Bri & Jo's excellent adventure 2006/7

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Dear All Long time since our last missive. Hereīs what weīve been up to.

NEW ZEALAND What a beautiful country. Our favourite without a doubt. We drove around like gypsies in a converted van decorated with fish and a shark. Cooking dinner with one gas ring, a saucepan and a frying pan at our disposal called for military planning to avoid cold food. Making a cuppa took half an hour! The scenery, especially the south island, is amazing and with our own transport we woke up in completely isolated areas next to lakes with snowcapped mountains as a backdrop - stunning. We had an emotional re-union with Joīs parents on my birthday and are now experts on the carpet quality in many of New Zealands better hotel rooms! Well worth it for the hot showers and cooked breakfasts in the morning.

The hospitality we received and generosity of people we met was overwhelming. We were invited for dinner and to stay on four occasions, allowed to treat the homes as our own and let ourselves out. Sadly itīs something you just canīt imagine happening in England.

Activity-wise we went a bit overboard - whale and dolphin watching, snowboarding, beer tasting (twice!), glacier walks, jetboating, hot springs, cruising the fjords and of course watching the Lions rugby tour. We saw 3 games in all, including 2 tests. A fantastic atmosphere despite the results. Having breakfast with them and cheering them off from the hotel in Wellington was a highlight.

FIJI We soon slipped into Fiji-time on our small island. Six days on the beach was not enough. We met the chief of the local village, partook in some traditional singing and dancing which now encompasses the hokey-cokey and the Bula dance (like the Macarena!!) and took tea at four every afternoon. The most exciting moment saw an English lad stung by a sting ray and boated round to the islands hospital (hut!) after our cook had sucked the poison from his foot!

LA & LAS VEGAS A quote from Joīs dad "If you canīt say anything nice, donīt say anything at all". Thatīs LA covered then! Vegas was everything you imagine it to be and more. Like Blackpool on acid. We won the princely sum of $44 on the slot machines. Our highlight was flying into the Grand Canyon by helicopter and having a champagne lunch on the canyon floor - it really is incredible.

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Take care, Bri & Jo