Friday, August 23, 2002

A V R I L L A V I G N E !

In the words of Iggy, "CHRIST! She's.... BEAUTIFUL!"

And she ROCKS!

Seddon, you know me so well. Thanks for your information on upcoming Australian chicks. Who could forget us correctly predicting the rise of SSSSHHHAAKEEEERRRAAA?! I am now also doing a bit of work experience for T4's "Popworld", so I will attempt to wow them with my 'insider' knowledge.


Yay! Dolphins!

Sounds like the weather back home has been more changable than Michael Jackson's face ( ). Don't blame it on the sunshine, don't blame it on the moonlight, blame it on the el nino weather phenomenon. *

The last time I wrote, it was from the comically named Wanaka. Jo and myself have coninued our journey Northwards, and we are currently in Tuapo on the North Island of New Zealand.We've been able to quickly upload a few photos in this internet place - some of California, and some of our Dolphin dive; check them out here .

After Wanaka, we drove by coach to Franz Josef. As with most of the journey, it was very scenic - we stopped at a salmon farm and stuffed our faces with gorgeous salmon during the brief coach lunch stop. A comic was highlight was the coach driver giving a long lecture about not touching the electric fence next to a scenic photo point. Immediately afterwards, some japanese tourists leaned against it, oblivious to what he had just said. Fortunately for them, it was turned off. FJ is famous for its glaciers, and we went on an exhasting afternoon glacier hike .

Our next destination was Christchurch , and we travelled there on the famous Tranzalpine train through the Southern Alps and Arthurs Pass. It is reputed to be one of the best train journeys in the world and it wasnae bad. One of Christchurch's attractions is "The Wizard", a guy who rants outside the Cathedral. I'm not sure if it was him or not (he didn't have a pointy hat on), but he was hilarious, particularly when an even bigger nutter started arguing religious points with him: " There were 12 tribes in Judea!" "No there weren't" ... and so on.

We checked out the Canterbury museum & botanical gardens , the many second had bookshops andthe aqaruim. We were able to get a look at a real life Kiwi. It was a bizzare little thing, bobbing about in the dark - there aren't many in the wild any more after introduced species all but wiped them out.

After capuring the last episode of Xena Warrior Princess on TV, we headed to Kaikoura , famous for it's local marine life. We started off with a whalewatching tour . The sea was pretty choppy , and the earlier tours the day had been cancelled - however we continued to be lucky with our weather and we were able to go. The sea was still pretty rough - almost half the people on the boat were sick (including Jo). As we watched from the boat, we saw almost immediately a group of Orca Killer whales, and lots of Albatros. The aim of the trip was to try and find a Sperm whale. We were lucky enough to see 2 - though we could only see a part of its back & blow hole and then its tail as it finally dived down, it was a pretty magical experience.

The next day, we went on a dolphin encouter to go swimming with dolphins. The centre kitted us out with a full wetsuit (with gloves, mask etc) - essential in the cold water. They even hadd precription lenses for my goggles. Well, you can see the results in my potos! We also bought a disposable underwater camera. Soon after going out in the boat, we came by a pod of about 450 dusky dolphins. We swam off from the back of the boat, swimming with the dolphins and trying to take some pictures. Masses of dolphins were swimming by, looking at us, sometimes as many as 8 dolphins were close by - it was absolutely incredible. When the dolphins had swam by, we got back on the boat to catch up with them & repeat the experience - in all we had 4 swims. Afterwards, we wamed up on the boat with a warm shower and hot chocolate then sat on the boat, watching the dolphins swim by.

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Image hosting by Photobucket

Kaicoura also has a large Seal colony, and we visited that before moving on to the nation's capital Wellington . It has the slogan "Absolutely Positively Wellington". When we first got there we absolutely positively snoozed all afternoon. The following day we took the historic cable car up for a panoramic view of the city, and walked back down through the pleasant botanic garden . There we found a pleasant suprise - THE SEDDON MEMORIAL ! Needless to say, I was dead chuffed. It is a large memorial in honour of Richard "King Dick" Seddon. He was Prime Minister of New Zealand at the end of the 19th century and was pretty populat, and apparently is some sort of great uncle of mine. He was Prime Minister when women were granted the vote, though apparently didn't think it was a very good idea.

Afterwards we visited the Te Papa museum , which was pleasant enough. Incidentally, I don't believe that there is a "Yo Mamma" museum.

Leaving Wellington, we flew to Taupo on a tiny little prop plane which freaked my chicken, but Jo thought was cool. In Taup we exerted ourselves on an energetic walk (out of character, I know) along the Waikoto river, visiting "The Craters of the Moon", almost natuarally formed holes in the ground, pouring forth hot suphourous steam. I called them stink holes. The smell gave me a headache. We should next be visiting the natural springs here, before moving on to National Park in the Wakapapa region, Rotorua & Aukland.

Tip for the top: heard on TV and radio here a lot, Avril Lavigne & her single "Complicated" - I don't know if she's being played in the UK, but her No Doubt style tune, combined with Sarah Michell Gellar looks make her a sure fire hit (and obsessed about by certain presenters of the No Show radio show) .

Hope all is well with you, I try to reply to all of your mails, and enjoy getting them, so feel free to reply. If you want to be taken off theis dist list, or know of someone that wants to be added, let me know. As always, I'll update with the latest.

All the best,


* thanks to Geoff and David for that repeatedly stolen joke.

Thursday, August 08, 2002


Welcome to the latest travel mailout, *now with hyperlinks* - oooh.

I've been in New Zealand for a wee while now and it's really cool - cold in fact. Moving from the summer heat of Californian desert to the Winter cold of Southern New Zealand was a bit of a shock! The first thing me & Jo did was to buy some warm clothers - gloves, hat & warm jacket.

Our flight over was faily eventful. It was supposed to be 14 hours, but was delayed by 2 hours as they decided to remove a couple of shady looking charcters from the plane (and then remove their luggage) - although we didn't really get to find out the reason why. We had this tiny Indian brat sitting next to us on the plane who was crying & screaming & basing his mum for absolutely ages (this was before we even took off) and his mum didn't try to shut him up at all. Eventually the cabin crew gave him a sedative whih knocked him out. NZ is 20 hours ahead of LA, so we lost a whole day on the flight. I wore my Monday socks in comemoration of that lost monday. We missed the connecting flight from Aucland to Dunedin because of the delay, but by some lucky fluke we were able to get on a different flight almost imediately.

Dunedin in the southeast of the South island was a nice little place - and realy reminded me of the UK. Dunedin is actaully gaelic for Edinburgh and is ment to be pretty similar. It's fairly cheap, and we got a roast pub lunch here for $6 - about 2 pounds. The town: a big student town, with lots of pubs, the steepest street in the world, a brewery (we went on the tour), a botanical gardens and a pleasant Victorian house (with a cerayzee lady who does the tour - "improprieties - thats a lovely word"). Our hostel does some *award winning* nature tours of the Otago Peninsula , and we were able to see Royal Albatros, Fur Seals, Hoocker's Sealion and Yellow Eyed Penguins. We were only a ew metres away from the SeaLions on the beach, so it was pretty amazing. Oh, there were lots of sheep too

Our next stop was at Queenstown, famous as a resort for extreme sports. We skipped out on most of them, but did luge down the mountain, and go on a jetboat up the river (the jetboat ride made the water rides in Disneyworld look like somesort of mickey mouse organisation). We also stayed at a hostel that had a pretty weird owner - so that was fairly extreme too. Ish. We rented a car and drove up to the maginficently beatiful Milford Sound, picking up some hilarious Japanese hitchhikers, and some mischeavious Kea birds tried to pick at some of our car. We had a cruise at Milford , taking in the fantastic views - the place really gave Yosemite a run for its money. We've also been tying to spot scenery from the Lord of the Rings movie, as a lot of it was filmed here.

We're now in Wanaka , mostly chilling out before we move on. Pop fact: Many football referees comefrom this area, leading to the _expression "The referee's from Wanaka" *. The coolest thing here seems to be the eccentric looking cinema, with the seating made up of old armchairs - there is even a car in the cinema that you can sit in. We're going to see an arty film there tonight - "A Time For Drunken Horses".

Next stop - Franz Josef for glacier hiking, then catching the Tranzalpine train to Christchurch.

Until next time, batfans


* this fact is clearly made up. The sport is rugby, not football

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Hey there, Tom D here. I've been in Birmingham recently acting in a play. While I was there I was lucky (?) enough to meet up with an ex of mine. Here is an excerpt from an email that I wrote to describe the event to a friend, and now... TO THE WHOLE WORLD! Ahahahaha! Ha ha! Oh.

"I also met up with my other friend Fiona [names changed for anonymity's sake], who I kinda got together with in the first year of university, only for her to tell me that she really loved her boyfriend and had to go back to him. Bah. Anyway, I met her initially at Christian camp, so I was a bit surprised when she started talking to me about her brisk trade in cooking hash cakes. She then showed me pictures of her new boyfriend. (Yes, the one she threw me over for did something unspeakably bad and they broke up.) Her new boyfriend in the pictures looks supergay, he is wearing a leopard fur hat cocked to a jaunty angle, he has a pierced eyebrow, and he is NAKED! NAKED! NAKED from the waist up. BUT NAKED NONETHELESS! And there's another photo of him. AND HE IS NAKED! (from the waist up) NAKED! And then she says "here's one of whateverthefuckhisnameis wearing my clothes". And he is now only PARTIALLY NAKED but the bit that is covered is in WOMEN'S ATTIRE! AND HE'S NAKED UNDERNEATH IT! NAAAKKEEEDDD! Sorry. Then, on the walls, there are four figures in paint. These relate to Fiona [name still changed] and her three female housemates. There are four sets of lips, perhaps printed in lipstick. There are four sets of hands. And there are four sets of two mysterious brown shapes about halfway down the body. I am looking at these, trying to decide what they are. Fiona joyfully points, "That's me!", and somehow I knew. And then it clicked. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh sweet Jesus, no. I am in a hell. Not THE hell, obviously, but maybe a suburb of hell. I feel cursed, having to drink tea and maintain polite conversation whilst all the while being mocked by brown paint prints of her breasts on the walls and the knowing glance of a gay naked man in a leopard fur hat saying "HAHAHAHAHA! You are an idiot! Two years ago, she liked you and now, I am wearing her hat. And I am NAKED! Have you ever been naked with her? No! But I am gay and I am wearing her clothes and underneath her clothes I am NAKED". It was a traumatic event."