Wellington

The trip from Nelson to Wellington was rather nice, with a few hours in the cute harbour town Picton, where the ferry across the Cook strait left from. The ferry trip, lasting almost 4 hours, was very much like the ones we have from Helsinki to Tallinn, the only differences being that on this route the water was distractingly clear blue, there was no drunk people and no tax free. Winner winner! We arrived in the capital city of NZ, population 204,000 just in time for the night market. Shuttle bus from the ferry to the train station, another bus to the hostel, and I was hungry for some street food.

Cruisin' to the North.
Cruisin’ to the North.

I read somewhere that Wellington is like the Melbourne of New Zealand, and I did see some similarities: loads of culture, events, street art, hip cool cafes, trendy restaurants. I enjoyed the night market vibes and a waterfront walk before heading to bed in another noisy snoring dorm.

Laneway with hip Soda shop and artisanal chocolate factory. Melbourne vibes!
Laneway with hip Soda shop and artisanal chocolate factory. Melbourne vibes!
Kids skipping.
Kids skipping.

Good thing about cool cities on the weekends is the markets. In the morning I ventured to 2, walking pretty much across town on this quest. Not really knowing what to do, I decided to invest in Weta Workshop tour, giving me more insight in the movie industry and the opportunity to see how the hell they made Lord of the Rings. The tour was very inspiring and interesting, and the temptation to take pictures was almost unbearable! I learned a lot about behind the scenes in such a short time, and seeing Sauron’s costume and weapon, as well as the other weaponry right there in front of me was pretty incredible. The old fangirl in me woke up instantly.

Trolls greeting at the door of Weta Cave.
Trolls greeting at the door of Weta Cave.
King Theodore's armour.
King Theodore’s armour.

After the tour and driving around Miramar and the lovely bay (and stalking Peter Jackson’s house by the sea), I decided to go to the Museum of New Zealand. 4 floors of exhibitions, I was exhausted and overfilled with information afterwards. There was another night market on, and the Chinese New Year fireworks and celebrations. I desperately
needed to charge all my electronics. Next morning, off to Rotorua.

Wellingwood, the heart of New Zealand's movie productions.
Wellingwood, the heart of New Zealand’s movie productions.
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Visa Run

In order to get a much needed stamp to my passport, our FSF Hong Kong team went for a lovely day trip to Macau. I did not quite know what to expect from the biggest casino destination of the world (33 casinos, more revenues than in Las Vegas, and 50% of the economy comes from gambling!).

Welcome to China!
Welcome to China!

We were supposed to go to Macau already a week ago but because it was Easter, we had to postpone. In the morning in HK it was darker than at 7 pm, and when we were leaving it started to pour once again, like almost every day for the past few weeks now. In Macau, the weather was 24C with 96% humidity. Phew. In the casinos, the climate was more pleasant, though unpleasantly smokey. Each casino had their unique scent, mixed with the gamers’ cigarrettes.

Filming for trainee video
Filming for trainee video

The highlight of our voyage was the Macau tower lunch buffet, which had been the daydream since day 1. I was actually considering doing the world’s highest bungee jump from Macau tower, but after that lunch I could barely walk, let alone look down the elevator from the 230m high restaurant. It was pretty cool setting, though I missed most of the scenery since I was concentrating on the food.

Where the money's at
Where the money’s at

After the gluttony we went to have dessert to The Venetian, which is the 6th largest building in the world, and besides the casino and a hotel it also has for example a shopping center and a canal inside it. It was my first time to be in a casino (and I went to at least 5 different ones!), and it was not quite like I’ve seen in dozens of Hollywood films and tv shows. No cocktails, no lucky dice blowing or cheering – just a bunch of Chinese people, most of them smoking. The lights, the sounds, the amount of money – I can’t even imagine it all.

The Venetian
The Venetian

Macau seemed to be a playground for the filthy rich. Everything was shiny and clean, loads of ATM’s everywhere, always signs for the next hotel and casino. Free shuttle buses from casino to another. Free water bottles (yay!) It was definitely worth a visit, and what a visit it was – when the boys left back to Hong Kong, we stayed and wondered around, until we found a very decent wine tasting in Four Seasons hotel. On the ferry back home we got to a big thunderstorm, and it was raining like hell in Hong Kong.

Eat, play and sleep - no need to leave the hotel
Eat, play and sleep – no need to leave the hotel

Oh, I would have tried some game in the casino, but they didn’t accept coins!

The future is near

My time in APU is getting close to its’ end. Today was the final report submission deadline (no more school for my bachelor’s degree!), and my check-out is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. After cleaning my room, I will be spending the night on a ferry to Osaka, and from there I will hopefully find my way to Kyoto. This short trip of mine will end on Monday night, when I finally move on to my next destination, Hong Kong.

Small version of my next home
Small version of my next home

I have been waiting to go to Hong Kong since coming back from Tokyo – I have had quite enough with this Beppu experience already. The mountain doesn’t quite suit me the way a city does (evidence of this: each time I go downtown, I come back with enormous headache that ruins the rest of the day).

Bye bye campus
Bye bye campus

For the next 5 months, I will continue what I already started here: my practical training in Four Sigma Foods . Not bad at all! I highly recommend to check out their video about Hong Kong and other locations; they’re rather inspiring, to say the least. So, I will continue this blog with topics probably more related to health and overall well-being, since I believe I will be getting into more holistic and healthy environment than here. I believe my time in Hong Kong will be at least as unforgettable as my time here in APU – at least it will be completely different. I can’t wait! But before leaving, it’s time to go to izakaya and karaoke one last time, and see the ancient capital of Nippon. But Hong Kong, here I come!

Bye bye AP house
Bye bye AP house