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New Zealand, now very much discovered.

Thought for the day…” Light travels faster than sound.  Therefore, some people appear to be bright until they speak”

” A bad attitude is like a flat tyre.  You cannot go anywhere until you change it”.

Travelling around the South Island of New Zealand, it is very clear that New Zealand now has more tourists than is comfortable.  Many buses are fully booked, some with waiting lists of passengers, accommodation is very heavily booked and in some towns (like Queenstown) it is now necessary to book so far ahead.      Same story with rental cars and domestic flights, all extremely heavily booked.   Feedback from tourists is also not as positive as before, due to overcrowding and the national parks and attractions being so busy.     Latest statistics show that in the year ended January 2015, that the number of international arrivals into NZ was 2.86 million visitors.   When you relate this to the number of people in New Zealand (about 4.5 million) then the effects of tourism become clear.   And the tourism numbers are growing by about 4% a year.    Not quite as bad as Dubai yet, where visitors outnumber locals by a factor of 4.8 to 1, but still high.  Also well behind  France though, which gets around 84 million foreign visitors a year.    But New Zealand is now well on the tourist route, and the strain is beginning to show.  No longer cheap, and also no longer so relaxed as before.    Book your place now !

Another photo from the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition, held at the weekend.   Looks like this competitor was enjoying herself, about 40km into the cycle leg on stage 2.

 

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and another photo from the archives…street scene in Korea.

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Challenge Wanaka Triathlon

Thought for the day…” With great power comes great electricity bills”.

” Some people are like clouds.  When they disappear then it is a beautiful day”.

Said to be one of the most scenic triathlon competitions in the world, the annual Wanaka Challenge was held at the weekend.    During this day, which stretches from 7am until 1130 pm (so almost 16 hours), competitors will start by swimming 3.8km in the lake, then cycle 180 km through the mountains and after that run the 42.2km marathon.   226km in some of New Zealand’s best scenery…….   The winning time this year was 8 hours and 37 minutes, won by Dylan Mcneice from Christchurch, NZ.   And if you think that doing 226km and 3 sports in a day is impossible, the size, shape and age of people taking part in the Challenge proves otherwise.    The world record for a course of this length stands at 7 hours 41 (by Andrea Raelert at Challenge Roth in Germany).  Spare a thought for the 70 year old Brian Boyle, who managed the 226km race in a very respectable time of 14 hours and 31 minutes.  Perfect weather and great conditions made for a fun day out for the spectators and the 1500 competitors

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and another photo from the cycle leg of the competition…LOW RES cycle

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New Zealand – Discovered

Thought for the day….” Well done is better than well said”.

” When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.”

It is sad to see some of the changes in New Zealand now.   Up to a few years ago, it was cheap destination and was the sort of place where you could arrive in a place and decide where to stay and for how long.   Now that has changed.   Huge numbers of tourists (many of them from China) mean that accommodation and buses are booked out, even now which was traditionally a ‘low’ season.    There were 402 518 international visitor arrivals in December 2014, a  new record, with Chinese tourists being the big growth area.     Compare that figure to the total number of people in NZ (just over 4.5 million) and you can see that over a year, that the number of tourists is huge.      Over 3/4 of the population of NZ live in the North Island.    But the problem now is that most of the tourists want to see the most popular places such as Queenstown, which is leading to overcrowding and booked out buses and accommodation.      This season it is hard to travel with advance reservations, and tourist activities are heavily booked, even this late in the season.    Prices have gone up a lot too, and NZ is no longer the bargain destination that it was.   Prices for accommodation have risen sharply, tourist activity prices have reached European levels, and eating out has also reached European price levels too    New Zealand has been discovered !    So if you are going to visit New Zealand, reserve in advance and come with a lot more money !!   And the photo today is from New Zealand, Lake Wanaka early morning…

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and another photo out of the archives….sunset at Ometepe, Nicaragua.

LOW-RES-Nic-sunsetALL PHOTOS ON THIS SITE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

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Another stunning morning in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Thought for the day….”Marriage is the main cause of divorce”.

“There is no elevator to success.  You have to take the stairs”.

Another beautiful morning in Wanaka in the south part of the South Island of New Zealand.     This popular summer and winter resort is expanding fast, with a population of over 7000 now and 1600 new houses about to be built.     Until 1940 it was called Pembroke but was renamed.   Wanaka receives only half the national average of rainfall, as it is in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps, which also means that it gets over 2000 hours of sunshine a year.   Despite the calm appearance of the lake in the photo (taken a few days ago) the lake has flooded the town previously, the most recent being in 1999.  New Zealand has become considerably more expensive recently, with prices rising fast for food, accommodation and tourist activities.  It is no longer the bargain destination that it once was, and with record numbers of tourist arrivals (409 000 for the month of December alone) then accommodation and buses are still very heavily booked.    Early morning in the photo, and two tourists admire the views…….

Wordpress-Wanakaand another photo from the archives….a Mozambique woman….LOW-RES-MOZAMBIQUE-Vilankulos-to-Inchope-road-15-Oct-2012-(17)

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New looking old, historic New Zealand

Thought for the day…” It isn’t premarital sex if you have no intention of getting married.”   (George Burns)

“Dreams are not what you see in your sleep.  Dreams are the things that do not let you sleep”.

Nice photo of the historic Cardrona Hotel, Otago, New Zealand for the photo today.    Cardrona lies about 25km from the town of Wanaka, on the mountain road to Queenstown.    Cardrona was originally a gold rush town which grey up in the 1860s.   The historic hotel in the photo was used in advertisements by the Speights brewery in New Zealand.   Nowadays it is the nearby Cardrona ski area which attracts tourists, although now that the road to Queenstown is sealed all the way, then the route through Cardrona is much busier.  Occasionally you still see people panning for gold in the nearby river.   The photo was taken in colour, then selectively changed to black and white.

LOW-RES-hoteland another photo out of the archives…taken on safari in Kenya…..WORDPRESS-KENYA-Lioness

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Airline etiquette or bad behavior.

Thought for the day….” Follow your heart, but take your brain with you”.

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines”.

There cannot be many people in the western world who have not flown, so I assume that most people know the etiquette of flying.    Even if they do not, then common sense and good manners is enough.  But recently I experienced the worst passengers that I have ever had the misfortune to sit next to (and misfortune was the word.).  Bad enough that there were 300+ passengers on the aircraft, but what are the odds of ending up sitting next to the worst passengers possible???   These two passengers had a screaming baby, bad enough on any flight but on an 11 hour night flight then obviously VERY unpopular with a lot of passengers.  Not only that, but the parents wanted to get up out of their seats.   Not just a few times, but an excessive number of times.    Even when the meal was served, they decided that they wanted to get out (same thing at breakfast too, trays down and the food there, but they still wanted to get out immediately).    The man on my left seemed to be unaware that he did not have a god-given right to put his legs and feet into my leg rest.   When I was not fast enough at moving to let them out, they simply climbed over me, regardless of whether I was getting up to let them out or not.   11 hours sitting next to the worst ever passengers.     I wish that I had taken a photo of them, not just to shame them but to warn others that this couple had a gold medal in inconsideration.   And even on arrival, the man decided that he wanted to be first off the aircraft and was going to try to push past everybody else like a rugby scrum.    I hope that these two particular passengers end up on a no-fly list due to their total lack of consideration.

On a happier note….a photo of the Interislander ferry sailing up the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand.    The route through the sounds, which takes about 1 hour, is extremely scenic.   During the winter months, the 3 hour crossing between the North and South Islands of New Zealand can be extremely rough in the middle section, so passengers will be relieved once they enter the sheltered waters of the Sounds.   The ferry is seen near its final destination of Picton, top of the South Island, New Zealand

wordpress-ferryand another photo from the archives….a Malawian boy……WORDPRES-Malawi-boy-2

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Exceptional customer service.

Thought for the day…” Two things define you – your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything”.

” Success is when preparation meets opportunity”.

So often today customer service is lacking or has gone totally (take the airlines for example, where customer service is often a thing of the past).   So when you encounter great customer service now, it is noteworthy.   Recently I met not just good customer service, but EXCEPTIONAL customer service.    I forgot the battery charger for my camera (easy to d0), and contacted a photo shop in Christchurch, New Zealand to order a replacement one.  Received an email back to say that it was out of stock, but here is where things got interesting.   After explaining to the shop that I did not have a charger and could not take photos, the shop offered to recharge my batteries if I posted them up to them (I am about 480 km away) and that they would post them back.  Not only that, but one of the employees of the shop who was planning a trip to Wanaka, New Zealand (where I am) offered to bring a charger down with him to recharge the batteries for my camera.   Not only is this customer service, but it is EXCEPTIONAL customer service.   Just goes to show that there are some retailers who deserve trade.     So if you are in New Zealand then Photo & Video in Merivale, Christchurch are well worth dealing with.  http://www.photo.co.nz     It is so good to encounter customer service like this, and it restores faith in conventional retailers again.   Guess who I will be using in future for my orders? !!!

The shopping area of Insadong in the Korean capital, Seoul for the photo today and some unusual colour…….

LOW-RES-Koresaand another photo out of the archives…LOW-RES-Green-Lizard

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Legs Line up

Thought for the day…” In the book of life, the answers are not in the back”         ” Happiness is no laughing matter”.

Some street photography for the photo today.     Some proof that you should always have the camera ready, because sometimes you only have a split second to grab the shot.   The world”s longest street is Yonge St in Toronto, Canada, which runs some 56km.   The world’s most expensive shopping streets, based on the rent per square foot is Fifth Avenue in New York, where rents reach USD 3500/sq foot.   Not far behind is Causeway Bay in Hong Kong and Bond St in London England.   And as for shops, one of the world’s smallest shop is said to be the shop called “Parks Are Zoos for Trees” in New York (where else?)  which apparently has the same dimensions as a closet.   But lots of colour and space in this shop view which is not the smallest in the world !…………..

LOW-RES-legs-plusand another photo out of the archives….Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway and the famous Vigeland sculptures.

WORDPRESS NORWAY Oslo 13 Sept 2012 (52)ALL PHOTOS ON THIS SITE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

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Fast and Slow, Albania to China

Thought for the day…” Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving”  (Einstein).

” If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there”.

Around 3.2 million people live in Albania, which borders Greece in the south and Montenegro in the north.  Italy is just 72km away across the sea, yet Albania remains one of the poorest parts of Europe.   One strange difference in Albania is that shaking your head means ‘yes’ whilst nodding your head means ‘no’.  Today’s photo shows the train from the Albanian capital, Tirana arriving at the second largest city of Durres.    At the time the photo was taken, trains ran all the way from the capital, however now the main train has been demolished to make way for new roads !  Even when it was operating all the way, average speeds were extremely poor, with the 38km journey taking around 90 minutes.   Compare that to the world record for a conventional train, held by the French TGV which reached a top speed of 574.8 km/h in April 2007.    Up to July 2011 (when its top speed was limited to save energy) the Chinese CRH2 Harmony train covered the 922km from Wuhan to Guangzhou at an average of 313 km/h.

LOW-RES-Albania-Durresand another photo from the archives….boats in Essiouria, Morocco.  Spot the man on the boats….

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Why do they do it?

Thought for the day…” Some days there will not be a song in hour heart.  Sing anyway”.

“Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss then you will end up among the stars”.

I have no sympathy or patience for the increasing numbers of people who are walking along pavements with their head down, concentrating on a mobile telephone, and oblivious to the outside world.    Now I refuse to move out of their way.  TMCnet.com is reporting that a poll of British doctors has shown that 37% of UK smartphone users have stumbled in the last 2 years.  The study also reported that 40% of Greek smartphone users damaged their phones in stumbling accidents over the last 2 years.    And sites such as youtube have videos showing mobile phone users walking off piers in the sea or into canals or fountains whilst texting. So why do people do it??   What is so important that it needs a text to be sent whilst walking???  Moan for the day.

A sunny day in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik for the photo today and a shot of the Costa Victoria cruise ship.  The ship carries up to 1928 passengers and a crew of 766, whilst about 42 000 people live in the city of Dubrovnik.

LOW-RES-Dubrovnikand another photo out of the archives….Gospel day in the Cook Islands….

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