A Travellerspoint blog

October 2008

Pictures from Paihia/Russell!!!


Nothing too exciting, I'm afraid. I haven't really gone out to do anything but I can definitely show you what I have so far.

From when I first arrived in the Bay of Islands, these are the photos I took while I was in Paihia:


YAY!!! The following photos are from the town of Russell. This is what you see when you walk out of the restaurant that I work at:


The next bit is some of the restaurant that I work in. In the back we have a garden bar that looks like this:


And this is my flatmates and I who work at the restaurant:

From left to right it's Aki, me and Lena. Aki is from Hong Kong and Lena is from Germany. They are both lovely ladies!!!

This is my boss, Bernard:

That is one cool little French dude!!!

The next pictures are of the inside of The Gables which is the area I work in:

Okay, so it's just one photo. But I did take photos of the artwork that is on the wall that I just LOVE!!! It's by this guy named Alan Scott and his work is some of the best I've seen it awhile 'cause it's so different from anything else I've seen. Check it out:

The last one with the castle is my favorite. I think this guy rocks.

Okay, so here are some pics of our new home for the summer:

View of the front.
View from our porch.
That's Lena getting ready for bed. We share a room. It's not bad at all. We get on very well so we are the perfect flatmates. =)
And that's Lena in the kitchen making us her homemade pizza. It was SO good.

In other news, work is good. Slow, but good. Pretty easy, to be honest. And today in New Zealand it is Halloween so I want to wish my mother a happy New Zealand birthday!!! YAY MOMMY!!!

I also want to say hi to my lovely English ladies in Chrstchurch who will be going to Francis' Halloween party. Lucky ducks. Oh!!! Speaking of ducks, we see tons of them around our flat all the time!!! Check it out:

They are so cute!!!

Okay, hello to everyone at Charlie B's........I miss you SO MUCH!!! I wish I was back on the south island so I can dress up with you all tonight. Have fun and take tons of photos for me!!!

Bye everyone, talk to you all soon!!!

Posted by Squarabara 17:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Hello, Bay of Islands!!!

semi-overcast 0 °F

Well, I have made it to the lovely Bay of Islands and it is just gorgeous here!!! I am so excited that this is where I'll be spending the summer months. Just like Queenstown, everywhere you look is a picture perfect view. I will be posting pics as soon as I can get batteries for my camera so I can actually take the pics!!!

I left Auckland this last Friday on a coach bus. The ride was so beautiful. Rolling green hills, little towns, a few rivers here and there. Gorgeous. It was about a 4 hour drive and halfway through we stopped at a cafe called "The Swinging Cow Cafe". And there was a picture of a cow with her rear end facing you and her udders swinging in the breeze. Lovely. Then when you went to the bathroom the ladies door has a picture of a cow and it said "heifers" underneath it. I know someone who will get a kick out of that. I arrived in Paihia which is the main town in the Bay of Islands. It’s beautiful. I stayed at a backpackers called the Saltwater Lodge. Very nice. New, clean, comfortable beds. After checking in, I decided to get something to eat as I was not up for cooking after traveling all day. Right next door to the backpackers is a place called The Salty. They gave me a coupon for a pizza meal deal and it was SO good. I got a little mini pizza, some garlic bread, a salad and a pint of beer. All for 12 dollars which is REALLY good in New Zealand. It was the perfect meal. That night I only shared the 4 bedroom dorm with one other person. She was from England and she was headed out the next day so I didn’t get too much time to get to know her.

The next day started out really nice. But like all island weather it changes every minute. First it was hot, then it was cold, then it started to rain. But it didn’t start to rain until after I had explored the town a bit, so that was good. Paihia is a really awesome town. When the summer season kicks off, it’s really gonna be a fun place to be. Lots of little shops, restaurants, bars and what not. The beach is right there and you can see Russell across the way plus some of the smaller islands in between the two towns. I took a walk on the beach and you wouldn’t believe all the beautiful shells that wash up on the shore. They’re HUGE!!! And so pretty. There are some rock pools nearby with shellfish and starfish. So awesome. I went to the nearest supermarket to pick up some stuff for dinner and thank god they had Dr. Pepper there. I really didn’t think that they would have it, being that it’s such a small town. But they did. And not only did they have it, but it was the cheapest price I have paid for it yet at $1.50 a can!!! I was in shock. Needless to say, I was a happy camper.

When I got back to the hostel, I met a girl named Emily who was from Arkansas. YAY!!! Someone from the states!!! I haven’t met many at all. The funny thing was, she saw that I had Dr. Pepper and said “Oh!!! Any time I can find Dr. Pepper I get as many as I can!!!”. It was so funny. I told her how I drink it like water and she said she does the same. “I paid 3 dollars for a can in Auckland!!!”. “Oh yeah??? I paid $3.50 for a can in Queenstown!!!” So funny. She went out after that and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her again before I left. There was one other lady who was staying in the room named Beverly. She was from Vancouver and she just retired from teaching high school. I thought it was so awesome that she was going around traveling on her own and doing it old school style. Most women her age would want a room to themselves in a posh hotel. But she was just fine with staying in a hostel with other travelers. Awesome. She was out on the deck drinking red wine and eating cheese and crackers and I sat down and started talking to her and we talked for a good hour or so about what our plans are and where we came from and all that good stuff. She was so easy to talk to. She then went down to make herself some dinner and she came back up to ask if I wanted any. She made a salad and she had too much so she shared with me. So nice!!! After that, she went off to go see a Maori show that they do every night in town.

Speaking of Maori, I went to a show when I was in Christchurch that I forgot to talk about. It was an organized one for people in the travel industry so I got to go for free seeing as we booked their show at Charlie B’s. It was really interesting. It’s one of those mobile type stories where you walk along from place to place and they act out the story for you. It basically took place around the time that the English arrived in New Zealand and how guns and alcohol had an impact on the Maori people. It featured two different chiefs who were prominent during that time. I only took a few photos but I will post them when I get around to it.

Continuing on........

I stayed in again that night as I had to get up early to check out and work out my ferry ticket over to Russell. So I woke up, checked out and I had about 3 hours to kill before I had to meet up with my new boss. So I went around town again and got something to eat. Then I went over to the local bookstore and found the newest copy of Empire Magazine. YAY!!! This time the featured cover was the 100 greatest characters of all time as voted on by the reader. *Start Rant* I knew that I was gonna see Jack Sparrow in there. The question was, which number??? Well, I’ll tell you. NUMBER FOUR!!! Are you freaking kidding me??? If the pirate sequels had not been made, I would definitely put Jack Sparrow in this list. Well, I would still put him in my list but it would be based off of what I have seen of him in the FIRST movie. But he would not be in the top 10. In the top 50, yes. But I would never put him in the top 10. You may think this is not a big deal, but let me tell you who he beat out. Luke Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi, HAN SOLO, Gandalf the Grey, Gollum, Aragorn, Chewbacca, Yoda, Lt. Ellen Ripley, E.T., William Wallace, The Godfather, Tony Montana, Forrest Gump, Hannibal Lecter.......do I need to go on??? MENTAL. What are people thinking these days??? I do, however, agree with the number one choice. Indiana Jones. One of my all time favorite film characters. He wouldn’t necessarily be MY number one, but for the general public I am very glad that he was put in the top spot. At least some people are thinking clearly. *End Rant*

I went back to the hostel to get my luggage and then headed over to the wharf to catch the ferry to Russell. It’s about a 20 minute ferry ride and it’s SO gorgeous!!! Tons of boats sailing everywhere, people kayaking, little tiny islands in between the two towns. So awesome looking. I got off the ferry and started walking towards the main road. This german girl came up to me and said “Excuse me, I have to ask, are you working at The Gables???” I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, are you a psychic???” but I just said yes. She then said that she was working there as well and the reason she could tell was ‘cause our boss, Bernard, told her that I would be arriving at the same time as her and I was the only one on the ferry with a whole bunch of luggage. Fair enough. We didn’t have to meet up with Bernard for about 45 minutes so she invited me to come with her and her friends for a small picnic on the shore. That was very nice. Her name is Lena.

We then went to go meet Bernard and I got a look at the restaurant. It’s small, but nice. Really cool artwork on the walls by a local artist. They have a beer garden in the back and of course, regular dining inside. Apparently, I will be working split shifts. Blah. And since I have more waiting experience, I will be working inside ‘cause the outside is more casual eating. Lena will be working outside which I wish I was ‘cause she gets to work from 11 to 7 or 8. I have to work from 11 to 3 and then 5:30 to 10. Suckage. I don’t like split shifts. But I need money so I just better shut up.

After the tour, Bernard and his wife took us over to where we will be staying while we work here. It is SUCH a nice flat. Really clean and tons of space. Lena and I share a room and then there is a girl from China named Aki who is in the other room. There is another girl who lives here named Rowan but she is not working at the restaurant. She just knows the owners and rents a room from them. She is really nice. We all get on very well. In fact, Rowan’s brother works on a fishing boat and she gets free fish all the time. Last night she made us a curry fish type dinner and she showed me how to prepare it. I told her that she needs to teach me all kinds of cooking skills as I don’t have any. Oh, and she went outside to pick some watercress for the dish. Not from her own garden as she doesn’t have one. Just from the plants that grow around in the area. That is so freaking awesome. Speaking of the area, it’s so beautiful around our flat. There is a duck in our backyard who just had babies and she walks around all day with the little ducklings. It is so cute. But the sad thing is, she started with 10 ducklings and now she only has 3 as some of the other predatory birds have eaten them. SO SAD!!! But Rowan has a cat named Timon who is super sweet so he makes me feel better. I feel a bit more at home having a cat around the house.

As far as the town of Russell goes, it’s smaller than Paihia and there isn’t much that I can spend my money on which is a REALLY good thing as I need to save for when Curtis comes to visit near the end of summer. So I can really only spend my money on paying my bills and getting my groceries.

Oh, and I did check. They do have Dr. Pepper at the Russell supermarket.

Posted by Squarabara 14:35 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Goodbye Christchurch!!!

rain 57 °F

Yesterday was my last day in Christchurch. I didn't want to leave. This traveling thing is SO HARD!!! You just start to get to know people and before you know it you're off to your next destination. I know I've said that a lot already but it really is hard. For me. I mean, I'm not crying myself to sleep at night but I am really bummed that I can't take all my new friends with me. Not that I can't ever go back and see them again, of course.

My boss at Charlie B's, Sandy, was kind enough to drive me to the airport. She has been the best boss ever!!! If anyone ever goes to Christchurch, make sure you stay at Charlie B's cuz they are too cool for school. I got to the airport checked in and took a short flight up to Auckland. I checked into a hostel called Skyway Airport Lodge. It's right next to the airport (hence the name) and they pick you up in their own shuttle. This hostel is the most quiet hostel I have stayed in since I've been in New Zealand. But it is very nice. It's owned by a husband and wife. A kiwi man and an asian woman and they have the cutest baby girl ever. She's walking around right now as I type this and she's trying to get my attention. She's so adorable!!! Her name is Sky.

Today I'm getting a taxi to city center and then I'm catching a coach bus up to the Bay of Islands. It's about a 4 hour drive but it's supposed to be a beautiful one. So that'll be nice. I will be staying in Paihia which is the main town in the Bay of Islands (pronounced pie-hee-uh). After that I will take the ferry over to Russell and meet up with my new boss at the restaurant I will be working at. Then he will take me over to the staff house. So that's good that I don't have to worry about finding a place to stay.

It's raining right now in Auckland. It better not be that way further north as that is one of the reasons I wanted to come up here. So I am looking forward to 90 degree weather and white sandy beaches and clear blue water. I think I'm gonna swim with dolphins. That'll be awesome.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Charlie B's for making me feel so welcome and for being my home for the past 2 months. It's been a blast and you guys rock!!! I will see you in the fall!!!

I would like to take another opportunity to plug a certain artist who is a good friend of mine. She started this line of books called "Little Vampires" and it is just too cute. The artist is Rebecca Hicks and I met her when I was working at Mimi's Cafe in San Diego. She's very talented and I want everyone to go to this website: http://little-vampires.com/ and check out her stuff. She also has her own comic book called "Project Elohim" which has 4 volumes out at the moment. Check it out peeps!!!

Okay that is all for now, I will get back in contact once I get to the winterless north!!! Cheers!!!

Posted by Squarabara 14:25 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)


semi-overcast 55 °F

Springtime has arrived in the beautiful country of New Zealand. Flowers are blooming everywhere and the streets are more crowded than usual. Not to mention the weather is warmer. Which makes me quite happy as I am SO over the cold.

I have come to the end of my work here at Charlie B's. I am really sad that I will soon leave the friends I have made here behind. I know that I can always come back and visit. As for where I'm going next, I have no idea. I can't decide. I was thinking about going to the top of the country to stay at the Bay of Islands. It's gorgeous up there and being that summer is about to start, there will be tons of people and different things to do there. And lots of work is available in the area at the moment. I had an interview this last Friday for a cafe in Wellington and it went really well. The cafe is totally groovy. When I walked in I saw a portrait of John Lennon on the wall and I knew that it was my kind of joint. It's called "Gravity Coffee" and it's really cool. They only have locations in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. So if I wanted to transfer I could only go to those places. Blah. I want to see more of the country than that!!! Although I do want to go to Wellington eventually. But I don't know what I'll be doing next. But I have to figure something out soon.

This last weekend I went out with some fellow co-workers and some English girls that I met in the hostel. They are very nice and they are staying at Charlie B's for the next few weeks. Their names are Kate, Kelly and Abby. They rock. We went on this thing called the "Big Night Out". It's organized by people who work at Base Backpackers. You pay 25 bucks and you go to 5 different bars and as soon as you walk in the door you get a free shot and then cheap drinks for the rest of your time there. But since I work at a backpackers I didn't have to pay the 25 bucks so I pretty much drank for free the whole night. YAY!!! But anyway, it was tons of fun and the people who run it are super awesome. That would be a fun job. They run one in Queenstown as well. So we did that and then at the last bar we decided to go to a night club called "Boogie Nights". By far the coolest club ever. It's right up my alley. The dance floor lights up and the DJ sits inside a VW bus. If a girl works there she has to wear this cool 70's dress and white go go boots. So cool. I would LOVE to work there. Not to mention you get to listen to the coolest music all night. Kat and I went there the previous weekend and we just danced all night. Awesome.

So that was good times. I think I have one more weekend here and then I'm gonna have to figure out where I need to go next. I don't know. I'm SO confused!!!

Posted by Squarabara 17:43 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

The past few weeks.......

sunny 50 °F

This last weekend (12th-14th) was my first weekend off since working at Charlie B's. Needless to say, I was ecstatic at the fact that I would finally be able to go out with everyone and experience Christchurch nightlife first hand. We all decided to go out on the Saturday as the All Blacks were playing a game against Australia and we thought it would be fun to go somewhere to watch it. We went to a bar called Iconic. Pretty cool place. Pool tables, giant screens to watch the game on........hot bartenders. Always a good thing.

We stayed there until the game was over (we won!!!) and then headed next door to The Flamingo Bar (???) to go watch "The Black Seeds". Francis told us they were playing there earlier in the week and suggested we all go out and see them after the game. Francis tends to know a lot about the local music scene and the cool venues to see shows at. He's full of all kinds of useful information and is constantly spewing forth knowledge. Sometimes it's not all so useful. For example, one of the first times I worked with Francis he tells me out of nowhere "Apparently scientists just discovered that the Octopus doesn't have 8 legs. It has 2 arms and 6 legs."

Thanks very much.

The Black Seeds play funky, reggae-ish type music. That kind of music, to me, is always good to hear live. They were awesome. And for those who don't know, Bret from Flight of the Conchords actually plays in this band but since he is currently busy filming Season 2 of Flight of the Conchords he had to have himself replaced while they were touring. Gutting, as I would've loved to have seen him in the flesh. He's quite yummy.

I think that was the perfect outing for my first weekend off in Christchurch. Watched my first rugby game, went to a concert. Lovin' it.

Last night I went with Jess and her boyfriend, Dermot, to a party that their friend was throwing. It started out pretty slow and I had a headache, but after awhile I started to feel better and was enjoying myself a lot more. Jess has some pretty cool friends.

Around 1 am we decided to head into town to go dancing. And that was fun 'cause I got to see more of the town. I don't even know what places we went to but they were fun nonetheless. We ended up at one particularly small bar/club dancing until 4 in the morning. I love that about this country. In the states everything closes by 2 am. Unless you're in a big city like Vegas or New York. So I'm taking advantage while I can. And I have every weekend off until I'm done working here so I'll be able to go to a few more places before I head up north.

Speaking of work, I only have 2 weeks left here and I'm actually quite sad about it. I didn't really feel sad until the first weekend that I went out with everyone. I'm just starting to get to know them and soon it'll be time for me to head elsewhere. I knew that these kinds of things would happen before I left for this trip but I didn't think that I'd feel that sad about it. I mean, I still have 9 more months left to stay in New Zealand (hopefully more if my path leads me that way) and I will have plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make more friends. But it's hard doing it this way!!! I'm really glad that I am doing this trip by myself 'cause it's something I thought I'd never do but if I ever go somewhere else on a trip like this one I'm gonna make sure I have a travel buddy to come with me. So I'm a total wuss, what do you want???

I'm pretty sure I'll be heading to Wellington next. I'll know definitely in a week or so. I have a potential job opportunity there so everyone keep your fingers crossed for me!!! I'll keep you all posted. ;)

Posted by Squarabara 14:46 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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