Fotoeins Fotopress

One photo at a time – one journey to last a lifetime

Posts from the ‘New Zealand’ category

Fotoeins’ 13 Instants from 2013

It’s been an interesting year, as “interesting” came complete with their own highs and lows, across a variety of nations on three continents. Friends would say that’s simply par for the course to describe any length of time on travel. I ended my year-long around-the-world (RTW) trip in January, sought a new path in Sydney, Australia between March and June, and returned to Vancouver, Canada with a short stop in Europe for a writing course at the end of July. The following 13 moments in 2013 arrive courtesy from Berlin, Germany; Sydney, Australia; Vancouver, Canada; and Wellington, New Zealand.

January 15 – “Coming home”

My RTW lasted 389 consecutive days from the end of 2011 to the early part of 2013. Here at Terminal 5 in London’s Heathrow Airport, I waited to board a British Airways Boeing 747-400 plane for the non-stop flight and return to Vancouver.

January 30 – “This is home”

I’ve visited the Museum of Anthropology a handful of times, one memorably on a field-trip when a wae lad was I. Located at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the museum holds a large collection of art and valuable cultural artifacts from First Nations’ peoples. I’m home in British Columbia in the presence of “Raven and The First Men,” a sculpture by Bill Reid, showing a part of the creation myth for the Haida First Nation.

February 10 – “Our flag”

It’s easy to forget Canada’s present flag was unveiled only in 1965, and the official National Flag Day was declared in 1996. It’s easy to pick out where flags appear once I know it’s time to look; the following are examples on Vancouver’s Granville Island. I write more about Canada’s Flag Day here.

March 23 – “Hang over”

The third week of March marks the onset of autumn in the southern hemisphere, and in Sydney, the season also heralds time for the annual Royal Easter Show. The 2013 version at Olympic Park marked the 190th anniversary of the festival, complete with all sorts of animals on show, amusement rides, and a wide assortment of “carnival or fair food”. Click here for more highlights.

April 14 – “Sydney Sunset Haiku”

Part of Sydney’s public transport includes ferry access on the Parramatta River between the western suburbs and the City (centre). I arranged to travel on one of the ferries into the City right around sunset, leading to this haiku attempt: “Sydney Harbour Bridge – from Parramatta River – time for dusky light.” Click here for more.

May 25 – “End of the line”

The photo shows at Walsh Bay installation number 60 called “The Dalgety Line” at the VIVID Sydney festival: top panel on Dalgety Street; bottom panel at Wharf 8/9. This was one of the last sculptures or installations on the list, and I wonder if it wasn’t subconscious, seeing this installation, and feeling as if I myself was at the end of the present journey. Click here for more highlights from the festival.

June 7 – “Of spheres and monoliths”

The “FERNS” spherical sculpture is suspended high over Wellington’s Civic Square. The afternoon sun, the FERNS, and the City Gallery made for an ominous combination, calling to mind images from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Instead, I drew hope and optimism, with light streaming out from the corner of the monolith and a hint of a reflection from the sphere.

July 1 – “Metal dinosaurs at dawn”

It’s been a long time since I’ve been home on Canada Day. The opportunity presented itself beautifully in Vancouver under perfect summer conditions, and I made photographs throughout the entire day. Up at 430am, I began the holiday with a walk out to Burrard Inlet to witness the rising sun to the northeast at 510am. My 18-photo set appears here.

August 12 – “Eclipse”

At the end of my short return-visit to the German capital, I wandered over to one of my favourite spots to watch people and to gauge the city’s rhythms at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. I had to return to Vancouver, but I wanted very much to stay, to examine and explore what it would be like, under the guise of perfectly suited people in an imperfect situation. I wrote about my ambivalence and struggle with conflicting feelings here.

September 11 – “Honoured figures”

With fellow travel blogger Pamela in town and summer hanging on strong with sun and +25C/77F temperatures, it was only right for a mid-week stroll on Vancouver’s Seawall. Balanced stone figures appeared out of the sand and boulders at Stanley Park’s Second Beach next to English Bay. I like how the one on the left is holding fast to that log.

October 12 – “The fall classic”

There’s an abundance of evergreen trees in the Canadian Southwest rain forest. Fortunately, there are sufficient numbers of deciduous to provide occasional (and wild) splashes of colour. A clear mid-October afternoon provided a good exercise in colour, form, line, and symmetry at Vancouver’s Andy Livingstone Park.

November 22 – “Vancouver Weihnachtsmarkt”

My love of things German arrives in full circle at my hometown’s Christmas Market. I spent a part of the festival’s opening weekend with Amanda and Megan, marveling at the lights, fixtures, and decorations; and eating and drinking our way through the market. I wrote more about the Vancouver Christmas market here.

December 21 – “Winter break”

December solstice marks the first day of winter (summer) in the northern (southern) hemisphere. In Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood, the wide-open green space that is MacLean Park has always provided a source of fun, comfort, peace, and a sense of community. After 10 centimetres (4 inches) of snow fell the previous evening, the chairs here at MacLean Park suggested a place for impromptu meetings which are out of session for the holidays.

What are your favourite moments and photos from 2013? Please leave your comments below with your favourites!

I made all of the photos above on a 4th-generation iPod Touch. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at

Mum’s cooking at Auckland’s Food Alley

Long distance recollections

A number of years ago, I stopped in Auckland, New Zealand for a few days on my way back from Sydney, Australia to La Serena, Chile.

I was stunned to find mum’s cooking.

I immediately called mum in Vancouver to let her know someone stole her recipe for claypot rice.

She was skeptical and told me to get back to Vancouver for the real thing.

I told her the commute back home from the southern hemisphere was a little rough, but I’d be back to visit in a few months …

The holy urban trinity

It might be an odd combination, but when I’m in a city for the first time, I look for three things: green spaces, art spaces, and decent food.

With subsequent visits to Auckland, I’m happy to have found all three in New Zealand’s largest city.

Getting around Auckland isn’t as difficult as it might seem, as various Link Bus services are an inexpensive and effective way of getting around the city for both residents and visitors. After my visit to the Auckland Domain and the Auckland Museum, I step off the Inner Link bus on Albert Street, and I make the short way to Food Alley for dinner.

Food Alley in Auckland’s CBD

Recommended as a cheap-eat by various sources including the New Zealand Herald, Food Alley is an unassuming looking no-nonsense food court, consisting of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Indonesian, Korean, Malaysian, Thai, and Vietnamese stalls.

While some might express disapproval at eating in a food court, Food Alley is similar to the Cooked Food Centres (the old “dai pai dong”) in Hong Kong or the hawker centres in Singapore. Drawing comparisons with southeast Asia is a very good thing.

In late-afternoon and early-evening, Food Alley is packed with people, and every stall is seeing some action.

This is a first indication of a good thing.

Many minutes of indecision ensued when faced with all of the choices. But I feel an invisible force tugging at my sleeves, and I’m “pulled” toward Claypot Rose, where a number of dishes are cooked in … well … claypots. They even include little pictures of how the dishes appeared.

Now, a common piece of wisdom is avoid places with pictures of food, but every stall in Food Alley has little pictures showing what they have on offer. But it’s busy here, and people are quiet as they’re digging eagerly into their food. They’re in animated conversation once their plates are empty.

This is the second indication this place is going to be good.

Food Alley, Auckland, New ZealandFood Alley, Auckland, New Zealand

I remember looking into our family’s kitchen while mum prepared steamed chicken with ginger and Chinese sausage on a bed of rice and bok-choy. I see that memory come alive in front of me: “claypot chicken rice with Chinese sausage” (煲仔雞飯) consists of chunks of steamed chicken and sausage, seasoned with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and crowned generously with chopped green onion and red chiles. To augment my round of gluttony, I order an extra BBQ-pork egg foo yung.

Pure taste was my third indication and the ultimate clincher.

Like a question of what came first or, simply, what’s better, both chicken and egg are really good, but the claypot chicken rice brings me back to the past with the familiar flavours. I never thought I’d experience that taste outside of my childhood home, until I stepped into Food Alley and discovered the replicated stylings of mum’s cooking.

Address & Map for Food Alley

Food Alley is located in Auckland’s Central Business District at 9 Albert Street, just minutes on foot from Britomart Train Station. They’re open every day from 1030am to 10pm. The Link Bus, including the City-, Inner-, and Outer-Link services, runs in both directions on all routes with 10- to 20-minute frequencies every day until about 11pm.

Other recent commentary about Food Alley: The Selfish Years, and The Food Pornographer.

I made the photos above with a 4th-generation iPodTouch on 31 July 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at

No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (

Milford Sound in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park

Dunedin’s Baldwin Street: steepest in the world

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

In Dunedin, New Zealand, I made my way from the area around the University of Otago to North Road and Baldwin Street, where The Guinness Book of Records declared the latter street as “the steepest (street) in the world” in 1997. With this claim to fame, the street is touted as a place to visit in Dunedin. As I’ve spent significant time in San Francisco, I had to take the challenge and find out whether the ascent grade approaches or exceeds my experience in San Francisco.

The signage states:

Initially, Baldwin Street slopes gently from the valley floor, then climbs steeply to its intersection with Buchanan Street at the top.

Over the 161.2 metre length of the top section, it climbs a vertical height of 47.22 metres, which is an average gradient of 1 in 3.41 (29.3%).

On its steepest section, the gradient is 1 in 2.86 (35.0%).

Every year, during Dunedin’s Festival, large number of athletes, including family groups, take part in social and competitive foot races to the top of the street and return. These races are known as the BALDWIN STREET GUTBUSTER.

The street is named for William Baldwin, who carried out the original subdivision. Baldwin was a member of the Otago Provincial Council, and founder of the “Otago Guardian” newspaper in 1873.

The conclusion is generally the same among those who visit; I’ll say with absolute certainty that walking, let alone running, up a grade steeper than 30 percent is tough slogging.

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

To reach Baldwin Street, the walk from the centre of town is leisurely and not difficult. A quicker alternative is the number 9 bus northbound (City to Normanby) from The Octagon in Dunedin’s CBD.

The photos above were made on 28 July 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at

The Fotoeins’ 12 from 2012

I’m pleased to present the following 12 photos from 2012, representing some special memories from this past year’s around-the-world (RTW) travel.

1. Bosque de Chapultepec, Ciudad de México, México

Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City, D.F., Mexico

With my second visit to México City, I finally made my way to Chapultepec, which in native Nahuatl means “at the grasshopper hill”. I also visited the enormous Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology), describing in depth and detail the people and history of México. The museum is a must-see for those who love history and wish to understand something more about this fine North American nation. The museum and park are additional reasons why I love the “Day-Effay” (D.F.).

Bosque de Chapultepec, México City, Distrito Federale, México – 8 March 2012.

2. Baltimore, MD, USA

Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park, Camden Yards, Baltimore

As a long-time fan of baseball, I was thrilled to visit the baseball park in Camden Yards in Baltimore. It’s worth noting that all new baseball stadia have been built with Camden Yards as the standard against which new stadia appear and perform. The old warehouses as the backdrop to centre-right are just as impressive in person as they appear on television.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards : Baltimore, MD, USA – 1 May 2012.

3. Nassau, The Bahamas

Junkanoo Beach, Nassau, The Bahamas

I always thought people who came back from the Caribbean were exaggerating their descriptions. But with this photo at Junkanoo Beach in Nassau, I began “to sip on the rum,” too, as it were: the skies really are that blue, the water really does look turquoise, and the fine sand really is snow white. I still find it amazing that I went from Camden Yards in Baltimore to the beach in Nassau within 48 hours.

Junkanoo Beach, Nassau, The Bahamas – 3 May 2012.

4. Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Mekong River Delta, Vietnam

About an hour’s drive southwest from Ho Chi Minh City is access to the Mekong River Delta. That isn’t waste-material; on the contrary, the brown milky waters are due to fertile soil, mud, and silt suspended in the water and flowing out and into the South China Sea. The delta region is a beautiful part of the country, with tiny villages tucked in sheltered coves on islands and along the shoreline, and the presence of shipping traffic as a reminder of the necessity to day-to-day activity and function for people who live and work here.

Near Mỹ Tho, Mekong River Delta, Vietnam – 26 June 2012.

5. Singapore

Kallang river, Merlion, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

I arrived in Singapore to visit a number of the Food Centres and eat as much as possible. As you can see, the view from the water in afternoon light isn’t so bad, even if this particular part of the skyline is dominated by the Marina Bay Sands resort complex. Then again, the top of that hotel looks like some space-age landing platform; it might as well be for the cool swanky bar that’s on top.

Across the Kallang river to Marina Bay Sands, Singapore – 3 July 2012.

6. Wellington, New Zealand

Sunrise, Mount Victoria, Wellington Harbour, Port Nicholson, Wellington, New Zealand

There’s something about getting up in the dark before dawn, and heading out on the first buses of the day, just to arrive on a hill to watch the sunrise. And so it was, with daybreak under clear skies at Mount Victoria in Wellington: crisp, beautiful, and worth the effort of waking up and getting out of a warm bed on a winter’s morning.

Mount Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand – 12 July 2012.

7. KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, New Zealand

KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, New Zealand

I love trains; it might be a slower mode of transport, but what’s sure is having the scenery of both mountains and water, as well as the familiar sounds of the “clickety-clack” accompany the traveler on their journey. Even better is the access to the covered open-air observation car …

Coastal Pacific train, from Picton south to Christchurch – 14 July 2012.

8. Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

The Lion, Harrison Cove, Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

People aren’t exaggerating when they say how beautiful Milford Sound and the Fiordland really are. Throughout my three weeks on New Zealand’s South Island in July, I had great luck with excellent weather in the winter low-season. Under sun and decent temperatures, I had little reason to complain, but to be thankful that my time on the South Island is something I’ll never forget.

The Lion & Harrison Cove, Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand – 25 Jul 2012.

9. Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Admirals Arch, Cape du Couedic, Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

“OH HAI!” Naturally, there are kangaroos on Kangaroo Island, but you have to admit that this young New Zealand fur seal hanging out along the south-central coast of Australia is both “sweet as” and “cute as”. It’s just the norm with a protected breeding area for New Zealand fur seals.

Admiral Arches, Cape du Couedic, Flinders Chase National Park : Kangaroo Island, South Australia – 25 August 2012.

10. Fremantle, Western Australia

Indian Ocean, Fremantle, WA, Australia

This photograph is a realization of a wish to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Easily reachable by bus or train from Perth, Fremantle is an interesting place to visit with a UNESCO World Heritage Site in town, museums describing the country’s history as well as the naval history, and great places to eat and drink after sun-down.

Indian Ocean from Fremantle, WA, Australia – 17 September 2012.

11. Cape Town, South Africa

Table Mountain from V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

Finally seeing Table Mountain and the “tablecloth” effect were a big thrill, as well as the fact that I had just set foot on the African continent for the first time. Four to five days in Cape Town weren’t enough; the time I spent here taught me the lesson that I must come back.

Table Mountain from V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa – 15 October 2012.

12. Edinburgh, Scotland

Salisbury Crags, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, Scotland

Many would rightly assume that early-November weather in this part of the world would be grey and wet. I’m fortunate that I had a decent afternoon when I set out to walk below the crags to take in this beautiful view of the city, from the Castle on the left (west) to Calton Hill on the right (east).

City view from Salisbury Crags, Holyrood Park : Edinburgh, Scotland – 8 November 2012.

I made all of the photos shown above; this post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at


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