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Roadragers
Long day's journey into Ginkgo )
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There was a dinner for the stayers on Sunday night. The convention was officially over, some had already left, we'd gone on our wine trip or wildlife cruise, and for those who wanted, a buffet dinner had been arranged at the Oxford on Avon. We trickled in, we had dinner and drank our wine and talked about the fun we had and after a while, we looked around and there was nobody else left in the place but us and the staff tidying everything away. We exchanged hugs, took last photographs, signed each other's journals, had some more hugs, and when management began flicking the lights on and off, a few of us left and stood outside in the chill air.

The rest gradually joined us - I think the last couple were hurled out onto the roadway - and we stood on the footpath, nobody wanting to leave and have the convention end. While we dozen were grouped in a circle, smiling and laughing and saluting the passersby, the adventure continued.

But eventually we all took pity on FutureCat, valiantly staying awake, badly in need of a week in bed, and we made our last goodbyes. For me, embracing Otakuu was the saddest moment, because I love her so much, and it will be a while before I can get back to New Zealand to see her again. I didn't want to let her go.

And that was it. There were sightings of other BookCrossers at the hostel, at the gondola, at the airport and finally, it was just Pixette and I at the baggage claim in Sydney, a beagle sniffing our bags. She got an express pass with no duty to pay, but I'd bought up too big on the wine trail and had to go a slower way. She left with her husband waiting, and I was alone in a crowded terminal.

The Flickr convention group shows photographs uploaded by attendees. Put them on a slideshow and relive the event, or look on with green envy in your eyes at the smiles, the books, the scenery, the sheer fun and laughter of the 2009 World Convention. http://www.flickr.com/groups/1056661@N21/pool/show/with/3460244215/

For me, I've got a bag of books to read, a mug from Te Papa, and a greenstone fish-hook ornament that Discoverylover put around my neck her ownself, and I shall keep it there the rest of my life to remind me of a magic time in an enchanted land.

Convention

Apr. 17th, 2009 08:18 am
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Wednesday, we drove down from Hanmer, stopping at Kaikoura for the whale watching. Sperm whales, dolphins, albatross, mollymawk, petrels etc.

Thursday, TranzAlpine train trip. Raining over the mountains and on the Wet Coast, but good fun had by all.

Today, I'm being a taxidriver.
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Sunday, I flew into Wellington. A smooth landing despite the evil reputation of the airport, perched on a windy isthmus between hills and harbour.

Long but happy )
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One of my LL/FB/BC buddies is reporting getting a headache from planning an overseas trip.

Hang onto that feeling, Rubbergirl! It's the excitement and the surprise and the freshness of doing something different and adventurous. My first trip to New Zealand, my honeymoon in 1983, was like that for me. The bottom of the building where I worked was the New Zealand Tourist Board's Brisbane office so I just called in, got shown a few brochures, and before i knew it, the thing was done. Campervan hire and air tickets arranged, make sure you get a passport.

But oh my goodness, did I have fun planning and anticipating the delight! And when we arrived in New Zealand, the reality was so much better.

I've been back six times now, and each time has been tremendous. Well, maybe not the 2008 trip, which was just an overnight stay in an airport hotel amongst warehouses, but even that was a thrill to be back in New Zealand. I love it. I love the country, the people, the culture, the scenery, the people. Everything.

My next trip is only six weeks away now, and it's shaping up to be a ripper. Fly into Wellington and tour Te Papa, which is one of the world's great museums. Take the ferry to Picton across Cook Strait - always fun to take even a short sea cruise - hire a car and drive to Hanmer Springs for the thermal pools. Next day is whale-watching at Kaikoura, then the next day is the insanely scenic Tranzalpine rail trip to Greymouth, and then it's three days in Christchurch, which is up there in my favorite cities of the world along with Paris and San Francisco.

And the best part is that I'm doing all this with BookCrossing friends. It will be insane!

I've got almost everything booked and a lot of it paid for. Accommodation in Christchurch is the only thing left unbooked, and I'm torn between joining in the bunkroom hostel fun and finding a comfortable room for myself somewhere.

So for the next six weeks, I'm going to be living in a happy haze of anticipation. No headaches - I've organised enough travel nowadays to enjoy the process of researching and booking stuff and leafing through guidebooks.

Oh yeah. Rubberdarling, that brand new pristine passport of yours will remain virgin unless you actually insist on the passport control folk stamping the pages. For Aussies and Kiwis travelling over the Tasman, it's pretty well a formality, so long as your shoes are polished.

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