New Zealand Chapter: Dunedin

Continued from New Zealand Chapter: Auckland…


Where I had friends to meet in Auckland, Dulcie is the only person I know here. And I had to count on her to go around here.

The first thing on the to-do list was racing up Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world.

What a way to start the holiday in humble ole’ Dunners. Haha!

Got to know Dulcie’s friend, Jay, and within no more than a minute he invited me to represent Salmond College in the race up Baldwin St. A mercenary never takes a day off.

The air was cold and chilly, definitely colder than in Auckland. I jogged to the start of the street in an effort to warm up. The super steep street is intimidating but I was more excited to see how far my gym training had brought me in the past 6 months.

So I raced against other Amazon-like women… and prevailed!

It came at the cost of running out of breath and retiring down to the ground.

The street was no joke. My legs felt crammy yet it was the cold air that really got to me. The hailing stones that came minutes later didn’t help with things. LOL

While in Dunedin, I stayed with everyone else at Salmond College. Dunedin is basically a ‘students town’ because the number of students outnumber the rest of other occupations here.

Dulcie toured me around the college and the next couple of days here. Staying here, I didn’t feel like a tourist… more like another student! Haha. 🙂 And I’ve mentioned many times Salmond College reminds me of the fictional X-Mansion in the X-Men cartoon a.k.a. the School for Gifted Youngsters.

Speaking of that, only the best students get enrolled here so students here are truly aces in their own rights! Makes me feel like some non-enlightened, uncivilized barbarian now ey?

Dunedin is full of churches from many denominations, and most old buildings are preserved to this day. So walking around in Dunedin kinda brings you back in time too!

While here, I attended a mass service with Dulcie and her friends in the Holy Name church.

One of the attractions I went to in Dunedin is the Cadbury Chocolate Factory!

75 minutes of watching how chocolates were made behind the scenes and shipped to the entire world… not gonna lie, we had “chocolate orgasm”!

Meet Sarah our Cadbury tour guide. She’s been whipping out chocolates after chocolates magically from her pockets throughout the tour! I think cross dimensional pockets are no longer a thing of the future.

My stay in Dunedin was shorter than in Auckland. We did plenty of walking around and sight seeing including the Botanic Gardens, the old Railway Station, numerous churches, and life in slow paced Dunners.

It was an overall fun and exciting vacation but good things came to an end when it was already time to fly off.

All in all, it was 9 days well spent in New Zealand!

Even more photos on my New Zealand trip are found on my Facebook profile.

New Zealand Chapter: Auckland

It’s been months since I last went out of Malaysia for a vacation and this time, I chose somewhere closer to the South Pole: New Zealand!

My first stop was Auckland. For the next 4 days here I stayed in James Allen‘s apartment. The last time I met James was in Fukushima, Japan in 2008.

James, his wife Yuko and their kid Hanna moved here in April after the unfortunate tsunami and earthquake disaster hit Japan, not to mention the radiation leak in Fukushima that occurred as a result.

James had been really hospitable and generous while I was here; his apartment is smack dabbed in the middle of the city and most attractions were within walking distance. He also introduced me to some of the people he’s been working with on some really awesome Internet projects.

And guess who else I met?

I also met up with Delia while I was here! She and her sister Dulcie moved to New Zealand to further their studies since February this year. (I would later meet Dulcie in Dunedin)

So I finally caught up with Del months later. Meeting her was surprisingly convenient as her student’s apartment was about 15 minutes walk away; practically Queen Street connects everything here. LOL

But we sure did heck a lot of walking to find the Auckland Harbour Bridge! A nice gentleman offered to drop us there on the way. 🙂

We walked up and down the Harbour Bridge here. 🙂 It’s however comparably smaller than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Saw some people doing the bungee jumps; would had tried but cold weather really scared me let alone dipping into the freezing waters.

But hey, I did jump off the Auckland Skytower!

192 meters. Falling down at the acceleration of 85 km an hour. Totally exhilarating? Check this video out:

Too bad I couldn’t join any airsoft skirmishes, I must had picked the wrong weekend to come. The rugby world cup was going on and the All Blacks were to compete against the French team on Saturday. The weekend came to life and when the All Blacks won, the streets were high!

Even though there’s just slightly over a million population here in Auckland (4 million + overall in NZ) night life is big here over the weekends.

I made full use of my last day in Auckland by visiting as many as 3 tourist attractions on my own. First stop was the Auckland Museum.

Plenty of amazing relics, artifacts and things from the past. Learned the background of New Zealand and how it came about. Undeniably of course, my favorite wings within the museums are the WWI and WWII wings.

Next stop was the Auckland Zoo.

The zoo is huge, and I mean like REALLY HUGE! It was spring so some animals – notably the turtles – had been moved elsewhere. Some parts of the zoo were under renovation. Still, there was plenty to see.

Near the Auckland Zoo is MOTAT – Museum of Transport and Technology. Since it’s just a stone’s throw away, I went to check it out before it closes.

Visiting museums today really felt like going back in time. So I went through exhibits after exhibits, vehicles and aviators that blast from the past all the way through fairly recent history.

After spending a nice 4 days in Auckland, I caught the flight to the next destination further down south: Dunedin!

To Be Continued…

10 Years Ago Today

I was 15 then. It was around midnight when a school friend ICQ’ed and told me to quickly check out the news on CNN. So I rushed downstairs to the TV and see what was happening on the other side of the world.

Footages replayed over and over again on two planes being crashed into the twin towers while new information was being relayed through the scrolling marquee. I remember one of them was exactly “Osama bin Laden: I had nothing to do with it”

By now my whole family woke up to see the bad news happening LIVE.

New photos. New footages including the Pentagon on fire this time. And even more footages taken at the vicinity of the towers which will later be known as Ground Zero. People running away from the collapsing towers. People FALLING from them.

I didn’t know what was really happening except it was truly terrible. Little did I know we were all witness to something that would later go down into history of the world.

Do you remember where you were 10 years ago today?

Gym Training 6 Months Later

A quick update on my progress…

It’s been nearly 6 months since I’ve started my training by my personal fitness trainer, Koay Qunling. On the average I train 3 times a week and I’ve not missed a substantial part of the training at all; weeks that I trained twice I would make up the following by training 4 times.

The routines were changed slightly every now and then as seen fit, but generally each training day focuses on a specific body part: chest / back / triceps, legs, and shoulders & biceps.

In the latest measurement, I’ve successfully dropped by body fat percentage to 16.4%! It was 17.2% just one month ago, and before I started my training my body fat level was flirting with the danger of touching nearly 19%. (that’s unhealthy!)

This time’s fat loss came at the expense of 500g of muscle mass, however in the grand scheme of things I’ve definitely put on more than 3 kilos of muscles since the time I started my training while my overall body weight remained consistent. This time I weigh 61.0 KG, just a month ago it was 61.4 KG.

(Back in November 2010 I weigh 64.1 KG – not good because for a long time since high school days I weigh anywhere between 56 – 59 KG!)

Overall appearance right now, my muscles had regressed a bit also owing to dieting and being more selective with my meals. Ultimately, I’m still lean and mean. 😉 In many ways I’m thankful that genetic wise, I’m having it easier than a fat guy in a hurry to cut off dozens of pounds. I don’t have much body fats to lose to begin with.

I figure this would be the best time to put my BEFORE and AFTER photo really. While I can post my results as of now, I realized I’ve accidentally deleted my BEFORE photos that were taken back in November last year… damn!

Seriously, that would have made posting my current photo more meaningful. It would had been really awesome and feel good to see I lost a lot of that flabs around the tummy and how the chest and triceps hardened since!

Oh well. Right now, training is going another notch up. Weights are still going up with each set I take in, the reps are anywhere from 10 to 20 each, and running the treadmill in between is now 60 seconds instead of 30. This is where I burnt most of my body fats, in spite of it being one of my most hated workouts, the other being dead lift!

Until the next gym training results…