mixtape

Welcome to my sentimental journey back to New Zealand through music.

Just as I remember some people, events, days or places by their fragrances, it’s a similar thing with music. Here are some songs which will always remind me my adventure in NZ.

UPDATED new link: Download my trip to New Zealand mixtape

ADDED 00. The Phoenix Foundation: Gandalf. I had listened to this song when I was packing for Australia and NZ. As I was doing it, I had this quote at the back of my head, something what Bilbo learned after meeting Gandalf and later tried to warn Frodo, It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

01. Flight of the Conchords: Bus Driver’s Song. My interest in NZ deepened when I started listening to FOTC a couple years ago. I must admit that they were one of the reasons why I wanted to go to NZ, but when I finally got there, started travelling around the country and meeting amazing people, it was even greater experience than meeting the Conchords. So when I saw Bret McKenzie at the Fly My Pretties concert in November, I wasn’t as stocked as I thought I’d be. In fact, I didn’t hear much of FOTC while in NZ and didn’t listen to it as well. The only time I heard their song was at the backpacker’s in Kaikoura. “Business Time” was played from the speakers.
Also, I’d like to dedicate this song to my friend from Australia who is a bus driver and all those special bus drivers from New Zealand who I was lucky to travel with, I’m thinking of James, Graham and the third one I don’t know the name of, but he remembered me too when he saw me for the second time.

02. Powderfinger: Burn Your Name. My Australian friend, P. played this song for me saying he liked the drum beat in it. I hope that was the only thing he wanted to show me in/through this song.

03. Talking Heads: Psychokiller. Even though I didn’t listen to much of FOTC, there were many other songs and things that reminded me of them. Psychokiller was one of those songs. I heard it soon after I arrived in Auckland while walking along Quay Street in the evening and immediately I had unintentional FOTC moment. Later on I heard this song many times in pubs and restaurants all around NZ.

04. The Woolshed Sessions: Only Your Arms. I got a headache from the noise at Nomads in Auckland and the amount of offers, choices and decisions I had to make at the beginning of my journey. The backpacker’s was in Downtown, close to busy Queen Street and I had nowhere to escape to find some peace and quiet. The Woolshed Sessions reminded me why I loved NZ and went there. They soothed my heart and gave me the peace I needed.

05. Garth Brooks: The River (Sail My Vessel). I already left Auckland, saw the beautiful countryside near Waitomo and spent amazing time with people in Hamilton. I was on a bus to Wellington. James was our bus driver and a Canadian tourist sang this song as part of the karaoke competition. The sun was shining and I had Lake Taupo and then Mt Ruapehu outside my window. I was getting more and more optimistic about my journey.

06. Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra: Sunshine of Your Love (live). It was the opening night of the Rugby World Cup 2011. I was in Wellington and saw them live for the first time. It was a big night seeing Age Pryor and the rest of the band, but Nigel Collins’ voice (and the legendary wind) swept me away.

07. Black Eyed Peas: Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night. It was always played before the kick off at the RWC matches. And then the countdown was starting and the thrill of watching the game live. Later when I was travelling around the South Island, J. the Spanish sang it all the time, mostly just a chorus. There was one more song played during the breaks in a match, but somehow I can’t remember it, nether others could. (EDIT: I remembered! It was Hey Baby, obviously)

08. David Bowie: Changes. The same story as with “Psycho killer”. One of unintentional FOTC moments.

09. The Phoenix Foundation: Supernatural (live). It’s immpossible not to include at least one TPF song in my mixtape. I felt like home when I heard their (and Lawrence Arabia, and The Black Seeds…) songs from the YHA Wellington speakers. It was my dream to see the band in Welly and I got a warm welcome from them. It was like the essential NZ dream to come true. They’re working on a new album and they played this new song. So many emotions and great memories I have listening to “Supernatural” that sometimes I can’t stop my happy tears from falling.

10. WIUO: Sweet Child of Mine (live). This Guns ‘n’ Roses song was again played everywhere in NZ from Auckland to New Plymouth by a cover band and to bars in the South Island. So, I wasn’t really surprised when WIUO played at their new EP release party. You can hear Age smashing the stool on stage at the end of this recording. He really rocked. 😀 It was a great pleasure talking to them after the concert and they loved the fact that they’ve got at least one fan from Poland.
The song is not on their new EP, but other awesome songs are there. I totally recommend buying the CD.

11. Fabulous/Arabia: The Ballad of State Highway 1. Mike Fabulous and James Milne, two awesome NZ musicians released an album together when I was in NZ and it’s so addictive and amazing. Their songs sounded even better live at Mighty Mighty, but the recording I have isn’t the best one, so I took the track from their album. I have driven many kilometers on SH1.

12. The Woolshed Sessions: Waterfall (live). You can guess they were one of the bands I wanted to see live and it happened during my unforgattable two weeks in Wellington. Sunny afternoon on Courtenay Place in front of the Embassy Theatre.

13. The Yoots: Nga Iwi E. Recommended by DJ Mike Fabulous, nuff said. The fact that he, Will Ricketts from TPF, Danny Yeabsley from WIUO and Toby Lang from Fat Freddy’s Drop play there even helps. I saw them live after The Woolshed Sessions.

14. Minuit: Aotearoa. Recommended by R. from Wellington when I was couchsurfing. At first I thought it was too alternative for me, but as it usually happens, Minuit grown on me and “Find Me Before I Die…” is one of my favourite NZ albums.

15. Ladyhawke: Magic. Starting from Ladyhawke till Fat Freddy’s Drop, these are the bands I was listening to all the time when I was writing my blog. I love Ladyhawke the most and I can’t wait to listen to her new album which is due to release in March, as far as I remember.

16. The Naked and Famous: Young Blood

17. Family Cactus: Fields and Fields

18. Fat Freddy’s Drop: Wandering Eye

19. The Black Seeds: Fire (live). The day before the end of the RWC and NZ’s victory. One big Kiwi fest in Queen’s Wharf in Auckland.

20. Gotye (featuring Kimbra): Somebody That I Used To Know. It was already big on the radio there. I had heard this song once before I went to NZ. I had watched the video and really loved it, but I thought I forgot the song. When I heard it again on the radio, I knew I had heard it before. It took me a while to connect the video with the song. It happened in a hotel in Wellington when I was waiting for the All Blacks victory parade.

21. Shakira: Loca. Don’t judge me! It was the song that stuck in my head when I was travelling along the West Coast of the South Island with my friends from Chile. Finally, not German tourists!

22. The Muppets: Life Is a Happy Song. “The Muppets” had its premiere when I was still in NZ and in my pessimism, I must admit that sometimes Bret McKenzie, who wrote this song, is right. Especially when you visit NZ.

23. Fly My Pretties: Journey’s End (live). It was ten days before my plane back to London (according to my first plan) when I went to see Fly My Pretties live. When Barnaby Weir introduced his song, I took it very personally. I was wondering where my journey will end.

24. Pulp: Sylvia. After FMP, I ran to see TPF in SF Bath House, but they had already finished playing. Luke Buda totally cheered me up “lamely” singing me a couple lines of this song before we said goodbyes and see yous in London next year.

25. Piotr Krępeć: Coromandel. I don’t know the name of this song, so I named it myself. I had recorded my friend’s performance when I was still in my home town and driving back to Auckland from Coromandel Town towards Thames I was listening to the recording having a beautiful sunset over the water on my right. His music helped me to say goodbye to NZ and prepare myself to my return to Poland.

26. Queen: Don’t Stop Me Now. I didn’t think of putting this song on my mixtape, but when I was already in London, I heard this song on the radio and automatically thought of this New Zealand advert I had seen so many times on TV. And… I think it’s a good song for the great finale. Or is it really the end of my adventure?

there and back again

SATURDAY and loooong SUNDAY, 3rd & 4th December

I dedicated the morning for packing. I threw away all the folders and brosures that I had been carrying all around and they were making my bag pretty heavy, didn’t pack my warm fleece and jacket leaving them to hold in my hand and put on when I arrive in London. But I had to pack my warm shoes and travel in jandals, because it was really hot. Suddenly I got so much space and my bag was so light, that I was really surprised! It was about 1 pm when I finished packing. My friends weren’t at home. The whole family was taken over by the Christmas fever, like parades and parties. I went to the town centre to buy some more chocolate bars to fill up my bag and fish & chips for lunch. It was busy, because later J. told me that there was a Christmas parade which I missed when I was packing. I had no luck with Christmas parades in NZ.

The legendary Mr Whippy ice cream van

When I came back home, J. and the boys had already got home too, so I did have a chance to thank her and say goodbye before H. came to pick me up. My dear friend offered herself to drive me to the airport. It was again one more circle made in my journey. Just as H. was the first person to greet me in New Zealand, she was also the last one to wave goodbye to.

The flight back home seemed to pass quicker than the flight to the Southern Hemisphere, which was odd, because I flew to Australia then and it was a shorter trip. I guess going back home is always faster than going away.

If we go according to the calendar, my journey back home did look quick, because I got on a plane in Auckland at 18:50 on Saturday and arrived in London at 12:00 pm next day, so it was as if I travelled just for 17 hours. But it wasn’t like that according to the actual hours spent in the air and at the airports.

So here are some numbers:

AUCKLAND – MELBOURNE: 3 hrs 25 min; 2,639 km;
from Sat 18:50 to 22:37 Kiwi time (20:37 Aus time)
We had to stop by to fill up. Interesting that there were no Christmas decorations at the airport while in Dubai, there were lots of them. Melbourne is on my ‘to-visit’ list.

MELBOURNE – DUBAI: 12 hrs 50 min; 11,656 km;
from Sun 00:25 to 13:40 Kiwi time (from 22:25 Aus time to 4:40 UAE time)
We were chasing the night. I saw dawn in Dubai.

DUBAI – LONDON: 7 hrs 10 min; 5,504 km;
from Sun 16:45 to Mon 00:35 Kiwi time (from 7:45 UAE time to 11:35 UK time)
It was already the middle of the night for me and for my sister the day has just started.

I travelled for 29 hrs 45 min, so almost 30 hrs out of which 23 hrs 25 min in the air conquering 19,799 km. I did well staying awake for the rest of the day, not quite knowing what I was talking about.

Brisbane

I’m already enjoying my time in New Zealand, but there are still some things left I should write about Australia. My last three days there weren’t idle. Every time I visited Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, the weather wasn’t on my side. But I guess it was the case of ‘three times lucky’.

My first visit to Brisbane was just a ride by a bus, so it doesn’t really count. Then it was raining last Saturday, when we went to see the match. Monday was sunny, but we had dinner with friends in the evening and I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it on time, if I went to the city. So I stayed at home and updated my blog, deleted some photos and watched movies – a normal lazy day.

On Tuesday the air smelled of rain. I wasn’t sure if I should go or not, but those were my last days there and I hadn’t seen Brisbane properly, yet! By the time I got myself together and got to the city it was afternoon and it started to rain. It took me 1.5 hrs by bus from Kippa-Ring. I had to take two lines, change at Chermside.

When I finally arrived in Brisbane, first thing I did was to buy some New Zealand dollars. The service at Travelex on Queen Street was nice, but I was stupid. They sell very cheap, AUD 1 = NZD1.15 and I realised I lost a couple dollars, because I should have looked for the exchange where NZ dollar is more expensive. Oh, well, I’m not the only one who’s made that mistake, I hope. I’m not good at Maths… and common sense.
The rain was getting stronger and it was late when I finished shopping. I bought a t-shirt with koala and a small boomerang.

All the museums and galleries were closed, but I wanted to see anything anyway. I didn’t care about the rain (I’m proud of my shoes and waterproof jacket, they passed the test), so I went along the South Bank and found Max Brenner recommended by Jessica, my friend from Texas (her blog: Bake Me Away).

Should be “CHOCOLATE BY THE BALD MAN” on the wall, but some letters are missing and is “CHOCO-ATE BY THE -A-D –AN”. I ordered Mexican spicy hot chocolate, very good.

The rain was changing into storm with lightnings and thunders, so I thought it would be better to be at home in the weather like that.

Wednesday was my last chance to see Brisbane and this time was a complete success.

P. slept over and went to work later. He picked me up to Northgate and I went to the city by train this time. It took me 30 min. and I started exploring the city from 10 a.m. roaming the streets. There was some construction work going on on King Gorge Square, they were getting ready for 3 week Brisbane Festival starting this Saturday.

Queen Street (yes, that’s Kimbra on the poster on the lamp 🙂 )

Walking along Adelaide Street towards Victoria Bridge I found a market. It was a Farmers Market Day on the square by City Council and there were stalls with fresh food, vegetables, fruit, nuts, flowers, real sour dough bread and rolls and everything else. In this photo there’s Treasury – Casino in the background.

Crossing the Brisbane River: the wheel and the Cultural Centre.

Then I had some time at GoMA again and finished watching the exhibitions there, had a coffee at the State Library and spent a lot of time at the Art Gallery (everything is actually next to each other). I was impressed by their collection and I could find a couple statues by Renoir, some paintings by Picasso, Pizarro, Toulouse-Lautrec. I stayed on South Bank and walked through Parklands. Australians can’t stay too far from beaches, so they made a beach next to the River.

Then I caught City Cat, a ferry, to New Farm Park. I loved being on the water and it went very fast!

From the left: Central Business District, still under construction to be the tallest building in Queensland, Story Bridge.

New Farm Park. The branches were so wide and heavy that they needed a support.

Walked along Brunswick Street to Fortitude Valley or just the Valley (like Soho in London)

Chinatown

And it was already after the sunset, walked back to Adelaide Street and went back home to pack my bags to New Zealand.

To finish the Australian story I need to mention that there are free barbecues at every beach, so you can bring your food and have a barbie with friends. I drove 5 km on the left side of the road when we were going to Glass House Mountains. I was more scared of driving a better car than my dad’s than driving on the left side. I had problems with changing gears and that car had good breaks. And since I’m writing about the Mountains… Eight years ago, an 11 year boy disappeared, Daniel Morcombe and no one knew what happened to him. When I came to Australia, a man was charged of committing a murder on Daniel and for the whole August the Police was searching for the boy at the foot of Beerwah in Glass House Mountains (the mountain on the left). First, they found a shoe, then the second shoe and a couple days before I left they found Daniel’s bones and whatever left from him. Finally his parents could grieve after him.

What else… I saw Compliments of Gus, a Christian band, quite big here, had déjà vu twice and magpies started swooping if you came too close to their nest. They were dangerous and it was better to wear a helmet when we were going by bikes.

Sorry about this megapost. The next one is going to be shorter and about New Zealand.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

The weather on SUNDAY was beautiful and after the church service P. didn’t want to tell me where we were going and he took me to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Tickets for adults were $32, I think and I got a YHA discount.

Finally, I saw koalas and they were everywhere! We were just on time for a short presentation about the Sanctuary and koalas and I could touch one. (You could also cuddle a koala and have a photo with one, but 1 photo cost $16). They are so cute! Did you know that they sleep about 20 hours per day and the rest of their time they do what? Eat! And they are quite picky, because among 800 kinds of eucalyptus trees they like just about 50. They looked so funny, like bundles stuck between branches.

Except for the koalas, there were other Australian animals, like:

Kangaroos. They were so cool! You could walk up to them or they came to you.


Dingoes, Tasmanian devils, wombats, emus, cassowaries

First and second most poisonous snakes in the world, crocodiles, lizards and a platypus – a mammal that lays eggs.

We left the Sanctuary at about 5 p.m. and went up to Mt Coot-tha lookout just before the sunset.

And we watched the city drinking coffee (me – flat white and not sandwiches… FOTC fans should know the Jenny reference 😉 ) and waiting until it got dark and all the lights went on.

The daytime of the night!

Wallabies V All Blacks

The last weekend in Australia kept me busy, because you realise that there’s still so much to see and not much time left. But after all, my priority was to get used to being down-under and get as much comfortable as possible and I think it’s been achieved.

OK, so first, what I did on Saturday.

I started with being very useful and practical. I leant how to make scones. My friend, S., who took me to his College a couple days earlier, had told me that his dad gives tutorials to foreigners from time to time on scone making, so I said that I’d love to learn. He was free on Saturday morning and they weren’t that difficult to make. The scones came out delicious, so yummy with strawberry jam and whipped cream and I hope you’ll get the chance of tasting my scones some time in the future.

After the scones we went to Chermside, left the car by the shopping centre there and went to Brisbane by bus (you could travel by bus on a rugby ticket on that day). Unfortunately, it was raining the whole day and it only stopped just before the match, so that meant spending most of the time inside. I visited Australia the Gift (a souvenir shop) in the city centre, then crossed the River and went to Queensland Museum (an interesting exhibition about Torres Strait Islanders) and Gallery of Modern Art partially, because it was getting late and we were getting hungry. We went to Myer Centre and I had my noodles from a box first time in my life, just like in films (no, we don’t have them in Poland, I think; we don’t even have a Chinese restaurant in my hometown!).

I was a bit tired, hot chocolate put me on my feet on the way to Suncorp Stadium. The closer we were to the Stadium the more excited I was. Then when I found my seat, it turned out that I was pretty close to the field. We were early enough to see the teams warming up and I was able to come down to row 1 and take some photos of Dan Carter practicing his kicks.


An indigenous artist playing didgeridoo

Anthems

The All Blacks supporters, that’s where I was sitting 😀

Haka! (watch)

The game. First half the All Blacks played rubbish and I was like, “Is this what I came for?!” They were loosing the ball (I know, it was slippery, but the Wallabies played with the same one) and lost so many chances to score some points. It was 20:6 for the Wallabies.

After the break they got better in the second half, two tries and for a little while there was a tie. It was great to cheer them on together with some Kiwis (I suspect there were a couple thousand there. The venue was sold out and there were about 52,000 people all together). Not for long after the AB’s second try, the Aussies scored another try. Even though Cooper missed two kicks, it was too late to wake up for the All Blacks and Australia won 25:20 and the 2011 Tri Nations.

Essential Aussie moment: someone on the bus back home started singing Waltzing Matilda.

I hope New Zealand will be in a better form for the Rugby World Cup starting in two weeks.

three bridges

The weather is getting better. For the last couple days it’s been raining and has been a bit chilly. We went again by bikes to the coast. This time on the south to see the bridges to Brisbane.

Then in the evening I was invited to my friend’s church, a lot smaller than the Mueller, for a Talent show. It’s organized every Friday to collect money for children camps. I was surprised to see a Christmas tree there and I was told they’ve got Christmas in July! I was also sorry I didn’t have my recorder with me, because there was one girl who sang her own songs and they were beautiful!

I thought I should have learned by now that wherever I go, I should take my camera and recorder with me.

Tomorrow is going to be pretty exciting day. First, I’m learning how to make scones, then we’re going to explore Brisbane and the All Blacks vs. Wallabies in the evening. When I came to Australia and G. told me he got the tickets for the game about a month ago, I thought, “Wow, there is still so much time until I see it!” And I can’t believe it’s already tomorrow!

shipwreck

I’ve been deep in my thoughts recently about friendship, disappointment (mainly with myself), addictions, debt, forgiveness, God, love, freedom and on Monday G. took me to Woody Point here in Redcliffe to show me a shipwreck of Gayundah. It was like a warning not to drift away and finish like that ship, I thought.

It was a very windy and rainy day and we managed to avoid a bigger shower of rain, but we couldn’t escape from the strong wind along the coast and drops of water from the ocean. My face was all salty when we got back home.

But it wasn’t the end of the shipwreck theme.

In the afternoon I met my other friend who is studying at the Crossway College at the Mueller Church and he said I could come and listen to some lectures with him the next day. Because I’m an eternal student, I got enthusiastic about that idea and the last two days I spent sitting in a classroom and studying Old and New Testament. It was great to remember my time at the Seminary.

So what about that shipwreck? During the New Testament classes, we were studying Paul’s third mission trip and in Acts 27:9-44 there was a story of how Paul and his friends and all crew survived a shipwreck. The lecturer used that story to show God’s sovereignty vs. man’s responsibility. God promised no one will be killed, although the ship will be destroyed (v. 22). In that situation you would either rest and do nothing or help God in saving your life and run away from the ship. But here comes man’s responsibility in making decision to trust God or not, because no one could leave the ship (v. 31).

My main lesson learnt, in one sentence, was that I should stay in Christ, not to run away and end up like that ship.

If you’re reading this, I hope you’re not feeling offended I’m writing about God here, because it’s still my travel, in a different dimension, though.

Back to more familiar dimension. I’m flying to New Zealand in a week! When I mention about this to Aussies, they say I’ll get over it or some just roll their eyes. One student showed me the door today, when I said I’m an All Blacks supporter. 😀

Glass House Mountains and Kings Beach

I spent Thursday and Friday relaxing, looking through photos and catching up on emails. I saw Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year on tv here (this episode) and totally fell for Hamish.

But on SATURDAY, we got up early (6:30!) and hit the road to Glass House Mountains, because G. said it would be bad idea to climb Tibrogargan (on the left; 364 m) when it’s too hot at noon.

We got to the Park and going up the hill was exhausting, but after I had some rest the climbing part was a great fun. I felt like a cat climbing up a tree not worrying about how I will go down. The view was amazing! You could see forest plantations, some ponds and the ocean very far away.

The coming down was a bit tricky and it seemed to take less time than climbing up (not that I rolled down or anything like that 😉 ).

Then we went to Kings Beach in Caloundra.

The water was a bit colder than a couple days earlier, but I went for a swim anyway. And guess who else was in the water? Some Poles from Wroclaw and Warsaw! I didn’t suspect it’d make me so happy to find someone to talk to in Polish just after three weeks here.

I got back home very tired.

EKKA

Last WEDNESDAY

I had mentioned before the Royal Queensland Show, known as EKKA and all Queenslanders had a holiday on 17th August. P. had a day off too, so he took me to see what it’s all about.

It’s hard to describe what EKKA is, because it’s everything. It’s a 10-day festival taking place in one place destined for this in Brisbane. The area is usually closed for the rest of the year, which I think is a waste of money, because it’s huge!

After you bought the tickets ($25 per adult, the price varied if you were a child, teenager or family), you crossed a gate and conquer crowds of people at the theme park

We had a sausage on a stick and then could move on to see other attractions, like:

Wood chopping competition

Dogs competitions

When I saw those women I felt like I moved back in time to those years when Australia was still a British colony.

Then we went to pavilions where different farm animals were presented: cows, sheep, goats, llamas, horses, also birds and fish.




One pavilion was a nursery, where you could feed baby animals

A famous bar

In one pavilion there were photo, painting, sculpture, cooking, knitting and other handcrafts exhibitions and in another one there were agricultural exhibitions. All these things (animals, exhibitions, photographs etc.) were awarded on that day.

In the evening, at the very heart of the EKKA there were motocross bikes and then monster tracks shows and the fireworks as a grand finale.

We left at about 9 p.m.

At the EKKA I saw two faces of Australia: city kids with their tight jeans falling down from their bottoms having fun at the theme park and farmers in cowboy hats looking after their cattle and having fun at the live country music.

More photos from the EKKA.

from Gympie back to Kippa-Ring

TUESDAY

I think it was my favourite day of that excursion. We got up pretty early, ate delicious breakfast – porridge and then bacon and scrambled eggs and were ready to go. We didn’t go to explore Gympie, which had its best moments during the Gold Rush (I just found out that it used to be called Nashville!). The boys took me up north-west to Rainbow Beach. It’s called like that because of different colours of the sand.

First, we stopped up at the sand dunes. The colour of the sky was so intense in contrast with the bright beige sand. It wasn’t until I saw this photo when I believed I was there and it wasn’t photoshopped. This is this kind of picture that you see in one of your friend’s facebook albums and you think why you don’t have such holidays like your friend. Well, now I have.

Yes, they were that big!

Then we drove down to the beach and I had my first encounter with the Pacific Ocean.

Then I wetted not only my feet.


me in the Pacific 😛

More photos from Rainbow Beach on the photoblog.

Before it got dark, we went to Inskip Point where you could see Fraser Island and the ferry. Water there was peaceful and there were some people camping, fishing etc.

Then just a quick look at a small town Tin Can Bay and the low-tide and onto our way back home.

Obligatory road sign photo: