A Little Detour
GP Melbourne, Australia was a three day event starting from 11/16. Before heading to Australia this time, we added a little detour vacation to New Zealand. This has nothing to do with GP’s, but this time I’d like to write about New Zealand in a little side-story.
When I say New Zealand, what pops into your head? This was my first time there, so my only image was that there was ‘nothing, but sheep’. We didn’t have a lot of time before GP Melbourne, so we only really went to Auckland.
What Kind of City is Auckland?
Auckland, the capital city of New Zealand is, contrary to my thought of being a place full of sheep and nature, quite an urban area. However there is a volcanic island just a 20 minute ferry ride away; as well as a massive forest located 30 minutes away by car. The volcanic island is under jurisdiction of the Ministry for the Environment, and therefore is an ‘uninhabited island’; you can still take a hike there though. Seeing as we were already there, we also went on a hike.
“Look! There’s something there!”
“It’s not afraid of humans at all, huh?”
Out of nowhere walked a sweet little plump bird on the hiking course. It walked in front and all around us without a care in the world. Upon looking it up later, it seems like it was the flightless island bird known as the Weka.
In New Zealand if you said ‘flightless bird’ you’d hear about the famous ‘kiwi’; you can find tons of places like companies and shops with the name and logo of that bird. So it’s no wonder that the Kiwi is a bird native to New Zealand and also acts as it’s national bird. Unfortunately the amount of predatory, non-native species has increased, and the Kiwi is now considered an endangered species.
The Village Where Adventure Began
If you take a step out of Auckland, and head out by car for about two hours, you’ll come across the famous Hobbiton. ‘The Shire’ of the Lord of the Rings series was made into a whole village on a vast plot of farmland in New Zealand. It’s currently a tourist location and you can experience the Shire as it was in the films. Due to the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere being the opposite of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the time we visited was during spring and boy oh boy were the flowers beautiful.
Hobbiton has a complete tour with a guide that told us some unknown stories from the filming of the series. In the interest of not spoiling anything, I won’t go into what we were told; this place truly is a perfect tour for fans.
To the GP We Go!
After our small trip to New Zealand we finally headed to Melbourne. It was the same in New Zealand, but Melbourne had a pretty intense declaration process and baggage inspection due to their conservation of their plant and animal ecosystem. I even had to declare if I had packed a swimming suit I had worn swimming in the ocean; which was rather surprising.
The event hall for this GP was a beautiful riverside building, about a 15 minute walk from the city center. The cold winter was finally over, spring had arrived and there was an excited atmosphere in the people that were headed to the city. The convention center was absolutely massive, with several halls and the GP venue was spread throughout two of them.
Working at the booth this time I had a hard time with the size of the coins in Australia. Of the coins in the photo below, which do you think is the most expensive?
The answer: The smallest coin all the way on the right. From the left it goes, 10 cents, 50 cents, a dollar and two dollars. In Japan, the 500 yen coin in the biggest and in Europe the two euro is the biggest, so it took me a long time at first to get people the correct amount of change. Also, the bills they use are color and have this plastic(?) transparent bit on them that’s super fresh. I was so used to Japanese bills, but these were so forward and fashionable!
GP Travels and Food Report
It’s not easy to eat a balanced diet while working at a GP; loading up on things like pizza or sandwiches. The longer the trip is, the more unhealthy food you continue to eat and the worse it becomes for your health. So I actually have started to bring freezer-dried miso and porridge with me. Even when I don’t have much time to make or get breakfast, it’s good enough just with hot water. There tends to be less veggies when eating out all the time, when we stay in a room with a kitchen, we cook for ourselves and bring supplements and nutrition powders. We’ll go out to local supermarkets to buy veggies and spices and it’s always fun to see the unique foods and ingredients there. When abroad please stop by a local supermarket; you can get sweets and souvenirs that are much better than what you’re going to find in the airport! Traveling in countries that have different cultures, languages, food and timezones come with their hardships, but it’s in that surviving where you can have some real fun!
In my next article I’d like to write about some things I do to prevent, or at least fight against, jet lag!