A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: schuckley

New Zealand Photos

Cool sculpted archway in downtown Auckland, NZ

D is for Dave

This is not Lynette or I. I just thought they were cool shots, one showing the city below. And with my fear of heights I can't believe anyone would do this!

This tree in a park reminded me of the phone tower that was installed at Disney's Animal Kingdom and disguised as a tree. Only this one is real, so trees do really look like that!

This is a shot of the back deck at our lodge on Waiheke island which is a 35 minute ferry ride from the coast of Auckland. We spent 4 nights there.

What a beautiful place Waiheke was. This is one of the beautiful views of the many beaches. the flowers are amazing there.

Here I am posing happy but really freaked about the idea of driving on the left side of the roads.

The photos just don't do these locations justice. We took these while driving around the hills of Waiheke island. We stopped at a winery for lunch and had what was supposedly the Best Pizza in the World! It WAS pretty darn good.

Waiheke is very hilly and there are these really windey tight foot paths that lead from the upper towns and main roads down to the beaches. Lynette is decending this one that took us on a short-cut through the woods to our lodge.

It was amazing stepping off the plain to see this view. We had just landed in Queenstown on the South island of New Zealand where we are now. We will take off on our 5 day trek the day after tomorrow. We're really excited. I'm sure I'll have some amazing photos after that.

Here is a shot of the lake which is right across from our hostel here in Queenstown. The air here is cool, and it also seems to be very crisp. It just smells and feels really clean. The water is so clear and blue. Its weird to see water like this amidst mountains rather than in a tropical setting.daves_013.jpg

Here's a photo of our amazing accomodations in the hostel in Queenstown. Just enough room to get around the twin beds. The bathroom is down the hall.

Posted by schuckley 20:04 Comments (4)

More from New Zealand - by Dave

We have been on Waiheke island off the coast of New Zealand mainland for about 4 days. It is absolutely gorgeous here. The lodge we are staying in is very nice. It is a large house with a lot of shared areas so all the travelling people get to know eachother. There are some challenges with that that we are trying to get used to such as difficulty sleeping due to partying just outside our window. The heat does not help either. The first few nights were okay because it cooled off and there was a nice breeze but last night was stiflying. And of course there is no AC or fan.
We have been making most of our own meals in their kitchen with groceries from the local stores. That is challenging as well because of the lack of full supplies and decent cookware and utensils. The refrigerator is crap frankly, and full to capacity with everyones stuff. Our food is barely kept cold. And we are getting used to drinking warm Coke.

I have washed my socks and underwear in a sink for the first time on our trip. At the last hostel they had a washing machine but this one does not. That is something I'll have to get used to. The good side of our room being so hot is that my clothes hang dried in record time.

Yesterday we spent the day driving around other parts of the island. We drove through the beautifully rolling hills and got out of the car several times to check out the beautiful views down to the coastline beaches. The green hills agains the bright blue ocean was an overwhelming sight. Everywhere we looked around there seemed to be a beautiful painting just waiting to be created. There were sheep scattered across some of the hills that reminded me of the bugs bunny cartoons where the sheep dogs punch the time clock to watch over the flock. The wind blew the tall yellow grass like waves on the distant hills and it seemed that the surface of the hills were moving.

Driving on the left side of the road was really something to get used to. I was pretty freaked out about it and wasn't crazy about the idea, but knowing that it would be the only way to get around and see places outside the small town where we are staying it was a must. Only one time did I pull out of an intersection into the right lane and Lynette quickly shouted me back over to the left. Outside of town in the hills the roads get really steep, curvy and narrow. And in some places they become one lane dirt roads. Not one lane each side, just one lane total! And on curvy cliffside roads where you can't see traffic coming around the corner its pretty frightening. But fortunately we made it through alive.

The day before yesterday we were sitting on the beach when a woman came up to us and asked me if I could help her. Her 12 year old daughter had climbed around the cliff-side on the rocks along the beach and had gotten stuck beyond sight. Her younger brother had come back to get help. So he lead me back out around the jagged uneven rocks to find and help her. I was wearing my hiking shoes but it was still difficult navigating the rocks trying not to fall into the water. The boy was good at it but he was much younger and more agile. At one point I had to jump across about a 3 foot gap in the rocks where the water was washing in and out. I wasn't sure I would make it because I am not that good of a jumper, especially without getting a running start. But thank God I made it. Every time we rounded a bend I thought we'd be there but the boy kept leading me on. The boy said he heard her calling for help. I didn't hear her but we quickened our pace, making the climb that much more difficult. Being the pessimist I am, in the back of my mind I considered that this might be a huge ploy to get me out by myself to mug me. But I pushed the thoughts away. I was seriously scared and my adrenaline was pumping. I didn't know what type of position the girl was in. I imagined her hanging and slipping from her fingertips with her feet dangling over the water. When we finally got there it wasn't much better than that. Luckily she at least had a foot hold. A man was already there trying to climb to her. He was just wearing swimming trunks and flip flops. He had been out on a boat when his wife heard the faint cry for help so he swam over to help the girl. Unfortunately she had gotten up into a really precarious position and could not get down. And neither of us could reach her. Every time I tried to climb up I realized that it just wasn't going to happen. The rock face was too steep and smooth in some places and too loose in others. There were also really thorny shrubs that blocked the way and I got prickers in my hands and legs when I tried to pass. The girl was trembling with fear and fatigue. The man's wife on the boat had called for help and supposedly the rescue team was on the way but it seemed like an eternity passing and there was no sight of them. The girl was quickly getting too tired and we were seriously worried she'd give out and fall into the rough rocks about 30 feet below. Finally we heard a chopper in the distance. It came around and hovered for a while to assess the situation. It flew off to land on the beach which was out of sight to us. Lynette later told me that it landed on the beach and people went running for cover as the sand flew everywhere. One policeman got out and started around the rocks to us and the chopper flew off. When he got to us he was able to find a way over to the girl so that he could hold on to her so she wouldn't fall, but it was too difficult to get her back to safety. So we waited for the fire rescue team to arrive on land. They pulled up at the beach and several guys worked their way over to us. They climbed up to the girl and policeman and eventually worked out a strategy to get her down. Finally they gradually were able to climb back to the ledge where I had been standing and guided the girl to safety. Then it became kind of a surreal situation. I had just been in one of the most scarey situations in my life. I felt really physically and even more emotionally drained. I figured the rescue members might ask me some questions or maybe commend me for my "attempted" heroism. However, we all just stood around on this one big rock and they completely ignored me. As the still frightened girl was sitting there at their feet they made crass comments about how the chic in the bikini out on a boat was checking them out. I also expected to see a rescue boat come up to take us all back to the beach. But I was shocked when they asked the girl if she would rather have the boat come get them or if she'd be able to make the walk back along the rocks. I couldn't believe they were leaving this decision up to her. Of course she's going to say she can make it back, feeling awkward about causing more trouble for them by requesting a boat. After all the physical strain she'd been through I didn't think she should be made to navigate the rough cliff-side and waves. Not only was I worried about HER making it back, but I was worried about ME making it as well. I'd been looking forward to a boat ride back to the beach, but they all headed back on foot, and I behind them. The girl was fine, happy to be back in her mother's arms. I too finally made it back to a worried Lynette and I about had a nervous breakdown. It was not the relaxing day on the beach I was expecting but it was quite the story for the blog and for the future. It sounds unreal, but it did happen. Later Lynette and I were commenting on the chances that I would be here in New Zealand and on the beach at that moment. Pretty amazing.

Tomorrow we head back to the mainland and then on Friday we are off to Queenstown for our 5 day treck, and more adventures!

Hopefully I'll be able to find a place to upload more photos in the near future. I've got lots of good ones!


Posted by schuckley 14:57 Comments (3)

Aukland New Zealand - by Dave

(From Journal entry Jan. 11 2008)

We are now in Aukland New Zealand. We arrived last night. We didn't get too much of a good look at the city during our 35 minute bus ride to our stop because it was dark. Besides we were pretty tired and just focused on finding the hostel. Once we got off the bus we had to navigate through a few streets before we finally found it. Its right next to The White House Strip Club. But that shouldn't give you a bad image of the part of town its in. Its actually pretty nice. Our room is rather small. It reminds me of my college dorm only smaller. It does not have an air conditiner or even a fan so I am glad that it has been on the cool side. There is a TV but it only gets two channels. One had the New Zealand version of The Biggest Loser weight loss competition show and I forget what the other was. So I haven't been tempted to turn it back on. Aukland reminds me of San Francisco. There's a mixture of old and very new mondern architecture, there's a lot of harbor areas with lots of boats. And there's lots of hillsides jutting up with houses and apartments scattered across them.

(From Journal entry Jan. 11 2008)

Yesterday we went to the sky tower. On travel shows and on postcards you always see these magnificent aerial views of cities, but whenyou go there you just end up walking around surrounded by buildings and you never get to see those great birds eye views. I wanted to go to the top to see the view of the city. That's obviously why they built the thing. The neat thing about this tower is that you can pay extra to walk around outside at the top. Of course you are attached by a cable. I am extremely afraid of heights so I was not about to do this. You can also pay more to actually jump off the tower. Not a bungie jump, just a controlled slide down some cables. We got to see a couple guys do that and it looked scarey as heck. I myself had trouble just walking around inside the viewing deck behind thick glass. I kept imagining the tower swaying and pictured what seemed like the tiny stick beneath us supporting the structure. I had to stay against the wall at the center of the room and could not go by the window. But at least I went up there.

Today we walked around Ponsonby which is an area of the city where there are a lot of quirky shops and cafes and bars. We happened upon a really beautiful park with amazing views. There were some spectacular and strange trees there. One looked like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. Others had huge gnarley trunks with tons of smaller trunks twisting up around it. I imagined that they came from the swamp where Yoda lived. Later we stopped by the public library. Lynette stayed inside for a while and read while I sat outside and sketched some buildings and a dude sitting on a wall.

Here you don't call the restroom a restroom or a bathroom. Its just called the "toilet." Not very subtle. Their flushers are different. They have these two buttons either on the wall or on the tank each about two and half inches diameter. You push them to flush. I haven't yet figured out the difference between the two buttons. I think one is for a full powerful flush for doody and the other a short burst for pee pee. But I'll have to ask to be sure.

Lynette read somewhere that in New Zealand the thumbs up signal means "up yours." I never realized until we came here that I give the thumbs up signal a lot. A few times when I meant to compliment someone or thank them I actually was offending them. Since then I've tried to keep my hands behind my back when talking to people.

The cars run on the left side of the road here. Which has made for some close calls when crossing the street. At some of the intersections when the walk signal lights up you are actually clear to walk across all four street corners. And all vehicle traffic stops. You can even walk diagonally across the intersection. It just looks like a big mass of people going all over the place.

There's an internet cafe just around the corner where you can get 30 minutes for a dollar and there's internet access for a little more money here at the hostel so I've been able to do some blogging to pass the time. I don't know how often I'll be able to do it at later spots. Since I'm paying for access I don't waste time with proof reading so please pardon any errors.

I'll try to post photos from New Zealand sometime in the future.

Posted by schuckley 00:23 Comments (3)

Fiji photos

-17 °C

taking a stroll
posing on the beach
dave being friendly with Fijian dog
lynette having a bite at the resort

Posted by schuckley 00:11 Comments (0)

Fiji by Dave

Bula (Hello in Fijian)

(This is my journal entry from 1-9-08)

We are in Fiji, the first destination of our journey. We arrived here this morning at 5:30 AM Fiji time after a long 11 hour flight from LA. We were originally planned to arrive yesterday but when our first flight of Cleveland to Chicago was delayed, supposedly due to fog, and we realized we'd never make our connection in LA we decided to stay another day at my parent's in cleveland. the next day we arrived back at the cleveland airport to realize that the flight to chicago was delayed yet again. This time it was due to the fact that the president was there. Needless to say we were beyond upset. I went up to the ticket counter and asked the attendant about our situation. That turned out to be a great move because it turns out the plane that was about to pull out from the gate next to ours was going to DC where we'd be able to catch a connection to LA with enough time to make our flight to Fiji. So Lynette and I rushed to make in on board in time. The pilots could be heard over walkie talkie complaining about the hold up because they were ready to pull out. (Now they now how we felt.) Thankfully we made it on board in time and were on our way. We just kept our fingers crossed that nothing else would go wrong.

The day of flights seems to blur together because it was such a long and stressful day. I don't remember much about our lay over in DC. LA I remember because of how badly organized and confusing the airport was. No directional signage whatsoever. We had to ask several people how to find the international terminal and our gate. I can't imagine how foreigners do it. I guess I'll find out when we are the foreigners in some non english speaking country.
We got there with over 2 hours before our next flight but ended up being crunched for time. Between running this way and that, waiting in lines for checkin and back check and security check, the shuttle to the gate, and navigating the crowds I was surprised we made our flight.

When we got to our plane that would take us across the pacific I was happy to find that it was one of those jumbo jets with 3 rows of seats rather than the 2 row kinds that I'd been on many times for our US flights. The one from DC to LA was too, but this was even the kind with a second floor. I wasn't even sure those really existed, as though they were just a thing made up to make airplane movies more exciting. But they are real and we even got to sit on the second floor. The flight didn't actually feel that long probably because I slept a lot on and off.

We finally arrived in Fiji. It was beautiful right off the bat. We got off the plane and walked along an elevated open air walkway into the airport. With gorgeous skies and mountain ranges all around. The car to pick us up for the hotel eventually arrived and we made our way to where we'd be staying for our night on the island. The drive was interesting. The two guys up front of the old van were friendly. They navigated the windey streets of the small neighborhoods and backroads well. Along the way they stopped once to get some hot bread, once for a bag of ice, and once to pick up some woman from the side of the road. Each time we stopped at the old buildings for one of their errands I thought, "I sure hope this isn't the place. It doesn't look like the pictures on the internet." The structures were old, rusting, dirty, falling apart, and hardly appeared to be structurally sound. hardly the Fiji getaway I imagined. Thankfully we drove on each time.

As we got deeper into the backroads they got muddier and bumpier, but the views got more spectacular. Amidst the gorgeous palm trees and fields of greenery, the mountains rose up in the distance over the plains of clear blue water. We finally arrived at our hotel which turned out, to me, to seem more of an oasis paradise, especially after our long journey. The front desk, dining area and bar are all under an open air roof structure. And above that can be seen big beautiful palm trees. Then the clear skies of intense blue and just a few billowy clouds. The small but sufficient pool is lined with recliners which are shaded by yet more sprawling palm trees. Our room is on the first floor and is small and quaint but just enough emenities for comfort. One of which being an air conditioner! The screened windows have no glass just wide wooden louvers to shut out the light. They don't shut out the pool and deck noise but we have ear plugs for that. There's live music playing here tonight that I plan to enjoy but you never know, jet lag might hit me and send me to the sack. All our meals will be taken here since its too far to go anywhere else, but that's okay because the food here is great. We've decided to just stay here for our 1 1/2 day stay instead of trying to run aournd and see all the sights. We've been doing enough running around for a while and we'll see plenty of sights later on our trip. This is a great place to just get some relaxation time and let the realization that we really did this sink in. Its hard to believe that after all the planning and excitement and thinking this trip would never come that its really begun and we are doing it.

(Please pardon any typing errors. We are paying for our internet time and I don't have time to do corrections.)

I'll post photos at a later date. - Stay tuned for more!

Posted by schuckley 12:21 Comments (0)

Photos from last days in Ohio before heading off

I thought I'd send some photos from our last days in Ohio before heading off on our round the world trip. Some are from our new Years party where we celebrated not only the new year but the beginning of our amazing journey. The other photos are from our stay at Lynette's family's farm in Bucyrus.

We are both so ready to get going on our trip. Its been a long time in the works and the excitement is building. We both have been having trouble sleeping due to the excitement and nerves.


pouring champagne to ring in the new year

Dave and Lynette pose for pictures wearing their travel backpacks.

dave and Lynette show off their fancy medical kit that they plan to take on their world travels. It even has a syringe for handy injections!

Here Lynette and Dave toast to the new year by samplying some fine champagne.

Here Dave is christening the map that the family will be following them along on by putting in the very first pins representing their stay in Ohio.

Lynette and her dad get stuck in a ditch while on a joy ride.

Lynette claims the snowy fields as her territory.

Blair Witch Part II -Stranded in the snowy woods, Lynette and Dave fear for their lives.

Dave takes time out of his hike in the blizzard to take some pictures for his adoring fans.

Posted by schuckley 13:11 Comments (0)

One more week

One more week. Seven little days and Dave and I will be on our way to Fiji!!!! I know how to say hello now in Fiji so I'm all set. I went out to lunch with my parents and some friends yesterday and it turns out the one of my parent's friends spent some time in Fiji back in World War II and told me BULA means hello there. Our flight leaves Cleveland airport at 5:15 p.m. on January 6th so this time next week we will be on an airplane waiting to take off.

It has been really nice spending time with our families. I am back in North Olmsted where Dave's parents live for a farewell/New Year party. It is a small one - not like the one in Orlando. Just family and some close friends. Then Dave and I are gong back to the farm for a few more days and then we will spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday back in North Olmsted. We still need to buy a few more things and confirm our plane tickets but if we had to leave tomorrow we could. We booked our hostel in Queenstown, New Zealand today. The organization that we are doing the Milford Trek through asked that we send them our pre-hike accomodations. So, we booked a hostel that has private twin beds and a shared bathroom. There was one we looked at that had a private double bed and a private bathroom but at $50 per person we decided to go cheaper. We were laughing at the fact that we both felt that $100 bucks a night for a room was too expensive. That is probably how much the Red Roof costs on highway 77 in West Virginia for goodness sakes!

Happy New Year everyone!!!

I put a couple of website links here for you. The first is a site we used a lot in planning and booking this trip. The second is a link to the organization that we are doing the Milford Track through.




Posted by schuckley 13:58 Comments (0)

Last week

Dave and I are now in Cleveland, Ohio. The first exotic location on our trip around the globe. Actually it is the second location - first was Boiling Springs, South Carolina to visit my new nephew Jayce and my brother and Shyanne and the rest of his family. It is cold in Cleveland and there is several inches of snow on the ground but we are very happy to be here. We left Orlando on Saturday instead of Friday because we were not done doing everything that we needed to do in Orlando yet. My advice to anyone wanting to do this in the future is to take at least 2 weeks maybe even a month after you leave your job to just organize. We were so busy last week that our heads were spinning. We moved all our stuff to a storage facility on Monday so we spent all day Sunday packing up our stuff. We then had Doctor appointments, Dentist appointments, tons of errands to run, banks to notify, taxes to set up, vaccinations to get and on and on. To give you a visual on what we felt like last week - if you have ever seen the movie Goodfellas - the part just before the Ray Liotta character - Henry Hill is busted for drug possession where he is running around like a madman doing a million things like running over to his girlfriends house to get the drugs and then going home to make sure the pasta sauce is cooked properly and then telling the girl that is going to take the drugs not to make a call from the home telephone and then taking something over to the inlaws house all the while sweating profusely and being followed by helicopters. That is truly what we felt like and we were exhausted. It was just a very emotional week since we are leaving a place and people so familiar to us. It was very difficult for Dave and I. We are thrilled to be going on this adventure and making a dream come true but that does not negate the fact that we had a wonderful life in Orlando and really will miss a lot of people very much. We still have a few things to do but the bulk of what we needed to do has been done so we are just going to enjoy this time with our families.


Posted by schuckley 08:43 Comments (2)

42 days to go!

Here we are - only 42 days to go before we fly out of Cleveland to Fiji! Dave and I are so excited, nervous, anxious, thrilled, basically just name an adjective and that is us right now. We have come so far and it is now becoming a reality which we both are still having a bit of a problem totally comprehending. We still have a lot to do and time is dwindling but slowly but surely things are falling into place.

Posted by schuckley 07:30 Comments (1)

The trip

First Entry

-17 °C

My wife Lynette and I will be leaving for our 1 year around the world trip on January 6th, 2008. We are very excited. Our first destination will be Fiji, then on to New Zealand and Australia. After that we plan to visit Malaysia, Inda, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Japan. Then we will head to Europe to see Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Amsterdam and Prague, (not in that order.)

We will be updating this blog periodically at internet cafes along the way. So check back occasionally througout 2008 if you want to hear what's up and to check out some of our photos.



Posted by schuckley 06:06 Comments (1)

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