Posts Tagged With: airport

Livin’ it up at Gold Coast

Well, that was quite an adventure. We’re now safely back in New Zealand after a whirlwind trip to Gold Coast, and a long-ass drive back to Christchurch. The days have been so jam-packed that it was impossible to keep up with posting, so I’ll try to remember everything as well as I can for your entertainment.

I’ll deal with the next half of our trip to the land down unda’ in this post – we just did SOOOO much that it wouldn’t fit into one post, you know?

So Monday was our first full day in Gold Coast. Luckily for us, our guide and host Mikayla managed to get out of school relatively early so she could chaperone us around. Of course, we headed straight for the beach, because what else is there to do in Australia?

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For lunch, we went to a sushi restaurant that had a sushi train. I’d seen these in movies and whatnot, but never actually experienced one.

The food comes to you!

The food comes to you!

It’s a brilliant strategy. Basically different colour plates cost different amounts, and they send through a lot more pricey ones than cheap ones. So you’re sitting there waiting for a cheap plate of your favourite sushi to come by, getting hungrier and hungrier, until eventually you cave and grab the next plate. Cool!

When we returned, we saw to our – mostly Kylie’s – delight that the trees out front of Mikayla’s place were the favourite hangout for some lorikeets.

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We chillaxed for the rest of the day, and then spent three hours watching a movie – 1h45 for Who Framed Roger Rabbit after 1h15 of Kylie and Mikayla insisting they were strong independent women and didn’t need no man’s help to set up the DVD player.

Two strong, independent, DVD-less women.

Two strong, independent, DVD-less women.

Spoiler: they did.

On Tuesday Kylie and I wanted to check out the Niagara Falls of Queensland – Surfers’ Paradise. Although we were warned by literally two people that the walk was a long one, we decided to undertake it anyways.

I learned a lesson on Tuesday. When people say they “love long walks on the beach,” they are full of shit. Long walks on the beach are not pleasant. They hurt your legs and your butt, and make you really hungry and thirsty. We almost didn’t make it. But, after an hour and a half of Bear Grills-esque survival, we arrived in the tourist centre of Australia.

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And lo and behold, we had only been there five minutes or so when a long-lost friend found us!


Karley. It's Karley.

Karley. It’s Karley.

We three hung out and explored Surfers’ for a while, checking out the shops, getting lunch, and playing at Timezone – one of those super-fun arcade places where you win tickets and can get little prizes. I won an Australian keychain, thinking that it would be the perfect gift for my loving landlord back in Auckland.

After that, Karley’s flatmates gave us a lift back to Mikayla’s. We had to hurry inside because it was time for the daily bat hunt.


Bats come out during the day here. Yup.

After the bloodthirsty winged-mammals had disappeared (until that night) Kylie, Mikayla, her mom and I went to Q1, which is some sort of tower thing. We had a meal on the observation deck, which is the highest point in Gold Coast – about 72 floors up, I think.


After dinner, we took a nice walk along the beach you can see on the right there, through a giant market. I didn’t buy anything.

The next post will detail our trip to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Kylie’s birthday celebrations, and the hardest sport you can do on water (not surfing). Follow me so you don’t miss out!

Twitter: @CamMParkes



Categories: Adventure, Australia, Blog, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten things to do on a long layover

Hey all, kia ora! That’s Maori – the indigenous folk here in New Zealand – for… hello, I think? As you can tell, I’m learning this language ultra quickly. It’s my first day on my own, as Kylie is at school doing whatever it is teachers do, so I decided to explore my new city. I found a little coffee place on campus approximately three minutes from the residence and I am now there living my dream of sitting in a coffee shop pretentiously typing away on a laptop.

Since my journey here was the first time I’ve had to make connecting flights, I discovered a bunch of things to do when you’re faced with a long layover. As promised in my last post, here are some things you can do to pass the time when waiting in the airport.

1.  The obvious stuff

Picture this, but in an airport.

Obviously there are a ton of NORMAL things you can do to pass time, but they’re good, time-tested methods so I will include them. If you read my last post, you know I arrived at Pearson well before I needed to, so I had some time to kill. I bought a book – Divergent – and read that for a good two or three hours. Yes, this isn’t technically a layover, but it falls under the category of airport waiting, so it’s legit. This is also a good time to use the stuff you’ve strategically placed in your carry-on – a Gameboy, puzzle book, deck of cards, etc. Just make sure you prepare ahead of time.

2. Document the experience

Toronto Airport

What better way to fight the boredom of layovers than writing about how boring your layover is? In your retelling of the tale, a simple child crying can become a motive for murder, and a trip to the bathroom can be three full chapters of planning and executing the journey – and it is a journey, since you have to take all your shit with you, or risk asking someone to watch it. If you’re hip, you’ll also want to keep your legions of social media followers up to date through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. I find the easiest way to do this is to link all your accounts together, so when you post one thing, it immediately goes to all of them. Sure, the majority of your friends will now have to witness your picture of your departure gate upwards of a dozen times, but it’s worth it to  ensure your image is available to that one person you only have on Twitter.

3. People-watch

This is the classic thing to do in any situation you find yourself waiting around with nothing else to do. At least, it is for me. People are interesting, weird, and sometimes downright hilarious, and the best time to catch them in that state is to watch when they assume no one is watching. For some reason, the airport is one of those places, although you’re in a public area with tons of people passing by. Listening to peoples’ conversations, watching harried parents chasing after their infant who, despite being on a child-leash, has managed to escape and evade all attempts at recapture, or even watching people take pictures of the silliest things – like their departure gate HAHAHA – and laughing – all of these are great ways to pass the time. Especially if the people have varied accents. I swear I spent my entire six-hour layover in Auckland listening to Kiwis talk about the most mundane things, entranced by the way they contorted the English language before spitting out words.


4. People-find

Cam and Nicole

This is one that solely depends on where you are and who you know. However, if the stars align or whatever, layovers are perfect opportunities to catch up with people you may not otherwise see. My friend and fellow Front Office member at the Gazette Nicole moved to Vancouver after our stint at the paper to do school or something. That meant I hadn’t seen her in about a year but, lo and behold, I had a five-hour layover in Vancouver! Crazy, right? It’s almost like a movie premise. A movie called The Layover. Is that a thing yet? If not, I shall write it someday. Anyways, this time-waster is dependent on your friend/family member/lover etc. In my case, I was lucky that Nicole could make it to the airport with not too much difficulty. I met her in a public part of the airport and we enjoyed a nice lunch and catch up. The only downside to this is you have to go through security again, but if you give yourself enough time that’s no issue.


5. Use all the free internets

A lot of airports offer Wi-Fi, I think; I’m not really basing that on anything, though. I didn’t need to use it in Toronto or Vancouver, as I still had my phone’s mobile data. Auckland offered 30 minutes (!) of free Wi-Fi, and even though I didn’t really have more than five minutes worth of stuff to do –email Mom, post an Instagram of my flight, etc. – I made sure to use as much of the 30 minutes as I possibly could. Since it was a five-hour wait, 30 minutes didn’t fill up much. So next, I attempted to practice the next entry…

6. Sleeping while sitting up and pretending you’re not sleeping

Sleeping while sitting up is a skill many people underestimate. There are several parts to it to ensure you don’t groggily open your eyes to a bunch of people pointing and giggling at the drool accumulating on your chin. I like to lean slightly back in the chair – this prevents the dreaded head-onto-chest slump, and contains drool at the same time – and cross my arms. Now, without sunglasses – and as some of you may know, I’m not a fan of them – it’s pretty hard to mask the fact that your eyes are closed. Perhaps a baseball cap pulled low, but it’s not that much of a concern in my book. Close your eyes and put on a frown; that, coupled with the crossed arms, will make you look like you’re just resting your eyes, and you’re pissed off about it. Alternative: do this and only pretend to sleep, and then eavesdrop listen to the conversations around you.

7. Make new friends

I did this, although kind of unwittingly. Also, I was more the victim of this, as everyone knows I hate making new friends. In this case, I was befriended by two old people in Toronto, and a nice lady in Vancouver. The old people apparently had just finished up a cruise and were returning to Vancouver. I actually initiated the process, as the woman was looking for an electrical outlet, and I, having strategically sat near one, pointed it out to her. Despite being clearly engaged in my book, the pleasant couple kept chatting to me. They asked what the weather was like outside, and I unknowingly opened myself to mockery by saying “oh it’s pretty nice, probably seven or eight degrees.” They scoffed at this, clearly saying “nice for YOU maybe.” This saddened me, until I remember I was young and en route to New Zealand. Score for me! They kept talking about other things, like their cruise, and Vancouver, but, despite the pleasant, well-meaning nature of their conversation, I decided I didn’t have to put up with that shit and took off on the pretense of going to the bathroom. Which leads me to my next point…

8. Go to the bathroom a lot



Going to the bathroom in airports is easier said than done. You can’t leave your luggage unattended because you’re likely to come back to find the area evacuated, and security swarming all over as the explosives unit detonates your carry-on. Or, well, that’s what the movies have led me to believe. I also wouldn’t want to leave it under the watchful eye of some do-gooder, as they probably aren’t paying attention, and if someone does steal your shit, what are you gonna do? Sue them? Unlikely. All this means that bathroom treks are quite the endeavour. I made sure to visit the facilities at least once in every airport, especially Vancouver – can you imagine having to take a dump on a plane? The bathrooms are tiny, and you just know someone’s going to be waiting when you come out. I dished out the knowing, smirking look to a lady that was in the bathroom way too long, and I would never want to be the focus of that. Anyways, to avoid this outcome, I would blunder into the bathroom with my laptop bag over one shoulder and my duffle over the other, crash through the stall, and drop my bags on the floor. I would do this even if I was only going number one, you guys. One thing to note – when you’re going to the bathroom, with your pants around your ankles behind a locked door, you want to make sure you have a good hold on your bags. There’s not much you can do if you’re mid-wipe and some enterprising thief decides to reach under the door and grab your laptop bag containing tens of dollars worth of electronics. I like to keep it simple, and loop the straps around my foot.

9. Act super foreign



This obviously only works if you’re in a country that isn’t your own, but it’s quite fun to do. I got to try this out in the Auckland airport, and admittedly have employed it several times since arriving in Christchurch. I went to a little café, and made my first NZ purchase. Even though I’ve been in possession of NZ money for a while, I made a big show of taking it out and examining it to make sure it was the right amount. When I got my change back, I looked at the coins with wonder, before apologetically smiling at the cashier and explaining that I was “still learning the money.” I’ve done this at least a dozen times since.  I’ve also employed variations, with the fall back being something along the lines of “I’m new here!” This not only is hilarious but, in New Zealand at least, makes everyone delightfully demand you say specific words. Like “about” for some reason, which is apparently uproariously hilarious. Friggen Kiwis. And finally:


10. Visit every gift shop in the airport

Once you’ve completed everything on this list (estimate time to complete: one hour), you’ll have nothing better to do than visit all the gift shops. While many of them carry mostly the same things, there will just enough variance that you have to go to each one, lest you miss some great souvenir. If you feel bad about this, justify it to yourself – oh, I’m about to leave Canada? Better spend all my Canadian money before I do! Or, it’s my first time in a New Zealand gift store! I should test out this new, strange money! You’ve probably promised a thousand people back home you’d get them something, like a knick-knack, or a postcard, or something equally as frivolous, so when better to get that out of the way then the airport? They’ll never know that the bottle-opener with the kiwi on it didn’t come from the heart of downtown Christchurch, so save yourself some time.

Next post: my first couple days in CHCH, and the results of an apartment viewing I have in about two hours. Follow along with my adventure by following me on Twitter!




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Journey to Christchurch

I’m currently sitting in the kitchen area of Kylie’s residence, and while the weather outside is slightly gray and overcast, it’s about 19 degrees. So I will begrudgingly accept it.

While yes, I am currently in Christchurch, New Zealand, this post will detail how I got here. It was a total journey that, from doorstep to doorstep, took about 36 hours.

My first flight was from Toronto to Vancouver, departing at 2 p.m. on April 2, Toronto time. Now, the recommendation by the airport is to arrive 90 minutes prior to your flight, in order to get through security and to your gate, etc. we wanted to arrive a bit earlier than that, just to ensure I got on my flight, so we left my driveway at 9:30 a.m. We figured this would get me to my gate waiting area by no later than noon.

Well, there was zero traffic, and apparently not a lot of people fly on Wednesday morning/afternoons, because I was seated at my gate waiting at 10:30.

Toronto Airport

Still, I have the mindset of ‘better early than late’ when it comes to things like this, so I bought a book and settled in to wait. It passed relatively quickly, and I boarded no problem.

The flight to Vancouver went pretty quickly. I had a nice aisle seat – thanks to my mom, who booked all my tickets – and alternated between reading and watching Pacific Rim – which wasn’t too terrible. The plane touched down five hours later, and at 4:30 Vancouver time, I found myself sitting at the International Food Court, enjoying my first BC experience. On the way, I saw this sweet aquarium. In the airport.


Oh, and I managed to find someone I haven’t seen in almost a year.

Cam and Nicole

We caught up, and Nicole showed me some mountains out the window. It was quite the experience, I guess. Then, after chugging down my last Tim Hortons coffee for the foreseeable future, it was back through security and down to my gate, just in time to check in and board the plane to Auckland.

Auckland Flight

Now, this was the long-ass flight I was sort of dreading. Fourteen hours in seats that typically aren’t designed for people who are 6 foot 4. However, it seemed fortune was on my side. Mrs. Parkes had managed to secure me a desirable seat – in fact, some lady complained to me that she always tried to get it and never could – at the very back of the airplane. What made this seat so desirable was that it was one of just two in the aisle, as opposed to the normal three. This mean I had two seats to spread my long, dancer legs out – or it would have. However, the person beside me missed their flight, so I actually had three seats to myself! This came in quite handy when I passed out from exhaustion. Ten hours of sleep, mixed with some Elite Beat Agents on my Nintendo 2DS, and two movies – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Frozen – the flight actually went by quite quickly. They also served a pretty good dinner, and a scrumptious breakfast.

Upon landing, I had to pick up my luggage to take it over to domestic flights. There was a free shuttle to the domestic terminal, but I decided to stretch my legs and take the 10 minute walk.

Big mistake.

By the time I made it to my gate I was utterly exhausted, drenched in sweat, and aching in my shoulders and back. I with a brief stop at a little café – making my first NZ purchase a Powerade and double-chocolate muffin – I took up a seat and sat there for essentially the next six hours. Yes, we got in at 6 a.m. on April 5 Auckland time – 1 p.m. April 4 Toronto time – and my flight to Christchurch wasn’t until 11:15 a.m.

CHCH Flight

I wiled away the time alternating between playing EBA, staring at people, and soaking in the NZ accent. I believe I also slept sitting up with my arms crossed on a few occasions.

And finally, at about 11:30, we were called to board. The last leg of my 36+ hour trip went smoothly, with a cookie snack and me passing the hour-and-a-half flight playing euchre on my phone (on flight mode, obviously).

When we landed and filed through into the Christchurch airport, I was met by Kylie’s flatmate Susie, who had generously agreed to pick me up from the airport since Kylie was teaching. I later learned she only did so to get an opportunity to make fun of my “Canadian accent,” whatever that might be. We got back, her driving on the wrong side of the road the whole way, and I gladly collapsed onto the bed, throwing my bags to the floor.

Kylie had left me a delightful little “welcome to NZ” package.

Welcome shit

It included a lot of coffee stuff – thank god – as well as some miso soup mix, chocolates, and a few other items. I really wanted to nap, but instead I took a quick shower to be presentable when Kylie got home.

She arrived at 3 p.m. Christchurch time. I was trying to plan what to say, but she saved me from it by bursting into tears as soon as she walked in. Then we took selfies.

Cam and Kylie

At this point, I was starving, so Kylie and I took a walk to a nearby mall in Upper Riccarton, and then went to a concert some of her students were in at Papanui High School. I know nothing about music, but it sounded good, and everyone said it was good, so it must have been good!

Shortly after returning we went to bed. At 10:30. I guess all that traveling caught up with me. It’s now Saturday afternoon here, and soon we’re going to go exploring. My next post will be a nice little list for those of you who may get stuck in super-long layovers. Follow me on twitter to keep up with the adventure!




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New title, new look, new chapter

Some of the more astute of you may have noticed a change in the title and look of my blog. It’s a new chapter in my life, where I’ll have a new home, new job, and new adventures, so I figured a new look to the blog would go well with it.

It’s finally time. Tomorrow, I board the first of three planes that will end with me in Christchurch, New Zealand. I’m sitting here watching probably my last Leafs game of this season, and the first tendrils of excitement are beginning to squirm through me. That’s not to say I haven’t been excited about the whole process – I’ve just been very busy doing things like finishing up at work, moving my stuff, creating and completing a checklist of stuff I have to do before going overseas for nine months.

This morning, there were two things left on my list: write a blog post (currently in the works) and pack.

Pack. Easier said than done.


I took over the living room in order to lay out all the things I would possibly need over the next nine months. I’ve backpacked through Europe before, but that was only packing for two weeks, and that was tight. I had to really plan out what would go where, and make some cuts too.

Since I don’t want to pay the exorbitant fees that come along with extra bags, I was determined to fit everything into the one bag, one carry-on, and one personal bag allowed. That meant my giant backpack, duffel bag, and laptop bag.

The carry-on was my first task, and that was easy. My camera, a change of clothes, some things to do and some snacks to eat went in there. I also threw in some deodorant and a toothbrush/toothpaste combo just in case I have a spare moment at the airport to use them.

The electronics all went into the laptop bag. It has a remarkable amount of previously-unexplored pockets, and I used every single one. Laptops, Nintendo 2DS, external hard drive, speakers, headphones, and more which I’ll be able to have with me. Awesome.

Then the big task. Fitting eleven t-shirts, four long-sleeve shirts, two blazers, a pair of jeans, two pairs of shoes, a bunch of socks, and one or two pairs of underwear, into one backpack.

It took two hours to do this. Most of this time was spent rolling the clothes as tightly as I could, and then shoving them as far into the bag as they would go.

The end result is pretty good.


Now all I have left to do is get to the airport tomorrow. My boarding passes are printed, routes mapped out, everything else taken care of. If you want to follow along with me on my journey, make sure you follow me on Twitter:




The next update will hopefully be from the airport.



Categories: Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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