Friday, May 29, 2009

Andrew & Julie’s Top 10

Okay, this isn't a top ten list. It’s just a list of the highlights of our RTW trip so far.

We wrote this while having dinner in a waterside restaurant (35° South) in the little town of Paihia on the Bay of Islands, NZ. The dinner itself wasn’t anything to write home about but we did enjoy reminiscing while thinking of our favourite experiences.  We haven’t blogged about too many of them, so perhaps this is the first time we are sharing them with the world.

Biggest personal growth or learning experience J: valuing relationships, there’s 
“no place like home”
  A: becoming less risk averse,
recognising the good relationship with Julie
Most interesting learning: J: Buddhism, plight of Thai lady-boys IMG_4146
  A: Forbidden City IMG_3595
Scariest moment: J: fear of being locked inside the Summer Palace gates in the pouring rain (Beijing) IMG_3416
  A: hot, overcrowded boat departing Haiphong to Halong Bay. (and see above) train ride to the boat
Greatest drama J: taxi crash in Istanbul  
  A: Julie’s friends!, or personally learning that a friend who I thought was married is now not, and is now gay. oops.  
Favourite drink J: Otago Pinot Noir IMG_0806
  A: watermelon shake

I can’t believe I don’t have a picture of us drinking one!

Favourite cheer J:
“Whoop, whoop!”
– Tara, kayak guide in Milford Sound
“More of everything!”
–Dylan, AKL flatmate
Favourite saying J: “mmmmm” = “yes” in Kiwi-speak, also “sweet as” and “choice”  
  A: “can-not” said with a Swedish accent –David at Seedaeng guesthouse, KohSamui  
Biggest over-hype J: Great Ocean Road, Australia IMG_8742
  A: Patong town, Phuket Patong Beach Road
Worst tour J: Chiang Mai mountain trip what kind of raft doesn't float??
  A: Koh Samui boat trip to marine reserve with bad snorkelling IMG_3485
Favourite meal J: Lao She Teahouse Chinese food, Beijing click to view larger photo
  A: home-made Vietnamese lunch during CatBa trek story
Worst meal J: Bambi kebaps, Istanbul (sick for the next day+) IMG_3133
  A: ABC meal-replacement drink at KK market IMG_6660
Best new food J: Thai pomello fruit IMG_6093
  A: Feijoa fruit (NZ), or Nashi pears (NZ)  
Worst new food J: Durian fruit read the story
  A: DURIAN! gawd! those were awful tasting!
Best market J: Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, AUS  
  A: KK Night Market, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo IMG_6654
Favourite night out J: Lan Kwai district, Hong Kong (cheap martinis, people watching) IMG_3702
  A: meeting Bruce Nesbit in Melbourne (pub, restaurant, wine bar) IMG_9124
Best hike J: Rob Roy Track, South Island, NZ IMG_0704
  A: Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo IMG_6746
Best hotel/lodging J: Great Ocean Road Cottages, Lorne, AUS IMG_9176
  A: Museum Hotel, Wellington, NZ.
…although Seedaeng guesthouse in Samui was a great place to hang out.
Best day trip J: Halong Bay hike/lunch/boat IMG_4035
  A: Similan Islands, Phuket, Thailand IMG_6184
Favourite City J: Hong Kong IMG_3578
  A: Istanbul IMG_3347
Most sketchy circumstance J: boat ride to full moon party,
  A: Hostel in Kowloon, HK    
Scooter transport in Halong Bay

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Onward we go! but will we be back??

As an FYI to our parents and such, we've booked our onward flights for the next leg of our journey.
We opted out of visiting California/Arizona since it'll be quite hot in the desert in June, or July when we were considering going. Since flights to Quito from LA seemed to be constantly routing us through Miami, Julie wanted to take advantage of being so close to her sister and go visit. So after spending the last week researching myriad of flight routings, we've got 'er all booked! And then I get this email from my recruiter "F&P: please call me asap". What the hell...? Turns out after shooting myself in the foot at the first interview by casually mentioning how we're looking forward to next section of our travels (to which the interviewers replied "oh? you're not staying in NZ?) I'm back in the running for an Operations Engineer position at Fisher & Paykael Health, here in Auckland. The second interview went quite well, spending 3 hours being interviewed and then given a plant tour. Switching industries from the big, loud, dirty factory of MacDon to the spotless, quiet, small item manufacturing system of F&P will be interesting. Not to mention that if an offer results out of the whole thing that the entire prospect of relocating to NZ will be sort of a big deal. I've given them an estimated availability (after completing said travel plans) of September.

As for the immediate travel plans, here's the details.

Date: Wednesday, June 10
Flight: DL 2078
Departs: Los Angeles Int'l, CA (LAX) at 12:20AM
Arrives: Atlanta-Hartsfield Int'l, GA (ATL) at 7:46AM

Date: Wednesday, June 10
Flight: DL 656
Departs: Atlanta-Hartsfield Int'l, GA (ATL) at 11:00AM
Arrives: Bermuda Int'l, NH (BDA) at 2:59PM

Spend a grand few days catching some sun on the beach. New concern is that Julie's sister will even be there given her volleyball tournament schedule.

Date: Monday, June 15
Flight: DL 657
Departs: Bermuda Int'l, NH (BDA) at 4:00PM
Arrives: Atlanta-Hartsfield Int'l, GA (ATL) at 6:05PM

Flight: DL 2001
Departs: Atlanta-Hartsfield Int'l, GA (ATL) at 7:30PM
Arrives: Miami-Int'l, FL (MIA) at 9:27PM

Overnight in Miami. Anyone suggest a good hotel?

Date: Tuesday, June 16
Flight: American Airlines #931
Departs: Miami-Int'l, FL (MIA) at 3:25 PM
Arrives: QUITO, EC, (UIO) at 6:25 PM

Spend a wild 3 weeks exploring Ecuador and visiting Julie's cousin Ryan in Quito.

Date: Wednesday, July 8
Flight: American Airlines # 966
Departs: Quito, EC (UIO) at 9:30 AM
Arrives: Miami, FL (MIA) at 2:35 PM

Flight: American Airlines #231
Departs: Miami, FL (MIA) at 6:20 PM
Arrives: Los Angeles, CA (LAX) at 8:33 PM

Date: Thursday, July 9
Flight: United Airlines #814/6158
Departs: Los Angeles, CA (LAX) at 10:40 AM
Arrives: Winnipeg, MB (YWG) via DENVER at 8:15 PM
*this last flight may still change*
Bids will now be accepted as to whom will be fortunate enough to pick our tired butts up at the airport!

If anyone wants anything from New Zealand, speak up cuz we'll be shipping home a big box of stuff pretty soon.
Julie's got one week of work left at Genesis, and is frantically trying to get everything completed. Then it's the weekend and our turn to have a going-away party. We've been attending 1 every 2 weeks for other friends whom have repatriated themselves back home.