It’s hot outside, time for a moment of nostalgia before the doom and gloom

Whilst I can’t be where I would like to be, it’s not that bad inside thanks to the air conditioning.

And I’m studying up on how far I would need to wind down the air conditioner in order for it to snow inside the house.

A foolish notion maybe, but oddly enough living in a country where most of the inhabitants rarely see snow, if at all, Hollywood has a lot to answer for my expectations of a white Christmas.

But, venturing outside for no reason, in particular, the heat hits you as bad as if you walked into a brick wall.

It reminds me of the first time we visited Singapore, the plane arrived around midnight, and we were heading to an overnight hotel before picking up the next leg into London.

Yes, another trip to the cold side of the world.

We thought, late at night, how hot could it be. We soon found out. The short walk from the terminal to the waiting limousine was like wading through head-high water.

What does all this waffle have to do with anything?

Nothing.

Just wallowing in nostalgia.

I was once hoping with our impeccable COVID record, that places like New Zealand and Singapore might allow us to travel there again, but no. The government decided to open the borders to everyone and COVID came marching in.

I’ve lost count of the number of waves we’ve had, but now, unlike every other time, people are dying in larger numbers, and case numbers are heading for 7 figures, and for a country with only 28 million or so, that’s nearly one twenty-fifth of everyone.

Now we have so many people in isolation with Omicron, there’s no one left to work, so, no staff for cafes or supermarkets or essential services like hospitals and ambulances, no one to deliver the fuel (or anything else for that matter), no one to harvest and process the crops, in which case, it means we’ll be roughly in the equivalent of dire straits.

How long before the lights go out because there’s no one to tend the generators.

We were, and are, not prepared and never have been.

No one saw this coming? I think people just closed their eyes and made a wish that it would just go away because we had so many vaccinated. Sorry, doesn’t work that way. The vaccine doesn’t stop you from getting it, just helps not to let it kill you.

Now the Israelis are saying a fourth booster is useless against Omicron.

And, of course, Omicron is not the last of the variants. I’m sure there’s something nastier waiting in the wings. Sorry if I’m sounding despondent, but there’s isn’t any good news. None. Zip. Zero. Even our chief health officer, a person who should be trying to calm the population, is telling us everyone is going to get Omicron, and there are going to be deaths.

Wow!

I’ve locked myself away, trying to keep COVID at bay because of a compromised immune system, but my children, their partners, and partners’ families have all got it, and it’s far too close to home.

I can’t see how I’m going to dodge the bullet, and if I get it, then my chances of survival are small, even being triple vaccinated because all the studies prove the vaccine is useless against Omicron.

I was looking for a doomsday scenario for a book. The problem is, it’s here, right now, and I may not get to finish it.

Time to stop this, and get on with it.

It’s hot outside, time for a moment of nostalgia before the doom and gloom

Whilst I can’t be where I would like to be, it’s not that bad inside thanks to the air conditioning.

And I’m studying up on how far I would need to wind down the air conditioner in order for it to snow inside the house.

A foolish notion maybe, but oddly enough living in a country where most of the inhabitants rarely see snow, if at all, Hollywood has a lot to answer for my expectations of a white Christmas.

But, venturing outside for no reason, in particular, the heat hits you as bad as if you walked into a brick wall.

It reminds me of the first time we visited Singapore, the plane arrived around midnight, and we were heading to an overnight hotel before picking up the next leg into London.

Yes, another trip to the cold side of the world.

We thought, late at night, how hot could it be. We soon found out. The short walk from the terminal to the waiting limousine was like wading through head-high water.

What does all this waffle have to do with anything?

Nothing.

Just wallowing in nostalgia.

I was once hoping with our impeccable COVID record, that places like New Zealand and Singapore might allow us to travel there again, but no. The government decided to open the borders to everyone and COVID came marching in.

I’ve lost count of the number of waves we’ve had, but now, unlike every other time, people are dying in larger numbers, and case numbers are heading for 7 figures, and for a country with only 28 million or so, that’s nearly one twenty-fifth of everyone.

Now we have so many people in isolation with Omicron, there’s no one left to work, so, no staff for cafes or supermarkets or essential services like hospitals and ambulances, no one to deliver the fuel (or anything else for that matter), no one to harvest and process the crops, in which case, it means we’ll be roughly in the equivalent of dire straits.

How long before the lights go out because there’s no one to tend the generators.

We were, and are, not prepared and never have been.

No one saw this coming? I think people just closed their eyes and made a wish that it would just go away because we had so many vaccinated. Sorry, doesn’t work that way. The vaccine doesn’t stop you from getting it, just helps not to let it kill you.

Now the Israelis are saying a fourth booster is useless against Omicron.

And, of course, Omicron is not the last of the variants. I’m sure there’s something nastier waiting in the wings. Sorry if I’m sounding despondent, but there’s isn’t any good news. None. Zip. Zero. Even our chief health officer, a person who should be trying to calm the population, is telling us everyone is going to get Omicron, and there are going to be deaths.

Wow!

I’ve locked myself away, trying to keep COVID at bay because of a compromised immune system, but my children, their partners, and partners’ families have all got it, and it’s far too close to home.

I can’t see how I’m going to dodge the bullet, and if I get it, then my chances of survival are small, even being triple vaccinated because all the studies prove the vaccine is useless against Omicron.

I was looking for a doomsday scenario for a book. The problem is, it’s here, right now, and I may not get to finish it.

Time to stop this, and get on with it.

Searching for locations: Taurangi, it’s an interesting town

Located at the bottom of Lake Taupo, in New Zealand, staying here would make more sense if you were here for the fishing, and, well, the skiing or the hiking, or just a relaxing half hour in the thermal pools.

I saw a sign somewhere that said that Taurangi was New Zealand’s premier fishing spot. I might have got the wrong, but it seems to me they’re right. On the other side of town, heading towards Taupo, there’s a lodge that puts up fly fishermen, and where you can see a number of them in an adjacent river trying their luck.

It’s what I would be doing if I had the patience.

But Taurangi is a rather central place to stay, located at the southernmost point of the lake. From there it is not far from the snowfields of Whakapapa and Turoa. Equally, at different times of the year, those ski fields become walking or hiking tracks, and the opportunity to look into a dormant volcano, Ruapehu.

It is basically surrounded by hills and mountains on three sides and a lake on the other. Most mornings, and certainly everyone is different, there is a remarkable sunrise, particularly from where we were staying on the lake, where it could be cloudy, clear, or just cold and refreshing, with a kaleidoscope of colors from the rising sun.

I don’t think I’ve been there to see two days the same.

However, Taurangi, on most days we’ve visited, is even more desolate than Taupo, both on the main street and the central mall. The same couldn’t be said for the precinct where New World, the local supermarket, a Z petrol station can be found. There it is somewhat more lively. The fact there’s a few more shops and a restaurant might help traffic flow.

There is also a mini golf course, and in the middle of winter, it is a bleak place to be, especially in the threatening rain, and the wind. It had also seen better days and in parts, in need of a spruce up, but it’s winter, and there are no crowds, so I guess it will wait till the Spring.

In the mall, there’s the expected bank, newsagent, gift shop and post office combined, and a number of other gift shops/galleries. But the best place is the café which I’ve never seen empty and has an extended range of pies pastries and cakes, along with the fast food staples of chips and chicken.
Oh, and you can also get a decent cup of coffee there.

There are two other coffee shops but we found this one the first time we came, we were given a warm welcome and assistance, and have never thought to go anywhere else, despite two known change of owners.

But despite all these reasons why someone might want to stay there, we don’t.

We have a timeshare, and there’s a timeshare in Pukaki called Oreti Village. That’s where we stay.

Searching for locations: Taurangi, it’s an interesting town

Located at the bottom of Lake Taupo, in New Zealand, staying here would make more sense if you were here for the fishing, and, well, the skiing or the hiking, or just a relaxing half hour in the thermal pools.

I saw a sign somewhere that said that Taurangi was New Zealand’s premier fishing spot. I might have got the wrong, but it seems to me they’re right. On the other side of town, heading towards Taupo, there’s a lodge that puts up fly fishermen, and where you can see a number of them in an adjacent river trying their luck.

It’s what I would be doing if I had the patience.

But Taurangi is a rather central place to stay, located at the southernmost point of the lake. From there it is not far from the snowfields of Whakapapa and Turoa. Equally, at different times of the year, those ski fields become walking or hiking tracks, and the opportunity to look into a dormant volcano, Ruapehu.

It is basically surrounded by hills and mountains on three sides and a lake on the other. Most mornings, and certainly everyone is different, there is a remarkable sunrise, particularly from where we were staying on the lake, where it could be cloudy, clear, or just cold and refreshing, with a kaleidoscope of colors from the rising sun.

I don’t think I’ve been there to see two days the same.

However, Taurangi, on most days we’ve visited, is even more desolate than Taupo, both on the main street and the central mall. The same couldn’t be said for the precinct where New World, the local supermarket, a Z petrol station can be found. There it is somewhat more lively. The fact there’s a few more shops and a restaurant might help traffic flow.

There is also a mini golf course, and in the middle of winter, it is a bleak place to be, especially in the threatening rain, and the wind. It had also seen better days and in parts, in need of a spruce up, but it’s winter, and there are no crowds, so I guess it will wait till the Spring.

In the mall, there’s the expected bank, newsagent, gift shop and post office combined, and a number of other gift shops/galleries. But the best place is the café which I’ve never seen empty and has an extended range of pies pastries and cakes, along with the fast food staples of chips and chicken.
Oh, and you can also get a decent cup of coffee there.

There are two other coffee shops but we found this one the first time we came, we were given a warm welcome and assistance, and have never thought to go anywhere else, despite two known change of owners.

But despite all these reasons why someone might want to stay there, we don’t.

We have a timeshare, and there’s a timeshare in Pukaki called Oreti Village. That’s where we stay.

Searchings for locations: Oreti Village – No two sunrises are the same – 1

Oreti village, Pukawa Bay, North Island, New Zealand

On the southern tip of Lake Taupo

Our first morning there, a Saturday.  Winter.  Cold.  And a beautiful sunrise.

20180812_073230

This was taken from the balcony, overlooking the lake.

The sun is just creeping up over the horizon

20180812_073241

It gradually gets lighter, and then the sun breaks free of the low cloud

It lights up the balcony

20180811_074651

And the trees just beyond, a cascade of colorful ferns.

20180811_074622

It looks like its going to be a fine day, our first for this trip, and we will be heading to the mountains to see snow, for the first time for two of our granddaughters.

Searchings for locations: Oreti Village – No two sunrises are the same – 1

Oreti village, Pukawa Bay, North Island, New Zealand

On the southern tip of Lake Taupo

Our first morning there, a Saturday.  Winter.  Cold.  And a beautiful sunrise.

20180812_073230

This was taken from the balcony, overlooking the lake.

The sun is just creeping up over the horizon

20180812_073241

It gradually gets lighter, and then the sun breaks free of the low cloud

It lights up the balcony

20180811_074651

And the trees just beyond, a cascade of colorful ferns.

20180811_074622

It looks like its going to be a fine day, our first for this trip, and we will be heading to the mountains to see snow, for the first time for two of our granddaughters.

Searching for locations: Kaikoura, New Zealand, and, of course, the whales

I’m sure a lot of people have considered the prospect of whale watching.  I’m not sure how the subject came up on one of our visits to New Zealand, but I suspect it was one one of those tourist activity leaflets you find in the foyer of motels, hotels, and guesthouses.

Needless to say, it was only a short detour to go to Kaikoura and check out the prospect.

Yes, the ocean at the time seemed manageable.  My wife has a bad time with sea sickness, but she was prepared to make the trip, after some necessary preparations.  Seasickness tablets and special bands to wear on her wrist were recommended and used.

The boat was large and had two decks, and mostly enclosed.  There were a lot of people on board, and we sat inside for the beginning of the voyage.  The sea wasn’t rough, but there was about a meter and a half swell, easily managed by the boat while it was moving.

It took about a half hour or so to reach the spot where the boat stopped and a member of the crew used a listening device to see if there were any whales.

That led to the first wave of sickness.

We stopped for about ten minutes, and the boat moved up and down on the waves.  It was enough to start the queasy stomachs of a number of passengers.  Myself, it was a matter of going out on deck and taking in the sea air.  Fortunately, I don’t get seasick.

Another longish journey to the next prospective site settled a number of the queasy stomachs, but when we stopped again, the swell had increased, along with the boat’s motion.  Seasick bags were made available for the few that had succumbed.

By the time we reached the site where there was a whale, over half the passengers had been sick, and I was hoping they had enough seasick bags, and then enough bin space for them.

The whale, of course, put on a show for us, and those that could went out on deck to get their photos.

DSCN1026.JPG
DSCN1028.JPG
DSCN1029.JPG

By the end of the voyage, nearly everyone on board was sick, and I was helping to hand out seasick bags.

Despite the anti sickness preparations, my wife had also succumbed.  When we returned and she was asked if the device had worked, she said no.

But perhaps it had because within half an hour we were at a cafe eating lunch, fish and chips of course.

This activity has been crossed off the bucket list, and there’s no more whale watching in our traveling future.  Nor, it seems, will we be going of ocean liners.

Perhaps a cruise down the Rhine might be on the cards.  I don’t think that river, wide as it is in places, will ever have any sort of swell.

Searching for locations: Kaikoura, New Zealand, and, of course, the whales

I’m sure a lot of people have considered the prospect of whale watching.  I’m not sure how the subject came up on one of our visits to New Zealand, but I suspect it was one one of those tourist activity leaflets you find in the foyer of motels, hotels, and guesthouses.

Needless to say, it was only a short detour to go to Kaikoura and check out the prospect.

Yes, the ocean at the time seemed manageable.  My wife has a bad time with sea sickness, but she was prepared to make the trip, after some necessary preparations.  Seasickness tablets and special bands to wear on her wrist were recommended and used.

The boat was large and had two decks, and mostly enclosed.  There were a lot of people on board, and we sat inside for the beginning of the voyage.  The sea wasn’t rough, but there was about a meter and a half swell, easily managed by the boat while it was moving.

It took about a half hour or so to reach the spot where the boat stopped and a member of the crew used a listening device to see if there were any whales.

That led to the first wave of sickness.

We stopped for about ten minutes, and the boat moved up and down on the waves.  It was enough to start the queasy stomachs of a number of passengers.  Myself, it was a matter of going out on deck and taking in the sea air.  Fortunately, I don’t get seasick.

Another longish journey to the next prospective site settled a number of the queasy stomachs, but when we stopped again, the swell had increased, along with the boat’s motion.  Seasick bags were made available for the few that had succumbed.

By the time we reached the site where there was a whale, over half the passengers had been sick, and I was hoping they had enough seasick bags, and then enough bin space for them.

The whale, of course, put on a show for us, and those that could went out on deck to get their photos.

DSCN1026.JPG
DSCN1028.JPG
DSCN1029.JPG

By the end of the voyage, nearly everyone on board was sick, and I was helping to hand out seasick bags.

Despite the anti sickness preparations, my wife had also succumbed.  When we returned and she was asked if the device had worked, she said no.

But perhaps it had because within half an hour we were at a cafe eating lunch, fish and chips of course.

This activity has been crossed off the bucket list, and there’s no more whale watching in our traveling future.  Nor, it seems, will we be going of ocean liners.

Perhaps a cruise down the Rhine might be on the cards.  I don’t think that river, wide as it is in places, will ever have any sort of swell.

Searching for locations: Auckland, New Zealand – Another city that has a tower

Nearly every city has a high building, a tower, or a large Ferris wheel.

London had the London eye
Paris has the Eiffel tower
The Galata in Istanbul
The CN Tower in Toronto
The towers of San Gimignano
Pisa has a leaning tower

We’ve managed to see all of the above bar the Galata in Istanbul.  One day we might get there.

But, on this side of the world, there are two, the Sydney Tower, and the Sky Tower in Auckland, which we just visited recently.

20140522_153338

It’s not a tall tower, but it definitely gives great vies of Auckland, particularly to the north

20140522_150952

The mountain in the background at the top of the photo is of a volcano on Rangitoto Island.  When we were visiting, there were reports that it might become active again.

20140522_151039

To give a height perspective, it didn’t seem all that far down to the apartment building and gardens nearby.

Searching for locations: Auckland, New Zealand – Another city that has a tower

Nearly every city has a high building, a tower, or a large Ferris wheel.

London had the London eye
Paris has the Eiffel tower
The Galata in Istanbul
The CN Tower in Toronto
The towers of San Gimignano
Pisa has a leaning tower

We’ve managed to see all of the above bar the Galata in Istanbul.  One day we might get there.

But, on this side of the world, there are two, the Sydney Tower, and the Sky Tower in Auckland, which we just visited recently.

20140522_153338

It’s not a tall tower, but it definitely gives great vies of Auckland, particularly to the north

20140522_150952

The mountain in the background at the top of the photo is of a volcano on Rangitoto Island.  When we were visiting, there were reports that it might become active again.

20140522_151039

To give a height perspective, it didn’t seem all that far down to the apartment building and gardens nearby.