Singapore

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This year’s trip is a fleeting trip to Singapore to have a weekend of champagne brunches. Fabulous darling!.
I have met up with some friends who have just finished a 5 week trip around Europe.  I am really looking forward to the brunch indulgence.
We are staying in Orchard club rooms at the Parkroyal on Pickering
The rooms are lovely and the staff have so far been delightful.
The flight was dragged out ar both ends but we arrived safely and that is all that really matters.
It is the season for Indonesia to burn off their crops to replant new ones,so the haze in Singapore is pretty intense. Apparently in Malaysia it much much worse.
Seems incredible to my sheltered self that a country gets away with causing such dramas to neighboring countries pollution wise
When I got to the hotel I went straight up to the Orchard Club room as there was only half an hour complimentary drinks left. My friends arrived 2 hours later and we all headed off to the 2 am dessert bar. The head chef Janice Wing has been on Australian Masterchef.

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imageWe got matched cocktails, which were much more to my liking.
Singapore are 2 hours behind us so it was actually 2am while we were there so I was feeling a little tired. The boys are handling the change in time zones much better than me. They are on their way home from an amazing trip around Europe. It was about 4.30 am (our time by the time) I got to sleep. It’s now 7.45 and I am wide awake ready for the day with a scheduled afternoon nap.
More photos of the day to come.

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I have typed this post from my phone so it make look a bit weird.

How to put a doona cover on in a matter of seconds.

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I am going to do a Martha Stewart momentarily sans the tax evasion.

As you all know I am baffled by the quilts between sheets bedding arrangement. It is all very eww.
I am genuinely interested to hear the reasoning.

This is my fast shooting way of putting on a doona cover. After washing it, if it isn’t inside out, I turn it inside out.
Then I put my arms in the doona cover and grab onto the two end corners, I then grab hold of the corners of the doona that should be in those corners and with a quick pull the doona cover is on. No hassle and a matter of seconds.
I don’t have video add on to do a video demo😉

Flying home

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I had a 12.30 pm flight out of Christchurch so I wanted to get the car back to Thrifty and allow time for hassles. There were none, so I was at the airport super early my Air New Zealand ticket had a flag on it so that they would put my luggage through priority and give me access to the Koru lounge. They had a special section for me to sit in, initially it felt like I had been put in the naughty corner.

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it wasn’t the naughty corner though ,It was rather luxurious  with the most amazing views2014-11-19 10.44.21 2014-11-19 10.18.06 2014-11-19 10.14.30

I had a nice breakfast and a couple of sparklings and then got on the flight to Auckland that was connecting me to my Melbourne flight.

Air New Zealand certainly made up for the luggage stuff up. They put in a huge effort to make sure I was happy. It was charming and made me wish I could afford to always travel with the extras.

I really appreciate everything they did.

There was a mother with her two bouncy kids (no older than 4) sitting behind us. Luckily I had the mother in the seat behind me but the two women sitting next to me where getting their seats kicked a lot. When the coffee/tea cart came around one of the kids said “mummy can we get a coffee?” In a classic case of Broni speaking before thinking. I let out a very loud no! The two ladies next to me grinned and laughed. They then went on to tell me stories of what it was like to be in Christchurch during the earthquakes.
We got to Auckland and I made a mad dash to the international terminal thinking I would be late. I got there with 20 mins spare and made my way to the koru lounge for a toilet break and light refreshment😉
No need to rush though the flight was delayed. That’s fine though. The flight was uneventful, the roast chicken dinner was very good.Air New Zealand really know how to do airplane food well.

I cried and laughed at an Adam Sandler/ Drew Barrymore movie called Blended. I am blaming the emotion that Christchurch evokes for that .😉
Always a bit embarrassing crying at an inflight movie, especially if it is meant to be a comedy.

It was uneventful, until an impatient man targeted the female customs officer and bagged her out for the length of the queues. Hope he enjoyed the search.

My luggage also made it all the way back. I managed the trip without spending any credit I have no savings left but that’s ok I can start again!

I forgot to show you this cooking warning in the Queenstown apartment "odoriferous  pungent".

I forgot to show you this cooking warning in the Queenstown apartment “odoriferous pungent”.

Christchurch

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Not much sleeping in going on in NZ, that’s ok though when I get back to Melbourne I will be able to sleep in the two hour time difference. I went down to the Christchurch Museum, a lot of work has gone in to make it as captivating as possible. They have many different areas covering many different aspects of New Zealand’s history. The Antarctic section was interesting. I have a bit of a fascination with the Antarctic. I would love to go there one day. There was a replica of a house that was in a town called Bluff, probably cringe worthy for New Zealanders and foreigners alike but as I had never heard of them it was amusing. Fred and Myrtle Flutey covered their walls with Paua shells and then opened it up to the public.

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It was very kitsch or odd or something. They used to do the tip top bread ads and became quite the NZ household name.

you may need to scroll down to the cute dog if you don’t want to read another rant.😉

It took me around an hour and a half to see it all. I was very glad that I went until… A lady with a soft voice approached me to do a survey , the soft voice should have sent me running. There is something about softly spoken people that screams passive aggressive to me. Anyway, I want Christchurch to continue to grow after the terrible devastation of the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 so I said I would do it. Instead what I should have asked is how long will it take. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in sight, 5 mins into it ( it was on an iPad) it says I am only 28% through it. I asked how much longer it will take and she said it moves faster as you get further through it, anyway 5 mins later we have hit the half way mark. She was hovering over me reading everything and generally crowding me. To cut a long story short , I didn’t finish the survey. Perhaps they could ask for people’s email addresses instead of making us endure that.

Ralph the delta dog at work

Ralph the delta dog at work

Then I went off to the re start mall where they have made a mall from shipping containers. They had a table where you can put your phone on it and it charges it – nifty. The mall was very nicely set up and had some yum looking food vans.

On seeing this I finally got the "joke" the wine our guy made about it being easy to find a carpark in Christchurch.

On seeing this I finally got the “joke” the wine tour guy made about it being easy to find a carpark in Christchurch.

I walked off to meet a doctor ,that used to work where I do, for lunch. It was in a cafe that is in the middle of an area that was devastated by the earthquakes. It seemed to be the only building that hadn’t been turned into a pile of rubble. The cafe was called c1 and they do a seriously good espresso. At dinner time they also do sliders that get delivered in a pneumatic tube.

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It was really quite confronting how devastated the earthquakes had been. Somewhere there must be a giant pile of rubble. I went to the quake city exhibition and minutes into it I was in tears. It must have been a very frightening experience.

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In my drawer at the hotel I am staying at is a torch and a bible. The torch so that if there is an earthquake I can see my way out of the building . I didn’t go on the quake tour bus as most of it has now been flattened.

I had a leisurely stroll back to the Hotel and enjoyed some down time.

I had booked into the restaurant there called Pescatore. They have degustations and an a la carte menu. They made me feel very comfortable as a solo diner. The food was incredible as were the matched wines.

as you walk in the door you are presented with a berry cleanser that was delicious and then on sitting down an oyster beignet with seaweed.

then came the courses

Ham Salad prosciutto, onion, beetroot, apple, onion whip

Ham Salad
prosciutto, onion, beetroot, apple, onion whip

Yukke Beef “Carpet Bag” reserve beef, oyster beignet, sea vegetables

Yukke Beef “Carpet Bag”
reserve beef, oyster beignet, sea vegetables

Poached Little River Beef angus fillet, peppered oxtail, morels, sourdough puree

Poached Little River Beef
angus fillet, peppered oxtail, morels, sourdough puree

Chocolate Cube ginger, pear, chinese white tea

Chocolate Cube
ginger, pear, chinese white tea

Mandarin Ice mandarin sorbet, violet, yuzu, milk curd

Mandarin Ice
mandarin sorbet, violet, yuzu, milk curd. Violet meringue is seriously good as was the “wafer”

a selection of petit fours includi.ng an edible business card

a selection of petit fours including an edible business card

It was like eating art and a wonderful experience. I hope it isn’t the last time I get to eat the chef, Reon Hobson’s food. It was extremely memorable and topped off my last night in New Zealand beautifully.

my room had been beautifully

Sunday and Monday

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I slept very well in my suite. The bedroom was very dark . LOVE that. I would happily stay here again , as long as I can stay on the top floor again. All the staff have been very nice. I have my own deck but it was a bit chilly and wet last night to use it. It is nice having an open window tonight. I couldn’t do that in the apartment in Queenstown as it was so close to the road ( and there was so much traffic) that it was not really on before 1 am.

Today, I went to the Dunedin public art gallery, they have a beautiful collection of art. Predominantly from countries in the Commonwealth. The New Zealand art was a standout and I may drop back in tomorrow on my way out just to see it again. I had a chat to the gift shop lady about where I should go. She suggested the Otago Settlers Museum down by the harbour, I am glad I took her advice , it was really quite spectacular. It was a wonderful collection and told an interesting story about the early years of New Zealand .

in 2008 they dug out at site to build a building and found a lot of wonderful treasures.

in 2008 they dug out a site to build a building and found a lot of wonderful treasures. this is thought to have come from th 1870s

in 2008 they dug out at site to build a building and found a lot of wonderful treasures.

in 2008 they dug out a site to build a building and found a lot of wonderful treasures. They believe this is from 1870s. it was beautiful. this was a bit of favourite.

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a well travelled hat box

a well travelled hat box

James Leslie lots his life in a world war. he didn't have the Leslie forehead though.

James Leslie lots his life in a world war. he didn’t have the Leslie forehead though.

New Zealand can claim the origin of the pavlova all they want.My Mum and sister's make the best ones though.

New Zealand can claim the origin of the pavlova all they want.My Mum and sister’s make the best ones though.

If you don’t want read a paragraph of me ranting please scroll on down to the picture of the cute dog.

Sadly, there were a few people wandering around that have no museum/art gallery etiquette , talking very loudly and whistling . There should be a one warning policy and then once they continue , taken away to a loud room , with the sound of their own voices turned up to full and if that doesn’t teach them anything , just be shot. It really shits me and makes me appreciate my upbringing .

Ralph the delta dog at work

Ralph the delta dog at work

I went off looking for the Otago museum , but got lost ,had a kebab and ended up at the Speight’s ale house beer tour instead. Whilst not as cultural it was an interesting 90 mins nonetheless . You can free pour beer in the last half hour. That’s always fun.

every week the Speight workers were paid in wages and 23 litres of beer. the single barrell up the top is one of 23 that they would get to take home every week.

every week the Speight workers were paid in wages and 23 litres of beer. the single barrell up the top is one of 23 that they would get to take home every week. ( I am now wondering if that was a fortnight)

James Speight

James Speight

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the weight of his pile of hops cause them to combust and start a fire in the early days.

the modern stainless steel tanks

Then it was off back to my nice suite at Scenic Hotel ! It is minutes walk from the ale house and the heart of the city. My niece and nephew have conflicting reviews of Gone girl so I wanted to see it to see why it gets so much talk. It was only 10 nzd.  They pronounce Readings Cinema as Reddings Cinema.

The popcorn selling boy ripped me off, I think I unwittingly , well I hope unwittingly. So swings and roundabouts on the cheap ticket. It was a lot longer than my attention span copes with but mostly I liked it. I was a little disappointed in the end, but it was so disappointing maybe that was the aim of the author. Getting a very quick glimpse at Ben’s schlong wasn’t disappointing though.

I went back to my room and packed and reminisced about the good points to travelling with no luggage albeit for 2 days.

I have really liked Dunedin, the tours and the food of Queenstown were great. I but I do like an art gallery.

Today is Monday

Today, I drove to Christchurch, it seemed to take forever. I stopped off at the Moeraki boulders, very are pretty amazing, I like to believe the Maori legend that they are the remains of calabashes, kumaras and eel baskets that washed ashore after the legendary canoe, the Araiteuru was wrecked at nearby Shag Point (Matakaea).

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I took the scenic route in fear of missing a jaw dropping view but it was cloudy so I think all the wow in the scenic route may have been hidden. It was uneventful and that is always good. Originally, I was going to spend one night in Dunedin and then one night in Timaru -OMG thank god I didn’t .

I got to Christchurch and Google maps directed me to my accommodation, The George, check in was easy and then it was off to find a bottle shop. Driving in Christchurch is not for the feint hearted but shopping at pak n save made it all worth it. The prices are great !

I had a delicious dinner at the less formal restaurant in the hotel. As the waitress was welcoming me and telling me the usual things an Asian descent businessman came and interrupted and wanted it to be all about him and his 8 friends, I let him ask one or two questions, but then I went a bit Broni on his a$$’he stopped momentarily and then continued being the rude person that he is so I reinforced  the Broni code  and the waitress giggled and thanked me as he walked off .

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beef fillet with slaw dressed with a blue cheese dressing

beef fillet with slaw dressed with a blue cheese dressing

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they give you a bear at the George. This is percy mid staking his territory.

they give you a bear at the George. This is percy mid staking his territory.

Ps. once again they do they weird thing of a quilt in the middle of sheets at The George as well. It seems there is no getting away from it.

😦 maybe I should have a conference / paid web blog on putting a doona cover on in 30 seconds or less.

Friday 14th of November

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I got a little wind or sunburnt on the steamer trip yesterday. ( Sue P, I know you stressed to be careful😉 ) so I walked guiltily into town to by some face sunscreen before todays wine tour.  The Appellation Central Wine tour was amazing and well worth the money. There were already two solo travellers on the mini bus when I got on and we picked up a very lovely couple from Melbourne. We stopped off at Waitiri Creek first, they are a small vineyard in comparison to others, they make around 3000 cases of wine a year and do not distribute outside the country. They have had concerts on the grounds , that would be pretty cool to attend. They are also make 2000 christmas cakes a year that are prepared the usual way and then they have pinot noir poured over them. At $40 NZD a pop that is quite a cottage industry. The cellar door is in 100 year old church that was moved there for the purpose of being their cellar door. Well worth the visit

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We then drove to Bannockburn and went to the Carrick Wines Vineyard the wines were nice , the Rosé was very high in alcohol content. We had lunch here , which was an anti pasto platter, everything was delicious. We sat and chatted , it was really nice to have a laugh and talk to like minded people.

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We then went to Mt Difficulty wines and had a selection of their wines. Their Pinot Noir is very nice, I had to buy a bottle.

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Then it was off to Remarkable Wines back in the Gibbston region. His  Pinot Noir was also fantastic. He will be releasing in Australia soon. If you ever see any of his wines you should definitely try them. He had a man there ( a friend, an investor we weren’t quite sure) he  was quite handsy. He wouldn’t stop interrupting Richard ( the wine maker ) which was a little disappointing as Richard’s schpeel was very interesting. He exports to Australia for a small fee. They also have a little Tavern on the property that looked like it would be a nice place to hang out.

The tour is great, our guide David was very informative and had all the qualities to make a guide great.

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If you are in the area, you should go on this tour. I would do it again

It turned out that the lovely couple from Melbourne and I were staying in the same complex. So we and the young man from York drank on for a little while longer.  I could have chatted on for hours but the day had been long and we had drunk a bit .
The lady from Melbourne is studying cyber racism. I would have liked to hear more about her opinion on a few hot topics.

I really enjoy the tours as much as I enjoy the people that I meet on them.

Today, I drove to Dunedin. I stopped off at the small town called Lawrence and bought a burger from a pub where I was the only person dining. There were a couple of old timers in the public bar but I was shown the lounge , the burger was ok. I had to spell pale ale for him, that didn’t help though and he asked if that was an export. It was a pretty small town😉 It was just nice to stop for a while.

I am staying on the executive floor at The Scenic Hotel, Dunedin City. So far it is very nice.

Nandos in New Zealand ( and other countries) have chicken livers on the menu. Yes, I know some people will find that offal😉 but I don’t mind a chicken liver. I finally got around to having some tonight. The extra hot sauce was super hot The chicken liver salad was huge and the regular Portuguese roll was enormous. A small Samoan village could have feasted for at least one meal. I had to take some of the bread away as it seemed like a waste and I have oil and balsamic at the hotel.
This hotel also does the weird thing of putting a doona between two king sized sheets. What is with this? I don’t think I am a fan.

I am very tired , so sorry about any spelling/grammatical errors. I think I will sleep well tonight.

Thursday 13th of November

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I haven’t adjusted to NZ time yet so I get to bed later and wake up uncharacteristically early. I walked over to the skyline gondola and had quick trip up and down. I had prebooked the ticket before going which still meant I had to join the queue of people who hadn’t. Pre-booking the ticket seems a little pointless then.There was a great view from the top but all in all it was a little meh. It was hard to beat the man trying to hitchhike with a fridge in the amusing stakes though. It would have been cheaper and more amusing to sit and watch him. ( an edit in regards to this at the bottom of the post) 2014-11-13 10.16.37 2014-11-13 10.24.09 2014-11-13 10.25.04

A piece of art made from those expensive little jelly beans - this one is of Frodo

A piece of art made from those expensive little jelly beans – this one is of Frodo

This Jelly bean art of "American Gothic"

Jelly bean art of “American Gothic”

Then I wandered around the town centre, went to an op shop and then went and checked in to my TSS Earnslaw lunch cruise. The TSS Earnslaw was built in Dunedin in 1912 then dismantled and transported by train to Kingston. It was used by New Zealand Railways to transport supplies to remote farms situated around Lake Wakatipu. The movement and the sound of the steam engine was very soothing. I could have easily nodded off. There was a piano player and a bar/cafe onboard.

more beautiful blue NZ water

more beautiful blue NZ water

the engine room

the engine room

2014-11-13 14.42.57 2014-11-13 15.04.01 2014-11-13 15.05.46 We got to Walter Peak and were guided into the BBQ lunch area. It was very yum. They certainly know how to cook red meat well in NZ.

Never shy away from a buffet.

Never shy away from a buffet.

They then showed us how a sheep dog rounds up the sheep, I opted not to watch one get shawn as for some reason that makes me feel faint. The trip was great. The lunch excellent. When I got back to shore I hunted out a cheaper bottle shop than Betty’s liquor ( beware of Betty’s liquor) . It leaves you with the feeling you get just after you have been through the gates at Mt Buller or Falls Creek. It is massively overpriced. Find Henry’s beer wine and spirits instead. Bought some breakfast and walked back past the spot where the man had been trying to hitch hike to see how he had fared. He wasn’t there ,so he either got a lift or is exhausted somewhere from pushing a heavy looking fridge up the steep road out of town. I have since found out the man with the fridge is doing it to raise money for men’s issues. If I had of known that I would have given him the $30 the gondola cost and sat and watched. Tomorrow I am going on a half day wine tour with Appellation Wine Tours. Hopefully it will go past Mt Difficulty winery so that I can tick that off.