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Christchurch City Walkabout

The sun has finally emerged after having disappeared for almost two weeks. The walkabout in town is pretty much a given! Apparently we did just around 13,000 steps today, but I’m sure that the calories consumed balanced that out.

Here’s some pictures taken today (with the rainy photo taken a few days ago). All taken with the new-to-me Samsung Galaxy Note 9. I’m actually pretty impressed with output of the camera. After years of super saturated outputs, I’m glad that Samsung had toned this down somewhat.

Christchurch Holiday Snaps Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30 Trendy Cafe

Christchurch City Walkabout

Nothing beats a lovely walkabout in the city when the sun is out in Christchurch, especially when the city is a mere 45-60 minutes walk away – combining exercise and sightseeing is nice 🙂 Apparently we did almost 12,000 steps!

There’s also a trendy new eatery place that’s opened called The Welder. It’s established in a block of repurposed industrial buildings (something that’s very popular these days for that naturally rough, industrial look). I feel so old when I go in – everyone seems to be so trendy and hip in there! Even the food’s pretty trendy… carrot muffin with some sort of homemade hummus and spinach topping (I think… can’t remember now!), and the hot chocolate had some sort of spice sprinking (I think it’s cinnamon).

Christchurch Fujifilm X100T Holiday Snaps

Autumn in Christchurch

Autumn’s my favourite season of the year. The colours of the city really stands out during this season, accentuated by the low angle of the sunlight throughout the day. You can’t beat a walkabout in the city on a sunny autumn’s day.

Christchurch Holiday Snaps Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30

First Weekend of Freedom

We got our freedom back two days ago in the sense that we’re now allowed to go outside for non-essential things, such as for entertainment and for non-essential shopping. We went out for a walk to stretch our legs, and somehow ended up in the city centre which is full of people. There weren’t many shoppers in the invididual stores, though. I guess it’s a bit of a hassle to have to sign in / sign out (a requirement for contact tracing) is all you want is to go inside for a bit of a browse.

We did however go into Ballantynes, and it was packed – not in the Boxing Day Sales sort of way but it was crowded enough that there’s no way to maintain a one-metre distance between people as required by the COVID-19 Alert Level 2 guidelines!

It’s quite amazing to see the city centre so crowded, as there would be little to no tourists in the city.

Nature Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30

Autumn Garden

It’s been a very long time since I’ve taken “proper” photos with the 2007 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30 compact point-and-shoot camera. After all, with cellphones producing technically higher resolutions than this camera today, it makes little sense to use this antiquated digital camera for taking any photos, right?

Hmm, I think this camera still have useful life. Aren’t these colours beautiful? Sometimes this camera can produce a cyan sky when there’s too much green in the shot though, but generally I love the colours produced by this camera’s JPEGs. (It only shoot JPEGs, no RAWs.)

Fujifilm X100T Holiday Snaps

Christchurch City Walkabout

Geoff and I do a walkabout in the city almost every weekend as part of our attempt to get off the coach at least once a week. I don’t always take photos when going on such walks… but I really should do that more often. After all, I do enjoy taking photos.

Hagley Park – Christchurch’s main city park – is pretty much at our doorstep. Soon, perhaps in about a month or so, the leaves will turn yellow and brown, and hopefully I’ll be in time to take some lovely autumn scenes. The “pop-up” bookshop still has stock in disarray, a time capsule in its own right.


Thai Lunches

The Thai restaurant across the road from the office loves us as customers. We go there for lunch at least twice a week. Funny thing is that we tend to order the same few dishes, but often get different tasting food, depending on the chef that day, what his or her definition of “hot” is, and the alignment of the planets and moons.

One of the few dishes that never fails, however, is the Phanaeng Curry (“Panang” as is spelt in their menu). It appears to be the one almost universal constant in taste and spiciness level. Always served tongue-scorchingly hot, with pleasant level of spice and thickness of the texture in the curry.



An old riding friend of mine got in touch today, after coming across my phone number buried in his contact list. I suppose he might be doing a sweep of his friends list. He asked if I still have the Vespa.

We haven’t been in contact for a while. Turns out, he had previously bought a Vespa, sold it, and is now buying another Vespa. I laughed to myself. I know very well that feeling – once a Vespa rider, always a Vespa rider. No other two-wheeler compares.

Just the other day, I was getting ready to ride to work when a guy pulled up outside my house. He walked up the driveway, introduced himself and complimented me on my Vespa. He said that he’s just bought one recently and is really enjoying the ride. Strange then that he was driving a car that day, but still…

And it’s a common story in this global Vespa community. Years ago when I rode a different Vespa, I get compliments on the bike all the time. People admire them. When Vespa riders ride past each other on the road, they smile to each other. It doesn’t seem common for Vespa riders to wave, like motorbikers do sometimes, but the smile is way friendlier, don’t you think?

Of course, if cost is not an issue, I’ll own several different motorbikes and scooters of various makes and models. If I can only have one, however, it’s going to be a Vespa.

Vespa Sprint 150
A modern incarnation of the classic Italian scooter – Vespa Sprint 150 (2016)
Animals Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 Pentax K-5

Whale of a Time

Back in 2006 when I toured New Zealand, I stayed in Kaikoura for a few days over winter hoping that the weather would clear up enough for the whale watch cruise ship to be able to go out for whale sightings. It didn’t happen.

Fast forward, oh, 13 years and that chance came out of nowhere. It’s also the really rare time where I deliberately chose the SMC Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 lens for “serious” photography. I don’t have any other long lenses, so that made the decision really easy!

Whale Tail
Whale Tail

As the saying goes… the best camera (or lens) is the one that you have with you at the time. This may be the cheapest store-bought lens that I’ve ever paid for, but it’s taken one of the most memorial-to-me photos I’ve ever taken. Yes, it’s the typical cliché image of a diving whale, but it brought back vivid memories of that trip, which was a Christmas present for me 🙂



It started a couple of Christmases ago when I had to try my hands at baking. You see, I was invited to a German Christmas gathering and I had to bring some home baking as per tradition. Or so, I was told.

I’ve never baked ever in my life, except for the few attempts at mixing some premixed bread flour with yeast and water, and switching on the bread making machine. That’s not baking, but rather more a primary school science experiment. Even then, I wasn’t always successful.

Panicked, I asked a German friend for help. She recommended a foolproof recipe that can’t possibly go wrong. It was for Alpenbrot (“Alpine Bread”), essentially a chocolate and cinnamon biscuit with a hint of cardamom and cloves. Very Christmassy, and very tasty, too!

It was however a very dark looking thing, and looks like animal poo before it is cut into the correct Alpenbrot shape. German Friend #2 named it Katzenkacke – cat poo. The name stuck.

Einhornkacke (“Unicorn poo”) is the evolution of Katzenkacke. It is Alpenbrot with rainbow candy sprinkles. Yum!

Einhornkacke Unicorn Poo
Named by a German friend as Einhornkacke (“Unicorn poo”)

Of course, if you know Alpenbrot, you’ll notice that the shape is all wrong. This is because I wanted to maximise the cookie dough per oven tray, and that’s why it’s rectangular. It’s the mind of an engineer, says German Friend #2. He should know, he’s a German engineer.