Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Posts Tagged ‘new zealand

i left my heart in kaikoura

with 3 comments

there are only about 3500 people living in kaikoura new zealand and that explains its captivating unspoiled beauty. it is so beautiful, i have no words to describe it. being close to the sea is one of my sources of happiness and kaikoura has that kind of effect on me.

i have not seen a seaside town like quite like kaikoura. known for its whale watching/ swimming with the dolphins tours, many people come to this town to witness for themselves, the miracles of man’s last unconquered frontier – the ocean.

we stayed at brook house a bed and breakfast i picked out from the b&b guide book. i must say throughout the whole trip, brook house was the best place we had stayed at. the guide book  reads – judy and louis( the poodle) welcome you to their home. and also their two cats, bruce willis and i forgot the other cat’s name because he was hardly around.

as it turned out, judy the host works for the whaling company and when she found out that we hadn’t made any bookings. she immediately called the company and put us on the waiting list ( note: people who come here for whale watching sometimes book years in advance especially europeans)

there are seven rooms at the brook house. judy had bought the property shortly after her divorce because she wanted to share her home with people from all over the world. her sons are working in japan and london and because her father had loved kaikoura so much, they came here a lot during the summer when she was a child. coming back to kaikoura had been a sentimental choice. well, i am glad judy had done so. one would be blind to not see the amount of careful thought and consideration, she had put into making brook house a pleasant stay.

if you stay at the brook house, remember to have some of judy's home baked chocolate muffins. they will be the reason why i go back there again and also to see louis the sweet black poodle

the garden view - overlooking mount fyffe. we should have hiked up mount fyffe, it doesnt take that long!

the view was just splendid!! note - we didn't take a picture when we checked in, this was taken when we were about to leave and hence the messy bed

thanks to judy we managed to do the whale watch. right before we had boarded the boat out the authorities had put on a sea-sickness notice but i thought hell, i have come all the way and i am not going back without seeing a whale.

the national geographic moment. to be this close and see a whale with your naked eyes - it is a miracle in itself!!

according to our guide - they have been friends with this particular whale for 20 years. the whale knows them very well by now.

apparently the same last year this rock was just filled with seals - the la nina phenomenon sweeping across the globe has some terrifying effects on every living being

dolphins are my favorite sea animals. these are dusky dolphins - swimming along with the bed trying like as though they are trying to tease us into a game of hide and seek

the seal colony - i can't believe this place

nothing beats a nice fish & chips by the sea

this is how close you can get to a seal ( if it is sleeping, not a good idea otherwise)

if you like nice romantic dinners like i do and watch the sunset

i love this photo!!

i think i left my heart in kaikoura and i know you will too.

if you want to visit judy and louis at the brook house and if you want more information about kaikoura


Written by smalltroubleinhk

February 17, 2011 at 4:39 am

the land of the green and blue lakes

leave a comment »

there were a few places in new zealand, i wished we had the luxury of time to stay a little longer and rotorua was one of it. many years ago, i watched this documentary about places that are considered energy vortexes such as glastonbury and sedona. i am not sure if rotorua make this list but i feel that it should.

of all the pools that lie within hell's gate i remember sodom and gomorrah the most because george bernard shaw the writer named it. for me that describes macau and shenzhen!!

there are things that are distinctly rotorua which you cannot help but notice the moment you drive into the city. first of all the smell hits you like bad revenge. rotorua is like a friend with a bad farting problem. there is literally the smell of sulphur everywhere. famous for geothermal activities, a lot of the infrastructure is built around the hot pools. i find it very much a novelty when i see gas emitting out of the ground.

almost everyday is a beautiful day in new zealand

many people who come to rotorua will try out the spas. the most popular one is probably the polynesian spa that is located right in the heart of the city next to the botanical garden. we didn’t try that because a friend had recommended us to go to hell’s gate instead.

first of all the name hell’s gate did not appeal to me and when i looked at the website – i didn’t think it was very well designed. but i must say, it surpassed  all of my expectation and we had a great time there.

when i asked about the landscape of hell's gate, our guide told us, it changes every few years because new pools are formed and some of the older ones changes in terms of size and level of activities. very interesting

the maori people consider hell’s gate a “taonga”( treasure) and all throughout the reserve – there are many different types of pools.  our tour guide pearl taught us so much about the reserve, the healing properties of the different types of mud.

look i am a warrior!!

i tried the mud spa for the first time as well.maybe it’s pyschological but my skin felt really soft after the dip. i secretly wanted my own mud pool at home too but i think it may be too much maintenance.

after the mud spa, we got ready for our massage was surprised to see pearl our tour guide earlier at the reserve walk as my assigned masseur.

i said – ” are you a therapist as well?”

she laughed and said they do almost everything. sometimes she is a cashier, sometimes she is a guide and that is what i find cool about the new zealanders. unlike corporate america – where job functions are streamlined, people in new zealand seem to understand business from a holistic point of can quiz them about the most intimate details of a business and they can tell you. i like that. it gives everyone a form of ownership.

she asked me, what do you think of the reserve walk?

i kept quiet for a minute. i was struggling to find the right word. i then said, you know pearl, it struck me as very odd to find in the middle of all these hot boiling pools a bush walk.

earlier on while she was taking us to the various pools, there was this “green reserve” with a waterfall nestled right in the middle. the waterfall known as the kakahi falls is the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere. the maori warriors used to bathe themselves in the fall, cleaning battle wounds and because sulphur is so acidic it was then used as a form of antiseptic.

the enchanted bush walk in the middle of the reserve

pearl looked at me as i continued speaking. i said – i think the green reserve is enchanted. there is an energy there, i felt something.

she said, you are right and from her eyes – i knew immediately i said enough. something unspoken was exchanged between us.

after we came back - i was looking through our entire album. i found this picture of the green reserve at hell's gate. when i said to pearl - i felt something there. i think we may have even caught it on camera. but i must say, what i felt it was a good feeling. it wasn't eerie or anything

maybe there is magic in this world. somehow right, after coming back from my trip. i became somewhat intrigued with the healing powers of plants. maybe it is in line with my resolution this year of wanting to eat better. maybe our ancestors knew better than us about the healing power of certain things. we just forgot about it along the way.maybe….


sometimes i think we focus too much on what lies on the surface level, we don’t care about what is within. we spend so much money on using expensive skincare but not what we eat. a lot of us are broken inside. i have been struggling with nasal complications for years and none of that – allergy medication is helping me. i think it’s time for me to look elsewhere.

i like the maori people. every single maori i spoke to – they tell you stories about their ancestors. i have enjoyed their stories. when you speak to enough maoris, you’d gather that the eruption of mount tarawera on 10th june 1886 changed maori history forever. i cannot help but to think that rotorua is a good representation about life in general. in life, there is always duality. the land of rotorua is beautiful yet so deadly. so fertile yet so destructive.

mount tarawera - breath taking isn't it.. the volcano isn't extinct, it is just sleeping

i hope to go back someday. until then, like what the maori people say. we are the ” kaitaiki” ( guardians). we need to good care of the environment.

auckland zoo

leave a comment »

auckland zoo is such a special place- it truly is. located only 20 minutes from the city centre of auckland, auckland zoo is a happy place for both kids and adults.

don't miss the auckland zoo - it's definitely worth a visit

there are so many things i love about it. i don’t know where to start.

when we were waiting for our turn to feed the giraffe, i heard a man’s voice saying – do you know that a giraffe has seven bones in its neck, just like a human being?

without being in africa this is perhaps a good substitute to the african savannah

i turned and found ray, a volunteer at the auckland zoo talking to the visitors. i started chatting with him asking him questions about the animals and the zoo. i love the volunteer program at the zoo. for people who are retired especially, this is a good way of giving back to society and not to be bored because you  will have a million people to talk to.

one of my favorite sections at the zoo is the aussie walkabout whereby animals roam free.. the friendly ones normally would come by and say hi whilst the ones shy ones like wallabies - it takes a while for you to spot them

i was totally taken aback with the gentle nature of the emu

i love the sense of involvement that the auckland zoo gives its visitors. i love the open-ness of the zoo and energy of the zoo. i noticed as well they try to put a few different types of animals ( the sociable ones) in a certain enclosure. when i asked ray about it, he laughed and said – like people you don’t want the animals to think they are the only ones in the world.

the great green lizard and i

ray the man

i hope that for years to come, children and adults get to enjoy the auckland zoo. i used to think zoos are such horrible ideas but i now see the good as well. we are the destructive animal of all no doubt but we are also one of the most compassionate ( potentially) and intelligent as well. there is so much good we could do, it is unbelievable.

chickens on the loose at the auckland zoo. it's so cute

we only have a few 100s of these amazing rhinos left in the world. it's so sad, i don't know where to start.

the auckland zoo and as well the rest of the new zealand and australia zoos run a pretty successful breeding exchange program and as result to that – they have many animals born in captivity. unfortunately, many including myself will only have the zoos to learn about the animals and fortunately, we still have this channel. there is so much we need to learn about respecting other life forms and that when we hurt nature and its beautiful creature, we all get hurt too – that i guarantee you.

meerkats are fun to watch - very animating

whenever i read about researches done on animals, it never fails to occur to me how dumb we truly are. we grade how intelligent animals are based on a system that we created. if you just spend a little time with them, i can tell you that each animal deserves to be treated like an individual.

it is not hard to see the bond kashin has with his handlers... if you have any questions about elephants,they always encourage q&a questions

nice day for a nap...

we thought snorkel was one of the oldest resident until we found a chimpanzee who has been living in the zoo since the 1950s...

while i think the auckland zoo has done a fantastic job i think they should do more to promote the breeding program. i think they should create opportunities for the public to witness the entire birth program of the animals. make you tube videos, create a campaign around their birth/ when they first come out to meet zoo visitors. that would be great public involvement. nevertheless, it was one of the best zoos i have been to.

Written by smalltroubleinhk

January 29, 2011 at 9:24 am

it’s christmas already….

with one comment

i have zero expectations when it comes to getting gifts during christmas. if you ask me honestly, there is nothing i desire to the point that i drop sly hints on my husband and entice him to get it for me. i used to but there is nothing i want this christmas. nothing material at least.

i suppose gifts are only best received when you least expect it.

it’s not even christmas yet but i have already received two really great gifts.

last sunday, my friends simon and jj came to visit me and they came bearing gifts. flowers and chocolates – they really know the way to a girl’s heart.

they gave me a box of maison du chocolate chocolates. i always thought when it comes to chocolates, godiva knows best. but after tasting maison du chocolate, godiva is like premium cadbury. they are the best chocolates i have ever tasted. i love the packaging as well, it is so sophisticated.

the coating of the chocolates are really thin and it’s so easy to let it melt in your mouth. my favorite ones are called salvador – it’s a ganache with rasberry damn good!!

the other gift – we are going to new zealand!!! YAY!!!!! thank you air zealand!! we will be going to new zealand for 10 days next month.

see gifts are presents when you least expect it!!!!

Written by smalltroubleinhk

December 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm

%d bloggers like this: