Sunday, September 18, 2005

Left the Ice!!!!

(pictures include my first view of the sun as leaving antarctica...me having one of my first beers with my friend atlas in NZ....the cool pinwheels at the arts center in nz...and me and my friend lynn at sumner in NZ)
okay, here's the real story...instead of just an introduction....i was scheduled to leave the ice on august 24th....but unfortunately or fortunately for me, weather rolled in an we were stuck on ice for an extra two days....this rocked my world as i got to be a "useless eater" (thanks annie b) and hang with my friends who had just arrived in town...it was a relaxation period i was not supposed to have and i was all for it :) my bags were packed, my room was cleaned and i got to sleep in and eat and watch movies....i loved it :) when we were leaving for real...it actually hit me that i was leaving...it is an amazing thing that working in antarctica becomes routine, as does the landscape and the temperature, etc....just blew my mind :) but i have to say i was ready to go and was happy to be headed on my way....it was great to catch up with some folks who had just arrived and i am hoping winfly for them and those winterovers who are still on ice has been a lot of fun :) its better i am not there :) in the transport to the runway i FINALLY got to see the sun for the first time since march....yahoo!!!! that was a huge sign that i needed to go.....

when we got to the cheech airport i was greated with smells and dampness and colors and lights and different people and choices :) it rocked...i stayed in christchurch for five days and enjoyed that very much...i spent quality time with some ice folks and some quality time readjusting...like sitting in the botanical gardens reading a book, watching a stream roll by and kids laughing as they paddled in a kayak....it was incredible....and at one point i watched a little girl who was just learning to ride a bike...ride right into the avon river....it wasn't deep, but man did it freak her and her mom out...i just giggled to be a witness :) NZ is a beautiful place and i can only hope i get to go back there at some point and expaore more...but this time around it was good it was for a short while....i did have some amazing food...little india, as always was a highlight...and this time i made it to strawberry fare....a delicious, but pricey dessert restaurant....and we tried this mediterrean/singaporean restaurant that was yummy!!!! and i did make it out of town to sumner, which is a beach town...the weather was a bit cooler, but i dipped my toes in the water anyway....all in all it was a great few days and i really enjoyed myself....plus, i didn't need so much adjustment time...so the length was just what i needed....

leaving NZ was a trial in patience...as fog became my worst nightmare...okay, it wasn't that bad, but trying to leave NZ was a bit of a pain in the butt...i started my journey to taiwan at 4am on sept 1st...but fog was so thick you could cut it with a knife and no planes had landed from auckland, which is where i needed to go to get my flight to taiwan...the airline worked out a flight plan and we finally boarded and headed to the north island.....but as we got closer you could see how foggy it was in auckland...after circling for thirty minutes the pilot said he was going to try and land...and we headed downward....we had the wheels down and were in the middle of the fog and still you couldn't see the ground....then all of a sudden we pulled out of the landing.....UGH!!!! i had never experienced this before...you could tell we were close to the ground and it was a last minute decision...which i am happy about because i am still alive :) but we had to go to wellington to get more gas and wait out the fog....normally what was an hour trip was quickly turning into a mess...oh well....we finally got to auckland, but of course had missed the flight to taipei, taiwan...there were seven other folks in the same boat as me...but they were all chinese/taiwanese who didn't really speak english and didn't treat me as i was one of the group...unfortuantely i decided to associate....which didn't help me at all...these folks were rude to the travel dude in auckland and he decided to get us stuck in auckland for the night....dumb move on my part...so i was stuck in auckland for a night....but i had some good food, stayed in the city, caught a movie and tried to make the best of it...the next morning my travel started again at 6am...as the city is about an hour from the airport....and when i got to the airport no international flights were flying....more of the dreadded fog....this time i was on my way to hong kong and then taiwan....time did not work out again....oh well...but i did get to hang in the hong kong airport unexpectantly...the trip to hong kong was LONG...11 and 1/2 hours....phew...and the movies were not top notch...oh well....i did have a seats to myself and kept kind of falling asleep so that was a plus....one of the flight attendants and i got into a long conversation about NZ and the states and all that was going on in new orleans...and that was a great thing...really nice guy :) and he said it was probably better i arrived in taiwan one day later than anticipated as it was hit by a typhoon the day before that was one of the strongest it has had in the past ten years....loving the weather :) for your information, a typhoon is a hurricane or cyclone that happens on the pacific side which is why it is not referred to as a hurricane...anyway...one had come and i had thankfully missed it....

anyway...after two days of trying to get to a hot, humid taiwan...who knew...i made it to the airport at midnight on sept 2nd (which was 4am my time) where my friend karen was waiting for me :) it was a welcomed relief to see her smiling face :) and my next entry will be about my time here in taiwan...i am still here at the moment, but am headed to cambodia on monday....the next entry with be about my time in meditation and hanging in a country that doesn't really have a focus and no sense of tourism whatsoever....not that this is a bad thing....
until next time...hope all is well and be happy :)

2 comments:

Kellie said...

Awesome, Dani -- I've been thinking for a while that you ought to blog. 400 subscribers, I don't even *know* 400 people. :)

Interestingly, you are the second person I know that has done a ten days of silence kind of retreat this month. Pretty neat.

I'll email you later -- thanks for the birthday e-card!!!

Love, Kel

PS A cool side effect of your blog is that I was required to join blogger.com myself in order to post here... so I'm finally starting my own. FYI the url is http://kelliesweblog.blogspot.com/ (but I haven't posted anything yet).

Lorie said...

Hi Dani!!
great to hear your stories of travel. im ready to be on some travels as well. Miss you but im glad your out enjoying the colors and smells. me next, me next!!
Lorie :)