Tag Archives: New Year’s Eve

Marlborough to Akaroa, 2012

Before long, it was time to bid farewell to our New Zealand Sri Lankan family and catch the ferry back to Picton with no view of the Marlborough Sounds once again and a shared baby’s room with no private cabins. We didn’t realise just how spoilt we had been on our previous trip.

My husband and I decided to console ourselves with a rare couple of hours off from the newborn to sample some of the local Marlborough wines near the holiday park we were staying on river in Blenheim.

We started at Lawson’s Dry Hills, who suggested we visit a lovely new winery that I now see popping up in Australian bottle shops everywhere. Wither Hills had an undoubtedly modern cellar door and with old barrels for added character and a view of the vines to the hills.

The next day, we drove the East Coast to Kaikoura to see the seals. We didn’t have to look far as there was one lying in the car park in the sun when we arrived. We walked out onto the rocks and found a few bathing in and out of the beautiful healthy sea weedy water.

That night we stayed at Hamner Springs, a spa town in the hills. We visited the big water park with thermal springs the next day and soaked in the pine forest of the town.

Our final stop was Akaroa, one hour from Christchurch, for New Year’s Eve. Akaroa was a pretty little French inspired town and was my favourite place on the trip.

We stayed in a holiday park overlooking the town which had a comfy lounge building with TV. We walked down the hill into the town and discovered that a cruise ship had invaded for the day.

The French influence could be seen in the French bakeries, lovely heritage buildings and French signage that was dotted around the town. I bought some lovely earrings in a small gift shop and we walked out to the pier on harbour.

On New Year’s Eve we walked a little further to the lighthouse and had a yummy local seafood platter lunch. We were back in the van in time to see the lovely sunset. Our little family of three were all sleeping well before midnight, so tuckered out that not even fireworks hitting the van at midnight woke us up.

By the end of the trip, we had gotten used to our comfy little portable home and were sad to drop the campervan off in Christchurch before we boarded our plane home on New Years Day. New Zealand had turned out to be much more beautiful than I had imagined and I was so glad we had come.

Related posts: West Coast to Wellington, 2012, Queenstown to Fox Glacier, 2012, New Zealand, 2004

New Year’s Eve on the Island, 2007

The day after Boxing Day, my husband-to-be (HTB) and I caught the ferry to Vancouver Island. We were met in Victoria by Geoff and his brown Labrador Ruby. After a walk on the beach, we met up with Genevieve, who was now Geoff’s wife, at a local bar to catch up. They were kindly letting us stay in their house for New Year’s Eve and we were very excited.

Celina and her friend Balki took us up Bear Mountain the next day for a view of Victoria and to see the outdoor skating rink at The Westin. The boys then dropped us in town to meet up with Genevieve for a girl’s shopping trip while they played golf. They saw wild deer on the course!

My HTB and I did the usual sight-seeing round of Victoria- the Parliament Buildings, Empress Hotel, Hemlcken House, St Anne’s Pioneer school house, a totem pole and a squirrel. There were lots of statues of killer whales, bears and moose around town that we liked posing in front of.

Celina and Balki drove us to Jordan River and to see the iconic China Beach one day. It was cold on the beach, but beautiful.

We met Kim and Jeanette for dinner and ice tea one night and met Geoff and Genevieve’s friends Lisa, Rochelle, Kayla and Sean one night at their house.

And then, before we knew it, it was the night before New Year’s Eve and a mini Heineken practice keg was purchased. Not deemed big enough, a 40-litre keg was bought in preparation for New Year’s Eve, which was consumed in entirety by 8 guys on the night.

Also at the New Year’s party at Geoff and Genevieve’s house were Celina, Balki, Kim, Nina, Kayla and Sean, Lisa, Rochelle, Rob and his girlfriend and a random New Zealander called Steve. It was Lisa’s birthday on the night so we had cake to go with our drinking games.

We played a funny game of Twister, had lots of dancing and the countdown to New Year’s Eve on the oven clock. People kept passing out on the bed and then getting up to drink more- that 40-litre keg had to be finished!

All in all, my HTB and I agreed it was one of the best New Year’s Eve’s we had ever had (ok- it was THE best, just don’t tell anyone else we have ever spent New Year’s Eve with alright?).

Related posts: Christmas in Canada, 2007Canada, 2005Canada, 2002Canada 1997- 1998Canada, 1997Canada, 1990Seattle, 2007, People vs PlaceThe Seven Year ItchFriendship: Great Expectations?

Canada, 1997-1998

After my European adventures and spending Christmas in England, I decided to go back to Canada for New Year’s Eve.

I went to a big New Year’s Eve party in Vancouver with cousin Jay, his girlfriend Sarah, Geoff from the band and his girlfriend Celina. It was a lonely feeling having no one to kiss as midnight when everyone else was coupled up. I shook hands with a stranger instead- she must have been the only other single girl at the party!

It was snowing in Richmond, so we built a snowman in the backyard and went tobogganing at the school next door that had a big empty sports field- all very novel activities for an Aussie that didn’t grow up with snow. We visited the pretty local Buddhist temple and went back to Steveston.

Jay was training to be a hairdresser at the time, so I let him put in the only streak that has ever been in my hair. It was red and you could barely see it- just the way I like it.

In Vancouver, it was so cold that the dock at Stanley Park froze over. I went back to Vancouver Aquarium with Jay and Sarah and saw the killer whales. I also went to see the steam clock in Gastown again and saw the Chinese New Year show at the Plaza of Nations.

I wanted to get a tattoo, but didn’t know what to get that wasn’t cliché. So I went into downtown Vancouver to get my belly button pierced with my friend Jeanette who already had a tongue piercing. We went to a tattoo parlour which is meant to be better than a hairdresser. They didn’t use anaesthetic, just smelling salts, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, so that was ok.

My uncle took the whole family up the Grouse Mountain Sky Ride for a fancy dinner at the Grouse Nest restaurant. The view of the city as night was awesome. They had lots of wood carvings at the top of the mountain of goats, bears and wolves and we went on a real sleigh ride in the snow.

I went to Mt Baker, just over the border in Washington State, on a skiing trip with cousin Kate. We stayed in a real log cabin (apparently very hard to maintain) and I found out what mono boarding was. On another family skiing trip, we took the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler, seeing Chieftain Rock on the way. We sat in the warm outdoor spa in the cold air and skied Blackcomb.

The last big party before I was due to leave was Arts County Fair at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Bands played all day and I got a souvenir plastic mug for beer refills. There were not enough toilets so we took turns peeing behind a rug and it was the first time I had ever been in a mosh pit- scary stuff!

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Sri Lanka and Malaysia, 1994

In 1994, my parents and I joined the Holsinger Reunion Trip to Sri Lanka. My mum was technically a Berenger, not a Holsinger, but I am sure we are related somewhere down the line. Not that this really matters anyway as anyone Sri Lankan and older than you is considered an aunt or an uncle.

We all wore yellow t-shirts with green writing that said “Hollies Reunion 94”on our trip around the country. I met lots of cousins from England, Australia and Sri Lanka and we had lots of parties. The young cousins and the older aunts all put on dance and acting shows of varying skill levels. Mum joined the “I Will Survive” dancing number and my cousin and her father sang to “Unforgettable.”

Being 16 at the time, I remember being very angry that my mum wore a red dress to the reunion ball when she knew I was wearing that colour too. We all spent Christmas together and New Year’s Eve at a house on a lake where we had dinner at 2am because the Lankans like to get maximum drinking time in before they eat.

In Colombo, we saw the Sri Lankan cricket team practicing on the next field when we played our reunion cricket match.

There were monks, a big white Buddha, dancers and monkeys in Kandy. Dad and I were the only ones brave enough to have a snake on our shoulders at a rest stop where we drank out of coconuts.

We went to the Pinawela elephant orphanage and saw the lion’s paws and rock frescos at Sigariya. We visited the buddas at Polonnaruwa and the temples at Anuradhapura. We went to Dambulla rock temple where we saw many colourful buddas in a cave.

At the beach, I swam in the deepest water I can ever remember swimming in and we stayed at the Tangalle Bay Hotel which was shaped like a ship.

Upcountry, we stayed at Loinorn tea estate which my uncle was managing. (He now has Ebony Springs). My family are Sri Lankan burghers, so they had a driver, a cook and a servant who looked after me when I was sick. The estate had a big house, a rock fresh water swimming pool and lots of tea hills to explore. They also had a golden retriever called Goldie who liked to sit around with her legs out like a seal. We got a personal tour of the Bogowana tea factory and I climbed Adam’s Peak at dawn.

We went to The Hill Club in Nuwara Eliya which was run by another uncle and visited family in Negombo.

On the way back to Australia we went to Malaysia with my aunt, uncle and two cousins.

In Kuala Lumpur we saw an orangutan smoking the Asian way in the zoo.

There was great food and good shopping in Malacca. Years later, I still regretted not buying silver sunflower ring that I found there.

We took a day boat trip to Pulau Kapas. We couldn’t afford to eat at the resort on the island so we sat on the beach and listened to their stereo system which played Ace of Base all day instead.

Related posts: England, Singapore and Malaysia, 1988, Travel rememberings, I first started travelling