Nothing against the car, or brand, but it is a bit sad to see, on the lunchroom table at work, that Citroën can use this brochure headline in New Zealand:
At one time the Fiat car range in NZ was Bravo, Punto and 500 but that didn’t last. Fiat don’t offer a Bravo here any more…
For the past few years a new Fiat meant a choice of 500, 500C or, 500 based, Abarth. If you were really Fiat mad the bonkers 695 Tributo Ferrari (& its Maserati cousin) were on offer; a 500 based car for extremely silly money.
However, while researching this post I found the Fiat NZ website showing Punto & Panda as options:
I haven’t seen any news about the Fiat range expanding. Did the change to Australasian distribution make a difference I haven’t noticed until now?
It started as a day out, in lieu of to birthday present, for my Dad but had a surprise ending even I didn’t anticipate. The Whitianga (Mercury Bay Aero Club) Warbirds and Wheels Air show was the drawcard but our mode of transport was an attraction itself, even made the local paper.
We flew from a rather gloomy damp Ardmore to sunny Whitianga in the Fly DC3 Dakota. The last time I flew in a propeller piston Douglas Commercial was a QANTAS DC4 Skymaster which operated into the mid ‘70’s servicing Norfolk Island. TEAL/Air New Zealand chartered these aircraft for the Auckland–Norfolk Island route from 1955 to June 1975. I think the Island was too small for large jets and the rules didn’t allow twin engine aircraft to fly that far over water. My grandparents lived at Norfolk and I still remember the, seemingly endless, flight I did at about age 6 or 7.
Fly DC3’s aircraft looks almost new with smart RNZAF colours. After the usual pre-flight formalities we were off to Whitianga. The crew are all current/former commercial airline staff dedicated to sharing their love of flying in this beautiful old aircraft. Although it was only a short 20 minute flight scooting over the Coromandel hills made for a fun flight.
The air show had a great mix of aircraft from WW2 era fighters, lovely Spitfire included, to modern super aerobatic aircraft.
The DC3 did several joyride flights during the day including taking up bunch of parachutists (more on that later) who did a brilliant display. Although it looks like a Mustang the 3/4 size Titan T-51 (bottom right) was interesting to see. I know someone who is building one and hope to get a ride when it is ready for passengers!
It wasn’t all overhead action with the local stock-cars racing on the Speedway Track beside the airfield.
Although we arrived pretty early, so the DC3 pilots could attend the air show briefing, the day literally flew by! There was a mix of formation and solo displays, aerobatics and even a gyrocopter to keep people gazing skyward.
Some modern hardware on display included jet trainer and winch patient recovery by the Westpac Helicopter.
We were supposed to fly home on the DC3 but arrived to find it wasn’t looking quite as smart as earlier in the day. A propeller seal had leaked spraying the engine & cowling with oil. I suspect old aircraft use a bit of oil but it appears this was a little bit too much!
Unfortunately the repair required removing the propeller, and a lot of cleaning I bet, so we weren’t able to fly home. The Fly DC3 folks were great; arranging a bus and DC3 wing shade bus stop to await its arrival!
Although it didn’t quite end as expected it was still a great day & I’m planning to Fly DC3 again!
As that trip came to a close there were discussions on what to do next. Having covered all the South Island, and Northland we are starting to run out of New Zealand. Perhaps inspired by a fine meal, and accompanying wine, the Hawkes Bay and a vineyard cycle tour was a real possibility.
Thus, I wasn’t really surprised to get a call from Bas mid 2013 wanting to talk cycling but was totally unprepared for the next bit…
What, from where to where?
Bas has talked me (and other returning clients) into a rather epic ride but I have until Sept 2014 to prepare. Just as well as it is going to be rather challenging and way outside my usual comfort zone. It is still guided/supported (led by Bas) but rather more basic than those I’ve done before, even some camping!
Overnight Everest Base Camp!?
The route from Lhasa (Tibet) to Kathmandu (Nepal) will probably have hills even Bas can’t get away with describing as ‘undulations’!
At a glance;
Day 1 ~ Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 ~ Sightseeing Tour. Rest of day at leisure.
Day 3 ~ Fly Kathmandu To Lhasa Days 4-6 In Lhasa
Days 7-10 ~ From Lhasa To Gyantse (250 Km, up to 4900m)
Day 11 ~ From Gyantse To Shigatse (90 Km, flat) Yeah Right! - RC
Day 12 ~ In Shigatse
Days 13-15 ~ From Shigatse To Shegar (250 Km, 4500m up to 5200m)
Days 16-18 ~ From Shegar To Everest Base Camp (110 Km, ~5200m)
Days 19-21 ~ From Tingri To Zhangmu (200 Km, Note: From the summit of the Lalung La (5050m) to the Friendship bridge at 1500m involves a descent of 3500m - one of the steepest descents in the world. Gloves are a must!) I’d have thought brakes were even more of a must! - RC
Days 22-23 ~ Cross Border Into Nepal And Cycle To Kathmandu (115 Km, 1400m)
Day 24 ~ Contingency Day
Day 25 ~ Trip Concludes In Kathmandu
A tick off the bucket list?
I was a bit hesitant at first but decided it was a can’t miss opportunity. To be honest a bike ride across the Tibetan Plateau wasn’t on any list of mine but I’m really looking forward to it. Now I just have to get a lot fitter!
UPDATE 12/24/2013: I added some elevation info, and one funny comment from the trip notes, and found this blog post with some great photos of the route:
I’ve heard all their podcasts—so expected the typical Radiolab brilliance—but this video of the Radiolab Live tour is amazing. I heard the audio version on Sunday and just watched the video. If you have any interest in science and/or art you must see this.
Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad appear with comedians, musicians, video, that distinctive Radiolab audio mix and ‘live’ dinosaurs to tell of endings which changed our world.
Thanks to everybody who came out to see us on our 21-city tour! We had a blast, and we're so proud of how this show turned out. It's the best thing we've ever done on stage, which is why we're so excited to share a bunch of Apocalyptical video with you! If you didn't get a chance to catch the show in person -- or if you did and want to relive the cataclysmic glory and share it with your friends! -- feast your eyes on these live performances recorded in Seattle. You'll find incontrovertible proof that Robert Krulwich can shake it, that Jad Abumrad is a live-scoring, storytelling super-freak, and that a guitar, drum kit, and upright bass can summon the apocalypse. Plus: dinosaurs, death, destruction, and comedic mayhem. Enjoy
The Citroën AX was always pretty rare in New Zealand, to see one now even more so. Although the styling is incredibly Euro-drab, especially for a Citroën, the minimalist design is supermini at its best.
I remember the late great LJKS praising elegant efficiency of the AX design when released. Notice the 3 wheel bolts? All it needed, so all it got.
Quite a contrast to the bloated parody of ‘Mini’ the current MINI has become.
It was in the car park above one of my favourite West Coast beaches. Anawhata is a bit of a hike, especially back up the hill, but worth the effort. There were two cars in the car park, just 4 people and 2 dogs on the beach that day!
My Dad discovered Flim & the BB’s before I did. Probably in a Hifi store as they were popular demo disc in the early days of Digital.
They were one of the first to use pure Direct Digital DDD technology on CDs. I’m sure the opening track of TriCycle has tested, perhaps to destruction, more than a few systems as the quiet piano opening literally explodes into the full ensemble. Flim & the BB’s are Jimmy "Flim" Johnson (bass), Billy Barber (keyboards, synth, piano), Bill Berg (percussion) with Dick Oatts (woodwinds) credited on the first album TriCycle.
They still sound (both technically and musically) brilliant today and I regularly listen to their work nearly 30 years after first hearing it. I also liked their album art, both typography and sketches or collage.
What prompted this post was stumbling on a YouTube video (below) which is the first time I’ve ever seen them perform live. I remember hearing their CD seeming magical all those decades ago. Never imagined a world wide network delivering on demand video to a wireless tablet in the living room!