Carnaval de Sitges

Well this was one interesting adventure! Carnaval 2013 in Europe! We were told that there are three places in Europe that you must be during Carnaval and they rank as follows; #1.) Venezia, Italia #2.) Köln, Deutschland #3.) Sitges, España.

Fortunate for us we were only a 30 minute train ride away from Sitges! After getting all dressed up and jumping on the train from Barcelona, we made our way to this beach side town for one of the most incredible adventures (Halloween during February) that I have ever experienced!

Here is a little bit about the trip!

The Carnival

For over a century, Sitges has been celebrating nonstop — between the months of February and March, according to the liturgical calendar — Carnestoltes, or Carnival.

The festivities begin on Dijous Gras, or Fat Thursday, with the arribo, King Carnestoltes’ spectacular arrival. From the moment this character appears until the burial of the sardine — late afternoon on Ash Wednesday — you could well say that life in Sitges moves to a new beat.

Folk dances and xatonades (traditional local salad served with assorted omelets) are also characteristic carnival elements. The two most important moments are the Rua de la Disbauxa, or the Debauchery Parade, on Sunday night and the Rua de l’Extermini, or Extermination Parade, on Tuesday night. Some forty-odd floats with more than 2,000 participants fill Sitges.SDC12219 SDC12220 SDC12221 SDC12237 SDC12246 SDC12251

Living in Cape Town

SO not too long ago I moved out of a hostel dormitory, into a house in Observatory which is an area of the Southern Suburbs in Cape Town. It’s sort of a student area–sorta a hippy cheaper version of Kensington market. Good bars, lots of places to play pool, cheap weird ‘Asian’ restaurants that serve Thai, Chinese, and Sushi all in one convenient location. (Pad Thai for R30 ! ) It’s a nice place to live, and it’s conveniently really close to work which  is an added bonus.

So how’d I find it?

I found my place on Gumtree. Finding affordable housing abroad can be difficult and stressful. It’s hard to find before you get arrive, and it’s also hard to figure out what areas are good to live in, how public transit works, and what a decent price for rent is. So I thought I’d post some information about Cape Town to help give an idea of what to expect. I was definitely scrambling to get my act together and find a place.

Gumtree — South Africa’s Craigslist 

I found my place on Gumtree which is sort of like craigslist. People post apartments, bikes, cars etc. I spent a lot of time looking through different ads. Most advertisers want you to text or call them about the apartments, and I found the easiest way to get information on new places is to post something about yourself and what you’re looking for in the wanted section. Keep in mind a lot of places on Gumtree would turn out, well, not as great as they sounded, and you might have to visit a lot of apartments. Also talk to hostels about staying there longterm and work out a deal. Many hostels will agree to give long term guests a better price and if you’re going to be somewhere for less than three months, it might be your best option. Many South African landlords will also try and get you to pay a significant damage deposit or will even try and get foreigners coming in to pay for a large portion of the rent ahead of time. Make sure you iron out these details before you agree to sign anything.

The best hostels near where I work in Observatory are the Green Elephant and Observatory Backpackers. The owners of Observatory Backpackers also own a house they rent out to international students staying for a minimum of three months or longer, so they’re an excellent people to talk to about finding a more longterm home.

Living Costs?

Everyone seems to think Africa is going to be dirt cheap, but it adds up pretty quickly, particularly South Africa. While some things are much more affordable than Canada, don’t expect things to cost a couple of pennies. One of the biggest mistakes everyone going on the Namibia trip seemed to have made, was underestimating how much you spend –R100 isn’t $10.00 and overestimating how affordable things would be in Africa. The exchange is R8.9 to $1, which is pretty great but things add up pretty quickly. I found rounding down to R8 helped a lot. (When we were in Namibia the exchange was closer to R8.4-8.6.)

My rent is just under R3000 a month (about $350.00). I have my own bedroom in a house with internet and laundry. Rent generally runs between R2000-4000 for a room in a shared house/apartment it can however be much higher than that. Short term rentals for 3-6 months are harder to find, and most of the places asking R2000 required longer leases. I had a friend who was here for an SFD program that ended in December and her place was about R4000 without internet which was an extra R300 a month. (two bedroom split two ways).

Food! 

Food is not as cheap as one would hope in Cape Town compared to Toronto, but it all depends on what you eat. Eating out is much cheaper than in T.O. but it still adds up pretty quickly. Examples of some prices:

2-for-1 burgers on Tuesdays at : R48 ($5.58)
Chicken Pad Thai: R35 ($4.07)
Sushi dinner: R100ish ($11.63)
Coffee: R12-R18 ($1.40-2.09)
Cocktails: R30-48 ($3.50-5.58)
Beer: R10-R25    (game of pool to go with your beer: R4)   ($1.16-2.91)
Pizza: R45-65 ($5.23-7.56)

Groceries actually are deceptively not that much cheaper than in Toronto. Here are some costs.

1 L of “Orange Juice”: R26.99  ($3.14)
Yellow Peppers: R65.99/kg ($7.67/kg)
Apples: R15.99/kg ($1.86/kg)
Cucumber: R5.99 ($0.70)
Bottle of Wine: R25+ (typical R40) ($2.91, $4.65)
Peanut Butter 800G: R38.99 ($4.54)
Cheese 250g: R35.99 ($4.18)
Flour 1kg: R11.49 ($1.34)
Sugar 1kg: R13.99 ($1.62)
Eggs half dozen: R11.99 ($1.40)

Transport

Minibus, train, taxi –I don’t have a car, (nor can I drive — check study abroad rules etc). However, the public transit in and around Cape Town is affordable and extremely easy to get around.

Taxi (private) – R10/km

Minibus – R6-8 to Cape Town or Claremont etc. Generally it doesn’t get much more expensive unless you go somewhere really far. It costs R14 to get from my house to Camps Bay beach in Sea Point. These are basically big white trucks that pick up and drop off people on set routes around the city.

Train – R15 round trip to Muizenberg.

Safety Note: Keep in mind when using public transit in Cape Town that certain areas can be dangerous to get to on your own. General rule is to travel with someone, never take anything you’re not okay having stolen, and to exercise caution. Also, its generally a bad idea to go on trains or minibuses at night.

Drunk driving is fairly common here, and the easiest way to avoid it –is to avoid minibuses in the evening and to always exercise some caution before getting into a cab.

 

 

A Fantastic Day in the Catlins

Have you ever had such an amazing experience that you just felt stunned with happiness? Well let me tell you about my weekend. Sure I’m supposed to be telling you about our trip south, but I can tell you about that any time!

We hadn’t seen much of the South Island yet because we skipped most of it on our way to Dunedin. Instead, we are taking every weekend and holiday to see what we missed. During our travels in January another young couple told us that there are dolphins at Porpoise Bay that swim right up to the beach in the summer. Since it is almost fall, and things are cooling down, I was worried that they might have already moved out to sea. So, of course, Porpoise Bay was our first weekend excursion in hopes that we might spot some dolphins.

Walking out to McLean Falls through a pretty forest walk.

Walking out to McLean falls through a pretty forest walk.

Saturday morning we left early for the Catlins. Along the way, we stopped at McLean Falls. There was a lovely walking path leading to the falls, and the rocks around the falls were shaped in such a way that they were almost steps, and you could climb right up to the base of the main falls.

The higher region of McLean Falls.

The higher region of McLean Falls.

From there, the next stop was Porpoise Bay. Luckily, I had been talking to my professor of marine biology, who specializes in researching Hector’s dolphins, on Friday and he suggested bringing wetsuits. Just so you know, Hector’s dolphins are the world’s smallest dolphins, and the rarest, and Porpoise Bay is the only place in the world where any dolphins come so close to shore naturally.

So excited for Hector's dolphin swimming time!

So excited for Hector’s dolphin swimming time!

We arrived at the long sandy bay around lunch, and suited up. Even from up the hill near the shop and toilets you could see the dolphins leaping all the way out of the water, twisting in mid air and landing in almost the same spot they left. It was amazing!

Now don’t get me wrong…the water was cold. But really, how cold is cold when there are dolphins? We waded into the water with all the safety precautions: do not enter water near dolphins, do not swim towards them.

So we went all that way just to look at them from a distance? Of course not! Within minutes the dolphins had swum over to us and were swimming all around us. They were swimming between Andrew and I, they were catching waves right in front of us. Oh, you didn’t know that dolphins love to body surf? They are great at it. They always catch more waves than the human surfers. If you turn and watch the wave breaking behind you, you can even see them diving out of the back of the wave and swimming back to catch the next one.

[Hopefully there will be real dolphin photos to follow when we get the film developed on the waterproof camera. Developing film…is that still a thing?]

Several hours later we had to get out of the water. We couldn’t feel our hands or feet, and almost all the dolphins had suddenly left. We later learned that dolphins don’t mix well with sea lions, so maybe there was one approaching.

At our hostel at Slope Point that afternoon the hostess suggested that we wait until sunset to visit the petrified forest at Curio Bay. In the meantime we walked out to Slope Point. It is the farthest south point on the South Island.

Slope Point is the farthest south point on the South Island.

Slope Point is the farthest south point on the South Island.

Did I mention that the hostel was more of a hotel than a hostel? It was so comfy and nice, and they even let us feed the lambs. We had dinner and headed over to the petrified forest.

A neat juxtaposition of new and ancient life in the petrified forest.

A neat juxtaposition of new and ancient life in the petrified forest.

The petrified forest is exactly what it sounds like: an ancient forest turned to stone. There were fossil logs, tree stumps, and sapling stumps. It was a beautiful rocky shelf that is only fully visible at low tide, as it is right in the bay. Luckily we were there at low tide so we could see everything. As soon as we arrived, we saw a big fluffy animal sitting on the rocks near the forested area. Guess what it was! A juvenile yellow-eyed penguin!

Curio Bay, with fossilized fallen trees and stumps

Curio Bay, with fossilized fallen trees and stumps

Fossilized log (yes, that is rock) with lots of new life around it.

Fossilized log (yes, that is rock) with lots of new life around it.

As the sun set, the adults came up on shore from their day at sea. We saw about 7 or 8 adults before we left. They are so cute! We all know that penguins waddle when they walk, but this is a rocky shore, so they spend most of their time hopping around. Unfortunately the photos are terrible; these animals are threatened, so approaching them too closely could have a detrimental effect on their behaviours towards their young (e.g., refusing to feed the young). Since we like yellow-eyed penguins, we stayed well back!

Can you find both penguins?

Can you find both penguins?

So there you go! Our first penguin sighting, and the first time we’ve swum with dolphins. Add to that the fact that they were Hector’s dolphins (the rarest in the world) and yellow-eyed penguins (the rarest penguin in the world). And that was all on Saturday!

Carnival

Carnival is a celebration that occurs in February and marks the start of Lent, which leads up to Easter. February 12th was Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), it is the day before Ash Wednesday and also the last day of eating fattier food. Therefore, it is the day most people eat lots and of lots of crêpes (crêpes are the French version of pancakes and are bigger and thinner than pancakes). Moreover, Carnival usually involves a parade and people get dressed up in costumes. In Europe, most people celebrate and get dressed up for carnival and not for Halloween. The most famous carnivals are in Rio de Janeiro and in Venice, where you can see beautiful costumes and masks.

In Belgium, there is a huge celebration of Mardi Gras in a city called Binche. This city is only about 90 min with the train from Brussels and thus I decided with a couple of friends to go see this famous carnival. We arrived there at 3 p.m. right on time for the parade. There were a lot of people on the streets and small children were dressed up and were throwing confetti everywhere. My friend was dressed up as a panda and she was so kind to borrow me her Mickey Mouse ears. Unfortunately, when we arrived the headband with the ears fell off and thus I was a mouse with a black nose and whiskers but no ears. I was disappointed to see that most people dressed up were people who participated in the parade and small children. During the parade you could hear the sound of drums and see colorful costumes and beautiful big hats made of ostrich feathers. There were 4 kinds of costumes: the Arlequins, the Pierrots, the Gilles, the Peasants (see pictures below).

DSCN4341The ArlequinsDSCN4333 The PierrotsDSCN4330DSCN4337The GillesDSCN4344The Peasants

As the streets became more and more crowded small children in the parade started to throw all the oranges at the public. When a friend of mine caught an orange, that’s when we realized that these were not oranges but actually blood oranges. One of the locals explained to us that the oranges represent the sun and that the costumes, and the bells on the clothes are symbols that are supposed to chase away the winter.

At first it was really funny and great to catch the oranges, some people even brought bags to collect them. However, after a while they were thrown in all directions and they were a little dangerous and as a result some people got hurt and some shops and restaurants were closed because they put a net on the windows and doors so they wouldn’t break the glass. Even though when we left the city, we almost felt like we survived a blood orange war, it was a great and unusual experience in which we got free oranges.

If you want to read more about this very special festivity see the Carnaval de Binche website!

cheers,

Nazanin

DSCN4343

We’ve arrived!

Hello everyone!
We have arrived in Zurich! After an entire year of organizing courses, etc., the big moment had arrived! I (Lea) finished my exams at U of T, where I study Industrial Engineering, in the middle of December, and the semester in Zurich only starts the third week of February, so I just had the most incredible 2 months off in the middle of the year! I started with a little skiing in Canada with the family, followed with a week in London, then a week in Vienna, Budapest for a week, skiing in the French Alps for a week, and finally Zurich. The absolute best thing about Europe is how everything is so close together!

Let us start by introducing ourselves. I, Lea, am a student of Industrial Engineering in 3rd year at the University of Toronto. I am taking part of an official exchange to the Computer Science department at ETH Zurich, one of the best engineering schools in the world, and probably the best in Europa. My sister Hanna is also studying Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, and is also on exchange at ETH, with the Bioengineering faculty.

swiss alp trip

The view from our first day skiing in the Swiss Alps!

Zurich is incredible! The land of snow-covered steeples on every corner, a river right through the center of the city, and the Alps as a backdrop: “es ist sehr schön!” The first evening was quite an adventure: we arrived at the train station with 5 large suitcases, 4 backpacks, and 3 pairs of skis and ski boots. We had figured out a system whereby each of us would pull 2 suitcases carry 2 backpacks (one in the front and one in the back), and then attach the rest of the luggage via belts attached to our waists to pull behind us. It would have been one exhausting trip to get to our apartment in this fashion, but luckily one of my (Lea) friends came to the rescue and helped us navigate the (excellent) public transport system. But we could not rest yet: we had an address, but we didn’t know which apartment was ours, and no one was there to meet us since it turned out that the office hadn’t gotten the email and phone message we sent them about when we would be arriving. So we went into a few other students’ apartments and even found an empty one to crash in in case we couldn’t find ours, but in the end our roommate (an amazing Chinese student named Zaq) came to the rescue. We explored Zurich for a few hours the next day (Sunday) and even found a Hungarian church for mass right in the neighbourhood! Then Monday bright and early we started our pre-semester German classes and so are spending our time immersing ourselves in the Swiss culture and language and learning German rapidly. Unfortunately the dialect they speak here is nearly impossible to understand with our foreigner’s ear, but most people speak the “normal” HochDeutsch perfectly.

The best thing so far about the University here is that there is a Sleeping Room! It’s officially called the Relaxation centre, but you can go there any time to take a nap with soft classical music playing in the background in the comfiest beds you can imagine. If you would rather loosen up some muscles in your feet, there is also an option to get a foot massage. And everything is free with your student card! The rest of the world should take note.
Life in Zurich is promising to be a blast; yesterday we invited over our floor mates, and cooked loads of food: 15 liters of chicken broth, and a huge platter of stuffed aubergines, and a whole stuffed chicken etc… It was a lot of fun and we now have enough food for the whole week!
We’ll post some pictures soon so check back in a couple days.
Bis bald!
Lea and Hanna

“Sheruts” to “Hebrewglish”

The first couple of days in Israel went by in a flash.

I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel-Aviv and although I had planned to take a taxi, because of the amount of luggage on me, I decided to take the more adventurous and local way to travel.  It works out that this option is also one of the more economical modes of transportation from the airport to the University.

Sherut- Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem
Sherut– Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem

I took a sherut which is basically Israel’s shared taxi/minibus. For anyone travelling to Israel I totally recommend they use this service to travel between the major cities. It’s a little slower but you pay less than a quarter of what a taxi would charge, and the extra travel time is shortened as you get to chat with the people around you!

Upon my arrival, I checked into the University, had my room assigned and settled in. I arrived on a Thursday and so I made sure to head over to the supermarket to grab some basic necessities and food prior to the start of the weekend and Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest (Friday sundown to Saturday Sundown). During this time most of the stores in Jerusalem are closed and I definitely wanted to ensure I had survival goods to make it through the weekend. Next, I had to figure out where my classes would be held and if I needed to complete any homework/assignment, or purchase a textbook prior to the beginning of my class. Here classes begin on Sunday and run until Thursday. In Israel the weekend is considered to be Friday and Saturday. Once I figured out locations and course requirements I focused on catching up on missed work. I arrived a week late to Ulpan, which composes the first three weeks of the Spring Semester at Hebrew U, and is an intensive Hebrew language immersion course. My class breezed through the work the first week – I guess it’s noted to be intensive Hebrew for a reason- and consequently between trying to catch up and the jet lag I experienced (Jerusalem is seven hours ahead of Toronto time) the week went by within the blink of an eye.

Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus

Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus

I’ve been in Jerusalem for over a week now and I am still in slight disbelief that I am actually here. Yet, as I start my days, I realize I am not in Toronto when at dawn I hear the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, being emitted from the minaret of a nearby mosque.

Sunrise on my morning run

Sunrise on my morning run

Then, as I got out for my morning runs, my body- in between huffs and puffs- and particularly my legs realize I am not in Toronto as I begin running up what is one of the many steep and long hills of Jerusalem! Nothing compared to Toronto’s relative flatness… Soon, I reach the crest and look over to my right to see the amazing panoramic views of Jerusalem. Ahead of me I make out the dunes of the Judean desert, nestled in there, I catch a glimpse of the Dead Sea! “Yep”, I realize, “definitely not in Toronto!”

What’s more! A couple of nights ago I had my first dream in what I am recalling to be “Hebrewglish” and so I presume the intensive Ulpan course is working. One thing I know for sure is that I would definitely not experience this in Toronto!

“Lehit” (Short form of “Lihtraot”= “See you” in Hebrew)

David

Friday Photo: Bo-kaap

Bo-kaap

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Bo-kaap is an area located underneath Lion’s Head. It’s full of beautiful colourful houses, and old mosques. You can see the entire city and Lion’s head was illuminated by the setting sun.

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Bo-kaap is an area that was originally settled by freed slaves who’d been brought to Cape Town by the Dutch East Indian Trading Company. Most of these slaves had been brought over from Southeast Asia. The term Cape Malay refers in part to the fact that many of these slaves came from parts of Malaysia. The first South African mosque was built there in 1794.   The area is home to a large number of traditional Cape Malay restaurants, and still retains a strong Islamic culture. When we were there, you could hear the singing for the evening prayer.

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Shalom Shalom!

Shalom Shalom!! [Hello in Hebrew (lit.Peace)]

Entrance gate to HUJ at night

Entrance gate to HUJ at night

So why did I pick Israel? Well…Thanks to CIE and to Canadian Friends of Hebrew University I was here last summer on a scholarship at this same University (HUJ). It was my experience in the summer that really got my exchange bug going and where I saw what a special place Israel and the city of Jerusalem are!I’d say I’ve done my fair share of travelling… I’ve been to many of the world’s major capitals New York, London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Brussels and I’ve travelled through most of Eastern Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe and last year, BAM!! I landed here in Israel!EYE OPENING EXPERIENCE!!! It was like someone slapped me with a gigantic pita to wake me up and open my eyes…and yes, they were opened and hence I am back here for a 6 month semester.

A lot of IR students, myself previously included, want to study Europe, live in Europe, work in Europe, and wish to do many other things in Europe… we basically breath Europe. Europe after all was the main centre in which the fields of International Relations and Diplomacy developed, and where some of the world’s greatest statesmen practiced this craft.

Jerusalem- Centre of the World

Jerusalem- Centre of the World

Yet, last year when I was here I could not think of a better place to truly explore and study IR. Jerusalem is, after all, the junction of the three world’s major religions, and a place that has been desired, won and lost by many over the centuries. There is within its streets an infusion of its local cultures and traditions blended in with its Mediterranean and European influence of past and present. People from all around the world live in and visit this city. Moreover, what occurs in Jerusalem, where the seat of the Israeli government is, influences the whole Middle East region, and this in turn concerns the whole world… Talk about International Relations!

Also did I mention the food is delicious?! Keep in mind though, if you are allergic to chickpeas you may want to reconsider your exchange location. Furthermore, for us Canadians the Israeli winter is but a mere tickle!

I am not trying to sell you on the idea of coming here, but you have to admit it sounds like a pretty solid exchange location. Then again, maybe I did just sell you on it which is awesome! But, if you’re still unsure about going on exchange, either here to Hebrew University of Jerusalem, or elsewhere, you can just read my blog and hopefully I’ll be able to share with you some of the adventures and escapades I’ll experience while I’m on exchange…and by then you’ll be sold on going abroad! Yet, the CIE deadline to apply will have expired…so why not just apply now?

Thank you for reading!

Lihtraot! (Hebrew for “See you!”)

David

 

And so begins my Kiwi adventure

Traveling half-way around the world takes some time, but 30 hours and 8 time zones later, the plane finally arrived in Auckland, New Zealand right in the middle of summer. I should probably mention that I brought my fiancé Andrew along for the trip, and what a trip we have had so far. I’ll start at the start.

Walkway in downtown Auckland

Walkway in downtown Auckland

We want to see as much of the country as possible before school starts in February near the southern tip of New Zealand. Auckland is the biggest city in NZ, so what better place to start! The harbour sparkles, and the parks are the brightest shade of green you can imagine. I thought it might just be the novelty of it all that made the city seem so sunny- it turns out there is a huge ozone hole above New Zealand. That also explains the sunburns. The Auckland Domain park had these amazing trees with long branches that are so heavy that they touch the ground, and then bend and start growing back up. The strange part about NZ parks is that every time you hear rustling and look up expecting to find a squirrel there is a bird instead. The only mammals native to NZ are a couple species of bats. This makes for a very unique faunal assemblage, with many birds filling typical “mammal niches.” In other words, they have birds to do what our squirrels and mice and rabbits do.

Can you spot that head peeping up from inside the tree? That's Andrew, 190cm tall, standing inside the tree hollow.

Can you spot that head peeping up from inside the tree? That’s Andrew, 190cm tall, standing inside the tree hollow.

As soon as we were packed up and ready, we headed north. North is not the direction most tourists head for when leaving Auckland, but since we had almost a month to tour, Northland was our first stop. The first thing you notice when travelling around New Zealand is how quickly the landscape changes. You quickly go from grassy pastures to native forest (with palm trees and tree-sized ferns), back to logging forest (pine trees row on row), and on to golden beaches. And that’s just the Northland peninsula.

New Zealand highways and roads are grouped into three types: scenic highways, alternate highways, and roads that Canadians would really probably call paths or perhaps rural driveways. Many of these alternate highways even aren’t paved and are only one lane wide through switchbacks and endless blind corners. I suppose you get used to them eventually, but I’m glad I’m not driving. New Zealand is absolutely breathtaking; the scenic highways are certainly called that for a reason.

I bet you wouldn't guess New Zealand!

I bet you wouldn’t guess New Zealand!

The trip to the northern tip of the north island took several days with stops along the way. Eventually we made it to the most unexpected place: the Te Paki sand dunes. It turns out that most of the rolling hilly landscape of Northland is just overgrown sand dunes, but right on the northern tip of New Zealand, the sand dunes are bare and enormous. They are absolutely spectacular.

I am standing on a sediment of sea shells and sand... at the top of the sand dunes. Explain that!

I am standing on a sediment of sea shells and sand… at the top of the sand dunes. Explain that!

Once you climb to the top, all you can see is sand; there are no trees within view and no water around. You can easily imagine that you are stranded in the middle of a desert…but you shouldn’t; it makes you terribly thirsty. While we were up there, we took advantage of the strong wind and lack of trees to fly a kite! I even found an area at the top with fossilized sea shells; it must have been at the bottom of the ocean at one time!

Ironically enough, it is a kiteboarding training kite that I am flying... with no water in view.

Ironically enough, it is a kiteboarding training kite that I am flying… with no water in view.

The last stop on our northward trek was Cape Reinga. This is the farthest north you can go by road in New Zealand (the northernmost point is inside a scientific reserve). In the waters north of the cape the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. The two meet in wild, turbulent waters that are impassible by boats. Each body of water has its own colour and direction of waves, and the meeting point is spectacular.

The northern cape where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. It's even more beautiful in person.

The northern cape where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. It’s even more beautiful in person.

That concludes the northbound part of our journey, with more to come for the trip south.

Canada made the sign! Yay for Vancouver! This beautiful little lighthouse sadly put a man out of business, since it does not need to be manned, unlike its predecessor.

Canada made the sign! Yay for Vancouver! This beautiful little lighthouse sadly put a man out of business, since it does not need to be manned, unlike its predecessor.