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I will be on my way to New Zealand for a holiday in a couple of hours. Should have wifi access at my hostel but if not I will still try to check in occasionally. Should be back in my apartment Feb 19.
 
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Wow, sounds great. Shu and I would love to go to New Zealand. How was it?
 
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Give me a chance. Just been here a day, Smile
The hostel has good wifi though so not as incommunicado as I could have been.

Great so far.

The only problem was that when I went to bed after arriving I had the most hideously painful leg cramp - certainly due to sitting on the long flight. (4 hours to Taipei and then 14 more to Auckland. Other than that ... Can't fault it
 
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Oh yes... one other downside... Auckland has almost no good bookstores. The one recommend as the best by locals and the internet would fit in your living room with space left over for the TV
 
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Originally posted by BobHale:
Oh yes... one other downside... Auckland has almost no good bookstores. The one recommend as the best by locals and the internet would fit in your living room with space left over for the TV


Surprised at that. The bookstore a few blocks away from me has only best sellers and some older, used, books. There is a bookstore in a neighboring university town about 15 miles away that I love. Since I no longer drive, I get there rarely. The name of the town is Frostburg, for good reasons.

I hope you enjoy your trip, Bob. When you have the opportunity, please tell us about what you are doing, seeing, and thinking. Hearing about other people's experiences is a little like reading books,---a form of living vicariously. Have some fun, and some awe moments, as well! Then, share with us!
 
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I can tell you something I won't be doing - the Hobbiton set tour from Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. It's a one day trip for 199 NZD which is £105 or 135 USD. That's just daylight robbery considering that about seven or eight hours of it is sitting on a bus going and coming back.
 
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The story so far...
Yesterday - waked around a lot, visited the Art gallery,Albert Park, the maritime museum and went to the cinema to see Mary Poppins Returns. (Hey, I like kids movies),

Today - visited the Museum (mainly war stuff, some cultural), the Winter Gardens, Eden Garden, the zoo and St Luke shopping mall which is allegedly one of New Zealand's finest but doesn't compare to the poorest in the US, the UK or even China. Found a largish bookshop there but bought nothing because an average paperback that might be eight to ten quid back home was clocking in at around fifteen.
Had an Indian meal for dinner. Decided, for reasons previously mentioned - not to do the Lord of the Rings set tour.
 
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Now I know why it's called Aukland: That's the noise one makes when one sees the prices. Auuuuuuk! On the other hand, I'm sure you'll enjoy the scenery.
 
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It does sound expensive, Bob. I might be tempted, if I had the money, to visit the site used for The Hobbit and the LOTR films. Here's the thing though, I didn't like the movies that much, but loved the books when I first read them in 1970. My favorite character in LOTR, Tom Bombadil, was not included in the first movie.

I haven't seen the new Mary Poppins movie. Did you like it as well as the one with Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews?

I think that I might have posted this before, but in honor of Mary Poppins and my liking stupid things. James Corden as Mary Poppins

I hope you are enjoying yourself, in spite of the higher costs!
 
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I enjoyed the LotR movies almost as much as the books but The Hobbit movies were an overblown pointless monstrosity. The last one is about three hours long and is "based on" the last twenty pages of the book. I keep hoping that someone will edit them so that they will cover the book and nothing but the book. I'll bet you could comfortably get the whole nine hours down to about ninety minutes.

Mary Poppins Returns, in my view, completely recaptures the magic of the original with nods and callbacks galore but without just being a copy. The songs are great and I'm not ashamed to admit that like Mark Kermode I found myself inadvertently crying at the song "Where The Lost Things Go". Practically perfect in every way. (The song "A Cover Is Not The Book" is especially good.)
 
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And I expect Tom Bombardill will get his own nine hour trilogy. After all he is in the book for a whole chapter.
 
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And today

Devenport Island
Mt Victoria
Bastion Point
Sea Aquarium
Parnell Rose Gardens
Parnell Village
Sky Tower

and a lot of walking
 
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Waiheke Island
(rather dull if you don't want a tour of a dozen or so vineyards)
 
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Walking around downtown
Sitting in the park
Writing
 
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And I expect Tom Bombardill will get his own nine hour trilogy. After all he is in the book for a whole chapter.


LOL I don't think so. My son asks me how my favorite character could be such a minor one. I guess Tom is who I most identify with and would most want to be like. I also identify with Frodo. Like Samwise, I am enchanted with the elves, though I think I look more like a hobbit. This could be a whole other thread, which character do you like the most from the LOTR and which character are you most like.

I was busy all day, but I want to look up all the places you have been visiting so far. It sounds as if you are getting a lot of exercise from all the walking. Oh, and I can't wait to see the new Mary Poppins after your review, but will probably wait until it comes out on dvd.
 
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Howick Historical Village (Excellent - and at $16 with a further 9 for the train to get there by far the best value... also serves a killer breakfast)
Panmure town
More walking around
Chili-dog the size of a skateboard and two beers

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It's highly unlikely that there will be ANY more movies based on Tolkein's books given that reports at the time suggested that his estate was so unhappy with the bloated monstrosity that is The Hobbit that they had refused to license any further adaptations. So, sad though it is, no Tom Bombardil. Just as well. They would probably have cast Dwayne Johnson.
 
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Sounds fun, Bob. I wanted to go to the Mary Poppins movie, but Ken thought it would be too juvenile. Now I'm going!
 
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Of course it's juvenile. It's a kids' movie. All I can say is that it has clearly been made by people who love the original. If you like the original you will like this.

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Incidentally, if you reply to any post in a thread other than the immediately preceding one it's best to say which it is. That post seems to say that Dwayne Johnson as Tom Bombardil sounds fun. Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
 
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Devenport again
Fairly boring naval museum
More walking
More walking (OK I got lost)
A nice pale ale and a ploughman's lunch. (Do you have those in the US? At last, I make it language related! Hurrah!)
 
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Auckland Botanical Gardens
More Walking
Red Thai Curry
 
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Are you enjoying it?
 
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Pretty much done now. I have spent my last full day here sorting out bits and pieces of shopping and such and I return to China tomorrow afternoon.
Had a great time here though. (And walked an average of about 21,000 paces a day according to the app on my phone.)
 
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I had never heard of a ploughman's lunch. I looked it up and found this video.

ploughman's lunch

The nearest thing I can think of in the US is a boxed or bagged lunch that one takes to school or work, but nothing exactly like it. Anyone else in the US heard of a ploughman's lunch or know of anything similar? In most cases, Bob, a person might take a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and something else in it, such as pretzels, or potato chips. A pickle is often served with hamburgers or a sandwich in a restaurant. I was intrigued by the different pickles they mentioned in this video and will have to look them up. In most cases, pickles used along with a hamburger or sandwiches are dill pickles.

I am glad you had a good trip, Bob and thanks for sharing!
 
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It's a standard menu item in almost every pub in the uk
 
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It's a standard menu item in almost every pub in the uk


Did the video do a good job of representing what it usually contains? Are there many variations on it?
 
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Quite a good job. The pork pie is usually (as it was with mine the other day) replaced with ham and the scotch egg is unusual. Three cheeses would also be unusual as it is far more common to just get one cheese - usually a strong mature cheddar.

The one he was preparing was quite an upmarket version.

There are as many different variations as there are pubs.
 
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On my way back to China now and I know the wifi where I am staying isn't good so this time I may well be out of contact for a while.
 
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Hi Bob,
I have been visiting via YouTube, the gardens you have mentioned in your posts. I found some of the trees interesting in Albert Park, and loved the roses in Parnell Rose Gardens. I saw some pines at one or two of the gardens that reminded me, somewhat, of our Eastern White Pines, and discovered I was right in thinking I saw fig trees at Albert Park.

I ended up thinking that I probably would like best Auckland Botanical Gardens, and wondered if you had any preferences in the gardens you visited and why. From what I have seen of UK gardens, these aren't as impressive, but they are different. What did you think of them?
 
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The Botanical Gardens, I think. They are much bigger and laid out very well. Also I took advantage of the free guided tour they do on Wednesdays.
Albert Park is smaller but a nice place to just sit and read with the Auckland Art Gallery right next door if you fancy doing something else cultural.
The Rose Gardens are a disappointment. Many varieties of roses but all just ;laid out in equally spaced rectangular beds with straight paths through them.

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