Saturday, 26 November 2005

Pot of gold

If only the saying was true... but the rainbow surely is.

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It rained all day and just as the sun was setting and the clouds clearing, a beautiful rainbow emerged across the sky and the view from our home was stunning.

Monday, 21 November 2005

Ride of my life

This morning's wind in Wellington must be the left over from yesterday. I was scheduled to be in Auckland this morning so it was an early morning taxi ride to the airport. It was starting to get cloudy by 7am this morning and as we approached the airport which faces open sea, the wind got gustier. And it started to rain as well. The forecast this morning was 65kmph but I am sure it was a lot stronger than that.

I got the window seat by the wing on the flight to Auckland this morning and as the Boeing 737 was taxing to the run way, I could see the tip of the wing fluttering due to the strong winds. The plane came to a halt just before turning to the runway to take off, waiting for more flights to land. From the window at my seat, I could see flights landing with the wings not parallel to the ground. It was shaking to the left and the right as one wheel touches the ground and the other barely. It was a bit like an amateur trying to land an aircraft for the first time.

Shortly after that NZ410 was ready for take off. The engine roared and it taxied to the runway to take off and then stopped, as if trying to muster all its might for the take off. As it was stationery on the runway, I could feel the aircraft violently shaking from the wind outside. Then the captain turned the throttle full and was moving ahead. Just as the aircraft left the ground, must be about 100 meters above ground when it suddenly dropped without warning. There were screams from passengers in the aircraft. Then another few seconds later, another dip. After this second dip, the aircraft was quiet except for the sound of the engines. Several seconds later, the jet was above the clouds and was stable and the fasten seat belts signs were off.

What a relief. It took all of one minute to be airborne but an eventful one minute. It was a ride on my life. After travelling all over the world, I thought landing in the old Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong took nerves but after today, Wellington Airport is definitely a close second.

Sunday, 20 November 2005

Santa Parade in Wellington

We braved the wind and the sun and went to see the Santa Parade in the city this afternoon.

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There were thousands waiting along Lambton Quay by 1.30pm half an hour before the parade starts. And despite the crowd, we met several people we know! That's how small Wellington is.

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The Kiwi version of Rudolf!
Meet Rudolf the Red Nose Kiwi...

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And Santa himself...

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Windy Wellington

The wind here in Wellington is really strong. Something out of this world if you ask me. This morning as I was reading the morning papers, the wind was so strong I saw the clothes line move past me and before we could run out, it fell over the deck and on the ground below. The clothes got dirty and the clothes dryer broke apart.

Just when I when back to reading my papers, a bird, as it flew across the deck went spalt on the window due to the strong wind and fell on the deck. It was totally dazed. We took it and put it in the bush and after about half an hour, went off flying again.

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This evening as Ashwini was riding a bicycle and was struggling to move the wind came from behind and moved her along without even the need to paddle.

Friday, 18 November 2005

Anil turns 7

It is the big seven, the age that seperates the kids from the boys, according to Anil. At least it has been for the last few birthdays.

This birthday he wanted it to be a speacial birthday with no girls. Just his closest friends, Leo and Patrick.

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After the birthday at home they all adjourned to their favourite restaurant for dinner. Guess where? McDonald's of course!

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Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Letter from the North Pole

Since moving into this place, we often find in our letter box, letters addressed to the "New Owners" and sometimes letters addressed to us welcoming us to our new home! It is amazing how these people find us! A few days ago, a letter from Dominion Post (local newspaper) welcoming us to the neighbourhood and as a gesture giving us newspaper subscription for 13 weeks at half price!

So far, the letters have been addressed to the adults in the family . This afternoon in our mail box two letters of a different kind were there, to the kids. Anil and Ashwini received letters from Santa Clause and post marked North Pole!

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Wonder how they found their names. Perhaps, Santa has connections in high places!

Sunday, 13 November 2005

Summertime at the beach

The day was great and we just had to explore the many beaches around the city. We drove to a few only to find the sea too rough for our liking, until we came across this, just out of town in a place called Island Bay. Really pretty and nice litlle beach which is about 7 minutes from the city. From the pictures below you know how crowded it can get!

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This is Anil getting ready for a spectacular dive!

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We drove a little further to the end of the road and was stopped by this sign "4WD Vehicles Only". The rest of the track is along the sea against high cliffs and amazingly deserted beaches.

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I need that Landrover Discovery now!

Saturday, 12 November 2005

Vera's rose garden

Now that I have made my mark in the kitchen, it is time to show off Vera's ceration in the garden.

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This is just part of it! There are still white and blue roses yet to bloom.

Cooking for dummies

Experiments from the book I borrowed from the library titled "Cooking for dummies". It looks better than it tastes, I think! But it is my creation!

This is a Pot Roast

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And this is Baked Fish

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Bon Appetit

Friday, 11 November 2005

Things that can cause a delay

As you would have known from my earlier threads, I take the train to work daily or at least when I am working in Wellington. The company that runs the trains in Wellington lets commuters know of delays by sending text messages to mobile phones.

I often get messages of delays stating reasons such as "a derailment somewhere", "technical fault on the line" or "mechanical fault". This morning (fortunately after I arrived in the office) I got this message which I thought was really funny - "The 0740 btwn Paraparaumu & Wellington is running up to 30 minutes late due to 2 staff members falling ill".

Thursday, 10 November 2005

The close encounter with the Malaysian High Commission

We finally sold our property in Malaysia but that's not what this thread is about. Due to the sale, we needed to get our sale and purchase documents attested by the Malaysian High Commission in New Zealand. So we called the High Commission and made an appointment to see someone of authority to get the documents attested.

This was not the first Malaysian foreign mission I am dealing with but will be one I would remember for a while. I hope this thread does not end up like my other thread "5 Malaysians I met in Wellington". Am not sure why I am sometimes so critical but there are people who don't like it! Anyway, back to this incident.

Before I write about what I thought of the High Commission, let me say what it is like in New Zealand in general. It is so common for a cashier at the supermarket to say "Hi, how are you?" or a taxi driver to ask you "How was your day?". I travel quite a bit and each time I take a taxi and get dropped off, the driver will without fail say "Hope you have a good day" or "Have a good weekend". This is what the last 6 months have been. Was kinda taken aback initially but am enjoying the politeness and hospitality in general.

Now this morning, we went to the Malaysian High Commission and met this lady whom I was very sure is a Malaysian. Not a smile not a greeting, nothing. It reminded me so much of going into a Malaysian government office to get something done. My daughter being herself was so chatty but nope, not a smile, not a frown not a single word! She charged us NZ$56 for attesting the documents when there was no mention of a charge anywhere. She said she could not give me a receipt but promised to mail me one and took down my address. I said "Thank you" but she just walked away.

On the contrary, we were talking to the driver who was sitting in for the receptionist, whom I believe is a Kiwi, and he was real polite and we actually had a conversation! We found out when the High Commission was opened and why he was sitting as a receptionist and if we were there for another hour, probably where he lived!

When I visited the Malaysian Embassy in Indonesia, I thought they were friendly and warm but then I realised today that what I felt was perhaps in relation to the surrounding. Indonesia is quite similar to Malaysia in a lot of ways and worse in some, so I felt I was being treated well. But here in New Zealand everyone is extremely polite and because of that I felt the High Commission staff was so cold!

While driving back, I was telling Vera that I still can't get over the fact that she can be so cold!

Wonder what it will be like, if and when we return to Malaysia!

Sunday, 6 November 2005

Circus in town

The Weber Brothers Circus is in town. They are currently performing at Paraparaumu which is about an hour away from where we live. They are scheduled to be in Wellington next week but we were not sure what our schedules are going to be like next week, so we decided to drive to Paraparaumu to see the circus.

We paid $65 for a family pass and got us seated on an elevated platform and had real good views for the arena. The circus was packed to the brim. It was worth every cent as the show was spectacular. Unlike the circus we are used to back home, the only real animals here were dogs. The unreal ones included a mermaid, a lobster, a shark and some alien looking Jabba the Hut look a like.

The second half of the show was really good with lots of UV lights and fountains that give the circus a different feel to it.

Saturday, 5 November 2005

Fireworks galore

Today is Guy Fawkes's day in New Zealand. This is I came to understand is celebrated throughout New Zealand, Canada and the UK. Every year for one week fireworks are legally sold here in New Zealand to anyone over 14 years of age.

In theory the event is to remember Britain's infamous traitor - Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot conspirator. He was caught red-handed in Britain's House of Lords cellar in 1605, in an attempt to blow up Parliament and the king in order to rid the country of its Protestant rulers and restore the Catholic faith. I have no idea why the country is celebrating the failure of a terrorist act, as it seems to be. Over the last 400 years, this celebration has evolved into signalling the coming of summer.

As tonight was the last night and the actual Guy Fawkes's Day, the sky around where we lived, lighted up in brilliant sparks. It was really beautiful especially since the sun sets at about 8.30pm and the sky was somewhat bright in the background of not a dark night yet.

There were firework displays at the harbour here in Wellington but we gave it a miss this time around.

I hope we are not starting to take this country for granted. I seem to notice that I take less pictures of places we go to because it is there and we can visit it anytime. And now we are missing events because there is always another one around the corner.

Friday, 4 November 2005

It happens to all of us...

It seems so surreal to think about it now, that about six months ago, we went through this! Starting a new life in a new country. This week we had two families starting theirs.

Vincent, Joo Bee and Junius from Singapore arrived last week and are now settled Palmerston North about 2 hours north of Wellington. And this week, we had Andrew Edwards from the UK doing his reccee of the North Island. He stayed with us the 2 days he was in Wellington. At the end of the two days, I just saw myself in him. He was so close to getting a job and was all confused because it just happened too fast.

I think we are so used to taking our time in getting things organised, regardless of where we come from, and when things start to happen, we panic! I remember in March this year, I was sitting on a couch in Wendy's B&B in Eastbourne, just returning from an interview, being told I have to be in Wellington by June. At that point, I had not even mentioned to my previous employer that I might be leaving. Actually, I haven't even mentioned to my parents that we were migrating. At that moment, everything was just happening too fast! Wendy was saying that a few months earlier, another couple Sarah and Ian went through this same feeling at her place!

Now, here we are all settled and enjoying life.

Anil and his friends

Vera sneaked in her camera to Anil's school this morning to capture what goes on behind the scenes.

This is Anil and his bestest best friend, Leo...

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And here is one of his many girlfriends....

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Hmmmm.... do I need to start worrying?

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Work offsite in Taupo

This weekend, the bank I work with had an offsite in Taupo, about 400km north of Wellington.

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Taupo is a major tourist destination and it has everything one could ask for from fresh air to snow, volcanoes, rivers, lakes to fishing!

Lake Taupo itself was created by the largest known eruption of the past 5,000 years, it was so big the sun went hazy in China. Today, what remains is a lake the size of Singapore and the largest fresh water lake in Australasia.

Trying to squeeze work in between a delightful break was indeed a challenge as the great lake and the awe inspiring Ruapehu mountains was just outside the window.

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After the "gruelling" one and a half day, it was time to let the hair down, at least for those who still had some! I did things I never would have done elsewhere and it was tiring, exhausting, and even torturous but great fun! I played golf for the very first time and actually hit the ball, caught a trout, got myself a fishing license and mountain biked.

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Due to the nature of this country there is so much that can be done in the outdoors. What's next? Need to get myself a boat or a kayak as the sea is just 5 minutes away!