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I have been slacking a little on the updates. Probably because this blog was a way for my family who doesn’t have Facebook to see all my pictures of my trip and so far, I’ve managed to show most of my family pictures. However, I did promise myself I’d keep updating this so I have a well-rounded journal on my trip. So here goes!

I last left off in the middle of New Zealand so I’ll continue with that! One of my most favourite things of my entire trip was the Franz Josef glacier hike. It was unbelievable. This is a glacier that sits right next to a tropical rainforest and is one of three in the world to do so. The other one is about 5km down the road from it and the third is in …Brazil? I believe.

The glacier itself is about 12km long, running up a gorge. Of course, it has, in the many thousands of years it’s been there, been the one to carve out this valley. It has, at some points, been as long as 15km. Every year it gets about 80 feet of precipitation falling on it, which is quite a lot. So much so in fact that the average time it takes the ice to move from the top of the glacier to the end is only an 8-year cycle. That’s pretty fast for a glacier.

With the Franz Josef glacier, you can choose from 3 hikes. One is an hour hike, one is a half-day hike and the other is a full day. Of course, everyone wants to do the full day hike. So it’s important to book ahead, weary travelers! Luckily, because we traveled with Kiwi Experience, they have a certain number of spots set aside so we only need to decide the day before whether we want to do it or not. But anyone not traveling with a tour, I would recommend booking your tour as early as possible to guarantee spots.

The full day hike is an 8 hour event. Now, only about 6 of those hours is spent on the actual glacier but it still seems like a long time to be standing on ice. Fear not, it goes by quickly! In the morning, you get a quick little video of the hike and the rules, then get your gear. Not sure if I mentioned it but you get hat, gloves, coat, pants, boots and crampons (the little metal that goes on the bottom of your boots so you don’t go flying on the ice). All you need to provide are non-jean pants or shorts and 3-4 layers on top. You should be good to go then!

Our guide’s name was Jason. He was very …interesting. Young – only 18 so I’m pretty sure he was the youngest of our group! He enjoyed telling dead baby jokes, which I was very amused about. But he was good at his job and made sure we were all safe. There are ‘features’ – as they call them – on the glacier that the guides like to wind the group’s way up to and around. These features only last a week or two, on average, before they fall or melt away which means if your friends do it at another point in time, they will most likely see the glacier from a different viewpoint than you. It’s neat.

Anyway, enough ramble about the hike. I highly, highly recommend it. It honestly was one of the best things I did in the 6 months I was away. It’s a little expensive ($100 or $150 NZD I believe) but definitely worth every penny. Onto the pictures!

Also, I promised my friend I’d do a shout-out on a blog for him. He’s never had one before! But I can’t mention his name so I’ll just call him Hockey Boy. Hey, Hockey Boy! SHOUT OUT!

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So I’m finally back in my home country. Yes, my REAL trip will be officially done April 1st, 2009 (or does it?! Maybe it’s all a joke!) when I land in Toronto and begin my life anew.

It’s been a great trip and I still have SO much to catch up on in this blog (seriously, I am still in New Zealand in my head on this blog, soooo about 2 months behind). But in the meantime I thought I would update with my Favourite Travel Picture of the week, which is definitely going to rank up there as my all-time favourite picture, due to pure sappiness. You have been warned.

Coming home

D’awwwwww. I arrived in Vancouver Airport (GREAT airport by the way, liked it just as much as the San Francisco airport!) to my Aunt and Grandma holding this sign up for me. Probably the best way ever to come home. It was super cute and put a smile on my face. Thanks you two! ❤

More updates coming soon, I promise…

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So for the next instalment of Favourite Travel Pictures by yours truly, I decided to go with this tuk tuk picture I took last week, as we headed back from the Chiang Mai night market (where we enjoyed delicious… English cuisine at the Red Stag – what? We were tired of Thai food) to our hotel.

Tuk tuk driving

I have developed a hate for flash photography so I decided to take one without which resulted in it being blurrier than it should have been. However, I like to think this only enhances the artistic quality of the picture. I may be the only one who feels that way, ha, but that’s OK by me. I feel it actually captures the hustle and bustle of the Thai streets much better than a still picture ever could and I’m sticking by my decision. :p

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I just love all the Engrish (engrish n.: Engrish can be simply defined as the humorous English mistakes that appear in Japanese advertising and product design. Often, not only in Japan, but all around the world [Source]) that we’ve been seeing here in Thailand.

Here are some of my absolute favourites!

Friced Rice

Cafe LATE

Justin is a bad man

You’re welcome. 😀

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So as I wind my way through part of the world, I’ve taken some pictures I really, really like. And I thought I’d like to share with you, my dear readers (grand total of 7 now, aha), my favourite ones every once in a while. I envision this kind of post continuing long past my return to Canada, so I think you can look forward to fresh new content for some time now. Holla!

Some may have been shown here before but some may not. It’s like a surprise with every post, hurray!

Franze Josef Feature

Decided to start with a picture from New Zealand because I feel bad I haven’t put up my awesome Franz Josef glacier hike pictures yet. So this is one of them. There are others because this was a kick-ass thing to do!

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Dear Parents:

It is here I lay to you Exhibit A: Proof that Emma has been using sunscreen, not only regularly but all the freakin’ time.

I AM WHITE OH LORD

I think this picture speaks for itself. No need to continuously ask me if I’ve been using sunscreen because I am sure you can tell from this, that I most definitely have been. I appreciate the concern, nevertheless, and kindly request you turn your concerns towards my friend, the elusive Kelly, who has taken a moral stance against sunscreen and all sun-care related products. Use your parental powers on her; she definitely needs them because she is going to return with LOTS AND LOTS OF CANCER.

XOXO

Your ever-reliable, responsible and intelligent daughter,

Emma

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So after my trip to Uluru I flew to Melbourne to meet up with Kelly on Christmas Eve. We stayed at a great hostel in St. Kilda called Cooee. I really liked it, it was super clean!

On Christmas day, Kelly and I got up and wandered around until we found a place to grab breakfast. It was this great European style cafe and while the service was slow, the food was great. We talked to some Aussies at the table next to us and they were very friendly. They even identified us correctly as Canadian which immediately won us over! As we sat there eating breakfast, a bunch of 20-something guys , drunk and dressed up in drag ran by. …Christmas is weird in Australia! The number of drunk people we saw on Christmas eve and Christmas day was not something I expected, to be honest. Oh well, different traditions, I guess!

After our breakfast we went to the beach, where I called my parents to let them know what a smart, smart daughter they have! The day was perfect beach weather and we enjoyed ourselves until it was time to make our way to Kelly’s cousin’s girlfriend’s mother’s house. Mouthful! It was awfully sweet of Julie to take us wayward Canadian girls in and we really appreciated it! The food was delicious, the company entertaining and we drank many bottles of wine, champagne and beer. They cooked the turkey on the BBQ which I thought was fantastic.

The next day, Kelly and I met up with my friend Jill from school. We went to the Old Melbourne Goal which was really neat to see. It’s the place where Ned Kelly was hung and we actually got to see the place where they hung them. Most cells were open to walk through and each open cell had a story about a victim and their death mask. That was really quite interesting, if not a little morbid!

That night we went out with Jill and her friend. It was a lot of fun and we ended up at Hungry Jack’s – a poor substitute for Burger King. I’m not sure if they’re owned by the same company or not but they also sell the Whopper (?).

After that, we did a lot of shopping for a couple days at outlet stores, saw Wicked (which was… dare I say it? Wicked. YESSSS.) and headed to Sorrento, to meet up with Kelly’s cousin again. He actaually lives in Sorrento, which is about an hour’s drive outside Melbourne down on the coast. It was absolutely gorgeous there! The spit was only a mile in length and dependent on the weather, you could chose which beach (and which side) you wanted to go to that day. We did a bike tour the morning we were leaving on the bike trails and it was awesome to see the gorgeous beaches, surf and towns. I absolutely loved my stay in Sorrento and want to thank our wonderful hosts for putting us up and feeding us so well! Playing with baby Finn, Jer’s 10 month old baby, was also a bonus. He was so well-behaved and SO cute. I’m not a huge baby person but Finn is definitely adorable.

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