Las Vegas and back to Los Angeles

4 am start OMG! I got back to the room at 2am!

I quietly shower and pack up and kiss Phil goodbye-he doesn’t even stir-just a mumble.

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Head to the airport, a 10 min drive by taxi.

The security over here is rigid, but I still wonder how good it is really, while I’m standing in long queues observing. The security appears to be robotic and slow, if someone did really want to get some weapon or fluid for a bomb on board; I think it would be easily enough done.

For such a large airport the queues can be 40-50 mins long, you don’t want to be running late for a flight.

In Vegas just when you think you’re there….you have a train to catch, to get to your departure lounge. That said, I made it! Though now the lack of sleep and a slight hangover are starting to become obvious to me, I even have the shakes.

The plane ride couldn’t come quick enough; I just needed to close my eyes and sleep.

Quick flight to LAX 45mins. Now the 2.5 hours to wait for the kids to arrive, I’m looking forward to seeing them even though it’s only been a few days, its feels ages. Rhys Darby walked past, I said Hi! He ignored me. Oh well 😉

The arrival gate was shared with Air China and Canada it seemed to take forever for the kids to appear, but when they did it was a sigh of relief to see their happy faces, they looked as happy to to see me as I was to see them. Found our organised transport “Prime shuttle”, perfect! Straight outside our terminal and dropped us off via Venice Beach, then to our Hotel in Santa Monica.

A quaint little hotel, one of the first I’d say. 1 block from the Santa Monica Pier and next to the famous “Ivy” restaurant where all the celebs dine.

The weather was sunny and mild-though not hot. Season is moving from Winter to Spring.

This is kinda where the ‘best laid plans kinda started going astray’.

The concierge at Hotel Carmel kindly offered to phone through and confirm a tour I had prebooked and paid for the kids (Great idea at the time!!)

The guy wouldn’t accept saying ‘no’ so I got on the phone and said “yes” he said “no” ,I said yes and then stated in my DON’T PISS ME OFF voice…..polite but stern, my displeasure in they treatment of me as a customer. They said OK and confirmed a 4.45 pick up,finally!! After a 10 min phone call!

Off we went to the pier, Santa Monica is gorgeous!

The kids pass a comment “how American every thing looks” I had to laugh.

Just like on TV I guess? Baywatch comes to mind, although its not warm enough to swim there are a few people sun bathing. Its nice as its not to crowded, I think on a hot summers day this place would be madness!

We wandered, taking photos, stopping taking photos for others

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Soaking up the light sea breeze and atmosphere on the pier, it has a fun park feel to it.

The kids got a charactchur done of themselves

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We had a ride on the Ferris wheel that features in so many movies and tv show landscapes.

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A few hours spent and we head past Ivy restaurant , trying to peer in to see if we can spot someone rich and famous, and then look at the numerous shops for some of the things the kids want.

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The Ivy restaurant

Tali gets a ltd edition Kobe hood and Luc gets his Purple ‘beats’ from the apple store. This was a whole new experience in its self! With a new modern approach, a huge warehouse looking room with teams around large dining room sized polished concrete tables, helping customers for support or to purchase. No cash registers in sight. They put Luc’s sale through on the sales girls’ cell phone as she was with us, whipped a cool Apple bag out of her pocket, and emailed the receipt to me! WOW!

I can’t quite describe it, we were very intrigued by it all. Not a shopping fan, even I have to agree the shops in Santa Monica have a wow factor, maybe because its where the celebs like to hang out. Great displays, great products an open mall like the old Hawera one…which I find so much nicer then the indoor ones we are used to now. It was so clean and pristine too.

In hindsight we wish we had stayed looking around instead of heading back to hotel for our 4.45pm pick up.

But we did…..:(

We were there waiting at 4.40pm in our lobby, waited till 5, then I decided to call and check on their status (I understand they can run late) or if infact they were even intending on picking us up??

No they weren’t running late we were and boy oh boy did the guy give it to me on the phone.

Told me they waited from 4.25 till 4.35 WTF!! Noway!

Anyway they came back to pick us up.

5.20pm by this time. The grumpy old Hispanic man, yelled at me and told me off in his big bus, in front of the kids. Thankful we were the only passengers. I told him in no uncertain terms back what time they had confirmed and also tried to show him the booking itinerary.

He told me “to shut up! And sit down! “(Exactly his words!)

WTF I had steam coming out my ears!!!!!!

The kids and I were knackered, my 2 o’clocker and early start was getting the better of me. The kids hadn’t slept much on their flight either. So they slept as I fought my weariness off to keep my eyes on what the hell was going on.

This little old man had the devil in him and us in his 30 seater bus. He had us going down some of LA’s back streets, good and bad. I now know he was trying to rendezvous with the rest of the tour before it left the main depot.

But at the time I had no idea what the hell was going on, all I could hear over the c.b radio was all Spanish!  The kids waking at different times as we lurched to fast tops and starts, over curbs and got to see a lot more of LA then they bargained for.

We arrived at their terminal, which made me feel better, it was at least legit ( I was having my suspicions ), we got transferred to another van.

After 7 by this time! We were still to head into Hollywood (we had missed the tour) the van was to take us to meet them.

It was Valentines night and every bastard was out it seemed! Roses and Balloon’s everywhere, but so was all the traffic!

A few roads closed due to the Oscars being held next week as well didn’t help.

The Oscars are huge over here, they close roads a few weeks before for building of structures and bridges for the paparazzi, its also a security reasons and decorative stuff.

We finally made it to Hollywood Boulevard only to be told “ you have a look around and meet outside Shellys at 8.30” by our none Engliese speaking Espananic man (we couldn’t catch up with the other bus , so missed Universal Studios. No loss, now we’ve done the tour ,I know we proberly didn’t miss a thing!).

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So the kids and I lost in Hollywood…..at night!! Far Out!!!!

Hollywood at night is completely different during the day. There are weirdos and fruitloops everywhere!! Though talking to a couple I sat next to on a later flight, they said its bad enough in daylight –he is a delivery guy and sees lots!)

We were starving and tired but managed to walk the stars and take some pics to say “we been there” and then went to find Shellys diner , we did NOT want to miss this bus!!

It was while we were there standing waitng that was worse then walking around. I’ve been to some places and seen some shit, but even I was a little weary-perhaps because I had the kids with me and could sense their fear. We had all sorts stop and talk and solicit. Some quite intimidating.

The bus finally there, we jumped on for our lives, Well that’s what it felt like at the time.

The driver an old black American with a heart of gold but man he talked some shit! Lol

It was only 5 mins into our tour and bus trip with him and I realised this guy was as nutty as some of them on the boulevard – In a nice way though.

Definitely a character! He has 8 kids and while we were driving around we heard about them, he also would take calls and talk in a loud enough voice the whole bus could over hear. If I was describing a business mogul in the film industry yelling down the ph wanting contracts done yesterday! That was what our driver sounded like lol…please! He’s an effing tour bus driver haha, but it made him feel important I guess.

We went to Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, saw where the rich and famous dine, party and shop-all awesome!

When celebs pulled up next to us we had to pull back at lights etc or the tour buses can get fines , it’s a new by law to protect their privacy.WTF!

Fair enough but they didn’t tell us that in the selling brochure! What a have! I had been ripped off ! We had, had several chances of seeing them because they were everywhere, it was Valentines night! In hindsight again..Sant Monica was whre most of them were anyway!

Rodeo drive was amazing though J I loved the window displays….indescribable (a pic of one of my fav ones below)

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love these shoes!!!

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That done it was time to head back into LA, only driving past the Big Staples stadium where they hold sports and concerts and then onto some pretty lit fountains.

On the way and not part of the tour but almost a highlight we were in a movie , being filmed  just behind the Police escorts-helicopter flying overhead. Dunno the budget or who was in it , but it was real and we weren’t allowed to be seen taking pictures –guttz!

We’d had enough of this tour, we were well and truly over it! It was late we were exhausted and it was the most boring thing I’ve done in a long time .We just wanted to be back at the hotel and in our beds (2 doubles-not queen, for the 4 of us)

Of course, just cause that was how the evening had gone, we were the last to be dropped off at our hotel! At least we did get dropped off I guess lol.

11.30ish now, to our small and stinky chemically smelly room ( but still nice looking and cosy).

It had been a big day. Dying for a shower, only not to be able to get it to work!!

Ph downstairs and they kindly and quickly came up to help. Ive stayed in many hotels, everyone a different shower, but this is the 1st I haven’t been able to work out, I must have been tired.

Showered and no hair dryer! What the hell! this was almost the needle that broke the camels back, although as small as it sounds, I was mortified haha . Kids in Bed a bit of catch up on FB and twitter and check out what the crew is doing in Vegas……..Nekkminnit!!!!!

FIRE ALARM GOES OFF!!!

Honestly, ya had to be there, I couldn’t effing believe it! Zane and Tali asleep, Luc and I on the computer.

And the f**ken fire alarm goes off!!!???

So I jump up undies and top only, manage to pull on my jeans while waking zane ,the kids didn’t no what was going on in their sleepy state. They managed to pop on enough although the boys were almost about to go with just there undies on. We ran out, people amaze me, that they didn’t know the piercing sound was an alarm and how some of them weren’t even in a hurry. The building we were in is very old ( although been done up with a lick of paint etc) I was very conscious of the exits and where they were on the way up to our 4th floor room, as I always am after staying on the 20th story with my mate Emma Hutton in Auckland and having to run down 20 flights of stairs with the sprinklers going and no bras on in the deep of night!

We were evacuated down stairs, it was a false alarm, although we could definitely smell a burnt smell of smoke. Very unsettled we went back upstairs, the poor kids were like the walking dead, infact if I asked Zane now, I don’t even know if he’d remember it, because he was completely out for the count when I had to wake him.

1.30am by now OMG!

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A wanna pretend the alarm is not going off this morning! 6am already this ain’t no relaxing holiday so far! Not complaining though, I’m having a blast!

We get organised, all 4 of us in a small room ya can hardly swing a cat in –it was a bit like faulty towers the 4 of us trying to get ready on top of each other lol.

Down stairs for our 6.50 am pick up , at least with all this driving, we can say we have been all over LA. I can honestly say I think we managed to fit 4 days into 24 hours!!! And like my mate Trin wrote to me…only I would think I could do Santa Monica and Hollywood in between flights lol but to be fair, it didn’t look to far on the map!!! I just didn’t factor in all the traffic, people and incompetence hahaha 😉

LAX again….its such a big airport but nothing to do, so limited with food, no shopping ,nothing to look at, one of the most boring airports in the world, I’d have to say.

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We check into Virgin America. I hadn’t really thought much about it till now, but it truly makes you realise what a superb national carrier our Air New Zealand is.

Virgin, while organised and comfortable had only 2 toilets for the whole plane ( including business). It was a full flight of about 190 people.They couldn’t manage to get us seated together even though most the people around us were separated as well, we all shaking our heads when we talked, seeing how easy the seating configuration could have been.

I do like the capabilities of the internet use, and that you can chat on screen between seats in the flight. I bet there’s a few pick ups happen like that…no notes with phone numbers required to change hands through the air stewardess hahaha.

And a huge food selection but you have to pay as you go. Also if I wanted to book a movie, I have no headphones as I was sposed to purchase them prior to boarding, but as a 1 st timer with Virgin, no one told me.

All good though, Ive spent the last 5.5 hours sleeping for 2 and blogging the rest.

In between talking to my lovely seating neighbours (as the kids and I were seated through out the plane, not seated together ) They were a couple from California, they were going on a cruise too, heading to Aruba. The same couple, that sympathised with our Hollywood at night excursion from earlier in the blog).

Virgin all and all is a good carrier and I prefer it over Delta….on par with American Airlines (the 2 other airlines I have encountered so far this trip apart from Air NZ).

Next stop Fort Lauderdale, I wonder how all the crew is doing? are they still partying? I’m hoping they will be all settled in and so when we arrive we’ll just be able to catch up and go with the flow.

We have tonight and tomorrow morning to have a look around Hollywood beach.

Sooooo looking forward to the cruise! J

Stoked to hear Matty McKee did so well, thinking of my GF as she waves farewell to her daughter on her big OE. Loving my shalack nails Philipa, they are amazing!

Love that I have received a good news report from Jess (my store manager)saying all is well and shes handling things well….the best kinda email to get.

Sin City…..ticked off the Bucket List & Grand Canyon Too!

One of the Seven Wonders of the World………done!

Hope the weathers still good at home? It’s very chilly and dry here in Nevada. Lets hope it gets warmer!!

Grrr the Americans are still finding me very hard to understand, it’s doing my head in a little now, but I’m recognising mid-sentence the look the comes over their faces as if they can’t understand a word and I no to stop and slow it down.

Some of the notable differences for me have been, smoking allowed in bars, Plastic glasses, tin beer bottles instead of cans , though fizzy still comes in cans. Everyone walks the street carrying their alcohol, easily walking form one bar to the next. No alcohol bans here!! Lol Everybody wants a tip! And not the sharpen ya blades for a good cut, kinda one…a $$$$ one!

Early start 5am after a long day yesterday, it’s like getting up for work! We meet down stairs in the lobby with the others for a pickup in a stretch limo.

Its very chilly, but clear, not a cloud in the sky –perfect for flying and not unlike the Central Otago brisk clear mornings.

The sun is rising; it’s a great time of the day.

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We weigh in and are too heavy to combined to all go in the same helicopter……they are all blaming my handbag hahaha.

We have a safety briefing  and are introduced to our pilot “Tony” who tuned out to be a character and a half, just full of knowledge while cracking funnies all along the way and took the piss out of me and Annie constantly haha.

We sat up the front with him; I think he preferred us sitting next to him then Phil and Putty 😉

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I had a blonde moment, and spoke in to the CB backwards; Annie had hers when she questioned Tony about the hoover dam and lake. She asked what they did with all the dirt they dug out to make the lake. LOL Tony was quick to reply they used it to make a north island and a south island and decided to call it New Zealand! We all pissed ourselves laughing. Not so much at Annies expense but the way he answered.

We landed, after a fly over the Hoover Dam and up the Grand Canyon. The terrain is amazing, very sparse and all rock, nothing much grows but the few plants that do have adapted. Rainfall is only 4-10 mls per year, but when it rains there is nowhere for the water to go because it’s so dry it doesn’t absorb, so it leaves dry river bed looking pat\terns all over the canyon.

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We took 100s of photos, sat for a lovely champagne breakfast on a cliff in the Grand Canyon, before flying back to Vegas a different way and taking in more stunning views. A very unique view was seeing all 3 states at once, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

The dam is at its lowest (see pic) its ever been. It doesn’t look that much but if you think about the size of the dammed lake, it’s actually a huge amount, with little rainfall, warmer seasons and more population……makes ya wonder how long their supplies will be there for future generations?

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We arrived back into Sin City , the day was just beginning!

Meet up with Swiftys and Mains and we started on our explority adventure, of course these don’t last long before the boys find bar ha-ha.

We walked the pavement of the famous ‘strip’, it looks a lot different place in daylight, weather still fresh. We went in and out of all the casinos, everyone with a different theme to entice you into spending all your money with them.

Our hotel has a rollercoaster with a NY yellow taxi as the carts outside the whole casino-it’s huge! The New York skyline is the view from the strip. Truly amazing! Inside it’s a mass of different towers-each containing accommodation along with different bars, restaurants and shops all with a New York theme and feel about them, including the floor!

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(the veiw out our bedroom window)

We saw the fabulous water fountain show at the Bellagio, the famous Caesars Palace, all so much to see a little over whelming and lots of walking. The Venetian my fav (I’d have to say) for Lunch- expecting of course an Italian eatery, instead we sat by the canal (a water feature runs throughout the hotel with singing Italian men serenading couples on their gondolas).The restaurant was Mexican! Not Italian?

Putty ordering us all margaritas and then we ordered the meal, it was amazing, like everything else we had so far experienced. Best Guacamole I’ve ever had, hot and tasty!

More margaritas and a few different beers, we were all getting our glow, feeling full!

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We decided to keep moving, walking through the Venetian, experiencing the Italian feel.

Us girls purchase handmade masks (fingers crossed they make the trip home unbroken),the boys purchased cigars from a proper cigar den. Then while we were booking a trip for the gondola, Phil surprised me with the biggest strawberry I’ve ever seen and chocolate dipped  ooouh!So sweet , he and the strawberry too LOL proberly the most expensive strawberry I’ve ever eaten!

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The girls decide a bit of shopping is in order; Annie has been itching to get a shopping bag in her hand. They have lists of orders from the kids. I’m not a shopper, but hanging with the guys ain’t that appealing either. We head out to the outlet stores in South Vegas.

I found a Chinese massage and then I planted myself there, having the most amazing foot and neck massage. While the girls shopped up a storm. Michelle buying another suitcase and filling it!!!

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I must say I brought some cosmetics, Elizabeth Arden (I use) were a quarter of the price then at home! Sooo cheap.

Girls still shopping I found myself sitting at a wig/extension stand. The sales assistance helping me fill in time while I wait for the girls. One blonde wig later and attached, I left with long blonde curls …1 out of the 3 girls noticed immediately (took a few minutes for the other 2).

Shopping done, off to drop the bags off at the hotel and then find the boys…..at Hooters

They’d been there a while, surprisingly not looking to bad considering the jaegers they had consumed (see receipt)

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Time to move….we traipse off into the city that never sleeps to the MGM-the biggest of all the casinos I would say. We managed to walk in a complete circle easily done hahaha…… saw this guy (see pis)

the size of a table literally!!! See 2 chairs next to him? I actually am surprised we haven’t seen more big people, the way food flows over here and everything is supersize before asking it to be up sized!!!

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I have to say these boys are the most touchy feely bunch lol, always punching, hitting and tripping, ankle tapping ,they must miss each other (Swifty did a geat action move, when Phil ankle tapped him in the middle of the casino, he did a drop , roll and up in a split second to the delight of everyone in the area that was watching).

Found our way outa of the MGM finally, At this stage, late and drunk , all still in our clothes since sun up this morning, we were all in 2 minds what to do? Tired, but its Vegas!

We decide a show is in order!

Unfortunately it seems all the greats are on their week off this week.

*Advice good idea before you book your trip to Vegas, check out who’s performing in town)

Celine is in China for the Chinese New Year, Rod Stewart finished on the 9/2/13, Shania is on holiday and Pink starts here world tour here in Vegas tomorrow (15th) When the others fly out to Fort Lauderdale. Gutted, all acts I would have like to seen, but there are still 100s of shows to choose from though.

We decide on Zumanity a Cirque Du soliel show

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Very sexy, raunchy, with hot topless bodies and a bit of comedy thrown in as well. It was great! Although Phil did sleep  through it haha (true to form).

A great show with some extraordinary acts, woman swimming-diving into a large cocktail glass. Lots of High ribbon dancing (think PINK) and acrobatics also added to the humour was the audience involvement too, but we had to wonder if that wasn’t staged too???

One of the characters did come up behind us while Phil was zzz-ing and placed his arm so it was around my shoulder…..it woke him for a bit lol. It finished with a fantastic finale with 1000000000s of red rose petals falling from the entire theatre ceiling all over us (I’m still finding the petals in my hand bag now), it was kinda magical.

Show done and everyone horny, we head to bed —-in our respective rooms! Sleep and ready for another day.

Michelle and I booked on the Gondola, so we dragged Swifty and Phil along and Mains as the Paparazzi for us (chief photographer on this excursion)

A short ride but totally worth it.

We were the 1st of the day so we were privileged to be sung to by all 8 of the Gondolier, before being ushered into our waiting Gondola and then our ride with good humour, jokes and serenading (not by the boys but our Gondolier) as Mains ran alongside taking photos lol.

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Valentine’s day in NZ but still the 13th in USA, he told us the story of Saint Valentine.

He was Italian and accused of a very bad crime, was incarcerated and was to be killed. He loved his wife so much, he wrote to her daily. What he didn’t know was that authorities were intercepting his mail and reading his letters. With that they worked out that he in fact was innocent, he became famous a ‘The Romantic’ and so became St Valentine’s Day in his remembrance.

An enjoyable experience and neat to share with good friends….even if Mains was on the outside of the boat lol.

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We caught up with Chris and Anne, M and swifty left us to go on a hunt for their 20th wedding anniversary pressie to themselves…..platinum watches.

We all went to Madame Tussards a fav of mine.

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A bit of a giggle posing with life size and life like celebrities and taking pics.

We went in to Area 51 a sideshow at Tussards.

Mains lead the way, we had to all place our hands on the person in fronts shoulders. Very scary but fun at the same time. Annie and I literally wet our pants and both agreed lucky Kirsten went shopping instead! We were in hysterics laughing but scared at the same time! Putty wanted to hit someone …ha-ha he was at the back so got the brunt of it.

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The experience was a live act, with us walking through several dark and poorly lit areas with real monsters, creeps and freaks ( out of work actors proberly) coming out and frightening the bejesus out of us!!

Still on an adrenalin high after that we went to find all the shoppers at the shopping mall, more shopping!!!, Though this time I did find a dress, or the dress found me I should say. A designer hand made number….oooozing Vegas, I had to have it…(See pic of us all off to Old Vegas)it was on SALE and half price! I had to have it!

The boys took off to do what they came for….well one of the things, To the Gun club, these boys were like kids in a candy store shooting ooziies,9mm pistols ,Glook 9mm and a saw!

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The day was getting away on us, I was starting to feel the effects of not enough sleep, so much fun and too much booze…..I decided I needed a snooze instead of shopping I also needed to pack for LA.

Boys back at the casino; Phil gets his winning streak on playing Black Jack-wins $700 before tea. We all get dressed and ready….my last night in Vegas!

We are going to Old Vegas a part of Vegas off the Strip about 20 mins drive, less expensive and more authentic with a lot of locals.

We all dressed to kill, grabbed a limo and headed to Old Sin City…..by the looks a lot more Sin goes on there then the strip these days 😉

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We’re all buzzing-marvelling at what we’ve already fitted in Amazing!!

Old Vegas was rocking, it’s kind of how I thought the whole of Vegas would be.

Music, dancing in the street, lights everywhere, eccentric people, weirdoes and all sorts. It’s fair to say we were slightly over dressed.

The locals tend to go to Old Vegas because it’s cheaper. Not all of it but most.

We went to a fabulous (and expensive) steak house. Gold Nugget, it wasn’t just any old steak house! No-siree! Steaks to order, Crab, lobster all paid for by the kilo and they weren’t cheap!

But the meal was amazing, the thing over here appetisers (we call entrees) are big! Entrees (we call mains) are massive! Everything is super-size!!!

Bart and Putty decide on the Alaskan crab, Putty let me have a try. My best description would be not so much seafood taste, but a lush silky taste, it’s like a chicken/turkey flesh but not taste.

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They served it with sweet corn and macaroni cheese if you please!

The bubbles were flowing and Phil was still winning!

Every time he would go for a smoke he’d put a bit on the table, he couldn’t lose!!!

The bubbles still flowing, we had a fabulous meal with extraordinary service……..

Dinner done! We went into the fanfare of Old Vegas, they have covered it and have an amazing light show on the ceiling. The music is pumping, people are everywhere and everyone is fizzing. Such a great atmosphere.

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After dancing up a storm, Michelle almost tripping over Annie in her OMG  Vegas purchase shoes (see pic below) and the 3 of us almost wetting our pants again in fits of laughter, we thought it a good idea to head back- I had an flight to catch…

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Dilemma, our earlier limo driver had waited for us and spotted us after we had organised another…..some of the others felt bad so went with him, we stayed in the Limo that we hopped in with Mains….it was a Escalade with all the bells and whistles.

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A night cap back at our Casino and I say my goodbyes……Mains till next time, the rest for 2 days.

Michelle and her shoes (I’m still to try them!) got the better of Kirsten , Annie had tried them earlier. Kirsten adding to our nights entertainment with a fashion show of her trying to walk in them…so funny….oh and then Putty surprising his missus with a lovely single rose……It was Valentine’s day now!!!

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2am And I’m to bed… I have to be at the airport in 2.5 hours!!!!

LA to Las Vegas

LA to Vegas

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Quick as flight (40mins) 2 toilet stops later for the boys , we had utilised our stop over in LAX by visiting the bars, a pub crawl around the airport! No sooner were we up, we were down again.

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The poor flight attendant couldn’t understand me. Classic! Story of my life in USA!

He said’hold up!slow it up and start again”

Americans really do have trouble understanding our kiwi accents. Mine in particular! Maybe my combination, of North and south island? haha

 

Hellooooooo Las Vegas –

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The landscape between LA and Vegas reminds me of Central Otago, baron with snow-capped mountains.

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Its fresh, the boys nipples have never been so hard. They look slightly a miss in their shorts and jandals, although Phil is looking sharp in his black jeans and shoes.

We girls managed our 1st purchase apart from alcohol this trip (so far). Bart spotted the Pandora store in the airport. This is the one thing we all wanted and can only get in Vegas. A gold and diamond encrusted dice by Pandora for our charm bracelets. We tick that of the list before we’ve even really started!

That done and we head off in the direction of baggage claim, we walked and walked and then took a train, we were starting to wonder WTH we were going?

We pick up our bags, we had taken to long getting there, our bags had been taken off the carousel.

2 taxis Me Bart and Kirsten, Annie, Putty and Phil in the other and head into Sin city. Bart tried hoping in the drivers for a start , forgetting they are left hand drives (funny at the time) he then spent the next  10 mins in New York New York shitting himself lol , we had the worst taxi driver ever ,we still paid a tip, Bart said thanks, the driver replied Thanks don’t pay the bills, remember that!” . And so we haven’t , the worst thing about US is the tipping system…….Its a painful thing, never quite knowing when or when not to? Or how much is too much or not enough?

Swifty and Michelle were waiting to welcome us and soon after Mains (still in 7s mode from hanging out with the Irish)

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A few rounds of drinks at the bar and us all in awe of the Hotel we are staying in. really at this stage , we don’t need to leave, there is so much happening here!!

The outside looks like the New York Shyline and its surrounded with a huge Rollercoaster. Inside its built to look like parts of New York city. There are slot machines everywhere, and restaurants, shows and bars and OMG everything else ya can think of!!

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The boys attracted some crazy pimp daddy dude! We girls decide now its best to leave and get the boys away before he tempts them with something we don’t need.

 

Off we go….outside to “The Strip”

“wow” its night time by this stage and although its been one long day after leaving the day before, we get a new lease of energy albeit a short one.

The lights are overwhelming and we’re like Asian tourists with over use of our cameras all oooouhing and aaaarghing. Michelle and Swifty point different things out along the way in excitement as its their 2nd trip to Vegas and no all the good spots ( later found out its Mains 3 rd trip, but he just cruised with us and said even though he’s been before , with us it was different experience again)

We head up the strip a bit to Bubba Gumps-Yes!

“Shrimp” a restaurant full of Forrest Gump quotes and Memorabilia oh and did I mention shrimp? Every which way you can imagine having it, its on the menu.

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A few cocktails later lots of Shrimp and a shell cracker (courtesy of Putty –five finger disc-tutt tutt) we have a prize for the end of tour.

Lets see who deserves to win it by the end!

By this stage our pukus are full from so much booze and food.

Our eyes are all starting to close, close to 24 hours since leaving now, the bodies are letting us know. We head back to our hotel, deciding it would be rude not to have a nightcap. Coyote Ugly, yes, like the movie and yes not unlike the movie, there’s woman dancing on bars and doing shots straight from the bottle.

I haven’t got up on a bar since the eventful HongKong night. But it had to be done albeit a quicky dance and a shot….peer pressured by Annie and Kirsten!!

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A quick punt on the slots for the girls and Black Jack for the boys and we head to bed

Its been an awesome start to the holiday. Early start tomorrow, 6 am pick up for the Grand Cayon tour!

Auckland to LA

11 th Feb 2013

First leg of the trip……Dunedin to Chch..Champainge breakfast, how could we not? Bubbles all round and a few beers for the boys as well!

We boarded with a glow.

Kirsten stating “now no one is to sleep on this flight or it will buggar up our time clocks”

10mins in, even before service I look around and all 3 of my comrades’ are asleep!! LOL

A few more minutes in to the flight and Bart and Kirsten finish resting their eyes (so they say)..Phil on the other hand and true to form is fast asleep in deep slumber…drooling he is so relaxed. We  managed o get a few great pix.

Chch stop off, enough time for a few giggles and we manage to loose Bart, find again and then a quick drink before boarding aagain to Auckland.

Bart has carry on luggage, containing only 1 pair of socks and lot of underwear! He’s wearing jandals we are going to a dessert in the winter…..socks and Jandals lol …… Bart packed his own bags .

While on the plane ( Chch to Aklnd), I read an article, Parisian tips and weight formula.

(refer to my 2008 blog regarding my observation of the French and food) “the French eat and don’t get fat!

I did the formula and am pleasantly surprised, I’ m 3 kgs under at this stage of the trip! It’ll be interesting at the end! eeeeecck!

The formula if you are interests is

A>    How much did you weigh at 18 years old without dieting?

B>    How much di you weigh at your heaviest excluding pregnancy weight?

C>    How much did you weigh at your lightest after the age of 18, with or without dieting?

D>    What is your current weight?

E>     Add together your answers A and B and then divide by 2. The result is Y

F>     Add together your answers to question C and D and divide by2 , the result is Z

G>   Add Y and Z and then divide by 2

This is your ideal weight!

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Auckland and we meet up with Annie and Putty who have up sized their order, splashed out the bargain price to get a bed on the flight……. I’m not the only one looking for luxury!

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We have a few beverages watch the Aussie touch team do some crazy wrestling in the middle of the International departures and discuss all the 7 million things people have told us we all must do while in Vegas!!! If we even attempt it we would need 6 months there!! The plan at this stage is the Grand canyon and then we will just go with whatever….sounds good!!

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I board the flight and wave bye to the crew, as they give me shit ….I love it!! Haha

Seated by myself, but next to an American who has been visiting our beautiful country for the past 2 months. And another American who asked if he could take a photo of me as he saw me painfully trying to take a selfie hahaha …see  my pic compared to his .lol

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More bubbles before take off…the crew walk past me and the American notices I must know them, either that or maybe he thinks I might be famous as they take photos going past haha.

Phil walks past and I hand him my goodie bag…socks, ear pluds, sleeping mask tooth brush n paste, lip balm etc all part of the amazing treatment in Premium Economy.

The leg room is amazing and I really do hop Phil has claimed what would have been my seat.

Warm damp face cloths are haandr out to refresh us.

We take off, dinner is served….. a delicious  menu of salmon, sour doe and olive oil to dip, then I chose Lamb, followed by dessert and the cheese and cracker…along with many more bubbles.

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I get up and stretch in between meals and wander down to the other (cattle class we had it suggested to us from our checkin) and there…..in the middle row is phil……what would have been me, Kirsten and Bart……like sardines…..poor Phil cant even get his table down on his knees. Why oh why he wouldn’t want an up grade is beyond me.. they are in good spirits and Annie and Putty are parked up with they’re extra seat ready to turn into a bed….. a bit of spooning and no doubt something else…..hahaha

So now its time to sleep the lights have been dimmed in the cabin… movies are being watched , people have already put thier eye shades on and sleeping…Next stop LA

Foot note# 2 hours out from LAX

When I popped down to see the others, Putty had taken over their bargin bed..poor Annie and been pushed out to another seat. Kirsten didn’t know if she’d slept or not. Phil hadn’t had much, Bart just always has a smile J

Had the best service on board NZ 6, the flight wasn’t full and the lovely steward invited me to my own set of seats and made it up like a bed for me….I said ‘’ ooouh special attention”” he replied of course! Because its you!

The Itinerary

 

Living the Dream

11 Feb 2013

Auckland –LA-Las Vegas

Staying at New York New York

14 Feb

Kids leave NZ to LA

14 FEB (US time)

I leave everyone in Vegas and fly back to LAX to meet kids, we have a night in Santa Monica

15th Feb

We leave LAX everyone leaves Vegas and we all meet ay Fort Laurderdale, staying at Hollywood Beach.

16th Feb

We board our Caribbean Cruise ’Oasis of the Seas’

18th Feb Haiti

20th Jamaica

22nd Cozumel

23rd Fort Lauderdale

We say farewell to our mates, and hop on a bus for a road trip to Orlando (6 hours) we have 4 days there before we fly direct home via Dallas, LAX and then arriving in Auckland on the 1st March.

Its gunna be full on! But fabulous! 

Anxious and excited all at once!

I’m getting ready……will I ever be ready? 1 more sleep! Unbelievable! Its surreal when you’ve been planning and looking forward to something so long…… and it’s only 1 more sleep!

Tomorrow I leave the kids to fend for themselves  for 3 days before I meet them in LA after they leave from Dunedin on Thursday. I will have had 3 nights in Vegas by then.

I’ve had several lists all a mile long (no exaggeration, oh well maybe a little) it’s at this point when I actually realise how much I usually fit into 20 days! These lists have made all my excitement at times turn to anxious feelings and my head spin on my shoulders. I’ve got to the point where I can’t do anymore……except for a curve ball thrown in at me on late Friday arvo, didn’t impress me but oh well…..I can sort tomorrow between Dunedin, Chch and Auckland I’m sure.

Tonight I’m amazingly relaxed….

Not so the rest of the week! I’ve had sleepless nights…..it’s been forever I’ve wanted to get to Jamaica, Although the rest of the trip will be amazing…Jamaica is for my soul.

I’ve tried to lose weight, so I look ok next to my GFs ,the beach babe in particular, to no avail haha..Something to do with my social life and lack of enthusiasm for exercise I think 😉

However a couple of new swimwear outfits later….and nothing a few glasses of champagne won’t fix. I’m gunna be 40 soon who gives a folk hahahaha Forty and fabulous on the inside anyway! 😉

I had an email 2 days ago, I’d been waiting for it for days. Air NZ has a one up offer, for an opportunity to use your airpoints for an up- grade. I decided to try it out….

They let you know 7-3 days out from your flight. I’d been checking that email every morning first thing. I got this email through mid morning, I screamed with excitement and I hadn’t even opened it!

Andy my colleague wondered What the flip!?

I sat there not wanting to open it incase my offer hadn’t been accepted, my emotions were fizzing (really who gets this excited about stuff like this? OTT though I’m quite an excitable kind a girl) , but I knew I’d be gutted if I missed out.

Andy egged me on, I opened it finally and to my delight……..I saw the word Congratulations first and knew I had it!

My excitement poured out of  me and my delight all to much for Andy who wasn’t used to seeing his boss act like she’s just won the world, not an upgrade to premium economy…its not even business class, but its still good all the same.

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(a view of premium economy)

It was the icing on the cake to what is going to be an amazing adventure with some good mates and my family…….Starting tomorrow!

I will post a brief Itinerary if you’re interested in reading more….

Bledisloe Cup 2008 4 nights in Hong Kong

4 nights in Hong Kong 

 

We’re baaaaack! A little heavier, a few bruises (well actually a big sucker on my head, x-ray tomorrow for my foot too LOL) and heaps of fantastic memories….

1st drink at Dunedin airport with Bart and Kirsten (surprisingly early, Barts a changed man!) met up with Putty and Annie at International with about 20 mins to spare before our flight boarded so a frantic dash through duty free to get the supplies and ran with all the other rugby supporters to our flight. An uneventful flight, although seeing 3 big bastards squashed into a row was a funny sight, the girls didn’t get much sleep, but they tell me I snore and was sooo comfy I had my arms and legs sprawled over both of them LOL (ha! I must be used to cramped conditions)

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Got to HK and Mains arrived about 30mins after, enough time for us to get a MTR ticket (for their rail system) and some kai for our puku’s, airline food just doesn’t cut it!

Off to our hotel (thought it was gunna be a nightmare but we all managed not to get separated and found our way) The rail system is awesome, took us into Mongkok where we grabbed a couple of taxis to our 5 star accommodation-yeah!! Funny, ya had to be there, but these big boys and all Annie and Kirstens luggage trying to fit into the taxis was a hoot.

Pale, Lee and David (their mate) joined us in our nice but very cosy rooms for a few drinks, before they took us out on the town (Pale is a star –everywhere we went, everyone knew him) had a fantastic time, great times, think we got home at about 5am which is a good effort considering we had been shopping all day at the incredible markets etc. Had an awesome lunch and got treated like kings (I think they thought the big boys were famous) they had that problem all the time though!!! They really loved all the attention, soaked it up along with all the alcohol consumed! People were asking for photos with them all the time…Phil even brought a few papers after the big Halloween parade, he was so certain he’s made the front page bahaha.

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Ask him now and he still says it was the most amazing experience, paparazzi everywhere!

Day 2

Second day was a little quieter; we had an awesome- fantastic buffet breakfast with a chocolate fountain included m m mmmmmm. Went over to the Island bumped into the Wallabies out and about, was lucky or cheeky enough to ask Lotti Tequiri (can’t spell sorry) for an obligatory picture with rugby fans, they were just walking around. We went down to the water for a long wet lunch, everyone back into drinking (except me…just lemonade for this chick, I couldn’t lift my head off the table by that stage..hung over) Phil and Putty made up for me, running the poor waiter off his feet with beer orders, ordering 2 at a time!

Still at this point us girls hadn’t bought anything, a-huh! Believe it Michelle LOL, there was to much to choose from even for Annie hahaha (don’t worry , when she finally did, she more than made up for the slow start).

By the time we had finished lunch , it was tea time lol, so we headed back to our hotel, left the boys at the bar drinking cocktails and we girls went to the Plaza had the longest escalator, Kirsten had her eyes closed the whole way up, almost crying if she wasn’t panic laughing so much, she was so scared, still no shopping purchased!

Had a meal at our hotel and meet the Campbell’s originally from Moa Flat ( near Tapanui) small world eh!

A few more drinks and an earliesh night…..dunno where Mains disappeared to tehhehehehe 😉

Day 3

Mmmm the old bodies were feeling it! We thought we better do some of the sights in HK. We went up the gondolas (another terrifying experience for Kirsten-entertainment for us though) to a village and an awesome Giant Buddha, had a look around, got my palm read, brought a few souvenirs and went on to Disney land to check it out.

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Back at the Hotel where the boys ditched us (it was Halloween and the biggest party ever in HK central city) for 100s and 1000s of people and 1 big party. We girls did the night markets got home with our bags and proceeded to get drunk on our duty free, oh and boy did we get pissed! Before someone got it in their head to go in search for the boys ( it wasn’t me!) The boys were not fourth coming in telling us where they were because Bart had got lost-drama ha nah no drama compared to the next night after the game when I got lost amongst millions of people –drunk and saturated in beer!

DAY 4

The one we went for!

Started the day in our AB gear, off down to breaky only to notice that there was way more Aussies at our hotel then Kiwis! No worries they lost hahaha . 1st drink of the day 10am-top shelf oooooouh looking back gee we lasted well!.

Off we went to meet Pale, Lee and the folks, got a wee bit lost, actually ended up walking around in circles, always is so easy in hindsight..once you’ve found the blimmin place!

Us girls had a few cocktails even tried a bloody Mary  (Annie) Meet so many people, the place packed up fast-fantastic stuff, nothing like a whole lota supporters of the same team, together!.

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Wandered on to the stadium for the Rugby. The atmosphere was amazing, spine chilling. We had really good seats 4 rows up and in front of the try line. The players were right there! We could see their blood and sweat and the Wallabies tears hahahaha.

During the game we heard via several txts messages from everyone at home that we were all on tv 3 or 4 times!!! Famous as! So not just the boys famous now!

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I think (this is when it all gets a bit cloudy…….we hung around in our seats  a while after the game, no streaks sorry Trace, we tried to talk Phil in to it, but Annie and Kirsten decided it was a great idea to lift my top for a photo while I wasn’t looking!

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Then onto the pubs, bumping into John Heart and Eric Rush and a few others…

Had the best ever time with the Tapanui lads, their mates and everyone else…unfortunately my dancing on tables party trick went a bit wrong and it ended a great day …not so good when you’re flying home the next day(hence why I’m off to the doctors this arvo-no more vodka for me!).

So as you can tell we had the best ever long weekend you could have, Hong Kong is a great place, huge but manageable. The people are lovely, great shopping, some of the smells are a bit to be desired, horrendous actually, ask Annie, she dry wretched several times, and some of the food in the stalls eeeeuueww. OSH would have a field day over there lol, bamboo scaffolding up sky scrappers, open drains and sewage.

Will we go back? Hell yeah! If Pale will let us! Hahahaha

The Big O.E 2008

 

Chch to Singapore    day1

Its warm!! Left Christchurch 0 degrees arrive to 30! Ya can only imagine Phil lol hot and sooo hanging out for a ciggy, actually he handled the non smoking time very well.  After an early morning start 4 am (too excited to sleep) we finally got on the plane and were given hot rolled up wash cloths from beautiful Singapore airline attendants – Phil and I looked at them and then each other..and cracked up (too flash for us lol) we had no idea what the hell we were sposed to do with them!

The drinks/food trolley arrived a little after take off and we both said no to all that was on offer….until we realised it was free!!  that’s what happens when ya used to flying Freedom Air haha. Phil was in to what ever he could then, except the Tiger beer, 1 can took him half hour to get rid of. 5 movies later ( all the latest ones too) We arrived and managed to get ourselves to our hotel in the city.  Today we are out sightseeing, just off to breakfast now…..

PS huge congratz to Pepi (Aroha) he is now an award winning journalist J well done!

SINGAPORE    day2

OMG!! Singapore is on sale, yipeeee what a time to come over!!!! We walked miles yesterday along

Orchid Road, in and out of every mall ( theres 1 mall after another all at least 4 stories high, but managed not to buy to much, but spied lotsa bits to get on the way back through for the kids. Oh and Phil got a shirt made cause that’s about the only thing that will fit the big fella! Shoes only go up to an 11 and their XL if ya can find any, are equivalent to our mediums. It truly is a shoppers paradise, shame Im not really a shopper.

But apart from the shopping, it’s a fantastic city, the architecture (can’t spell but ya know that) is mazing and its sooo clean. We meet some nice people last night on a tour we went on, some Aussies, Spaniards, Danish and Muslim people who couldn’t eat the Chinese and they kept to themselves, but still nice enough. The tour included a river cruise (brilliant seeing all the city lite up from the water) and also included a proper Chinese tea after our meal ( baby cockroaches included lol , I thought they were tea leaves at first, but on closer inspection they were baby cockroaches eeeeeeeuuuew, oh well all part of the experience, not sure how many I drunk before I realised) After the river cruise we were taken to Raffles the historical hotel, ( anyone remember Tenko? Well it is just like that) and then we took ourselves and Barry ( Tali’s pet rock who stowed away with us –pic below) to try the famous Singapore Sling cocktail that was created in the very bar we drank it in way back in the 1900s. we ate nuts and through the shells on the floor as ya do , its tradition in this bar. Ha I’m givin ya wee history lesson now 😉

Hoping to get some pix up soon Michelle, Trace got ya message hun just checked them this morning- you must have phoned after we left, sooo sorry am gunna check now lol. Anne you would love these shops here girl!

Next stop Paris!!

Lost in Paris  Day 4

Bon jour 😀

After a very loooong flight we arrived early this morning to a very cool wet ( shit! We only packed for summer friggin clothes) after a very eventful drive into Paris from the airport. Phil was scared lol had his eyes closed a lot of the time. We got to our hotel, right in central Paris, wanted to sleep soo much but couldn’t check in until 2 pm, so we dumped our bags and went to explore the city of Paris * Not to ones self, remember the cars drive on the otherside of the road when looking to cross the road eeeck found out the almost hard way!!.

We were proberly the scruffiest people walking the streets, with our denim shorts and hoody’s on,I was definitely the only silly buggar wearing jandals and shorts in the freezing weather, everyone here appears to be dressed in designer clothes, with beautiful handbags / manbags and shoes……oh the shoes  mmmmmm but the price of everything is through the roof! We found a gorgeous café across from the Opera ( 1 of the magnificent buildings around the city) ordered coffee and an omelette for breaky…friggin 47 Euros!! Which is about a hundy for us kiws, so guess we’ll be eating McDs when we can :/

It’s such a beautiful language to hear the French speak- shame we can’t understand a word they are saying, we just smile and agree lol. The think we are American, and a lot don’t even know where NZ is! We have learnt a few words to get us through.

Learning new skills with a map on a daily basis, its actually fun getting lost, we are finding little places all over the place.

Our bodies clocks are a bit up the whop, finally found our way back to our hotel about 4 pm, couldn’t help ourselves but to fall asleep literally where we sat. Phil woke me up and it was Paris time – ready to go and experience a Friday night in the city of Love, only to find most of the cafes and Bars were on closing time! What the heck? Do these French not know how to Party?  We found mcDs open (Yay we were starving) 14 Euros a bit more reasonable for a feed. Walked some more, soaking up the lights of the city. Still not knowing what the time was.

Lots of people sleeping on the streets, sad really, they litrally make their home for the night in shop doorways, they take over at night and are their own neighbourhood…. Got Back to the Hotel and asked time……it was filppin after4 am!! We’d been walking about for a good couple of hours. Gee we had, had a big sleep (oops) and no wonder everything was closed!!! We will learn about the timezone and our bodies from this haha.

Tomorrow/today we are going to explore the city some more- heading to the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.

Rugby! What Rugby? PARIS IS ALIVE!!!!

Ha! So we know the Parisians were saving themselves for the Opening of the Euro cup! Of course! How could we have forgotten? Paris went off last night with people everywhere, phew! We were a bit worried about the French after Friday night.  Football is king here, that’s for sure, even all the little tots were out with their parents in their favourite football jerseys. And the open? Well unlike Melbourne, unless your watching CNN you would have know idea its actually on in town at the mo.

Yes Michelle, oh the French do know how to bake fine food, all the pastries fro breakfast alone are mm mm mmmmmm delicious, my arse is getting bigger by the day, the wine? Well I think us kiwis can teach them a thing or two, or even your Aussie vinos are just as good, but the breads and the pastries are definitely divine 😀

So we were JAFT ( Just another F**kn tourist) yesterday, jumped on an open bus tour around the city, climbing 284 steps to the top of the Arc De Triomphe (nothing like climbing the Hawera Water tower-which is more of a challenge) Phil almost losing his head a few times negotiating the tree lines from the roofless double decker bus, down the Des Champs Elysse ( a huge road between the Arc De Triomphe and Concorde/Louvre).

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Saw the Mona Lisa, I think she was smiling, saw lots of marble status of men with very small penis’ lol mingled with lots of other JAFT’s actually you wonder if anyone is left at home? There truly is so many people everywhere, just amazes these country kids 😉

We had out portrait drawn in front of the Eiffel tower by a lovely polish girl who had left home to make a better life for herself. She told us how she misses her family but must do what she needs to . one of the worst things about visiting the Eiffel tower is all the Black men ( almost blue looking they’re that black)they bombard all the tourist trying to sell cheap and nasty souvenirs and can be quite intimidating.

Saw about 500 odd naked people riding ( as ya do lol) their push bikes through town and about 8 police vans with sirens chasing them LOL quite a sight! We had no idea what the hell was going on, but it turns out it was ‘World awareness for bike riders’ day. Guess the bike ride was postponed in Tapanui Alena, due to the snow huh?? LOL

Definitely over seeing all the buildings, they are truly amazing and a definite must, but really they all start looking the same after a while, although if you’re into history, I guess you could spend days soaking it all up and reading every blurb there is about anyone place.  It is amazing how they built them especially when they did not even have a crane/bulldozer or anything!

It was also really neat to see the moats around the old castles ( guess it brought back all the fairy tail stories mum read to me as a little girl, they were real)

Today we are just gunna wander and get lost, we have more fun. Tonight we are going for Dinner up the Eiffel tower and then of to Moulin Rouge to watch a true Can-Can show, really looking forward to that.

Tomorrow we catch the really fast train and head off down to the  French Rivera, I hope its warmer down there!

Au-revoir and Merci (thank-you) for your comments, we love hearing from you all xxx

Au-Revour Paris

We said goodbye to Paris today and wonder if we will ever return?

Caught the Tvg train (super fast) after getting locked in the wrong carriage-whoops, with 2 suitcases in tow we had to make a mad dash down the other end of the platform (do you know how hard that is running against the flow on packed platform, with a broken suitcase and no bugga speaking English so they can’t point us in the right direction quickly!!!) made it with litrally 2 seconds to spare –true! Had a sweat up and some fancy swear words coming out of my mouth ha!

Yesterday we found ourselves in the Latern Quarter, where all the gypsys/artists and conmen/woman are, if you sit and watch a while you can actually see them at work (interesting and scary at the same time, you’d agree with that one, eh Rae?)

Last night was a dream ( I hope I don’t make you all envious with what I’m about to tell you) Had dinner on the 1st floor of the Eiffel tour ( drinking a very dry Bordeaux vino that was the worst part of the whole night oh apart from us almost not making it at all……lost and late again!lol) We sat with some lovely Aussie girls on their big 10 week OE (70+ and all widowed) they were a crack up and we enjoyed listening to their travel tales as they were almost at the end of their 10 week stint.

After tea we enjoyed a cruise up/down the river Siene and watched the Parisians dancing along the river edge, sweethearts making out, friends enjoying each other’s company with a few drinks, it was an awesome sight and made us truly see why Paris is the city of Love. PDA (public display of affection) not a problem, no one looks twice at lovers making out in full public view! (Their clothes still on of course) But it’s lovely even watching them males/females; young/old/teens all greet one another with a kiss on each cheek, just gorgeous!

We then proceeded to the Moulin Rouge, lined up to wait with about 500 others for the 3rd show of the evening, 11 pm start ( our eyes wear hanging out by then after another huge day of getting lost and finding some fabulous sights)

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But OH WHATA SHOW!! There are no words to describe the costumes, lighting, scenery and props, e.g a clear glassed tank full of water raised out of the stage during a scene, full of snakes, and real ones! One of the dancers ( girls all danced topless, not so for the male dancers they stayed fully clothed the whole dam time, what’s up with that?!!)Swam and danced in the water with all the snakes. But of course ya couldn’t beat seeing the good ole can-can, which was fantastic! But it dint stand out as much as I thought it would, because the show was just so good, oh and the French Champagne was very tasty as well 😉 . we managed to get in just after 2am, no wonder out bodies don’t know what time if the day it is!

So the foods all good, but do ya think I can find a good coffee?

We arrived down here to the French Riviera after 6 and half hour ride. Yep it’s as good as in the magazines, unfortunately Brad and Ange and their brood weren’t at the train station to pick us up lol, guess she was busy with the new twins  hehehehe.

We had to take a taxi.

Traffic once again is hideous and I don’t think there is a car around without a dent LOL they are Crazy!!!

We are staying in a beautifully placed hotel right on the beach and I don’t know what I did (they love us Kiwis) but we’ve been bumped up to a preferred guest room. Even says so in the door outside. The views are to kill for! And the bed! Well its huge even has a bedae ( not sure how to spell it but ya know , one of those things ya sit on to wash your bum lol)

Had a nice meal, Phils zzzzing already. I’m just waiting around till 9am your time so I can call the shop and make sure everything I s going ok…still selling shit so I can pay the VISA, cause OMG the $$$ are getting eaten up pretty quick!

Baking Michelle? OH MIIIII Gaaaaaawd, lucky swimming starting back up. Hate to think you’re getting comfy in the kitchen lol.

Kirsten how’s that boy doing? And Phil gave you a funny look on your man bag comment LOL. Anne tell Putty yep that dam shirt, got shrunk in the wash heheheh 😉 , funny though they all have and haven’t even been worn yet! He put his boardies on today (they fitted before we left) he had to suck it up and do up his tie, I shouldn’t laugh, Im just as bad eeeck.

Maka thanks for the comments girl pleased you’re enjoying the blogs. Great 80s pic’s huh

Some flash boats parked up out front of our window, wonder who’s on them, hopefully I get to see a celeb, will keep ya posted on that one J

Goodnight xx

Beautiful, Brown and Topless

Day 10

Juan Les Pins (Pronounced u wan le per) is where we are staying, central to Cannes, Nice, St Tropez, C’De Cotz, Antibes and Monaco. It has beautiful golden sands, crystal blue water although very slaty ( like the sea salt you put on your food, when you get out of the water its all over you) It’s a party town and the uniform seems to be white! It seems the richer you are the more white you wear, they even have stores with only all white in them! Phil and I are the most colourful characters in town hahaha.

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We enjoyed St Paul and Eze, both ancient villages ( still with residents living there) on hills , castle like, with winding narrow streets, step paths which follow around and up down like a maze through the residents and amongst little quaint stores selling art and local crafts (see photo)  we have also visited Monaco, seeing the changing of the guard at the Reiner Royal Palace, we also went into the catholic church where Grace Kelly we dhte King ( shock horror mum I even prayed while in there).

We’ve also travelled along the Grand Prix route and to the famous Monte Carlo casino.

Haven’t seen a celeb yet but man oh man there are some friggin rich people over here, its insane how much doe they must have-huge boats- ships just parked up in the Mederterian sea of shore. They have drivers driving them around, and Bentley, Ferrari and Porsche are just like Holden’s, Fords and Toyotas at home! True!!!

So we have done the sights , all there is to do now is soak up the sun, not so keen on shopping, browsing maybe…eat drink and Phil has found a casino ( surprise surprise) although so far he has only managed to lose our Euro’s and not bring any back L

It’s been a nice change to seeing church after church and statue etc.

We are tanned, well Im brown with more freckles and Phil is a nice shade of lobster red like a traffic light shade haha. And yes we have both sunbathed topless with the 100s of others all ages and sizes, some really shouldn’t (proberly myself included) but they don’t care, it’s just what ya do here.

Bart Phils got some pictures for you, at least that is what he told me he was doing while taking them!

Your yesterday or rather your tonight was  Luc’s 11th birthday, so I thought we’d celebrate it over here  by going para sailing over the Mederterian sea, wow it was awesome and not nearly as painful as giving birth 11 years ago lol.  Our mouths were dry with nerves though before we took off…and it was a little lop-sided 😉

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Our French is getting us by ok and we are even managing to put a few words together now to almost make a sentence. Don’t know how we will go with our Spanish though?

Tomorrow we say goodbye to baguettes, Pastries, croissants, bacon, pancakes and all the cheese for another menu of the Spanish kind. We have loved it here and it is definitely a place we would love to come back and visit one day. But we are ready to experience a little more of another culture, bring on Spain!

Hopefully the lorry drivers have unblocked the highways and are letting fuel and food through ( sorted their shit out by the time we get there) dunno if you’ve seen the news over there, but its koas at the moment in and around Madrid , striking and protesting gone crazy)

Some of the  quirky things of France I like, Dogs are allowed everywhere, even in a butcher shop, the French way to greet one another is really gorgeous , the food oh the food, why aren’t the French fat? With all the fine food they eat? They chew 20 times before swallowing, that how! Unlike Phil and I, who just bite and swallow haha.

We are over toll booths (seems you have to pay to cross the road) ,Paying to go to the toilet and paying some more for toilet paper. oh and hand washing aaarrrgh, there are no washing machine facilities in any of our accommodations and I refuse to pay 3 Euros for a pair of knickers to be washed and ironed and 14 euros for  pants and shirts each!

Well if ya not asleep yet (it’s been along blog huh) you’ve done well J

Thanks to everyone back in Tapanui keeping an eye out for mum and the kids, I really appreciate it xxxx to you all

Day 8

Hola, Buenas noches ( Hello and Good evening)

Spent most of the day in Airports!! We arrived super early to Nice (weren’t sure how long our check in would be, but for once this trip we found it and were on time! Oh by only about 3 hours!) Managed to find our departure gate after a dissapoited Phil couldn’t get any duty free smokes, we may have been going to another country but the the whole Euro currency things means no duty free L .

Boarded our flight, it was late ..I’m sure because we were early, finely taxied out only to sit on the tarmac for another ¾ hour before a short flight to Madrid, Spain J .

The airport here is huge was another 15 mins from landing until we were bused to the terminal ( no space to park the plane , its so choka full). We waited for our bags and waited and waited  then 1 arrived not 2!! Yep the bag with the broken handle.an hour later after chasing around the airport with no comprahenda LOL –por favoure (which I now know means , what?) it appeared on the carosel a little more worse for wear lol, but YAY!!!

We had minutes to spare to catch our connecting bus to catch up with our tour pheew! Was thinking of Michelle and Swifty on the Sheparton discovery trip and the insurance we’d get if it didn’t turn up J

Madrid on first appearance is a huge city I’d say almost 3 in one looking from the air, wow! The heat is immense. It was siesta time while we were being ferried to our hotel, the shops and streets almost empty, 6 laned roads with only a bit of traffic on them, happens from 2 -5 . It was a very surreal feeling.

We have this evening had our intro, to the tour. Had a couple of Sangrias (not as good as your punch Trin) and meet the others on our tour. We have a large group with a varied age between 18 and about 80,thank goodness, was hoping we wouldn’t be on the road with a whole bunch of 70 year olds ( no offense intended but you know what I mean).

Lots of Americans, a couple of Canadians, 2 Aussies, A  French couple, South African Family, Malaysian and 3 kiwis including ourselves. First thing everyone said to Phil was, you’ve had a lot of sun! ( I told ya he looks like a traffic light on red) Everyone seems nice and 1 couple weren’t as lucky as us with their luggage. They’re still missing 2 suitcases with all their stuff in it, so all they have is the shirt son their backs and we’re heading of early in the morning.

We have just returned from tea and a walk about. The Spaniards have woken from their rest, the shops are open and the roads are full again-amazing! Restaurants don’t let you in until at least 8.30pm. there are skyscrapers everywhere , apartments full of families. The streets are filled with kids  and adults using them as their back yards. Every kids seems to have a soccer(foot) ball and kids sound just like Dora ( Dora the explorer cartoon character) very cute. The old people sit and watch the young play while others seem to hang out on the corners with all their mates, not unlike us Hawera crew in our early years 😉

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Well senors and senoraitas, bed for this girl…..Luc’s rugby team finally won on Saturday and T got player of the day for netball, so incase you’re wondering if the kids are ok and managing without us, I think Mum, Ange and Sue are doing a great job while we’re away J

Hasta luego ( see you later)  c xx

Madrid – Spain and more

Day 12

Oh so busy! Early starts and late finishes, holiday?? Dunno about that one, we seem to be on a mission daily, while its fun and great its certainly not relaxing. Times tables to keep to , bags packed and outside our doors by a certain time, on the bus at certain time. 30 mins here, hour there etc etc ya get the idea?

Soooo Madrid was a huge city, 4 million ( same as the whole of NZ) I had commented on how dry it looked around from the air, but Madrid is actually built on top of a spring and everywhere you go is another magnificent water fountain of some kind or another. It is so full of rich history, Nz is such a young country, we truly have no idea (well those interested in history already doo but I musta missed that class at school) European history is so vast.

We went to Toledo another village built on a hill, this is a very holy and scared spot, maybe where the saying ‘holy Toledo’ comes from?

Some of the areas we were shown dated back to 300 BC ( yeah that’s before Christ!)

One thing that really stands out is religion. And how much was fought, conquered and how people were killed, be it Christians, Jews or Muslim ( my opinion its not really ever about God /Koran or whatever higher power they believe in, but it was all done in greed century’s ago)

We stood at the site of the Madrid Railway bombing (actually stayed in a hotel around the corner) that had the Al Quada attack (approx. 200 lives lost) they have a huge glass cylinder monument with all their names of the victims inside it, so sad that people will still kill over religion and disregard other innocent lives to prove a point. Everyone seems so staunch here about their religion and what they believe in.

L

Seville

Arrr Seville! Whata fantastic city. If there is one place to visit in Spain its gotta be here, a laid back city where Christopher Columbus set off on all his discoveries (we visited his bones still here in a cathedral). Its very Spanish with Flamenco dances – a very passionate dance, we went to a show lastnight. Torros the 2 nd biggest bull fighting ring, has to be seen to be believed. Phil and I are the only ones on the tour that were disappointed we missed the bull fight by days ( they only hold them on Sundays) but very interesting all the same. Hearing all the culture behind it was great, its not really a fight rather a sacrifice, a ritual, a process that happens before the sword goes in, amazing!

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The weathers fantastic, nothing under 30 degrees, we are enjoying Tapas and sangria, it’s a little hard getting across what we want to say as most Spaniards really don’t speak English, (unlike the French who just pretend –no English)

Siesita time is frustrating when you’re a tourist- nothing open!

Again a lot of history so so oh soooo many churches and cathedrals, mosques and more of the same, have definitely learnt so much but we are getting over it LOL. But I guess that’s what is all about huh, learning about where cultures in other countries came from. Tomorrow Granada and I guess some more mosques taken over by Christians before being transformed into Cathedrals ….arrrr (how the Spanish say) Esta bein (very good)

Oh P.S  the hotels are nice, this breakies  aren’t as good as the French though !

Xxxx

 

Granada/Valencia

Wow Spain is such an amazing geographical country, every area is so different, Madrid built on water, Holt Toledo not so far but in a dessert. Seville the equivalent to visiting Rotorua (with out the stench smell) all the culture and traditions on show, Granada a place with huge history another Mosque taking by some Christians in the 3rd or 4th century-honestly, I don’t know how our guide retains and also manages to make all the history interesting as we go along our way. Granada also has a lot of gypsys still living in caves , literally. They dig a hole in the side of a cliff and make it home. There a more elaborate and amazing detailed cave homes up the road in Purullena, they have rooms off rooms and have lived like that for centuries , even have power and modern amenities. We were lucky enough to go into someone’s cave home (koha given of course) its cool in summer and warm in winter, amazing to think they just dig and make a new room as needed. But we can see how the Taleban have managed to elude the troops because just this one we visited was like a maze and I imagine with more hands you could dig to China LOL, maybe Osma has already dug through to NZ that s why they can’t find him! :/

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We arrived in Valencia, the most modern city so far. Not a place I’d rave about. We have had some great nights out and Phils become a dab hand at Tequila shots LOL trying to set the pace for the younger ones, of course he ends up trying to keep up Lol ( Bart I have some evidence of Phil with a man bag )

The best thing about doing the tour has been no line waiting (there is lines to get into everything, we just get ushered through and past everyone. The guide and local guides give us interesting insights and info that you wouldn’t usually stop to read about. But the best part of all is the little things like going into local homes of Spaniards, the spontaneous guitar playing and dancing in the streets ( which was actually organised but a nice surprise).

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The local cuisine ,Paella especially, we had that lastnight ( pronounced Pie ella) and OH my it was delicious.

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Esta bien Amigos (okay my friends g2g)

Today…Barcelona

Da Dada  …duh da daaaa

Barcelona a huge city so dry only 1 fountain (because its such an attraction, a  musical colured fountain) in the city is working because they have no water. Its so dry and is in a terrible drought at the moment. It’s a very vibrant city neither the less. Home of the black Madonna, it has a mix of new and old. Seville is still my favourite Spanish spot.

Tonight for our last night, we say farewell to all our new friends.

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Unfortunately last night one of our tour party had the experience of being pick pocketed!!!!

WE HAVE BEEN TOLD AND TOLD NOT TO TAKE OUR PASSPORTS OUT WITH US AND TO BE SO CAREFUL WITH OUR MONEY/BAGS/WALLETS. Oh dear, anyway ( he was the slowest member of our tour but you should of seen him run) 3 lovely girls surrounded him while we were at the evening show of the fountain, watching while Freddie mercury and Mozart played and the fountain danced it magic, colours working in unison. They took his passport and 200 euro! Luckily though they threw back his passport to him as they ran! It all happened so fast! It was a bit of excitement but no th kind any of us ever want to experience again. Stupid of him, not to heed the warnings.

Apart from that we have had an uneventful but fantastic time in Spain and with the Trafalgar tour group……..we are soooooo looking forward to catching up with Trin, Gra and the kids tomorrow, hopefully we have managed to take the sun with us, we hear it’s still very cold in the UK. ( its JUNE!)

Buuuut a big farewell night tonight, last night to party with our new friends….some we will keep forever.

Asta lr Vista Spain…….

Day 19

Weeeeeeeell Hello England

Home! 4am! up and to the airport by 9. We are glad to sit on the plane and we were asleep before the plane taxied out to the tarmac. Arrive to a brrrrgh 16 degrees. Suitcases arrived an even more little worse for wear, in fact Trin is taking us to get some new ones, these are not gunna make it much further LOL.

Trin and Gra were at the airport to meet us, it’s so nice to walk out into the arrivals hall and have happy welcoming faces waiting to meet you.

1st stop Mains new apartment, he’d gone all out for us, tea and scones ha nah. LOL. He was hangover from the night before too! Meet his new lady! A racy red mini coop s 😉 a far cry from his old Holden Manaro hehehe, goes well, he’s on his last legs for fines before losing his license, and he’s good at running red lights he tells us! City living I guess?

Mains , Trin , gr a and us came back to Leaches Vicarage, it’s so English ( just like the pictures on the jigsaw puzzels with fields of long grass, bright coloured cottage gardens) they have it looking so perfect. Gra cooked us a Gordon Ramsey special without the ‘F’ words lol and then we spent the rest of the night, in their very own bar! Its decked out with an old spacies machine, pool table , huge screen tv, has a proper old English pub bar server and they’ve named it the ‘Ugly Duck’ we spent the night getting drunk wearing silly hats they collect and watching Spain beat Italy in a shootout game- Fantastic Stuff!

They have a huge week planned for us. London tomorrow, Ireland for a couple of nights, back to London for Lulus house warming, a football match, a night out in London before we head to Scotland and back to NZ ( hope you remember who we are) WOW!!!

Don’t know how we will go buuuut tomorrow we are on the underground, oh no ! Us with 6 million other Londoners awww its gunna be an eye opener and I’m sure I’ll have  a story to tell 😉 heheheh. Trin assures me she will give us great directions!

London and back …all in a days work for some…

Ha! Well what a day, we managed to fit so much in, starting with an achievement! Yes! Into London on the train, found the underground and got these bodies to Madame Tussards or Baker st line –yeah!

Really enjoyed meeting all the wax stars, it was a better experience the we thought it would be. Phil and I were ushered into the big brother room

Its huge here especially in the Leach household, its Trin and Gra’s fav). We were set a challenge like the real housemates get made to do, and completed it  lol it was hilarious and Phil was way out of his comfort zone ( see link) http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1021751582745&set=vb.1193866048&type=3&theater

Then we found yet another open top bus tour it really is the kewlest way of seeing the sights. Saw London from the big eye- a giant ferris wheel (well a bit more elaborate ) walked to the Abbey, Parliament,  Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, all because the roads were closed and the buses couldn’t get through. Seems Nelson Mandela is in town for his 90th birthday! We missed out on that invite.

Spent time in Harrods, fell in love with a ring that was oh only a mere 8700 pounds!!! So settled for some tea bags and a dish strainer instead, si I can say I’ve been shopping in Harrods J

Oh miii goodness though, what a shop! The food hall is amazing, seafood and chocolate for Africa!! Michelle you would think you’re in heaven mate. Everything In the store from bags/clothes or Paddington bears is presented in a way that looks fairy tailish if you know what I mean?

We meet some fun characters along the way.1 guy we started yarning to at the station was shocked! LOL he said it’s the first time anyone has just started having a chat with im while waiting at the station, usually over her ya go to work, see the same people every day non the train/tube, but never make eye contact or smile at strangers haha. Coz otherwise they might want something from you or rob you he said.

Anyway 20 mins later ( he was pleased coz we had made his time fly) we continued on our way…. Hahah that was after a wee hiccup, we’d jumped off the train a few stops to early and we had to wait an hour for the next one ooops, in the meantime Phil managed to find a TAB ( funny that).eventually we did make it back all though not to the start, Gra and Trin had to pick us up further up the line a bit. No worries there was a cute pub next door so they weren’t to peeved at our misdemeanour. haha

Really enjoyed out big day out in London, off again sat, they have us very busy!

Day 25

Another Stamp in the Passport

Midnight finish lastnight, 4 am start this morning, we were getting our passports stamped in Ireland this morning at 8am!! Have had a great dayin Dublin- a place that really reminds me of the Naki! Especially the feckin wind and rain lol and they think its summer here?

We found yet another open top bus tour and yes we sat up top haha. Gra even managed to get a wee sleep in half way round. Dublins sights don’t really hold your attention but was still good to see, the tour guide was priceless though, such a crack up, a real joker ( a true Irishman I guess lol) lots of Irish jokes and his accent was fab too!

Lunch at the Guinness factory storehouse, a few Guinness- yuk! The first one was nice bot oh I shouldn’t have gone for a 2nd! Drunk it looking out over the gravity bar ( a glass house on top of the factory) over looking the whole of Dublin- very Kewl.

So just a few mins to write this up and we are out on the town in Dublin, down the famous Temple street for a few pints and a night out with the locals….wonder if we’ll meet any leppricorns 😉

Oh to be sure, to be sure..

Great Pubs in Dublin, but that’s about it! LOL it rained the whole feckin time, but that didn’t slow us down, we were only there to drink and meet Leppericorns, oh and to find the luck of the Irish 😀

After our 1st night out, great fun but not to eventful, just enjoying the local pubs/music and people all very Irish as you’d imagine, but there was a girl fight outside 1 of the pubs The Grada (Police and Ambulance were needed wooooah excitement, the Irish gals are a tough bunch!) No contact made with this Lass though thank goodness!

We had an awesome Irish feed for lunch, black pud for gra, had to try it, its not to bad, Phil the usual Fish and chips( no surprises there, though he has been quite adventurous with his kai this trip) Trin had a steak, as big as her! And I had Boxty chicken a pancake with a yum sauce. But still had to wash it down with a NZ wine, the wines over here are nothing compared to what we have J

 

We made it!

Last night Trin and I left the boys to their own devices( gambling and drinking) and went to the Gariety theatre for the 2nd night of the all new season of the Riverdance show, it was amazing and to see it in Dublin made it even more special. I loved every bit of it. A stand out was ta part with an Irish immigrant to the USA (remember the scene in the titanic under the deck), also a few Black tap dancers dancing American style through it as well, they were a highlight for me, very humorous!

Music was fantastic, not sure what the instruments were, looked different but the sound was terrific, had us all jigging in our seats.

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Caught up with the boys after the show at the half a penny pub, a wee story ( imagine an Irish accent) bout this pub and the bridge it sits next too. In the old days the Irish used to charge half a penny to cross this there bridge to get from North Dublin to South and vis a versa- so to save a penny the blokes would piggy back their ladies across, brake ya back to save a penny ! ( its a old saying). Guess what?

We made Gr and Phil do it too lol what a laugh, we were all pist parrots trying to carry us over the bridge made a bit of a show and we had an audience, lol maybe we should have charged them hahaha.

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Back to England today, the passport is getting full now! London again tomorrow for some more socialising, catching up with a few and we are booked into a hotel to stay in East London, its Trins old haunts, we are gunna go see how she parties in London.

Tonight though, a tradition in the Leaches house, its eviction night on Big Brother UK, so its drinks, nibbles and a bitch session about the house mates lol

Here we have had snow at home, hopefully it didn’t stay around to long and you all managed to stay warm. Not long now and we’ll be back to reality…..oh and the visa bill  L

A boozy weekend for us

London for the weekend! Well the boys scooped Phil off, put him in an England rugby shirt and they tootled off to watch the Black Caps at Lords. They managed to stay in-coherent for the 1st 20 overs before getting way laid with alcohol consumption. While they did that Trin and I traipsed all over Oxford and regent streets looking for clothes for Gra. So many people everywhere ( woman on a mission) it was surreal almost, amazing! . I’m defiantly not a shopper though. But the best ever store to visit would have to be Ambercombie & Fitch, Oh my goodness ( newly opened) it’s like a night club to get in, queues  with hot male and female models dancing around to loud music while you browse around the store- just AMAZING!!! Not sure id it will continue like that but it certainly was pretty neat to witness.

Once we finished our shopping excusion, Trin and I headed for Lulus and 1-o’s for a kiwi bbq, was great to catch up with a few Hawerians, Lukey Goodwin,Deb O’dea and Tad, Milky and a few more, had an awesome time, Trin and I managed to drink a few redbulls with a lot of vodka before we had to catch up with the boys.

We all dressed up and ready to hit the town we had a blast in Trins old night spots, where we were treated to many different cocktails and concoctions …See photo. The boys left us and Trin and I continued on.

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Sunday 29th June 2008 Lucky ticket number #88

Breaky Sunday morning and then we were off to ‘the Church’ at Kentish town,for  those of you who haven’t experienced the Church, it’s a huge place/hall which contains a whole heaps of Aussies, SAF’s and Kiwis, held every Sunday 12 till 4, 4 hours of drinking and dancing .Ya buy plastic bags of beer or Stolies with tickets and the ground is covered in saw dust to collect the mess. Heaps of drinking comps and entertainment  an awesome experience!!!

1-oh has been involved ther for many moons and hooked us up well, with VIP tickets. I won the lucky ticket out of 1500 odd pist people , had to jump on stage and get a photo to collect the prize! A bag of booze! I then was easily persuaded by Lukey, Mains and Phil and the crowd to get my top off on stage too!! (its just what ya do there) Good photo opportunity lol

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Ha! So pissed and ready for more we headed to the Walakabout in Sheppards bush and another fantastic little bar, had a Maori guy playing NZ favourites on his guitar. We meet up with Lulu and everyone again. Saw a few faces from Taranaki some I hadn’t seen for years! Tony Careswell was one!

Monday was pretty quiet as you can imagine we were feeling a bit subdued 😉

Edinburgh Vs more booze and a girly show

 

Yesterday ( Tuesday) the boys took Phil off again (they really are spoiling him) they were wearing hot looking sunglasses. They started with a huge breaky at the cock and bull tavern ( gra and Mains old fav pub) in London and then went onto a girly show with yet more alcohol, you can imagine it hehehehe. Phil was home spewing in the front garden by 6 (he said it was the taxi drivers driving lol)

Trin and I had a more civilised day (18 hours) with an early start on the train, 1 st class to Edinburgh , Scotland ( no passport stamp though) Had a wonderful champagne breakfast wahooo (Trin spoilt me!!) had a great catch up for the 5 hour ride up. Edinburgh is awesome and a definite must for us to visit again, the Scottish are neat people. The castle was great, the Queen was there having a garden party and everyone was dressed up in hats and their finest. We went to the Dungeons, Trin was trialled for a 1600AC crime lol and we were shown some of the scariest stuff around by some incredible and believable actors. We had the chance to drink champagne while we got our nails done, before getting back on the train and arriving home just before midnight.

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Well we will need to come to detox and relax! They have had us on the go all the time! LOl

So tomorrow is the beginning of the end of our bog OE , arrive in Singapore stay the night, head to Christchurch before flying to Dunedin about 4 I think ? Sunday. Just in time for Talias 13th Birthday! OMG we will have a teen ager!!

Ange has txt to let us know that snow is due this weekend, as long as she can get through to pick us up, we are having a great time but are missing the kids, which we could pack everyone up and bring them back home with us, gunna miss Jorja, Zac, Trin, Gra and Mains.

See you soon xxx hope you enjoy all the pix and see some faces ya ain’t seen for a while.

6th of July …it’s almost over

Singapore-home

After a very turbulent flight from Heathrow to Singapore (back seats as well and a full flight- no room at all for Phil, he couldn’t even put the table down to eat) we arrived in Singapore raring to go and grab all the stuff for the kids, (spoilt little buggaz or our guilty conscious leaving them at home). I wish we had done it there in then , but we decided just o go and relax in the hotel. Woke in the morning it was 12!! Check out was 11 ooops so we raced off to get the things we needed…got to the airport on time managed to get a couple of relaxing massages while we waited to board our flights. I really recommend that in Singapore Airport a massage before or between flights is a must!

(writing as I fly bk to NZ)

On way back to Aotearoa, I have a meeting as soon as I get off the plane ( Phils not thrilled) first time meeting to…gunna be smelly and tired L oh well business is business.

Is flying worth the swollen feet, cramped conditions, smelly odour’s, bad food, toilet queues? Hell yeah! The best part is coming home and seein the kids…sooooo excited

Hightlights

Catching up with mates

Meeting new people

The food in France

The culture in Spain

Seeing all their mates, where they live etc and specially Kat and Gra for showing us a great time

Perfect hosts

Singapore is so clean compared to other Asian countries I’ve been.

PLACES TO VISIT AGAIN

Juan le Pins-South France

Seville –Spain

And of course we will get back to the UK but only to see mates

THINGS I FOUND AMUSING

The traffic in Paris

French drivers’ full stop

The parking – bumper to bumper until they hit

Dogs everywhere from butcher shops to planes in bags even!

The expressive way the Parisians and Spanish say and do things

The history of Spain and the Christian/Muslim fighting

Most expensive blog ever!

Living the Dream

It’s a catchy saying ‘Living the dream’ and I guess that’s what we all try to do.

I was 7 years old and my eldest brother who was on his big OE (living his dream) at 22 was supposed to have left London for Canada, he never made it. He got hit and run over by a car on his way home after his last night of work ,due to fly out the next morning.

Because of this no one really missed him and so was a John Doe for a wee bit before he came out of his induced coma.

My Mum whisked me away with her, over to London within 48 hours…amazing what can be done when ya have to. Mum hadn’t had a passport since she was 20 and I had never even been on a plane.

We arrived in London, green as green, Mum as worried as she gets, still in a state of shock that her son, one of her babies, had been run over and been in hospital all this time by himself, paralysed and in traction.

We arrived straight to the hospital in Middlesex, a very old and decrepit place. Still having travelled half way round the world they made us wait till visiting hours to see John.

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(charge nurse and nurses who helped look after my brother in 1981, having a celebratory fizzy for my birthday-it was really our 2nd home at the hospital-they knew us well)

We spent 4-5 weeks in London while he recuperated enough to be able to fly home. Days spent at the hospital and not much else. Although I did have a few highlights, I celebrated my 8th birthday in a men’s ward in London (not many can say that) we had balloons, a cake and they all sang happy birthday to me, even one of the band members from the Band Bad Company, was there to sing to me (he was in traction with a broken leg after falling chasing a taxi cab down) .

I got a Polaroid camera that day – I was the happiest girl in the world!

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(my Brother (on the 6th of may 1981 my 8the birthday)out of traction and all most recuperated enough to be able to make the flight home to NZ)

We stayed in a bed sit B&B type accommodation as cheap as mum could find as my dear Brother wasn’t insured , mum and dad had to pay for everything even his health care.

There were 2 lovely ladies, in hindsight girls, they were proberly 18 -20) they were the cleaners etc. Sometimes they would offer to look after me so I didn’t need to go to the hospital. Debbie an Irish girl and Rosie a Jamaican girl. I got to meet Rosies family and spend a bit of time at her place. This is where I feel in love with all things Jamaican, food, Reggae, dance ( on the down beat haha). Although a little hazy in my memory now, I still feel good and it makes me smile whenever I think about her and her family.

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(Rosie out the front of the B&B with my mum)

My brother, now a very successful journalist with a media business in Adelaide, eventually was fit enough to fly and come home for 18months of recovery…….the journey home is a whole other story!

Living the dream is what I’ve called this next adventure ……so we now know I have always wanted to visit Jamaica since about 8, I decided  years ago I was gunna do it by the time I was 40. Told everyone, whether they believed me or not I don’t’ know? It’s come around fast.

We leave on the 11th February, I’m ecstatic and get tears in my eyes every time I think about the thought of seeing where Bob Marley grew up and is laid to rest.

So along with the up and coming trip (of a life time – but I plan on many more) me turning 40, a fellow tweeters blog inspired me to start writing stuff down…..

Thinking about the trip of my dreams coming up, Jamaica albeit for only 1 day, I remembered how back in 2008 Phil and I had our first OE to the Northern hemisphere together. While a lot of our mates had left our small province to head off on their OE, we had stayed home, got married had babies and worked for the future, choosing to get ahead and enjoy the benefits later. Somewhere along the way we had worked to hard and kinda forgotten how to enjoy life and each other….it was suggested to us to take a trip.

Anyway…..Bebo (social network before Facebook) was about and I utilised that, by writing a type of travel journal/blog to everyone at home.

It was a very expensive exercise, as I didn’t know then (but certainly learnt the hard way), Telecom has massive data roaming charges when abroad!!!! In my ignorance, I happily wrote away regularly describing to everyone at home who cared to look, what was hot and what was not! My perspective.

To my amazement and Phils complete disgust, our telecom bill arrived about 3 days after we did and OMG! $2400+ !

As follows is properly one of the most expensive blogs ever written……although now I have re-read it and pasted it to my new chanellepurser.com site ,I am quietly chuffed I recorded all  I did, while I do remember it still vividly, some of the little things in the journal I had forgotten. Phil, after I made him read it, is too quite rapt I did it and concedes though it may have cost me a small fortune to write and entertain everyone at home with it, it was totally worth it now!

I hope you enjoy and can visualise as you read!