Observing Everyday Life in Suzhou China

Inside one of the gardens in Suzhou China

With just one day to visit, we only got a glimpse of life in Suzhou China. Sitting about 100km west of the big city of Shanghai, we could sense the more relaxed lifestyle the instant we got off the train. Life in Suzhou had an almost tranquil atmosphere despite being one of China’s most affluent cities. […]

Chefchaouen: Photographing the Streets of Morocco’s Blue City

Classic scene in Chefchaouen, the Blue City in Morocco.

Chefchaouen is unlike most other places we have been. With a sordid, almost secret history, it’s a walled Moroccan city founded in 1471. A refuge and haven for Jews and Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition, Chefchaouen banned Christians (punishable by death) until the 1920s when it was temporarily captured by Spain. Today it is probably […]

Visiting a Bedouin Camp in the Moroccan Sahara

One of the more solid structures at a Bedouin camp in the Sahara desert in Morocco

When we were invited to visit a Bedouin camp while in the Moroccan Sahara, we were not sure what to expect. We were greeted with warm smiles, hot tea, and a style of hospitality that made us feel less like tourists, and more like long lost friends. As we drove through the Sahara desert, we first […]

Musket Holes in New Zealand’s Oldest Church

Musket holes in the side of Christ Church, New Zealand's Oldest Church located in Russell

The laid-back tourist town of Russell is home to New Zealand’s oldest church, and quite a bit of sordid history. Russell, called Kororareka in the 1830’s, was nicknamed the Hell Hole of the Pacific as it was a wild town populated by drunken men and loose women. The missionaries intending to bring religion to this […]

Sarah’s Snapshots – La Redonda in Santa Fe Argentina

Leonardo Da Vinci swing, La Redonda, Santa Fe, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

My host sister here in Argentina works at a local community centre that I’ve visited multiple times. An old converted train station, La Redonda is now an art and public centre that’s open on the weekends and during holidays. It’s great for kids, with plenty of arts and crafts activities located along the walls, and also […]

Highlights of Vancouver – Much More than a Port City

The steam clock is a landmark in Gastown in Vancouver Canada

This is our second visit to lush, green Vancouver. It’s one of only a small handful of cities around the world that I would love to live in someday, even despite the colder winters. We arrived via cruise ship, disembarking after 18-nights and an adventure through the Panama Canal. Planning ahead, we had reserved a […]

Pasifika: A Celebration of Pacific Island Culture

Cook Island dancers at the Pasifika Festival in Auckland New Zealand

Capturing the atmosphere at the Pasifika Festival with only a digital cameral is virtually impossible. Yet I had to try. This annual Pacific Islands-themed festival took place this past weekend in Auckland New Zealand. Attracting close to 100,000 visitors, it is the largest festival of its type in the world. As you enjoy these photos, breathe in the aroma […]

100 Strangers Project Completed in Wellington NZ

100 Strangers Project in Wellington New Zealand

For some reason the 100 Strangers Project was a huge challenge for me. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I started it in May 2014. A year and a half later I am pleased to report I have completed the 100 Strangers Project. This beautiful stranger was my final shot: I have read lots […]

Cape Reinga: Stunning and Spiritual Top of New Zealand

Walking path to the lighthouse at Cape Reinga, the top of the North Island in New Zealand

Cape Reinga is a crown jewel, the spiritual and stunning northern tip of New Zealand. For Maori, Cape Reinga is where a person’s spirit comes after death and departs for their eternal home. For visitors, it also offers spectacular ocean views including the impressive coming together of two major bodies of water. Practical Information:  While thought of as the most […]

DeJa Vu: New Zealand’s Rainbow of Random Hair Color

Random hair color in New Zealand

Random hair color seems to be everywhere these days. I am not that brave, although mine has changed quite a bit in the past year. When I read about the deja vu blog fest these random hair color images were the first thing to pop into my head. Simply put it is hosted by DL Hammonds, […]

Sarah’s Sunday Snapshots #35 – Armageddon Expo

Pepper Potts - Iron Man

One of New Zealand’s largest annual pop culture events, Auckland’s Armageddon Expo occurred this October and drew more than 65,000 people over the four days it ran. Taking place at ASB Showgrounds, it holds everything from gaming to costumes in several large halls and in the outside area. What is just as impressive as all of […]

Late Night Halloween on K-Road and Queen Street in Auckland

Even some of the shop keepers got into the late night Halloween spirit in Auckland, New Zealand

Last night was a real eye-opener for me. Late night Halloween in Auckland brought out the creativity that New Zealand is known for. Since immigrating here 12 years ago, I have been incorrectly referring to Halloween as a “children’s” holiday in New Zealand. I thought the MOTAT Olde Hallow’s Eve event last week was pretty […]

Visiting Auckland’s Polynesian-Style Otara Market in the Rain

Shoppers at the Otara Market on a rainy Saturday in Auckland New Zealand

South Auckland is home to the Otara Market, the largest Polynesian-style market in New Zealand. We visited on hubby’s birthday last weekend, and unfortunately, it was raining. In addition to vendors selling food, clothing, flowers, and Pasifika treasures, we discovered the freshest and least expensive produce we have seen in a while. Neither the vendors […]

Colorful Photos of Auckland Diwali Festival in New Zealand

Dancers at Auckland Diwali Festival 2015 in New Zealand

The excitement and energy level at the Auckland Diwali Festival was contagious. The music fostered movement both on-stage and in the crowd. It is a colorful, jubilant gathering of the sights and sounds of India. We walked up from lower Queen Street, coming upon craft and clothing booths just past the Air New Zealand cockpit […]

Photos: A Steampunk Convention in Auckland New Zealand

Aethercon Steampunk Convention 2015 Auckland New Zealand

Today I attended Aethercon 2015, the annual steampunk convention in Auckland, New Zealand. Last year’s steampunk convention was my first exposure to this genre, or subculture. This year I was better prepared, as I had a basic understanding. In its most simplified form: steampunk is a genre of science fiction, based in Victorian era that […]

Planting Day Replenishes the Native Bush to Auckland Parks

Planting Day at Shakespear Park in Auckland New Zealand

Planting Day brings out the best of people. The sense of community is one of the things I love about living in New Zealand.  Despite the rainy day, about 90 people planted nearly 4000 trees in Auckland’s Shakespear Park a few weekends ago. For now, I can’t plant, so I came along with a camera. […]

Just Smile – An Auckland Pirate is my Weekend Travel Inspiration

Just Smile - A funny pirate carrying a sign on Queen Street in Auckland New Zealand

Now that I am traveling locally, I see Auckland in a different light, and generally I can just smile and enjoy the city. Sometimes I need a bit of encouragement. I noticed him diagonally across Queen Street on one of major intersections with traffic lights that include a rotation for pedestrians to cross in all […]

Sarah’s Sunday Snapshots #30 – Very Vintage Day Out

50s waitress at the Very Vintage Day Out, Alexandra Park Raceway, Auckland, New Zealand - Photograph copyright Sarah E. Albom 2015

In April I attended a Very Vintage Day Out in Auckland with my sister and a group of friends. There was an indoor market and vintage cars in the outdoor section. It was a really fun day, and I enjoyed myself a lot. Here are my favourite vintage day photos: Sarah’s Sunday Snapshots is now back […]

People Are What Make Auckland New Zealand Special – #AtoZ

People in Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is an eclectic mix of personalities and people, not much different than other modern cities we have visited around the world. We arrived here nearly 12 years ago, and I still remember the mixed reaction as we told our friends and family we were moving half way around the world to New Zealand. Some […]

One Tree Hill, an Auckland Icon, but Where is the Tree? #AtoZ

Look out from One Tree Hill, Auckland New Zealand

We hadn’t been to One Tree Hill for years when we headed up a few weeks ago thinking about P for Park, V for Volcano, M for Maungakiekie (its Māori name) or L for Lookout. It didn’t take long to remember One Tree Hill has its own story. Are you wondering, where is the tree? Practical Information […]

Marae is the Center of Māori Life in New Zealand

Looking in to the Papakura Marae from the main gate.

As we drove past the Papakura Marae on the way to the Hunua Ranges I was captivated by the intricate red carvings. I had to go back for a closer look. A marae is a meeting grounds; it’s the center of life for Māori communities in New Zealand, a place to stand and belong. Generally fenced-in, […]

Egg Hunt with a Big Twist and a bit of New Zealand Fun

New born lambs in New Zealand

We took an early ferry to Auckland so we could participate in the world’s biggest egg hunt before our whale and dolphin safari last Wednesday.  With today being Easter in New Zealand it seems the perfect time to share my giant egg hunt photos. (Oops, I hit publish instead of save, so “E is for […]

Photos: A Rainbow of Hair Color in Wellington New Zealand

Rainbow of Hair Color in Wellington New Zealand

People watching from a cafe on Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand, Sarah suddenly had an idea “Hey mum, I challenge you to do the 100-Strangers Project featuring a rainbow of hair color.” It’s a new twist on an old challenge. Last year I never completed the 100-Strangers Project as I am too intimidated to […]

A Maori Chief Statue in Auckland and a Bucket List

Maori Chief

This statue of a Maori Chief in a Kaitaka cloak by Molly Macalister was one of the many interesting artworks we saw on our guided Art Walk along the Auckland Waterfront over the weekend. Our guide explained that it was commissioned to be situated somewhere else, but it was moved as tourists expected to see […]