D227. April 14. Where are the People of New Zealand ?

With only 4.4 million inhabitants for the size of the UK, and one-third of it in Auckland, no need to say that New Zealand feels a bit empty.
Though, we’ve met on our way two interesting fellows, their portraits follow.

Alex NZ There are two and a half million tourist every year coming to NZ, most of them from Australia, China, the US, Japan and the UK. Alex was coming from France.

Stef NZSteph has been seen in several national parks – They cover more than 30 000 km2.

 

D178. Feb 24. The Greyhound, a family mythology

Capture d’écran 2014-02-25 à 12.15.35On Monday, I’ve jumped in my first Greyhound. I have an open ticket to hop as many times as I wish between Cairns and Sydney, 2645 km all together !
Not bad, isn’t it ? Though, some of my family folks did better…

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Back in 1968, my beloved parents, who had just met, spent the summer in the US.
First they worked in NYC for a while – My mum was taking care of cats, my dad was working in a “lunchnet”. Then the explored the country.
Within 45 days, they rode 16 000 km !
200 hours spent in the bus through NY, DC, Minneapolis, Yellowstone, Salt Lake City, SF, Yosemite, LA, Gd Canyon, Santa Fé, El Paso and Chihuahua in Mexico with Speed Rabbit Uses, Huston, New Orleans, Cape Kennedy…

So, somehow, It looks like I have a history with trips, doesn’t it 😉

D173. Fev 19. Heroes are flying in different directions

Marie1Marie thought she was flying on the 18th, so she got a nice surprise when checking her e-ticket: She was finally flying back to France on the 19th, after almost three weeks on my side across New South Wales and Victoria…

Australia StefOn my side, I fly to Cairns, North East Australia, the access point to the Great Coral Reef and new adventures…

Marie2What did Marie like the most ? seeing kangaroos and our ride through Great Ocean Road.
What she’d like to explore further ? Body boarding !

Australia Stef2It’s the last time you’ll se this yellow diving mask – As well as my red sneakers. My snorkeling material got stollen in the car a couple of weeks ago. The care was locked and parked in front of our motel door, but still… I had stupidly left two camera lenses in the gloves box, that got stollen as well.
The most annoying though, is the mask, that I had tailor-made to my eyes vision, otherwise I don’t see a damn thing in the water. Let’s hope I’ll be able to find a way to have it done in Cairns…

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Paul is a legend

With his neat Clark Gabble mustache, you could say Paul is a well-behaved British, who could be teaching at Cambridge. May be… May be not: Paul is an American Indiana Jones who could inspire far more than a trilogy.

Paul was born in Arizona in the fifties. His parents were teenagers, his father looking like James Dean, his mother like Marilyn Monroe. Though, his fate wasn’t to become a Salinger’s character, catching in the rye. When he was ten or so, his father decided to move the family to Guatemala, where he thought they would have a more organic life, so to speak. By the time they reach this exotic location with their 1936 Chevrolet, a civil war pops up! They drive back to the US. A couple of stopovers later, the family ends up in Sacramento, California…

Sacramento

 

A regular childhood unfolds. He takes care of is little sister. Everyone grows up.
End of the sixties. Instead of experiencing the hippie summer of love, Paul enlists in the Coast Guards and will spend the next two years in exile, on the East Coast.
In 1968, he leaves this hole with two buddies with a Volkswagen Combi. Direction: Daytona Beach, Florida, to attend the famous motorcycle show. The Combi will end up in the sea. Other Combi, other buddies, direction Backersfield, California, because one of the hitchhikers he grabbed on the way needs to pick cotton there.

Paul combi VW

 

The crazy seventies can start! For ten years or so, Paul is gonna be a racer. A dirt bike racer! He runs with is father, who is also a professional racer.

Paul racer

 

Early eighties. Paul works an import-export business. He gets assigned to the Philippines, a country he barely knows where to find on a world map. Anyway. He gets the job done. Miss Cebu lives around. According to many (and still alive) witnesses, Miss Cebu is the most beautiful woman you’d ever meet. To seduce her, Paul will pass by her balcony every single morning of the year, with his fancy Harley Davidson… Twenty-nine years later, they are still married. They ran a successful business, raised twins, and lived happily ever after.

But a fairy tale ending does not implies the prince is gonna run a dull life from now on. Nope nope nope.

Over the years, always looking for good business opportunities, Paul has been transporting chairs produced in unreachable villages with pitching bangkas, has been sourcing gems in Afghanistan, has been searching for petrified wood in deep China, has been painting human skulls turned into art pieces, and other crazy ideas that made his family wealthy.

Capture d’écran 2014-01-23 à 02.38.57

 

For fun though, he’d rather ride in the Mexico desert or in the Australia outback. He’d fish in the Fijis, where he gets so many fishing prizes that he is now featured in records books.

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Today, Paul picked up the twins at school. He brought Alice the purple folder he found in the entrance hall, thinking that she could need it for her music class. And later today, he’ll have a thorough talk with Paulie about fishing.

He taught me how to ride a jet ski, did show me how to find fossils, and offered me a skull as a memory of my journey in Cebu. Paul is definitely my hero.

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