Posts Tagged ferry

I’m Back!

Ms. HalfEmpty is jumping back into blogging!

Ms. HalfEmpty is jumping back into blogging!

Hello? Is anyone there?

I’m the blogger who posted here almost a year ago (although I did edit the most recent post earlier this year). Yes, it’s been too long, but I’m back!

International Travel

I’m excited to announce that Mr. HalfFull and I are going on another epic adventure this summer!

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Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – Oye, Oye, Oye!

Sydney Train Station

Ms. HalfEmpty with her duffel in a Sydney train station

After spending a week on the beaches in Noumea, we headed back to cooler weather to visit the fourth country on our 30/40 World Tour — Australia.  We flew into Sydney and took the train downtown.  But we weren’t the only ones visiting Sydney; Lady Gaga was also in town.

Perhaps that’s why we were awoken at 2 AM one morning to a man shouting, “Welcome to f#@*!ng Sydney, Australia,” from the sound tunnel street ten floors below our room.  I’m fairly certain that drunken outburst was not our welcome committee.

Lady Gaga Kids

Lady Gaga fans in crazy costumes doing a photo shoot @ Sydney Harbor

The Lady Gaga followers were quite a sight to behold.  We watched them pose in their crazy outfits as multiple photographers swarmed to capture the shot.  It’s not the type of thing you see every day.


No wonder my pants were sung... look what I was eating in Sydney!

Our hotel room turned out to be a suite with a full kitchen, two balconies, and a washer/dryer.  I guess they ran out of standard rooms or made a mistake.  Score!

It was awesome to have a free washer/dryer in our room.  This was a single front-load machine that washed and dried.  It seemed like a pretty neat concept… until Mr. HalfFull washed my jeans.  Now remember that I only had 1.5 pairs of pants for 10 weeks.  Plus, those jeans were my warmest pants and it was winter.  We soon learned that the all in one washer/dryer uses extreme heat for the drying cycle.  It was so hot that it melted the leather tab on the waist of the back of my jeans.  That made the pants way too snug and I certainly wasn’t losing weight on the trip (although Mr. HalfFull was).

Sydney Walkway

Wide sidewalk through Hyde Park under a canopy of trees

We were only in Sydney for a couple of days, so we mostly explored on foot.  Our hotel was across the street from Hyde Park, which had a huge canopy of trees above an oversized walkway with fountains and monuments throughout.  It was a fun place to people watch and stroll.  We noticed that pinstripe suits are very popular in Sydney.  It was quite a departure from the less formal attire we generally saw in Fiji and New Zealand.

Hyde Park Rainbow

Sometimes even Ms. HalfEmpty spots a rainbow @ Hyde Park

The Royal Botanic Gardens was another green area near our hotel.  Despite being winter, it was still beautiful.  But I think I was most surprised by the colorful birds we spotted flying free.

birds in Royal Botanic Garden

Birds munching on bread @ Royal Botanic Gardens

Our second day in town was unseasonably warm and sunny.  I was quite congested and didn’t feel very good, but I decided to be a trooper and take a short ferry ride to Manly Beach.  I was apprehensive about another ferry ride, but I hoped I would fare better than last time.  I knew it was a much shorter ride, not on open waters, with great weather conditions; so I took my chances.  Fortunately, the ride was uneventful.

Manly Beach

The tiny dots in the water are surfers @ Manly Beach

When we arrived in Manly Beach, we headed to the drugstore to find a decongestant for me.  I read a pamphlet at my doctor’s office a while ago that said the cold medicines you find on the shelves are ineffective as decongestants and you should buy the type with pseudoephedrine behind the counter.  Those are also sold behind the counter in Australia.  So I spoke with the pharmacist to see which ones they had in stock.  She asked me if I wanted codeine!  I didn’t take her up on her offer, but I was certainly surprised that you don’t need a prescription for narcotics in Australia.  Anyway, I took my decongestant pills and felt better.

We spent a few hours walking along the beach and watching the surfers.  Even this half empty girl could realize that it was a glorious day!

Sydney Harbor

View of a sailboat, the Sydney Opera House, and another ferry while ferrying back to Sydney Harbor

In the afternoon, we went back to Sydney and walked A LOT.  We were on a quest to find the best meat pie after reading a review.  We never did find that restaurant.  I was disappointed because I fell in love with meat pies in New Zealand.  Those pies were so delicate, flaky and delicious.  But in Australia, the pies I tried in Sydney were rather disappointing.  Maybe it’s because I was sick, but I don’t think so.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Fortunately this bird did not poop on Ms. HalfEmpty @ Sydney Harbor

In fact, I didn’t like much Australian food.  We always try to sample the local cuisine in each country, but we were generally disappointed with Australian restaurants.  We soon learned that the Asian restaurants were delicious.  I guess that makes sense with the close proximity and number of the immigrants.  So we ended up sticking to Thai and Japanese with great success.

Coffee School

Should Ms. HalfEmpty enroll at the Coffee School?

During that long walk, we found the perfect place for me — a coffee school!  Was it a sign?

Sydney Opera House sign organ poster

Mr. HalfFull at the Sydney Opera House. Is that the only answer? =)

That evening I took another decongestant pill before we walked to the Sydney Opera House to see a play.  It was our 5th play of the 30/40 World Tour… and the worst.  It was such a strange play.  But perhaps this was once again clouded by my sickness, although I doubt it.  On the walk to the play, my heart was racing, my legs were tingling, and I started shaking.  Then I was no longer able to flex my feet as I stepped off sidewalk curbs.  It was such a strange feeling.  When we got to the theater, Mr. HalfFull got me some juice.  After a few sips, I promptly ran to the bathroom to vomit.  Yes, I defiled the Sydney Opera House; it was an accident.

But don’t worry, even though I’m Ms. HalfEmpty, I got better.



  • Would you dress up for Lady Gaga?
  • Have you ruined clothes in the dryer?
  • Have you preferred non-native food to local cuisine while traveling?
  • Have you gotten sick while traveling?  Did you notice differences in the availability of medications?

Related:  All posts in the 30/40 World Tour series

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Waterfalls Inside the Ferry

While in New Zealand, Mr. HalfFull and I drove around much of the North Island.  It was gorgeous, but everyone kept telling us about the beauty of the South Island.  However, we visited New Zealand during their winter season and realized that our gear may not be appropriate for traveling closer to the Antarctic.  But we still wanted to visit the South Island, even if we only saw a small part.

Ferry in Wellington

Mr. HalfFull prepares to embark with his duffel in Wellington.

The most common form of transportation between the two islands is ferry boat.  These massive ships even have a parking deck reserved for tractor-trailers transporting goods between the islands.  We also saw a number of passenger vehicles on the ferry, but most rental car companies do not allow it.  So it was just us and our duffels.

Peace, Perfect Peace

Ms. HalfEmpty found “Peace, Perfect Peace” on a memorial in Picton.

The ferry ride to the South Island was fairly peaceful.  I didn’t see anyone turn green and/or run to the bathroom.  After arriving on the South Island, we spent a few days in the quaint port town of Picton, where I did not find my passion, but I did find “Peace, Perfect Peace.”

The return trip, however, was not so calm.  I think that if the trips had been reversed, I would have flown back to the North Island rather than endure another ferry ride.  Ferries seem so charming and romantic until you are tossed around inside the ship like tiny plastic figurines.  It was truly horrible.

Picton Ferry Terminal

Ms. HalfEmpty purchased internet time to keep her occupied in the Picton Ferry Terminal.

We woke up early that morning for our return ferry, bundled up, checked out of our hotel, and walked to the ferry terminal only to find that our boat was 2 hours delayed.  The ferry company claimed that the conditions were poor.  But we heard from others that the ferry wasn’t full, so they made a business decision to combine multiple departure times into one ship full of passengers and cargo.  I didn’t really know what to believe, but I was feeling rather half empty since I had left my warm cozy bed to be there early.  Plus the café wasn’t even open to supply me with coffee as I waited!

Hours later, we boarded the ship.  As we passed through the Marlborough Sound, the conditions seemed fine to me.  What was the weather delay all about?  I soon discovered that the seas got much rougher as we headed into more open waters.  We were on the uppermost deck inside a huge ferry with 9 decks and the waves were crashing against the windows in a sea of white.  It was as if we were on an airplane flying through turbulent clouds.


Gentle wake behind the ferry boat was not what we experienced on the return trip.

I went to the food court to find a soda to settle my stomach.  But I could barely stand.  The ship was tossing me as I tried to stand my ground like a surfer in a wide bent leg stance with arms outstretched.  I had to leave without buying anything because I couldn’t hold still long enough to read the labels and grab something without vomiting.  I thought it would be poor form to do so in the middle of the food court, so I returned to my seat.

Sitting across the aisle was a woman whose face had turned white.  She had obviously been vomiting and looked terrible.  The crew came around with ice chips for us to suck on, but that didn’t help.  Soon I couldn’t take it anymore and joined the other woman in the bathroom where I produced my own triple vomit waterfall.  Still shaking, I returned to my seat.  Apparently, there was a similar waterfall scene in the men’s restroom as well.

When we finally arrived back on the North Island (me, a few pounds of vomit lighter), we picked up our rental car and headed to our next destination.  Unfortunately, the drive was filled with winding, curvy mountain roads that were not kind to my already upset tummy.

I survived, but I’m not sure I want to take another 3 hour ferry ride…ever!

  • How do you react to travel delays?
  • Do you find ferry boats charming and romantic?
  • Have you experienced sea sickness?
  • Would you rather fly or ferry?

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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