A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: niscratz

To the far side and beyond...

View New Zealand I (Mar-Apr 07) on niscratz's travel map.

Am just about to leave Galway for a 6 week trip to NZ . I'm presenting a paper at a conference in Blenheim on the South Island next week and am generally not in the habit of not taking advantage of such an opportunity to travel, especially when someone else is footing the flight bill .

No, the thesis isn't finished yet (!)...but with only the introduction to write it really shouldn't be too much longer...it's forgotten now anyways for the next 6 weeks...

I'll try to update this blog when I get the chance..

Take care x

Posted by niscratz 05:38 Comments (0)

Hee hee hee

View New Zealand I (Mar-Apr 07) on niscratz's travel map.

Just got an upgrade to first class for my flight from London to Tokyo!!!!! And I managed to get a window seat too!! How jammy is that?!?

Posted by niscratz 12:44 Comments (0)


Not really sure where to begin with Tokyo. It`s all pretty mad. From the toilets with their heated seats and noises to diguise any that you may be making yourself to a red and white replica eiffel tower to tuna auctions, this place really is something else. The Tokyoites are really lovely and helpful but barely anyone speaks any english at all which means lots of gestures and pointing and not having a clue what you`re going to end up eating unless the menu has pictures! People are so law abiding too, I`ve never felt so safe in a huge city before and they never cross the road without the green man, even when it`s obviously safe to do so..

Managed to squeeze in quite alot in the 28 or so hours I`ve had here. Visited Akihabara, or electric town, with all the electrical goods and gimics that you could possibly imagine and then some..went to Ueno park, Senji-Ji temple, Tokyo tower (Eiffel look-alike), Shinjuku (Tokyo`s Times Square) and the fish market at the crack of dawn this morn (with Pauhla)...that was amazing - guys going around with torches and a spikey thing testing all the frozen tuna to see which they wanted and then bidding for them. Met an Irish Columban missionary there who`s lived in Japan for 40 years who managed to get us a behind the scenes tour with one of the buyers. Prices for a kg of tuna exceed 1000 euro!!! And some of those fish were 50+ kgs!! There were tuna there from everywhere, including Ireland, and the fish markets that are beside the auction hall were amazing too with every sort of living thing from the sea that can be eaten...we were in the way a little tho` with some of the sellers not impressed that we were more interested in taking photos of the fish than buying anything and the guys on the forklift trucks go so fast around the place I really don`t know how they don`t have more accidents.

Had the most amazing meal last night - everything here is so healthy.. Met up with a bunch of scientists that are here at a meeting (I knew they were going to be here and booked into the same hotel...they include Robin and Pauhla from Galway and my supervisor from Woods Hole aswell as some others I knew). Anyways, can`t remember what it was called that we ate but it was yum, tried some saki too but it was yuck..

Am too tired right now to think of anything more to say (dinner was a late affair and the fish market a v v early one), not even sure if this is coherent, and have to make my way thro` the maze that is the metro system to get back to the airport soon. Actually, the metro isn`t half as bad as all the guide books make out. The biggest problem is the fact that lots of the stations have a gizzillion exits so it takes a while to work out exactly which direction you need to walk after getting out. Wonder will I get upgraded for the next leg of the trip...turned out not to be a first class seat last time, but was still a way more comfortable one than coach with miles of leg room...

Some pics from Tokyo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niscratz/sets/72157626294776326/

Hope all`s well with ye.. x

Posted by niscratz 12:46 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

News in brief..

Well, talk went well this morn (YAY HOLIDAYS START NOW!!), weather is fab!! Off to do some wine-tasting shortly (this is the centre of NZ wineland!!!) which is on at the same time as the poster session - the kiwis really have it sussed - they're v laid back and relaxed...


Posted by niscratz 12:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Sydney, Christchurch and the Conference..

Well, the conference is over and holidays have well and truly begun...yipee Forgot to tell ye bout the v strange smoking rules in Tokyo...there are painted no smoking signs on the footpath and no smoking guards patrol the streets on bikes to make sure nobody is smoking outside of the designated smoking areas at the corners of some streets...but when we went out for food on the Wednesday, there was a couple of Japanese guys sitting next to us and when they finished eating they lit up, despite the fact that it was a relatively enclosed area and we were still eating!! Crazy!!

Spent a few hours in Sydney with a grand-aunt on the way from Tokyo to Christchurch. She met me at the airport and we headed to Circular Quay and walked around that area and into the botanic gardens. Saw the opera house, the bridge and the general harbour area - it's a gorgeous harbour. We had to keep stopping for breaks everywhere there was a seat in the shade, not cos she's 83, but cos it was too hot for me! Felt like high 20s or low 30s!! Some crazy people were doing their daily jogging in the midday sun and some were even running (and jumping!) up and down this massive flight of steps - I was tired just looking at them!!

Finally I arrived in Christchurch late on the Friday night - the day before Paddy's Day. I met up with Hazel and Nicolas there, aswell as a friend of Hazel's (Adam) from Dunedin who had driven up for the weekend to hang out with Hazel. Didn't spend much time in the city itself - the others had checked it out the previous day. But we got to go out to some of the hills and beaches to the south of the city thanks to Adam and his car. It was lovely - fabulous weather which surprised us all! Unfortunately late in the afternoon the clutch went in Adam's car just as we arrived at a major intersection on the Christchurch ring road...we all had to get out in the blistering heat and push the car through the junction much to the amusement of other drivers...

Later that evening we went to a pub a stones throw away from our hotel for some Paddy's Day festivities. It was a good night, altho' the pub had been busy when we'd gone for breakfast that morning and so by the time we got there some people could barely stand never mind hold a conversation. The music was good tho' and we were all kitted out with our 2 euro shop supplies that we'd brought with us (tricolour feather boas, hats etc...photos will follow when I get home!)..

The following day myself, Nicolas and Hazel rented a car and drove up here to Blenheim in the north east corner of South Island for the conference. We stopped for lunch on the way at Kaikura, but it was so windy there that we didn't do much but eat... We nearly got blown off this viewing point at the centre of the peninsula and there were so many white horses on the sea that there was no chance of spotting any of the whales or dolphins that the area is famous for.

The conference (on shellfish safety) has been great. Lots of science and lots of schmoozing. The social functions were great. Lots of delicious wine and shellfish. Traditional Kiwi BBQ on the Monday. Apparently the opening function had a haka display - but we didn't get there for the beginning and missed it! The mid-week tour was to Nelson Lakes National Park - the first and only cloudy day we've had so far! Went for a 90 minute walk guided by a lady who knew lots about the flora and fauna. Saw a weka and heard some keas. The conference banquet was last night - a very late affair - I really did feel sorry for people who had to present this morning! There were at least 20 people here from Ireland including us, the Marine Institute, BIM and Food Safety people. There was a NZ/Ireland night on the Tuesday for delegates from both countries - lots of singing and drinking - great craic. This evening myself, Hazel and Nicolas have invited Robin and Vivienne (our supervisor and his wife) to a BBQ at our motel - they're bringing the alcohol, we're cooking the food...won't be too hectic tho' cos Hazel is catching an early morning flight tomorrow and we're all pretty shattered from the week. Myself and Nicolas pick up our rent-a-dent tomorrow morning and are heading west to Golden Bay...hope the weather holds...sorry to hear it's all cold and snowing back home

Posted by niscratz 05:50 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 9) Page [1] 2 »