Local Heart, Global Soul

October 20, 2012

A Contrast of … Everything!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We’ve entered Malaysia at “JB”  (Johor Bahru) and the coach takes the motorway that quickly brings us out of the city and into a ribbon-like built up area where I suspect various little villages are in the processing of merging together.

Sometimes there are patches of palm trees:  not the tall lanky palms of  some other tropical places I’ve visited but rather the thick stocky forms of oil palms with their super sized palm fronds and dense foliage.

Within a space of maybe twenty kilometres I see everything from ultra modern high rise buildings to traditional buildings on the edges of plantations on stilts, some look like work areas and others like living quarters , and the contrast of age and styles is an eye opener.

Other buildings bridge the gap between these two extremes,  and slowly I build a picture of a country in transition where there are stark contrasts between rich and poor, rural and urban living, the upward socio-economic curve, modern and traditional.

We travel for a while but then, coming into what looks like an industrial area, the bus slows, makes a few turns down some rather run down streets and we find ourselves at our first stop…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Does this sign mean “Give Way” or indicate that we have Priority?  …or something else? like “watch out, nine holes in the road ahead!” Any ideas?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After playing games on their phones it appears that most of the passengers have curled up and are sleeping… Mmm the modern generation (Ha! how old do I sound now LOL!!!) don’t seem to count looking out the window and drinking in the sights of a new country as entertainment.  I really would like to have a courage to yell out loud “Come on people! you are on an adventure! Keep Up!!!!”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 19, 2012

Traffic Jam Kiwi-Style: Roads, Tunnels, The Coast …and Nature’s Nudists!

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have left Kaikoura and are back on the road heading towards Christchurch.

We are driving on State Highway One  which follows the coast,  sometimes just meters from the sea  before cutting inland and weaving our way though hills until we reach the northern end of the Canterbury Plains.

We pass the “ghost trees”, a stand of trees that are completely bare of leaves… they have become a little bit of a landmark. Personally I think secretly that maybe we just passed the most flamboyant exhibitionists of the  nudist section of the tree world, because they certainly are rather a dramatic sight.

Since the highway isn’t  a multi-laned mega motorway we sometimes get stuck in a small queue of cars that are following a slower moving vehicle like the trailer in front of us.

Luckily Kiwi’s who are towing a boat, caravan, horse float for trailer generally use common sense and pull over periodically whenever there is a suitable spot to do so and let the traffic behind them pass and everyone we saw was patient and waited until this car with a trailer did just that a few kilometres further down the road.

Certainly tailbacks tens of kilometres long like those that can be considered normal in The Netherlands are unheard of here in New Zealand.

Granted, the Netherlands has over 17 million people crammed  in a country the size of the Canterbury province we are heading into and it’s road network is busy with traffic heading to and from various neighbouring counties as well, but seriously, if this is as bad as a traffic jam gets then we have nothing to grumble about.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 27, 2010

Oh Just Shuddup and Navigate…

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m usually the Navigator when it comes to long road trips.

Actually these days I’m usually relegated to holding Our Lady of the TomTom and  checking if the “Right Turn Ahead” instruction  necessitates taking action on our part  3 seconds further up the road or 14 minutes away.

Is it just us, or do you also hate that dreadful attachment that attaches Our Lady of the Tom Tom to the windscreen? You know the thing, it’s a detatchable ring with a suction pad that you then clip Our Lady into.

The annoying thing  is that we have been advised to detach it all from the windscreen every time we leave the car to deter possible car thieves so it’s not just a matter of getting it right once and leaving it there for eternity (our preferred option).

The curse is that we often have any of  the following things happen;

(a) the suction thingy that’s supposed to sick onto the windscreen won’t suck, it just refuses, you try and try and try…. and try and try and try to keep your blood pressure from rising in the process. You fail on both counts.

(b) it sucks and sticks nicely to the windscreen but several minutes ( or 20) later it falls off , and Our Lady hits the floor or slides the length of the dashboard … if you are in the middle of turning out of the street or passing someone on the motorway it’s a dangerous and alarming distraction.

(c) The gadget sucks itself to the window successfully,  but once you have informed Our Lady of your intended destination you try and place her gently into the other section that is successfully on the windscreen. In doing so, you accidentally turn her off…and turning her off appears irritatingly easy to do, the slightest touch of the touch-screen does it …(frustratingly, resetting her requires removing her again from the stuck-to-the-windscreen part of the gadget)

(d) you clip the suction clip to Our Lady, inform her of your destination and then try and put the whole kit and caboodle onto the windscreen in one hit,  … and accidentally turn her off,  ( you are seriously trying to refrain from throwing Our Lady out of the window at this point, and frustration is now at a level that  means that you don’t even care if said window is open or closed)

(e) you actually mange to get everything onto the windscreen, it remains up their successfully AND you manage to not turn her off in the process, Result!!!

(f) or you give up completely with the suction gizmo and place Our Lady on the passenger seat or in the lap of your front seat passenger.

(g) or multiple combinations of the above.

We prefer to think that it’s a design flaw in the gadget rather than our lack of technical expertise, it’s easier to cast blame on the stupidity of an inanimate object rather than ourselves after all.

So the Navigational part of our travels remains only partly resolved to our satisfaction. Of course, finding yourself entering a Portuguese village, arriving at a “T” intersection and wanting to get back to Valença , requires a far more simple form of navigation: just read the sign.

Hmmm… left, right, left, right…. hey let’s just toss for it  shall we? Interestingly Our Lady was silent until after we had made a decision ourselves and turned the corner, maybe even she was confounded by the stupidity of a sign that points both ways.

Or maybe she was busy stifling laughter that she’s finally met humans who are clearly even more  stupid navigationally challenged than we are.

September 25, 2010

LookOut, What a View!!!

Filed under: SPAIN — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We’ve left the small Spanish town of Padron, and are taking small roads that weave though the hills and down the coast as we head back Southwards to Portugal.

Kilometers pass, and we see a large variety of landscapes, some parts are more built up, industurial, commercial, other parts are very run down and neglected and there is everything inbetween.

Coming over the crest of a steep hill on a more inland part of the route we see below us a steep little hill that almost pokes up out of nowhere… there’s “something” at the top that we can’t make out, and a clear road up to it.

We decide to make an investigative detour.

Our little hill is deceptively steep and have been made useful as it now serves as a Lookout point. A good  place to take a short break from driving, stretch our legs and grab a breath of fresh air.

The short stagger up to the top is worth it… I can see for Miles and Miles and Miles…(or Kilometers in my case)….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 15, 2010

The Hanmer Springs / Christchurch journey by road…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are staying the New Zealand alpine village of Hanmer Springs for fairly well the whole month that we are in New Zealand.

Friends and relatives live mostly in Christchurch and whilst we are getting masses of visitors  to our little holiday house in the hills, we are still  backwards and forwards to Christchurch semi regularly.

The one and a half hour drive to between Hanmer Springs is fast becoming a very familiar route.

Himself  likes to drive this route,  is enjoying  the sparseness of the traffic, the twists and bends in the road, the scenery and the fact that the motorway stretch of the journey is a full 5kms (3 miles) long… and the joke, that that 5 kms is pretty much the sum total of Motorway road in the entire South Island.

I’ve been taking photos out the front window of the car as I often do, and now as I post this from back in the Netherlands it gives me a little bit of homesickness: having moved from a daily view of the South Island’s Southern Alps to one of the flattest countries on the planet is something  that tugs inside me regularly. There’s a joke here that if a Dutchman dropped a marble on one side of the country it would roll to the other side.

I often dream of mountains.

Here’s a look at the  photographic journey that is the “to and fro”  between Hanmer Springs and the South Island’s biggest city: Christchurch.

First… famous for sheep,  so here are some for ya…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I took this one because I was trying to capture a shot of the clouds ( that the  photo doesn’t do them justice is an understatment)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Waimakariri  River (below) outside Christchurch… it’s a big braided river with a very strong current,  very popular with jet-boaters but sadly many people have underestimated it over the years with fatal consequences.   When there is exceptionally heavy rain in the Alps, the river can rise dramatically and I have seen water almost up the the road deck of the bridge . This is the view of the rail bridge taken from the road bridge.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I was fascinated not only by the fact that these are lined up in a row, but later, that that numbers seems so random…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

New Zealand is very very famous for sheep… so naturally I keep getting them in view… thus, more wooly baa lambs…

( all of these are named “Shawn”  btw…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

BUT… the best known landmark on this road is alas, missing from these photos… but you will have to wait patiently one more night whilst I dream of my mountains again,  and I’ll be introducing you to this famous landmark in tomorrow!

April 12, 2010

Blenheim to Hanmer Springs a short road-trip view…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Today is a busy day,  it is the 24th of December and the road between Blenheim and Picton is busy in parts with traffic heading North or South for Christmas.  Here’s a glimpse out the window at what we see as the scenery whisks by…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just a few of the vineyards where some of the wonderful New Zealand wine comes from…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Past two mountain ranges, the Inland Kaikoura’s and the Seaward Kaikoura’s…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is the well known saltworks at Lake Grassmere…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

More tunnels along the coast road ( we lost count how many in the end)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The dry hills of a New Zealand summer…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 2, 2010

Stopping for lunch, “The Store” (and not much else) at Kekerengu.

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch are on the road, travelling towards Picton in the north of the South Island so that we can make the ferry crossing to New Zealand’s Capital Wellington.

Naturally travelling with kids requires more frequent stopping,  and thus we find ourselves at  The Store at Kekerengu.

I was going to write “small town of Kekerengu” but with a total of a few houses in view and nothing else in sight, that would be a rather large exaggeration.

Massively large in fact.

An outright lie in fact.

Once in the carpark the kids tumble out of the car like little slips of mercury and start running around as if they have never felt freedom before.

We give the a few minutes to burn off the worst of their wildness before taking them inside to eat. Let’s go inside and have a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Inside there is an artisan atmosphere, it’s relaxed and spacious.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Food in the cabinet is rather trendy fare, large mixtures of more adult orientated  flavours and textures, not really fussy-kid friendly, but on the menu there are toasted sandwiches which pleases the younger members and I have a sudden wish for fish and chips Kiwi-style. (Fish and chips in The Netherlands are a soggy soft imitation of the real thing so I usually don’t eat them at home)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself  had a big breakfast so opts for only a cup of tea …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Once we have eaten, there is time to stretch our legs and look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

..inside under a main table…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

the beach is down the steep steps that lead down the hill (no photos of that ‘cos Little Mr. is happily playing on the steps and it’s too hard to edit him out of the photos)… Seagulls hang out on close vantage points for possible dropped food opportunities.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Map of where we are… ( yep, literally the middle of nowhere LOL)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

View of the road from the car park…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

But the very best view is definitely from the end of the outside eating area… yum, drink it in.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 1, 2010

Beginning a journey North…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch have an invitation to go to visit friends in Wellington.

Our current location, inland in Hanmer Springs,  an hour and a half north of Christchurch necessitates a drive first to Kaikoura on the coast.

Then we head northwards up a ribbon of land that in large parts is barely big enough for the road, ending up in Picton where we are to take the inter-island ferry across to Wellington.

The day started out sunny in Hanmer Springs, but once we got though the first hills the clouds abounded and closed in more and more as we headed north.

The photos could thus be better, but hey I can’t change the weather. Traffic was light even for pre-Christmas, and the kids were reasonable in the car (small miracle).

Here is a small photographic essay of  the beginning of our journey north…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is State Highway 1, the main highway that runs up the length of New Zealand. For most of it’s length it’s one lane each way. So different from Europe, but  then so is the population and space ratio.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The lovely town of Kaikoura…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Beautiful, wild New Zealand…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 21, 2009

Restaurant Review: Damons… and the road to Boston.

(photo © kiwidutch)

Sadly today we must be leaving Maine, and heading to Boston for our flight out in a few days. Mr. Four has already asked if he might be allowed “to have a Lake at home please”, something that we would  of course love but since we live in a crowded Dutch city,  many thousands of our Dutch neighbours who would have to be displaced to achieve it, so sorry little man, no Lake will be possible at home.

We have eaten well, seen many new things, relaxed and had fun in the lake, traveled around and had a brilliant time at the Bowerbank parade. The weeks have flown by and now home and jobs call so we must bid adieu.

Now we have done our packing, piled everything and everyone in to the car and we head south and east towards Boston. At first we pass though small towns and rural communities, later we link up to the interstate highways and get sped along in the multi lanes of traffic.

Then comes the inevitable cry from the back of the van… I’m hun-gry!” and after a pause, a murmur of accent from several others who stomachs are agreeing with this sentiment.

We also notice that the van is making a noise that doesn’t sound good  in the realm of mechanics, it literally sounds like a good time to stop and take stock of the situation. We find an exit off the highway and happen upon a small establishment called “ Damon’s”. They do Subs and pizzas and we take our hungry selves inside to see what they do that will please our fussy kids.

Lunch is simple, between us we are eating fries, one child orders a sandwich filled with meatballs that turns out to be huge…,  my friend has a bun filled with ham and pickles,  her husband a meal of shrimp, another kid, a bun with meat and melted cheese on top,  hubby gets a wrap, and I get some chili… and for mine at least  it’s OK,  It’s not the Bowerbank chili-cook-off kind of winner , but it’s tasty enough and it fills a gap. The staff are friendly and we are happy to have sorted out our hunger pangs.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

The van is not sounding very healthy at the moment, we can’t figure out what it might be and can’t see anything… so we want to get to the outskirts of Boston as soon as we can and try and find out if it’s something serious or not.

(photo © kiwidutch)

We pass though numerous small towns and enjoy very much the  views along the way. We also pass though Old Orchard en route to Boston… Let me show you a little bit of our journey…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)



(photo © kiwidutch)

Finally we come to a bridge… the sign tells us that we are entering Massachusetts …. we are almost there.

(photo © kiwidutch)

December 12, 2009

More Road Journey photos, Part 2…

There were too many photos from my last topic to post in one thread so this is Part 2….

More photos from on the road in Maine and Canada…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

..some lovely building decoration…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I love the forest…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

.. a storage shed that is like a little barn…

(photo © kiwidutch)

the wilderness is gorgeous…

(photo © kiwidutch)

A lovely drawing on historical Acadia…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Signs leading to Prince Edward Island…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

..a postcard I bought shows the Confederation Bridge to PEI far better from the air than I could manage on the bridge itself…

(photo © kiwidutch)

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