Russ, Susan and the boys

the travelbugs

Russ, Susan and the boys

28 April 2012: Just back from another family experience, this time in Hong Kong (where we used to live in the '90s) and China. As usual we all loved it. We've already told the boys that we are leaving them to do Europe and the UK themselves. They won't want us there to cramp their style by the time they do their OE anyway.

But that still leaves some fairly major parts of the planet still to be explored by the Travelbugs if we can swing it. It is getting hard to fit in around various activities we are all involved in, but I'm pretty sure the boys will turn up as long as we are paying.

That gives me hope that South America might still happen before its too late. Not that there aren't also lots of other places on the list. Any suggestions and donations gratefully received.

Anyway, I look forward to your comments and feel free to pass it on.

8 February 2010: Its not like we have been sitting at home for nearly three years, and no, we don't live under a rock. We actually live in one of the best places in the world. But it just didn't seem right to skite about trips to Aussie and Fiji and other parts of New Zealand, which is where we have had family holidays in between times. The thing about travelling to more far-flung places is that you can lie a bit about what you saw and there aren't as many people who can call your bluff. Not that I tell fibs in my blogs. Its just that, why would you let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Anyway this time we are going to Africa. We'll arrive Joburg then go straight to Cape Town the same day (which happens to be my birthday - happy birthday Russell, 21 yet again) to stay with my brother Jeff and sister in law Cornel and their girls Johanni and Beth. We'll trip around from there for about two weeks then head back up to Joburg, get an RV just like we did in the States last time, and spend five days in Kruger Park narrowly avoiding highly dangerous beasts of all descriptions Then we'll head back and fly out to Singapore (where I hope to catch up with Gazza) enroute back to Godzone.

6 June 2007: We're off on a trip to the States to see our friends Jim & Laura and their kids in Oregon and then we're going to cruise right down through California in an RV. We'll take in at least San Francisco, Tahoe, Yosemite, the coast from Santa Cruz right down to LA, and while we're in LA we'll do Disneyland, Universal Studios etc and watch the Dodgers play the Florida Marlins if we can work out how to get some tickets. Its going to be fun and we're all looking forward to it. Getting cooler at home so great timing, then when we get back skiing will have started. Like I said, great timing.

Asia » Hong Kong April 28th 2012

Back in Honkers now and this time you can see the hills and can even see the outline of the city from afar because the air has cleared. Thats what happens here after a good rain. Then it builds up again until another downpour clears it all away again. So it was perfect for a trip up the cable car to the Peak. From up there you get a great view right out to the hills behind Kowloon, and over both sides of HK Island. There is a steady stream of container ships coming and going up past Aberdeen and Pokfulam on the south side of the island. I'd hate to hazard a guess as to how many boats there are on Hong Kong harbour at any one time. Stanley Market was next on the agenda. ... read more
Stanley Market
Need Anything?
I never knew...

Asia » China April 26th 2012

Well the Orient Express to Xian was a good trip now that its over. With only 4 berths in each cabin, I was drafted to the next door cabin with three people from Slovenia. They were nice quiet people. On the other side of Susan and the boys were several cabins full of mad Croatians who announced to one of my Slovenians early on that sleep on the train would be out of the question. Luckily they petered out fairly early, or maybe it just seemed that way after I took my hearing aids out. Sleep was hard enough anyway in our non-air conditioned cabins, but I must've slept at some stage because when I woke up I looked out the window and it was just getting light enough to see a nuclear power station flash ... read more
Soldiers in Formation
Xian Pit 1
The Old City Wall

Asia » China » Beijing April 24th 2012

There is too much to see in Beijing in three days. To me it is a great city being the political and cultural capital of one of the World's great nations. There are other places that are bigger, even in China. Shanghai has 13 million people and Beijing only has 12 million, and I get the impression that Shanghai would feel quite smug about beating Beijing at anything (think Wanaka v Queenstown on a rather larger scale). In terms of sheer numbers there are dozens of places in China that I have never heard of with populations of more than 6 million people. Chongqing (heard of that?) has 34 million people living there! According the our guide Candy, Shanghai is brashness whereas Beijing is culture. Tianenman Square and the Forbidden City. Beijing Opera. The Great Wall ... read more
God Forbid
Good one of the Boys
Beihei Park

Asia » Hong Kong April 20th 2012

We've had a great couple of days here in HK. The weather gods decided to give us a break on Wednesday so we went to Ocean Park. Finn, Trish and Chris's son, and therefore our boys' wee cousin, took the day off school and came too. You think I exaggerate sometimes. You should've heard Finn and Seth on the subject of roller coasters! The things they were going to do. Anyway we, at least Susan and I, and Trish when she got there later, were well and truly roller coastered out by the end. In fact I was feeling sick. I don't need any more roller coasters for a while now. But the boys all kept going back for more. The whole aquarium and rainforest and conservation side of things is very good too, just to ... read more
Dim Sum
IFC Building
Mong Kok market

Asia » Hong Kong » Lantau Island April 17th 2012

So here we are back in Hong Kong after however many years. A six hour wait in Auckland was made easier because Bruce and Tanya and the boys met us there and took us to Mission Bay for artery-clogging fish and chips. They went down a treat, all the more so as we've been on rations for the last couple of days trying to run down the food in the fridge. Plus, it will be a last taste of kiwiana before the onslaught of Asian food. Dim sum is a must, and I'm up for anything else I haven't tried before apart from chicken feet. The thought of all that toe jam from hens walking around in knee deep crap in their coop is too much for me. We had a few bumps somewhere over The ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Northland April 20th 2011

They say "don't leave town till you've seen the country", yet here we are, having taken the boys to all sorts of places overseas, and none of us have been to the Far North of New Zealand. So we decided to add a couple of weeks to our summer by heading up there. This would be our third RV trip after USA in 2007 and South Africa last year. We just think its a great way to travel. You've got all your stuff there with you all the time. You can stop anywhere and have a cuppa and a sandwich. The only downside has always been that someone's got to empty the toilet thing. We went through all the usual stuff at Britz headquarters near the airport at Auckland. Then we were on the road. This ... read more
Marine Reserve
Snack Time at Russell

Oceania » New Zealand » National Parks January 20th 2011

What's not to like about the great outdoors right here in New Zealand? Hell, we go away to all these fantastic places around the world, but right here we have natural, open spaces that people in most parts of the planet would crawl over broken glass to get to. And we have it. Right here. We never take it for granted and you only need to go away somewhere and then come back to remember how lucky we are. We've even gone a bit further than that. We get out there for one big multi-day walk a year. Thats not counting the day trips, taking in the superb walking and bike tracks we have all around Queenstown. We do it as a family and the boys think nothing now of throwing a pack on their back ... read more
Dad and Seth
Mitchy up top
Vantage point

Asia » Singapore April 19th 2010

The time had come to say goodbye to South Africa. We got up at 5am for the drive to Joburg. But we we'ren't done yet. We'd drop off the campervan then fly to Singapore, and after a day there, carry on to NZ. My old best friend Gary Smith met us in Singapore. He did well because our plane arrived at 6 in the morning and he was there. Not bad for a guy who used to plan lectures at Varsity so that he had nothing before 10am. Anyway Gaz and Donna looked after us for the day and it was great. If Gaz ever decided on a career change he'd be a superb tour guide. We firstly went on a drive around the city to their place where we just regrouped over coffee. Then we ... read more
Singapore's Everest
Its a Dirty Job
Little India

The hunt has been on. I had expected that if we were to struggle finding any of the big five it would have been leopard. But we ticked lepard off on day three and now we are left huting frantically for lion. Each day we have eagerly checked the Sightings Boards which they have in each camp. These let you know what has been spotted where. Sometimes we have checked it several times a day. Then we have noted where the lions are and puttered off to see them. But they haven't been there. They obviously don't know or don't care that we have a plane to catch shortly. They haven't been about to give themselves up, thats for sure. Anyway, last act of day four in the park. We trun onto the H1-5 and see ... read more
Lion at last
The Sightings Board
Susan's Favourite

We have now had three days in Kruger Park and we are getting desparate. We still haven't nailed the big five. The big five are Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo. Yet we weren,t more than 20 metres inside the Phabeni Gate when Mitchell spotted the first animal - a group of impalas grazing by a river. We have seen hundreds and hundreds of impalas now, they are so "old hat". But the first ones got their picture taken, it was very exciting, for us anyway. It wasn't long before Ryan spotted a huge elephant and then shortly after that we came across a big white rhino with a baby rhino. Mum was getting a bit agitated because we weren't that very far away. So we made a prudent decision to just move on a little ... read more
Rhinos Looking Our Way
Stunning Image of Impala
Striped Horse

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