A boating we will go!

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A boating we will go!

16 months without seeing the water initially because of heavy work commitments with tours then a stupid tourist choosing to drive on the wrong side of the road putting us out of action.

The boats serviced. I have removed the inbuilt petrol tanks that someone installed prior my ownership which caused a lot of balancing issues. Now back on tote tanks as it was originally designed and built for. Once these southerlies we seem to be suffering currently die down then its going to hit the water once again. And hopefully a regular event this summer.

The trailer through a WOF on Friday. Its registered for the first time since 2016. Probably one of a few in the far north that is registered and warranted. I own up to not doing it prior as the ramp I could get to down the back road.

My shoulder seems to be getting stronger so hopefully retrieving it back on to the trailer shouldn’t be an issue. If it is then I just need make sure I have someone strong with me that can sucker into winding the winch. On a boat ramp it shouldn’t be to big an issue as with the trailer positioned right I should be able to drive it on pretty well.

So who of my family in friends is coming to join me for the odd day out I wonder? It is just the beginning of our peak season so there is still a need to juggle my time between 4wd tours, helping the boss (Xiaoli) clean after customers depart etc etc. But its not going to spend another 16 months without seeing the water

We are getting well booked in both houses now for the summer season. Still holes left though so if you are thinking about a far north holiday whether its with us or another accommodation provider I suggest you do book soon.

4wd tour bookings up the beach are slow but I wouldn’t expect that to be any different this far out.

The beach buses other than Fullers don’t run Christmas Day. But we will have available one 4wd for beach tours. The second will be parked up so my driver can have their family Christmas. And we may yet run the 12 seat tour van but like Fullers it cannot get through Te Paki Stream anymore as its just to soft. So it would join the beach at Waipapakauri Ramp and exit at Hukateri .

Its going to be a great summer!

www.peterandxiaoli.com

ECSTATIC – ANGRY – RELIEVED

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ECSTATIC – ANGRY – RELIEVED

I know an interesting heading but I have an explanation. I know I am a good tour guide but sometimes tested by the odd tourists who in themselves tend to be the odd one out in the group. But I handle them not showing my frustration or yes sometimes, anger. That I need always keep to myself knowing at the end of the tour they fly home. Ironically they often are the ones that refer you for other business. But back to my heading.

 

ECSTATIC – Today I have received an email from a UK travel group I have done several NZ group tours for. In fact was contracted for several October and November but ongoing accident injuries required me to withdraw. Well it turns out I was in the running for their international guide of the year but never won. Well I didn’t know they had such an award and I am probably right in thinking all their guides are in the running. However, they sent me the following comment which apparently is one of many from a past traveller from one of their groups I showed around NZ.

We (myself with husband Paul) thought Peter was exceptionally good at low-key management of the group, supplying schedules, historical and current information, and conveying enthusiasm for New Zealand, generally while driving the bus or sharing dinner or a drink. He also brought humour to deal with potential conflicts among the group members, and managed consensus decisions for changing the itinerary, and any grumbles, extremely well.”

They booked through a UK group but are in fact Americans. Until today I was unaware of the words they posted. I am ecstatic as often you just never know.

 

ANGRY – On Friday I had another consultant who had booked me for a 23 day tour in December and again in March advise that they had reconsidered and no longer required my services. Why I asked? They felt the accident would still be affecting me and could not risk me with their tourists for 23 days.

I was flabbergasted. I know the accident is not yet behind us. Only last Friday I got the sign off physically. Xiaoli still suffers and in her case we see the surgeon on Thursday to find out what they do next.

I am angry but at the same token understand where they are coming from. There is also the ongoing mental battle that neither of us can let the accident go and that probably wont change until we both no longer physically suffer.

 

RELIEVED – Yes I am relieved. Xiaoli plus my good far north mate knew I didn’t want to do those tours. In fact I keep talking about retirement, just doing the odd tour of our own. Keep our 12 seat coach and when its no longer required as a tour vehicle then turn it into a campervan. So yes very relieved that a decision out of my control helped make things happen as I kept talking. No more stress. Any stress now is of our own making.

I can be home January 1 for Xiaoli’s birthday. The first time in a number of years that I have been able to be home with her.

I can be home for our 10th wedding anniversary in February which up until Friday was not the case. So planning has now started in my head for a surprise party to celebrate our 10th anniversary. In fact in 3 days time we celebrate the day we first physically met in Nanning in China. I still remember coming out of the China customs to see her there waiting. Memories – beautiful ones.

2019 is going to be a great year for us. I feel it!

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

A gift from a special friend

The gift that will for a long time be prominent if not noisily in our lives!

We regularly buy all the duck and hen eggs an elderly local farmer has. He cant believe we take the lot weekly. The duck eggs Xiaoli salts in a special mixture as the Chinese do for her and her friends to enjoy. The hen eggs we give to our many guests in our holiday accommodation.

Our friendly farmer survives on only one lung. He has prostate cancer which he needed radiation for 4 weeks in Auckland hospital. He can no longer do what he used to and that includes a passion of his, fishing. So each time we go fishing we make sure him and his family get to share our spoils.

A simple gesture of kindness from us to him. For me I just hope one day if I become immobile, someone would do that kind of thing for me.

Xiaoli loves the many feathered friends he has. Delights in the ducks and hen free range foraging as true free range poultry should be able to do.

Then yesterday he surprised us with a gift of an Indian Ringneck parrot, only one week out of the nest. He knew we were animal mad like him, and knew we had a few birds already.

We have named him Henry. Not sure why but it seems to suit and if later when its able to be sexed we find it’s a girl, then Henry becomes Henrietta.

I have decided Henry should initially live inside with us. Xiaoli does not agree but knows its not an argument on this occasion she will win. Henry will be allowed to settle as he has just been taken from his parents in the aviary. Once settled and somewhat used to us then training will begin.

Indian Ringnecks are capable of saying up to 250 words so the teaching begins. The dangers are he may replicate our dogs or as our Cockatiel does, the telephone ringing. But he (or she) will be a very loved bird and we will never forget the way it came to us.

Next time out on my boat if my lovely friend is up to it, then I will take him to catch his own fish. I am guessing its quite sometime since he has had that opportunity.

The moral of my little story, treat others as you would wish to be treated yourselves.  We know we make our farmer friend very happy each time we visit. It is not so many weeks ago he told me he didn’t want to live any longer. I will not forget him telling me that and I believe Xiaoli and I had something to do with his new love of life. He now has a bounce in his step again. Small gestures of caring go a long way.

I know how most friends and family ran a mile when I was at my worst with bipolar. I do not hold that against them but from those experiences I do not like people suffering thinking they are alone in their fight. We are a long time dead, so living is worth fighting for. I was alone once, Xiaoli my saviour.

 

www.peterandxiaoli.com

A disappointing day in the office

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A disappointing day in the office

For some the haul of fish we got yesterday they would be delighted about, for us a disappointing day out on the ocean. The bin looks full but a lot are Kahawhai. That keeps Xiaoli happy as she will salt and dry it, but for the 2 of us on the boat it was disappointing.

We tried using squid and pilchard as bait and in the end even tried soft baits. We got a good assortment of fish but the Snapper largely eluded us. Great though to see a John Dory landed. We actually got 2 but couldn’t get the second into the net fast enough so it headed back to the deep.

A great time out for me on my mates boat. My boat yet to see the water in over 16 months. Something I must rectify soon but first I need remove a built in fuel tank that someone prior me added. It makes the boat unbalance so it needs to go back to Tote tanks as it was designed to have. A relatively minor job but I can seem to tie my mechanic down to doing and my shoulders wont let me lie down with any comfort to do.

Tomorrow the doctor for another steroid injection to try keep the right arm from seizing up so I can handle the long haul tours starting mid December. The left arm suffering pain issues since the operation but since ACC have now decided not to cover it ongoing then that to I need see the doctor about.

ACC had been in my view excellent following our accident but now have decided the accident never caused the right shoulder injury. They agree it severely aggravated it but as I already had a minor injury that absolves them from liability. In my view had we not had the accident then it was a manageable minor injury but you try debate that with ACC.

Poor Xiaoli in my absence last week needed a neighbour to take her to hospital in excrutiating pain only to get the run around at Kaitaia Hospital. Very disappointing as Xiaoli is not a person to complain normally. Fortunately they did dose her up on heavy pain killers which did resolve the issue for the time being. Now we await the surgeon appointment on November 29.

For both of us we want to put the accident behind us but the niggles carry on. Hopefully for both of us, soon to be resolved. In Xiaoli’s case maybe an operation first. Roll on 2019 and a fresh start!

www.peterandxiaoli.com

The second to last day…..

I beat my demons and my passengers conquered their fears!

My demon was getting back into the drivers seat in the bus with 18 tourists behind me. I still do not enjoy driving since the head on accident but today I asked my apprentice on this tour to move aside, today I must do it. And it was easy and in fact felt great. Glad today I didn’t need to be the guide talking as well as I delegated my apprentice to do that. He didn’t do very well as our guests let me know later in a nice way.

My passengers knew my fear and the reason on this tour there was not just a driver/guide but 2 of us. So they knew today for me was special and thankfully they conquered any fears or worries they had about my driving. But no sweat. Next a few small Northland tours then a 23 day tour starting December 12.

Today a drive from Gisborne through to Rotorua with a lunch in Opotiki.

First stop not far from Gisborne at Jack Richards Gardens looking over Wainui Beach. A spectacular outlook but really spectacular gardens. The sort video clip above only shows a very small part. A gardens that I only wish I had had more time at. I did take a lot of short video clips to show Xiaoli as ideas for when we move to a lifestyle block as our ideas are to establish a huge gardens which people can visit. Me handling the landscaping, Xiaoli the planting. But first sell our Ninety Mile Beach property.

Lunch stop today was at ‘2 Fish Café’ in Opotiki. A great lunch put on by the new owners. We will be back.

A lake stop at Lake Rotoma before heading through to the Novatel in Rotorua. A final night dinner. A great buffet spread but personally I find it a little informal. I found out is was Liane’s birthday tomorrow. Liane a very special passenger who has through cancer had her upper mouth removed so can only have liquid food so I made sure the chefs did a special main followed by a surprise dessert of icecream with happy birthday in chocolate. It bought tears to her eyes so I guess it went over well.

Tomorrow its back to Auckland and my apprentice can drive. I am happy to avoid the rush hour traffic as we wont get away from the ‘Buried Village’ until early afternoon. And on arrival in Auckland I need transfer to the ‘Peter and Xiaoli Tours’ 12 seater. Load luggage for customers on tour with us that like me live north of Auckland and keep heading north. Drop them off at their homes in Warkworth before heading north home to Ninety Mile Beach. Hopefully arriving somewhere prior midnight.

Next on my list of to do’s is find Xiaoli help for the peak season with cleaning and making beds, find a 4wd driver to do our Ninety Mile Beach to Cape Reinga beach tours as our current driver is heading to Australia in December.

Sort out ‘Harcourts’ who we have listed the property with as things are not happening quite as I thought but then we were partially at fault for that. But now its time to gently kick butt. Our own butts doing the things Harcourts suggested we should do, but then kick their butts. Then next week back to Auckland to collect a group of 10 for a Northland tour.

The busy season!!! Its great to be back at work again

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

A chef made my tour client a very happy lady!

Anyone know where that waterfall is?

If you don’t then maybe its time you need come with Peter and Xiaoli Tours and explore a bit more of New Zealand.

Rere Falls is outside Gisborne. There is also Rere Water slide spectacular in a different way. Well worth a visit. If you are up to sliding down the water slide then make sure before the tour starts you tell me you will consider so I remember to put some of our toboggans in.

I am not a tree person unless native but Eastwood hill Aboretum if you are into trees. The largest Aboretum in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 3500 specimens up to 100 years old bought into New Zealand by ‘Cookie’ just after world war one. Spectacular and as Kiwi’s we own it but run by a trust so donations needed.

A great day for us in and around Gisborne today. A stop for lunch at ‘The Vines’ where cruel for me, I had to watch our group of 18 experience a wine tasting. At least I got to eat a beautiful lunch they provided.

Next stop was the Gisborne Museum. No secret I am not a museum person plus I have toured this museum a number of times before but even I acknowledge it is pretty good. Little treasures like the first gift from Cook to a Maori Chief that was uncovered in sand dunes. A metal coin. If in Gisborne, go visit.

Then we drove around past the log port at the base of Kaiti Hill and alongside Kaiti Beach. The local police added some entertainment at no extra cost as 5 police cars rushed past and cornered a car. Pretty dramatic for a poor Ninety Mile Beach like me.

Up Kaiti Hill. A last chance to see the brick sculptured wall and Cook statue before they are removed. I had requested my Gizzy cousin go up earlier in the day to clean the bird droppings off. He must have done it as the statue was pretty clean.

Back at the motel 30 minutes early which the group were grateful for as I think the wine sampling was taking its toll so forty winks for a few I believe.

Evening meal at USSco I believe it is called. Great service. The food was okay but 10 out of 10 for the way they catered for our Liane, a lady in our group who through cancer has had the top of the mouth removed and survives on a liquid diet. I had arranged for a main of soup put through a moule but they wen several steps further. Provided her with a liquid entrée plus a liquid desert. Exceptional is all I can say.

Every day I phone the lunch and night venues well ahead of time to discuss Liane and her requirement for a liquid meal. Most have accommodated with a soup of varying degrees. USSco went not just one step further but outstanding. For all of us at that table I don’t think we noticed much about our meals but all talk was about what the head chef did for Liane. I don’t know who you are but you made an elderly woman who has been very tested with cancer a very happy lady. Thankyou.

Tomorrow out to Wainui for a garden tour before I take the drivers seat for the first time this tour to head towards Rotorua. Time to face my demons after my accident and drive a bus load of tourists. I have put it off long enough.

www.peterandxiaoli.com

East Cape New Zealand

Whakatane to Gisborne via the East Cape

Day 2 and 3 of this 6 day tour and what spectacular scenery we have seen.

A great group of Kiwi’s all in the 75 to 90 year age bracket. Unfortunately one of the group suffered a stroke the day prior starting so could not make it but the remainder are in good spirits considering the various health issues that come along with aging.

For me Moa Trek supplied me a back up driver/baggage handler because of ongoing injury problems. Charlie is an Argentinian in New Zealand on a 3 year work visa to learn tourism. This is his first actual tour and to date I have invited him to drive each leg as I try to make my body last as the car accident injuries heal. So far the neck is more than a little sore and stiff and the left shoulder reminding me it is not totally healed, but its okay.

Yesterday we departed Whakatane with overcast weather and the odd patch of drizzle as we slowly headed for our night destination of Hicks Bay. Many stops prior including a beautiful lunch stop at Tui Lodge in Te Kaha. Great people, great gardens and great food provided. Look them up if you are ever heading around the East Cape and need a bed.

Hicks Bay Motel definitely only 3 star and frustrating the TV wouldn’t go on Prime to watch the rugby which meant resorting to the Herald’s live feed for the updates. But the motel looked after us well for dinner then breakfast this morning.

First stop today was on the edge of Hicks Bay for some group photography. 18 degrees but a chilling wind coming off the sea.

Again we stopped all the key points on route as we wound our way towards Gisborne. I had managed to arrange for Reverend Kaa and his wife to meet us at the historic Tikitiki Church to explain the history. Thanking him with koha towards maintenance of the church. A fascinating man with a fascinating story to tell.

The logs from all the storms were very obvious on the beaches as was the erosion on the hills including road washouts. You see it on television but never realise how bad it is until you see for yourself.

We had a lovely lunch at a lodge at Anaura Bay which is the video this story leads with.  My only thoughts is why is it so far away from where I live. To far to haul my boat down to go fishing and set the cray pots. Great hosts. Great venue and off the main road so very quiet.

Next big stop was Tologa Bay where I offered the group all the time they needed to walk the 660metre long Tologa Bay wharf. I was surprised that some of the less agile actually made it there and back. Apparently some fisherman sitting at the end catching Gurnard. Hmm. Why didn’t I have that opportunity I wonder? Admin for the tour meant I stayed bus bound.

A 5pm arrival in Gisborne. It never seems to change much. A beautiful little city which tomorrow we will spend the day exploring in and around

www.peterandxiaoli.com

 

Back on the road again after 6 months injury lay up!

On the road again!
After over 6 months not being able to do tours finally back on the road after being arm twisted by a consultant to do a 6 day kiwi group tour Auckland down around the East Cape and back to Auckland. The condition of doing it was they employ a baggage handler that could also act as back up driver for me, a condition set by my physio and surgeon. Original start date was set for December.
A lovely group of retired Kiwi’s, some not very agile. So a slow pace tour. My first ever kiwi tour group as I would normally not do this sort of tour.
Day one was an easy drive. Morning tea stop Waihi, lunch Mt Maunganui. Then Kiwifruit Country followed by Comvita Honey and night stop Whakatane.
Today its on around the East Cape as far as Hicks Bay. I love this part of the country so hopefully my group will to.
A request for Gisborne was to adjust our agenda for a later start so they can watch the replay of the rugby. That I am very happy to accommodate but it turns out its not hard to do as the replay starts at 5.30am.
Now off to breakfast ready for day 2. Yeah!

My first blog in 5 months!

My first blog for about 5 months. Our serious car accident head on with tourists driving on the wrong side of the road knocked my positivity state badly. Just not in the mood to write blogs or doing anything really much as we both fought hard to get our broken bones and other injuries healed. My arm finally came out a sling 2 days ago. What a long time it has been.

Today we were booked for a 4wd tour up Ninety Mile Beach to Cape Reinga so I decided to give our driver a day off and I would do it since I have had to cancel the long haul tours I was booked for October and November.

3 lovely customers from Shanghai. One had English which always makes the job a little easier. A superb spring day as you can see by the video I took at Cape Reinga.

The beach today was a little rough which makes for a spectacular drive on the beach. Baby seals resting on the beach. And best of all today with a 1pm low tide time we were able to not only drive up the beach, but back down it.

2 days out of the arm sling so the shoulder is a bit tender now. Not allowed to lift anything for 2 months still but I was able to drive with both hands on the steering wheel. Exhausted now, but a great day out.

Next month a 6 day tour from Auckland down around East Cape to Gisborne and return to Auckland. A late request from a travel company which I agreed to do providing they hire a baggage handler/back up driver to accompany me. They must have been desperate for a guide with knowledge of East Cape as they agreed to my terms.

December booked for a 22 day tour with no backup so the physio starts Monday and I need get a ‘get fit’ program off him. 6 months of doing nothing while the injuries healed has taken its toll on fitness.

Time to make sure Xiaoli and I can finally put the worst of our injuries behind us so we can start living a relatively normal life. Unfortunately things will not be normal for sometime yet but mentally and physically we need start fighting to be normal. The accident was a tragic event which we must try to leave behind us so we start 2019 fresh.

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

Tourist caused accidents in New Zealand

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Wednesday, surgery day! Hopefully final surgery for either of us following our April 13 head on with tourists on the wrong side of the road
Unfortunately it means I am unlikely to do any tours 2018 but I was booked out Oct to Feb. 14 to 22 day tours.
The Government is not addressing the issue of overseas drivers and how easy it is to hire a vehicle in NZ.
They say the rental industry is 80% regulated so as a group they have tightened the laws on renting vehicles in NZ. My industry sources say that is hogwash.
I invite anyone reading this to email me or message or just comment. How can we stop accidents like Xiaoli and I had happening?
I want laws to change. Tighter legislation. I am not sure that is the answer so I seek input.
Wednesday is surgery day for me. Praying Xiaoli does not need another operation. Our suffering needs be for a reason.
I look forward to input.

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com