June 2009, Erfurt area Days 19 - 21


Koln to Erfurt/Muhlhussen/Gotha in Eastern Germany on Autobahn 4 and 45, (Curves 4, Road condition 8, Traffic 5, View 6 (lots of wind Mills which I like)). Got lost again on the way as I tried to take some back roads. But once again the traffic and rain pushed my patience and my route back on to the motorway. After battling the rain for 5 or more hours I made it to Muhlhussen only to realize I had no idea where Franky and Anja lived. So, I texted him from a supermarket and Franky blasted over in his car of the month. Spent two great days with Franky and Anja looking around Muhlussen and Erfurt eating and drinking.

I packed up and said goodbye went to start my bike and nothing happened. Thank god Anja was still there when this happened or I would have been lost. A neighbour jump started the bike and I was finally off for lunch with Sandra in Gotha (30 minutes away). After lunch I went to start up and go to Dresden for the night using the Couch Surfing project, but found the battery was dead again. So Sandra took me to a couple of shops and one battery was ordered for the next morning. I stayed with Sandra in Gotha, canceled my Dresden stay and forged on to Wroclaw, Poland after 3 days in the Erfurt area.

Erfurt

And Schnitzel at, where else, Schnitzler.


Franky's car of the month that he uses as the Manager of the Mercedes dealerships in Muhlhussen and Eisenach.

Specs for the car nerds. A cool $140-150,000 US. Mercedes C63, top speed of 295km and around 450hp.

Attempt at top speed on the Autobahn.

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Wind Mills of the Erfurt area.


Me and the Black Pearl.


Gotha Gardens below the Castle


This guy will help you across the street.

Punks of Gotha, where is Batman to save us?


Thanks for taking care of me Sandra, I owe you one.

Summary vid

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June 2009, Epic Journey to Koln Days 15 - 18


After a rest in Cardiff it was back on the road for another Epic Journey to Koln (550 miles/880km). Left Cardiff at 8:30 UK/ 9:30 Koln and made my way to the Ferry at Dover for 15:30 UK / 16:30 Koln, 1.5 hrs, Calais 18:00 through Belgium, Nederlands and then to Koln 23:00. I stayed on the Motorways for the majority as everytime I headed off I ran into traffic and got lost, especially in England. English drivers were quite good at going into the passing lane and returning to the slow lane, not as good in France, Belgium and Germany, but still moved fluidly.

Petrol station stop near Bath and paying for Air! This is still free in places in Canada, but soon everywhere we will pay and the next generation will know nothing else. I'm getting old! haha!

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Nice.

Perparing for the Ferry to France

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The White Cliffs of Dover. Perhaps not the sexiest town, but nice cliffs.



Pushing to make Koln as the Earth rolls away from the Sun for one more day.

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Staying at Martin's in Koln again this year with flatmates Schoner Mattzer and Grosse Mattzer. Good to see the team is still together.

I think this is one of the top 10 ugliest cars of all time.

Ate Schitzel then...


Went on the town and managed to hear something besides electronica for some of the night at Six Pack. Germans have rebelled since last year and have brought smoking back into the bars. It was a smoky and jammed night to say the least, but great for mixing it up as everyone is in the same situation.

This one is funny to me, as Martin and I are being chased by a completely trashed guy in slow motion.

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After Friday night.

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Saturday we went to Dusseldorf for a BBQ with Roman, Eddie, Steffi and Stefan. It was good to see Roman after 5 years as I didn't see him last year.

Yes, it's the Touchdown King.


I guess in this town you can put your girlfriend on a leash?

Dusseldorf at Sunset



Following the Picinic we watch the Japanese firework celebration and proceeded to the old town and a rock bar and to Anaconda for another packed club experience. One difference was the ticket clipping system which removes the use of money until the end of the night (doesn't work as well in a tipping country). The ticket is punched up to a value of 30 euros and if you drink more than that you get a new ticket. If you lose the ticket you pay 30 euros and can get a new one at that point. Very easy to spend a lot as well.

The experience.

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Convenience, a lighter and a bottle opener.

Apparently it is a sin to drink a Weiss (Wheat) beer from a bottle.

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Off to Erfurt/Muhlhussen Germany.

June 2009, Epic Journey to Cardiff Days 12 - 14

Boarded a boat from Koh Phangan at 14:30 (8:30 am UK time), Samui to Bangkok flight 19;15 (13:15 UK), Bangkok to Frankfurt flight 0:00 (18:00 UK), Frankfurt to Birmingham flight 8:40 (7:40 UK), Birmingham to Leicester Train 10:15 UK, Leicester to Wigston Bus 12:00 UK, Wigston to Cardiff Motorcycle 16:00 UK, Arrive Cardiff 20:00 UK = 36 hours.


Sour Point - They call it rip off Britain and the may be right. If you want a trolley at the airport you have to pay. And if you don't have a pound you can put €2.00 in which is worth 1.8 pound ($3.25 US). So many passengers coming from Germany including myself tried to take a trolley only to look up in disappointment. Funny thing is I would have only been able to use it for 200 m as I came to some stairs. Urgh!
On the bike. Took all motorway to Cardiff as I wasn't sure of the weather or my energy level to get there. Thanks for the bike Josh, taking care of some stuff and for the care in general Bex.
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So, I made it to Cardiff. Had a chat with Mari who I stayed with, then slept for 10 hours.

Dave / Josh's bike and a funny hatted cop (Bobby?)



Cardiff Castle


I want one! ($30 US)
The more I travel the more Costa's I find. This is actually a massive coffee chain in the UK.

It is not possible to get a self timer protrait any more interupted then this one as the biker cruised pass. I love it actually.
Cardiff Bay
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Welsh Government building looks like an Opera house or Theatre? Politicians are entertainers, aren't they?
Beer taps at one of Mari's locals. Mmmmm Brains. You can get SA at the Welsh bar in Wellington and I think Bitter also. It's all good.

Oh yeah, and go to Zero Degrees for a good beer too.
If you have time check out the 3 drunk Welsh guys chatting with me. Apparently everyone in Wales has been to Canada and NZ. The sound is quiet, sorry.
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Thanks for having me stay Mari. Really what I needed to rest up and all.

June 2009 Koh Phangan, Day 8-10

Koh Phangan, finally. This Island sits between Koh Samui and Koh Tao and is roughly the size of Samui. I didn't make it here last year as I just didn't have the time. It's cheaper than Samui and has more to see than Tao, but it is probably the dodgiest of the three. It's know as the Full Moon Party island and has a Full Moon Party Beach were all kinds of craziness occurs. I was only there until the night before the Full Moon so I was spared the full dose of Phangan, but saw plenty at the Pool Party (held every night even though they make you think it's not) and Full Moon Beach. I hung with a Kiwi, Carl (Aucklander) for a couple of days and had some good times.

Leela Beach Bungalow (first two nights) and view






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Carl and I ripping it up on scooters ($5 US a day).



Getting Petrol from a happy-go-lucky old dude. He's definitely seen enough tourists.

A two metre snake I almost stepped on!


As expected accommodation is impossible during the Full Moon, so I had planned to leave a couple days before and spend my last night in Samui in order to get a good rest and hit a couple of shops the next day. But that didn't happen...

Unexpectedly with one hour before my boat to Samui I drove past a bunch of Wellington folk (Taylor, James, Barnes and Kim) who arrived two days early which was quite a shock. I decided this was a sign to stay another night, so I left my room at Leela Beach ($13 US a night) and found a room at the Coco Hut that was a bit more, but 60% reduced as I was only staying the one night ($280 US reduced to $120 US).


In the end I didn't get the rest I was seeking, but had a bloody good time.
Thai kick boxing video.

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Fire limbo

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Thai guy who does this every night, F§"%ing impressive!!!
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Taylor jumping fire (closest to camera)

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Fire Breathing

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May-June 2009 Thailand, Koh Tao, Day 1 - 7

Set out for Thailand on May 28. Ben blitzed me to the Welly Airport 20 minutes before my flight which I caught shit for, but got on anyway. Had lunch with Tracy Lee at the Auckland Airport then jumped on the 12 hr flight to Bangkok. It was a great flight with a whole row of seats to myself and of course video on demand.

From my Wellington plane up to Auckland.

Somewhere over Aussie?

Scary clouds

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Breakfast at the Airport hotel I stayed at, SP Power ($30 US includes Airport transfers and breakfast). I think the smallest sausages ever.

Flew into Samui on day 2 and caught the boat to Koh Tao ($18 US, 2 hours). Although I had been to Koh Tao last year, I felt I should go again to dive some more. Met Neil MacDonald of Scotland on the boat over who helped me find a room at SCUBA Junction, Sairee Beach (Prick Tai Bungalows), which is in a perfect location for eating, drinking and the beach. Also, SCUBA J use a long boat from shore to go to their dive boat so you need not dick around at the very busy main pier. My room was good enough for $10 US /night (diving price and $12 when you're not). Next time I would still dive with SCUBA J, but would probably stay next door at JS Cabana or Sairee Bungalows which was tipped to me by other travelers.

Sairee Beach

My hut

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Loving the Thai. Phad Thai and Green Curry, $3 US each.


Crashed a wedding the first night with an invite from Jeannie. Had to get on the Thai Red Bull at least once. The second night we went to Lotus to watch the Poi entertainers. The little one on the left must have been about 8 years old.

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Pork inside two rice patties. How come I'm the only one who likes these?

After two nights drinking it was all diving for 3 days. The diving was good for some of the spots, Chumpon Pinnacle and Southwest Pinnacle. Massive schools of fish, the odd Stingray, but no sharks this year. Regardless you can't complain when it's $20 US a dive and 30 deg C. Unfortunately on my last dive I hurt my ear a bit and to top it off later that day I got Thai Stomach which confirmed I was done diving on the trip. This put me out of action for at least a day sleeping 20 hours and not being able to drink any beer! Ah, traveling. Thanks to Keith for getting me some waters and crackers.

Going to Chumpon Pinnacle

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Neil and I hiring scooters in order to explore a bit and make it to the Budha View BBQ which is about 3km away from Sairee. This was one of the highlights from last year and well worth it.

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Gasoline in a rum bottle (1 litre) = $1.50 US (cheaper at Petrol Stations = $1/litre. I think there is only one station on Tao).

Great electrical wiring at the main intersection of Sairee. I wonder if the birds are happy with this or not?


And finally, on a political note I found out that the Thai people in Koh Tao aren't Thai. They are Burmese. Even in Thailand there is explotation as the Burmese will work for less then the Thais. It's amazing that they can leave Burma and come to Thai to make more money than home. I didn't think this was possible in Thailand. Wow.

May 2009, 48 hr filming, traveling again

Inline Hockey Season Began. Yes that’s right I play in-line hockey, which is just like ice hockey, sort of. Unfortunately there is no ice in Wellington yet. However, there is ice in Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin plus a couple smaller places. I have been in contact with a South African who is looking to rectify this and I will be meeting with him in Canada to discuss. Anyhow, the Tawa Typhoons began their 2009 season and we managed to go 6 – 1 in the 7 games in May. At the end of the season the top teams in our North Island South group go on to play in the National Championship which of course I will miss. Good luck Tawa!

48 hour Furious Film Making. A yearly competition where teams are asked to write, film and edit a 5 minute film in 48 hours and not a second later, seriously. I was introduced to a 48 team, the “Recpetionist”, through Philip on my hockey team, which consisted of mostly Germans and a couple other countries (even a Kiwi or two). We had a lot of experience in lighting, set dec, camera, sound and assistant directoring which gave us a good chance to put something strong in to the competition. Our genre was a M. Night Shyamalan Big Twist Movie, which I thought would make for a script challenge (which it did). The weekend went smooth enough and we completed 30 minutes ahead of time with sleep on both nights. We also managed to make it in the local paper being one of the few teams out of the 169 that were based outside of Wellington in Hutt City. http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/communities/2403360/Snap-shots-48-hours-to-make-a-film
Photo of location scouting.

Our film was shown in Heat 13 on May 18 where we won the audience choice vote. Unfortunately no films from our heat made it to the finals on May 27, so we will need to try again next year. I attended the finals and was quite impressed with the final products. One film even had an Oscar nominated actress from the New Zealand movie “Whale Rider”.
Our entry.
Last Day of Work, came on 26 May and I said my good byes for now. Octa gave me a nice card, cash present for my trip and some kind words. Great little company and a well spent 1 and a half years.

And now the next adventure. If you are looking for me over the next 5 months you may find me in these places before I return to NZ in November 2009. Diving in Thailand (May 28 to June 7), Riding a motorcycle around Europe (June 8 to July 5) and Learning new things in Canada (July 5 to Nov 6).