Future travels & stories
Poland ( October 2014)
Thailand (October 2014)
Melbourne (February 2015)
Tasmania (February 2015)
Florida (June/ July 2015
Georgia (July 2015)
Dubai (October 2015)
More to come from...
Dunedin, New Zealand (January 2014)
Malaysian Borneo (2 trips in 2014)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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As a travel writer, I was puzzled as I walked through the historic centre of Warsaw, Poland just a few weeks ago. Why? Well, I’d read that during the Warsaw Uprising (August 1944) over 85% of Warsaw’s old centre was destroyed by Nazi troops, but my eyes could only see 13th to 20th century buildings.
Apparently after the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign began, resulting in the meticulous restoration of the Old Town which is what I could see.
According to the United Nations World Heritage website, “It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.”
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder as one of our clichés say, but for me, the beauty of European market places, churches and palaces is in their age. I kept looking at buildings wondering is that rebuilt or is it old; five hundred years or fifty? Actually, what I really was thinking ‘real or fake’; it felt Disney or Vegas-like. In fact, at the top of my mind was, ‘I’m so glad Christchurch is not doing that.’
Born, schooled, and living in Christchurch for most of my life, I have been devastated by the destruction of so many of our buildings, and much of my history. All my family arrived in Otautahi between 1862 and 1873 so our roots are deep in this flat, swampy, shaky region, and although I grieve for what was, I also welcome what will be.
During that fateful first quake (September 2010), lying in bed clutching my mattress so, if my 3rd floor apartment building collapsed I’d land on something soft, I had no idea what was to come. How relieved were my tweets and texts on that first day. It never entered my head we would eventually, like Warsaw, loose most of our inner city, my backyard. But we did – about 80% of our inner city.
And today I see on Facebook, that the beautiful Press building could be rebuilt, a replica on the same spot, for a hotel. That would be an asset to the city; it would give us back the appearance of still having one of our old buildings, but please make sure people know it’s a reproduction of a loved building. Don’t have tourists stand and wonder, real or fake, old or new?
Polish people are proud of how they defied the punishing German bombs by rebuilding exactly as it was, and the historic centre is full of tourists most of who love it as it is. However, for me, I’m just relieved my beloved Christchurch is, apart from key buildings that can thankfully be repaired, is arising as a new Christchurch: honouring the past, while welcoming the future.
(The Kiwi Travel Writer now lives in Wellington, but not as a quake survivor – she had begun apartment hunting some months before the quakes)
See more about why I love these Cleopatra birds … photos taken at Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand.
Originally posted on The Kiwi Travel Writer:
Mansur Poh is a passionate man. Obsessed say some, crazy say others: however, all agree he is a bird man of absolute dedication and Malaysia’s lesser adjutant storks are fortunate to have him. He has been dubbed ”Protector of the lesser adjutant stork” – a fitting title for someone who has devoted over 10 years to unpaid study of this threatened species.
So, what is the lesser adjutant? It’s a stork with a two-metre wingspan, is 120-cm tall, stands with a hunched appearance and has a massive wedged shaped bill. They have an un-feathered head, sparse feathers on their neck and flies with its neck retracted – more like a heron than a stork. When flying, to me they look like a cross between a child’s picture of a bird and a pterodactyl, and have been called ugly by some. It is resident from India across SE Asia to Cambodia…
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Mista, (March 2008 – November 2014) was born under a bridge in Kaiapoi (near Christchurch, NZ). Cats Protection League took his mother and siblings in, and it was from there that I adopted him. You can see why he was registered as ‘chocolate’ in colour.
He was pretty wild and fearful when, at about 5 weeks old, I took him to live in my 3rd floor inner-city Christchurch apartment – on quiet street.
In 2010 the quakes scared him, and when he was about two and half, we moved to Wellington – a couple of months after the 7.1 quake – but not because of it.
We drove up the South Island’s picturesque east coast then got the Interislander ferry. Mista was fine for all the trip, just sat on the seat beside me, and we moved into another inner city apartment: two months later a new apartment began to be built beside us.
Mista continues: “Mum and I had huge adrenaline surges with the pile driving … we thought it was another quake! We got used to it. Our new apartment has more things and people to watch and from four levels high, I became the neighborhood-watch-cat in the funky cuba quarter of New Zealand’s capital city. Although Mum traveled more than I thought she should, I’ve had a some great women come and look after me.”
Mista died unexpectedly and very quickly on Friday 7th November and has 3 ti kouka trees to mark his grave.
As a Christchurch writer said of Mista my on Facebook page, “From under a bridge to the life of Riley”. Yes indeed – I even imported a kitty toilet training seat for him to learn to use the people toilet.
Thanks for the great company Mista.
Wellington Writers Walkway . . . spread along the Wellington waterfront, a stroll along it is a great artistic, historical, and literary way to spend an enjoyable couple of hours in New Zealand’s capital city.
With ‘quotations from 23 authors, past and contemporary, including poets, novelists, and playwrights the walk celebrates the place of Wellington in these writers’ lives’. and their place in the life of Wellington. It also introduces New Zealand literature to a wider public, and in particular, tourists and visitors. I heard cruise ship passengers discussing buying a NZ book and I’m sure without this great addition to our public art they would not have known about the author whose quote they were photographing.
See an earlier blog I wrote about the opening of some new quotes. (All in a different form, ie not concrete)
The web page of the Confucius Institute at Victoria University says it “is dedicated to promoting artistic, cultural and intellectual exchange between China and New Zealand. Through exhibitions, concerts, festivals, lectures, workshops and courses, we bring you closer to the heart and mind of one of the most important and enduring civilisations in the world.”
Recently I went to Confucius Festival on the Wellington waterfront. I love attending events like these: it’s sort of travelling when you’re not travelling! (I’ve never been to China so these are a bonus)