Saturday, January 19, 2019

Me & #thatwanakatree

Sleeping in that room at the Edgewater “resort” sucked big time ! We had to open door and window to get air flowing and there are no screens so when I opened my eyes and turned on my phone in the dark the first thing I saw was a bug .... possibly a mosquito . The room was filled with flying critters and we had to pack up and run off to get that picture in front of that Wanaka tree which I mentioned the other day is possibly the most photographed tree on the planet and definitely in New Zealand . The whole story of that lone tree in the lake is that it was a fence post that I am gathering decided to grow into a tree ? Maybe you can find out more and leave a comment below and tell me more but that’s what I’ve gathered thus far so if that’s the truth then it quite the intriguing story isn’t it ๐Ÿ˜ƒ back to the story at hand .... we high tailed it from hot box bug room and went straight to the empty parking lot before the bus loads of people started lining up to take their photos and I began dressing while the sun was peeking over the mountain range . We recorded a video which I will post with this blog on Facebook and I began to waddle down the beach to the tree where there were two photographers not saying a word to each other with their tripods set up and all serious and there was one other fella with his iPhone waiting for that perfect shade of pink to catch that photo that has been eluding them all their lives . Now usually when I step on the scene with my gear on all the focus shifts to me but these guys were ready to kill for that pic that they more then likely take every single day as if waiting for the tree to sprout legs and walk away and never happen again ... sorta like what I will do when I get my pic lol ๐Ÿ˜ . It was a head scratcher and everyone always asks what people were saying but on this day the people their didn’t bat an eye lid . 

We h8ng around taking some photos and of course I was super anal about how and where the shots were taken and no I didn’t care if I was in the other photographers shots and when I was ready and done I got a pic of myself in an angle where I posed as if I was chopping the tree down and then we made our way back to the parking lot and people were starting to show up and those people seemed more enthralled by what they were seeing and were saying hello .... if they were there minutes before it might have lightened the mood or it might have pissed those photographers off ....regardless I would have had a laugh . Next thing on the agenda is coffee and then time to hit the road and get the f$&k out of dodge . We found a place called The Coffee Shack around the corner and the woman that owned this small cafe was really friendly and was selling succulents she has grown and we began chatting about them as back home I have tried to grow them also with little to no success . The coffee was not bad but not the best I’ve had and we were fuelled up enough to make our way back to our shitty room to pack up and leave early . Yeah we can’t stand this room if you haven’t noticed ? Time to hit the road and find our own way to Dunedin but on another longer route covering new territory with a few stops tossed in there . 

Did I mention how fun driving is here ? Open roads with nobody on them winding through the mountains and all I can think is how much my buddy Daz from Sheffield would enjoy this .... if you’re reading this Dazza , you have to come drive here ! As we are winding and cruising with some tunes on we approach some slow moving cars , when I say slow I mean they were doing 65 in a 100 zone and there was an entourage of vehicles following all waiting for the 2 lanes to pass but there was none and I stayed in line for about 10 km and then as we were winding down a mountain one of the camper vans behind me over took the whole lot of cars and I thought for sure I’m gonna see an accident but they made it by everyone and were long gone by the time I decided I’m going for it also .... I wanted to open up and have fun cruising and not be all stressed following the slow patrol . First straight away and I jumped a few in the row then waited for another straight away and went to jump the next few and OH FUCK !!! There was a divot in the road and I didn’t notice an oncoming vehicle so I jumped in front of a vehicle and avoided a head on collision . Nobody got hurt and I’m sure a few of the people involved breathed a sigh of relief and then I was behind a truck that signalled for me when to go and I did and I was off . Drove a good 30 minutes and Kathleen had to take a wee so we pulled over near a public toilet and while she was in there a vehicle parked behind me and it was a guy and a woman . This fella approached my vehicle and with his knuckle knocked on my window and instead of rolling the window down I opened the door and he started by saying you know that was a close call and you are driving reckless and I replied yeah that was kinda close but all’s good and I’m not driving reckless ... I just didn’t see the car coming because of the divot in the road . He said it coulda been worse then it is and I replied nothings wrong ๐Ÿ˜‰ he was already walking away and the woman with him was shaking her head as if to say they are perfect and we are beneath them .... so I followe them to the toilet and they both went in the same toilet together ? Weird ? I did my thing , washed my hands and was expecting to see them outside when I got out but they were long gone . I guess they just stopped to vent at me and then sped off . In my opinion ... nothing happened , nobody died got hurt or injured so why bother ? Oh well ... fuck ‘em ! 

Back on the road we go and I never saw their vehicle again which I am glad because I would have just passed them again to piss them off because well that’s just the way I am lol ๐Ÿ˜ we stopped beside a dam in the middle of nowhere to eat our pre made sandwiches and noticed a tractor pull up on the side of the road and he was knocking his smashed windshield out so I walked over to see if he was ok ? He was not a happy camper and just say I’m alright and ignored me as I stared in bewilderment .... all I was thinking was , is this my fault ? Is he angry with me and am I in for another confrontation ? I walked back to my car and he left with no incident and if that stone shot from under my tire then I don’t know what to say aside from sorry but I didn’t do it on purpose and shit happens . Hopefully we run into some friendlier folks from here on out ! Next stop was a fruit stand where we grabbed a bag of nectarines, plums and apricots which I thought were delicious . And we kept driving until we got to Oamaru where we found out there is a colony of Blue Penguins we might catch a glimpse of . Only problem is they are not there at this time of day but we stopped anyways to get a leg stretch and check out the beach anyways . We hiked it down and found a bunch of Sea Lions basking in the sun on the beach and we probably got closer then we should have but it was exciting to see some wildlife up close and then hiked our way back where we found the dried up Dog Fish which is a type of shark that frequents these waters . Pretty cool stuff but we can’t stay long as we have more to see and little time before having to return the rental car . 

Next stop was the Moeraki Boulders which is another idea I had to get a pic in gear but as soon as we got there the reality was that it was too far a hike from the car park to get this done with way too many tourists plus time was a factor . The boulders are really round and another wonder in this magical part of New Zealand ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ seems like there is something amazing to see that nature has created around every corner here . What an amazing country . We wanted to try making it back to go to check out the Albatross colony but we were really pushing our time limit and dint want to pay extra on the car to see these massive birds so we skipped that and headed back to The Victoria Hotel in Dunedin where we checked in dropped our bags and asked my buddy Drew for any suggestions to go eat ? We were told that there is a good Italian restaurant called Etrusco at The Savoy ... Drew’s suggestions have been spot on ! Always trust the locals !!! We made a reservation after dropping the car off and got ready to go over and when we arrived we were very impressed ... we ordered a bottle of wine and got a nice appetizer and our server Giacomo was super friendly and we had one of the best meals so far on this trip as we laughed and enjoyed our pasta which we ordered after . This place is not cheap but was worth every penny and I highly suggest going by there as long as you are not on the keto diet hahaha ! 

Unfortunately as we were enjoying our meal I found out that my Uncle Paul Bonett in Malta had passed away .... he was a man I had looked up to all my life and I loved him dearly . He was a professional referee that reffed World Cup qualifiers and champions league matches all over the world and in my opinion was a great man . He was one of the few people I would make sure to visit whenever I was in Malta and I have been putting off going to see him knowing he had been aging but I always thought he’d live forever as he was always in good shape and great spirits . The last time I visited he was 83 and didn’t look a day over 65 and was spry and agile even at his age .... this news really dampened my spirits but I held my shit together and when we left I needed a drink so we stoped into The Craic and I got a scotch and a beer and we raised a glass for him and I cried . I’m crying now writing this .... it’s tough to lose someone you look up to and care about even if you don’t see them as often as you’d like . All I hope is that my cousins in Malta are ok and if I had the money I would not think twice to fly there right now and drop everything to be with them but unfortunately I am not in that position and to be honest I’m sure my uncle would not be please if I ditched my sports to go do something like this . He was proud of my accomplishments and all I can say is everything I have accomplished is only a shadow of the great things he’s done . Gonna miss you Uncle Paul .... Rest In Peace . 

Friday, January 18, 2019


Not really sure why we decided to go to Wanaka to be honest , something about hiking or something ? I left Kathleen to decide this one as we had visions of grandeur but as we planned the routes for this trip we realized we needed to rest so it was kinda fitting that we ended up in this lazy lake side town . Our day started in Queenstown where we had to go have breakfast ice cream ... don’t judge me ! There is a place called Patagonia that has an awesome selection and as you know by now that someone amongst us loves ice cream so I’m not one to say no to anything and next thing you know we are taking an 8 am hike to get some creme glacรฉ . Like I said earlier , don’t judge me ๐Ÿคจ we grabbed our morning flat white coffee and found ourselves at Patagonia staring down a list of flavours and immediately the banana split flavour leaped out at me so that’s what I had and Kathleen had After Eight flavoured ice cream ... mine was better of course hahaha . We went back to our room to enjoy our stay there until the minute we had to check out at 11 am as I sat around writing my blog . That room was so nice at the Crowne Plaza . Bags packed , we then got our car and hit the road .

The drive over there was just over an hour which was nice and when we arrived it was just after noon so we went to see if we could check in and of course we couldn’t which seems to be a thing here on this continent . 7 out of 8 places we’ve stayed in have said our room is not ready and wouldn’t let us in until check in time as if the room magically was cleaned at that exact second . Our hotel there is called the Edgewater Resort and seems to look like they have an upscale motel type setting on a golf course right by the lake and their big selling point is that they are so close to #thatwanakatree . I added the hash tag because if you look this hashtag up you will see that this tree sitting alone in the lake is probably the most hash tagged tree in the world . We didn’t know this when planning so when we found out we couldn’t check in we decide to go scout my next photo in my goalie gear . When we got to the parking lot we figured it’s best for me to do this shot in the morning as the lot was full and there were tons of tourists taking photos which is never a good thing when trying to get my shot as people don’t give a rats ass who’s taking the pic as long as they get theirs . I don’t blame them as I’m nobody in reality anyways ... just some crazy goalie nobody really knows that gets awesome once in a lifetime photos while sweating my ass off ๐Ÿ˜“regardless we decide to be back for the sunrise tomorrow and get the pics here . We then drive down to the other end of the strip of restaurants , bars and shops to park and make our way back while deciding where to book a reservation for dinner . We have come to realize that reserving a table is key down here and without reservation you are lucky to sit in the bathroom eating your meal . We found a place called Lake Bar which has signage for a brew pub also which is confusing but I’m sure that’s the name of the place . It’s now time to check in and we have figured that our place has a jacuzzi and sauna which we are free to use .... so we drive back to our hotel . 

The person at the front desk was not very friendly and I think she had a Spanish accent and a degree in not dealing with people so she knew what she was doing . I wasn’t an ass to her but when she spoke to me I didn’t like her tone or delivery .... we ended up in a room above another room . Like I said picture a motel with a second floor but two rooms share one door . When we got to our room it was a hotbox and not the kind of hotbox I used to enjoy when smoking but the hotbox where holy shit I am cooking internally in here . There is no a/c and the bed is just steaming heap of heat which I come to realize has a heat pad in it that is on . Kathleen called the front desk to see if there is any rooms with air conditioning and the woman said no so she went to the desk to get some ice so we can have some gin and tonics and go chill in the spa .... apparently that Spanish speaking woman avoided her like the plague probably knowing we weren’t exactly pleased . FYI this room cost us roughly $200 for the night and this hotel is one of the worst we have stayed in and if it didn’t have a sauna I would rank it 8th out of 8 but I am gonna be generous and say it was 5 or 6 with a few dumps that were worse and at the end of the trip I will do some overall ratings for you all and I will tag them all hahaha ! Now the spa which was two jacuzzi’s and a sauna room were sitting there lonely with nobody using them ? So we took our drinks and enjoyed it all to ourselves for the afternoon and after that I took a nice nap . Wanaka doesn’t have much to do to be honest and is kinda lame . Just my opinion and I’m glad we only spent the night but it did serve the purpose of some chillaxing which was needed . If you want to see the tree , drive through and don’t stay here . If you wanna go hiking or do some nature stuff then spend the night but don’t expect any wild nights here .... just my opinion . 

After my nap we walked over to have dinner which was about a 45 minute lazy walk and we had some chicken wings to start which sucked ...and then realized that tonight is steak night so I had a steak ๐Ÿฅฉ yes that’s two nights in a row and of course I had my meat cooked medium but ended up closer to well done and was nothing close to what I had at Flame the night before . I would say our meal was mediocre at best and to top it all off that reservation we made for the table at the window almost ended up being a table in the middle of the patio which we then said why would we reserve a table in the middle of the room ? They sorted that for us but what a cluster fuck ! After our meal we went for another ice cream which I had a banana flavour and that was nowhere close to as good as the one I had to start the day and overall I would say Wanaka does not compare at all to Queenstown and should be called Wanka instead ..... we walked back to our hotbox of a room and had probably the worst sleep of our trip . All I could think about while we were there was leaving . This was the lamest day of the whole trip so far even though it was needed and when you travel and you find out that a tree is the most exciting thing in a town/city you should know that excitement is not what is provided . Get me out of here ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

If you are wondering about the tree I will talk about it more in my next post . 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Thank you Ziptrek

It’s always asked what I get out of this travelling around with my gear to play ice hockey ๐Ÿ’ and I always say the same thing .... you don’t get to meet the people I meet just travelling ! Ice hockey always has tight knit communities all around the world with solid people and as you all know I’ve met some doozies on this adventure like Justin , Cam and Drew who have all went above and beyond to make sure I enjoy my stay here . Thank you all if you’re reading this . Drew who is my contact here on the South Island in New Zealand ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ hooked me up with his friend at Ziptrek so I could go zip lining for my first time ever . He used to work for them and is still in touch with a lovely gal named Jess who sorted me out with a solid discount to go down the steepest zip line on the planet over in Queenstown which is the worlds capital for adventure and as I said before is a huge tourist town and yeah it has its ups and downs but you gotta come here to do all this crazy stuff . I would come back to do other things as I have my two days filled with adventure already and should probably graduate to something crazier after abseiling and zip lining .... maybe jumping out of a plane is next ? Who knows ....

We started our day as usual on the hunt for some coffee and ended up at this shop called Fergbaker which is a chain of shops belonging to the same company , there is a Fergburger and a Mrs. Ferg Gelateria  and of course they are most famous for their pies . With coffee in hand we opted to go check out the rest of the stores belonging to the infamous Mrs. Ferg . The lineups during the day are absolutely bonkers with the line running around the block at times and I wish I was exaggerating , but at this time there were none as the burger shop was just about to open and the bakery was already starting to fill up . We got served immediately and grabbed a sausage roll and a pie to take back to our room to test out . The sausage roll was probably the best I have ever had ๐Ÿคค! No joke it was amazing ๐Ÿ˜‰ and the pie which we had to have since it’s a huge thing here in NZ was yummy too and I have not tasted others but I would say it’s the best I’ve had also since I haven’t had others .... the sausage roll will have me dreaming for another for the rest of my life though and I’ve spent a lot of time in England where they love their sausage rolls . We had some time to kill and opted to chill and save up our energy for the zip line and did a bit of walking around town and found some groceries and went to meet Jess with a hot chocolate to say thank you and meet her . She was really lovely and helpful in giving us some advice on where to eat and grab ice cream ๐Ÿฆ Kathleen needs her fix . Maybe that’s why I’m getting so chubby ? 

We were told the best thing to do was to buy our ticket for the gondola up to the zip line in advance and there is a small shop across the road from Mrs. Ferg’s place which is never busy so we went there grabbed our ticket which was about $39 and that is a two way ride regardless if you are taking the gondola back down or not . I know that sucks but we already knew this and there is no use even discussing it .... sometimes you gotta bite the bullet ☹️ we were also told to go up to the Ziptrek tree house about 15 minutes before our booking and we should expect long lines for the gondola so we should line up an hour in advance . When we arrived at the gondola we walked by the whole lineup because we already had tickets and didn’t have to even wait more then 5 minutes to get on and make our way up . The view from the top is amazing and it is not so busy which is great . Kathleen spots the gin she’s been trying to get a taste of and gets herself a drink ... it’s called 4 Pillars Bloody Shiraz and it’s really good . Neither of us were disappointed and now we have to hunt down a bottle . I’m sure it’s at duty free in Australia somewhere . 

Now you are probably wondering g if I was scared to do this ? Believe it or not , I wasn’t .... I was more excited to do this kinda like the excitement I get when I’m going to play hockey . This was all about fun and if anything I had more fear when I went abseiling . It wasn’t really easy finding the Ziptrek treehouse at the top of the mountain ... not too many signs pointing in the direction and they should probably put some up where all the mountain bikers are heading off from the gondola . When we got to that point we were lost and didn’t want to walk onto the bike path so we turned back and went inside to ask for some re-assurance that we were going in the right direction . So if you get there and feel lost just look past the path and you will see the treehouse and that is where we had to sign our waivers and we met our two guides which I can’t recall their names but one of them was a gal from Toronto and actually we had another woman in our group from Toronto so we talked amongst ourselves quite a bit about home . The woman tourist from Toronto actually works for a an ad agency in Toronto in the same business as I do for a company called Publicist which I have heard of so we had some chats about work shit too .... kinda miss everyone I work with and I can’t wait to see everyone but for now I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on with my adventures . We had 6 zip lines to do and the first 3 were shorter then they got longer and longer until we reached the steepest one in the world which actually didn’t look so bad when you look out at it .... fear was not a factor ! I survived and smiled the whole way and would highly suggest trying this if you’re into hurdling yourself off ledges like I’m now getting more and more into ... I’m seriously thinking about skydiving . 

After our zip line we headed to our room and booked a table at Flame Bar & Grill which is a South African bbq restaurant or should I say braai? Braii is what South Africans would call bbq and if any of my South African mates tried this they would say its lekker which means good ... I wish I knew how to say awesome because it was beyond delicious ๐Ÿ˜‹ the reservation we made was for 915 pm and waiting for that was a bit painful so we opted to work on the bottle of Bombay Sapphire we had with us and sit on our balcony while watching hitchhikers catch rides and I did my drunken commentary making fun of them to entertain us . For some reason there seems to be a spot across from our hotel where hitch hikers frequent ? It’s been years since I’ve seen hitch hikers and it baffles me how someone with a $600 phone and designer clothes on can’t afford to take a bus ? Priorities are a must I guess ... not for me as I’m not that ghetto lol ๐Ÿ˜ when the time came to head to the restaurant we were hungry and I was trying to stay within budget but the more I saw food passing me to other tables the more I got hungry as everything looked really really good . I went in with thoughts of having chicken but then changed my ideas to steak ๐Ÿฅฉ and the only thing I regret is not getting the larger sized sirloin which was cooked to perfection ๐Ÿ‘ŒI always order my steak medium and a lot of times it shows up over cooked and this meat had the right amount of pink in it and was accompanied with a mushroom sauce that was on the side for dipping which was awesome . Kathleen had a salad with chicken and that was massive and really yummy too , she was really happy with it and I would say this has been one of the best meals I have had so far on my trip . I don’t think you could go wrong with anything at this restaurant ! The skewers looked awesome and the chicken meals looked scrumptious also and if I had the chance I would go back again but this is our last night in Queenstown and as much fun as we are having here we are both looking forward to getting away from all these tourists and hitting up Wanaka next for some relaxation . 

Before we call it a night I promised someone we would have ice cream so we went by Mrs. Fergs gelateria and we grabbed a cone each ... I had a Black Forest ice cream and Kathleen had a chocolate macadamia... mine was better ๐Ÿฆ 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Milford Sound

This day was booked long in advance and as prepared as we were , we were still not prepared enough . We started our day in Dunedin where I went to Starbucks as soon as I woke up to make up for being a drunk ass the night before . Remember I mentioned how us men have to atone for our sins ? This is the paved road to Kathleen’s heart ❤️ ! Last thing I want is her still angry at me for getting drizzy last night . Coffee in hand walked back to our nice room and began getting ready to drive to Queenstown where we have a 2 pm flight on a small plane to Milford Sound . The drive is about 3.5 hours so we decided to leave at 9 am and get going . As we were driving Kathleen checked our itinerary and it said our pickup to go to the plane was 12:50 pm which leaves us little to no time to stop to eat , pee or look at the amazing landscape ๐Ÿ˜• shitty ...

The roads are windy and as I said there is no time to stop and if we get there at our scheduled time then we should arrive at 12:30 pm giving us just enough time to check in (?) park car and meet our scheduled pickup . Yeah we gotta do that within 20 minutes ! As we were leaving Dunedin we finally figured out how to get the map system in this piece of shit car to work , it has an internal one duh ๐Ÿ™„ still dislike this vehicle but I gots ta deal wit it . On the road we were making good time as I was doing 10 Km over the limit to try buying us time and then Kathleen had to pee .... damn so I pull over in a small town in the middle of nowhere and as I’m doing that I almost ran over a woman . For some reason she walked onto the road to cross to her car with what I would assume was her son sitting in the car on the opposite side of the road , when I pulled in I had to reverse to not block a driveway and she must have stepped out and as I was reversing she was on my drivers side and it caught me off guard and I glanced across the road and saw her son shaking his head ... in my mind I just said fuck her it’s her fault that she’s an idiot walking behind parking cars and ignored him as I’m sure he looked at me with piercing eyes even though as I said earlier ... her fault , and I drove away without confrontation . No time for that shit ! And if I would have hit her I would have jumped out the car and said why are you on the road ? I would have blamed her and hopefully she would have been ok but I mean you know she wouldn’t be but whatever that’s all in hindsight and I’m passed that even though I’m thinking about it two days later as I’m writing this lol ๐Ÿ˜ 

Pee brake done , still gonna make it on time and I’m making up a bit more time to make an excuse to stop and grab a quick burger as I’m starved and I’m sure there is nothing to eat in Milford Sound which means we won’t eat until at least dinner time ... I could use the diet but I’m not gonna go starving myself so what does one do when looking for a quick fix ? Oh there’s McDonalds ! You guessed it , gobble gobble gobble . I scarfed that thing like a great white eating a small animal . We are staying at The Crowne Plaza and when we pulled up I just parked the car out front as Kathleen ran in and found out all parking is valet and we were told to leave the car where it was and bring in the keys ... as I’m handing the keys over in the foyer our bus driver arrives . No time to check in or anything . We made it just on time , maybe with 5 minutes to spare max . I was not really excited that this was all going so fast and I was a bit knackered from push8ng the pedal for 3.5 hours non stop only to jump into another vehicle as I could really use a breather but it is what it is right ? 

On the flight to Milford Sound we had the front row behind the pilot and there was a couple families with a litter of children ... yeah you guessed it my favourite type of children , crying fucking babies ! Now some of you have kids and that’s great but I don’t and I probably never will and if you ask me there is a time and a place to have crying babies with you and this probably wasn’t the time or place in my opinion . Now you can hate me for this and that’s fine but I’m not really into spending $500 to be on a really small plane with a crying screaming baby and I’m not into that crying  screaming baby to be on a boat with me either ... it’s just not my thing . If there was an option for adults only I would gladly take and pay for it but in my opinion the flight with babies should cost the family with the crying baby more for inconveniencing everyone else ... just my opinion and you don’t have to like it . Don’t get me wrong and think I hate children but the crying baby thing sucks ! It makes me wonder ... why do you need to go on a tour today , this year with your baby ? Why ? The baby won’t remember it ! Can’t you wait a couple years and take the baby when it’s old enough to remember and not crying ? Or maybe you can leave the baby with someone you trust instead of bringing it because you need to go to do this today for some reason ? Ahh whatever it’s a pain for me and I sure as hell hope they had to pay for the baby to do all this and I’m not gonna research that or it may piss me off even more because if you ask me the baby should pay full price or even more for being a nuisance to others ... yes I know the fucking baby can’t help itself but the parents sure can ๐Ÿ‘ .... so I couldn’t hear anything on this flight becuase the engine was loud but somehow I could still hear a baby screaming . YAY !

Now with my rant over baby travellers over I can tell you I did my best to keep smiling even though I’m tired and annoyed .... the view from the plane is inspiring and I’m so glad we paid for this over the bus route even with a screaming baby . The flight was 35 minutes and when we landed we were escorted to a bus that took us to the ferry terminal and you can bet your bottom dollar that I sat as far away from those 3 babies as possible ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. At the terminal we waited for our ferry to board and we basked in the sun as it was a beautiful day out with blue skies and not a cloud in sight , we were really lucky as the climate here changes at the drop of a dime . Time to board the ferry ⛴ for a 2 hour cruise ... I hate being on boats especially when there is no liquor involved and almost immediately we realize that we should have brought some with us to ease the pain . I just dislike and have a fear for open water .... always have and always will ! I don’t go swimming or usually do boats but Kathleen really wanted to do this so I bite the bullet . We saw some beautiful water falls and some seals basking in the sun and even caught a glimpse of a dolphin ! It was great but long and by the time we got back to the dock I was happy to get off the boat and onto land . 

Our pilot was waiting at the ferry dock for us with our bus and we all boarded and headed back for the airstrip to board our plane which now I was invited to sit up front with the pilot ๐Ÿค— I was beaming with joy and got up front to capture the view from the front and it’s awe inspiring to see someone driving a vehicle and then .... you’re in the air , driving . It’s almost mind boggling to realize this is really a thing and I said that to our pilot and he laughed and said yeah it is but I’m used to it . He was a cool dude and I think that’s a prerequisite with pilots isn’t it ? At this point even a screaming baby isn’t gonna bother me lol ๐Ÿ˜ I was so zoned out watching him fly with such ease . I tried to figure it all out and I think I understand the instruments enough to try it myself but I will spare you all and stick to being a land lover . Driving a car and almost running over people is enough excitement for me . If I flew I can imagine myself landing on highways and places I don’t belong hahaha . 

What a crazy non stop day ! Now we have to get back to our hotel and actually check in drop our bags off and figure out dinner . Our room is awesome and I would say it’s number 1 out of the now 7 we have stayed in and that’s mainly because of the view ! We have a balcony with a table and chairs that overlooks Lake Wakatipu with the mountain range as a backdrop . The hotel has ice and limes and we have a bottle of gin so we go out to grab snacks and tonic and have ourselves a drink on our balcony while watching the world go by and laughing about the pains of today and it was really nice . That drink was much deserved and it was now time to hit the town and find a place to grab a bite to eat . We wandered along the wharf and every place we walked by was rammed with people enjoying the sun and having a meal . We passed by a place called Pub on Wharf which had a good selection of food we were both craving and we found ourselves a table where we decided to have another drink and ordered our meals . Kathleen had the chicken part and I had ribs .... my ribs were ok but there was more bone then meat and the coleslaw that accompanied the meal was dry with no dressing and I had to hunt down a server to obtain some vinegar .... Kathleen liked this place but I would say it was ok at best . There was a band playing live music which were all covers from the 70’s and 80’s and they were good but I was not in the mood for anything loud and after my meal all I wanted was my bed . Tomorrow will be my first time zip lining and I want to make the most of really our only full day in Queenstown . 

My first thoughts about Queenstown are that it’s basically a ski town / adventure town that is overpriced and filled with tourists . It’s really nice here but I’m happy we are only staying a few days as I highly doubt that even the locals are locals . Everyone we met on our stay so far that live here are not from here and are either young travellers working to stay and travel more or people that moved here from other cities in New Zealand that specialize in something to add to the environment . Again don’t get me wrong , I like it here it’s beautiful and I don’t hate children ๐Ÿ˜œ

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Flying to the South Island

Remember I mentioned that the staff at the Presidents Hotel in Auckland were lazy and kinda useless ? They already sent me on a wild goose chase to Mt. Eden with bad directions , in the three days we were there they also only cleaned my room once and didn’t replenish my soap and on that one day I had to personally go and ask for the cleaning even though we had the sign on our door .... well if you remember that you remember that we booked a shuttle that the concierge wanted to book later also ! When I booked that we mentioned my bags and they said there would be no problems so why am I standing out front of the hotel arguing with the shuttle bus driver over my luggage ? You guessed it , there is an additional charge for my bags ๐Ÿ˜ฎ the minute those words came out of his mouth I said hold up the hotel said there was no additional charge and he said he needs room for the other people he is picking up . It’s an extra $5 , now it’s not that this is gonna break the bank . It’s the principle of the whole transaction ! I put my bag into his trailer and we drove off and I grumbled about it the whole way until we got to the airport and I knew full well that my bags didn’t impede his business so when I got out I asked him if he wanted the $5 and I think he realized he was in the wrong and he said if you want to so I gave him $5 in change ๐Ÿค‘ I wanted to tell him to give me a receipt or to stick it up his ass but I kept my shit together and put a fake smile on and off I went to deal with the self service kiosks at the airport . 

First flight is to Wellington and that was pretty standard and just enough time to watch an episode of The Flash on my new iPad that I loaded with Netflix stuff to watch on these flights with no on-board entertainment . When we arrived we had 4 hours to kill so we wandered around looking at art and set pieces like the ones seen above from Ghost in the Shell and we grabbed a bite to eat . Food is not cheap so I opted for what I thought would be cheapest and grabbed a Subway sandwich which I really like regardless as it’s my go to when I’m working .... better then grabbing something greasy for a day of flying around . After eating we found a coffee shop and grabbed a coffee and sat in a corner watching more episodes on my iPad to kill time before we had to go through security again to board our next flight . When we arrived we left the area to board flights accidentally and probably would have done it regardless since there was nowhere to eat in there anyways . It wasn’t a big deal and was really quick and easy . 

Next flight leaves and I smell something funny ... it’s almost bad enough to make me gag and I look at Kathleen wondering if she farted or something and then realize it’s someone’s dragon breath from behind me . OMG it smelled like a dog ate shit and puked it up ๐Ÿคฎ, it was an older woman with what I would guess is her grand son or something , it was bad and I hope she takes care of those rotten teeth in the future . When we get off the flight in Dunedin we gather our bags and I see them and I could tell the grand son was looking at people to reaffirm the stank . He had that look on his face that said “do you smell that “ ? We went to pick up our rental car from Avis after buying some fresh fruit in the lobby of the airport and they were at the next counter and I could see the fella behind the desk dealing with her ducking the dragon flames ๐Ÿ”ฅ hahaha ! We got our car which is this small Toyota that I immediately dislike as it’s too small for me but it serves its purpose and gets us to our hotel which is The Victoria Hotel where for some reason we have been upgraded to a bigger room ๐Ÿค— sweet!!!! Went up to our room and I would say this one is better then the last hotel but still not as good as the room in Rotorua so I would put it 2nd out of the 6 we’ve been in so far . I contact my hockey contact Drew McMillan to let him know we are in town and he gives us a few suggestions and tells us he will meet us later on for a beer . 

The suggestion that jumped out was to go to a Mexican restaurant called Alley Cantina Dunedin which was fantastic ! It is really close as everything is when you’re staying close to the octagon in Dunedin . Duds as they call it is a university city that is quiet when school is not on so it was great for wandering but first we fill our bellies with some fajitas and enchiladas . The owner of the restaurant is a nice older gentleman who to me had a voice like Michael Cain and he was happy to greet us and tell us about his establishment which once was a cougar bar and was also a sports bar and has had many changes over the 25 years he’s owned the building . The whole restaurant is fully decorated with some cool art and a lot of Mexican trinkets and I would highly suggest it if you’re ever there but don’t tempt them to give you hot sauce . I asked for some and I think my ass is still burning from it hahaha ! They don’t mess around . We were stuffed after that meal ! So worth it ... but we need to kill some time and no time better to do some wandering and burn some calories . There are tons of art shops and beautiful architecture here but as I mentioned it’s very quiet . I couldn’t put my thumb on it but when we met Drew he filled us in on the university thing . 

Drew mentioned to meet at one of two bars , either Ratbags or The Craic so we went to Ratbags and I grabbed an IPA and we sat and waited for Drew who showed up soon after with a T-shirt and hat in hand for me from his local organization DIHL which stands for Dunedin Ice Hockey League and he begins to explain to me about the amount of time he puts into hockey here and the good and bad situations he encounters here . It’s always a struggle everywhere but along the way we started to get on well and the beers started going down smoother and Kathleen started to give me the stink eye . She needs to understand that this is The Travelling Goalie doing what he does best and that’s schmoozing ๐Ÿคซ maybe I shoulda said playing goal is my best attribute ? Whatever you get the jist of it all . Ratbags closes and we move onto the Craic which obviously is an Irish bar .... what was the clue ? Grabbed another IPA sat on the patio and we rambled on about hockey and I have no doubt Kathleen was bored out of her tree so I decided to torture her a bit and grab another pint to chug ๐Ÿ˜ˆ yes I am so that guy lol ! Before I left I found out Drew is an Avalanche fan and the Leafs are playing them the next day . I didn’t realize they were playing until we left the bar and not until after Drew left his keys in his vehicle still in the ignition with the doors unlocked and inviting for a joyride . That was hilarious ! 

It’s around midnight and Kathleen is not happy with me so I better go to bed and make it up to her tomorrow as most of us men do ... always fixing our own mistakes . We really do bring it onto ourselves don’t we but before I crash I made one last mistake ... I bet with Drew that the Leafs would win . If he wins I owe him some Jaegermeister shots on Saturday when we go to Gore and if I win I rather drink scotch . Go Leafs Go ! 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Another Picture in the Collection

The other day on Facebook I posted about whether I should get a pic in front of the Sky Tower here in Auckland wearing my goalie gear and it seems that everyone wants to see me sweat a bit but this pic wasn’t much of a challenge , I gotta be honest ... we are staying almost directly across the road from this tower so as usual the best thing to do to get these shots is to wake up super early to do it . I already scouted this shot a few days back and as you can see I am standing in the middle of the road to get the best angle . Standing directly in front of the tower was another option but probably wouldn’t get a full body shot and I could have done that with a mask on only and that totally defeats the purpose . I woke up early and dragged my photographer Kathleen out of bed by buying her a Starbucks before we did this ... I didn’t even touch my coffee and opted to jump into gear and hit the street before shit got hectic . Sun was just coming up and the roads were quiet so standing in the middle of a road would be no issue . 

We recorded a video of me leaving the room in my gear and entering the elevator and posted it and let everyone wait until I posted the pics this morning as I wanted to build some suspense lol ! When we got to the ground floor and I plodded my way to the entrance I had the concierge looking at me with a look on his face as though he was wondering if this was some acid flashback or a lost bet or something and I assured him that I’m sober and will be back in a few minutes ... he was speechless ๐Ÿ˜ I jumped on the road and framed up some shots for Kathleen to catch good angles and instructed her to let me know if cars were coming because I had my back to traffic and without incident we got the shots needed . The streets are very quiet and the only person that passed me on the sidewalk was a drunk local with his gf (?) or companion and he had some slurred questions that I kinda nodded yes to for the most part and just made sure he didn’t pull off a drunk prank of grabbing my other stick laying on the sidewalk which he didn’t . Imagine if I would have had to tackle a homeless dude in my gear ? I would freak if Kathleen didn’t record that and probably would be more into capturing that footage more then the homeless drunk dude hahaha ! When I was happy with the pics we headed back up to the room and yes I did break a sweat but nothing like Egypt in front of the Pyramids . That was scorching heat , this was morning and cooler .... a shower is needed before we head out for the day . 

We spent way too much money yesterday getting messed up on gin and tonics at fancy bars so today the idea was to “keep it ghetto” and not spend much so after I was done washing up we got our shit together and made our way to Mt. Eden which apparently is a 30 minute hike from the hotel according to the woman at the front desk , when we asked about the hike we also booked our shuttle to the airport for the next morning which is $25 for the first person and $10 for the second which totals $35 and comparing with other routes a taxi would be around $60 and the bus is $17 each .... this is best option but the woman at front desk said why don’t we do it later ??? I looked at her and said do you want to deal with me later when I am possibly drunk or now while I’m sober .... she then booked it for us and said there would be no extra charges for luggage and we were sorted (apparently) I just can’t get over this lazy behaviour at this hotel ? Nobody wants to clean our room , people want to book things later when we are standing there with wallets in hand ? Is this a kiwi thing ? Even though the service sucks at this hotel it still stands as second best we’ve stayed in on this trip which says a lot about the other establishments ๐Ÿ˜’

We started our hike and when we got to the spot that the concierge sent us to which was a 30 minute walk we were nowhere near Mt.Eden ??? In fact we were about halfway there and had to walk further then climb up to the summit ... I sweat my bag off big time ! My shirt was soaked by the time we reached the top and got our pics near the crater and Kathleen said she would buy ice cream when we hit the first shop which by chance was just around the corner on the way down . That was so ideal and we both had some yummy ice cream and cooled down internally before making our way back to the hotel which in total both ways was a 17 km hike .... I need to do whatever I can to try to not gain weight as I’m getting pretty fat travelling and not going to a gym . Yes I do go to a gym and I’m a member before you snicker at me you dick lol ๐Ÿ˜ when I got to my room I made a sandwich and took a nap while Kathleen went out to get her hair done at some local hair salon . Not my thang and I rather have a nap ๐Ÿ˜ด 

There is an art exhibit down the road called 1000 Doors which we decided to go checkout when I awoke from my slumber . It’s cheap and cheerful at $10 per person so ideal for us to kill some time and it was creepy as heck . I’m not gonna ruin it for anyone but I will say there wasn’t 1000 Doors in the interactive art installation . We liked it and I’m sure it’s not for everyone but we were happy to experience it . I’ve had a craving for some Korean bbq and I have to admit that as much as I love the cuisine I’ve never been to a Korean joint before so today is the day as I am set in my ways and this is what I want so we find a place called Kang Nam Station  around the corner from the exhibit and go to check it out . You know it’s a good sign when you go to an ethnic restaurant and actually see people of that ethnicity frequenting the establishment so we go in and are seated . I am after Korean bbq ribs YUM ๐Ÿ˜‹ and Kathleen orders a chicken fried rice styled meal with a fried egg on top and when our food arrived it was accompanied with chopsticks ๐Ÿฅข. I have never used them in my life and begin trying to use them and I’m sure everyone in the restaurant laughed inside looking at me fumble around and I even contemplated stabbing the food to pick it up but I didn’t and when it comes to rice ??? How the heck does that work ? Good thing they brought us spoons and for the beef .... I used my hands in my primitive manner and shut out the fact I was eating in public ๐Ÿคค laugh as you may ok but if you have never tried this before it’s truly an art which I’m not schooled in . I would have laughed at me too . 

My belly is full and it’s getting to the time where we should start packing so we don’t have to in the morning so we made our way back to our room and packed and I wrote another blog to finally catch up and then we called it a night . Auckland .... it has been a slice ! If I ever have the chance I would definitely come back and I highly suggest you do also . So much to see and do here in this beautiful city of sails . 

A Messy Day in Auckland

Finally I’m finding the time to catch up on my writing so what I’m writing about actually happened yesterday which for most of you back home is today because it’s Sunday night here and I’m now about to begin packing my bags to get ready to fly to Dunedin tomorrow on the South Island here to begin my next adventure but before I go any further let me just finish the story at hand which started off with me waking up at the Presidents hotel which is ok but not the best place I’ve stayed on my trip so far . Out of the 5 places we’ve stayed at so far I would say it is the second best lodging even though the bed kinda sucks here and the cleaning staff haven’t done the best job since we’ve found a pair of someone’s socks in the room and they have neglected to clean our room until we had to go ask them too ... whatever they will enjoy the smell of my gear when I leave lol ! That shit hangs around hehehe . 

In order to get some exercise and see the city the best thing to do in my opinion is to always find a Free Walking Tour  which of course we did so that is how we began our day . We walked down the road and turned onto Queen St and went down to the wharf to meet the tour guide who was there waiting for the group to build up and head off into the city cutting through alleys and looking at art and architecture while getting a splash of history thrown in . Our guide was named Martin and did a great job at keeping us all entertained and safely out of the way of traffic whether it be pedestrian or vehicle . We were introduced to a cool local app to find public bathrooms also called Flush which in my mind is pretty good to know on those days when hiking around the city . Not sure if it’s just a local thing and I haven’t downloaded it but it would be good for those with weak bladders ๐Ÿ˜œ our tour was roughly 3 hours and along the way we went by a coffee shop which is really small and it was called Atomic Coffee and I had my first experience with a flat white instead of opting for my normal cappuccino and it really changed my life ! I think I’ve found my new way to drink a good coffee as it’s a couple shots of espresso with some foamy milk to top it with all the bubbles in the milk knocked out .... just telling you if you’ve never had one as I’m sure I’m the only idiot whose never tried this fantastic innovation . 

Martin took us through an Asian part of the city where he recommended a bunch of great restaurants and took us by an alley with some great pubs and one particular place that caught my eye ...The Gin Room ! Apparently this place is haunted so do I need to say more .... we are definitely popping in later . We went through a park and he even showed us a place to get free hand lotion from this really expensive place which I’m sure all the ladies enjoyed but I didn’t like that greasy feeling on my skin . I don’t even put sun tan lotion on because I don’t like that shit ... firstly I don’t really burn thanks to my family genes and our olive skin and secondly if I’m gonna get cancer from the sun because I was in it for a bit then so be it , shit happens . And thirdly I’m a stubborn old git ๐Ÿ˜œ. When our tour ended we were back near the wharf and there was an open market with all kinds of yummy food but we opted to save our appetite for later . As all free tours are operated it’s customary to tip the guide as we always do but you’re not forced into it and Martin sang us all a customary Maori song to say goodbye which was very nice and we gave our tip and went back to our room . 

Kathleen has booked a trip on a sailboat and I’m not a water guy so my plan is to either take a nap or catch up on my writing ....instead I opted to deal with my luggage issues and called Air New Zealand and what a royal pain in the ass that was !!! I called in and spoke to the person on the phone and told her I would like to book my hockey sticks as my second bag and she asked for the dimensions ... I told her they are hockey sticks , I guess about 5 feet long and skinny . She then asked for the weight and I then snidely said they weigh less then the babies they allow on their flights for free she then asked in a confusing way how big is the stroller and I felt like I totally threw her for a loop and had to explain to her that I’m not pleased by the fact that someone can bring a baby onto the plane for free and my two stick which weigh 5 pounds at the most cost me $160 to get here from Sydney on their airline ... she was so confused and didn’t comprehend and I felt like I was talking to a complete idiot . She then asked me to spell what I need extra baggage for , I wish I was joking ! I C E H O C K E Y S T I C K S , by this point I went from being snide to being a bit embarrassed for her and then she said oh I see it on our website ! Yeah that will be $39 for domestic , ok book it and gave her my credit card number . Now let’s book my other flights extra baggage to Perth from Dunedin ๐Ÿ˜ค now you think getting that done was hard ? Ok this got stupid .... fast ! My booking is using my Aeroplan points and it is three flights from Dunedin to Perth and the first flight was booked with one bag and the other two flights I had an allowance of two bags so I suggested just book my one extra bag for the first domestic flight and I will be happy to pay the $39 . She can’t ? In fact if she did book it then it would cost me $100 which is more then I would have paid from Sydney to Auckland if I booked in advance which is international also , I told her that and she spoke to her manager and the final outcome was that I had to contact my booking agent which is Aeroplan . Now the Aeroplan phone number which I have to contact toll free is not available and I can’t call it and the operator says it is blocked here ๐Ÿค” so I bite the bullet and make the long distance call and had to explain to them that I’m trying to get my sticks onto this flight and they are more understanding ๐Ÿ™‚ I had to explain that Air New Zealand won’t book my bag and they told me to contact them and they can discuss it amongst airlines . Aeroplan sorted me out and added my extra bag to my first flight free of charge so now bags are sorted and Kathleen’s sailing tour is just about over so no time to nap or write or do anything aside from putting my shoes on and heading down to the harbour . 

I found Kathleen almost immediately and she enjoyed going sailing and said the ships crew told her this place called Oyster & Chop  has good oysters so off we go to start our evening of debauchery ๐Ÿคช it was happy hour there which is not for drinks but for oysters and the special today is called Te Kouma  if I recall correctly and they were $2.50 a piece which is cheap . We tried 6 first to see if they were any good and they were delish so we grabbed a dozen after they also had a good selection of beer and one particular brand I enjoy is the Lagunitas IPA which they have on tap and I enjoyed a few of those and with a big smile on both of our faces we decided to head over to The Gin Room where we are greeted and sat beside a window and our server is Tomas from Germany who is very knowledgeable and we had a million questions about certain guns we wanted to try , he was very patient and super helpful along the way through our experience and at one point I asked about the bar and if it was actually haunted ?( said we don’t talk about this here and politely switched the subject then I looked it up online and found out that when someone mentions the ghost in the bar the bartender usually gets sprayed with water so when Tomas left we begin testing the theory and as far as we know nothing happened . There is also a story that the men’s washroom is a hotspot for activity so when I went in there I tempted the ghost to make an appearance but nothing happened ๐Ÿคจ regardless I didn’t ask Tomas about the ghost again even as we became friendlier with our host . One thing I have to mention is that this place is selective about their clientele and refused 4 guys who were running around celebrating a stag do . I overheard Tomas telling them that this place is a speakeasy style bar and they can go across the street for their type of festivities which I’m sure is because they probably would have been inclined to bother all the other people in the establishment so I was happy they have that policy as this place should be for alcohol lovers . I highly suggest anyone that likes a good gin and tonic go to this place before it closes ... yeah unfortunately their lease is up and it’s time they moved to another location which is kinda sad because the place and location is great even if it’s haunted . 

With a nice buzz we recalled there being a hookah joint around the corner and we decide to go for some sheesh which was great but probably a massive mistake ... we both don’t smoke and if we do it’s gonna be sheesha but the last time I smoked any of that was a few years back in Egypt . We went to Habibi Cafe and paid a whopping $37 to smoke and we plopped ourselves ina couple seats at a table and began sucking back some tobacco which at first was nice but almost an hour into our experience we began getting dizzy and I felt really fucked up and dizzy and at that point we decide to go get a pizza from Sal’s Pizza around the corner ... we were both messed up from drinking and smoking ! I would say mostly from smoking and by the time we got to the pizza joint we just decided to get a full pizza and take it to our room . That walk back with that pizza in my hands was horrible as every step I took I pictured myself either falling or dropping the pizza and then we hit the hill we had to go up to our hotel and that hill burned my lungs like no tomorrow !!! My chest hurt and felt like it was on fire ๐Ÿ”ฅ oh the burn ... ouch . I had this same dizzy feeling in Egypt the first day I smoked there but nothing anywhere as horrible as this and to be honest I think this might be the last time I ever smoke sheesha . When we got to our room we devoured that pizza which was nice and greasy and just what we desired .... my bed was calling and tomorrow is our last day in Auckland . Time to call it a night ๐Ÿ˜ด