Thursday, January 6, 2011

New blog on its way

Happy new year to anybody who still reads this.
I'm been back in the country for a month, and about to move into the tiniest flat I've ever seen, in Newtown. There's a reason for that, and that reason is...drum roll...RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP RENT. This is going to come in handy as I'm heading back to school this year to finish my degree once and for all so I can bugger off back overseas again. How's that for motivation?!
And so I'm all set to become a poor student again. Thus, a new blog is born as myself and my 2 awesome flatmates try to get by on the smell of an oily rag- indeed that's the new blog's name, 'The smell of an oily rag'. I thought it was clever until I had to explain what it meant to the Blighty-born flatmate. Apparently it's not a universal expression.
Join us over at as we eat and drink well, and play well too, on a paupers budget.

P.S. A new year means new years resolutions. In April said Blighty-born flatmate and I shall be shaving our heads to raise money for a cancer charity. And possibly save something on the cost of shampoo. Keep an ear out closer to the time when we go a knocking for donations.

Happy new year!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Well the day has finally arrived - time to fly to Buenos Aires!!!

I may have failed somewhat on the lose weight/get fit front, but the extra padding might come in handy on those long, bumpy bus rides and if I suffer too many bouts of the South American equivalent of delhi belly.

But on the upside, I have funds to cover all my budgeted costs and hopefully a bottle or two of malbec on top of that!

This won't be updated anymore but here's the travel blog I will be updating is on - just type in "Tea with llamas" and it should come up as for some reason I can't paste the link here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

To flip flops

Weight = 1kg heavier than when I started this blog (whoops!)
Bank balance = a little over $7000 in savings, US$750 in cash/traveller's cheques, and $250 on a travel card. And about 3 grand already spent on flights, transport, accommodation, insurance and multiple purchases from kathmandu (we're nearly on first name terms).
It's been a long time since I've updated. Mostly I've forgotten to, but I've also been somewhat embarrassed about the lack of exercise I'd been doing.
On my last days off, I did walk 18km in jandals. I didn't mean to, but I'd walked out to Newtown to donate blood and just kept walking as it was such a gorgeous day. My path took me around the coast to Seatoun and its highly recommended (by me - hey, I deserved it after that walk!) fish and chips shop.

There's still one pay day to go until I fly out. Thank goodness! Although it looks like I shall have enough to survive on...just! I've got a volunteer placement for a month in Northern Peru that I'll post more about later. This will see me living in a surf town - so I'll be ticking off one of my new years resolutions while burning off all the cerviche I'll have been chowing down on!

Tomorrow my sister comes to Wellington. So in the interest of balance, I'll be doing two tramps this weekend after having highly tasty, but ridiculously fattening, panikeke at the Porirua market!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Inspiration for going for a run comes from all sorts of places. Sometime you just wake up full of energy, sometimes you see someone running down the street (thus making you feel guilty enough to go too), and sometimes you spot a picture on facebook of an exe's girlfriend will her belly hanging out and question whether she's pregnant or simply indulged in too much lager (and then ask yourself, do people think that when they look at me, too?!).

And so this afternoon I went for my first run in a while. This impressed me as the weather outside is atrocious! My teeth were chattering before I left the front gate.

This was also my first run around my new neighbourhood, Thorndon. In a 20 minute jog (better than nothing, next week it'll be 25, and the next 30 etc - well that's the plan), I ran past an aromatic indian restaurant (cue rumbling tummy), waved to the PM (or vaguely in the direction of the residence) at premier house, past the speights ale house (triggering thoughts of what I would do for a beer right then), and down the hill and around parliament and back across the motorway bridge (or wind tunnel making for a perilous jog) and home.

The bit by the botanic gardens down to parliament should've been an easy down hill but the wind was blowing so hard it was all I could do to see through squinted eyes while trying to protect them from rain and flying detritus. It was also pretty funny as each time I took a step the wind would blow that foot into the other leg. Cue: bruises.

Well a jog is a jog. Doubtful it'll do anything for the beer gut since I devoured a picnic bar upon reaching home, but every little bit helps.

P.S. I've booked my return flight to South America. And more money to head into the savings account this week. It's all becoming very real. 24 weeks until I touch down there.

Didn't manage to knock the bastard off

Our attempt at climbing Mt Ngaruahoe wasn't as successful as we'd hoped. Although we are still alive, and that must count for something!

We just about postponed the entire trip as wind and rain were buffeting Wellington, and we figured it wouldn't be much better further up the country. Nevertheless, we hit the road straight after work, agreeing that if it didn't fine up by the morning we could explore Taupo instead.

It was dark and still pouring when we arrived in National Park after 10pm. The tent needed to be pitched (camping on the lawn was half the price of a dorm bed - and I'm on a budget). I scratched my forehead and decided that tent-pitching would be greatly helped if I was under the influence of a large glass of red or two. Hence, a quick trip across the lawn to the pub.

The rain had stopped by the next morning and the view of the mountains from the breakfast table was stunning. Inspired by this, and a weather report on the cell phone that read "showers easing and becoming fine by mid morning, gale force winds", or something to that effect, we jumped in the car for the 20 minute drive to the trail head. Obviously we skipped over the gale force winds part. Fine weather = fantastic! And what's a little bit of wind to a Wellingtonian.

There's meant to be a mountain there!

By the time we started the tramp, the cloud was closing in on the mountains. By the time we reached the top of the devil's staircase (read: an excrutiatingly painful accent up what must be at least a zillion stairs), the cloud were speeding up one side of the mountain and swirling around tornado-like into the crater below. We could barely walk straight - mostly due to the wind, but not helped by very wobbly jelly legs. This is the point at which you turn off from the Tongariro Crossing track and head up towards the Mt Ngaruahoe summit (after having walked about 2.5 hours already) - there is no set path, just a few poles marking the way for the first 10 minutes and then after that it's climb up any which way, preferably without getting yourself killed. We started along this path before deciding it just wasn't worth continuing. The wind was stronger than anything I'd felt before, the mountain was completely obscured by fog and we didn't want to be front page news by coming to a nasty end on the slopes of Mt Doom.

Instead we thought we'd scale Tongariro and then tackle Mt Ngaruahoe later in the day if the weather eased. So back to the Crossing track. This next part was fun - a long flat walk through a crater and with the wind behind us, pushing us along, we speed through it. After this, however, is a long and gruelling ascent up a ridge. The wind was absolutely terrifying. We tried to get some photos up the top. The photographee would crouch as low as they could on the ridge to prevent them from cartwheeling down into the nothingness beyond, and on the count of 3, jump up very quickly for the photo to be snapped, before hugging the ground again.

Later I read in the paper that the winds were 150km/hr on the mountain. That'd explain it! In the end the wind was too much to summit Tongariro either (turned back 30 minutes from the summit - exposed ridgeline + intense gales = death wish), but did get to around the half way mark of the Tongariro Crossing and ate our lunch (gripping it tighly with numb fingers to keep our sandwiches from blowing to the Americas) with a view of the Emerald Lakes and our bums being kept warm by the heat seeping up out of the volcano. Choice!

Then back to the car (we ran down the devil's staircase) and off to Tokaanu to soak our weary muscles in the hot pools. So a failed summit attempt but nevertheless a good 16km, 5 hour-ish tramp. The wind added to the excitement and it was awesome seeing the same place in such a different way (since last year it was sweltering, blue skies, not a hint of a breeze).

Of course the next day we awoke to the most gorgeous, clear day (see the final photo), but had already planned to return to Wellington for New Years Eve and so a second attempt couldn't be made. Another time. We did manage a swim in a river running straight off Mt Ruapehu. Cold is an understatement!

Monday, December 28, 2009

a long, long overdue post...

well it's been 2 months since I last posted, due to a lack of internet access, and lack of things to post about due to the severe lack of exercise I've been doing (blamed upon the loss of my ipod charging cable - this may seem a piss poor excuse but quite frankly, running without music is next to impossible).

However the ipod is back up and running, so I guess I should be too. In fact, I have got a jog or two in this week - sleeping in and needing to walk to work in 10 minutes necessitated this.

So this is a quick post, just to let you know that the blog is still alive. I, however, might not be, the day after tomorrow as a friend and I have decided to summit Mt Ngahuahoe. Those familiar with this mountain (aka Lord of the Ring's Mount Doom) will appreciate that this climb involves a slight incline - or perhaps more accurately described as at least 3 hours of constant torturous ascent, hauling my overweight and unfit self up a 45 degree slope of loose scree.

I'll post an update afterwards if I survive.

On the money front, I finally started to put away a few pennies (namely by avoiding trips to my favourite irish bars). The savings account now holds $5000 and I have just under 6 months until I leave the country, so I'll be sticking to a budget tighter that a pair of jeans after christmas dinner to save the remaining 6 grand or more.

Check out the "hill" we're climbing on Wednesday - taken last summer when we missed this summit but did the Tongariro Crossing (the best tramp I have ever done! Highly recommended - though if anyone from those parts reads this; a cold beer or icecream would've gone down a treat at the end of the track).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

playing tour guide - and who said running was boring?!

Well this afternoon's run started out like many others...I really couldn't be bothered with it at all. Indeed, a nap before hitting the pub sounded like a much better idea. However I tricked myself into it by bringing my running gear to work and slipped as inconspicuously into them as is possible when you're parked in the middle of a carpark on a Saturday afternoon.

Sneakers on, Queen blasting through the head phones, I set off at a snail-like jog towards the railway station. After a km I'd had enough. My legs hurt. There was a lot of traffic (forgot the semi-final was on at the stadium tonight) and the brazen sunlight did nothing to hide the bouncing up and down of my substantial muffin top. Running is so much easier in the dark. At least then, the few people out can barely make out your silhouette and you can't see your ultimate destination far far far away in the distance.

I made a deal with myself that if I could make it just to the railway station non-stop then I could walk the rest of the way AND still deserve the sassy red or 3 I'll be ordering at the pub tonight.
Made it to the railway station. Stitch. Traffic light is a welcome rest. Then I notice a man next to me also in running gear. However he's turning a map around every which way and looks more than slightly confused. And so I pull out my headphones and ask if he needs any help.

He's in town for only one night and wanting a break from the hop off, see the sight, hop back on, see another sight, drag that is tour bus travel and thus wanted to see a bit of the city while pounding the pavement. I recommended he run around the waterfront to oriental bay and maybe up Mt Victoria since the view's spectacular up there on a day like today. I then assured him that I'm an exceptionally slow jogger and to go on ahead. However 200m later I caught him up after he's stopped for photos and we carry on around the waterfront together.

What a fun way to run. You barely notice the pain while you're chatting away to a complete stranger about travel and pointing out to him all the sights. We happened to stumble across the Canterbury (new navy ship) berthed at Queen's Wharf which was truely awesome to see (I'm a bit of a military geek - and no, it's not JUST about the men in uniform). Turns out this guy was involved in the british military and it showed. Not a shabby runner. And it did me a world of good trying to keep up with him.

At Waitangi Park we shook hands, exhanged names and ran off on our separate ways.
Think the big guy upstairs may be sick of my moaning about muffin tops, beer guts and excuses not to run - gave me no excuses but to do a proper work out this evening - damn him cashing in on my unwavering abiltiy to adopt pommy waifs and strays, anywhere, anytime.