Page 5 of pn76 Travel Blog Posts

Central America Caribbean March 13th 2016

Finalamente! Finally the day of departure dawned and with work not close to closing, my home office assistant’s help could not be more welcomed. “Help me pack, Peter!” said I, and in half an hour the practiced version of essential items took shape, squashed between emergency food, helmet, hand wipes and washing powder, a clean trip it could be, while my assistant looked on giving occasionally sage advice. So navigating traffic to the airport mid-afternoon went with little hitch, and to celebrate the self-check in disarray that was Air NZs international check in that hour, coffees were ordered and farewells begun. “Hasta en Costa Rica por el proxima café, Pedro!”. Por supuesto, of course, and with a spring in my step, and happy tears in my eyes, it was on to boarding procedures. Un poco triste ... read more
home sweet home

Trip map, 9 March to 26 April 2016... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano February 14th 2016

Morioka. Town of bridges, bathroom sized hotel rooms and, behold, the Shinkansen starts to hasten our slow local train trip to date. Questioned by John from the ‘Gong in Furano as to our stay here (“why?” implying a wasted pause), our contingencies meant for overnight stop only, and with a short nostalgic stint wandering the river side the next day, it was a fast transit on to our first of 2 trains bound for Nozawa Onsen Known for its multiple free bathing facilities and apparent authenticity, the omiyage shops greeted us, inviting appreciation of the local sake, steamed rice bun vendors creating towering loops of vapour and modestly crowded streets. A steep descent to Miyazawa pension near the base of Nagasaka chair lift was worthwhile when our hosts offered free espresso, free wifi, and, accordingly sign ... read more
free onsen Nozawa
nozawa onsen
snow hiking Nozawa

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido February 9th 2016

Sooner than planned, I find myself back in Japan. After an impromptu ‘lets plan some adventures together’ as a local idea became international, and with several online clicks and searching my contacts from the last snow visit, it was happening. P1 and P2, power of two, 16th letter in alphabet and on a travel booking (sushi) roll. Departure day from Auckland dawned by spin bike to mitigate a coming day of sloth. Could the pace of companion travel be hacked, asks Pop? Pays to be organised said P1, and a repeat of our Kyoto memory, dragging a suitcase uphill for lack of coin locker availability at the train station, was not on the agenda Goodbyes said, passing through customs swiftly, and a pencil bought for my bloke so crosswords could be had, lead us to board ... read more
Takino 2
stalled transport
Takino 3

Asia » Vietnam May 4th 2015

Sitting on the minibus, nursing our weary backsides after the final riding day, two of us composed our guide a farewell poem…. Indochina With Exodus 3 countries passed And not much missed Team Black were there To push some forward Pulled to rest stops By an imaginary cord Then Cambodia next In Siem Reap Angkor temples Pool cool and deep Phnom Phen city A hectic place Kingdoms and Khmer At walking pace Crossing the border High temperatures did smother With ice cubes and water Still hot, sticky, bothered The Mekong was sultry A vast waterway Coffee consumed The Vietnamese way Now our ride is complete And we’re of... read more

Asia » Cambodia » Central April 27th 2015

“Moi” the lesson began. Our local guide Channy helped us along our way to basic Khmer competency, always ready as a reservoir of information to challenge our holiday brains. Adept at English after years driving taxis, working in hotels and recently guiding brought him to his current role with Exodus. Working alongside Wan, the gun and up-and-coming international level Cambodian cyclist and mountain biker at aged 24, and our bike transporter, they proved to be extremely fit and ready to shepherd our group with friendly Cambodian hospitality Bantaey Srei was the key focus of day two at the Angkor region. Built in 967AD by the King’s son its intention is for womanly worship. Far smaller than Angkor Wat, Ta Prom (tomb raider film set) and Angkor Thom, our staggered 35km cycle there was met with a ... read more
Angkor Wat
Kissing the Gods, the guide's idea
first pucker up then...........

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor April 23rd 2015

Filled with an abundant breakfast, we checked of the old city hotel and set our sights on beginning cycling 2.5 hours east of Bangkok, in Khao Yai national park. Picking up our bikes and truck with the family team of Dad, Mr Black, and two sons, Nutta (shortened to Nut) and Not, we merely made 2km when mechanical failures appeared. Swift work sorted them out after ten minutes, and waiting around I realised my camera was dead having been charged the day before I quickly sucked some life back into it from my tablet. Standing behind a pillar and small plants at a road side stall, bent down, it seemed I had missed the eye of Nut, acting as the sweep, who was to remain at the rear. So I took off at good pace to ... read more
Biggest Hindu statue in SE Asia
Chai and his Exodus bike

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok March 20th 2015

On a rainy Auckland day, the temperature dropping and garden sodden and soggy with lawnmower marks, I put my absence greetings on, packed with thought, and awaited my ever enthusiastic and loving airport chaperones. No early morning dash this time, the anticipation of flying at night feeling less wasteful and more enticing when I didn’t face the prospect of being an upright sardine for 11 hours in economy. Go the business class deals I seem to scout. Checking in, I realised an oversight. “Do you have a visa for Vietnam? You need an invitation letter!” Well, no I replied, my travel agent suggested it could be sorted out in Asia, and every other country I had been to lets us Kiwis in at the border, albeit my 8 year memory of buying one in Auckland somewhere ... read more
sleeping capsule in lie-flat Singapore airlines business class, aboard an Air NZ plane
airport massagers
Outskirts of Bangkok

Asia » Japan » Niigata January 2nd 2015

Leaving the Hakuba valley was with trepidation and a tinge of sadness. Mainly for the anticipated historical snowfall that was to curtail the activity over the next few days of Oshoogatsu, New Years celebrations Making full use of the free local shuttles in the area from Happo village, I headed out to get the gear hire from Iwatake. Iwatake translates as ‘place of hideously loud and tasteless music’, piped through the speakers attracting a mixed crowd of Japanese and foreigner boarders and skiers. On the upside, the terrin of cross country routes through trees and undulating hills fit the bill nicely. I ditched the plan of staying on familiar trails there to go on to Tsugaike’s Maeyama cross country paths, farther east up the valley and about 30 minutes along heavily snowed roads A short 5 ... read more
Tsaugaike main road to gondola
Trolley service

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba December 30th 2014

My fifth trip to Japan was to be different. A winter holiday, a white (post) Christmas, and the chance to polish up on my fledgling and fairly recent cross country and back country ski trekking skills. Having thought the next trip would be cycling in Cambodia, a dose of the travel blues after Africa ended sent my decision otherwise. Reframing the importance of facing new challenges each day, I set out seeking information for a New Years in the Nagano alp region of Honshuu and to visit both Chihiro and Hiroshi again Several emails to and from and between a friend of this hotel owner and that pension owner, and my itinerary came together as swiftly as the snow was to fall a month later. So I left Auckland, settled into a shorter than expected 11 ... read more
Your typical kiosk - futsuu na kiosk
Who me?
Macaques of Jigokudani - Jigokudani no saru

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