Nivi's Adventures

Friday, March 31, 2006


This is a somewhat disappointing post for a couple of reasons, firstly I have no photos and secondly cos I dont have a happy story about the snow at Whistler!

Jean took me along on her work ski weekend up at Whistler. She arranged to borrow pretty much everything I didn't already have (thank you Jean!), and off we drove on Friday evening, headed for Whistler - which is only a 2 hour drive! After checking into the hotel, we promptly headed to the hotel room that was the designated party room. Walking in seemed just like a movie scene of a college frat party - loud music, loads of people, a crowd around the TV watching the ice hockey and of course copious amounts of pizza and alcohol. We hung out there before heading to a club and needless to say, we had a good night.

Saturday morning dawned and off we went to the slopes. It was a 5-10 minute walk to the bottom of the mountain, where a 15min gondola ride takes you to the bottom of the ski-able area. None of this having to get into your car and drive up to the mountain in the morning! Unfortunately however, the weather and the snow wasn't that great. The snow was a bit icy in places, it was snowing - that very wet snow which instantly melts on your jacket and visibility was quite poor too.

But all in all I had a good day - great fun to be out on the snow again, until of course the last run of the day when I looked down and saw that I had somehow totally wrecked my (borrowed) board and then just to top it off, my binding broke and I had to walk down the last run. Never mind, the skiing might not have been that fabulous but the apres ski was definitely fun :)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

From Seattle to Vancouver

So on the morning of my birthday I got myself to the train station and boarded the train for Canada - and it was a cool ride!

This is a photo I took from the train (Puget Sound is the water) and the scenery was pretty much like this for the 4 hour train ride.

I eventually got to Vancouver where I was staying with Jean (a friend from school). We had a good yarn at home before going out for my birthday dinner at a lovely Japanese restaurant, where I tried plum wine for the first time - very yummy! I did miss not having family and friends around for my birthday, but one thing that I enjoyed for the first time in 12 years was a birthday in springtime! And nothing spells spring like daffodils and cherry blossoms :) I love NZ, but autumn birthdays are sucky!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sleepless in...

This latest report comes from the Emerald City, Seattle! I've been here for 3 days and it's definitely a cool city. It's a very beautiful, nestled between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, and a coffee drinkers haven! Seemingly millions of coffee shops! And the best thing is it hasn't rained once! :)

So some of the things I've done are: A visit to the Boeing factory where I learnt some interesting facts - the factory is the largest building in the world 1km by 0.5km and the paint on a 747 adds approx 300kg to the weight of the plane!

Me posing cheesily with part of the fuselage of the jet plane (Boeing 707) that made the first transatlantic flight - on October 26, 1958. This cut the flying time from NY to Paris from 14 hours down to 7!

Me with a Pratt Whitney engine - they look a lot smaller when they're attached to a Boeing 747 on the runway!

I also checked out EMP (Experience Music Project) which is basically a massive music museum, and posed with (a statue of) Jimi Hendrix, one of Seattles most well known sons.

Me and my mate Jimi

THE glove that Michael Jackson wore when he first did the "moonwalk" in May 1982

Today I had a coffee at the original Starbucks (established in 1971!), walked up a massive hill and took photos from the the place where apparently ALL photos of Seattle's skyline are taken (eg Frasier). In the afternoon I caught a ferry over to Bainbridge Island, which as far as I can tell is just a quaint little community that people chose to live in rather than the 'mainland'. Not a huge amount to see, but it was a nice relaxing ferry ride.

Me drinking coffee outside the first Starbucks

The Seattle Skyline. Not a beautiful sunny day, but I'll taken cloudy over rainy anyday!

Off to Bainbridge Island

Gotta run now, off to Vancouver tomorrow (thurs) morning and then off to Whistler for the weekend! Yay!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

San Francisco's Sights

So over the last couple of days I've checked out most of the touristy sights of San Francisco and Berkeley (which is where Rick actually lives) . I like a good tourist, took heaps of photos but as most of them are just scenery, I'm only posting a select few. Drop me an email or comment if you want me to email you any specific ones.

This was pretty much a must see for me as The Rock is one of my favourite movies. Was weird to see it up close after seeing in on the TV/movies so much and was a very cool experience. Incidentally I visited it on March 21, exactly 43 years after Alcatraz was closed.

Obligatory photo of 'The Rock' taken from the ferry

Check out the crowds! It must be mayhem in summer months! Also the mass of people made it a little hard to imagine what the prison would actually have been like. However I ended up catching the last ferry off Alcatraz which meant that the crowds had pretty much gone when I left. The photo below was at the end of the day and walking down that row of cells with no-one around was really eerie - like full on goosebumps!


The Transamerica Pyramid, one of the defining buildings of San Francisco's skyline.

The historic cable cars of San Francisco - very touristy but frankly had to be done!

Me on the cable car - I promise I wasn't leaning too far out mum! :)

Lombard Street - The Crookedest street in the world! It used to be straight but early automobiles couldn't cope with it so they replaced it with zigzag (or switchbacks as the Americans call it)

So it's Saturday at the moment and I'm flying out to Seattle tomorrow morning. I've loved San Francisco and it's mostly due to Rick, Asaf, Lola and all the wonderful people I met in Berkeley. Thank you for making the first part of my trip so memorable!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Little ole wine drinker me...

Napa Valley is California's vineyard area and it was somewhere I wasn't initally planning on visiting. However when Rick's dad called him up on Tuesday and asked if we were interested in going on a visit to Napa, Rick readily agreed! We had lunch and then checked out a few vineyard's wine tastings. Lovely day with good food and good wine!

Me in the gardens of Peju

Lunch at Brix with Rick, his dad Mark (rightmost) and some family members who were visiting Mark.

At the Rubicon Estate (half owned by Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather). The big grin on my face may have to do with some of the glasses of wine I'd consumed by this point :)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yosemite National Park

So a bunch of us (Denise, Tom, Asaf, Lola, Rick and I) decided to go to Yosemite for the weekend. We rented one of the biggest SUV's available and off we went... We left on Friday afternoon and it was decided that we would go camping - even though a foot of snow had fallen on Thursday night! In the end it wasnt too bad - we had a 6 person tent and extra sleeping bags and mats so even though it was below freezing, we thankfully didn't freeze in our sleep!

On Saturday (18th) we went for a hike along the Lower Yosemite Falls trail but we didn't get a huge distance along it (a couple of hours) as there was quite a bit of snow along the trail which made the steeper parts a bit hairy. The weather turned as well & it was snowing reasonably heavily which made it not too scenic and kinda cold!

However it did mean that when we got back to camp, our dinner of chilli and baked potatoes done in the campfire tasted extremely yummy :)

On Sunday (19th) we packed up and then did a short walk to the base of Yosemite Falls before heading back to Berkley. The weather finally decided to fine up so thankfully I was able to get a couple of good photos...

This was the sight that met us as we drove into Yosemite on Friday evening... Very beautiful and picturesque but somewhat daunting as it was still snowing!

Saturday Morning. The boys making us pancakes and coffee for breakfast. Asaf, Tom and Rick from left to right.

Chillin in the snow on Saturday Night. It actually started snowing as we were making dinner, but no problems for us, whip up some shelter with a tarp and some rope. It did stop snowing after a while and turned out to be another fine night spent round the campfire. From left to right: Lola, Asaf, Tom and me.

The weather fined up a bit by Sunday luckily I managed to get a good photo. Me posing in the Valley with North Dome on the left and Half Dome on the right. The photo really doesn't do it justice - the scale of the cliffs, especially Half Dome is quite breathtaking!

Another photo from the Valley... The little white and red dots in the bottom right corner are people which should give some idea of scale!

This is the SUV we hired - the "Dodge Durango". And as this photo should demonstrate to you, it was ridiculously large! Me being the short thing I am, I practically needed a step ladder to get in and out of it! A monstrosity but it totally made the trip!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

California Dreaming

So Rick, my friend from Engineering School from the University of Auckland, kindly picked me up from the airport (where I didn't have any hassles at all!) and drove me back to his flat where I am staying. Panoramic Way is the name of the street and it lives up to its name - this is the view from Rick's room. That's San Francisco city on the left and the Golden Gate Bridge on the right.

I met Rick's flatmates - Asaf from Israel and Lola from Peru, who are both fellow students at Berkley. (I'll put some photos in the next post.)

The rest of the day was spent at: Costco's (crazy 'supermarket' kinda place but they sell everything in bulk), wandering around Berkley University's campus and then preparing food for a small dinner party. I got to bed about 1:30am so I decided that I deserved a good sleep in on the 16th given I had spent 29 hours awake on the 15th (15 hours in NZ and another 14 hours in the US)

I'm outta here!

So the 15th is finally upon us - just another day for most of New Zealand, but an exciting one for me as I head off on my OE!

First stop is San Francisco for a week or so and I'll then tour around the States & Canada for 2 months before heading over to London to find a job and see my big sister!

I'll try and blog as often as I can (ie add as many photos as I can) but in the meantime, take care all :)