Auckland-Wellington

A few days in we decided to hop on a tour bus operated by the Kiwi Experience. It’s a bus a lot of young people take to see as much of the country as you can. Our bus takes us from Auckland to Wellington with numerous stops in between.

I haven’t quite made it to Wellington yet but, right now I am in the small town of Taupo, smack in the middle of the north island. We have a two days to enjoy the town but every other stop has been a one day stop each. It’s been quick and a little hectic but very entertaining.

First stop was Hot Water Beach, where I did three hours of kayaking in the ocean through Cathedral Cove experiencing some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Everything looked like a painting. After kayaking we finally went on over to Hot Water Beach where we dug holes in the sand making our own hot pool.

Next stop was Waitomo which is probably my favorite stop so far. “Wai” means water and “tomo” means hole in the native Maori language and that basically what we did. We spent five hours exploring caves where these glowing maggots called glowworms reside. We zip lined and went tubing through the cave. Crawled through narrow passages and finally climbed waterfalls to find our exit. It was probably the coolest thing I had ever done.

From Waitomo we traveled to Rotarua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand. Before arriving at Rotarua, we stopped at “The Shire” or also known as Hobbiton. This was the movie set for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, but I thought it was so much more than just a movie set. The level of detail put into this place was astounding. The movie crew created an entire village with over 30 hobbit homes and various gardens. The movie tour ended with a stop at The Green Dragon pub where we all enjoyed a pint before leaving for Rotorua.

Our time in Rotorua was much more relaxed. We spent the evening learning about the native Maori tribe. All our groups had assigned chiefs who participated in a short presentation of Maori tribe warriors sizing them up and determining whether we had come for war or for peace. I was able to briefly partake in learning the “Haka” which is a war cry dance before the Maori’s fnally treated us to a Polynesian style dinner. Chicken and Lamb looked in the ground. Potatoes, Oysters, and Fish. Absolutely delicious.

So far the Kiwi Experience has been exciting. The majority of people on the bus seem to be English followed by the second largest group being German. There seem to be only three Americans on our bus. I did expect some hostility for my nationality, everyone turned out to be very friendly.

I was hoping that the Kiwi bus would consist of more people who first began their travels in New Zealand but this was not the case. There were already groups on the bus who had been traveling the Island for sometime and cliques had already been made. It was a little more difficult to make friends then I hoped.

Only a few more days until we arrive in Wellington.

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Auckland, New Zealand

It was a 13 hour flight from Los Angeles to New Zealand. Other than some small turbulence, it was a pretty smooth flight. I barely got any sleep(just as usual) and I arrived extremely exhausted having to figure out how to make my way from Auckland Airport to the central business district where our hostel was located. It took a little bit of time but we managed to find it.

One thing I realized while walking through Auckland was the smell. It reminded me of Taipei. It was the restaurants. Auckland was filled with Chinese, Japanese, and Thai restaurants that smell far more authentic than the Chinese restaurants from home. Auckland has a huge population of people from various Asian countries. Just from what I can hear and from looking at all the signs it seems the majority is from either Taiwan or China. Reminds me of the Spanish billboards at home.

Of course, other than the extremely noticeable large demographic minority, Auckland is a very diverse city which makes it incredibly charming to walk down the street. So many different languages are spoken by so many different kinds people and there is variety of different food options at every corner. Our first meal was from a Korean Pancake restaurant called Pancake #1. It was literally just a Pancake cooked with meat, chicken, or potatoes inside but, I had never had something like that before and it was delicious.

We ran a couple of errands after checking into the hostel but soon enough, our exhaustion caught up with us. We knocked out for about 3-4 hours but, when we finally woke up,we decided it was time to grab some beers and discuss what’s happening next after our short time here in Auckland. A couple of beers turned into a long night at both Ding Dong Lounge and this Karaoke Bar that I can’t remember the name of for the life of me. Aid and I sang “Call me Maybe” and Mariah Carey’s Christmas song. The crowd was easily entertained and we found ourselves back on stage with some new friends who we managed to convince to sing their own favorite songs for the crowd.

What a night.

As someone from the hostel told me, “If you want to get over your jet lag just get wasted.”

PS: Auckland, if 60 degree evenings is your idea of summer… well screw you.

 

The Ignorance of the Outside World

A few days ago, news emerged that the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, died after ruling the island of Cuba for over 50 years. Having grown up in Miami and being the son of a Cuban immigrant, I am lucky enough to have a wholesome perspective such an event. Unfortunately, I was out of town when the news came out. If I was around, I’d probably be partying in the streets with the rest of the Miami Cubans.

Now, I am only 25 years old. I didn’t experience the oppression of the dictator first hand but, I do have family who were literally chased away from their livelihoods because of this man. My father’s family used to own a coffee farm before the land was seized by the government. Not only was the land seized but all the equipment that was used to operate it. After this occurred, my grandparents took what they had left and fled the country. This is a similar situation most Cubans faced before coming to America.

What strikes me the most is the complete ignorance of leftists who sit outside of the South Florida area. Being a leftist and being ignorant is synonymous but, I don’t think I’ve even met a Democrat in the Miami area who had anything nice to say about the Cuban government. Most immigrants from the Caribbean and South America have witnessed socialism and communism firsthand which sets them apart from liberals outside the area.

After Fidel Castro died, left wing media and liberals I’ve met from outside the Miami area and abroad wasted no time in trying to mourning the loss of their great leader. They all used the same excuse, “He wasn’t perfect but he did a lot of good for the Cuban people”. If zero economic growth, shit healthcare, firing squads, and re-education camps is your idea of progress then please get in contact with me. I will pay your one-way ticket to Cuba as long as you can show me proof that you plan on staying there forever.

The American Enterprise Institute posted an interesting fact on the welfare of Cuba. Cuban Slaves received better rations than the Cuban citizens received from the communist government in 1962. The AEI continues to state that the rations haven’t improved much since. Face it, there is a reason Cuban athletes defect when they compete overseas. There is a reason Cubans continue to flee to the United States every year.

Go screw yourself Trudeau.

I was nervous but now…

I want to leave already. I’m growing incredibly restless. This Thanksgiving week started fine but it looks like it’s taking a turn for the worst. Luckily I head back home tomorrow. I get to spend the last few days with some good friends, drink, and sushi. That’s what I am looking forward to the most.

I’m looking forward to time away from my family for bit. I will finally be more than a couple hours away from them and with no overseas phone service I might finally have a small taste of what it will be like to be on my own.

Oh yeah!

Fidel Castro died today.


If anyone has the source for this pic feel free to send it to me so I can give credit.

The Final Stretch

This is basically the final stretch. Today is my last day wearing the uniform. I’ve talked enough about my Air Force experience. I’m proud of it. I wish I had done more, but I’m ready to do something else. I am not leaving out the possibility of re-entering the service when I return. However, if I do decide to do that, I think I would be wise to cross train into a new field of work. That’s a long way from now. A lot can happen in the year to year and a half I plan on being away.

As far as the rest of my time here goes, It’s all smooth sailing from here on out. I will be seeing my friends one more time in Orlando then I am off to spend the week of Thanksgiving at my mother’s house. My brother and niece will be spending time there as well. It’s another chance to see the family before my departure. Of course, my father will return from Europe only a few days prior so I will get a chance to see him as well. I’ve spent time away from family in the past but this will be the first time I won’t be able to see them on any major holidays. Traveling home is always easy within the states. Being on the other side of the world is a different story.

I’ve made a number of purchases as prepare for my departure. Other than clothes, tools, and entertainment, I’ve decided a stock up on a number of books. I have to admit, a big portion of this trip might end up being a bunch of partying and drinking. I will have to keep my brain from going dumb somehow. I purchased one book that I studied briefly while at university: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. I had only read excerpts from it while studying so I figured it would be valuable to take in the entire piece. The other book I bought was the Art of War. Not necessarily because I am interested in it ,but because you always hear about it from one of those successful businessmen as a must read. I’m just curious I suppose. It will be a time killer on the plane to New Zealand.

Now the last book that I bought I am actually interested in. “Reagan’s Revolution” is about the first unsuccessful attempt Reagan made to run for president. Now, as a libertarian, you quickly learn that not every president was this perfect figure that you had in your mind prior to being red pilled. However, after my internal reformation, I learned that I appreciated Reagan for his character and personality rather than his performance as Commander in Chief. I want to start reading it but I need to make sure I have something to read on the way to the other side of the world.

Best Wishes!

Inner Anxiety

As the travel day gets closer, I start having all these second thoughts. I am trying to ignore them but, it’s difficult. I had similar feelings prior to leaving for basic training in 2011. Of course my feelings back then were more similar to fear than they are to uneasiness. I constantly think about whether this is the right decision or if I am setting myself up for failure. Perhaps I’m leaving something behind in the process of trying to shut out external noise.

I saw a young woman whom I used to go to school with. I wasn’t necessarily friends with her but she was recognizable. I’m not even sure I’ve ever had a conversation with her before. She was just someone I’d been in the same room with at a club meeting or something. She’s 21 years old and just won an election into the Florida House of Representatives. The article was about how she was starting orientation along with the other 65 new representatives. She made history being the youngest person ever elected to the House.

I find it incredibly impressive that someone as young as her could make such an accomplishment. Of course, this thought leads to me thinking about myself. Here I am, 25 years old and still trying to find my place in the world. Why isn’t that me? Why don’t I have something to be proud of yet? Some say that this thought process is healthy. They say that as long as I am not content with my current situation then I will always be finding a way to make it better. If that was true then why am I running away from life for a year?
This is all pessimistic and even cringeworthy, but I know that this is just something I go through before embarking on a new path of this size. Now that I think of it, I am pretty sure I had similar feelings on a smaller scale when I was moving to Orlando for the first time. New isn’t always easy. It’s always hard. However, you never know what’s on the other side unless you force yourself through it.

Good job! Way to talk myself out of that one.

Looking Back

I’ve started my final week of work. I’ve been in the Air Force reserves for almost six years and this vital chapter of my life is about to come to a close.

Joining the military was one of the hardest things that I had ever done. Basic training felt long, repetitive, and, to this day, is the largest mental weight I have ever carried in my entire life. Many people have joined prior to me and completed it but, I didn’t exactly have much faith in myself when I took my oath. I considered myself sheltered, coddled, childish. I was 19 years old and was caught up in this endless routine that I absolutely knew needed to change. Joining the military seemed like a full proof way to make it happen.

It doesn’t exactly matter what I think about the military itself. The military is a character builder. It won’t change a bad person into a good person but, it can change a lazy person and give them a little bit of a work ethic. It can give someone a new view on life, especially someone who feels that there is not path for them. I believe the military did that for me and more. It helped develop my social skills. Being surrounded by the same people you went to high school does nothing for you. I’ve met people and established a relationship with people all over the United States. As I moved up in the ranks and earned more responsibility, I learned to communicate with people of different status. Now, I haven’t perfected these new skills by any means but, I feel it in myself that I have come a long way.

When I first decided I wanted to do go to New Zealand for a year, I looked at it as another way to force myself out of my comfort zone. I will be over a thousand miles away from home so it won’t be easy to just turn back. I will have removed the easy connection to the comfort of my friends and family back home. I will be in a different culture than back home, surrounded by people who are doing the same thing as I am. It will be a learning experience. Not just to further strengthen my social skills but it will be a chance to hear the ideas and thoughts of people who live outside my home country. New Zealand is a popular backpacking country. People from all over the world come to enjoy the visual master piece which is New Zealand. It’s small and easy to get across so many of the travelers also happen to be novices to the trade.

This is what I look forward to. My views as an American may conflict with those around the world. American values are not the same New Zealand values, European values, or Asian values. At this point, I believe I have views that will never be changed but I am open to them being challenged. That scares me, but it also excites me. I plan to record every bit of it.

Trump Dynasty

It’s been a long boring week back at the Homestead Air Base clinic that I’ve been working at. I just sold my car so I could have some extra money for this trip of a lifetime that I am about to embark on. I will be going to New Zealand for one year.

There is something far more great going on today. The presidential election has spills over to the early morning. While leaving the movie theater with my friend Adrian, I take out my phone to check the results. I’ve kept my phone in my pocket to keep my anxiety down. This has literally been the craziest election year in recent history with two incredibly disliked candidates. A mentally handicapped person and the devil of corruption have spent the past year fighting for the highest office of the land. America seems to have chosen Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.

Absolutely shocking! No one in the media and none of the polls had predicted it. It is an American Brexit. Stocks plummeted and people protested outside of the White House. I feel incredibly uneasy. Though, I’ve spent the past months criticizing Clinton on her corruption and history as failed Secretary of State, I wasn’t exactly a fan of Trump either. He is unprincipled, not conservative, and can barely make a coherent sentence. However, I need to come to terms with this.

The week or so prior to election day was spent digging through Clinton e-mails, watching campaign members resign in response to them, reading opinion pieces about the Clinton conspiracy, and basically solidifying my discontent with Hillary Clinton. Even though I was supporting third party candidate Gary Johnson, I was really starting to believe that Trump was the only one that could put an end to the Clinton dynasty.

Regardless, Donald Trump is now President Trump. He’ll stay that way for at least the next four years. I don’t believe he made his wealth on his own and, at the very least; he surrounded himself with successful people who helped make him what he is today. If he does the same as President then I don’t think America has much to be concerned about.
I am not leaving the country because I fear the result of a Trump presidency. In fact, I think it will rather entertaining the view it from the outside, surrounded by people who have been watching the United States from the outside its borders their whole lives.

Yahoo’s Katie Couric collaborate with HRC on articles

Earlier this year, a Wikileaks E-mail reveals Yahoo.com’s Katie Couric reaching out to John Podesta seeking to collaborate on articles to benefit the Hillary Clinton Campaign.