Monday, 26 April 2010

The Land of the Long, White Cloud

There was a possibility that Thailand's memorable month of April would've been spent celebrating Songkhran and having water thrown over us and flor slapped across our chops in any of the wonderful holiday destinations around these parts.

As it was, we went 'back to civilisation' via the 3 blobs of island in the South Pacific that used to belong to the British Empire and have long been cherished as a 'once in a lifetime' visit for most of us born in the UK.

So revelling in the three week holiday, we were off on the first Saturday on the exceptionally good Philippines Airlines to Manila. Which was quite an experience as the overly-fussy, dressed like an extra from Tenko, Aussie immigration officer delighted in checking the bags, whereabouts and intentions of us in a crowded airport.

This was our first 'experience' of the Aussie authorities whose reputation precedes them as a bunch of boorish, ignorant racists who for some reason think everyone wants to stay permanently in their boring, cultureless, shite version of England/America that they are so precious over it stinks of inferiority.

There I've said it- I've never met an Australian I liked- there I've said that too.

On with the journey then and a long plane ride to Sydney let us have a quick one day stay before we landed some hours later in New Zealand.

A country of just 4 million souls of course, New Zealand has always been something of a mystery to most people. Famous for the sheep and the rugby and its supposed better treatment of its indigenous population and a mass migration for artisans from England in the 50s.

The only think I ever knew about it was my uncle nearly took his family including my mother when she was a young girl back in the 50s (so I wouldn't exist of course) and a Blue Peter summer expedition to both former colonies by, I think, Simon Groom, Janet Ellis and Peter Duncan back in the '80s. So two things really.

All that's changed recently of course with Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy creating the ultimate tourist information film and probably quadrupling NZ's economy in the process.

Nowadays it's the ultimate destination for outdoor types, thrill seekers and people that want to drive on unspoilt roads without seeing others.

It truly was a beautiful island though and it seems we might have got there just in time before it might possibly change for good. It provided us both with some special memories. From the drive down the north island from Auckland through the volcanic areas and wine tasting and good company in Wellington, to the mammoth trips across the south island in a big loop taking in just about everywhere including a wonderful two day air safari across the Southern Alps.

We really are very fortunate to be in this position and we do appreciate the opportunity to visit such wonderful places on the other side of the world.

Also it was a great opportunity to avoid any of the political unrest in Bangkok at the moment. Hopefully that will die down soon though as Mr Thaksin slowly sees his billions of baht slowly decrease with the wages that are being paid out to his upcountry 'freedom fighters'.

Oh to be back in the land of the long white cloud.


  1. Who knows - when the Thailand contract is over you could consider New Zealand on a more permanent basis then Shirley and I could have some free lodging when we come over. Two fried eggs for breakfast please - lightly basted with a couple of Kiwi bird sausages on the side.

  2. I think NZ would be a great place to bring up children or retire. Bit too 'outdoorsy' for an intellectual like me...

    We met a great eccentric ex-pat guy on a camp site who bemoaned the lack of intelligent conversation sometimes also.