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Bazza
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Motorhome all set to go again after the poor old girl almost suffered a haemorrhage recently.

Put it into a diesel repair shop then awaited the bad news, which was worse than expected namely :-
Apparently the main wiring loom has been rubbing against the stop motor for quite awhile, eventually
wearing thru shorting out a myriad of wires most of which caught fire, plus the stop motor suffered a
virtual meltdown.

Up until then did not know there was such a thing as a stop motor but learnt their function in a diesel
is to shut off the fuel in order to stop the engine when the ignition is switched off. I was told it was something
of a major which was patently obvious be looking at the mess. After getting a rough estimate of the cost to
repair felt I had little option but to give the go ahead which I did but rather fearful of what the final cost
might be.

They rang this morning to say it was all ready to go & filed with apprehension asked how much I owed &
was overwhelmingly surprised to find it was under 1/2 of that I was expecting or 1/3 to 1/4 of what I feared
it could be. It appears the melted down stop motor would have been mega bucks to replace or repair so they
had given me the option of fitting a manual shutoff which is no hassle at all as only need to pull the dash
mounted lever to switch off the main motor.

Is a fairly rare occurrence when vehicle repairs cost considerably less than anticipated but nice when it happens
& was pleased to shout the workshop $50 towards a drinkies in appreciation.

So next week weather permitting Vinnie & I intend picking up on our plans for an overnighter taking the small
boat on the back of the motorhome & Vinnie towing the larger one with his wagon. Will have to try to pick up
on my fly fishing trip that had to be cut short when the m/home problems began, if time allows before our Easter
trip away for some deep water fishing.


Last edited by Bazza on Sat May 14, 2016 7:25 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I drove the m/home with the small boat on the back with Vinnie towing the larger on up to Shelly Beach leaving about 5 - 45 am to arrive at daybreak. As it was a falling tide immediately launched the boat then parked the m/home setting out soon after setting the flounder net.

We were later told there was no rain pretty well everywhere whilst we were away for the two days, but my usual luck seemed to prevail inasmuch as rained heavily where we were anchored for a couple of hours each day. Yesterday when out fishing, some storm clouds decided to hover a above us, dumping torrents of rain to the extent we had to keep on running the bilge pump. Was also of concern that because of the rain, we could not see beyond 100 mts or less & were beginning to wonder if it kept up how we would find our way back. The Kaipara with all its' sandbanks is certainly not the ideal place to be lost ... Vinnie had GPS on his phone but making contact with the satellites due to the conditions & the garmin I have installed on the boat like most things electronic I have never managed to master.





Fishing was hard apart from the tiddlers which seem to be in plague proportions most places & only managed about 10 snaps between us for the two days.

Yeah .. yeah I know it is sideways, but not about to tempt fate trying to rectify given the probs being currently experienced posting pics !



Don't know what these wading birds are called but the seemed to spend all day standing in a group in the same spot ... preparing to migrate perhaps.



We checked the net before retrieving the boat & were gratified to find 8 plump flounder even if two fell back into the water, so decided to leave the net
out overnight as the flounder generally move about more at night than during the day.

Was expecting a couple of days at least to clear it but amazing enough when we hung it along the fence we managed to clear it in about 45 mins.



Like most fisherpersons I usually have trouble getting to sleep the night before fishing partly due to excitement & thinking about where to go, have I packed
something or other etc. However this time I had not slept a wink before deciding to get up at 4 pm & after a fairly exhausting day I was pretty shot when
we got back & must confess to leaving Vinnie to clean the fish as well as the scallops on his own whilst I showered.



Had a couple of beers which did not help me to stay awake, whilst master chef Vinnie was left to prepare dinner, in this instance a delicious lamb curry. The thought of enjoying the meal I am sure was the only thing forcing me to stay awake but after a few glasses of wine with dinner reckon I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.



Next morning after breakfast set off again stopping to check the net only to find an anchor had dragged winding itself into the mesh & combined with the debris was in a real mess with no flounder to show for our trouble. One of the high points of the trip was managing to dredge up our limit of scallops each = 80 in total. As already mentioned set the net in the morning & lifted it in the arvo for these six fish plus two that managed to escape the net to fall back into the water. Sufficiently encouraged left it set overnight fully expecting a worthwhile catch, given flounder are more prone to moving about to feed during the night.

However in the morning found there was nary a single flounder with the net tangled up full of mangrove pods etc, as well as one anchor that had got tangled in the mesh. As we were on our way out fishing opted to leave it as is then pull it aboard when we returned, fully accepting that considering the state of the net was in, the chances of netting any flounder was near enough to zero. So it came as a complete surprise on our return to find the tangled mess held another couple of flounder .... amazing.

Even tho the fishing had been hard the scallops had been a success story managing to dredge up our combined limit of 80 in total, ie 20 pp per day over 2 days.



Amazingly enough had anticipated a couple of days work to clear the net but after hanging it along the fence found it was remarkably easy to clear in about 45 mins.
Unlike the mullet net that Vinnie has been struggling with for over a week, spending endless frustrating hours & doubt if he will volunteer to take a tangled net home to clear ever again.

On the way home found the freshwater tank in the motor home was leaking badly to the extent it eventually emptied. This was something of a concern as have arranged to go flyfishing Wednesday followed by a deepsea overnight trip on the Friday ( Good Friday ) having to improvise by carrying water in containers would be quite an inconvenience. Pleased to say put it in for repair this morning & was a simple matter of a couple of broken fittings along with a split hose which were easily fixed to all good to go.


Last edited by Bazza on Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korey a recent arrival from the US who is also a keen fly fisherman posted to a local forum recently requesting any advice on the
local scene towards helping him to land his first NZ trout. Consequently arrangements were made for us to meet up to fish together
for a couple of days fishing at one of my special spots staying overnight in the motorhome.

As the arranged date just prior to Easter approached the trip looked increasingly in doubt due to the country wide extreme weather
forecast but on the advice from Darryl the farmer on whose land we would be on decided to chance it even if we would probably not
have the full two days' fishing.

On arrival we both set about nymph fishing even tho dry fly was Koreys preferred method & was not long before I landed a couple of
tiddlers followed awhile later, by one that was a respectable size.



The decision for Korey deciding not to dry fly was based on our assumption that given the fairly windy & showery conditions it would
hardly be conducive towards insects hatching. However this assumption was proven wrong when it became rather obvious that quite
a few fish were rising albeit primarily small fish, with the not too infrequent larger specimen.



The sight of rising fish proved to difficult for Korey to ignore so opted to change his nymph setup to a dry which did not work so well
initially but on changing his fly was into a good sized very healthy fish.





His first NZ hard fighting fish appeared to take him rather by surprise, consequently was proving rather difficult to control therefore
after running this way & that, in powerful runs it managed to get amongst some submerged tree roots which resulted in it having to
break it off after exhausting various unsuccessful attempts to get it untangled.

We had been concerned given the recent rainy weather, it may not have been safe to cross the river however on closer inspection the
river level appeared fairly normal so decided to attempt it & it proved to be much easier than anticipated. At our next stop Korey was
getting a lot of attention from rising fish & I could not help but be very impressed with his ability to land his fly "right on the button"
even when the rises were in about a meter gap in the overhanging willow tree branches. He had a hook up on a respectable brown which
he brought into the edge of the bank where he held it on the line for awhile, whilst admiring his catch before it decided to leap about spitting
the hook in the process. As it could have easily been netted or tossed ashore, we acknowledged it as being his first NZ trout landed & the
bottle of French bubbly brought along to celebrate the occasion would have its' cork popped with dinner that evening.



Whilst fishing the run above I managed a couple of decent fish landed but was also losing an equal number ... which sad to say is not unusual.



Celebrating Koreys' catch with dinner :-



As there had against all the odds quite a bit of rising had been taking place during the daytime we decided it could be worthwhile checking out
the evening rise for if it happens at dark then it can be an ultra productive experience & sure enough they were rising, but apart from a couple
of tiddlers did not seem to be particularly interested in Koreys' fly. ( He was the only one fishing with myself as an observer )

Korey had said from the outset that he would be welcome any advice & despite the fact he was probably 10 times better with a dry fly than
myself, I could not help but notice his line was forming quite a bit of drag on the drift. Knowing he would not mind pointed out what was tending
to happen & would he mind if I gave a demo on how to help overcome the problem whereupon he said "please do" handing me the rod. Firstly
I must say was really impressed with his sage rod which was like a lightweight wand compared to mine, nevertheless performed very well. Being
an unfamiliar rod, on my first cast with it only managed to achieve a less than perfect mend, however as luck would have it after a short drift had
a fish on. Would love to claim it was due to skill rather than luck, but to do so would be deluding myself, however at least it served to prove the
point re the importance of a drag free drift.

Next morning with less than pleasant conditions with the constant rain we decided to each fish separate stretches & I managed a couple whilst the
US contender Korey, apparently landed three, so was quite chuffed at the results of his first NZ fishing expedition.



As it happens he would have undoubtedly landed a lot more had it been discovered earlier that the US flies he had brought over had very thin hooks
much like a bent pin, designed to hold much smaller fish, so most times he had a decent fish on, the gape was springing open.

The rain was building in intensity along with the wind, so with the forecast suggesting it would probably be the norm for the next few days Korey decided
despite the fact he had really enjoyed the time spent, he may as well head off home but before doing so, he had his first taste of NZ whitebait cooked for
lunch. NB NZ whitebait are a specific species of tiny fish about 50 mm long, which are considered real a delicacy & command a huge price when sold
however these had been self caught, prior to the close of the season.



Korey left early afternoon on the Thursday but I was committed to being in Tauranga late Friday arvo to join up with buddies to go on an overnight
fishing trip about 35 miles off shore so with nowhere in particular to go in the interim, thought I might as kill time where I was then have a quick fish
that evening then maybe again in the morning. Slept for most of the afternoon as the rain continued to hose down until almost dusk when it eased
so decided to go for a flick on the river before dinner. One look at the river having risen a couple of feet was now a raging torrent of muddy water
brought the realisation that there was every possibility I might not now get out the farm tracks, but in any event would need to attempt it asap if not
before if I had any chance whatsoever of doing so. Everything was frenetically thrown in then began driving over the paddocks where mini lagoons
were forming increasing my concerns about being able to drive up the now slippery muddy slopes of the tracks. Put the m/home in 2 nd gear then
took a fast run at the slope when about 3 /4 way up started to feel the wheels slip but managed to keep moving albeit barely to reach the brow along
with a huge sigh of relief. Had to slip slide around in the mud in a couple of places after encountering electric fence cables which needed to be dropped
down, driven over then put up again.

Headed for a free camping area lakeside about 20 kms away to cook dinner then sleep overnight, discovering that in the haste to get out the dishes,
glassware etc. left on the bench had come crashing down in the rough drive out smashing a number of things.



In the morning the rain had all but stopped & in the daylight the lake looked quite muddy.



The reason for being muddy, I later found out was that the lake had been drained in order to fix a structural fault in spillway that feeds the hydro power
station below & whilst it was near empty took the opportunity to use earth moving machines to clean up most of the weed. Apparently they did their best
to prevent the trout in the lake from being swept down the rocky dam wall, but a large number of casualties could be seen all about, many of them doing
their best in a futile attempt to survive in shallow pools.





From here drove to Tauranga to join in the off shore trip but will cover that in a separate post.

PS sorry about the "on their side pics" but even if I rotate them in the storage album they still post upside down or on their sides which is something that
never used to happen.

PPS Korey proved to be a good fishing companion & despite the difference in our age reckon we fitted in relatively well & overall both enjoyed the experience.


Last edited by Bazza on Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Continued from previous post :-

After leaving Lake Aniwhenua headed in the direction of Ivans' where Vinie & I had arranged to meet, stopping off at a gas station on the way to
fuel up but when going to pay found my credit card was missing. Had enough cash on hand so paying was not a problem but it used up valuable
preparation time getting ready for the charter trip as had to go thru the lengthy procedure of notifying the bank & putting a hold on it.

Nevertheless we got away in time in Vinnies' wagon, grabbed a bite to eat then unloaded the gear at the pickup point on the jetty. Originally it
was to be a 5 pm pickup which was moved on to 7 pm but we were still waiting after eight & getting concerned something may have happened
to cause the trip to be cancelled. However all was forgiven when he eventually arrived with a boat in tow that had broken down well outside the
harbour. There was a hurried scramble to get all the gear on board as well as ourselves ( 8 in total ) & we were off in a matter of minutes on the
4 hr trip to the overnight anchorage at Mayor Island in decidedly rough conditions once out of the harbour. Rather than stay up for the trip out in
the dark as the rest did I opted to try for some shut eye down below on one of the bunks, however the boat was being tossed about to the extent
could have rolled off the bunk so there was very little sleep, if any. Went up on deck when the boat was anchored in the shelter of the island where
some of the guys were setting up in an attempt to catch live baits for the next days fishing. One guy caught a couple of decent snapper which he
released as were not the targeted species.



Ivan was regularly catching these little critters that no one could identify on a sabiki rig some of which were put in the live bait holding tank.



Eventually got to sleep only to be woken again early next morning by several eager beavers intent on catching more live bait then as the sun began
to rise it was off to a bottom fishing spot in about 40 mtrs depth of water that allowed the boat to be anchored.



Could but hope the anchor would hold as there were a couple or more nearby rock pinnacles the sea was crashing over.



Fish started to come aboard mainly terakihi & trevally when I hooked up on what was a monster given the fight it provided. Eventually got it to
to the top only to find it was a kingfish that have a reputation for being hard fighting however this one was under the legal size of 750 mm so had
to go back.



After shifting to a new spot the fish there were found to be rather obliging with fish coming aboard occasionally two at a time. Gradually
the conditions cause an attrition factor amongst the anglers as one by one they retired inside looking decidedly seedy until there were only four of
us left fishing.



Considering there was plenty of fish to take home the surviving anglers were keen to go much further out to fish for deep water species such as
hapuka, blue nose & bass etc. which had been the original objective, so set off despite the weather conditions & complete lack of shelter.

It was not exactly relaxing fishing as at 350 mtrs deep could not anchor therefore each time the boat drifted off the reef then had to wing in a
32 oz sinker plus the terminal tackle with huge chunks of bait up which becomes increasingly exhausting, whilst being thrown about against the
railings etc in a pitching sea, so have quite a few resulting bruises. Ivan fishing next to me was having an easy time of it, using his new electric
reel much to the envy of the rest of us that were labouring intensely at winding in manually.

There were only 3 hapuka caught, all a good size & Ivan generously split his 3 ways with Vinnie & I as benefactors.



Sorry about lying down pic but problem of adjusting still persists.

As I had something important to attend Sun morning, as had been arranged I took off shortly after arriving back at Ivans' & dividing up the fish etc.
Considering it was Easter weekend the traffic wasn't too bad & was making good time even tho had stopped at an Indian restaurant for dinner. Was
over 3/4 the way home when I happened to look down at the fuel gauge & was shocked to see it was below empty which came as a jolt as should
have read over half full. Besides requiring the injectors re primed if it had completely run dry, would also have been a hazard on the highway, therefore
pulled over into a school parking area then switched off the motor, deciding it would be best to sleep the night there then figure out what to do for the
best in the morning. I knew there was a gas station in the area but was unsure of how far or even which direction so reckoned it was far safer to stay
put & besides did not know as it was Easter Sunday if they would even be open. Asked a gent in a nearby house which direction & how far it was, where
upon he kindly insisted on kindly driving me there to check & it was a great relief to find it was not only a km or so from where the m/home was parked,
but also it was open. Was extremely grateful to the guy for his help so when he dropped me back I gave him a bag of fresh fillets which he seemed to
appreciate.

The immediate problem was over for the time being when reaching the gas station, however the drama had not run its' full course as asked for $30 diesel
but the tank would only accept $26 worth ... a real mystery, but no time to ponder as would have to get underway pronto if I was to arrive home in time.

When I switched on the ignition the gauge immediately read full & following that figured what the problem had been namely :- after the re wiring required
after the previous trip depending on which position the key is in determines if the gauges work or not, so had more than enough fuel all along !!!!!

Arrived home in time so guess it was a case of "All's well that ends well" !!!!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow what a trip ... just like the good old days !

Wanted some fillets to take to the folk that allow me to camp riverside, on their farm &
will be doing so again next week.

Left the ramp at daybreak which as the days get shorter it becomes later.



Fish were really on the bite today but first spot tried there were hordes of 295 mm pests,
often three at a time ( only tail showing of top fish ) as soon as the line hit the bottom.



Moved to mid channel where it was all on & had these two on at the same time, also had
a couple of breakoffs from huge fish. Managed a bin load of “big boy snaps”, a couple of
large KY & a JD.



The bigger snap at 600 mm was longer than the lid of the chilly bin & would barely fit inside
even on an angle.

Weather could not have been better & was back at the ramp by 10 am. with the limit.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloyd was going to stay ere overnight so as we could get away in the motorhome early the next day in order to miss the
morning rush hour traffic. However the thought struck us that it could be a good idea to leave Wed night after dinner when
the traffic would have tapered off then stop overnight somewhere along the way. We had in mind somewhere that would be
suitable but after arriving neither of us felt like turning in for the night so we opted to move on further. We finally settled on
the small township of Whararoa that had a sizeable parking area with toilets nearby plus was within strolling distance of several
cafes that open early to cater largely for truck drivers etc. Next morning we enjoyed a hearty breakfast along with excellent
coffee, so heart in fact it carried us over until dinner that evening.

We had only half the driving to do, than had we driven right thru as originally intended plus was a lot more relaxing so reckon
will seriously consider doing so on future trips. Arrived around 10 am, so after calling at the farmhouse set up camp near the river
then after getting setup began fishing & was not long before the first fish was landed.



The weather was idyllic inasmuch as was a clear, still day with very pleasant temps that were warming without being too hot to
the extent despite being enjoyable may not have been the ideal conditions for fishing.

Lloyd has been primarily a competent lake or still water fisherman therefore it soon became obvious his technique did not really
suit river conditions, so after setting up his rig gave him a few hints that once he mastered, would increase the chance of success
X 20, so once he got the hang of things moved him on to the prime spots along with hints on how to fish them. At this point I
should confess I do not make for a very good tutor as am rather impatient, having forgotten the years it took me to improve my
technique & am still only moderately competent, yet expect others to improve instantly. Nevertheless those that can endure my
ranting & raving seem to invariably end up landing a fish or two & so it was to prove for Lloyd.





At one stage we moved downriver by making a couple of river crossings & then slashing a track thru the blackberry & gorse etc
with my newly acquired Gerber mini machete. It was here that Lloyd really impressed by sighting a really big brownie that was
actively feeding close to the stop but not quite breaking the top. He spent quite a time casting the weighted nymph setup we were
using without success so opted to try a single un weighted emerging type of nymph which did not produce any serious interest either
however amazingly enough despite the constant disturbance both fish continued their frenetic pattern of feeding. He then elected to
try a black nymph which he said he had a gut feeling would do the trick then low & behold was not long before he had a bend in his
rod which was to prove to be the much smaller fish, nevertheless quite an achievement that no doubt gave a degree of satisfaction.
Before releasing it I managed to get a couple of underwater shots albeit not very good as short of submerging your head can only
wildly guess at direction whilst holding the camera under the surface.





Meanwhile at that particular spot I managed to only land a couple of barely medium size fish but redeemed myself with a couple of
decent fish on moving back upriver.



With the days becoming shorter, it was dark by the time we had dinner cooked then an hour or two after eating settled down for an
early night. Next days fishing was much the same & the weather continued to be balmy making for very enjoyable conditions to be
on the river even tho probably not the ideal conditions to get the fish feeding actively, nevertheless was cause for celebratory drinkies
that night & Daryl joined us for an hour or so. Slept well that night waking early with the intention of only fishing briefly before breakfasting
then packing up for the return trip home. A few more fish of mixed sizes were landed however the highlight of the trip was when Lloyd using
his newly learnt technique hooked into a fish that ran him down river well into his backing.





It took a long time to land where upon it was discovered it was not as expected, a huge fish by any means but had been double foul hooked
so holding the fish side on much of the time therefore combined with the force of the water flow provided somewhat of a challenge.



Had an easy run home disturbed only by witnessing the scenes of a couple of serious road accidents, one being a truck that had left the road
down a bank landing in a paddock with the cab flattened & the other not far on involving a car that had done likewise that had the roof cut off
presumably to rescue the inhabitants.

As for the enjoyable weather, we can hardly believe how lucky we were as once back home, it began hissing down today early morning & has
done so for most of the day combined with fairly strong wind at times.
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Bazza
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Off to China in a couple of hours so short of acquiring a tame coromant there probably
not be any safari fishing reports for 3 weeks or so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormorant_fishing
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have just returned from a couple of weeks in China & have a few freshwater fishing / boating related pics that might be of interest
plus a heap to choose from of general activities in a country implementing ultra dynamic changes at an incredible rate.



Bridges are being built at an incredible rate often a mere 500 mtrs to a km apart.





At night :-



This is an older pedestrian swing bridge that gives new meaning to the name



Freshly caught live eels for sale



Likewise fish altho not live this time









Most outboards are modern type but have never seen the likes of these :-



A peaceful spot on a side river of the Yangtze that held rising fish about 200 mm long ( could have been trout ) that were also feeding on nymphs.





Traditional nets ( two above ) plus tame fishing coromants resting on "boat" however traditional coromant fishing no longer allowed in a lot of areas.



There were wild monkeys in the foliage of the river banks.







Setting nets.





Carp fishing



One of the multi channelled locks passed thru on the way to the "Three Gorges Dam"





A model of the Three Gorges Dam which is the largest in the world & was too much to fit into one photo hence the model alternative.

Amazingly enough it is completely silent in operation as the turbines & discharge are both well below the water levels





To be continued :-


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just had to slip this one in of before motors were invented, teams of these poor devils used to
hire themselves out to haul boats up the Yangtze ( 3rd longest in the world ) river against the
flow, whilst gaining a precarious foothold on the often almost vertical stone river banks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yangtze

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all here is the coromant I tried to buy to do some fishing but its' owner would not part with it.



At the risk of turning this thread on a fishing forum into a travel documentary would like to list some of
my observations of a fascinating country, which to a Westerner is seemingly engulfed in contrast, contradiction
& controversy along with so many imponderables.

Firstly there is the scale of construction that is beyond belief & not sure if anyone has counted the construction
cranes in China, but would have to be in the millions as are seldom out of sight of them where ever you go.
,




Predominately they appear to be building high rise apartment & office blocks, along with roading etc. but is the pace
of such development that is staggering. For instance this area in Shanghai is called "The Bund" which is a German word
that roughly means "embankment" & it is situated on the Huangpu river & is one of the few areas that height along with
preservation restrictions apply.



Directly opposite on the other bank is an area that 25 years ago was bare farmland, but today looks like this & still growing.











They seem to be either building or demolishing in order to re build. ( taken from our hotel room window )



Nearby where we live here in Auckland they are widening a minor highway from 2 to 4 lanes, for well under 2 kms distance after
5 yrs or so of planning, eventually starting work on the project which is scheduled to take just under 4 yrs to complete.

Compare this to the fact that when it was realised the bullet train service from Pudong airport to central Shanghai was nearing
capacity,they decided to build a second line just over a year ago & is expected to be completed by the end of the year, tunnels & all.
As for the apartment blocks when you fly into any of the main cities ( anything under 3 mill pop is considered a village ) you need to
imagine a huge forest covering say 100 square kms or more where the trees have had their tops & branches removed for this is what
they resemble from above.











Could go on & on posting such almost in ad finitum pics but reckon most readers by now will have gained an idea of the escalating
scale of construction.

Shanghai with a pop of 25 million ( the worlds' largest ) the traffic, as can be imagined is intense but seems to flow comparatively
smoothly compared to Auckland & certainly in general quite a bit faster than our peak hour traffic. Maybe it is due to their traffic rules,
which I could never quite fathom other than they involve constantly coming within 10 mm of all other moving vehicles, at which point
things seem to start flowing again & only witnessed two minor scrapes in all the time we were there. Then as motorbikes are virtually
banned above a certain capacity ( maybe 50 cc ) there are hordes of swarming mopeds scooting everywhere to add to the chaos, often
hugely overloaded or with a young child as a passenger, neither rider wearing a crash helmet & few if any switch on their lights at night .

Apparently most of them are electric or gas powered, so they do not switch on their lights to save battery power, but they are also mostly
silent, so as a pedestrian particularly if used to traffic on the opposite side, you need to be constantly on the lookout for them for they seem
to enjoy supreme right of way where ever they are.

As for the cars .......... in our first stopover in Beijing, was amazed to see so many high end cars like BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, Porche, etc.
In fact just around the corner from our hotel there was a two storeyed block of small shops comprising the likes of noodle bars, small
eating places & a small convenience store that stocked almost everything including beer, where I used to buy cans for about $NZ 1 instead
of paying maybe up to 10 times as much at the hotel bar.

The hotel





The shops :-



For some reason decided to take a peek in the window of the small place next door to the convenience store, which for all purposes looked
from the outside like somewhere you would pop into for a bottle of milk or a packet of biscuits, so was amazed to see for sale, all brand new.







A Ferrari, a Bentley, a Porche, a Lamborghini & even a Maclaren no less .... go figure !

To be cont.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before continuing I would like to state opinions stated in these articles are based on my observations, assumptions
& that which I have been told therefore may not always be 100 % correct but hopefully the bulk of it will be.

Contradictions, restrictions & anomalies :-

Without doubt the major anomaly would have to be that for a country that has so whole heartily embraced the ideology
of capitalism should still be under the rule of a communist government, as the two could hardly be considered compatible
therefore one cannot help but wonder just how long such an arrangement can last.

It would seem to an outsider that the government continues to maintain control by imposing certain restrictive policies eg
All the land in China by decree belongs to the government & individuals can not own or sell land, only any structure or dwelling
on it & even then usually a limited length of tenure applies ( usually 70 yrs. ) then it must be re negotiated with no guarantees
that it will be re renewed.

Over 3000 websites including facebook, google, twitter, instagram, BlogSpot etc. are all blocked in China which is rather subtlety
as the "Great Firewall Of China" & one can only assume as to the reason.

Most if not all of the revenue gaining services such as internet, communications in general, public transport, taxes, licencing etc.
are owned by the government therefore it is generally accepted they continuously amass enormous wealth.

No doubt the average citizen would hold opinions on government policies but appear very reticent to express them, therefore it
would seem maybe it could be unwise to do so & free speech as we in the west know it, possibly does not exist in China.

This is probably not more evident than in Tiananmen square where visitors are warned against any form of political action, talk
or questioning as to do so might result in unpleasant consequences & it is reputed to have high security measures in place including
secret police on the lookout for any form of political dissention.



It seems rather ironic that almost adjacent to the square are the five palaces built for various emperors, as well as the much vilified
"Dragon Lady" who by being completely ruthless, rose from being a concubine to being empress.

Many of the historic treasures were damaged or destroyed after the cultural revolution so is fortunate the emperors palaces survive
relatively intact. With the grounds they cover an area similar to a small city & for most of their existence were off limits to commoners
& even today visitors are only allowed in sections of the entirety.





The moat where pesty persistent hawkers abound :-



One day we indirectly experienced the effects of the wide powers that government officials possess. We were in an older traditional section
& were being taken by pedal rickshaw to a traditional family home of a delightful lady who used to practice as a doctor but now with her
husband ran a home based eating place specialising in home cooked meals which she cooks in her own kitchen & the results are delicious.

It would be very unusual to see overweight Chinese as they mostly of healthy proportions, therefore I was finding it a bit unsettling to have
my tummy being patted every so often as they voiced the words "Happy Bhudda" until I realised it was probably meant as a compliment ....
can but hope so but if not at least can console myself knowing I have a god like figure.

The ride was quite eventful inasmuch as we went charging along narrow alleyways packed with people & mopeds etc. with the driver gleefully
whooping & the experience made all the more memorable by the fact his brakes did not appear to work.







Anyway the arrangement was that we would be collected after we had enjoyed our lunch then taken back to our starting point but when
we emerged we were informed that despite the fact the bulk of businesses were operating, some official had decided as it was still part
of the May day holidays they could not operate so they were effectively shut down & we were left to walk back to the starting point.

A few pics of well known locations that need no introduction :-









Then there were the Teracotta warriors that were absolutely amazing :-









Of the thousands of clay warriors so far excavated no two have the same features or even look alike giving rise to the assumption
that they were originally modelled on real life warriors however it is generally accepted that this one is undoubtedly by far the most
handsome.



Regrettably we were there on a public holiday which was a lesson in being subjected to a crowded situation which the locals seemed to take
in there stride but was rather unnerving to westerners unfamiliar to crowds particularly as it was a hot day ... was very rewarding nevertheless.



To be cont.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a funny true story connected to the Terracotta warriors worthy of mention before we move on.

Altho there had been mention of the existence of the 2000 yo national treasure in ancient transcripts, they
remained undiscovered until !974 by a farmer digging a well. Bill Clinton was to visit China & a trip to the
Warriors site was high on his agenda. It was considered appropriate that he meet with the farmer who
discovered the site but the humble farmer was very reluctant to take part as he spoke no English. He was
assured he would be coached in a few simple short phases that would be choreographed into the speech
when they met suchas.

Bill = It is indeed a pleasure to have the honour of us meeting & have been looking forward to doing so.
Reply = Me to, how are you ?
And so on.

However the poor farmer faced with speaking to perhaps the worlds' most powerful individual, combined
with over 1/2 the worlds' tv cameras focussed on the event became confused & the planned dialogue instead
went something like this :-

Bill = "It is indeed a pleasure to have the honour of meeting & have been looking forward to doing so."

Reply = "Who are you ?"

Bill = in a quick thinking ad lib "I am Hillary Clintons husband"

Reply = "Me too"

Some amazing facts re the Terracotta warriors & I find their knowledge of metallurgy for the production of swords
& various weapons etc 2000 years ago simply astounding. Just goes to show how technically advanced they were
compared to the rest of the world & they may well be again. However the 700,000 odd workers & slaves that built
the wonder, obviously did not have the benefits of belonging to unions , for once it was created it is alleged that on
orders from the Emperor Quin Shi Huan they were all sent into tunnels which were then sealed off leaving to
perish so as the location etc. would remain a secret. It is a generally held theory that the purpose of the whole project
was to look after the Emperor in the afterlife. Quin Shi Huan is reputed to be the first ever emperor & was appointed
when only 13 yo with the terracotta project started not long after. Not sure how or why a 13 yo was chosen so that will
need to join the many imponderables that is China.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army

Whilst on the subject of imponderables or contrasts there are far too many to mention however here are but a few examples.

One of the biggest mysteries to us was that despite the massive scale of construction there was little or no evidence of trucks
bring in or taking away materials. We were told trucks were not allowed on city roads during daylight & had to operate at night
so we began to observe the night traffic but apart from a couple of concrete trucks which could be compared to a drop of water
into lake Taupo we did not see any. Apparently they have managed to complete a five story building solely using a 3D printer
but I doubt that would be the explanation.

Regards advanced technology they are obviously way up there, if not ahead of the best & certainly well above most countries
yet every so often come across things being done the old fashioned way.



Occasionally if you get off the beaten track, tucked away amongst all the tall modern buildings you can come across isolated
pockets of people living the same as they did in years past, but I gained the distinct impression the locals did not like photos
being taken so had to do so rather slyly therefore are mostly blurry or from the wrong angle.



At the place above I saw a gent scaling a live fish at a downpipe drain.







Took awhile to work out what was happening here but it looked like the whole street specialised in hand washing.
& vacuuming cars nevertheless as rough the set up may appear, the finished job looked to be immaculate.



The food smelt & looked appealing but the conditions the food was being kept ( often outside ) & cooked in made it
distinctly less appealing or tempting however there were no flies evident here or elsewhere & unlike at home only
saw two or three all the time we were in China.

Likewise it came as a surprise just how clean most of China is with hardly any litter & can usually sit on low rock walls
& suchlike without getting your clothes dusty or dirty.

We had heard so many tales about the polluted air in the cities so came well prepared with stacks of air filtering masks,
but after wearing one for half a day tired of looking like a runaway surgeon from an operating theatre & ditched it. Neither
of us wore one after that & were not aware of any excess pollution however perhaps we were lucky & timed it right. In
fact for all the two and a bit weeks we were there we were ultra lucky even if it was a tad hot on a few days, it did not rain
other than when we were asleep or travelling however once again maybe we were lucky.

Alcohol was readily available from all sorts of places including on coaches yet can honestly say unlike home, we never saw
a single person under the influence, altho on one occasion noticed what looked like a group of junkies sleeping rough.

In one of the hotels we stayed at there was this magnificent huge vase which we naturally presumed to be ceramic.



However when visiting where they were made discovered they were hand beaten copper, with a thin hand painted ceramic or
glass coating of some sort then fired in a furnace.





However the handcrafts we thought were exquisitely superb were the silk embroideries onto a backing to serve as wall hangings.
Firstly these are the little critters that produce the base material throughout their short adult lives & when woven it is incredibly
strong. I was invited to punch as hard as I like a single rough woven layer held taut in a frame but try as I may could not break
it no matter how hard I tried.



Weaving the thread :-



Have just realised the above pics were from a place manufacturing mainly silk clothing but no matter here are the embroideries.

Different coloured threads are laboriously hand sewn one by one, onto a cloth base to create these wonderful individual works of art.







To be cont.
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Visitors to China are usually advise not to drink the tap water & to stick to using bottled water ( which hotels issue gratis ) even
when brushing teeth. Not that the water is dirty as it meets the specs to be rated potable, but like as with many countries, there
is a possibility a new comer could be affected by a minor residual organism that the local population have built up resistance to.

My wife experienced a dose of the trots, which carried over after we got back home & I had a brief encounter as well. Fortunately
their were no "disasters" but when in unfamiliar surroundings it has the potential to result in very embarrassing circumstances,
particularly on flights, but as mentioned managed to avoid such disasters albeit only by the breath of a hair on a couple of occasions.

To further complicate such circumstances almost all public toilets which can be either squat type or raised do not supply toilet paper
so like a true boy scout need to be prepared by remembering to BYO whenever venturing out.

In retrospect we both remember thru sheer force of habit, at some time forgetting then using the un boiled hotel tap water to brush
teeth or pop a pill so perhaps we suffered the effects of doing so therefore will try to be more vigilant in the future.

Here are a couple of pics of the river boat both exterior & interior which was more of a miniature cruise ship than a ferry ... was looking
forward to 4 days of relaxing but soon found out it was to be as full on as before, nevertheless always more than worth the effort :-







Nightime at Chongqin on the river, when most of the river traffic sets off, is ablaze of lights both from the shore & the various vessels
which is quite a spectacle to behold, but unfortunately the pics do not do the all encompassing display justice.











The colours of the illuminations on several structure such as seen here with the opera house were constantly changing, whilst
others were moving or doing both.









A few more ...... cannot help myself but promise that will be the last despite having umpteen more.



Even the cranes are lit up ( above )







Next post will deal with museum displays of historic items & before you say "boring boring" consider this ..............
The Chinese women believe that wearing jade helps to keep them looking younger & skin in good condition. Before we dismiss
such beliefs as being a myth let's consider their have been instances of bodies having been buried with a lot of jade or in jade
lined coffins & their bodies being preserved. Her skin even now is still very supple as are her limbs & joints. ( photo above )



Still think it is a load of bunkem, if so, then watch this, maybe not totally jade related but testimony the outstanding body preserving
techniques of the ancient Chinese re the 2000 yo body of a women whose skin even now, is still very supple as are her limbs & joints.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXgyLYtRrFw

To be cont.
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was curious to know, so at one staged asked "Do you have elections in China ?"
This seemed to cause mild confusion, perhaps because they thought I was saying "erections"
Took awhile to get thru but after drawing comparison re Clinton / Trump & mentioning the word "vote" was I understood.
The reply was "Yes we can vote" which came as a surprise until he added in all seriousness "But we have only one party"
Am sure he did not fathom the reason his listeners giggled & I resisted the urge to ask " Can you bet on the outcome? "

As ridiculous as that may seem to a westerner I guess their are a lot of voters in the US at the moment that would readily
trade systems !

At the risk of some readers being bored, before moving on from museum artifacts, would like to post a few pics of examples
of ancient works of art that have remained in remarkably good condition despite being 1000 to 2000 years old.

A hand woven embroidered rug or carpet.

















Time to get back to the boating fishing scene :-



Fine furniture :-





This area of Shanghai oddly enough is known as "Chinatown" where supposedly you can find a lot of bargains, but as far as we could
see it was pretty well all junk. It is also the place you are most likely to be pickpocket or have something stolen & an official wandering
"marshal " advised me to wear my small backpack on my front. Despite the reputation for bargains we had an icecream each which came
to a total of $NZ23 which is more than twice as much as elsewhere however it was a Danish franchise with fancy cones & for some reason
incurred 15 % sales tax however to be fair it was delicious. Pays to check on the price of anything big or small before buying as their can
often be considerable disparity particularly in any upmarket environment where there can be as much as 10 times the difference.

Regards security, by & large China is a very safe country nevertheless it pays to be aware of various rorts visitors can fall victim to, such as.

Avoid changing money with street vendors & suchlike that may be offering a very attractive rate but can often be counterfeit or some other
near worthless currency. Likewise when being given change, therefore pays to carry a variety of lower value notes so as to be able to pay
the price agreed on without receiving a lot of change.

Hawkers can be annoying in some paces by being so persistent so best to avoid any dialogue even "not interested" or for that matter even
eye contact, because anything other than totally ignoring their existence is taken as you wanting to buy but need to haggle over the price.
Admittedly is difficult to totally ignore someone that grabs your arm whilst you are walking away in which case I found the best strategy is
to play them at their own game, by removing your hat or suchlike then attempting to sell it to them at a ridiculously high price which you
say is a special price only for them. Mind you there are sometimes bargains to be had such as the women who were buying labelled Guichi
shoulder type handbags along with a separate purse inside for $NZ15 & they certainly looked good so no doubt were genuine ... ahem, ahem.

Often the price you are being quoted can be in US dollars, which sounds incredibly cheap if you are thinking they are talking Chinese Yuan,
so pays to clarify that from the outset.

Occasionally you will be approached, have to step over or around a beggar some of which can look rather pitiful but is over to each individual
to decide if they want to toss something into their tin or not ...... personally we chose not to.

Haggling is the norm & it is said if you pay more than required then you lose respect, are stupid therefore to be taken advantage of. Am almost
certain there are different thresholds of selling price between locals & tourist but ain't that the way in most countries, so probably best to accept
the reality. We were told the accepted procedure for haggling is to get the seller to reduce their asking price then you offer a third of that, after
which both parties try to settle on a mutually acceptable price. If you cannot reach a price you consider fair then walk away & nine times out of
ten they will follow you down the road ageing to do the deal.

We did not buy a lot apart from a few gifts such as silk scarves & books of places we had been impressed by with the biggest but being a king
size multi layered duvet ( less the cover but with a silk scarf as a free gift ) which was about $NZ200 from a reputably no haggling outlet. Unless
you are expert enough to tell the difference then pays to buy from such outlets otherwise your purchases may be far from genuine.

Next post will be concerned with entertainment, particularly some of the shows we attended some of which were unbelievably spectacular.
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When dealing with the post re all the tall buildings & their construction meant to included a comment so
will do so now before starting on the entertainment.

We were traversing a temporary pedestrian lane thru a construction or maybe it was a demolition site
made from vertical plywood sections to act as side screen barriers.

Along one side of the lane at ground level, against the barrier wall ran a shallow potager like garden full
of a variety of vegetables. There were lettuces, potatoes, tomatoes, beans etc which without exception appeared
to be extremely healthy & blemish free, despite the fact they would not see much sun tucked away between
all the towering buildings, In fact most of the produce grown in China. Can but wonder if they do not have the
garden pests that are prevalent elsewhere such as snails, slugs, white moths, aphids etc.

Even more of a mystery was who had built the gardens, planted the plants, who owns them & how come they don't
get raided ? I must have been preoccupied at the time pondering on those questions, to the extent I clean forgot to
take a couple of pics.

OK on the topic of entertainment :-

As well as the onboard entertainment on the river boat cruise we attended another four shows in total.

The first was a Chinese opera which I am sure has cultural significance but unfortunately was lost on us. The first 45 mins
or so involved one of the actors on stage, putting on makeup & being dressed up for the character he was to play. It was
a very time consuming exercise which once again probably held little or no significance to westerners. Once underway the
dialogue was being translated to English appearing on two large screens either side of the stage, along with a rather sketchy
outline of the storyline. The storyline to our mind seemed to be shallow to the point of being pointless however seem to recall
an impressive display of sword & lance juggling in the closing scenes made the experience a tad more bearable.

The next show was a Tang Dynasty dance show which was a wonderful display of lighting, exotic costumes & dance routines.









The third show was called the "Han Show" in the city of Wuhan which would have to be the most spectacular show we have ever seen
or are likely to in our lifetime. Flash photography is not permitted during the show & given the acts the performers undertake that is
totally understandable as they cannot afford to be blinded or even distracted. How best to describe it as is near impossible to do so,
nevertheless will do my best. Firstly seeing the newly purpose built theatre is an experience in itself & it seats 2000 dived into three
sections. Once the show begins it is full on right from the start with non stop action, usually three or four things happening simultaneously
leaving you at a loss to know which way to look. There is a story line involving a couple of young lovers who are torn apart when some
old coot tries to take the girl as a concubine. However in the scale of things the story line imo is comparatively meaningless considering
the acts built into the show. By this stage the three platforms of seating will be lowering, rising, arcing & moving back & forth to afford
the patrons the best possible view of the show which involves :-

The stage floor that has been hosting a variety of impressive performances, miraculously transforms into a massive pool more like a miniature
lake 9 mtrs deep containing 10,000,000 litres of water. Meantime multiple somersaulting bodies are being hurled thru the air to land in the water
whilst others drop from overhead & other dive from a height of 85 ft. At times the front of the stage becomes a huge waterfall or fountains & those
in the front five rows will be wearing the ponchos supplied to them to protect against any possible spray drift. At some point the pool \ lake
transforms back into a stage with unreal lighting or laser displays, various performances etc. somehow alternating between being a stage or a pool.
Pool is obviously something of a misnomer as at one stage 3 jet skis are hooning around on it & another character is riding high in the air, astride
one of those high powered hose thingys careering every which way, much of the time underwater, only to shoot up out of the water into the air when
& where least expected.

Could go on forever trying to describe the myriad of acts but probably best to provide a few links which if negotiated carefully might give an inkling
of the sort of thing involved but be sure to watch the brief trailer clip as well as the rehearsal / practice clips. Whilst still reeling from the magnitude
of the show opted to take a couple of pics of the cast, out of costume taking their applause finale.





Links :-

http://www.thehanshow.com/en/2014/video_0616/7.html

http://www.thehanshow.com/en/2014/news_0313/38.html

http://www.thehanshow.com/en/video/

As the show requires a purpose built theatre it is highly unlikely the Han show could tour elsewhere which is a shame because apparently
it is an international cast of performers etc. so suffice to say if in China DO NOT MISS IT !

Ironically enough altho it was dry when we entered the theatre, on emerging several hours later the water on the road was up to cars axels
so the down pour in that relatively short time must have been colossal. It was severe enough in fact for flights at the airport being delayed
but somehow or other we managed to get on an earlier flight than the one we were booked on to fly back to Shanghai.

On out last night in China we went to an exciting acrobatics show in Shanghai which was amazing but after the Han Show would have to
take second placing. The Chinese of course are renowned for their balancing, gymnastic & acrobatic feats & the show was no exception.
It involved many incredible acts, too many to report in detail, so will stick with what for me was the highlight of the show namely a variation
of the "Wall of Death" act that used to perform at sideshows involving a motorbike going at enough speed around the walls of a large cylinder
so as the centrifugal force overcame the force of gravity.

In this instance a huge sphere that had been hovering above up until now was lowered down on to the stage. Might have been 25 or 30 mtrs
in diameter built out of what looked to be steel lattice but in any event was "see through" An attendant lowered a trap door like section to the
ground which served as a ramp for a rider on a motorbike to enter then was shut tight again. The motorcyclist took of at speed careering around
inside but of course being a sphere for much of the time he was ether horizontal, upside down or anything inbetween. At this stage was thinking
"Ah well, something a bit different I suppose" when the door came down again & a second rider entered which was going to be interesting to see
if they managed to avoid colliding. They had been doing their thing for awhile when a third rider joined them but not satisfied with that, a fourth
joined them !

The door was lowered once again & as you were thinking "No way can there be room for a fifth" rider you realise this will not be the case as three
more bikes ( I kid you not ) appear then join in with the others making a total of seven bikes & riders, screaming around in the dark as the lights
had been turned right down. However they all had their head & tail lights on racing about crossing each others' tracks giving a display that kinda
resembled Saturn on steroids !

How on earth they managed to avoid ending up in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the sphere I will never know ..... simply unbelievable.
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