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Byron Bay Extravaganza

19 Apr

Lauren and I got up and drove down to Byron Bay. We went right up to the lighthouse which is the most Eastern part of Australia. Lauren was just supposed to stay for the day but I ended up convincing her to stay another night down there. We had to do a quick dress shop and then it was onto the hostel. I have said it before on here but there is nothing like seeing a face from home on your travels. Shawn Hetherington and I had been trying to track each other down in Australia for a while and then a day before my trip down to Byron he messaged me saying he worked in a hostel there.

Shawn and I gave each other a big hug and then got on the drinking for the night. Lauren, Shawn and I ended up at this insane bar called Cheeky Monkeys and anyone that has been to Byron before will know what I am talking about. The place was packed and instead of a flat dance floor it had grand stands. We of course went right to the top and took it all in. Shawn was in fine form ripping it up on the top, I did not know how he was going to work at 7 the next morning. (Shawn wanted to kill everyone in his path the next day) Next stop was table top dancing before we had our fill of being off the ground. I don’t know how there are not broken ankles or skulls every night in that place.

We spent the next day chilling at the beach until a nice rain storm chased us away. Despite my efforts Lauren had to go as she had a bunch of high school kids to teach the next day. Lauren took in this strange Canadian boy and showed me an amazing time on the coast. The laughs started the minute we got in the car and never stopped.  I didn’t have to convince her on how awesome Canada was as she had already done a couple of seasons at Lake Louise it’s just getting her up again to a better mountain next time. Thanks Lauren for everything you were a blast, and look forward to seeing you in the Northern Hemisphere!

Foggy

 

Byron Bay

Noosa National Park

10 Apr

The four Canadians piled into the car and we took the 40 minute drive from Mooloolaba to Noosa National Park. It was a gorgeous 4000 hectares nature reserve right on the Sunshine Coast. We took one of the trails that took you by all the different beaches until getting to Hells Gate which gave you a view of Alexandria Beach. Sadly I didn’t have my perving binoculars out though because it is known as a nude beach. We doubled back and settled down at Tea Tree Bay which the girls were quick to point out also had some nice pairs on it. A lot of people were surfing but we just hopped in for a dip and then lounged in the sun. I really recommend anyone who is up the coast in Australia to head there and take in the walks through the park, and hopefully you will get luckier than us and actually see some wildlife besides bigger than life spiders.

Foggy

Noosa National Park, Hells Gate

Urban Abseiling

15 Mar

Abseiling ( from German: abseilen meaning “to rope down”), rappelling in American English,[1] is the controlled descent down a rock face using a rope; climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection.

Mom you can stop reading here. We were sitting around a friend’s house when we decided it would be a good idea to tie a rope around a bench press machine put on a harness and abseil out of his fourth story window. The first two guys went down unscathed and then it was my time to slip on the harness. I got a quick crash course of how to do it and before I knew it I was on the ledge looking 40 feet down at my coach. The desent started alright and I was going down with some ease until I swung out from the building and my foot went through the first story window. I quickly got down and we hid all evidence of this urban abseil.

To the next time I do something stupid abroad!

Foggy

Australian Open

24 Jan

Got off the plane in Melbourne and headed straight for Burley and Kate’s place to enjoy some beers and watch the tennis for the night. Early the next morning I kitted up in my shorts and singlet and caught the tram to the grounds of the Australian Open. This was the number one thing I wanted to do on this trip as the Australian Open is my favourite tennis tournament ever since my buddy Chris opened up his restaurant to watch the finals late into the night a couple of years ago. Sitting there enjoying beers in the dark restaurant I promised myself I would go to the tourney. Two years later I found myself outside the gates with no ticket in hand. The tickets were all sold out and after asking around, everybody seemed to be in the same situation I was. I decided to make a sign that read “1 ticket needed please”. A whole hour passed and I was verging the point of giving up when a group of three approached me and asked if I needed a ticket. I asked how much they wanted for it and they refused any money and told me I would just have to behave because I was sitting with them. I thanked them and entered the grounds with them and then on into Rod Laver Arena. We took our seats and watched the rest of Maria Sharapova (4) vs. Angelique Kerber (30) and then watched Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Nicolas Mahut.  After the games I hit the beer gardens for the night sessions before catching the tram back to the house. They were having a party so I joined in on the festivities until the early hours of the morning.

Australian Open

I woke up on Sunday with the bright sun shining in on me, I was too hot to sleep any longer so I set out for another day at the Open. I actually had tickets for Sunday so I did not have to repeat my pan handler technique of the previous day. I made my way to my seats and found them directly in the sun. I watched the first match between Agnieszka Radwanska (8) and Julia Goerges (22) and could not take the heat any longer as I was dripping with sweat. I made my way to the gift shop to buy a hat and then got some cold beers before hitting my seats again for Tomas Berdych (7) vs. Nicolas Almagro (10). Luckily the shade line was creeping towards me and it engulfed my seats before I had to bail out again. After the game I was cruising around when a gorgeous Australian girl caught my eye, I was stuck staring as my jandal* caught a lip and tore it right off. My momentary lapse left me walking on the hot ground with bare feet the rest of the day. Hoping from different shadowy grounds I finally made it to the Heineken tent. I saw a group of girls and went and joined them for some drinks. We watched the Federer game together and then they invited me out for the night. I told them about the footwear problem and they quickly offered up a hair elastic to temporarily fix the problem. I threw on my change of clothes and we hit the town of Melbourne for some drinks. It was a perfect way to end the weekend before I took the flight back to New Zealand the next day. It wasn’t a cheap weekend and I will be living off the bare minimum until next pay day but completely worth it to cross off one of the highest ranking events on my bucket list.

Foggy

*Jandal- The terrible kiwi word for flip flops

Australian Open

Australian Open

Australian Open

Summer Vacation…

9 Jan

Surfboards on the roof, camping gear in the back, Tom, his brother James, his girlfriend Bridget and myself started our drive up North to the Coromadel. We drove to a friend Mitch’s holiday park and picked up a buddy Redo on the way. We set up camp and went to go watch the India vs. Australia test cricket at Mitch’s cabin. For dinner we had fresh fish and chips that Mitch’s family had caught that day. We had a great night full of beers and cricket and then headed off to bed. That night the sky’s opened up and our trip got thrown for a big loop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With our tent soaked in the morning and more rain coming down, we decided to pull the plug on camping in that spot. We loaded the car and drove back to Thames, to head to the east coast of the Coromadel. We then found out there were severe weather warnings on that side so our trip was diverted back south to Waihi Beach. We got there and the weather was the same so we all decided to drive back to Taraunga and rethink a plan. After being back in doors for a night we packed up Mitch’s van and were heading for Lake Rotorua, the only problem was that we found one of the hoses for the radiator was loose. 4 hours later the problem was fixed and we drove down to the lake to meet a friends family in their cabin on the lake. We had a big dinner waiting for us and then were shown to our own cabin.

The next day we went out on the boat and then the rain started coming down, Tom and Redo were in the back of the boat and had to block their faces from the onslaught of rain pelting them. We drove to a great cliff jumping spot and then went to warm up in some natural hot springs on the lake. Night came and we jumped into the hot tub, and all we could do was laugh on how hard the rain was falling on us. The countdown to New Years came and we exchanged kisses before hitting the water slide naked. It was such a simple night but we all had an awesome time playing in the downpour. We stayed a couple of more nights and then went back to Tom’s house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning I caught a bus up to Auckland to meet up with my friend Meghan. Meghan is one of the girls I stayed with in Dubai and she was in Auckland for the night as she is cabin crew for Emirates. It is always great to see somebody from home and we went out for dinner and beers. The next day we said our farewells and I boarded my bus for Wellington. A long 12 hours later I arrived back home to start work the very next day.

Foggy

A Foreign Christmas

5 Jan

Will, Tom and I piled into the car on a perfectly sunny day and hit the road to drive up North. We had the windows open and I felt that summer had finally arrived in the South Pacific. A few hours into the drive Tom announced we should go bungee jumping, and my heart sank immediately. Bungee jumping is definitely on the bucket list, but I thought I would have more time to work up the courage. We stop in the next town to grab some of that courage in liquid format and continue on our voyage. We arrive at Lake Taupo and get kited up for the jump. Will jumps first and hits the water. Then it is my turn, my heart racing I stand at the ledge and look down and heave myself off the ledge. Tom went next in his waist harness (Tom had dislocated his hip years ago in rugby and was talked into not doing it from the ankles) and then we were back on the road as fast as he had gotten off of it. We dropped Will off with his Dad and then drove the rest of the way to Tauranga.

I woke up at Tom’s and his Mom came in with a little cupcake and candle on it for my birthday. It was another beautiful day so we went for a hike up Mt. Manganui for a view up and down the coast. Next up was a swim at the beach and then continued on to Simi’s house. We picked him up and went for a drive in the sunshine and stopped by at a local pub for lunch. This was special for me as it is a tradition to do this back home on my birthday with my friends. We went back for a swim in Simi’s pool before heading into town for a night at the bar.

Taraunga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I woke up at Simi’s for Christmas and his mom had made us a great breakfast. The champagne was opened and we gathered around the tree for presents. I opened all the ones from my family, and then to my surprise the Simister’s had gotten me a few things as well. It was pretty amazing to feel a part of the family so far away from mine. We then carried some food next door to grandma’s and set up for Christmas lunch. It was quite the spread with turkey, chicken, beef, ham, lots of different salads and veggies. After lunch I skyped the family and we chatted for a while. It was great to get them all together at the same time and talk to them (even though my mom couldn’t hold up the ipad without crying), after a few numbers from my nieces which included a brush up of my ABC’s I left them back in the snow of Whistler. We then went and grabbed Tom from his place where I had a few more presents waiting for me from his family. We drove back to Simi’s and started to play a little BYC* with the boys. Christmas ended with us lounged out on the couch watching movies with stomachs to full to do much else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will definitely be a Christmas that always stands out for me. I thought my first Christmas away from home was going to be tough but it turned out to be an amazing experience. The Simisters and Culleys went well out of their way to make me feel like part of the family and I greatly appreciate that. I know I have said it a lot but the way New Zealander’s make you feel welcome is out of this world and that is something I will take with me the rest of my days. A huge Thank You to both families and I hope to one day pass on the kindness they showed me.

Foggy

*BYC – Back yard cricket

Earthquake Fun

4 Dec

It was just another casual Saturday night in Wellington. Tom and I went down to the TSB arena to watch some New Zealand Roller Derby. It was between races when our seats were suddenly rattled quite sharply. Half the audience got up and walked out and the rest of us sat there in amazement. Debris floated down from the rafters and I was left feeling a little shaken. I still didn’t really know what had happened because it was so sudden. We were finally told it was an earthquake, it was a 5.7 magnitude that struck off the coast of Picton. This is now the second earthquake I have felt down here but I have never felt one that strong. The feeling in my chest took a while to subside, but eventually got over it. Now I just hope that is the biggest one I will face.

Foggy

Small World

28 Nov

It is amazing sometimes how small the world really is, the more you travel the greater this realization becomes. I moved to Wellington here knowing no one, and through Tom he mentioned a fellow Canadian living here. We went out for drinks a few times and it turns out he went to UBC as well and ran the same Blue Crew program I did a few years before me. An even stranger twist is that his Dad trained with my Uncle Brent in track in Victoria. So here we are two Canadians in New Zealand causing a ruckus. Will has made the transition down here great the only problem is we both love then same women and her name is cold beer. We have arms made of rubber and whenever the weekend rolls around they always seemed to be twisted. I can certainly think of worse things in life so this one’s for you Mr. Stewart!

Foggy

An Ode to Simi

7 Nov

For the past month Matt has been a huge GC to let me crash in his lounge while I sorted my life out. We had never met before but for some reason accepted me into his home. Our first meeting could have gone better as I called him to let me into the apartment as he was entertaining a female companion. I dropped my bags off and hung out watching TV until he emerged from his room and asked if I wanted some eggs. He cooked up a feed and we made some proper introductions. Over a month later and I feel like I have known the guy for years. Too many good times together including that trip up to Auckland for the finals. The time at the flat was awesome but it is time for me to get my own room. A huge thanks to Matt for the mattress on the floor and you have one in Vancouver when you get yourself up there.

Foggy

 

 

 

Scoring a Job

17 Oct

I was sitting in Munich washing down some delicious chicken with a massive stein of beer when I met Johnny a Kiwi from Wellington. We had some good days of drinking together and he told me to get a hold of him when I got to Wellington.

Three weeks later after a brisk trip home to Vancouver to catch up with some people I found myself in Wellington. I called up Johnny and asked if he knew anyone looking for a flatmate. I was in luck he had a friend who was looking to fill a room in her house. He put me in touch with Sarah and we went out for a beer to see if we could actually coexist in the same house without killing each other. After a pint and talking about what we were up to she decided that I was no good to live with. BUT she had a job opening that might just fit my description.

Another week and two interviews later I landed a job for the New Zealand Government. I was pretty pumped to get the job and do something actually productive down here. Just goes to show Mom that good things DO come from drinking!

Foggy

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