Category Archives: Paul

Hotels

One thing that has amazed me, even from our first trip here with the boys, is how much fun the boys get out of being in Hotels.  Since our first two nights in YVR (Vancouver) needed be in Hotels (IKEA couldn’t deliver same day), we had two nights in two very different hotels.

The first night was downtown by Granville Island, in what was meant to be a posh place, but in reality it was just another hotel. Very nice, great view from the 14th floor.  But the second was something else.  After a long day at IKEA and with full bags, we were stopped outside the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond (south of Vancouver) and I thought, what the heck, see if they have anything cheap.

Sure enough they did & not only that because they liked the boys they upgraded us to a 2 bedroom suite.  Talk about posh. It was the nicer hotel I’ve ever stayed in.  Not only were the rooms big, the beds were huge and the plushest bed I’ve ever slept in. They boys had their own massive double bed & their own TV.  The resort had several restaurants to choose from, but the buffet was the best value.  The boys love Buffet.

After dinner it was off the swimming pool with the boys. What a pool – right next to the health spa.  There was a hot tub of course, but the pool was huge and had a big slide in it which Jamie just adored. So thanks River Rock Casino – I may very well come back to watch Three Dog Night in concert.

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Dud-ChCh-Auk-YVR

When the reality of going half way around the world with the boys dawned on us again, the first thing that came to Nina & my mind was the lack of crap that we won’t be taking with us this time. No nappies, no cots, no formula bottles blah blah blah, how easy was this going to be.  Well as anyone who has done long haul flights will tell you, it’s never easy. But boy oh boy was it going to be easier than last time.

And sure enough, thanks to Air New Zealand and their genius direct flight Auckland to Vancouver (a mere 13hr flight) the travelling was a lot easier.  Leaving Dunedin airport can be a bit underwhelming at times, and considering the security we were about to go through, a lot laughable. No security checks, just boarding pass and a short walk to the plane.

We were of course leaving early Winter in Dunedin, and in a few days (lay over in CHCH) we’d be in the middle of summer (or so we thought).  The boys were excellent travellers.  Yes it did help having the lay over in chch, after all we had Jamie’s 8th birthday to have with the grandparents – and yay no earthquakes.

Next was a short flight to Auckland, a very quick turn around late in the evening, and finally on our flight to Vancouver – that was after some power Duty Free shopping.

Aside from that fact that it wasn’t a 747 that we were boarding, and the seats we got for ourselves weren’t what we thought, the flight & plane was awesome. The 777 only has 3 middle seats, so poor Nina was stuck with the boys for about 2/3 of the flight.  Being a late flight the formula was pretty simple. Get settled, get dinner into the boys, change into their PJs, watch some of their TV or play games then lights out and sleep. Well aside from some inevitable “i’m too tired to sleep” routine, this is how it went. Sure it was long, sure Nina and I got bugger all sleep, sure I didn’t drink as much as I was hoping to, but the Air New Zealand staff were bloody brilliant. Even when there was a full on medical emergency, things still went smoothly.

How happy were we the next morning to realise that not long after breakfast we’d be not too far off the NW coast of North America.

All in all it was a brilliant trip, bloody hard work, but the boys were of course spectacular in their behaviour and their patience, after all do they ever sit down for 10mins let alone 13hrs.

Landing in Vancouver, we were immediately greeted with a wave of heat (wasn’t to last) and free wi-fi, so of course I needed to make the most of that, sending out tweets and reading all the messages sent to us while in transit.  Aside form the massive line (which moved very fast) the immigration was dead simple and over and done with in minutes.  Collected our bags and we were back in Canada baby!

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Vancouver 2011

So 4 years on, the boys are older (so are their parents), Vancouver is a little bigger, they’ve had the olympics & almost a Stanley Cup, and we are back in town.

Back out at UBC loving the busses & of course the boys are having a ball of a time. We’ll be posting pics and videos as soon as I get my act together.

Nice to be back in town (even if the boys are missing their friends).

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Disney Hong Kong’s main attraction: Charlie!

We’ve had a great day in Disneyland HK (ending the trip as we began). Those of you considering transit through LA to go to Disneyland should reconsider. HK Disney is great, particularly for little kids. Smaller, but so are the queues, it is much cheaper all round with the Kiwi $ and you don’t have to get fingerprinted and eyeballed to get in!!

Much to our surprise, Charlie was one of the main attractions. Seems they don’t have so many blond visitors to the park. In fact, at one point, we had so many people want to have their picture taken with Charlie that we were considering setting up next to Mickey and Minnie Mouse to save the congestion we were creating everywhere we went. Charlie, to his credit, dutifully hugged and kissed all his fans, and Jamie, to his credit, was very proud of his little brother-star and told everyone his name was Charlie John Hayward Le Comte. Photo evidence is needed to show the scale of this insanity – see below.

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

Hk Disneyland
This woman had about 10pics with Charlie taken by her man in various poses – he loved her (Charlie that is).

Hk Disneyland

Hk Disneyland

hk Disneyland

Hk Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland
Another random who just picked up Charlie and had a pic taken – bizzare

HK Disneyland
It wasn’t just the punters who were taken by blondie, it was the staff.

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland

HK Disneyland
Hong Kong Underground
HK MTA

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London Hong Kong

Hello folks – this is the little lady making another rare appearance on the blog.

The trip from London to Hong Kong tried its best to be a disaster, but we definitely pulled it off in the end. We were delayed making our connecting flight to Frankfurt and watched our three hour stop over turn into five minutes from the time we touched down to the time the flight to Kong Kong departed. With a child under one arm and cabin bag in the other we ran like crazy kids and made it before the flight closed. They couldn’t guarantee our luggage would come with us, but we got on all the same and settled down for ten hours of fun (actually the kids were great – much sleeping was done once we made a little tent for them to sleep under). As it happened, only one bag didn’t make the flight and it was the very big heavy hockey bag with stuff we didn’t need (what the hell is in that bag?) so it was fantastic that the airline would deliver to the hotel the next day.

Two things were immediately apparent when we arrived. Paul is a big fan of Hong Kong. Mix Asian efficiency with English signposting and Paul is in heaven. After a the man had directed us off the train with his white gloves; a woman had kindly ushered us through the ‘urgent’ queue at immigration because Charlie let out a screech that upset the punters; a random gentleman appeared from nowhere to show us the way to hotel shuttles; and we were informed in three ways that one of our bags did not make the flight; Paul was grinning from ear to ear and declaring Hong Kong the easiest place to visit. I must admit that I agree.

The other thing that was immediately apparent was the fact that Charlie’s blond hair attracts rather a lot of attraction. In fact, it caused a commotion and more than once we had to retrieve him from his adoring fans. But more of that in the Disney entry to follow…

Tibet
Tibet

Tibet

Hong Kong AirportHong Kong Airport

Happy Travellers

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

View
The view from our 32nd floor executive suit room.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Jamie and Charlie
This is how they slept last night, while I was on the couch and Janine squished on the edge of the bed.

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Hampton Court Palace

There’s not a lot of point trying to describe this place. It’s one of my favorite buildings and grounds in the world. On our second to last day in London we managed to get the two families in the cars and down to the Palace (only 5 min drive), in what was a stunning blue sky day. We didn’t spend the $2389 kiwi dollars to get into the place, but a walk around the gardens is more than enough for the morning anyway.

Swans

Bushy Park Police

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Nina Hampton Court

Thames

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

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Roger and Alan

Finally after much telephone tag we were able to borrow Sarah’s car again and head off to see some dear friends of Mum and Dad’s, Roger and Alan. They live in Chessington (Surrey) on the southern edges of London and the theory is that we should have got there in about half an hour. But once again, what the hell is with all of those roads. Not only are they are complete mess, you can be driving down a stretch of road and suddenly without warning or reason it’s a different name, and of course don’t mention those daft road signs, but we got there.

Unfortunately the boys weren’t in the best form, which is a real shame as this was a ball of a visit. Roger and Alan are both long time entertainment industry people which is how Mum met them. Roger is Cliff Richard’s tour manager or something along those lines and met the folks down under years back. Their house is amazing and I can see why they loved mum’, it’s just like her house!!!

The back yard garden is amazing to say the least, words and unfortunately my photos don’t do it justice. The bought the property with an asphalt tennis court out the back, which the ripped up and have planted in the most intricate garden with a maze like path that takes you all around the place. The boys loved it, and Janine was once again in gardening heaven.

The visit was all too short as they are the greatest guys and I would have loved to have spent much longer there, without the boys that is (as Janine would testify).

So thanks Roger and Alan, it was a great all to short visit and we can’t wait to get back to your place again soon. Sorry the pic of the xmas tree, the boys moving is a bummer, I am still to work out the camera and the flash is just too bright.

The Garden

Roger and Alan

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1066 and all that

With Charlie successfully rescued from the clutches of the evil bathroom, we were able to continue the rest of our trip around the south (albeit a small trip).

Brighton was it’s beautiful cold and bleak looking self (think Coldplay’s iconic Yellow video). We headed off east towards Kent but ended up only making a b-line to Battle. Because we still haven’t managed to decipher the road signs, which show both London and Hastings (opposite directions) on the same arrow, we managed to get lost a couple of times.

We did however get to Battle and found a nice tea shop for some much needed sustenance for the kids, whom have decided that car travel just isn’t their thing anymore (much more fun in trains, planes, sky trains, tubes, undergrounds, buses and sea buses). [for those who didn’t know Battle is where the fight was not Hastings, some 10miles north of Hastings].

Just after parking the car we came across a Military wedding leaving the church with a small guard of honor. It was very cute, and believe it or not the guy giving the command to raise swords actually said “up diddly up”!!! The car they left in was a stunning rattle trap car.

As we were playing the poor kiwi traveller we didn’t fork out to go into the Abbey and Battle Grounds, but went for an awesome short ramble along a ‘public footpath’ (the coolest things) around the back of the battle field, taking a route that the invading Normans would have. It was stunning English Countryside at it’s best and was just beautiful.

Back into the car and off to London and back to Hampton, with only a small thing of the M25 counter clockwise at rush hour to negotiate. Actually it wasn’t too bad, just the speeds are incredible and the sheer volume of traffic was impressive. We even found our way to the M3 and then onto the A316, but then had to give up and ring Sarah for the exit and directions, something that is difficult at speed.

A great short trip out to the coast and one we’ll do again and again I hope.

Battle

Wedding
Notice I got the kiss – not bad eh.

Abbey Entrance
Abbey Entrance (sneak over the gate view).

Walk

Abbey Entrance

Dr Who?

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Filed under London, Nina, Paul, The Boys

Sarah & Bruce

As pointed out by Ingrid, this blog has been remiss in not showing our mates in London.

Sarah and Janine go back to high school days, and when Sarah was in the Royal Ballet in Wellington and Janine was doing her PhD at Victoria in Wellington, they were flatmates. I also appeared on the scene and we lived together as a cosy little trio for years.

Sarah moved to London to teach dance and met an awesome Brit, Bruce. He comes from the theatre background. They have 2 boys Sam and Ben, whom get along with our boys just a little too well – rough and tumble.

they have been wonderful hosts, and it’s been a lot to ask for giving up their house to be invaded for such a long time by us Kiwis. Jamie sleeps in with Sam and Charlie is in with Janine and I, and it’s all going great – that is if Sam and Jamie could stop being so manic.

Sarah and Ben

The Rowe Family

Sam and Ben

By the way Charlie loves Ben and gives him little kisses all the time.

Charlie and Ben

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Brighton – Fawlty Towers

So we’ve borrowed Sarah’s car to head down Brighton and the seaside, oh we do love to be beside the seaside.

Radio 5 all the way was predicting the snow and we had a scattering of it all the way south. In typical Paul and Janine fashion the easy motorway would have been the quickest way, but we decided to get off even the A roads onto the B roads. There was a method to the madness as we wanted Janine’s sister and family are moving to in Reigate. It only took an hour to find the house – Smoke Lane, but it’s a cute wee place and Janine has it in here mind now where they will be living. We even managed to find where the kids will be at school. We ended up having lunch at Munch in Reigate (which was another drama – don’t ask) then on the road again. More B roads and some stunning countryside to my tourist spot the Oose Valley Viaduct. Built in the 1830s it’s a stunning piece of engineering.

We found our way to a bleak looking Brighton, all my romantic images of the Mods and Rockers on the beach having a good ding dong became vivid in my mind. Being such a huge Who fan (must get back to Carnaby st for some Who t-shirt), it was a real treat to come down here. Not quite on my Vespa with me woman on the back, it was more a small Ford Fiesta and annoying kids in the back. Still it is kinda cool if not sort of past it’s prime. The beach it a laugh, the stones are huge. Janine loves it here, but there is a reason this place makes us laugh – Charlie.

This morning after breakfast we had to put the little shite into Time Out in the bathroom. *Note to parents – not a good idea*. He then locked the door and there was no way we could open the thing from this side and after a while he started to panic and there was no way he was opening it from his side. So after getting the Financial Director to help, who got maintenance, who wanted to bust the door down, we settled on using a chisel to take the door architraves off. All the while charlie was crying and Janine and Jamie getting a little stressed (it didn’t help that we had left Jamie’s new Tube train toy at the restaurant). The door with a bit of force came open and a very very teary Charlie was released from his dungeon. We now don’t need to go to the Tower of London, tick that one off.

Off for a little drive around Sussex now, Royal Tunbridge Wells and some castles hopefully.

Brighton

Brighton

Brigton

Lock

Brighton

Ooose

Reigate

Reigate

Smoke Lane

Smoke Lane

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