Posts from the ‘New Zealand’ category

Fotoeins Friday: New Zealand, new day, new year

UNESCO World Heritage logo, Wikimedia CC3 license

Plugging 20 UNESCO Heritage Sites Around the World

Since 1995, I’ve been fortunate to experience significant travel: first as green graduate student on my first (of many) trips to Chile; followed by the opportunity to live and work in 3 countries on 3 continents inside a span of 10 years. I didn’t give much thought about their relative importance at the time, but I’m lucky to have visited a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS).

I’ve written about 5 UNESCO sites in Germany and there’s more to come. Meanwhile, here below are a list and short descriptions of 20 additional UNESCO WHS from around the globe:

  1. Australia: Blue Mountains (Katoomba)
  2. Australia: Fremantle Prison
  3. Australia: Sydney Opera House
  4. Argentina: Iguazú Falls, Iguazú National Park
  5. Brazil: Iguaçu Falls, Iguaçu National Park
  6. Brazil: Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves (Curitiba)
  7. China: Historic Centre of Macao
  8. Czech Republic: Historic Centre of Prague
  9. Czech Republic: Kutná Hora
  10. Denmark: Kronborg Castle (Helsingør)
  11. France: Historic Site of Lyons
  12. Italy: Cinque Terre
  13. México: Historic Centre of México City
  14. México: San Miguel de Allende
  15. New Zealand: Te Wāhipounamu (South Island)
  16. Spain: Alhambra, Generalife, & Albayzín (Granada)
  17. Spain: Cathedral, Alcázar & Archivo de Indias in Seville
  18. Sweden: Skogskyrkogården (Stockholm)
  19. United Kingdom: Old & New Towns of Edinburgh (Scotland)
  20. USA: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)

( Click here for more )

New Zealand, true-colour image from NASA Terra satellite, December 2002.

New Zealand’s Māori anthems: Pokarekare Ana, E Ihowa Atua

New Zealand is located in a part of our planet that’s about as far as one can go. The country provides easy inspiration with her striking scenery and friendly people. Memories remain sharp and fresh after multiple visits to Wellington and Auckland, as well as a solid three weeks on the South Island.

I’m in love with her. The longer I’m in country, the more the land reveals deeper insights about her culture and language. New Zealand has three official languages: English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Bringing me back to this land are two songs in Māori, “Pokarekare Ana” and “E Ihowa Atua”, which are, respectively, the unofficial and official national anthems. An appropriate choice of music evokes a grand sense of longing that’s especially true standing among majestic snow-covered peaks on an island nation deep in the Southern Ocean.

( Click here for more )

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.

The BA B744 that takes me home … : T5 London Heathrow Airport – 15 Jan 2013 #travel #rtwend

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


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.

"Hang over" : Royal Easter Show, Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia – 23 Mar 2013

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


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.

"Sydney Sunset Haiku", 14 Apr 2013 : Sydney Harbour Bridge – on Parramatta River – time for dusky light

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


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.

530am & good morning, Vancouver: it's Canada Day.

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


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.

"The fall classic" : Andy Livingstone Park, Vancouver, Canada – 12 Oct 2013

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


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.

"Winter break" : Strathcona, Vancouver, Canada – 21 Dec 2013. #myvancouver #strathcona #winter #solstice

A photo posted by Henry Lee (@fotoeins) on


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 fotoeins.com.

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 fotoeins.com.

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 (cmp.ly/0).

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