Sweet As, Bro!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Well, I've been falling behind with this whole blog thing. Although thanks to the pestering from Dom and the homework that I should be doing (but am putting off), you get this beautiful gift.

Since the last post, I've been on a few different adventures, so I'll give the overview of each here along with some photos.

A few Penn State kids and myself made a day trip to the Hamilton Zoo. It was pretty cool, although not anywhere the size of the Philly Zoo. Still worth doing to kill some time.

I also bought a car for my time here in New Zealand. Traveling on day trips is SO much easier with my own wheels. Here she is, Dirty Diana!

We also made trips to Raglan and Tauranga, beach towns along the west and east coasts. Raglan is about 45min away, so it's an effortless drive that doesn't require a ton of planning to get some time with the sun and surf. Tauranga is a bit further, about 1.5hr away on the east coast. It's a nice area with some really cool scenery! On the way home from Tauranga I took everyone to the falls that Dave and I had climbed weeks before. It was a nice hike, aside from me falling into the stream and getting stung by a bee. We were sure to get a group shot in the sunset with Dirty Diana though!

I also had the chance to go with a group and do the Haggas Honking Holes adventure in Waitomo. In short, it was a 2hr abseiling (repelling) trip through some really cool caves. We did 3 abseils, crawled through some really tight spaces, and got to see some glow worms along the way. Another worthwhile trip!

This past week was the Balloons Over Waikato Festival. It's a large hot air balloon festival, so it was a great place to get some shots. I got up very early for the first day of the events, but sadly the balloons couldn't take off due to poor weather. The pilots were still nice enough to do some tethered flights for kids to enjoy though!

Last Saturday, the finale of the festival was an event called Night Glow. The balloons inflate at Uni and light up in sequence to a soundtrack. Fireworks followed, providing an entertaining end to the week.

Study break starts on Friday and we are headed to the south island for 8 days, so stay tuned for some jaw-dropping shots of LOTR-esque scenery!

...and as usual, you can check out more of my photos at www.flickr.com/danielbott since there is no way I could include them all in these posts!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A fun filled weekend...

After being in the country only 3 days, I really hit the ground running. Having been here before, it was fairly easy to get acclimated again to a culture and area that I was somewhat familiar with. Helping along the way are two of my friends, Dave and Galina. Besides serving as my unofficial guides to Hamilton they are also generous enough to let me crash on their sofa until I can find a place to live. Props!

Being the great guides that they are, they suggested that on Saturday we go and do a nice day hike at Wairere Falls. Of course I couldn't say no to that! The falls is the highest in the North Island with a height of 152m (according to wikipedia, but we thought it looked a bit higher), so the sight was pretty sweet. The trail leads to a midpoint lookout as well as the top of the falls. On the way up there are various little waterfalls that gave me an opportunity to snap some interesting photos.

This was the first time that I had really experimented with longer exposures and running water, but for an initial try I think they turned out ok. At least the falls is close enough that I can return if I wish.

Of course, being in NZ means that you have to take unnecessary risks to be "extreme" (think: bungee, skydiving, etc) so we decided that walking out to the edge of the falls for some photos would be a good idea.

After a nice hike down, we returned home for some well deserved rest, only to prepare for the next day.

On Sunday myself and two other PSU students, Sam and Amanda, went along with Dave and Galina to partake in what seemed to be one of Dave's favorite pastimes in NZ, the luge at Rotorua. This is somewhat similar to the "Alpine Slide" at Seven Springs back in PA, but instead of being on a track you steer the sled around a concrete race course. Of course, in typical "extreme" Kiwi fashion, you are very capable of crashing into each other, tipping over, and flying off of the track. I only did two of the three having saved myself from tipping over on a few different occasions although a mouth full of sand from my time spent flying off of the course was a bit less than desirable.

Here's a cool group shot that Galina was able to take during one of our runs.

A reoccurring theme resonated throughout the weekend: a great time was had and we returned home exhausted.

More to come later, possibly today, since we made a trip to the Hamilton Zoo yesterday.

As always, check out my flickr at www.flickr.com/danielbott for more shots and bigger versions.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A few shots...

Originally uploaded by Daniel Bott

Since some have been clamoring for photos, have your fill.

I took a short walk through a local park this morning. The light wasn't really that great, but there was a lot of interesting plant life...things you wouldn't normally see in the states.

I plan to go back sometime soon and shoot some stuff with a little more ambition, but for now this should wet your whistles.

As always, click the photo to be taken to my flickr page and to explore the rest of the set.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Here at last...

So after about twenty hours of traveling I arrived in Auckland around 5am NZDT. After another 1.5hr in a van I finally made it to Hamilton. Needless to say, I wasn't exactly sure if I should be tired or completely energized from the hours of sleep I got on the plane...I guess I was energized given my agenda.

Got my cell set up, met up with some people from the last visit to Hamilton, walked a ton, ate the closest thing NZ has to a cheesesteak, walked some more, got my courses and student id (what a pain!), walked some more, ate some of the greasiest fish (or fush) and chips (or chups) that I have ever had, made friends with some bros at the hostel, followed those bros to the local skatepark in hopes of getting some shots (didn't get anything, apparently it's easy to get "sponsored" in NZ), walked some more, and finally posted a blog entry.

Its 8:50pm now, and I am just like a little energizer battery...for another 10min.


Monday, February 15, 2010

leaving on a jet plane...

I'm outta here in 13hr and 35min.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The clock is ticking...

As I sit in my car on my 15min break from work listening to Pierre
Robet's vinyl cut, I figured I'd check in quickly. I leave in ten
days, and I couldn't be more ready and less ready at te same time. I
keep remembering things to back and jotting them on my mental list,
but I haven't started the physical ritual of packing. I still don't
know how many or what suitcases I'm taking which I will hopefully sort
out this weekend.

How does one pack for 6mo of their life spanning 3 seasons into two
checke bags and two carry-ons? I'm not quite sure, but ask me in ten
days and I may have your answer.

Later days.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Actually, I will be shooting a ton while aboard. Don't you guys know you can only take me seriously when I start a sentence off with "Seriously,...?"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where do I begin?

For starters...the name. You probably have no idea what Speight's is, and have most likely never had a meat pie. Well my friends, I was in your shoes until June of 2008. Shortly after school finished for the semester I took a trip with my brother to New Zealand for about a month. I saw sweet things, meet sweet people, and learned about even more...Speight's and meat pies included (if you aren't familiar with one or the other, then Google it). I couldn't come up with a catchy url for my blog until two very prominent NZ items poped into my brain, and my blog was born!

Anyways, I will be using this blog to charm you with my brillant writings about my experiences abroad. So read it or don't, I couldn't give two shits.

Here is a little background on my trip:
I'm headed out of the US of A on February 15, stopping in Chi-town (pray for no snow) and San Francisco on the way. I currently have nowhere to live in Hamilton, but I am strangely ok with that.

As a way for me to further myself as a writer and human being, I will be not taking any photographs while abroad, and only be using my way with words to paint beautiful mental images for all of you (the readers, duh) to enjoy. So if you came here looking for photography, look elsewhere.