Heading north for the winter and becoming a groupie for the New Zealand Diamond Blacks

Things are a little hectic around here as I try and get myself and my family as organised as possible before heading north for the summer.

This time of the year in far north Australia the ‘build up’ is in full swing. 40 degree celsius days become the norm. Couple that with stifling high humidity and my little town of Kununurra starts to close up ahead of the wet season storms that will follow this build up period. Many locals will head south to cooler weather and family and friends. We do the same but just in the opposite direction and head to Thailand.

In less then two days time I hope to be driving down my driveway before the sun makes an appearance on our way to Darwin which is 850kms away. After dumping the car at a friends place and getting about five hours rest at the Darwin Airport Hotel we head to the airport to fly to Bangkok via Singapore arriving early the next morning.
It is going to be a long 30 hours of travel but we are all used to it apart from my one year old son who has only done this sort of thing once before, but I am confident it will all go well.

Three days of R & R in Bangkok and then it will be off to Ubon Ratchathani. This is where things will get a little different to previous trips. My family will be staying on in Ubon / the village and I will be heading back to Bangkok the following day. This time I am not heading there for work regarding my Agarwood business or heading onto Laos. This time I am on a bonafide ridgy didge holiday albeit with a slight twist.

You see I am going to become a groupie of the New Zealand baseball team called the Diamond Blacks. You may have noticed on my twitter feed recently some tweets about baseball and the New Zealand team. There is obviously a reason behind all that because baseball is not my game. I saw two games live when I was 17 when the Melbourne Monarchs defeated the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League Grand final but that was only because my cousin Mark Skeels was playing for Melbourne.
So it is safe to say that I really do not know much about Baseball and have never played it myself. Cricket is much more my style.

Andy Skeels, New Zealand Team Manager for the Diamond Blacks and current Manager for the San Jose Giants.

However, when two of my cousins get called up to represent Team New Zealand A.K.A The Diamond Blacks I take a bit of interest. When I then discover that they are going to a tournament to try and qualify for the World Baseball Classic (the world cup of baseball) and are playing against Thailand, Chinese Taipei and the Philippines I start to take a lot of interest. When I discover that the tournament is to be played in Taiwan and happens to be around the same time we were planning to head to Thailand then I started booking tickets!

This is exciting times for New Zealand baseball as this is the first time a national team has ever been put together and over the weekend against the Sydney Blue Sox in Sydney where they were playing a few practise games it was the first time that a Haka had ever been performed on a baseball diamond outside of New Zealand.

This is a great article about the back ground to the Diamond Blacks and the challenges they face just to get to Taiwan. You never know, this could be a real Cinderella story and even if it isn’t I am going to have a great time watching the games, catching up with my cousins who I have not seen for way too long as well as my Auntie who is coming over from California to watch her two boys play.

After five days in Taipei I then get to fulfil a dream I have had since I was a little kid: To visit Vietnam. Just a quick visit of two days in Ho Chi Minh city and two days in Hanoi. Not long enough to really see anything but enough to get a feel for the place to help me decide if it would be worth to bring my family back for a longer visit later on.

My plan is to try and blog my trip as close to live as possible but I know my weaknesses and one of those is blogging while on the road. Somehow I seem to get too caught up with all the excitement or just dealing with the kids and it never seems to happen. It is also because I have verbal diarrhoea and a short blog always seems to turn into a word fest which takes me ages to compose. I hope my travelling solo this time and a concerted effort to write less and post more photos to tell the story might actually help to make it happen. If I managed to do it then I hope you will enjoy my travels with me.


3 responses to “Heading north for the winter and becoming a groupie for the New Zealand Diamond Blacks

  1. So please make sure you post pictures of you in your black & whites. So wish I could be there with you guys.

    • I have borrowed a Kiwi flag from Andrea which Seerung thought was a waste of time as she reckons no one can tell the difference between it and the Aussie flag! I may go as far as donning a Team NZ baseball cap. I should really be waving a Thai flag!

  2. Pingback: A few questions about travelling to Taiwan

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