Passage To India 

Sorry I have been quiet for a while. 

I had been swamped at work and then had a 10 day break during which time we had a family trip to India!

It was supposed to be a spiritual getaway to Varanasi, a city in North India where the Ganges river runs. It’s believed in Hindu culture that you must atleast once in your lifetime go to Varanasi and visit the Ganges river to absolve yourself of your sins and feel the presence of God.

For me it meant a photography getaway ofcourse!
Here is the Ganges river in all its glory! Well actually it’s flooded. It’s apparently been extra rainy in Varanasi this year meaning the boats stationary on the side of the pic cannot sail on the river as they usually do. I didn’t get to cruise down the Ganges.

The local Varanasi dwellers pray to the Ganges river every evening and offer gifts and sacred flames to the Goddess of the river. Quite a lovely experience.

This is a place ccalled Sarnath. It contains the ruins of a great kingdom and the temple which is still intact.

Varanasi is quite an ancient city. Every corner had something that was atleast 2000 years old. And that was pretty amazing. 

We then spent a day in Delhi 

Where I caught the India Gate at golden hour. 
It was much too hot and busy in India but it was quite an experience! 

But now I have to go back to work on Monday to surgery with a cold I caught as a souvenir from India. 

Oh well atleast the pictures are good!

Sights Of Sydney

It’s been nearly a week here in Sydney! And I must say I’ve been quite the tourist! 

Here are some of the sights around Sydney! 

Darling harbour! Very big, very bright, but not buzzing. Reminded me of the waterfront back in Auckland but more chill. Such blue water! So picturesque!

This is called Chinese Friendship Garden! It’s in the middle of Sydney CBD as you can see the buildings in the background, but inside it’s pretty believable as it’s own garden. With a waterfall, a pond, several trees, even lizards (that I did not take pictures of)

While I was in Melbourne, I really wanted to see kangaroos and Koalas, but didn’t get the chance to. So in Sydney, I found my way to a wildlife park and even got to feed some kangaroos and watch enviously as koalas slept for 20h. 

Kangaroos are extremely cute by the way. Especially when they hop around! 

Madame tussauds! Not as big as the one in London, I’ve heard. And lacking in Ed Sheeran, but still, very cool. Very realistic Queen of England, and Taylor Swift! Adele not so much though.. 

And Sydney at night! It is definitely buzzing! Loving the low light photos I was able to take! 

But I’ve still got to say, Sydney is far too big for me to live in. My little city of Auckland is much more accessible and everything is familiar. But if you want to live in Sydney, you have to live in CBD. That’s the best way. Otherwise everything is a minimum of 45minutes away with no traffic! Which means, with traffic, it’s up to twice as long. I couldn’t do it.

But otherwise, Sydney is awesome!

More Aussie Trails

Greetings from Sydney!!

*insert opera music from Finding Nemo here*

So after my 10 days stretch and having days where I was talked at by 10 different people at once and being asked questions like “does this patient really need an enema considering he’s at the end of life” even though said patient is extremely impacted with a dilated rectum of 10cm, making me want to walk out or drop everything and scream…

I was perfectly ready for a break.

I had a week of annual leave that I decided to spend in Sydney!

Picture perfect, no? 

There stands proudly the Sydney harbour bridge (which is massive and makes the one in Auckland look like a joke) and the Sydney opera house.

Sydney is so bright and warm! I came to Sydney briefly 3 years ago but it was at a time where my brain was definitely not up to processing anything.

So I have returned to Sydney to properly explore. Hitting the tourist spots like the opera house

And Bondi beach

Really touristy stuff! And I’m absolutely ecstatic at being able to get my camera out for these places! Major photography spree.

So far Sydney seems pretty cool. But oh my goodness is it big.

It takes a minimum of an hour to get anywhere in this city with public transport. The public transport system is pretty good! But it still takes a very long time to get from A to B. And living in Auckland, where everything is practically 10 minutes away, this city is very bizarre for me.

Still. The scene is pretty great. 

More pics to come! 

Airline Blahs

I have returned!! So glad to be home. 

But can I just take a moment to talk about Airlines.

What is it with all the airline companies these days? While every other industry in the world is working to improve their service, the airline industry is finding new and inventive ways to make sure you want to jump out of the aircraft mid-journey. 

Not going to drop names, but Singapore Airlines is literally the worst airline I have ever experienced in my life. They have the most horrendous customer service EVER. Never have I ever gotten on the phone to call them and hung up thinking, oh hey they were really helpful. 

And their website is even more useless.

It’s always something. Some glitch on the website that prevents me from completing my booking, unable to change my seats, unable to select my meals, unable to book an extra ticket, and the list goes on.

And even after I’ve spent 60 hours on the phone with them (55 hours on hold and 5 hours waiting for the person I’m talking to to figure out how to fix the issue and actually fixing it), I show up on the plane and the airhostess tells me I haven’t selected a vegetarian meal or me and my mum aren’t sitting next to each other.

Eugh. I just can’t understand what their issue is.

And this is in a flight in economy class where you barely have 2 inches on either side of you or your feet. I don’t understand it. I pay 2000$ for a ticket to go to India or wherever in a space smaller than a shoebox with bland dried out food, that I don’t even get most of the time because they didn’t receive my order. 

I could buy a whole couch set for less than 2000$

I also read an article recently where Emirates was wanting to decrease economy spaces by 13% to make room for a bed AND Lazyboy chair in first class. You know, aside from the ensuite and shower stall they already have in there. 

Hey who travels a maximum of 17 hours anywhere in the world and just HAS to shower?? 

Obviously the people who are willing to pay 10,000$ for a ticket. 

It just doesn’t make any sense. They’re making the majority of passengers who will be in economy class miserable, for the 2 people who will buy a first class ticket. 

What in the Heck?

I suppose these companies realise that everyone is at the mercy of every airline company. I mean, how else are you going to get halfway around the world? Ship? Sure. If you’ve got a few months. 

No? Then please take your shoebox seat thanks.

Basically there’s no other way to move around the world. So yes you have to spend 60 hours on the phone and 2000$ to get there. You have to put up with the useless service and food. If you don’t, well hey. Your loss. Not the airline’s. 

Plenty of other people keen to travel this way. Because they have to. So tough.

And this is why they can also set any fare they want for these flights. Regardless of how unreasonable it may be. They know you’re going to pay if you have to travel. Peak time periods should be a time to charge less. But nope. They charge double. Because they can.

Ugh I just hate that. And the only way to improve this is to become so rich you can travel in business or first class. Or own your own jet. 

That’s it. They’re not going to change. You have to. 

That’s how it works.

Venice Is Too Wet

On my last stop in Italy before returning home, I’ve become rather homesick. I’m tired of wearing several layers of clothing and still being too cold to enjoy things, tired of being herded like sheep in tour group after tour group, listening to hours of Italian history (as fascinating as it is), tired of using Google maps to go everywhere and Google translate to understand descriptions on menus at Italian restaurants. And I’m just tired of hotels.

My last stop is Venice. Which I have to say is the least exciting city in Italy that I’ve seen. Although, as I’ve said repeatedly, this maybe because I’m here in the winter and it’s been rainy and cloudy in a city that pretty much solidifies the proverb “water water all around but not a drop to drink”. Literally stepped out of the train station and saw this.


Water. Boats. No roads. No cars. Had to drag our suitcases to our hotel in the rain. Now. I adore rain. But something about the feeling of being eternally soggy in this city makes rain much less appealing.

I found that the tiny streets and alleyways smell a lot like mould. And there’s millions of these tiny streets so lots of potential to get lost with water dripping from Windows and awnings above your head. Not the best.

And I know that gondolas are the icon of Venice and are romanticized millions of times the world over, but personally, I got sick on them. They’re not as sturdy as you’d think. The person rowing the gondola (I’m sure he has a technical title, but I can’t remember what it is) is extremely talented at maneuvering this vessel through the small canals between the buildings and ducking under bridges, but the feeling of travelling through the canals and seeing the mould and barnacles on buildings is not as romantic as one would have hoped.

Gondola and Basilica

Got some nice pics though!

Nobody seems bothered by the rain, also. The tourguide kept going even though there was a considerable downpour and puddles in the old pathways we were walking on.

Eugh. The whole city gives off this grey mood.

But I have to say, the food in Venice is amazing. Every restaurant I’ve been to here has made perfect pasta and pizza. Absolutely perfect. And the little shops have pretty interesting merchandise of glass and crystals worth looking at.

Sorry if I dashed anyone’s fantasies about Venice. It’s just I don’t like things being overhyped. This is just my view though. And as I’ve said, it might be more pleasant in summer when everything is not grey and miserable.

I am counting the days till I return! One more to go!!! Then I shall be flying back home over 3 days. Yes. Unfortunately new years is a difficult time to get short transit periods on airlines. So I shall be in the air on new years! Sigh. But it’ll be okay! I’ll be coming home!

Findings In Rome

My last two days in Rome have been pretty great! Going on tours to all the different iconic places and learning all the stories behind them was so amazing. 

But also, there were some things I found in Rome that were particularly brilliant.

I went on a segway tour of Rome. This was without a doubt, the best way to tour anything. These gizmos are brilliant to move around a city where the traffic is ridiculous to drive in, the public transport is long and annoying And where walking is more dangerous than driving. After this segway tour, I began to question the act of walking to get places and see things. I plan to invest in one back home now. Very cool and very fun to ride.

In Rome, there is a street that is literally 2.3km of shops and boutiques. Definitely the busiest and most festive part of town. Lovely lights lining the road! Very cool.

The pyramid of Cestius! Apparently a lot of architecture in Rome was inspired by Egypt. But in particular, one of the kings in the early days was so taken with Egyptian architecture that he spent his own money to build a pyramid as his tomb when he died. I must say it was a rather queer sight in the middle of Rome. But quite interesting.

And you haven’t lived till you’ve had gelato in Italy. Handy tip from a Roman; if it’s genuine gelato, it’ll be served from buckets. Not trays like normal ice cream. The perfect gelato needs perfect preserving. It was amazing. Creamy and bursting with flavour. I actually had something called sour black cherry flavour and vanilla. Perfecto in every sense of the word. ^^

Finally, I had a huge tour of the colosseum. It really is a fantastic structure with such an interesting history.  Since it’s such an over-photographed monument, I’ll spare you from yet another picture of it. But something I found inside the ruins was this block. And the inscription on it brought out the med/pharm geek in me. xD for those who don’t know, Losec is the name under which the antacid omeprazole is sold. I am now convinced that the Romans suffered from GORD and during the shows at the colosseum, there was a stall with this block sign, selling Losec to people. Yep. I’m sure that’s what it was.

Overall, Rome was amazing! I am now off to Florence! Ciao! 

The Vatican

On my second day in Rome, the sun was out! It was a brilliant day and I had the chance to visit the Vatican.

It was so incredibly surreal to be standing inside and outside the St. Peter’s Basilica. The architecture and artwork in every part of that building was so humbling.

I’m not a particularly religious person. But once I was in the Sistine chapel, something about the energy and ambience there really filled me with faith and gratitude. Can’t really explain that feeling. But it was amazing.

Outside St Peter’s square, there was a big huge Christmas tree! Luckily I was there after dark to catch it being lit up. Very festive 

Got everything in view so that the tree could be appreciated properly. 

Lovely place, this.

Rome: First Impressions

Greetings from Roma! 

Landed in Italy at 5:30am after the most torturous 26 hours of my life. The long haul flight was absolutely horrific despite my attempts to keep occupied. And the food was awful. 

Oh God. They should never have come up with the idea to have people airborne for 17 hours. It just makes you sick after a while.

Anyway! Once landed in Rome, it started pouring with rain. And has been doing so all day. And the traffic is horrendous. I mean, the traffic here makes my complaints about Auckland traffic sound naive, ignorant and just plain childish. 

This is the view from my room at 6:30am.

It was packed and I have noo idea why. 
And it’s been rainy all day. We had a hop on/hop off bus tour organised today and basically all we did was hop on. The weather outside was so bleak that nobody had the motivation to get off to admire anything. 

And the photo opportunities inside the bus were few and far between with the amount of water splattered on the Windows. 

But overall the city is great. The architecture just oozes culture and history. I get the feeling it’ll be a lovely place in summer. I saw some of the major monuments I will be exploring over the next couple of days. 

Again, pictures are useless, but it looked like this.

Yay the colosseum! Believe me when I tell you that a picture does not do justice to the size of this structure.

Buildings everywhere have that ancient feel. This is some famous staircase. I kind of tuned out when the lady was talking about it. But I was more interested in the structures around it. 

It probably doesn’t look like much right now, but it definitely has potential. 

Hoping very much that it stops raining and starts snowing or something tomorrow.

Long Haul Flight Entertainment Centre

I’m off to Italy today!! 

One of the downsides of living in the southernmost corner of the world is that it takes forever to get to any country.

And Italy in particular, has me travelling for 26 hours in total. First on the new long haul flight that is 17 hours long. 17 hours!!! I keep thinking that half way through I’m going to get extremely claustrophobic. Stuck in a big tube with 200 other people. Eugh.

So. I have to keep myself entertained during this time. So I’ve packed a sort of survival kit.

1. My laptop. It has a few movies and TV shows I have accumulated over the years, and unfinished writing pieces that will give me something to do. But the battery life is about 4 hours. So must use efficiently.

2. My Oxford handbook and a notebook (not shown here). Yes, for a med geek like me, every idle opportunity is a study period! But having said that, it is extremely difficult to concentrate in a pressurised cabin with dropping oxygen levels. So I don’t have high hopes of getting much study done.

3. My kindle. This will be my saviour I believe. The device with the best battery life and a bunch of books that should keep me occupied for a considerable amount of the flight time. Gotta love the kindle.

4. My phone (with which I have taken this picture, and is symbolised by my headphones). It has songs. And videos and games that will keep me occupied also. Not for very long because I don’t like playing games on my phone anymore. But yeah to a certain extent.

5. A deck of cards. I’m travelling with my family. So the deck of cards is symbolic of interacting with them and playing games and such. Don’t know how good it will be as our seats aren’t exactly together. But we should be able to manage.

And last of all, sleep! Which is hard to do in economy, but if I force myself to, I should be able to succeed in killing a couple of hours by knocking out. Here’s hoping.

I sincerely hope the 17 hours will go by quickly. I hate plane food and the yucky air and the bathrooms etc. But the prospect of being in Italy soon should make this whole affair bearable.  Hopefully…
Oh well! I shall return soon with pics of my trip! 

Hope everyone has an awesome next few days!