Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Trip to New Zealand...

Jason and I visited New Zealand for a number of reasons from 6 - 16 March, his 30th, Blossom's 21st, to visit family and friends and for me to race nationals. It was perfect timing for a break as well as we have both been working pretty hard of late.

We left Perth on Friday 6th March, our flight was around 6.50pm, so we had to work a full day of work first! As per usual I was pushing to get everything done on time, but finally got out the door at 4pm. It had already been a long day as we had been up since 4.30am for swim squad (and it was a tough one that morning).

As we were traveling with a bike we had to pack light but the airline check in lady was very impressed with our packing! In hindsight we really should have taken a few more winter clothes.... hehehe

The flight itself was pretty uneventful, it was an overnight flight, leaving Perth 6.50 pm and arriving in Auckland around 5.15am NZT (on Jason's birthday!) (1.15am Perth time). As per usual I slept at least half the flight, and Jason didn't sleep at all!

We arrived in Auckland and were very surprised at how humid it was, given that Perth has such low humidity levels it was sticky and yuck! Not nice at all!

Not long after we arrived in Auckland we were finally off to Wellington. It was very exciting heading back to Wellington and nothing beats the sight of the harbour and the hills! I miss the hills SOOOOOOOO much! Perth just really doesn't compare at all!

Wellington airport: I didn't even stress out when my luggage didn't arrive... I know that seems a bit strange as I would usually get very stressed about something like that! The luggage services man said "sometimes they just don't load all the bags..." The good thing was they delivered the bags to the Papps' house when it did finally make it to Wellington.

We were met at the airport by Jason's parents and his sisters arrived mid morning for a birthday brunch for Jason. We were treated to "albino" corn fritters (the fritters just didn't want to brown up...).

We were incredibly lucky to have our friends the Lewis Family (Mark, Josie and Cassien) up from Christchurch this weekend, so we spent the afternoon wandering around Oriental Pde with them and visiting a couple of other good friends.

Finally after over 30 hours up for Jason we went to bed and totally enjoyed being able to snuggle in duvets with a hot water bottle (well I did anyway...). I totally miss that since living in Perth and the 25 deg + nights that we have!!!

Sunday morning I did a bike/run training session and then it was preparation time for Jason's birthday BBQ. Thanks to everyone that turning up (and for the presents as well). It was great to catch up with everyone! Wellington put on a stunner of a day, one of the ones where EVERYONE says "you can't beat Wellington on a good day".

I didn't really get many photos of this day unfortunately. But here is the birthday boy himself...

This is Jason's godson James:And Josie and Mark's beautiful daughter Cassien:
We had a great day celebrating Jason's birthday and catching up with lots of friends. Later in the week Jason and his Dad went motorbike riding... Jason's first real ride on the open road... he loved it and I am sure that it won't be long until be wants to get another bike!
Both the boys before heading out for their ride!
After Jason's ride we caught up with some friends at Tuesday night quiz night at the Black Harp, we weren't so good at the general quiz, but did win the general Quizzler section, taking away a prize including a bottle of wine, some toys (donated to Wellington Hospital), a frog, a puzzle and some chocolates.

The rest of the week was spent catching up with friends and for me resting up and preparing for the New Zealand Triathlon Championships. I stayed with my very good friend Ang the night before the race.

We were up at 5.30am eating big breakfasts for the race, and I arrived at transition at 6.30am. It was time for all the usual preparations, setting the bike up, shoes, helmet etc. It started raining while we were setting up but all in all it was a nice day for a race, not too much wind and neither too cold nor too hot. Here is a shot overlooking transition. It was a dark-ish morning and perhaps I should have bought clear goggles in order to sight better in the swim.
Here's another shot showing how gloomy it was, I was struggling to see the swim buoys on land, so I knew it was going to be tough in the water. In this shot the boys have started swimming and we are lining up getting ready to go.
Under starters orders.... just waiting for the gun.
By the time we were on the home stretch it wasn't quite as dark out there. All in all I had a pretty disappointing swim by my standards of late. I was bashed about by a very persistent and annoying fellow competitor, I even tried backing off and letting her go ahead but it just didn't work for me.
Finally, I got rid of the basher!!! and on to someones toes... phew a bit of drafting for a while.
Time for a big breath!!!
And here we are coming into the marina.
Yay, finally finished the swim. I ended up being about a minute slower and 10 places in the field than I should have been. I was really surprised about how much the fighting with the other competitor took it out of me. I ended up having the 19th fastest swim time...
This is the alien in me! Hmmm or maybe just going too fast for the camera hehehe...
After a pretty average transition (I just couldn't get one leg out of that wetsuit) I was off on the bike.
The bike was pretty much as I had anticipated it would be, a much more pleasant ride than previous years with a more favourable wind.

I think I came off the bike in about 8th position, so I made up 11 positions through an ok ride. Now just a 10km run to I am concentrating hard...
Its starting to hurt and my lack of top end run fitness was really starting to show at this stage...
Yay, the finish chute finally!!
A small smile I think.
So I ended up finishing in 10th position overall, and 2nd in my age group. SO for the past few years I have been 2nd in my age group, but my overall placings have been sliding. 3rd overall 2 years ago, 4th overall last year and 10th this year!!! The young girls are getting quick. But when compared to my age group I have been consistent to I need to be content with that I think.

I am pretty indifferent about my race really, not unhappy but not ecstatic about it either. I did what was needed in that I automatically qualified for the World Champs, but I didn't have the fitness to do any more.

The rest of the day was pretty busy, we had a birthday lunch for Blossom (Mike Taylor) and then his actual 21st party in the evening. Here is Jason and Blossom:
And Bloss showing us what he's made of... he is wearing an apron, not a skirt!
We had a great night and were so pleased to share the day with our great friend Bloss!

The next day was our last full day in Wellington and we wanted to make the most of it. It was another stunner of a day so we started it with a morning bbq at Blossom's flat (although we had to leave before the food was cooked :-)... next stop was lunch on flying fish (Jason's family yacht), then a family dinner and a last round of visit/phone calls to close friends.

Here's Jason at the boat shed:
How amazing is Wellington on these types of days!
Jason loving relaxing on the boat with a beer!
Wellington: a whole different perspective from the water.
Jason and his Dad.
Jason's dad, kicking back relaxing!
We anchored at Kau Bay and enjoyed the sun and each others company while the quiche was cooking! After a great lunch we motored round the harbour for a while and before we knew it, it was after 4 in the afternoon. It was a thoroughly pleasant way to spend our last day in Wellington.

Finally.... it was time to go home!
Here's a shot of the sun on the water!
So all in all a great and successful trip to New Zealand, we had 2 absolutely stunning days and in Wellington 2 out of 9 is a high proportion :-)

It was great to catch up with friends and family, but Jason and I were also pleased to be returning to Perth as well. Thanks everyone for making it a great trip and we look forward to our next trip to NZ. Meanwhile, we have a spot in our home for anyone who wants to visit us!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Although I have had a special request for the subject of this blog to contain some photos of the inside of our apartment I think that today's topic definitely supercedes this request. Our apartment has very little storage, so the kayak and paddles are in the carport, the bike box hidden behind the tall boy, the bikes are stored in the lounge and the wind trainer and kayaking gear are stored on the deck.

Some little creepy crawlies thought that the stuff stored on the deck was a good spot to hang out... Jason noticed two red back spiders on the weekend, one on the wind trainer and one in his kayaking gear bag!!! Here's a couple of shots of them for you:

Pretty dresses and sunsets...

Today's blog isn't really about much :-)... just thought that I would show you my new dress and some more familiarisation on our local area that we live in so that you can envisage our new life here.

This is me (in my new dress) on our balcony at our apartment. The road behind me in the photo is Stirling Highway, its not a highway in the State Highway 1 sense, but it is a pretty busy road. The speed limit is only 60 kmh but it is the main road from Freo to Perth so it is very rare to hear no traffic. We are used to the traffic sounds but lets just say the next apartment/house won't be on a main road!
It was a lovely day this day (hot but with a cooling breeze) so we decided to go to the beach and get some more shots of our local hood for you all. This shot is taken on the groyne at Cottesloe Beach. Just above my head to the left is a tall ish building, that is at North Cottesloe Beach (which is the closest beach to our apartment). Cottesloe is more populated though and has shops, playgrounds, volleyball courts, and bigger car parks etc. Further north of both these beaches is Swanbourne and North Swanbourne (the latter is the local nudist beach).
Here is a better shot of my pretty new dress. It has layers of ruffles... not the usual dress that I would buy but in Aussie all the girls wear pretty girly dresses! I love it. I was walking into a local IGA wearing this dress and a lovely little old pensioner stopped me to tell me how beautiful my dress was (5 or 6 times)! It was so sweet!
Cottesloe beach also has 4 shelters like this set up permanently for people to shelter from the sun. The beach is usually jam packed but it was quite windy this day so it kept people away.
Later in the day I noticed the sky was starting to show some beautiful colours and since I haven't got any good sunset shots yet I made Jason race me down to the beach. When we first started the drive the sky was a mix of reds, yellows, oranges, purples and blues... however by the time we made it to the beach (all of about 4 minutes) it was just into the red and orange stages.

So I didn't miss it all, I was taking photos from the car as we were driving down to the beach.
This is a pretty typical scene here in Perth. There are a number of ships waiting to head into Freo. It is a very busy port, you can see 7 ships in this shot!
It was such a magical evening, by this stage just a very light breeze, a balmy 26 degrees and a fabulous sunset. I am glad we managed to get down there!