A Travellerspoint blog

Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Tiger Sanctuary, Chiang Mai market,

sunny 27 °C

We decided that it was time we took our overdue trip to Laos but getting there from Langkawi in Malaysia was going to take approximately 14 hrs by coach...VIP coach, just to get to Bangkok. Then we would stay a night in Bangkok which turned into 2 nights and we took another coach; which promised to be VIP but was no where near it god knows what economy was like! This journey was another 14 hours....supposed to be. So if you are an avid follower as I know some of you are, there is never an uneventful journey with us and this one has given us more memories.

The trip to Bangkok went well, the coach was good and there was even a hostess on board handing out snacks and juice, we had blankets too. We arrived around 6 am and were able to get a good room and slept which we only had to pay for that night so we had a night free. Bangkok....well if you haven't been there in Khosan Road it is bar after bar with a bustling street of people bouncing between bars and street stalls. You will hear a strange popping noise from some of the men smacking their lips together followed with "you want ping pong show?" This is exactly what you may think it is, a show of women that thrust ping pong balls out of Lady Town (to be polite). Apparently, as I didn't want to see the show, sometimes you get a bat and you can try to hit the balls coming out. I couldn't think of anything worse! We sat at a table to have a beer, which is welcoming in the heat there. We were there about an hour when a seller came over to us and handed us a very crude embroidered bracelet, there is no way I can repeat what it said....it was bad! She pointed over to a guy sat a few tables down, as I looked a waitress came over and handed me and Chloe two large beers. I told her we hadn't ordered them and she pointed to a man sat a few tables behind us. Then....I swear this is true ........a rose seller came over and handed us roses.....from a few tables opposite us! How bizarre! It gets better......the guy that bought the roses then bought us balloons! Next two plates of food were plonked down in front of us courtesy of the guy who bought the beer. We couldn't eat the food as it was overflowing with chicken and being veggies....its a no no. So it would be rude to the staff and the guy to send it back so we decided to get the tissue napkins and pick out the chicken to feed the stray cats and dogs around. Had we been meat eaters then this amount of chicken would have pleased anyone but I was stuffing it in my pockets, purse and in my hands, as was Chloe but there was still too much. I stuffed the noodles in a large tissue bag I made and dumped it in the bin near the toilets and voila......our plates were empty! Funny thing was not one of the generous guys came and spoke to us....they didn't try it on or anything....it was very strange!

When we left Bangkok I already felt abit suspicious of our journey because we had to wait an hour over the arranged pick up time only to be dropped off somewhere else to wait there an hour. When we finally got going the coach wasn't up to much....no where near our other coach...no hostess, blankets or snacks. We were supposed to arrive at 6am but at 5.30 apx the coach broke down about 15 km outside of Chiang Mai. They ordered tuk tuks for everyone but again I grew suspicious as the driver divided me and Chloe and two other girls from the other men and couples which meant there were four girls in the tuk tuk. This meant we were vulnerable and I knew straight away there would be a problem. The two girls were friends that had clearly fallen out due to their lack of conversation etc and both were worried about this leg of the journey. I saw the driver hand over the money to take us to our guesthouse and I asked him if the tuk tuk would take us all the way and he confirmed it would. Well what a load of rubbish that was, we got into the city about 7am and he stopped outside of anger guesthouse telling us we all had to stay there. I told him we had booked somewhere else and that he had been paid to take us there. This is when he told me he didn't understand any English albeit he then demanded more money to take us to our accommodation. The two girls rang their hosts and were picked up...this happened because they were on a package deal to travel in the jungle whereas we were not....no one to phone and not a clue where we were in the city. The girls left and we sat in the back of the tuk tuk refusing to pay any more...we were going to sit it out. The Thai lady from the guesthouse came out and said "You pay more...he need to go home if you don't pay he take you to his home" I say she said it but really she had such a screaky loud voice she annoyed me but I wasn't going to let her get the better of me so I said calmly "he's been paid, we will not pay more, ok then we will go to his house." At this point Chloe is tucking into a bag of crisps and Oreos telling the lady she is spoiling her breakfast....it was quite comical looking back. She said in that voice again "Lady are you crazy! You are in Thailand now! His family no speak English!" Obviously I know this but you know what you get fed up of getting ripped off and today I was going to stand my ground. "Thats ok, we can teach them" I said calmly. So guess what happened next..... He drove for about half an hour into the middle of nowhere and we are surrounded by fields with the odd house nearby, stopped the tuk tuk taking the keys out and went and sat up the road! Well....we sat it out for another half hour and by this time it was coming up for 9am, luckily a taxi drove past so we flagged it down and were just about to get in when the tuk tuk driver ran over to the taxi speaking quickly in Thai....apparently he told the driver we had refused to pay him but fortunately for us the taxi driver saw right through him and took us to our guesthouse. It certainly was an experience but on hindsight maybe I should have just given him more money. But if I did this thing will go on and on with other travellers....it's all a scam and there are plenty of them in Thailand but that's not to say everyone is out to scam you because they are not.

Chiang Mai is beautiful and it was a shame we didn't have longer there. We went to the night market which is the biggest I have ever seen any where. It is streets and streets of stalls selling everything from clothes, lights, food, shoes.....you name it you can get it. We walked around til about 1130pm and got to our guesthouse at midnight and guess what......they had only gone and locked it all up so we couldn't get in. After half hour of banging on the door and ringing the bell we were met with a not so happy landlady. The rooms were really beautiful too, wooden floors with lovely sculptured beds, all wooden building.

We spent some time visiting the Tiger Sanctuary where we actually got to touch the tigers of all sizes. That was pretty scary of me as I couldn't get it out of my head that it might just turn on me and bite my head off....a normal reaction I think but Chloe didn't seem to be bothered about this and practically lay on one of them. There are photos on the face book page, it's difficult to load them on this site.

People say that the tigers are drugged but whilst there they grabbed a large leaf and waved it around near the tiger pool to which the tiger run up to grab it and splashed in the water.....amazing....they were not drugged at all, they usually sleep during the day. This was a short visit and next we were on another coach for our trip to Laos.....watch this space!

I forgot to mention that we also spent a day on a zip wire course in the jungle. This was brilliant fun and didn't cost too much for the amount of time we spent there. They give you a harness and then you are with a group of about 6 others and we managed to get through 40 odd obstacles ranging up to 40 meters high flying through the jungle and some were virtual drops which were awful! You have to stand at the edge of the tree, because it's all built of wood around the trees in the jungle and then you lower yourself down,however, you are at the mercy of staff there who control the level of speed that you go down. I stood at the top and in the most polite way without showing fear, because I was petrified and didn't want them to know, pleaded my case why they should let me down slowly. They seemed very sincere and slowly lowered me down before saying "is this speed ok?" of course it was and just as I was about to nod yes they let go of the rope which sent me in a rapid decline until I was inches away from the ground. I screamed! How pathetic of me! Still I guess it's a natural reaction, even though I was the only one to scream like a baby!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:42 Archived in Malaysia Tagged travel bangkok chiang_mai roses tuk_tuk journey mother_daughter blog scam world_trip night_market vip_bus back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing stray_dogs broken_down_bus tiger_sanctuary hijacking scammer khosan_road stray_cats Comments (0)

Trains, Taxis and Aeroplanes

Leaving New Zealand

To say leaving New Zealand was stressful is the understatement of the century. Infact, had I known what the next 48hrs entailed I probably would have set up a camp for a few days. It's not through lack of organisation or that our plans were incompetent, its sometimes things happen that are way out of your control......I call it environmental factors. I'm not making any excuses just see for your self.

So taking the motorhome back we were a good 1/2 hr to the destination so we stopped for a toilet break....literally seconds. Back on the road the usual empty lane was backed up.....a tailback. I got out to check....a fatal car crash., could we have been involved had we not stopped? Who knows. We had to divert which took about 2 more hrs and we were very nearly late for our drop off.

Fortunately that side went smoothly and we were dropped off at the airport where we had to spend the evening....til 4am that is so no sleep.

The flight to Singapore was good, left at 6 am sharp and we had a pre booked entertainment package lined up for our tired eyes. Plenty of films and games. We only had one night planned in Singapore maybe not even enough but we made the most of it taking a tub boat up the river, going on the equivalent to the London eye and generally wandering around. There's quite a lot to see, we made a special stop at Raffels for the famous Singapore Sling....definitely worth it.

We were on track to get to the airport when the environmental factors kicked in....the tubes were delayed and we had to wait over half hour extra for the journey. When we got to the airport we had to get a bus to the otherside which took forever to arrive and it was then I knew we would not make our flight. We got to check-in desk 10 minutes after it closed and despite it being delayed for another hour, we were not allowed on. We made the most of it by staying nearby in a nice hotel so we had our first decent night sleep for a while with a beautiful buffet breakfast to boot.

Nothing was going to stop us getting this flight! Kuala Lumpur....arrived on time with about 5hrs to spare until the next flight. We decided to do a bit of shopping which is about 40 mins from the airport. I timed it that if we left at 5pm we would be at the airport for just before 6. The latest we could leave would be 7. Then the environmental factors came into play again. After shopping we went to get a cab. You have to get a ticket and stand in line. We were ushered into a taxi which already contained two people....great! They were getting dropped off first, but the driver got lost! I began to get concerned "we have a flight to catch....we need to go to the train station" I said firmly but was placated with "ok yes yes" He would not drop us off until he had dropped them off. Finally we got to the train station at one minute past 7. The train had gone, it was ground hog day on missing planes. I was too tired to even get upset about it so I decided we should see if this time we would get on by the skin of our teeth. We hatched a plan of Chloe collecting the luggage whilst I stall check in desk until she arrived. I ran to check in and rifled through my bag for the paperwork apologising as I went, looking over my shoulder for Chloe. Luckily for us the lady at the desk bore with me and we got checked in at the last hour! We were so relieved dragging our hand luggage through....."stop....we need to weigh your hand baggage 7kg is the limit" Cringing at the scales revealing 16kg and that was just Chloes bag. After swapping aloud of stuff around we were allowed through. How relieved was I to be sat in the plane. Nothing was going to move me. "Excuse me you are sat in our seat" came a voice. I ignored it knowing full well I was in seat 28a as my ticket said. Chloe dealt with it but the girl still went on about it so I got my ticket out and showed the girl "28a...see" I said confidently. "Yes ....but this flight number is different"

I haven't moved so quick....environmental factors had the attendants put us on the wrong plane! Seriously who would have thought that could happen but it does. We managed to push through the people off the plane and got onto our plane and I had just about had enough.

Travelling is all good fun but sometimes ......it can be soo stressful!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 19:59 Archived in New Zealand Tagged planes trains travel new_zealand trip journey vehicle mother_daughter blog world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing motor_home Comments (0)

Sky Dive Queenstown Friday 13th



When someone tells you something about their visit to a town you listen and consider their view. Now its not always going to match up with your own point of view but you have a general idea of what the town is about. Queenstown is a different story, I don't think I spoke to one person that actually liked it. I had read a lot of raving reviews but the general consensus was it was built up, too commercial and lacking charm.

Bearing all this in mind I wasn't quite sure what to expect. All we knew was we could go sky diving and white water rafting here which was good enough for me!

Pitching up in the caravan park was a different story, it was more like a large car park ....this was the commercial side. It was also a lot more expensive than any where else. You had to pay to use the shower....I think it was 50p for five minutes.....who has a five minute shower? I leave my conditioner in for two minutes so has to make use of the time. I knew I would go over so when the water stopped and I still had conditioner on I was glad I anticipated this and brought an extra coin. It did annoy me having to pay for a shower when the fees were so high. Again...WiFi was a fortune package you could buy. I wonder if its like that in the UK?

Anyway we decided to go the whole hog and book two adventure trips....sod the cost...this is why we were here. Sky diving in the morning followed by white water rafting in the afternoon. Great!

Queenstown is lovely, I haven't got a clue why people moan about it. Ok its larger than most New Zealand towns but is no bigger than the smallest UK town. When they told be built up I imagined sky scrapers etc....none of them just lovely little houses, some good shops tastefully pulled together for a shopping center, pedestrianised of course.

Right next to the town is the lake which is huge and you can see the beautiful mountains reflecting off the surface. There are a few walks along side the river which are pretty, I did a few hours walk one day after Chloe and I had a spot of campervan fever and we needed space....any one read Lord of the Flies? Well the campervan could have represented the island!

There's a huge steam boat giving out pricey trips around the lake. We didn't do it but watched it sail out one day with the smoke pouring out of its chimneys, lovely sight to see with the mountains in the back ground.

Theres a 'world famous' takeaway joint there to which honestly had a constant stream of customers queing up for food. Their speciality is burgers and they were huge! Unfortunately they didn't cater for veggies but if I was a meat eater I definitely would have had one. So many people can't be wrong!

The day came for the sky dive and I wasn't nervous at all, seriously I wasn't but I didn't want to talk about it either....didn't want any anxiety! Chloe was very excited and wanted to talk about it, I think she was trying to wind me up.

Arriving at the shop we were ushered into a back room where there were a few rows of seats facing a large screen. There's always a gimmick for more money, this one was to see if anyone wanted to upgrade to higher heights, we were doing 12000 feet and to see if you wanted photos and or dvd of the jump. I'm telling you the price of the photos/dvd was nearly the same price of the jump itself so the figures buzzed around my head. I had the devil and angel shoulder thing going on now...."that's too much money...you'll always have the memory" and the other one "just buy the whole package! You'll watch the dvd when your an old woman and see how much fun you had....buy it!" So I bought the whole package which meant me and Chloe had our own photographer with us the entire time and being camera shy.....umm wasn't sure about this!

We were strapped up into our jump suits then our harnesses were put on. I failed to mention they were tandem dives, which makes it easier. Still without nerves I patient awaited for the air craft which was a small plane with the nose painted like a sharks mouth. There are no seats, you sit on the floor with legs out in line ....just like 'ooops up side your head' I think that's the name of the song.

Now for the important bit....remember I wasn't nervous, just as we were about to board my tandem buddy said to me "Ready? Just remember to breathe up there." What did he mean? Breathe...panic set in. "Why did you say that? Can't you breathe up there?" I asked sensibly. It appears that when you are up at 12000 feet the wind is so strong that it forces its way down your throat, making it hard to breathe out. The best solution, I was told, is to lift your head up and blow out hard.

Back to the plane....so...Im the last one on which meant I was sat next to the....not door because there was no door ....clear shutter....a type of door that pulls down just as it pulls up when you sit there legs dangling in the sky waiting to fall. So im sat there by the shutter wondering if I might pass out in the sky because I couldn't breathe or if too much air gets in my lungs and I explode....all sorts of ridiculous things were going through my head and now I was nervous. All about a simple thing....breathing!

Going in last meant I was first out, we shuffled out to the door and I heard "I'll rock back three times and then we go....don't look down yet....look up." I felt the rocking and I kept my head up....good job to...I don't think I could have done it otherwise. Amazingly I didn't even wonder how Chloe was feeling which later made me feel abit guilty but her beeming face of excitement didn't make me feel any easier. Before I even knew it we were outside and the whooshing noise of the air blowing around us reminded me to lift my head to breathe. He was right, it was difficult! So I am 12000 feet high puffing air out with a face like a blow fish and I see a man infant of me filming........disaster. I've never been photo genic and now I have a guy filming me when I look like I am in a panic. Despite this it was amazing! It seemed like 30 seconds before the shoot was pulled and then everything changed, a slight breeze, ability to breathe and the quietness.

I had a bizarre conversation about "what a great job you have doing this every day" he probably hears that with every jump! If you know what I mean ;) It took about five mins to get to the bottom with a few tummy turning twists, major butterflies but worth every penny! On landing it was like a feather hitting the ground .... so soft.

Landing first I had the benefit of watching Chloe come down and I've never seen her face beem so much....she loved it!! We had to give a little interview for our DVDs which i'm too embarrassed to watch yet given my panic at 12000 feet down. Chloe said its my ego!

I would say everyone should do it...its thrilling! We had big smiles all day! Loved it....but not the DVD!!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:57 Archived in New Zealand Tagged queenstown travel new_zealand journey mother_daughter blog sky_dive world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing camper_van Comments (0)

French Pass, Farewell Spit, Collingwood, Fox Glacier, Wanaka

overcast 16 °C

Driving along the straight roads we saw quite a few hitch hikers, stood there holding up their signs patiently waiting for someone to stop.  We drove past two youngish lads and decided we would pick them up as we were travelling 60km their way.  One looked like he had given up and the other one looked like he had just drank four cans of red bull....he was jumping up and down waving his arms.  Later he told me that he does this because people just drive past and they have previously waited 8 hours in the same spot holding their sign.  Imagine that!  Well sod that!  We picked up a few hitchhikers after that and we heard the same story again and again "campervans never stop for us...usually it's a small car and we cram into the back.". Plus it wasn't about if they were dodgy people all they wanted was a lift so they can carry on with their travels.

We picked up two American girls a few times, the same ones, saved them a fortune in travel.  It seems that this is one way to get around in New Zealand if you don't mind waiting.   Im not sure if i could do it...maybe if I was with someone but definitely not on my own.  I think we spent approximately £250 in fuel getting around the south island.....a lot cheaper than UK...but we still had to pay for transport which was quite a chunk - Apollo Campervans .....I wouldn't bother using them or their sister company.....beware!

I wouldn't recommend taking a campervan as you need to hook up to the mains nearly every night it's pointless having toilets and shower facilities in your van because there are good toilets all over the island and all the camp sites have good kitchen and shower facilities....so save some money either hitch hike or rent a car.  Don't bother with the magic bus either, considering the amount of time we spent on the road we only saw the magic bus once and that was in a car park opposite Dominos!  Mind you we didn't use it so who am I to dish out advice on it!

So we are off to the French Pass, I know nothing about it only that its far away and in the opposite direction that we should be going.  Also the final hour and half drive is all on a gravel bendy road wide enough for one vehicle and I was driving a bus.....any collisions i would win!

The road was more of a ledge in places with steep slopes of green fields falling down into the brilliant blue sea where you could see for miles.....or kilometres as it is in NZ.  The views were breath taking, they were honestly the best views I think I have ever seen in my life....I think it was the greenery against the sea, sky and the mountains in the distance.   All different greens and beautiful blues also there were hardly any clouds in the sky.

We finally arrived after a gruelling 3 hour plus drive and spotted our host straight away.  We parked up and were introduced to two lovely families who promptly offered us a beer.  I was abit embarrassed because we tried to shop for some to offer the hosts but being easter all the shops were closed....not like uk with sale after sale, they were shut Friday, open Saturday well some of them and then shut til Tuesday.  So being Friday we were stuffed, luckily we had some food and a bottle of Captain Morgans Spiced Rum that I had bought in the airport for a special occasion....or a stressed out occasion...who cares it tastes good with coke.

So it's now about 7pm and I give out my apologies for not bringing anything to the table but offer up the CMSR....which was welcomed with open arms.  Ron is a New Zealander with an English partner who was already tipsy on the beer, a real character and a lovely guy.  I told him to help him self and with that he picked up his pint glass and filled it to the top with the neat CMSR!!!  My full bottle was nearly empty!!  "Ummm.....can you drink a pint of that neat?" I asked him 
"Hell yeah". Was something like the reply but his partner stepped in and half a pint was put aside.  After that he drank more than half a bottle of Whiskey and disappeared for the night.

I slept like alog but had a bad headache which I think was due to the driving.....not drink....honest ....there wasn't much left after Ron.   We were invited to go out on Rons boat to take us to see some seals in their natural environment....his boat was great a little metal nippy motor and we zipped around the coast line and got quite close to the seals.  Ron explained what the French Pass was and then took us through it.  Its an area of water which is renowned for the dangerous currents from various directions swirling away.  Lots of ships sank there trying to get through, the tide can change as well so you can be sailing one way and it will change direction.  There are pockets of whirlpools that can drag you down and considering all this wold you believe that a few years back about 7 divers decided it would be a good idea to go diving there?  Well they are still down there....didn't make it back up.

Apparently the day we went through was calm but it was still quite a sight to see.  In the afternoon Rod took us out on his boat with his son, Rod and his son told me they like to fish and I said that I wouldn't go out on the boat if they were fishing because....I don't like fish....I have a sort of phobia about them, which I'm trying to get over and I'm doing well....I can go scuba diving and snorkling now but I don't want to be in a boat with one.  Off  we went ....no fishing ....until we got out in the sea and the boy wanted to fish.  So his dad said ok.   I just wanted to swim to the shore....they literally just put the line in the water and the rod was bending and they reeled in this huge silver fish wacking it's tail around trying to get free...it was bloody awful.  Next it was flopping about on the deck with its mouth wide open ....then I thought they would kill it but no.....just to make the suffering a bit longer they threw it into a box and let it flap and bang about until it died about five minutes later.  I absolutely hated every minute of it and couldn't wait to get off the stupid boat.  They fished some more and brought in another big fish so I said "you've got plenty now, please, can you put it back?". Rod turned to his son and said "Vicky  wants us to put this one back".  "No!". Was the reply from the 9 year old and so it didn't go back.  On the way back I saw the boy stamp on the head of the fish.   I don't  understand it and I don't think I ever will.  The others knew I wasn't too impressed with the trip and I understand fishing to eat the fish, but don't let them suffer more....I think I've said enough about it anyway.  

My headache just got worse after that and I couldnt even sit with the group in the evening and went to bed.  The next day we said our thank yous and good byes and left.  We had a good time but the fishing thing.....just not my cup of tea!

Chloe wanted to go to the tip of the south island considering French Pass was the north east point, we were now making out way to the north west point...The Farewell spit via Collingwood.  This was a journey and a half I can tell you....I think it took us about 5 or 6 hours to complete.  The Farewell Spit was just like driving to the end of a beach, where you could look out to sea....nothing compared to the French Pass views.  Collingwood was a very small town which made me think of a Western movie set, these little towns are so quaint it's unreal, hardly any cars, little wooden houses, a couple of shops and that's it!  It had got late so we decided to stay nearby in a campsite run by an Englishman.

He told us to go to a nearby pub which was about 2 kilometres up the road....walking distance.  What a joke ....we walked back and forth in the pitch black because we didn't believe it could be any further than where we had walked.  We tackled blind bends, grass verges with only the moon with light.  I think we spent well over an hour looking for this pub and we gave up.  Because we hadn't eaten we knocked on the managers door;  he had offered us a lift if he was about.  We got into his car and he took us to the pub which we worked out was nearly a two mile walk each way.   Ok in the day but certainly not recommended in the night time!

Driving down the west coast the sky juice (water) began to fall....we were near Greymouth renowned for its liquid sunshine...aka rain.    One other great thing about New Zealand is they have lots of fish and chip shops about and throughout our trip we had promised ourselves that we would stop and have a portion.  So when you order you don't ask for two portions of chips, you say "two scoops please". We took the chips back and we were disappointed they were like frozen chips, but we still ate them..it would be rude not to!

There wasn't much to Greymouth, we had to make a stop to see a plumber about our hot water in the van, lovely guy waited for us at the side of the road outside of his house, he was about 90 years old and as deaf as a door post.  He couldn't fix the problem ...so no hot water it was then.  On the way we picked up our American girl hitch hikers again, they were pleased to see us as we were going to the same place.

We pressed on further south and the further we went the colder it got.  We wanted to go to the glaciers so made our way to Fox Glacier.  Arriving we decided to book a trip for the next day, unfortunately it was full.  We could see the mountain from our site and it looked beautiful, it must look amazing in the winter with the snow about.  

We passed though Wanaka, we were going to stay there because so many people said "go to Wanaka don't stay in Queenstown because it's soo built up.".  We had a walk around Wanaka and it was tiny with a beautiful lake next to it again it would look fantastic in the winter time with the snow top mountains surrounding it.  We went into subway to get a roll as I was starving, it was soo disappointing, there was rubbish everywhere and one English girl serving on the counter, I couldn't help think that maybe she was there only to ski and not being able to in the autumn.....she could work in subway.   She didn't seem happy though but what a lucky girl she is.....living and working in New Zealand....somewhat if it's subway.

I couldn't see the pull of Wanaka so I made a decision....we would go to Queenstown.....now!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 04:48 Archived in New Zealand Tagged mountains lakes travel new zealand wanaka journey mother_daughter blog farewell_spit world_trip collingwood back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing camper_van french_pass fox_glacia Comments (0)

Blenheim, Picton, Nelson

New Zealand

sunny 20 °C

Sit down this is a long one......

I forgot to mention just before we left Australia we bought a pair of trainers each with the intention of getting fit, yes doing some running in New Zealand and having all the utensils to be able to cook now in our camper it was also the perfect opportunity to start eating healthily!   Our drive to Blenheim was very picturesque and becoming a regular view although one you would never tire of.

We arrived in Blenheim and were told about the marvels of this town which is in the state of Marlborough, no not the cigarette one but the alcohol one you see because this is where all the best wines come from!  They have wine trails set up so you can drive around the different vinerys and taste the tipples.....now I found this abit odd....how can you drive around....drink the wines....theres a lot of them mind you....then drive onto the next one.  By the time you have finished you would be 'three sheets to the wind'. What does that mean anyway? Find out later!

We only intended to stay for a night so we found a campsite and parked up.   Having already told you of our health kick Chloe started to prepare herself a nutritious dinner and I decided to combine the two ....please bear in mind it's Tuesday....so I put on my trainers and told Chloe that I was going to get my dinner.  So stated to run along the long stretch of road heading for Dominos....yep....pizza ....come on it was Tuesday and every pizza fan knows about Dominos on Tuesdays.....Cheap Tuesdays!  How could I refuse that!    So....I'm running down this road for about five minutes and I am puffing like you wouldn't believe all I could think was 'thank god no one knows me here!'. I had all the right kit on but my body was struggling, I didn't give up though and kept on going with my jog, I think I could have walked it quicker.  I got about 15 minutes in and thought to myself "maybe its further than I thought".  You see I had driven past it and from the minute I drove past to the minute I parked the camper van all I could think of was pizza which must have tainted the distance I thought it was.    I paced myself by the amounts of roundabouts 'if I can make it to this one....I might turn back'. I kept on and then after my jog of what was about a good 25 minutes I saw it!  One thing I hadn't thought of was until this point was how I was going to get the pizza back....running?  I was waiting for the looks when I went in with my red face, sweating, still trying to sort my breathing out and ordering my pizza only to run off with it down the road.....very amusing!   I walked in and saw a large que of very overweight people....maybe I wouldn't have pizza....I looked out for the Cheap Tuesday deal and guess what.....they didn't do it!  There and then I made a decision to turn around and leave...like I had given Dominos a guest appearance from the UK.  Tell you what my run back was a lot easier, I felt quite inspired that I wasn't carrying that pizza box.

When i got into the campervan I could see Chloe tucking into her dinner and  I gave my speech of how I walked out of Dominos....little things aye!

Next day we left and had a drive toward Nelson which had been highly recommended to us by many people and ex residents that had moved on to Ozzy.  We had quite a difficult drive through the mountains which consist of miles and miles of winding sharp bends up steep hills and then back down again.  Picton is a small port where various tankers and yachts moor up.  When you get to the top of the hill there is a viewing point and you can look down onto the port and out to sea....beautiful!  It was raining and the windy roads were taking their toll with me and this large campervan.  We were doing about 35kil down to 15 kils on some of the bends and I had to keep the plates and bowls inside from moving around too much.   It was at this point, during the height of my concentration, Chloe decided to have a 'chat' about Michael Jackson.  Now.....I can't even believe I have put his name in our blog because I for one am not anywhere near a fan of the man....never was and definitely wasn't in last ten years of his life.   Chloe, however, thinks he is an iconic symbol of his time but we do not see eye to eye on the matter and neither of us will budge on it.  So whilst i'm negotiating these killer bends we start debating over bloody MJ!  I can tell you things got heated and I for one was getting really annoyed and was then taking these corners at 45kils and the plates started to make some noises.  In the end I shouted "I'm not spending anytime arguing about bloody Michael Jackson when i'm on the trip of a life time driving through these beautiful places.....he is not going to ruin it!  So leave it!".   It was over....thank god!  The plates didn't get smashed and we made it to Nelson in silence the rest of the journey.  If anyone wants to know what I think of him all i'm going to say is 'what was the name of the lads that 'had a sleep over' at his? So with this in mind I couldn't care less what influence he had on the music industry....the only good thing that came from MJ was the Bo Selecta version which gave me many hours of laughter!  "Heee.....heeee....Shamon!"

Just before we got into Nelson there was a beautiful stretch of lake running along side the road we were driving....still and tranquil.  The homes in New Zealand i noticed are mainly bungalow so when you look around you can see a 360o view of the area because there aren't hugh buildings blocking then view, initially I wondered why the sky was bigger!  The sky incidentally is a prefect blue and if there is a cloud it will be a lovely little white fluffy one.....sweet...as they say in New Zealand!

Nelson has everything you need and all of the well know typical shops/takeaways like the 'M' word and the 'KFC' you know what I mean!  So guess who else was there.......yep....Dominos!  So after my valiant retreat the night before this time Chloe convinced me to have one (save the fact they had an offer on you couldn't refuse!). We bought up and pitched up next to the lake, looking out of the window watching the sun setting behind the mountains scoffing pizza and chips.  What more can you ask for....this was what it was all about, travelling and seeing stuff like this.  

I wonder if people reading the blogs want me to talk about the towns/villages that we go through but to be honest they are much of much unless they really stand out significantly.  The towns in New Zealand are humble, pretty with lovely friendly people, it's a quiet place with few vehicles on the roads until you get to to the towns.  Some towns will only be a five minute walk though with a population of 300 people.   I think there are more sheep in New Zealand than there are people, I've never seen so many!

I was also taken aback by the sea shores, the fact that adjacent land hadn't been turned into typical sea side town resorts.  There was just green grass....parking bays for free so you could just stop, stay or do whatever!  Enjoy!  Amazing place.

It was here in New Zealand that I realised I could, once again, put toilet paper down the loo....you can't do this in some countries....see how spoilt we are by the simple things!

The second night we pitched up at a campsite as our battery was running flat, I was in the communal kitchen area washing up....yes me and not Chloe....when I was approached by guy called Rod curious of where we had come from.  We got talking and then were invited down to French Pass to spend a couple of days with his friends.....why not....so that's where we went next.  I did ask him if his friends called him 'Rodders' and he replied that he wasn't from some English sitcom, so even over there Only Fools and Horses are still alive!

By the way....Three sheets to the wind.....It's a sailor language....

Sheets aren't sails but ropes (or occasionally, chains). These are fixed to the lower corners of sails, to hold them in place. If three sheets are loose and blowing about in the wind then the sails will flap and the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor.   The original  phrase was 'three sheets in the wind'. 

Sailors at that time had a sliding scale of drunkenness; three sheets was the falling over stage; tipsy was just 'one sheet in the wind', or 'a sheet in the wind's eye'. 

Posted by Vicky Bailey 20:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged lakes beaches travel scenery dominos picton journey campervan mother_daughter blog blenheim world_trip back_packing michael_jackson chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

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