he was rubbing his hands together happily. And No we would not like any drinks thankyou!
Very shortly out came the man staggering under a huge platter holding 3 massive monsters of the deep, pick of the catch, Tiger Prawns that were about 18 inches long and 3 inches thick looking more like lobsters than shrimps. (Then again with a large snapper cooked just right.) Good job I was really hungry. They were perfectly cooked as I asked; deep fried in batter with garlic, the batter was full of slithers of garlic and tasted wondrous as did the tiger prawns, ofcause I shared with Erle as he shared his snapper and all the vegetables and fried rice we had ordered too. Took us a long time to get through it all but get through it we did.
We decided it was the most delicious meal we have ever eaten, then the bill came RM$214 .00 = NZ$107.00 like WOW. I paid; thankfully we did have enough – just! So now its back to the Food Court again! We always order and pay for breakfasts when we book our accommodation so we were never in any danger of starvation, the breakfast buffet was also the best I have come across, and I have come across many really good breakfast buffets.
Oh Yes the rating for Simi’s Outdoor Seafood restaurant; not withstanding that he could see a ‘very rich tourist ‘ coming, and he knows how to charge like a wounded bull, we have got to rate it the top meal we have eaten in years, very well cooked nicely served in nice a outdoor setting on a lovely evening, we didn’t regret the huge bill and I would go back again. Top notch Rating.
Um I have been asked whether Erle might have had his credit card with him since I had left mine at home, well Erle has not got a credit card and never has had, so yes we could have been in deep do-do. Was only by being careful and spending wisely except for the tiger prawns!, and being lucky, that we managed. But it will never happen again, I try to learn the first time.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Rain Drops keep falling on my Head.
We decided to get a rental car; first we asked around to check how much others had paid. Seemed like most were RM $100 a day but one person had got their car for RM $50 so I decided to try my bargaining skills once again.
Took a taxi to the airport as there was no chance of a cheap rental at the resort, we had spoken to some of the rental agencies as we went through the A/P several days earlier, so we bowled up to one of them and I started my bargaining pitch, I quickly got them down to RM$40 a day for 4 days, and I am sure I could of gone lower but I had Erle next to me jumping up and down yelling ‘We’ll take it we’ll take it!’ so that had to be it. Still a very good deal as that is only NZ$20 a day, couldn’t do that well in New Zealand.
So Erle drove away from the A/P and I tried to navigate, after a few false starts we were away and drove in the sunshine to Kuah the big town on Langkawi Island. Went first to Eagle Landing where there is a huge sculpture of a beautiful Eagle, took its photo then down came a tropical downpour of torrential rain with lightning bolts and loud claps of thunder. We had to take shelter in a KFC, as that was all there was to get inside. Waited half an hour then we made a run for it to the car, just a tiny wee little baby car but big enough for us, as we ran two different lots of people stopped and offered us a lift! Nice people these Langkawi folk but we ran on.
We then drove right around the Island in rain, the worst rain we have ever seen, it was like there was a grey curtain right around the car, it was just solid rain bucketing down from the sky, flooding all the streets and bringing down a few trees, quite dangerous driving as there was no visibility on roads we didn’t know, could gone under water any time, but Erle made it safely back to our Resort, but we saw nothing much, and never did go back to Kuah town.
The worry with having a rental and no credit card was what would happen if we accidentally smashed it up, we were very conscious of this and took extra care all the way the whole time.
It was so good being able to go driving every day to most parts of the island, we saw all four of the waterfalls and bathed out feet in the hot springs, looked at all the best beaches, bought lots of things like banana fritters, jack fruit crisps even crab cakes from tiny stalls along the way, plus masses of bananas and rambutans a delicious fruit we have tried in may tropical countries. They have red spiky outer skin and a soft white berry inside, all soft and sweet and juicy.
Most days after this it seemed be pouring with rain for short bursts with thunder and lightning, all very tropical monsoon like, at least you soon dry out as it is still very hot even when raining..
Was a sad day when we had to return the cute wee car and start walking again!
The next two days were spent really lazily on the beach swimming either in the lovely warm sea or in the not quite so warm pool, with its huge waterfall, and a bar in the middle, which did a great trade with all the non-Muslims. Muslims are not allowed alcohol. There were many, many Arabs at this resort, mainly from Saudi Arabia. The men stalked around very pompously and arrogant in the main, though some were on honeymoon and very affectionate towards their poor women who had to be covered from head to toe in a black Burka with just tiny slits to see out of. In such heat as this everyone felt sorry for these women, what the ladies thought no one could tell, most can’t speak English.
From our chalet we could only really see one other chalet and in it was a Saudi couple. Now she never set foot out the door without the burka, but she would go out on to the balcony with her husband and talk with Erle and I, we thought we had been truly honoured to be allowed to see her lovely face and her long hair that went way past her backside. Erle was careful not to address remarks to her or to say anything that could be misconstrued, language was the only problem, they were both very nice, while on that balcony. We all sat up there watching the monkeys playing in the trees and empting the rubbish bins messily everywhere.
We didn’t sit around crying into our beer at forgetting the credit card; mainly because it was Rum and coke that we had bought going through customs and we were drinking! All our dining was done at the Food Court at the Oriental village and lovely it was if a tiny bit hot for Erles taste.
The heat was always around 32C up to 36C during the day and it only dropped marginally during the night, apparently it is the same year round, and it is a hot steamy energy sapping heat that had a sweat on you all the time. Wouldn’t like to have to work in it, but its great for swimming.
After two relaxing days, and checking our small store of money, we decided to look in to the matter of a rental car.
A $light Problem of the Monetary type.
When we checked into the Berjaya Resort in Langkawi, we made a discovery, not of the joyous type, more of the, oh, oh now-we-are-in-trouble type.
When you book into these 5 star resorts they always request your credit card to make an impression, just to cover themselves in case of guests booking up masses of drinks and food to their rooms, then having no money. We don’t charge to our rooms, but many others do, in fact almost everybody at the resort was doing this.
Anyway when they asked for my credit card, that is when I discovered that my credit card had not been lucky enough to have a nice tropical holiday and was still at home in New Zealand in my best going-to-town handbag! I never bring my ordinary handbag when I travel instead I use a banana shaped soft vinyl shoulder bag with short straps so it hangs comfortably just under my arm, it has a zip that goes from strap to strap sealing it completely, making it extremely difficult to pick pocket. Langkawi is a safe place but many places we go to are not. With this purse I feel quite safe going anywhere knowing my money and cameras etc are quite safe.
So, no credit card, Erle quickly stepped in and offered a quantity of money to cover this problem, the manager readily accepted NZ$200.00 and we were all sweet again. Except for the fact that we didn’t have the card to backup any of our spending, it’s just nice to have the assurance behind you. We actually hadn’t brought that much actual cash with us, we had been led to believe that there would be no other food available in the area except for the 6 restaurants attached to the resort, so had expected to be spending heaps on meals, this brought a slight change of plans. We would have to be cautious in our spending watch our pennies.
We don’t go overseas as tourists anyway, we go as travellers immersing ourselves as much as possible into the culture as we can.
So after we had enjoyed the previously mentioned Grand Welcome by the ladies with fruit and goodies, we walked down to the security post at the gates and I asked them just where they ate, as obviously they wouldn’t eat in the resort. The security men said they just walk down the road half a mile to the food court at the Oriental Village on the right., but, they said its all Malaysian food – hot and spicy! No problem. I told them, we didn’t come to Malaysia to eat Western food we can do that at home. We set off immediately in the very hot sun and were fortunate to be picked up by the resort shuttle and taken to the Oriental Village.
There we found the Food Court with about 7 different small shops selling all kinds of interesting foods – most of which we didn’t recognise, but the people were happy to explain what the dish was and to make them not too spicy. We dined like kings for RM$11 which is about NZ$5.50, and vowed to continue doing this most evenings.
It would remain to be seen whether we would end up having a major problem, by having no credit card.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The Grand Welcome.
We arrived in Langkawi and were picked up and taken to the Berjaya Resort and Spa Hotel, a very impressive place, built on about 50 acres of jungle land on the side of a mountain. There are 500 chalets scattered through the jungle all the way up the mountain side and on the beach, even built on stilts right out over the sea, these ones are the most expensive executive suites.
Most of the chalets are built either single or double side by side, ours was a single one about three quarters of the way up the mountain, surrounded by jungle full of all the animals, birds and insects of the jungle, reached easily by a 24 hour shuttle service, the small vehicles raced up and down the narrow roads and we could often just flag one down like a taxi, when we wanted to go to the beach or the lobby, or one of the 6 restaurants, or to the nearby Oriental Village.
I forgot to mention when we booked our accommodation we asked as we always do, for a basket of local fruit for our room. Sometimes we get it sometimes not, we are quite prepared to pay for this fruit, but seldom have to, as it is so nice to have something to nibble on when you arrive in a strange country.
We had just settled in to our chalet when the doorbell rang and a little Malaysian girl stood there with a nice fruit basket of apples and oranges and nashi pears. We were delighted, and she told us have a look in our fridge as she had put a cream cake in there for us. We looked and were amazed to find a heart shaped cream cake with ‘Happy Honeymoon’ iced on the top. Oh dear, and heres us married for 12 years already! I have to say it was probably the nicest cake we have ever eaten and didn’t last long, I wish I had taken a photo of it.
Shortly after another lady rang the doorbell and gave us a Dragon fruit, a strange red fruit with creamy white flesh full of tiny black seeds, tastes quite nice and sweet, but this was getting embarrassing, we were effusive with our thanks.
Following quickly on her heels was yet another older lady, the most amazing of all, she had cradled in her hands like it was a precious jewel, a fresh mango. It blew us away when she said; Yesterday, when she was at home out in her own garden she saw this mango fall from the tree and thought of the couple coming from New Zealand arriving the next day and how we had most likely never tried a fresh mango, (and she was right,) So she brought it to work with her and gave it to us!
Wow, to think that a Malaysian Lady, Bless her, was thinking of us, whom she had never met, total strangers, when she was in her own home the day before we even arrived in the country, its positively mind blowing. Boy did we enjoy that precious mango it was so tangy and flavoursome.
We were almost scared in case the doorbell rang again! But fortunately that was it, but what a grand welcome we had, so we settled down to enjoy a second honeymoon – or should that be, the 12th honeymoon, as we go away every year on these wonderful trips.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Way back in March we had a lovely holiday all booked to Langkawi, Malaysia. While I was at my Bohally School Jubilee Reunion I fall and broke my leg. While jumping over an imaginary creek! ( see the previous blog )
We had to cancel our lovely holiday, only the day before we were due to pay for the travel, we were lucky not to lose any money for cancellations.
Now 4 months later my leg all better we decided to try and rebook, there was only 3 weeks notice but the travel agents assured us that was plenty of time.
We were quickly emailed back the next day to say the flights over and the accommodation were all ok but we were wait-listed for our return flights. Not a problem, we simply waited a week before another email to say we were booked on that flight too. Great, all set we thought!
So in we went and booked and paid for the NZ content of flights from Christchurch to Auckland and a deposit on the Malaysian content $1000.00. Unfortunately we had to fly from Christchurch because it was going to cost us an extra $600.00 to fly out from Blenheim!
Then only one week before departure we received an email from the young lady at the travel agents to say “ the accommodation is no longer available, sorry. And I am off on holiday now, will be back the day before you leave.”
This threw us into a major panic, seems we only had any arrangements for flying to Auckland!
We went to the travel agents and saw another young lady who went to work on our travel arrangements. We spent 5 hours in that travel agents sorting out the mess. We told the new lady we did intend to travel somewhere, anywhere for 10 days just get us a booking where ever. This lady really knew her job and by the time we left all our holiday in Langkawi was booked and paid for and we were all set. The tickets would be ready to pick up on the day before we were due to leave. Cutting it very fine indeed.
Took our old cat Raisin to the vets for a vaccination prior to going to the Cattery, only to find he was a very sick cat, his mouth was all infected and he required anti-biotic and possibly an operation to remove teeth. It was decided he could wait till after our travel to have any operations.
The tickets were all ready and we were able to go pick them up. Thank Goodness. We also were given a lovely box of chocolates and an apology from the original young lady who messed up our travel arrangements who it turned out was only new; just a trainee. We just smiled and said we all make mistakes, its all a learning curve.
During the night I received a phone call from my daughter telling me her Grand father, my ex father-in-law, had died during the night, and could she come stay in our house. Yes she could and she did. I should have attended the funeral but it was not possible.
The alarm was set for 3 am so we could have a leisurely breakfast and drive to Christchurch, however there had been a power cut earlier in the day that had reset our alarm clock for PM instead of AM, so ofcause the alarm did not go off. We awoke at 3.40 am, dived out of bed in a panic had a hasty cup of coffee to wake up grabbed a banana, to eat on the way, threw our suitcases in the car and were away on a very fast trip. Now I am not a very good traveller I get carsick from fast cornering and swift manoeuvrings, and that is what happened. I was car sick all the way to Christchurch and arrived feeling most unwell, but still just in time to drop the car at the car storage place and get to the airport on time.
So finally we did board the plane on route to Langkawi, though many times we didn’t think we would, it felt like we were not meant to go to Malaysia, so we decide to have just the best holiday.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Taxi Driver's tales.
Everyone says to me 'taxi driving must be so dangerous, specially at night' so I thought I would share with you all a couple of very recent cases where taxi drivers did get hurt while on duty.
We have recently had to drive because another driver Mac our friend, was requested as a male driver to help an elderly gent that had the misfortunte to have a mild stroke while in his bed. Mac arrived to find he had to help dress the man, then had to assist him into his wheelchair, push him out to the taxi, take him to hospital, wait and return him to his house. While getting the wheelchair man get from his cab into the wheelchair the gentleman slipped so Mac reached over the wheelchair to try and catch the man and then the man really fell and Mac was left carrying all his weight at arms length over the chair, a very nasty kind of lift. It has torn muscles off Mac's back and he has been in hospital for treatment and is still not very well but hopes to be back at work next week.
The second; This winter is in fact the coldest we have had in 40 years, so they say on the news. We have had heaps of snow on our mountains all around us in June - virtually unheard of, we do have snow there in late July and August at times but I can't recall snow on those peaks in June.
We have had to be out driving Mac's taxi at 6am every day for two weeks (while his back heals) so we know it is very cold, there have been heavy frosts each morning. On Monday there had been some rain during the night as well and it had frozen solid and formed black ice - the worst kind , very dangerous. It was my turn to drive that morning and my first passenger had many bags of luggage, going to the airport, so I got out to assist him to carry the cases to the car and went sliding across his driveway on the ice, fell and skinned my knee and ankle quite deep grazes that bled everywhere. The man on hearing me squeal as I skated down his driveway on my knees and ankle turned and said to me ' Shush there are people in there trying to sleep'!!!!! not a word about how was I. So I looked him in the eye from down on the ground and said ' thankyou for your concern' but he didn't get the insult I intended, at least still didn't inquire about my poor knees, that are still very skinned and sore, fortunately that haven't infected and are healing nicely.
Not quite the way most people expect that taxi drivers might be hurt, ofcause the truely violent things could happen, and do in the big cities, but not as a rule around our town.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
We had a lovely holiday in the Far North of Queensland, Australia, last year. and thought some of you might like to hear about some of it.
First we went to Townsville to visit with family for 4 days and we sure had a fine time, spending every possible moment with Erle’s son and his sister. I managed to win a Jackpot playing the machines that meant we had extra spending money to enjoy the city, before catching the train up to Cairns.
We arrived so hot and tired that as we started to walk the short distance to the accommodation of our choice, we came across a place called Leos with rooms vacant so didn’t bother going any further. That’s how we came to stay at the Backpackers! So cheap was this accommodation only $40.00 with free breakfast and dinner thrown in. The young people have it all too easy, but the food was a little basic to say the least (we upgraded it) but the room was just the same as a motel with air conditioner and a fan and fridge and hand basin etc, plus swimming pool and pool table etc available also the full bar.
Next morning after a good sleep we hired a rental car and headed up to Port Douglas, where we stayed for 3 nights. There is so much to do around this area we could have stayed longer. We went out crocodile hunting on an evening cruise up the Cairns River and we saw two great big ones, went to a wildlife reserve as saw many of the native birds and lizards and more huge crocodiles, dinned on a upstairs balcony in the sunset, also did heaps of sight seeing all around the city, while swimming every day and eating masses of tropical fruits, before going on up to Daintree and Mossman. The Mossman Gorge was so nice and cool and lush with nice walks in the forest. The Daintree was where we saw a Kangaroo family under some trees.
There was a wee Joey in the pouch of one of the Kangaroos. Also we saw the Daintree River Ferry that we didn’t go over.
Our original plan had been to go to Cooktown but short of hiring a 4-wheel drive vehicle we just couldn’t go there, we gave up that idea. Still we saw and did other good things, and we got to go stay at Palm Cove the expensive beach mainly for the rich and famous. We were so lucky to be able to get rooms in a posh place right on the Esplanade just a step across from the beautiful beach. The Hotel was virtually closed up because the wife of the owner was in hospital ill and he couldn’t manage it on his own. We were the only people staying in the whole huge building, I think the reason he allowed us to stay, and fairly cheaply too, was for security reasons, so we had the run of the place and used the spa and the pool up on the roof just as we wanted. Wish we could have stayed longer, but the Atherton Tableland up from Cairns was calling us, actually it still does, as we didn’t really get there completely! We drove up the Gillies Highway and didn’t find it too bad at all, enjoyed Devonshire tea at Lake Barrine, looked at lots of beautiful waterfalls then where drawn to a place called Ravenshoe, it was just the name. Auzzies say ravens hoe we said raven shoe! However the great taxi driving team of Erle and Glennis got hopelessly lost, took the wrong turning somewhere and went charging down the Palmerston Highway. I don’t recommend this drive to anyone, it was very, very steep, but a pretty drive with lots more waterfalls and lookouts, eventually we ended up in Innisfail, not a town you will have heard of, but its quite a nice fishing village and we stayed overnight in a room the size of a shoe box but it did have air conditioning and it was cheap. Went to the RSL where I won another Jackpot on the poker machines. It was on the way back to Cairns we discovered the Babinda Boulders, which was a very nice side drive to a beautiful mystical place that’s important to the Aboriginals. When back at Cairns we went to the Casino (surprise, surprise) and up to the wildlife dome on top to see the Koala and other wildlife all loose and free inside the huge dome, you could touch most things if they let you. Sadly I lost a few wee dollars at the casino! But won quite a lot in the hotel later. Australia might pay for me to stay home in future or at least to stay off the machines, I did really well everywhere except the casino.
The next morning at 4am we departed for the airport and home, arriving at 8pm NZ time a long day of travel.
And that folks is the short story of our holiday. We plan to go back; we didn’t see Ravenshoe!
Thanks for reading. I hope you feel inspired to go there too, its a great place for a holiday.
I took heaps of photos and have them on Webshots, link below.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I really enjoy photography using my digital camera, specially scenery around the beautiful Marlborough Sound of
New Zealand and my Burmese Cats.
If you would care to have a look at all my albums your very welcome to click on the link http://community.webshots.com/user/glennisnz
Please leave me a message either on my guest book or here on my blog so I know what you think of my efforts. Thankyou.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Bohally Intermediate School 50th Jubilee Reunion.
School days are said to be the best days of our lives; I have always had trouble reoncilling this to my school days, except for the two years I spent at Bohally Intermediate School.
I was among 116 other young 11 year olds who were the foundation intake of students when the school openned in 1956.
Bohally Intermediate School was the very first Intermediate School in New Zealand, built to cope with all the 'baby-boomer' students.
I was in Mr Dixon's class for Form 1 and Mr Petrie's class for form 2. Classes were large at that time with about 35 mixed sex students in each class room.
On the first day of School when I stepped into our brand new classroom I said to fellow students " I shall return here in 50 years time - If I am still alive, for the 50th Jubilee." And I did!
There were only 38 as far as I know of the first year students at the reunion, plus ofcause thousands of students from all the later years, but we the 'first years' were the important ones. We sat at the two top tables for the big Banquet, and had our Photos taken first all that sort of thing.
We also had a packed school lunch given to us all to eat in the school lunchtime. All of us wanted to take it out and eat it by the old creek that featured in all our old memories, but the old creek no longer exisited, it had been piped and filled in completely - for safety I guess, as we were always falling into it or being pushed!
After the lunch we were photographed in year lots then given a guided tour of the school as it is now. Such a huge differance to the brand new buildings set in a ploughed paddock with just a large block of concrete to hold assemblies on every morning and a strip in front of class rooms to play on. Now there are many new buildings with all modern learning equipment. After the girls had showed me the school I took them to see where the old creek used to be, and showed them how we used to run over and jump over the water, I demonstrated this! Jumped onto a patch of fallen leaves that had come from an old oak tree, that completely covered a hole, which I jumped into, fell over and broke my leg!
So that is how I broke my leg jumping over an imaginary creek!
I was then taken to hospital for xrays.Fortunately only my Fibula not the main tibia or femir bone in my leg so I didn't require plaster just bandaging, as long as I used a wheelchair to rest my leg.
I ended up attending the big banquet in a wheel chair, my friend Judith is in wheelchair so we sat one at each end of the big top table.
Still a very enjoyable evening.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Sunday 14th May, Mother's Day.
My Dear Daughter Nyle and second Grandaughter Shakara, came over from Nelson to visit me and to bring me a yummy Chocolate basket of goodies, and to have lunch with Erle and I, and to play with our adorable kitten Porsche. Later I went to visit my old Mother to have afternoon tea with her. Good day.
Monday 15th May 2006
I took our Silver Blue Burmese Kitten, named Jolichat Porsche, who is now 3 months old to have her second cat flu vaccination. Then I took her to visit her old Mother cat and her breeder. Mrs Stickney, was very pleased with how she is growing, her coat is perfect and her eye colour is perfect. We just knew Porsche was perfect anyway.