Friday, June 30, 2006

30 centigrade Vanuatu - 1 Centigrade New Zealand

It’s cold !!

Now I know our 1 degree of frost in Wellington will be laughed at by some of you living in more extreme climes … I have no doubt that our balmy 8degrees C would have many of you rushing to the beaches for an afternoons sunbathing and swimming …And god knows I used to be one of them when I lived in the UK …. But after 15years in New Zealand I’ve gotten soft … Its cold. I’m cold. The dogs and cats are fighting for space as close to the fire as they can get in the evenings and come the mornings the cats are huddled up against the radiator looking like fat round balls of shivering fluff.

It’s cold

But even by New Zealand standards we have it pretty damned good here… the centre of the North Island have had much colder temperatures and a good dumping of snow !!! The south island had even lower temperatures and even more dumpings of snow And no electricity !! In some places no electricity for weeks !!! In the past 15years I’ve touched snow once I think … And that was on a trip back to the UK !! I hate snow ….

And that’s why I live no further south than Wellington …. Mcd’s Family live on the south Island .. Their idea of fun is to live as far south as possible … I’m sure it’s Character building … and There are some real characters down there that’s for sure :O)

Not that living further north protects you from the weathers effects. The center of the north island is a plateau and fairly high above sea level and usually prone to winter snow … They based their army camp up there – More of this Character building stuff I’ve no doubt … Then there are the volcanoes in the middle of the plateau ..No not t extinct things … They are barely dormant … With one popping its top within the last 10 years ..I know cause I drove up to it !! Well had to get a better look eh … Now where are those pictures ?? Anyway – There was snow on the volcano then so I lied about not touching snow in NZ ……. They even have ski fields on one of them … fast getaway perhaps when they go pop …….

Auckland is further North again … they don’t get snow … by the time the snow falls in Auckland it’s already melted … They get lots of rain in Auckland. And despite Wellington being the so called “windy city” Auckland does get its fair share of wind.. Gale force winds at times … cyclone winds at times…. Tornados even at times …… I tell you this because despite all this weather we have, Almost the entire metropolis of Auckland lost electricity for a day … It was windy …. A single earthing wire in a substation no less broke loose in the wind and Auckland and the better part of 1.4 million peoples houses and businesses went dark …….

Now despite living in Auckland for 8 years and loving the place, I usually take the same stance as all other New Zealanders south of the Bombay hills (where Auckland’s reaches end) which is something along the lines of a compassionate “oh dear, what a pity, never mind” said with the slightest hint of a grin that betrays any real feeling for anyone living in our major city. It’s unfair, but there you go … Aucklanders are routinely referred to as JAFAs (just Another F#$king Aucklander) everywhere except north of the Bombays .. Course I’m sure the Jafa’s have some choice words for anyone South of the Bombay’s too …. And I’m sure Kiri will tell me what they are too :O)

But now I digress …

Last Monday Auckland Lost their electricity and the South Island got well and truly dumped on with a metre or so of snow down to sea level ….

The Sunday night before I found out about the south island having problems. I was due to fly to Auckland along with my boss and some managers from our 3rd party vendors . The flight was Cancelled due to the weather down there … I was pretty happy about the fact … next flight was 9pm I’m there in the airport at 5pm …now way I’m sitting around that length of time. McD’s daughters birthday and everyone off to have Thai food … Now I get to join them … So I got a flight change for the morning at 8am ….We were to go the night before to beat the weather (fog etc) but the weather had countered that by choosing Sunday night to play up … So I might as well sleep in my own bed that night ….. Rang my boss and the vendor and told them … they could of course do what ever they wanted …. Which meant some went up that night ..My Boss went up at 6am the next morning and another vendor manager went up at 7am the next morning …And all arrived just fine …….

Not me … I wait 3 hours for a flight up to Auckland ... When I get there I have voice messages telling me not to try and get into Auckland Central ...An power blackout has caused Chaos with businesses and buildings in darkness and all street traffic lights out......I'm told to go back home ..... So thats what I did ...Walked from one airline to another queued for an hour to get my flight time changed while also berating my travel agent for not trying hard enough ...She got a flight for me about 6 people before the ticketing counter after an hours queuing .... And then caught a vey bumpy flight back to wellington .....

We didn't land the first pass .... having slid and skewed and bumped our way to the runway we over shot it and the pilot had to throttle up the engines and get us out of there !!! That does heaps for the old bodily functions I can tell you ...... "The wind change is right over the runway" we are told ...... "So we'll circle here for a few minutes till it's done its thing and try it again" the pilot tells us .....

Oh Joy !! We are all thinking .......

Holday Snaps ....... I love Markets :O)

This is Taro ..A white root crop bit like a lite potato ....

Thats Sugar cane in the foreground

These contained fish ..Big ones like baracuda etc

A busy day in vanuatu .......