Archive for ◊ April, 2010 ◊

29 Apr 2010 Teaching English in China

The First Teaching Job in China by Mark Dykstra

Its February 24th, 2003, in a 40 degree humid heat, i stepped off the train in Hangzhou City. I gasped for breath, as i dragged my western worldly belongings trying to maintain a fix on where my Teaching Manager was. Void of a teaching certificate, void of speaking any Chinese and having absolutely no teaching experience or confidence, to be able to stand up in front of 10 students, let alone what would become 2000 students at one time, i was at the mercy of the elements of Chinese society. Like a small spaceship in Saturns asteroid belt, i just let the millions of frantic chinese citizens meld around me and i was lost in the fray, however after a miracle of bearing i found my Chinese Manager, the man himself who was to trust my blaringly ignorant and drastic lack of qualifications, i was whisked into his run down Mazda Coup and taken to the nearest restaurant to feed on the latest of the day live prawns, swimming in Rice Wine, and bouncing about like gipsy moths, hardly able to grasp my chop sticks after my train lagged trip from Guangzhou, i navigated my teeth over the best place i would take my first bite of the struggling and squirming prawn. It was then i realised i was making my first crunching bite into the unknown of what Chinese life was all about.

We made our journey to Huzhou City where i would begin my first 6 months teaching assignment at the Huzhou Technical College where Hundreds of students waited patiently for me for my arrival. My pre booked and paid up 3 bedroom apartment was luxurious compared to my flat back home in Auckland and everything was clean and tidy with wide open spaces. I have never felt so dignified and honored to have such new and wonderful decor and fittings that represented China so well. A beautiful, large pane of smoked glass showed the elegant engrained potrait of a Dragon intertwined in a woods seperated the living room and large bedroom. My office itself had the floor area of a 2 bedroom house. Does China really have such fantastic, modern, and lavish western standards built into its current day architecture.? The answer i found was a resounding yes, and what i found as time moved on was this clash of culture with western traditions that China had so intricatly developed in house and apartment design.

I found my life style within China expand dramatically, and i was able to travel first class by air, and by train and to travel by taxi and buy the best food

29 Apr 2010 Top travel destinations for 2008

I do not know why but I think that top travel destination for 2008 could be Auckland, the city near the sea and the largest city in New Zealand. With its population of just under a million people and located on North Island, the city is a seaport, an important center for business and industry. It is also the most dynamic and multicultural city in New Zealand. Because of this reason, many tourists probably will come to visit Auckland in 2008.

The history of the city goes back 650 years when the Maoris settled in this area. They came by canoe from other PAcific islands. European settlement began in 1840 when the British arrived. New Zealand`s first governor, Captain William Hobson, made Auckland the capital. Later, the capital moved to Wellington, because it was more central. Since 1945, the city of Auckland has grown and it now has large modern suburbs. In 1985 the New Zealand government made the whole country a nuclear free zone and since then Auckland has been a center for protest against nuclear testing in Pacific.

From wherever you are in the city, you can see the sea. Auckland`s nickname is “the city of sails” because it has more boats than anywhere in the world. It has a warm climate with plenty of sunshine-the average temperature in January (summer) is 23.4`C and in July (winter) it is 7.8`C. It has some of the best beaches in New Zealand for doing water sports: swimming, diving, fishing, sailing and windsurfing.

Famous sights include Mt Eden, one of many large volcanic hills, as well as the Auckland Harbour Bridge. This bridge is one of teh city`s most distinctive landmarks. It was built in 1959.At the Parnell Village you can visit some of the first European settler`s homes which are very interesting historical evidence for the historical development of the town. In the city is the beautiful Auckland Domain which is famous for its large palm trees and exotic plants. You can see Maoris perform their traditional dances at the Auckland Museum.

It is easy to travel between Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. There are regular international flights, too. Flights from Europe, for example, take over twenty-four hours, but this not a reason not to visit this wonderful modern city.

29 Apr 2010 Holidays – Vast and Varied New Zealand
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What springs to mind when you think of New Zealand?

Perhaps the rolling mountain landscapes featured in feature films such as Lord Of The Rings, the tiny kiwi bird or maybe the sporting force that are the All Blacks rugby team?

Whether you’re into sport or sightseeing, there are many options for cheap holidays, offering something for everyone in New Zealand.

Many tourists from the UK choose to take holidays in New Zealand each year. Backpacking is another popular lure for people from all over the world, attracted by the beautiful scenery and friendly lifestyle.

There is a wide variety of package holidays available all around the country. Many popular destinations are harbour towns – such as Auckland – which offer a mix of modernity and traditional Maori and Polynesian cultures.

Indeed, many flock to the North and South islands to get a taste of Maori culture and the vast terrains in which they live. Backpacking is one of the best ways to take in the abundance of cultures around the country.

Many choose to travel from one city to another – usually Auckland to Wellington – in order to take in the wide variety of natural sights around the island along the way.

New Zealand has an abundance of national parks, which help draw in many tourists looking to embark on helicopter trips over vast mountain and glacier landscapes, experience the hot springs of the Rotorua region and participate in a wide variety of water-based activities in the Bay of Plenty.

Indeed, owing to the range of different environments across the islands, New Zealand is a popular destination for those seeking extreme sports holidays. From skiing to mountain biking, kayaking to surfing, there’s something for everyone – and their chosen element.

28 Apr 2010 How are people in your part of the world coping with the increasing cost of oil?

As oil and petrol hit all time highs seemingly weekly, many New Zealanders are turning to alternative forms of transport to curb their fuel bill.

New Zealand is an island nation with limited refining capabilities, meaning we must import much of our fuel, which leaves the country at the mercy of international price fluctuations. Combine that with high government taxes and levies, and it’s recipe for financial pain.

However, once fuel topped the $2 per litre barrier, many New Zealanders began to re-evaluate their fuel usage. No longer do people drive the car down the road to the shops, choosing to walk, or plan the most efficient route to do all their errands in one trip. Some who live in outer suburbs of cities have even begun to car pool.

Travelling from Auckland’s city centre to the airport, a journey which would normally take a couple of hours on a gridlocked motorway, can now be done in 40 minutes as high petrol prices have eased congestion.

Others have taken more radical actions, leaving their car at home and braving the cold New Zealand winter on bicycles. While evidence for the number of people doing this is still anecdotal, many are noticing far more cyclists on the road. Many of the cyclists note that, in addition to saving money on fuel, they are also saving money on gym subscriptions as their daily commute doubles as a workout.

With a population of just 4 million, smaller than many cities, New Zealand does not have a well developed public transport system, relying largely on buses rather than rail or ferries. Despite these shortcomings, the number of people riding the bus to work has spiked to levels not seen before, requiring some cities to add additional capacity.

But it’s not just the cost of private transportation that is causing concern for New Zealanders, as we almost import a great deal of food and goods, these prices have also been pushed up by rising oil prices. This has lead to a rise in the use of farmers’ markets, as well as an increasing trade in goods which have been produced within 100km of where they are sold.

As an island nation, holidays usually involve air travel, generally to Australia, but with the airlines putting their prices up as their fuel costs sky rocket, many are now forgoing an international holiday and choosing to spend their vacation time at one of the many attractions in their own country.

The New Zealand Government has also come under fire as citizens and businesses feel the pinch, but so far they are refusing to lower fuel taxes. New Zealand has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is 12.5 percent, and this applies to petrol. But as the price of petrol has gone up, the Government’s GST take has also increased and lobbyists are attempting the make petrol and diesel exempt from GST.

Unfortunately for many New Zealanders, the only thing that they can do about rising oil prices is grin and bear it. Being sparsely populated means that the distances some travel make it impractical for them to car pool or ride a bike, and public transport is somewhat limited. For this group of people the only relief can be a drop in the price of oil, something which could be some way off.

While larger nations may believe they are struggling with the soaring price of oil, it is the smaller and more remote nations which feel the pinch first. While New Zealand’s price for petrol is a lower than some European nations, it is the additional cost of transportation which drives inflation up and causes the New Zealand economy to slow.

27 Apr 2010 New Zealand Self Drive Holiday

A New Zealand self drive holiday, what a wonderful way to experience this beautiful country. Steeped in wonder and mystery this Land of the Long White Cloud will be much easier to explore with self drive car rental New Zealand. You could choose one of the many Auckland accommodation places to stay a few nights or you could leave on your self drive New Zealand holiday as soon as you land here. There are several brochures available at many of the tourist information booths you will see on your drive through this lovely country.

You can choose from a large range of quality, reliable, fuel efficient, cheap car hire deals. The vehicles are all well maintained and serviced after each rental to ensure reliability and satisfaction.

When planning your family’s next holiday, a local tour can also give you a much earned break from driving especially when you are in busy and unfamiliar areas. You can also purchase a New Zealand Travel Pass available at budget prices to get you around the many sights in our busy cities or you could also take one of the many travel tours that will give you a guided tour of our spectacular places of interest.

Driving around New Zealand will give you a holiday you will remember for long time especially if driving yourself around the country is your vacation of choice. You can organize and stop where your heart chooses on self drive tours to give you and your family the adventure of a lifetime.

Car rental is made easy with on-line bookings or you can make just one quick phone call for a car hire. It will be easy for you and your family to plan that special New Zealand vacation where you will find driving directions easy to follow and travel deals hard to beat.

Coach tours New Zealand can also be a part of your self drive holiday and they can help you to plan some great package holidays that are just right for you and your family.

New Zealand tours that are properly planned will provide you with holiday options that make you want to experience it all over again.

A visit to Queenstown is a must especially if you are the adventurous type. This city is recognised as the adrenaline capital of the world. Many tourists state that their stay in Queenstown was the highlight of their holiday in New Zealand.

A New Zealand self drive holiday gives you a much needed break from your everyday life especially if you select the right type of vehicle for your holiday.

26 Apr 2010 Auckland Art Gallery

 

The principal art gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, this venue features the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand. The gallery was established in 1888 and was the first permanent art gallery in New Zealand. It still remains the largest art institution in the country to date, and features a collection that numbers over 12,500 pieces of artwork.

 

The gallery consists of two different buildings, the original building is known as the Main Gallery while the new gallery is located opposite. The Main Gallery opened as the city’s free Public Library and Municipal Offices. It was only later on in that same year that a section that was dedicated to art was opened. Over time the prominence of the art gallery and its popularity lead it to take over the entire building which had been enlarged while the city library and municipal offices had moved to a nearby building.

 

Because of its historic origins the building proudly demonstrates itself as an impressively powerful structure featuring grand old style architecture. One of the strongest components of this regal quality is the impressive and enormous clock tower that is the highest point of the building.

 

The New Gallery that is located directly opposite was opened in 1995 and was originally designed to function as a telephone exchange. However after some intensive remodeling was undertaken the building was fit for usage as a contemporary art gallery.

 

The art gallery like many other institutions of its kind regularly hosts different exhibitions that relate to different themes created by various artists. In addition there are also special programs that only require the payment of the standard exhibition fee but involve special meetings with artists, discussions with industry experts and more.

 

Staying in one of the Auckland hotels that is located nearby this destination such as Langham Hotel Auckland allows guests to easily access this destination and several others that are located in the area.

26 Apr 2010 Right Flight to Kiwi Land

Flights to New Zealand usually land in Auckland, the nation’s largest metropolis that is located on the North Island of the country. Auckland International Airport is quite arguably the country’s busiest airport. There are flights to New Zealand from most major airports all over Europe and the rest of the world. A flight from the United Kingdom can take from twenty two to twenty four hours to reach the Auckland International Airport in New Zealand.

A concrete plan of what you are going to do is of utmost importance. Once you’ve selected your purpose of visit you must apply for the appropriate visa. You need a working holiday visa if you are visiting for temporary business related purposes, a residency permit if you plan on settling there, a work permit if you intend to do visit and do business there on a relatively permanent basis, a visitor visa if you’re just passing through and so on.

Your visa must be valid for at least six months longer than you plan to stay to be on the safe side of the law.

People with visitors’ visas to New Zealand must have a return ticket, an onward flight or proof of funds to prove they can buy the same on reaching New Zealand. People with work permits and working holiday visas will be allowed entry on a one way flight only if they have proof of funds that will allow them to support themselves during the stay as well as buy an outward ticket. The outward ticket in addition must be to a country they are allowed entry into.

People from Visa Waiver countries (such as Argentina, Brazil, Austria, Belgium, France etc) may only enter the country when they have outward flight tickets or official confirmation that one is booked and paid for in their name.

Citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand can enter the country with a one-way ticket only if have a valid passport or returning resident’s visa on their foreign passport for Australia or New Zealand. Entry into the country will be restricted if one does not comply with these rules.

Only after these conditions are verified is it safe to look at flight companies, peruse schedules and buy plane tickets. Unscrupulous travel agents may cunningly sell you a one-way ticket while knowing that you might not be allowed entry into the country on reaching the border. Be on the alert for any foul play while making all transactions. In case you do have a twelve-month working permit and intend to be in the country the entire duration flight schedules will not be available so much in advance and you will have to make careful and cautious arrangements.

The safest thing to do is do your own research regarding regulations (you can visit New Zealand’s immigration website), visit various travel agents, get quotations and compare them to find the perfect price for your budget. You can also visit online websites to search for the appropriate flight, book it and then pay for it with a credit card. A well-worded google search will aid your work to such an end.

Traveling to New Zealand without an onward ticket can be an expensive mistake, as you will not be allowed on the flight.

26 Apr 2010 How to select a good car rental for travel around New Zealand

A beautiful and exotic New Zealand beckons you to travel around it in style in a rental car which is an enriching and enthralling experience. If you are in the North Island, you can hire a car at Auckland. If you are travelling in South Island, Christchurch is the place to rent a car. We have highlighted some important points for you to know before you plan on renting a car in New Zealand.

Is your car hire dependable?
Make sure your car hire is dependable by checking if your car rental company includes 24 hour AA (Automobile Association) roadside assistance. AA is a not-for-profit consumer organisation which takes care of vehicle breakdowns giving you a hassle free trip around New Zealand.

Does your car hire meet your needs?
It is very important for you to make sure that the car you intend to hire meets your needs. When you contact your car hire company, be specific about the model of the car you are wanting to hire and your budget. Your vendor will have a wide variety of cars at various budgets, luxury levels and different seating capacities.

Are you below 21 years old?
If you are under 21 years of age, it is CRUCIAL to ensure that the car rental company you are hiring from will allow you to drive the car. Most car rental companies in New Zealand prescribe 21 years as the minimum age to hire a car. Hence, make sure that your car rental company allows you to rent a car and also confirm if there are any surcharges associated with it.

What is included in the car rate that you pay per day?
You must pay attention to what is included with the daily rate you pay for your car hire. Check with your car rental company as to what the inclusions and exclusions are.

Do you have special baby sear requirements?
If you have a baby on board when touring NZ, ensure that a baby seat can be attached in the car that you are renting. Also, most car hire companies hire out baby seats.

Have you decided upon the size of the car you are going to hire?
Take extra care in choosing the size of your car rental. Be particular about the type of car you are looking to rent.

Do you need a ferry service to transport your car?
If your tour of New Zealand covers both the North Island and South Island, you must make sure of your car hire company’s policy on the ferry crossing between the islands. Some car rental companies have depots on either island (Wellington on North Island and Picton on South Island). Some companies do not and this means you have to take your car on the ferry. From travel experience, it is easier to take your vehicle on the ferry to the other side instead of giving up your vehicle on one side, travel to the other side, transfer your luggage to the new vehicle and do up new contracts.

At Ezy, we ensure that you, our valued customer, gets the best deal out of our car hire service. We are second to none when it comes to giving top quality service to our customers in the New Zealand car rental industry. The highlights of our car hire service are:

• Ezy is a registered member of AA. On top of this, Ezy offers a 24 hour replacement vehicle policy. If the vehicle cannot be repaired within 24 hours, Ezy will deliver a new vehicle within 24 hours.

• Ezy Rentals are market leaders in theTier 2 segment of the car hire industry in New Zealand and they offer a huge range of cars varying from the cheap car rentals to full size luxury cars and first tier cars to suit the special needs of clients.

• Ezy Rentals allows 18+ year olds to hire their cars. For this age group, the hire rates remain unchanged. Only the insurance excess is slightly larger.

• Ezy car rental rates per day include standard insurance, Goods and Services tax and free 24 hour roadside assistance from AA.

• Ezy rentals offer a wide range of vehicles with baby bolts fitted so that baby
seats can be attached securely and safely. Ezy also hires out 3 different sized
baby seats and boosters to ensure that your child fits into it perfectly.

• Ezy Rentals offers a wide range of cars from small hatchbacks to large sedans, station wagons and people movers

• Ezy Rentals does not have offices on either side. Hence it is best to take the car on the ferry. This makes it easy for the client. Ezy offers discounted ferry rates for its clients.

Ezy Rentals is a market leader in the 2nd tier segment of the New Zealand car hire industry with branches in Auckland and Christchurch. We have earned our reputation as a clean and honest car hire company in the New Zealand tourism industry. We are sure that you will not be disappointed with our high level of service and our car hire prices.

Courtesy: Tim Alpe
CEO
Ezy Rentals
http://www.ezy.co.nz
Email: tim@ezy.co.nz
Ezy Car Hire for Ezy trip around New Zealand

24 Apr 2010 Take a Trip to New Zealand

Auckland: Sailors paradise

On the North Island of New Zealand you’ll find Auckland, a large city set around stunning inlets and bays. Not surprisingly, most of the Auckland’s most celebrated activities are to do with water. These include dinner cruises in the harbor and swimming with dolphins.

Transport: how to get there and around:

New Zealand’s main international airport is situated in Auckland. This makes it accessible to direct flights from the US, Australia, Asia and Europe. Flights also run domestically from the South Island to Auckland.

Auckland city covers a wide area so it is recommended to get around using a bicycle or taxi. To reach other towns and attractions, there are bus and rail services.

Weather

Owing to its location in the southern hemisphere, summer in New Zealand is from November to April. In summer temperatures are around 20 C and the winter is fairly mild as it doesn’t usually freeze.

Accommodation: Luxury to budget stays

The internet can offer some of the best information on the cost, range and location of hotels in Auckland.

Attractions & Events

There are events held all year in Auckland, although the city really comes to life in the summer time.

*Sports fans can enjoy January with the Open Tennis Championships and the Captain Hobson Anniversary Day Regatta.

*In March, Western Springs holds the Pasifika Festival with Polynesian music and performances.

*Auckland Botanical Gardens have a show in November called the Ellerslie Flower Show.

Wellington: Attractive city of views

The capital city, Wellington is surrounded by hills and offers some splendid views of the Harbor. Home to the main government buildings, Wellington also has a bustling cafe and entertainment culture.

Transport: how to get there and around:

Domestic flights from Auckland and Christchurch as well as other destinations connect with Wellington airport. A ferry also makes it possible to reach the south island town of Picton.

A major bus route runs from Auckland to Wellington. To get around in and around the city itself there are local train and bus services, as well as taxi’s.

Weather

Situated on the coast, Wellington can suffer from windy weather.

Accommodation: Luxury to budget stays

The internet can offer some of the best information on the cost, range and location of hotels in Wellington.

Attractions & Events

Many sporting and cultural events take place in the capital city, here are just a few.

*During January, the city hosts Wellington Cup Week with fashion, live music and of course horse racing.

*The Arts Festival is held in January with International artists taking part.

*The Jazz festival and Fashion Festival are both during October.

Christchurch: Have fun with nature

From Christchurch you can access nature and have fun on New Zealand’s plains, lakes, mountains and beaches. Being the largest city in the Southern Island, there are always attractions for visitors such as the Antarctic Centre, wildlife showcases, gondola trips and more.

Transport: how to get there and around:

The international airport of the South Island is in Christchurch, connecting with Australia and several other destinations. Air New Zealand serves other domestic locations. Getting around is simple with the city’s cost effective bus service and reliable rail network.

Accommodation: Luxury to budget stays

The internet can offer some of the best information on the cost, range and location of hotels in Christchurch.

Attractions & Events:

*An international festival of flowers is held in Christchurch during the month os February.

*Fine music, food and wine can be enjoyed during Augusts International Jazz Festival

23 Apr 2010 Airline Tickets By Auckland

Airline tickets are the #1 searched for ticket item online and polls show 30% of all airline tickets are electronic tickets.They are offered for sale by all major carries, airline ticket counters, travel agents and web pages. The tickets are similar to negotiable documents and are personal and cannot be transferred to another person. Discount airline tickets are readily available on the internet and are subject to the individual airline’s Terms and Conditions. Online airline tickets are deeply discounted because the airlines sell about 7-100 seats on each flight to contracted online vendors.

The Internet is really your best choice to find cheap airfare to anywhere in the world and is a way to find cheap plane tickets quickly and easily.

Most airline web sites will note what day deals are posted but great deals are harder to find these days, and you’ve got to go beyond the obvious. You can always get the latest airline ticket deals from all the top travel providers online but use your flexibility with your exact flight times to take advantage of any available deals.

Reservations are always subject to availability at the time of booking and reservations professionals are usually committed to helping you plan and schedule any vacation accommodations. Travel planning and reservations well in advance is always advised but reservations are only completed by purchasing the tickets. There is no single travel reservations site where you can always find low prices, cheap airline tickets, discount hotels, or discount rental cars but with billions being spent every year, on-line reservations really do work.

Consolidator Airline Tickets are discounted airfares that are sold by most major Airline Companies to help fill seats and are generally the best discounted airline tickets available. The prices of airline tickets are constantly going up and down with most tickets being completely nonrefundable. Remember that round-trip airline tickets are often less expensive than one-way fares and cheap airline tickets are available at peak times, but you generally have to book far in advance. Budget airline tickets are great and in general, these deeply discounted airline tickets are released early Wednesday morning for travel during upcoming weekends.Now go online and save you some money!

Happy Traveling