By CraigR, 13 April 2007
Ok so my webmail is crap and i don't have really anyones email address's so i thoguht i'd put a quick update here.
I managed to arrive which was a good start! Had a bit of a debarcle as my ticket had the last name as Stewart Ryburn, not just Ryburn, so they told me in Wellington that I'd have to pay $100 to change it! Then after pissing about they figured out they couldn't even change it, and agreed to check me in to Sydney, but not all the way through, telling me i'd have to sort it out with British airways there. This meant I had to get my bag off at sydney, wait till the check in opened for my flight and sort it out. A bit of a pain in the jacksie, but fortunately one of the guys we were travelling with had some friends who met us and took us around sydney (mainly to the pub!), so i could leave my bag in their car. Sydney was crap and rainy, but we had a kangaroo pizza and a crocodile pizza and beer so i was happy! When I went to check in the BA guy said it didn't really matter so really was a bit of a piss take!
When we arrived we were picked up and taken to Ben, the guy who is organsining the trip, mum's house. We were very spoilt with heaps of good food, wine, beer and rum! I only really know how to say yes in french so I have to accept everything that is offered! It's a hard life! The next day we went to his grandparents and repeated the exercise. Unfortunately we spent so long we missed seeing the queen, but I was quite happy to miss the queen for food and beer and wine.
The biggest highlight so far has been going to see the tunnels under Arras. These were dug by kiwis in WWI to house tropps and make a suprise offensive, coming up just infornt of the german lines. There are 20km of them, and before the attack they housed 24,000 troops. Basically under the city there were a number of limestone quarries that the kiwis joined up. What was really special about it though was they are not yet open to the public. They are currently building a musem and tour through them and we got a special tour through them. It was pretty cool to see them before they made all the tourist mods and see some bits that would never be open to the public. See a few pics here.
The regatta sounds like it should be pretty awesome, if not a bit of carnage! Parties every night - there are 6000 students at this thing so pretty big! Only problem is since we have come all the way over, actually have to sail well - that and I just got told 1st prize in our division is worth well over $10,000, which would go nicely to getting us back next year! Not sure if this is realistic or not - hord to tell how good the competition will be. You'll all be pleased (or disturbed) to know i went and found a second hand store and brought a skirt for the party - wore one last time i was here, so it's only right i do this time!
It's quite good as everyone we are around want to practice their english, so not knowing french is not too much of a problem. I've learnt a bit though - can buy most stuff and say move your [buttocks] and I feel like I have my head up my [buttocks] (I'm hungover!) [gets edited otherwise!].
Anyway not sure how i'll go during the next week - quite possible i won't have a chance to send any more updates - will be too busy sailing and partying! I'll try though. Hope all of you who are on trips are having a good time and staying safe.