Category Archives: Information

Big Boy boots

With winter truly setting in here in Dunedin I have taken it upon myself to finally become a proper adult and get some footwear suitable for the weather outside. After the helicopter trip last week it became very quickly apparent to me that the Trail running trainers that I have are NOT waterproof and are not the best things to have for walking in snow. Luckily it was only for about 15 mins and the double lair of socks saved the day but given that I want to do more hikes moving forwards things have had to change.

I decided a while ago that I was going to get some boots but needed the kick to go out and actually get some. When I first came to NZ i did bring some boots from home with me, however they were cheap and pretty crap to be honest and after the first hike I did with them I swore that I would not be wearing them again and promptly chucked them out without much of a financial loss at all! After that I have always stuck with trail running shoes for all of the trips I’ve been on and for the most part they have done what I’ve wanted. As I get more and more into Kiwi life and start looking at more hikes and adventures I can go on I know that I am going to need the footwear to get the job done so boots are the answer. To push me along even more it snowed in the middle of the week which caught me out so I decided to take the plunge and get it all sorted out sooner rather than later.

When buying boots there seems to be 2 trains of thought, The first is to buy some cheaper boots and see how you get on with them in the short term. This option usually gets you something that will last you a few years before needing to be replaced and is usually a perfectly good option. The issue is that even the cheaper boots are not that cheap if you want something that you are going to be comfy in but overall this isn’t a bad plan. Option 2 would be to splash out and get some more expensive boots from a well known brand that are probably going to last until the end of time. These boots will probably be way more than is required most of the time, however with a bit of TLC and regular maintenance boots like this will last a lifetime and just keep on going.

Since coming to NZ my plan has always been to buy once and buy well. I would much rather buy something decent that is going to last me that have a room full of crap that doesn’t quite work so obviously I want with option 2.

I ended up getting some Lowa Camino GTX boots which are apparently a decent brand and a decent boot. I could say that I knew all of this information before I walked into the store, however it turned out they were on sale from a stupidly high price which did sway my decision quite a bit. Happily the post purchase googling confirmed what the sales rep had already told me which is always nice to find out. On top of that they also have a decent warranty / returns policy if it turns out that they were not what I was after which is something that always puts your mind at ease when making a decent purchase.

So far the boots have been used for the long and tedious walk from my desk to the kitchen at work while I slowly wear them in and get used to having something heavier and more rigid on my feet. At first I wasn’t quite sure about them or about walking in boots in general but they do feel pretty sturdy and I guess the only way to get to know properly will be to take them out for a decent walk and see how things go.

All things considered I am quite happy and will keep you all up to date with how they get on during my future adventures.

Whats been happening…

It seems that I am getting further and further behind with the tales of my adventure at Christmas and to top it off I still have a whole different adventure in Mauritius to write about that I also need to get around to!

I figure the best right now it would be an idea to explain some current events and why I have not quite had the time to sit back and write more blog posts for my 3 or 4 adoring fans!

Things at work have been pretty hectic in the last month but in a positive way. We have just moved to a new location and are in the process of opening up a retail store. Now we already have 2 retail stores, one in Timaru and one in Balclutha but this will be the first one in Dunedin where the head office tends to currently focus on business customers. The reason for the move came about as we needed more room and if we were going to make a move we may as well do something big and get a place with our name on the wall where customers can actually see us.

The name isnt quite up on the wall yet but there has been a massive bit of work to get things moved over and to get the shop ship shape ready for opening shortly. I will not bother with any pics now as things are not quite finished but it is fair to say that it looks totally different to the shell we moved into a month ago. We have a new, large, engineering workbench, TV on the wall for monitoring, sales office and a quite impressive shop to add to the mix.

To say it has taken its toll a little would be an understatement! It has been very hard and long hours have had to be worked by all in order to keep doing our every day business while planning and executing a shop design and fit out all in the background. It feels great in the last few days as the display tables have some in and the centre space of the room has been filled up a bit and it now actually looks like a store rather than a big room with some shelving around the outside. More details here.

to be honest most of my time this last month has been taken up with work so there isn’t really much more excitement that I can share.

oh I did randomly bump into a friend from home a few days ago while at work. I was installing a new WiFi system at a hostel and saw someone walk up the stairs who I recognised and it just so happened to be Chris Goss, a friend from back home who came out to NZ shortly after I did but was living in Wellington. He hadnt even realised that I was in Dunedin and it just happened to be chance that bumped into each other.

I find that a lot about NZ and Dunedin in particular though. It just seems it isnt that hard to bump into someone that should be the other side of the world. I guess that is just part of the magic.


Bonus: The pic at the top if my car the other morning. Hope it makes all you Northern Hemisphere peeps happy to see that its nice and cold down here in NZ right now!

Soi Ta-iad, Phuket a.k.a Fitness Street

I wrote this post on February 25th, however for some reason I never got around to publishing it. I think at the time I just wanted to wait until I had some photos to use in it but then things got busy and I just moved on without actually getting it done. It is supposed to be a bit of an informative piece for anyone thinking of going on a fitness adventure so hopefully someone read it and benefits from it. So here you go! Enjoy

Soi Ta-iad is the name of the road that Tiger Muay Thai is located on and I have to say I really do love this street. This one street seems to be sort of the fitness and training hub of Phuket and due to that it has some quite unique attributes that you don’t seem to find in a lot of other places.

If things are easy then people do them and this street makes being healthy easy!

The Gyms
The whole street has sprung up around the existence of the Tiger Muay Thai training camp and now has a life of its own. Apparently a few years ago there was nothing really here apart from TMT, however its reputation grew so much that people from all over the world came to train here. Other gyms sprung up along the street to try and get in on the action and the fitness street was born. Tiger Muay Thai, Dragon Muay Thai and Phuket Top Team are all located on this road along with other gyms like Unit 27 Crossfit and Titan Fitness that all specialise in their own unique type of exercise. Due to this most of the people you see coming and going every day are here for classes and to work out in some way shape or form. I have never seen anywhere else with so many Gyms in such a small place. Rather than compete with each other many of these places specialise in a specific thing and have their own unique selling points to different people meaning that there is something for everyone here.

Whether you want to learn to fight, build up your fitness, flip tyres about or lift weights in some stupid heat then this is the place for you!

The Hotels
People need places to crash out when they are training hard and so the street is also packed with hotels. From larger apartments to very basic dorm style rooms there is something for everyone and always somewhere to stay that is within budget. It is so easy to find accommodation here that I know of a few people that only booked the first week before they left home and then have just gone looking and found better deals speaking to hotels and moved to different places as and when they need to. No matter where you stay though or how lavish or pauper-ish your accommodation is, everyone hits the mats are trains the same way. When we are training we are equals.

The Bars
There are only a couple of pure bars on the street that only serve drink and are open late as there is not much demand for them. Most of the people here are into healthy lifestyles or are here for a specific weight loss / fitness goal and so are not bothered about getting drunk every night. Obviously everyone wants to let their hair down every now and again and to a quiet beer with a game of pool is nice but there isn’t a roaring trade. If you want to party then you can always get a taxi to Patong where drink and debauchery is on tap!

The Restaurants
Nearly every hotel has a restaurant attached to it with plenty more dotted in between. Even though all of these restaurants sell alcohol it is very rare that I see someone drinking and even when they are it is just the single beer to wind down on a night. The brilliant think about the restaurants here is that their menu’s have been designed to suit the clientèle. Nearly all of the menus contain English / European Dishes, Thai Dishes and then Health Dishes that are often sometimes known as fighter meals. This section of fighter meals is usually where most people are ordering from and contains things such as Grilled chicken with steamed veg or other dishes cooked without any oils etc. It might sound a little boring and bland but it is great as it takes some of the hassle out of the decision making process. Instead of having to look through the menu to find the one lonely healthy meal you can flick to the section and find what you want straight away which often stops people straying from the healthy path. When you also look around and see that you are only one debating having a burger and chips it makes it a little easier to make the right choice and eat healthily. It seems like completely the reverse of the peer pressure at home to eat junk. Here someone shook their head at me for ordering pasta for dinner due to all the carbs! That would never happen at home. BTW I enjoyed the pasta and didn’t care!

Shake / Smoothie Huts
Something that I have only seemed to see a lot of on this street is little huts that only sell smoothies, fresh fruit or Protien shakes. They are dotted all the way up and down the street which means on your way back to your hotel after training you can grab a shake straight away made with all fresh ingredients and not have to bother messing about making it yourself. Just another way that the street helps you stick to your goals.

Massage Parlours
All the way up and down the street massage parlours offering many different services including leg and foot massages and different sports massages. None of them are quite the seedy “massage parlour” you imagine with most of the goings on happening right in the shop window so people can see it is an innocent and genuine business. After training hard lots of people I have talked to swear by the massages as well as the Ice baths that some of the places offer. May have to look into that a bit more before I leave.

Fighting Kit Stores
If you forgot to bring some equipment before you left home then don’t worry about it as practically anything you need can be purchased from the multiple fight stores all down the road. The prices in them are not great considering that you can get some things back home quite cheap, however they tend to only stock the good brands so you do get quality for your money. All in all the price is probably the same as you can get it for at home but this way you don’t have to worry about transporting it all here and can always pick up anything that you have forgotten quite easily, be it MMA shorts, shin pads, gloves or rash guards. Most of the Gyms also have their own clothing lines with Tiger Muay Thai fight store also having a full range of all the workout clothes, gloves and pads you would need. The prices here are much cheaper than they are listed on their website, but still more expensive than you can get elsewhere (A TMT training vest top is about £10 when you could get one from a market store for about £2). It is “more” expensive but it is still very reasonable compared to prices back home, especially since you will also end up keeping it as a souvenir rather than just something to use as a one off for a few weeks.

The best thing by far about the fight stores here is that they just leave you alone. Everywhere else that I have been on holiday (and everywhere outside of this street) try and give you the hard sell whenever you go in and start looking at something. Here people really don’t care and are quite laid back as they know that if you want something from them then you will come and buy it. It is quite refreshing to be in a shop and no have someone trying to sell you anything.

The People
Last but not least it is the people that make this street such a friendly and welcoming place. All of the trainers, store owners and restaurateurs are very friendly and kind and so far I have not had a single bad interaction with anyone.

As well as all of the locals there are also all of the people that are here to train and exercise. Everyone is here for roughly the same goal and so everyone is nice and pushes each other on, no matter what the nationality, creed, colour or language. I have made friends with some Russian guys who speak no English at all. We communicate via hand signals and Google translate but are still there to push each other to keep going during an exercise when we start to get tired. Whenever you are running along and getting a bit tired suddenly a huge Russian will tap you on the back and start pushing you forwards both figuratively and literally!

So far I have met people from: South Africa, Singapore, Austria, Germany, Wales, Scotland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Iceland and Norway. There are probably even more places that I have missed out, but the point is that no matter where people are from everyone has the same goal and passion that drives us all together as one big team. Every day you pass people on the street and say Hi and can get chatting because you know you at least share an interest and passion for trying to improve yourself and make yourself just a little better than you were yesterday.

Soi Ta-iad is a place where where I think anyone would benefit from spending a few weeks. If you are not motivated to train or workout then this place would change you. Exercise here is infection and certainly something I needed in my life. I can’t wait until I get a chance to return!



Missing Visitors

A few days ago I noticed that one of my blog posts had not been auto posted to my Facebook account as it should and so decided to manually submit it for a change. All of a sudden the thing blew up and it is probably one of the most commented things that I’ve ever put on Facebook (although it was to do with the tragic loss of a hat so that does make sense a little!)

Upon further investigation I have discovered that even though the wonderful book of faces has said it is posting my blog updates, it hasn’t actually been adding them to anyone’s news feed which basically means no one has seen it.

Four months I have been away so far and in that time the only one that anyone has seen in a feed is the first ever one or the one from the other day which would explain why it seems that only my closest friends and family who bothered to save the link seem to have read anything.

On a positive note though at least now I know and from now on I can keep on firing the updates at Facebook for all of you to see and judge me on. If anyone is bored though do feel free to have a look through some of the posts as some of them are pretty good (if I do say so myself!)

£2.50 Dominoes Pizza!

Auckland is known to be an expensive city in comparison with other places $5.99in the world. To put it into perspective of what things cost I bought some shower gel and touthpaste earlier and paid over £7 for the privileged.That is probably because I was also robbed but for a more universal example a starbucks coffee probably costs about £4 which is roughly the same as back home.

The thing that has socked me though was today when we walked passed Dominoes and saw in their window a sign saying they had pizza’s for $5.99 which is about £3!

“…but your title is wrong! It says the pizza is £2.50!” I hear you cry…

Fear not dear readers, these were just some of the pizzas on offer and I bought mine from the super value range and paid $5 for it. It is crazy how cheap it is there, scarily so. Especially to say I paid $8 for a 6″ subway yesterday!

Best keep my eyes open for these cheap deals!DSC_0528 (1024x576)

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