Archive for December, 2006

Thank You

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Many thanks to everyone who made our Christmas so special, all the emails, texts, stockings, cards and well wishes were greatly appreciated by both Mars and myself. We did send out Christmas cards and hopefully they will be arriving soon as the Australia post is just like Canada post SO SLOW. Ziv, Karen, Deo, Elsa and Sophlia, Florence, Ian Smart and the Lenio girls all celebrated with a wonderful dinner and the new Nintendo system - the Wii, Florence’s Christmas gift to herself, which supplied for some great entertainment. The Christmas dinner was very nice with a 9lb turkey cooked by chef  Martha. I know it’s no 19lbs like Dad’s but we will work up to that. And of course for the vegetarians a wonderful spread of veggies and tofu - yummy.
I had a busy week as I did my certifcation for SCUBA diving, and I passed! Mars came for the last couple of open water dives and we saw a sea horse, star fish and some very large blue groper fish that you can pet. One more week in Sydney and then we are off to Malaysia for another advernture before going home, hopefully there will be some snow when we get home. See you all soon - Cheers

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Hello dear all! Merry Christmas!

Sue and I are missing you all terribly, but we’ve managed to make our own Christmas here as cozy as we can. Susan has named this Christmas her most ghetto Christmas ever. Check out the gallery to see what our tree looked like!

One of the first things we missed was the Christmas programming on television. Do you know what was on t.v. on Christams Eve in Sydney? “Bad Boys”. Yep, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith shootin’ up some baddies. So we rented about 10 Christmas-y movies the other day and spent most of yesterday watching them, of course ending with “It’s a Wonderful Life” before heading off to midnight mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

This was also kinda ghetto. We met my friend Florence at the Cathedral. By the time Sue and I arrived it was standing room only, so we stood in the left section of the cathedral near a Christmas tree and a tomb for the ‘Unknown Soldier’ I believe. Often we just sat on the hard stone floor during the mass. The sermon was terrible, not at all about Christmas. I don’t understand how the guy made it to Bishop preaching like that. He totally just dissed Jewish people and Muslims and non-believers. Great. Another funny thing is that people here just go out and party Christmas Eve. And then some of the party people would just show up to midnight mass as was evident from all the people in Santa hats, and the girl near us who was being held by her boyfriend, then fell over, repeatedly, as they tried to get out of the church. We couldn’t decide at first if she was ill or drunk, but by the smile on her face I’m pretty sure it was drunk. There was a random yellow bucket that was getting passed around after the collection too. Some girl gave it to me, not knowing what the heck to do with it, so I put it against the wall. And then we took a photo. There was also a life-sized Nativity outside the Cathedral. We left early to take our pictures with the Baby Jesus:


After mass, we met up with Ziv and Karen on the bus. Midnight mass had been Ziv’s idea, and I was a little put out when he didn’t show, but then it turned out he was just on the other side of the church. D’oh! Good thing he saw us on the bus though, or I would have been quite upset with the whole evening. The best picture from inside the cathedral is courtesy of Ziv (thank you my dear!).

Christmas morning Sue and I opened our stockings and gifts. Thanks everyone! And tonight we’re having people over for a turkey dinner. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Merry Christmas again everyone! Love Mars and Sue - xoxoxoxo

Back in Sydney

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Back in Sydney to my lovely soft as a cloud bed on the floor…..oh what heaven. I have been up-graded to sleeping half in Martha’s closet just yesterday - a vast improvement. The rest of New Zealand was amazing, I got to go horse back riding in the Misty Mountains - so magical! - and some of the horses were even in Lord of the Rings as extras. Did you also know that 75% of the riders in the movie were female (better riders) from around New Zealand, pretty cool eh. On the 9th I dropped Casey off at the airport where we said our goodbyes ’till we meet again in Canada- I then headed to Arthur’s Pass to do some more tramping. I stayed for a couple days and climbed Avalanche Peak which was 3hrs straight up and 3 hrs straight down, my legs turned to jello. Camped at the free camp ground where I got eaten by sandlfies - insect repellent doesn’t even work on these suckers.

Back to Christchurch for a couple days where I met up with Martha’s friends Karolin and Helena. Karolin has always wanted to go swimming with the dolphins so we booked a tour to go swimming with Hector dolphins, which turn out to be the world’s smallest dolphins and an endangered species. The water was about 10 degrees - pretty chilly but definitely worth it.

And now I am back in Sydney just taking a break from the travelling life and just relaxing doing nothing….very nice. The other night we had a goodbye party for Karolin as she heads back to Germany for Christmas. The Christmas decorations are up, the stockings are hung thanks to Mom and Dad, and the Charlie Brown Christmas music is on….


Friday, December 8th, 2006

People are having trouble seeing the blog. I’m hoping that if I post this, it will fix itself.

Fiji really had a coup this week. Crazy, eh?


Okay, the blog is now fixed. What we’ve learned today: don’t copy and paste text directly into Wordpress. It messes up the HTML (”my face was a broken jpeg!”). And the second lesson is that Firefox is way better than Internet Explorer. But most of us already knew that I think :)

New Zealand

Thursday, December 7th, 2006
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death
that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me
and through me.
And when it has gone past
I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone
there will be nothing.
Only I will remain. -Frank Herbert

Since being in New Zealand this has been our philosophy, to live life to its max and push the limits. In the beginning it was Casey, her friend Dan from school and ME on the start of an amazing road trip. First stop Waitomo Caves where we did black water rafting and got to see glow worms. Black water rafting is rafting on intertubes in caves, very cool.

After Waitomo we headed to Tongario National park where we did the Tongario crossing, about an 8hr tramp which was pretty challenging and we got to cross over the base of Mt. Doom. We didn’t do the summit ’cause it wasn’t great weather and its really steep.

Third stop was Rotorua and did some relaxation at Hell’s Spa. Back to Auckland and dropped Dan off.

Went to the Bay of Islands which was amazing, did a sailing trip and saw so many dolphins. Then after a wonderful day one the water went back to Rotoura and did the FUN stuff. Did Zorbing, a swoop drop which is like a gaint swing that you get dropped from, and a free fall experience which is a machince that simulates a smillar effect to sky diving.

Stopped in Wellington and stayed with Glen, a sport enthusiast I met in Kakadu National park in Australia. Took the ferry from Wellington to Picton. Did a two day trek in the Abel Tasman national park. Headed to Franz Josef Glacier and did a glacier tramp- so very cool. Then to Wanaka: did Puzzling World which is a giant labrynth for adults and did the Rob Roy glacier walk. Bypassed Queenstown and headed to Milford Sound where we did Ocean kayaking and saw more dolophin got to paddle under a waterfall!!! AWESOME. Then to Queenstown for some extreme fun, went rafting yesterday morning with the most dense people you will ever meet, one guy believed that the rapids where graded based on if there where hippos or crocodiles…right. So with our wonderful paddling group the first rapid we hit we dumped 5 people, Casey got pulled in right away but I was swept away down the rapid- yes I did think I might drown. But lucky for me the guides are professionals and I was saved, but still a scary experience. I guess I hadn’t had enough adreniline pumping in my body so I went sky diving in the afternoon. So amazing, I would totally do it again! Queenstown is such a beautiful town and seeing it from the air was awesome.





That’s about where the trip is at, we are going horse back riding tomorrow morning in the Misty Mountains… the adventure continues.


Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

I think Australia’s ‘list of ingredients’ laws are somewhat more lax then the ones in Canada. I bought some floor cleaner last week, and this is what’s in it:

Ingredients: Contains cleaning and sudsing agents to dissolve grease and detergent builders to lift dirt, leaving floors sparkling clean.

I just wanted to know whether it contained ammonia or bleach. Sheesh. I wonder what the food labels are like. “This product contains nourishment to help you grow strong and healthy”. Sure, but what the hell is it? I don’t think I’ll buy this cleaner again.