The V in NZ … written by Big Virge 15/01/2016

So, having travelled ….

A VERY LONG WAY … !!!!!!

My arrival in NZ, came, just about …….

…. without, a last minute mis-hap ….. !!!!!

Taking my time, having gone through the rather, rigorous security checks at Sydney International, I very nearly, missed my Qantas Airlines flight, into Queenstown.

I’m developing a bit of a habit of either, missing flights, or, ALMOST… missing them, so, upon finally hearing the last call for my name, I had no idea how far away the gate was for my flight !!!!!

So, I did as much of a Usain Bolt as I could, with my hand luggage, and luckily, got there in time for me to be transported, via my own bus, to the aircraft, and finally, was on my way to my final outbound destination !

I have to say, considering my distaste for Sydney, and the Australian vibes I had been encountering, since landing in Fiji. I was very impressed with Qantas, very nice seating, and entertainment, and pretty good food too !

Thus, a quick flight across the water to Queenstown, NZ, and wow, what a view as soon as you could see the landscape of the, South Island !!!

Having alighted from the aircraft, not only was I greeted by warm weather, but, as i’m sure it is, with most people arriving for the first time in this part of the world, my jaw dropped, when looking at the views that surrounded me, mountainous ranges, a plethora of different greens, from hillsides, to trees, to basically everything around us, even a couple of snow capped mountains, far in the distance !!!

Thus, my dream of seeing this country, with my own eyes had been fulfilled, so, through customs, and time to get to my hotel, and get to enjoying this experience !

It would seem that travellers’ cheques are now, somewhat outdated, as it took forever, to get some currency, but, the young ginger gentlemen, who worked at Travelex, after having to call a few heads, managed to get me some local NZ Dollars.

The airport in Queenstown is a well designed, very clean, and impressive building, every other vision, was an advert for some kind of outdoor activity, from assisted, Parachute Jumping, to Bungee Jumps, and the list went on and on ……

So, immediately upon leaving the airport, a cab pulls up, and, off we go, he explains the trip is basically 10 mins, and then, as I hear his accent, ask what his deal was, and, he was the first of numerous immigrants, I was to meet.

Just to give you an idea, I met immigrants from Germany, like the taxi driver, Holland, Scotland, England, America, Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Taiwan, China & India, within my two week stay …..

This must have been the first place i’ve EVER, been to, where I did not see or meet a black immigrant, anywhere, during my entire stay, crazy, but kinda nice to have the white boys, take care of my bags upon arrival, one of the few, White Kiwis I met in Queenstown !!!!!

It’s crazy, but yup, from a colonial perspective, NZ has an abundance of nationals, from other places, who have not only visited, but have then, through sponsorship programmes, found work, and made lives for themselves, in this beautiful part of the world, and when you witness the beauty of this country, in the summer, as I did, you can see why !!!!!

The 1st of December, being the official, beginning of summer, was when i’d arrived, in slightly overcast conditions, but, by the time i’d unpacked and indulged in the suite of a room that overlooked Lake Wakatipu’, it was a beautiful, sunny evening !!!!!

At first glance, the lake was an awesome vision, extraordinarily clear water, and ducks galore, at it’s banks, chilling near to a jetty where the local water taxis stop, and dock, before ferrying people back to Queenstown itself.

The Hilton complex is a very well designed, I guess, you could say, mini-town of it’s own, everything, from a spa, to pub grub, and a more, snooty vibe of a restaurant. A cafe, art gallery, swimming pool and jacuzzi, and plenty of conference space for the business traveller.

I was of course, as stated, a singular entity, in being the, one and only, black person in the hotel.

The workers, were either asian, or caucasian, a welcome change from what I usually see when I travel.

So, off I trotted for a walk, and from the first walk I took, which took me through a place called, ” Peace Park “, I knew i’d made a smart choice to come to NZ, while i’m young enough to enjoy it, even with my number of ailing body parts, as I age.

45 …. ain’t that old, granted …

…. but, it’s old enough to know that certain trips are not gonna be so easy, in future years, so, I quickly, took in the sights, a beautiful sunset, gulls lounging on one of the many jetties, on either side of this, Great Lake, and a very pleasant hour was spent acclimatising, and taking in the sights, that were literally a walk away from my hotel room, which overlooked the lake …..

Worth EVERY PENNY … !!!!!

Fireplace, Bathroom, with a PROPER Bath, shower, and seating area, with table and chairs outside

Pure NICENESS !!!!!

So, off for some food, hit the pub, which is not as it sounds folks, this wasn’t, some Albert Square, wannabe’, type pub !

I was greeted by a youngish’ looking, bearded Scot, Phil, who indulged in conversation, while he worked, and we struck up a chord, pretty much, straight away. A cool guy, who wasn’t seemingly, aware of where the Maoris, I was keen to meet would be … LOL … !!!!!

We did laugh when one of his colleagues was like, there is a Maori show at The Peak, a tourist attraction, 20 minutes away, in Queenstown !!!!!!

So, upon looking at the menu, there was a nice range of foods, lots of meat, and some gourmet-ish’, type additions, weekly barbecues, local wines, and a couple of local beers, which I tried, and found to be, well brewed, and i’d say, a 6.5/10, in terms of the beers i’ve tried over the years.

This was far from being, some, cheap and cheerful, ” Pub Grub “, type vibe ……

So, back to my room, to catch some Z’s, and to get ready to sample the world of the South Island of New Zealand …..

Experiences that I shall expand upon, in my next few blog posts …..

But Finally …..

The V was in New Zealand …… !!!!!

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In amongst all the Pish that’s going on … written by Big Virge 26/8/2013

Yes Yes … Motha funksta’s … !!!!!

Well, as the, “Summer Rains”, of Barbados, do their thing, and my body keeps tellin’ me ….

“Eh bwoy, mind yaself, try and exercise, before me show you some pain ya can’t recover from … !!!”

I find myself in the midst of political shifts that are seemingly, increasing the angst levels in many people here, Bajans’ are indeed, Quite The … ” Different “, breed, in many ways … !!!!!

…. however, much like the masses of countries who live under what is essentially, still, British/Irish rule, they are complaining amongst themselves, rather than in the corridors of power, of those, they chose …. to vote in !!?!!

Thus, job pressures, strange economic decisions, and business pressures are now beginning, to seemingly, hit home. Everyone from students to some of the islands elders, are now seeing that, from the likes of LIAT, to, Barbadian Governance, there are problems in the region, that, perhaps needed to have been addressed before the likes of Richard Branson and others start to point them out to the rest of the world !!!

Anyhow, in amongst all this, I have to shout out my man Moss … !!!

… who has shown me something that, very few, in fact, hardly any Bajans’ have done, since my arrival, which is to, show me a good time amongst, “The Locals”, who, although clearly, not as well off as their white counterparts, find ways to get by, look after their young, and live in impoverished zones, just up the road from the likes of white folks who have everything and more ……… well, it would seem, but a REAL sense of community …. ???!???

Hmmmm …. I would seriously question their version of communal living against that of the block I was on last week, having had a really cool, afternoon & early evening there.

Even the bank i’m with here, who’ll get no free advertising on this page, had representatives who treated me as though, I am a human being, not some, “Scary, Crazy, Angry, Drug Induced, Maniac !!!”.

Wow, it’s taken, pretty much a year and a half, but, better late than never I guess !!!

My insurance company has also, in the last few, been showing me that they are actually, pretty efficient in ensuring that the accident I have recently been in …

(Thanks for asking everyone, yeah i’m fine !)

…. gets handled suitably, as it was quickly established that the, “white bod”, who was probably on his f’ing phone, was totally at fault !!!

Toyota here in Bim, is up to standard, at least, thus far, fairly friendly, professional and helpful, which does make you wonder what the rest of Barbados is playing at, in terms of their service ethics ???

Anyway, no such issues on the block last week, children in full flow, running around and causing as much disturbance to adults as they were, receiving love ….

A beautiful thing, and very inspiring for a writer like me …. !!!!!

The local, young puppy dog, on the lookout for a feed, which he/she got in the form of some Bajan takeout !!!!!

“Food” ….. to heighten the minds and spirits of the men and women, who, slowly but surely gathered for a dominoes session, which went from, late afternoon to night, like the sun and moon up in the sky !!!

No fancy apartments, just, I guess … ???

…. what many would many would define as, “Tenement style living”. An example being, the, Corrugated Iron Roof, over the wooden bench, where viewing of the domino table, could be availed.

All, practically built and designed, to enable the locals to chill, and, cool out, while tunes ran from yards, phones, or wherever sounds could emanate from !!!!!

I do not come from, abstract poverty, but, know what it is to use outside toilets and to bath in tubs from a pipe, and it does amaze me to this day, that, some people never escape such living !

Ghetto living, I hear you ask … ???

NO, just homes in poorer zones, while the wealthy look down at the residents, from a distance, in their heavily secured & gated homes, or ….

“Ghettos” … of a different type maybe … ?!?

So ….

“Escape” ….. is not what I see it as being, it would be to just have what the rest of us, “Well to do”, folks, have ……

Does our water make us any cleaner or better … ???

I somehow doubt it, but, as my Landlord was quick to advise me of today, my new neighbours are from the British High Commission !!!

“Like” …. Big F’ing Deal !!!!!

As if, my flying half way across the world to chill for a while, was to be next to the same ilk of Brit, who I couldn’t get close to, when living in London … !!!!!

Life eh …. You just can’t legislate for how it can play out sometimes …… ?!?

Anyway, as I explained to my landlord, “Titles'”, mean nothing to me anymore, especially when being on a block up the road, has shown me that, half of my neighbours rent for a year, could probably provide for, that, “Whole Community”, a level of development, that would avail, a less impoverished style of living !!!

I dare not say … BETTER … cos’ who’s TRULY living better huh ???

I saw peaceful, happy, fun-filled times, in just 5 hours, that, I will remember til’ the day I move on to what is hopefully, a more balanced, realm, where all this inequality, doesn’t exist.

We even had that, “Classic Moment”, where, due to one of the children’s attentive eyes, a Rather … BIG CENTIPEDE … !!!

… was spotted as dusk brought darkness to the block ….

Thank the father for, “Young Eyes”, huh !!!!

There was the usual commotion in establishing who was gonna kill it, interestingly, while my man, in his Timberlands, backed off … LOL … !!!!!

It was a reminder of why I wanted to come back here after, my visits, as a youngster, which I am thankful to my parents for doing for me, now, more than ever !!!

Maybe the other ignorant stuff that i’ve experienced, have indeed, been valuable lessons, backbiting, threats, and basically, a reluctance to face, “TRUTH”, or, show some sense of remorse for, said, ignorance, may well be about to face, Karmas’ Powers ….

Well, as time rolls on, I can only hope so …..

As for being on the block for a night, it was, indeed, a highly pleasurable experience and had none of the … “Wrong & Strong”, behaviour, that I have sadly, become accustomed to, from Bajans, claiming to have … RESPECT for man … ???!???

Well … there was … NOTHING … “Wrong & Strong”, to speak of, in this day, and, fa sure, not one iota came my way, and the funny thing is …..

This experience on … my brothers’ … BLOCK …

was …..

In amongst the Pish … that’s currently, going on …. !!!!!

Bless up y’all and have yourselves …. A GREAT WEEK !!!


Big Virge.

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