31 December (Sunday)
Happy New Year!
For those in GMT+1 it still takes a couple of hours before 2006 is officially over and the year 2007 starts, for those a couple of hours ahead it might already be 2007 and for those a couple of hours behind it takes a little longer.
A lot happened since the last update, I've moved back to The Netherlands and well, the rest is very pleasant but not really important for all of you ;-P
I just want to take the opportunity to to wish you all a very good 2007 and make all the best of it!
15 March (Wednesday)
Emigration plans. Murf moves to Ireland.
Well, basically to whom it might ever concern. (Who is still reading this log anyway?) Really a lot has changed since we both came back home. I (Murf) had exactly 2 jobs, and am now working as a helpdesk employee at a small ISP in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Nicky is studying Interior Design in Utrecht and is back with her old boyfriend Wijnand.
But the main reason why I write yet another entry is that on april 1st I'm emigrating, to Ireland. To work as a InfoVista consultant and basically do what I like most, travelling around and working with computers and people. For that reason I've written some articles in English on my normally dutch weblog and I'll continue writing some articles in English and some in Dutch on that log. So for those interested, feel free to have a look at my old personal log, YadaYadaYada.nl.
13 November (Sunday)
Gallery online again
It took us a full week but we found a temporary fix for the gallery. So, the photo's are back online again. Have fun :-)
3 November (Thursday)
Photo-gallery temporarily broken.
Sorry, our gallery at gallery.somewheresouth.net is temporary offline because the upgrade to the latest PHP version (4.4.1,1) whacked our bleeding-edge Gallery 2.0.1 install.
As we don't have a clue how to fix it and none of us has time and/or energy to repair either gallery or PHP the gallery will be down untill someone gives us the solution. (And downgrading PHP is *not* really a solution.)
Sorry for the inconvenience.
31 July (Sunday)
Murf: Bungy a bit...
A bit late but for those of you who wanted to see what a bungy jump looks and sounds like, I've put mine on the gallery of New Zealand...
25 July (Monday)
You gotta go there to come back...
And with the title of this stereophonics album I will put down the last entry on this website about my trip to Australia, New Zealand and Bali.
My trip home was easy and even slept all the way over Russia. The only custums who really was annoying was the dutch one. But just talked myself out of that one. (yes if they would've checked me they would have seen I was lying.) On the airport (most of) my friends and all my family was there. It was so cool to see everybody again. To talk and hug everybody. So a big THANX for everybody who came to pick me up.
Today I am starting my 3rd week of working in a laundryservice. Work is boring and heavy. Money is not much. But I'll have to start somewhere. Wednesday signing papers for my second job. November I will hopefully move on my own to Utrecht. Will be glad to do so, because living in by my parents does bring some uncomfterble situations after living on my own for so long.
For the rest is Holland feeling still strangely formilliar. But it's different. Like a skin that is too tight and still has to be worn a bit longer to get a good fitting. But I will survive. As soon as I live on my own and start my educationn on the end of August. I'll have my own place and life to live again.
Also a short look over where I've been.
New Zealand: Owesome! I'll be back. To much exciting sports, the best view ever and a gourgious culture.
Australia: Interesting culture, lots of different vegetation (that's why I will be back at some places, but others not really necessairly) So a bit a double feeling about it. Culture is very interesting though. Desert is very empty. (although not so sandy as i expected) But I loved Tassy and the north rainforest. (except for the mozzys)
Bali: Nice for 2 weeks, but never longer. Don't get any rest over there. But nice to party, drink and hang in the sun/pool.
Here also the little line that all the fotos are also online. From New Zealand to bali. Nothing else will follow.
And off cours I won't forget my ozzy family who helped me through. I thank you so much for your support, help and that bed that I slept in. I owe you guys more than I can ever give back.
Lot's of love
And hope to see you back
as soon as I go again
11 July (Monday)
Murf: Back home - A room, a job, and slowly back to normal.
Writing somewheresouth exactly one week after I returned to my own home. A lot changed, a lot stayed the same. It was incredibly busy last week and I did have to arrange soo many things that my mind was buzzing all week but with succes. In this week I found a job as a 1st line helpdesk employee at a big internet provider (2 actually so I had to choose) so I can start paying of the debts straight away. I also bought 3 big closets to store my stuff (2nd hand off course) and to work as a room-divider, found a big curtain to serve as door and as a room-divider as well so I finally have my own private space again. Tiny but very very comfortable with view over the balcony and a massive room-wide window. I got all my stuff from Nicky's parents and from a friend of mine where it was stored for 6 months and next to all that I bought myself a cheap but very good 2nd hand laserprinter (HP Laserjet 4Plus, 25 EUR) with a free nice Pentium III system and a desklamp. (I had to buy a monitor though but 20 EUR for a nice Dell 17" with 4 weeks warranty is not bad.) That means that I not only have a nice bedroom now (with a massive 180x120 poster of the movie "Constantine" on the wall) but I also have a very nice office / study place next to my bed so that I can improve my skills in private.
So it seems that all looks pretty ok for now. There is still an awfull lot I have to do, making the place nice and tidy, arranging lot of financial stuff, getting insight in my finances and paying off the debts but at least I made a good start and begin with a fairly tidy bedroom/office. (I basically stashed all my stuff in my closets to sort out later.) And that does feel like a good start. It's been a bit of a rush last week and the rush won't be over the next weeks but the rest I can at least do on an easier pace so that I can concentrate on my new job. The job might be a bit below my level, I'm still really looking forward to it as it has very hard parts. The big problem with the job is that most of the customers calling don't have ANY clue about computers and/or internet and are using windows. The main question you'll hear will be "The internet is broken. Can you fix it?" while 99,9999% of the time the internet isn't broken (really, that won't happen, it's too big and to spiderweb-like to be able to totally) but it's their computer and/or their internet connection and/or just their email/MSN/browsing which doesn't work. And without too much knowledge of Windows from my side and no experience in a big commercial callcenter like this (I've always worked for small companies as 1st/2nd line helpdesk, systems administrator, hardware-engineer and technical consultant) this will be a challenge for me. Not because I don't have all the knowledge but because I have to talk in THEIR language, not mine. (And because the ISP is on the low-end of the market deal with very upset customers who really don't have a clue what's going on but are still totally pissed off when it's broken because off course it's alwas YOUR fault.)
Anyway, there won't be to many updates from my side anymore. I will write a general overview off my/our trip later and maybe an incidental update about how life starts to run again after the big trip but as Somewheresouth is about travelling I think I should mainly stick to that and pull it out of the closet when I (or Nicky) start travelling to the southern hemisphere again. And for our trips on the northern hemisphere? Well, you could've guessed that a long time ago I already registered somewherenorth.net. In fact, that website existed BEFORE Somewheresouth because I heard a song of AudioTransparent with "Somewhere north is where I belong" in it and couldn't resist registering the domainname. It was later when I met Nicky and wanted a website for our travels when I registered somewheresouth. Somewherenorth was a bit unappropriate for travels on the southern hemisphere so somewheresouth became allive...
5 July (Tuesday)
Murf: Christchurch to Enschede
Well, as promised here the last bit of my journey. Somehow I managed to get to the airport at Christchurch and got to the checking where I more or less ran into trouble with my overweight. My checkin luggage being 28Kg and my cabin luggage beeing 14Kg the girl behind the counter wouldn't allow my cabin luggage beeing that heavy and wanted to charge for my overweight as well. I tried to convince her that I was just going home after 6 months and that therefore it was quite normal beeing a bit overweighted but no, the limits where 20Kg and 7kg and that's how it was. So I ended up loading 7Kg in my pockets and plastic bags to drop the 14Kg down to less than 7Kg, checkin my cabin luggage as checkin luggage and carrying not more than 7Kg in plastic bags into the cabin. (Cheating a bit my pockets where stuffed with heavy items like my photocamera and my coat must 've been 7Kg on it's own already but hey...) I paid the $110,- and finally went on. So I flew to Sydney, sleeping half the time as I was still kinda sick, had a nice talk with a girl who this time I *do* regret I didn't got her email addy (you meet 100,000's of lovely people so normally you just don't ask and don't regret as it would be impossible to keep in touch anyway) and after a smooth flight got out at Sydney airport for a 22 hour stopover. Got out, locked my big backpack away in a secure storage at the airport, got to Central and dragged myself into the YHA hostel where I went for a quit 4-bed dorm as I really did need the sleep that night. Well, aparently I did, I sat down on my bed feeling a bit sleepy so layd down for a while only to wake up 3 hours later, making up my bed, undressing, getting in and sleeping 'till 8am the next morning. So I skipped my partynight in Sydney, no sense, I had a great time the last night in Christchurch and was feeling not too well to have a big night out anyway so hey, why bother. I did however go shopping the next morning in Sydney. Instead of 1 there where 3 $10,- cd shops and even knowing I couln't entirely afford spending money on luxury stuff I still came out with in total round about 18 cd's waisting more than $250,- as some of 'm where in the $15,- category for beeing just released. Ah well, I did get some cd's which I wanted for years already so it's not much of a waiste. And then back for the big flight home, this time I didn't have any trouble with my overweight, they didn't weigh my cabin luggage at all and the 28Kg was suddenly no problem anymore when I pollitely answered "Home!" to the question "Where are you going?". He grinned, the lady next to him joked "Hey, that's a very popular destination!" and checked let the massive bag through. Thanx m'te! He even looked surprised when I told him that I did have to pay for it at Christchurch. Cool stuff. Anyway, I hopped onto the aircraft and only there I wasn't too pleased. I should have a window seat and got seat F which is is a Boeing 747-400 one of the 2 center seats. If you look at the seats and _ beeing the aisle it looks like this: (xxx_xfxx_xxx) But nevertheless I had a quite pleasant flight with a quick strech of the legs at Hongkong and I really slept a lot while flying all the way to London. I finally felt like using my discman a lot and listened to almost all cd's I bought in Sydney. After we landed in Heathrow I got from T4 to T1 to fix a new boarding pass, then from T1 to T4 because there where no showers at T1, got a nice hot shower after searching for it for half an hour (it was thouroughly hidden), bough some small souvenirs, went back to T1 and ran into the lady of the security check again who regocnized me and asked if I got lost. But no, just a shower and she smiled realizing that indeed after 22 hours of flying a shower is definetely a thing you need. So no further trouble there and after another couple of hours of waiting I got into flight BA105 to take me home! Sitting next to the emergency exit I had even more legspace than in the aircraft from Sydney to London... Anyway, smooth flight and landing nicely on time. I almost ran through customs, to the baggage claim, grabbed my bag (which was there right when I got myself a trolley, very very fast) and made it for the "nothing to declare" gate where they stopped me for a second asking where I came from and how long I've been away. I saw the guy doubting if he'd question me more and/or search my bag but after 3 seconds (who felt like ages) hey said "Welcome home!" and let me through. And there I was, the door opened and suddenly I saw familiar faces which I haven't seen in 6 months. Mom, Nicky, Nicky's parents and Chantal. Gave 'm all a big hug before we went for some espresso. The rest of the gang was a bit delayed, they ran out of petrol on the highway... But after a quick phonecall they decided to run to Leiderdorp (where Nicky lives) instead of the airport so we'd meet 'm there. Chantal jumped on the train back home quite soon and off we went, me seeing how it feels to drive on the right side of the road again.
As soon as I got out of the car I got squashed by the rest of the whole gang, Abieg, Maarten, Sabine en Jeroen. What a welcome! They had covered my car with a "Welcome home" banner and really almost squashing me, finally beeing able to hold me and talk to me again. It felt soo good to be back, hearing familiar voices I haven't heard in 6 months, hearing all the latest gossip of who did it with who and who broke up with who and, well, you know the works. Dinner was nothing less than a "patatje speciaal" for me, I missed that for like 6 months as you can't get it. And after dinner the whole gang went home again leaving me for a quiet evening at Nicky's place. The heat got me a little though, I got nauseus after beeing on the attick for 10 minutes and had to go out for a walk outside after which it dropped a bit. Found my bed at 0:00 and then unfortunately woke up at 5am thanx to the wonderfull thunderstorm. But hey, at least I was awake and surprisingly I did feel fit enough to drive back home at the planned 10:00am so I did, with my mom sitting next to me. Yes I messed up the controls the first couple of Km's (grabbing with my left hand to my gears and switchin on my blinkers while I only wanted to whipe my screen) but I really got home without too much trouble. For the first time in 6 months I drove on the right side in my own little car, all the way back home and I truly liked it having my car-stereo softly pumping good vibes into the car with that warm and nice bass underneath it where my car is so famous for. ETA was 1pm but we didn't make that, we had too much stuff to arrange so dropped my X-ray off at the dentist and went shopping for a bed and closets and such. We did find a nice bed, new even, for as little as EUR 135,- but we decided not to buy it. Maybe a bit stupid afterwards as at that time I still had my mom with me and my bank card denied any service in the supermarket later on because of insufficient funds. Aparently my creditcard bill had kicked in and I had dropped below my limits. *AUTCH!* Anyway, after dropping my mom off at the train station to get her home I dropped in at the CWI to apply for gouvernment support for the first couple of days where I won't have any job and then went home after buying some groceries and a couple of fliptop-bottles of Grolsch.
And then I was home! I quietly opened the door to find no-one around so I stashed my stuff in the hallway, said hi to the neighbours and tried to switch on my laptop to realize that you DO need a network-cable for hooking it up to the internet and that the only ones I had where in the basement where I don't have a key off anymore. SHIT! So I rang a friend of mine if he'd have some cable and he agreed to come over for dinner and I had internet on my laptop at 7pm or so. Meanwhile my roommate came in, I almost forgot Hepp and my dinner talking to her just to realize at 9:15pm that we really where getting hungry. Well, late dinner then. Hepp went and just as he left my other roommate came in so the place was full again. I wanted to go to bed at 0:00 but I was too awake so it got 1:30am and then it's a bit sad if you wake up at 5am again. So aparently I do have little of a jetlag. And that's where I started this story, sitting on my own couch with my own laptop on my lap writing one of the last stories on somewheresouth! Today will be a very busy day for me, calling loads of people and visiting loads of places to make sure all that need to be done is done as soon as possible. So finding a job, make sure that I can use my bank-card again so I can buy the neccecairy stuff like a bed, a room-divider, a printer and those kinda things. Tomorrow Nicky's parents will bring back all my stuff which is still there and probably saturday or sunday I'll retrieve all from jnieuwen's place so that all is where it should be and nothing left at other people's places. I want those things fixed this week as hopefully next week I'll have at least some temporary job to provide me with some income.
We'll see, at least I'm home. It does feel funny, it's a bit nasty that I have to plunge into the stressfull stuff straight away but still it feels good to sit behind my own laptop at my own couch again. Home. There's nothing like it!
4 July (Monday)
Murf: Home sweet home
The rest of the story will follow but as it is 5:36am now and I just got woken up by a true dutch thunderstorm I won't do that right now. Anyway, after a long but safe and actually fairly smooth flight (as well as in the air as well as customs) I'm almost home. Safely.
Still 200Km to drive but that's just because right now I'm ad Nicky's place and will go to my own hometown within just a couple of hours.
Oh, and as I've off course seen, spoken to and hugged Nicky (after all, she lives here and was there to pick me up at the airport) I can assure you that she's safe and at home as well. ;-P
30 June (Thursday)
Murf: Queenstown to Christchurch
Well, all worked out luckily with the bus. There where not 1, not 2 but 3 people on standby and I was first. (I really hate arriving late.) They could at least take me to Twizel but being nothing there but Mount Cook I doubted about taking that opportunity anyway or then stay in Queenstown and try to get onto the Nevis again. But, at the end around 6 people didn't show up so there was plenty of space for the 3 of us. The road to Christchurch was a fairly long trip, with only the mandatory toilet, food and photostops we arrived in Christchurch around 5:30pm. As Base BP was the most familiar hostel for me in town (and I kinda liked the bar downstairs last time) I booked in for 3 nights. Those nights and days are over now, just half an hour before I have to check out and dump all my stuff downstairs but it was a crazy time. I spent all those days shopping and all the nights hanging in Saints & Sinners though I did do some cultural thing by going to the Art Gallery which was fairly interesting. (And believe it or not, I FINALLY found a book I promised to someone about Maoiri Tattoo's, not really small, not really cheap but hey, after hours and hours of shopping you're so glad that you finally have it that you are willing to pay a little more...) I also bought some last-minute souvenirs AND I dyed and cut my hair. Surprise surprise, the hooligan look is gone, it's now black/purple and fairly short. Funky yet sophisticated if neccecairy. (When looking for a job for example.)
The nights where absolutely crazy, I think maybe even the best I've had so far. Wednesday was really dull, so I used that as a day off and had only 2 beers before going to bed and updating my diary @ 11:00pm. But tuesday and yesterday where like party nights have to be. Dancing, drinking, getting kicked out of the pub at closing time (2:00am), and just simply having the time of your life. Aparently leaving within a matter of days DOES make you more interesting. (Thanx girls! ;-P)
Last night ended though not entirely the way I wanted. I had a burger at Burger King earlier at night and aparently the burger was still allive giving me a massive screwup of my entire digestive system. Luckily the first symptoms showed up after my night out and wile asleep but it more or less completely ruined my night. I got up at 4am never to see my bed again and spent the night haning over the toilets, chatting with the night guard and the internet. The nightguard felt more or less sorry for me as it wasn't due to alcohol so I got 2 hours for free! Had a funny time down there though, watching totally pissed people passing by and chatting, one who after 15 minutes of trying to sleep leaning against the wall decided to sleep on the bench right in front of us. IN the hostel.
And still (9:28am) my body feel like a train has been driving over it, 3 times but there is no way in trying to go back to sleep again. There is no way of going into town either, I feel totally fucked up and probably my breakfast will be water, water and a bit of water. Ah well, at least I'm already partly in the Dutch timezone now. (But I won't go out in Sydney tonight, that's really asking for trouble now. Just a quiet night of sleep is all I need for now.)
Ok, that's it for now. Checkout within half an hour, then hanging around in the hostel recovering from the night and maybe just some hanging on the internet if there is a computer free. And then take the bus to the airport at 1:20pm. BTW BurgerKing got a sweet little compliant from me because they DID screw up, though you might blame it partially on me for not realizing my burger was still allive AND not listening to my intuition who already told me that I shouldn't go to BK in the first place anyway.
Tulamben wreck and baby steps
Diving is Cool!!! Wreckdiving is strange. But absolutely worth it. It was very nice. Especially if your buddy is just taking his first dive-babysteps... that is funny to see. It was my first wreck but certainly not my last. This was awesome. The second dive was a dropoff wall. Been there done that. But was stil very special with a huge lionfish, boxfish and an octopus. Overall 5 hours travelling, 4 hours in Tulamben with one hour under water...
Mick left yesterday. Today is easy. Tomorrow me and the rest of the guest I know here are leaving all together. Tonight last night out. Last chance to make the pole in Paddy's, the cage in Bounty and the bar in Troppozone unsafe. Tomorrow my last day. Hopefully wake up a bit in time, do my last packing. And grab a cab at 2 to fly at 4. The clock states 1.5 days to go and it is flying. Tonight my last bali meal. One hand I would love to stay. Other hand I love to see everybody back again.
See you the day after tomorrow. (scary to say that)
27 June (Monday)
bali, the cold en diving
The cold is finally weakening. Michael and I decided to go diving tomorrow. It's so cheap that I couldn't leave it. So tomorrow Tulamben wreck is going to be our destination. Michael diving for the first time. (intro dive) And me just relaxen next to that. Will be an very nice experience after missing out on the Yongala. Next to that my times suddenly seems to fly here. Just a couple of days and I will accompany the dutch half of my family again.
Next to that I just received a little mail from my ozzy cousin. Who is getting married to a pommy... ;)
congratulations!!! And lots of fun that weekend in November...
Anything else forgot...
Ehmz ow jeah, airplanes are flying here more and more often because of holiday season. And the best part? My hotel is filling up with guys.....
Lots of love
Murf: The Nevis, 134 meters down in 8 seconds flat.
Some people knew I was thinking of it. Some people actually knew that I booked the bloody bitch. But most of you barely know what I planned for today and what was one of the most thrilling experiences in my life! I've done a lot the last 6 months, travelled through Australia, been rock-climbing in the Grampians and almost pissed my pants because I was so friggin' scared on the second climb, done a 4x4-only track with our minivan which did made me (and Nicky) miss more than just a couple of heartbeats, finally became a certified SCUBA diver and did 25 dives in the Great Barrier Reef, walked a glacier in Franz Joseph and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 12.000 feet in Fox Glacier. But a couple of days ago I realized today was my very last chance to do one of the most frightening things man can imagine, jumping of a 134 meter high pod with nothing more than a piece of rubber between you and the pod to safe you from sudden death. So with shaking fingers I slashed the knot and booked "The Nevis" via the AJ Hackett website. And today was the day. Today was Judgement Day, to separate the boys from the men. And I became a man today!
Yesterday night you could find me in the Altitude Bar 'till late to dance my feet of and scare away my fears. This morning I woke up at 7am, took a hot shower, brushed my teeth and walked slowly to the AJ Hackett center at the corner of the street. After a short brief, the usual weighing and signing a waiver where you basically sign for the fact that AJ Hackett is never responsible for any injuries including death while jumping. Better make sure your travel insurance is ok. (Not that it really matters, serious accidents don't really happen, it seems to be safer than crossing the street. But still...) And off we went, into the bus and up to the site. Mixed group, a couple of big lads with a massive pluche Lion, (Yes the Lion jumped as well, safely in the arms of all 5 lads, and off course had to sign a waiver as well.) 2 girls and some other fellows. Turned out I was not the only fool to make The Nevis his first bungy jump ever. Finally at the bungy site it turned out that I was the very lightest and THUS the last one to jump. *SHIT!* That definetely makes it harder as you can joyfully see how all other 13 people jumped and screamed before finally it's your turn. Surprisingly I slept quite well last night (though I woke up zillion times but mainly because I was afraid not to wake up on time and miss my opportunity.) and after my hot shower I really was ready to go. I was less nervous than I expected, maybe because I'm planning this since Nicky had done her jump and already had done some frightening things in OZ like my rock-climb and that 4x4 track. (Skydiving surprisingly was NOT one of them, a big rush, an awesome thing to do but not particularly scary.) So we got our harnass on, took the mini-pod to the big jumping platform and had lots of time to look down straight into the depth of the valley. And I did, the bottom of the mini-pod is a wire-frame, in the jumping-pod there is a big glass strip so you can look down all the way to the jumpers ahead and after you. If you sit on the sides of the jumping-pod you're actually sitting on glass and have the same stunning view. And I did. I watched all jumpers before me and sat and stood comfortably on the glass strips, not too scared of what would come within an hour. The lads where brave, they all jumped the first time though one got a bit scared when the pin tying your legs together got loose before he was all the way down so he jumped attached to hist waist instead of head-down attached to your feet. But he was already in mid-air when it happened so there is nothing you can do about it then. And then it was the turn of one of the girls. 54321 JUMP! *hesitation* *nothing* 54321 JUMP! *hesitation* *nothing* 54321 JUMP! And off she went, finally, 134 meters down. Brave girl. I'm impressed with people who hesitate a couple of times and then DON'T chicken out but just jump. And then, after some more waiting it was finally my time... Meanwhile one of the crew asked me if I wasn't terribly afraid as I was shaking all over my body but THAT was because of the cold. I wanted to do this jump in my lucky Dollypop shirt, and therefore left my comfortable fleece behind in the base station. But it was friggin' freezin out there and after an hour waiting I really almost died of hypothermia up there. Luckily the sun came out and sitting on the side of the pod I warmed up a bit.
All the time in the jumping-pod I drummed on my legs on the rithm of the music, because I felt quite comfortable and it was a way to ease my mind a bit as off course I WAS scared, a bit. So off my glasses (no way you can jump with 'm, you'll loose 'm), into the chair, getting strapped up and still smiling and drumming on my legs. Looking sweet to the camera, giving 2 big OK signs (divers style, no thumbs up but 2 O-signs) and with my legs firmly together I had to wobble to the jumping platform. Wobbling is the only way to do it, you only can move your feet 10cm or so. And there I stood, at the very edge of the platform knowing that if I would totally chicken out and not jump I'd loose the full $199,- which I paid for this jump and make a total fool of myself. Not only for all of you guys but mainly for myself.
This was what I was waiting for 9 months, this was my moment, this was the last part of conquering my last fears. I used to be afraid of heights and therefore decided to challenge them my whole life by climbing onto towers, climbing 100 meters up the rocks, climbing indoors, jumping out of airplanes and doing walks while it goes straight down just 30cm from where you stand. I used to face my fears and not letting them take over. Because I'm afraid of railway crossings I slowed down and walked over them. Because I'm afraid of the dentist some odd combination of circumstances made me going there way too many times, back home AND in Australia. Because I'm afraid of needles I planned to go to Indonesia so I had to get my shots. And here I was, afraid of heights and challenging them by bungy jumping of the highest site in New Zealand and one of the highest in the whole world. There I was, after looking to all jumpers before me, standing at the very very edge and the point of no-return.
So there came the countdown. FAST! 5,4,3,2 *SWOOOOOOSH!* And Murfie was gone, plunging down with a rough 125Km/h into the grey. Screeming so loud that my throat still hurts right now, so loud that even the crew made a remark on it when I was back in the pod, screaming so loud that all who where already back on Terra Firma could hear me screeming from the viewing platform and agreed that I did the loudest scream of all, screaming the full 8 seconds, 134 meters down. *WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!*
FUCK! That was truly scary. So unnatural to plunge yourself off a ledge into the depth. It goes straight into all your natural senses. People are not built to fall and while skydiving you barely have a notion about the hight, here you definetely DO! But I did it, not the best style in the world (the first part I was almost vertical, heads UP instead of down but with my arms widely spread and not mowing around as some people tend to do, aparently to get grip on erhm, what, air?) but I did it! After the second bounce (or was it the third?) I yanked out the pin who tied my legs together and had a leisury bounce and great view off what I just did. I screemed again, or more, yelled. A big and massive WHOOOOOHOOOOOOO!. Whacked my arms into the air, totally hyper of the fact that I suddenly realized I just DID it. I jumped the friggin' Nevis! It was over way too soon, the wench came down to pull me up again and after less than a minute I was back on the platform. Exhillarated. Back into the pod. Back to Terra Firma. Back to the bus after watching my video and photo's. And while before my jump I decided to do it with just the photo's I was glad that they tape all jumps and that you have the chance to buy your DVD (or video) afterwards anyway. And I did, it was a great sight seeing myself plunging down in the depth. As I don't have a VCR I decided to go for the DVD. WITH my scream on it! (Though I didn't hear that yet as the video-footage in the base station is soundless.)
40 minutes later we where all back in Queenstown and now I'm the proud owner of my own set of Bungy photo's, 3 bungee shirts (one of The Nevis, one which is a bit controversial as it insinuates more or less that I DIDN'T jump and a longsleeve with just AJ Hackett Queenstown on it), some fridge magnets and 2 pieces of bungy cord. (Nicky, as promised, one is for you, even though it doesn't have a nice AJ Hackett Queenstown label on it it IS a genuine Queenstown bungy cord!) And I'm just happy. Awfully glad that I did this at the very last end of my 6-month journey. Awfully proud of myself that I didn't chicken out and actually awfully proud that I wasn't as freightened as expected.
Don't get me wrong, it's awfully SCARY! Bungy jumping is definetely not for the faint-of-heart. It's a massive, adrenaline pumping thrill ride. But aparently I did have enough guts to stay reasonably calm under it. :-) And tonight? I'll celebrate it with a couple of coldies down at the bar. I still have a 2-for-1 voucher left and that will go tonight, together with a lot more of the yellow gold. I'll dance my legs off, party 'till I drop. I deserved it. ;-P
Murf: Te Anau - Milford - Queenstown
Back in Queenstown and really almost at the end of the trip. This website says 6 days, 8 hours and 6 minutes which is pretty accurate on the time of writing. But let's not focus on that, let's focus on what happened since I wrote my last entry in Te Anau. (Correctly pronounced like tIanau and not ti-anAU what you might exped.) Meanwhile I try to upload some new pictures as the last films are nicely put onto CD as well. (And that dit cost me an arm and a leg at one photoshop but hey, that's too bad. At least you get what you want, pretty pictures from New-Zealand.)
So I did do the Doubtfull Sound trip. There is not much to do in Te Anau and I really wanted to be able to compare the Doubtfull and the Milford sound as I heard they where totally different. Well, they are. Doubtfull Sound is much more mellow than Milford, less steep mountains and covered with forest, plus that Doubfull around 4x as big is as Milford. It was an amazing day, starting crossing the lake, then into the hydro-powerstation which was really impressive, completely underground and very very noisy. Then over a snowy pass where we had the first glimpse of Doubtfull from a stunning height. Down to the harbour and onto another boat for a 4 hours cruise over Doubtfull with at the end (because the sea was extremely gentle that day) a rock full of NZ Fur-Seals. We approached the rock 'till about 2 meters and had a terrific view of the seals. And then it was time to go back, all the way into Doubtfull, over the pass and cross the lake and back to Te Anau. Starting at 8:45am and back at 6:30pm with a small but affordable ($130,-) operator on 2 small boats and just 11 people. Apart from an ADHD 12yo kiddy the cruise was marvellous. Way better than a stuffed boat with 200 people on it. The whole group was very close and I had some great conversations there though it was pretty cold on top of the boat.
Next day it was time to get the Kiwibus again to Milford and do the Milford-cruise but as the road conditions wheren't to good they had to skip the early boat-trip and went on the trip which didn't include the underwater observatory. Lucky me, I already planned to stay an extra day in Milford and had the chance to go onto the boat the next day, which off course I did and therefore DID go to the underwater observatory. The first night I spent playing chess in the hostel with a m'te I met on an earlier kiwi-bus, then the next day (sunday) we took the Milford Cruise together. Indeed there is a massive difference between the 2. Milford had very, very sheer rock faces. Very impressive. The boat capable of 150+ passengers only had a whopping 10 people on board and Milford's water was really mellow so we had a fabulous crouse again WITH the observatory. The last one was really sweet, taking you down to 8 meters below waterlevel and there you could see what you otherwise only discover when you go SCUBA diving there. Unfortunately the SCUBA diving was closed for the winter but this was at least the closest I could get and I did see some black-coral and other interesting stuff down there. All the way out to the sea and almost getting blowed off the upper deck and getting REALLY cold as it was sunny but it's still winter down here. On the way back we had a nice shower under one of the permanent waterfalls, icy cold but a very cool experience. The kicker came at the end, a troop of ~10 dolphins following our boat so close that I actually managed to get some sweet closeups of the second most intelligent creatures on earth. (If you don't understand what I mean, read The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy!) The night we spent in the local pub watching the rugby game (B&I Lions vs Allblacks, the Allblacks squashed the Lions with 21-3, WHOOOHOOO!). I'm not really into rubgy but I'm starting to like it and it's always good to have some people around. Besides, Milford is really small, 50 inhabitants, 1 hostel, 1 pub and a massive harbour for the 1500-2500 people visiting the sound every day. BTW "sound" is not the right term, a sound is a flooded river and this is a flooded glacier bed. So it should be called a fjord instead, but hey, we're in Kiwiland ;-P
And yesterday I got the Kiwibus back to Queenstown for the last leg of my trip. Pickup at 3pm at the harbour and back in Queenstown at 7:30pm. The hostel I took was not the best one, Discovery Lodge is clean but it's a bit too clinic for me. But it was a familiar place and next-door to a bar. But too bad, no 8-bed cheap dorms available for 2 nights so I had to go for a 6-bed dorm which is $2,- per night more expensive... Ah well, I won't die from $4,- and a 6-bed dorm is a little more spacious than a 8-bed plus that worst-case I only have to wake up 5 people instead of 7 when leaving way too early as this morning where I had my alarm clock at 7am and left the hostel at 7:45 after a nice hot shower. (Story follows in a couple of minutes...)
With a bit of luck I'll arrive in Christchurch tomorrow but some bastard busdriver forgot to book me on that bus so when confirming my seat for tomorrow I heard that I could only be put on standby. AGAIN! That sucks, means that I have to be at the pickup-point 300 meter from my hostel at 9am with the risk I have to return to my hostel again and miss out one of my 2 planned Christchurch days. We'll see.
What happened before...
|balinese roads & liquer||24 June 2005|
|Murf: Invercargill to Stewart Island to Te Anau||22 June 2005|
|Murf: Queenstown to Invercargill||17 June 2005|
|Nicky, the rooster and the elephant||15 June 2005|
|Murf: Fox - Wanaka - Queenstown||12 June 2005|
|I am still alive!!||10 June 2005|
|Murf: Pictures from New Zealand||10 June 2005|
|Murf: 12.000 - 0 feet in 10 minutes||8 June 2005|
|Murf: Christchurch to Franz Josef||7 June 2005|
|My first balinese bang!||6 June 2005|
|Balinese diffrence...||3 June 2005|
|2 days, 3 nights in Base Backpackers, Christchurch, NZ||31 May 2005|
|So long and thanx for all the fish!||31 May 2005|
|Murf in Christchurch, NZ (and customs was nasty...)||29 May 2005|
|Nicky & flying||20 May 2005|