Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Investigation of the Citizen Above Suspicion

Ah, now there's a snappy title. This sounded interesting so I was looking forwards to this.

We start with the Homicide Chief committing murder. And he also turns up at the initial investigation. However, he's on his way to being the Political Division Chief, so he only looks on from the outside while committing acts on subversives. As events progress, he has to make sure the wrong person isn't put up for his crime, and leads others towards him... but clearly he is above suspicion, so no-one would dare think it's him...

This did make me think of another movie which would probably be considered far campier than this serious piece (that does get ridiculous in places). I'd repeat the opening of the officer committing the crime, but break the fourth wall and include the audience in with activities. It will bring in a sense of complicity that could give a more engaging experience. (Is there already a movie like that?)

Anyway, this movie is mostly well done. There are some moments where the camera man seems to be not quite able to get a good picture, so the image might be slightly out of focus, or have a weird moire pattern on the screen. And the music takes a while to get somewhere, but it did grow on me.

There is definitely a point to this movie, and one that still deserves to be made.


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Monday, 29 June 2015


Yeah, let's knock another Hidden Object game off, this one Enigmatis. The first thing I want to say is "yay for decent screen handling!"

In this we are a (female) detective, investigating the disappearance of a young woman. We wake up with something approaching amnesia, and need to piece together what we did here as well as what is going on. And there's been a lot more disappearances and something shady going on with the preacher for a long time now. As we try to save the girl, we uncover the truth and find spooky supernatural elements.

The HO part of the game is largely straight forward, but that's what I wanted. I was on regular mode, which meant I didn't get punished for not knowing what the developer thought and object was, and missing it amidst the general art on screen. The images had a rather stylised version, not photo quality, so that didn't help.

The puzzles were largely straight forward, nothing too obtuse. And the map was vital in working out where to go next, there is a lot of back and forth across locations in this game.

In all, a decent game, and now for the sequel.


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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Patrick Howling

Sigh, another actor has exited, stage left. One Mr Patrick Macnee, he of The Avengers fame. And pretty much that's his thing, but he seemed happy with that. Even was willing to turn up in that piece of rubbish movie version... but anyway, I really want to see the series again, and I will some time... but until that, let's check out a movie of his I haven't seen.

A news reporter is on the trail of a serial killer, and agrees to meet him, but has something of a mental breakdown. So she and her husband are recommended to go to a retreat under a renown doctor (played by Macneee). However, there are still monsters even there, and the original killer comes back, and everyone gets to be a werewolf! (This is the first movie in which there are many now, and the fact that it's about werewolfs is given away pretty heavily.)

Considering this is 1981 the effects are... varied. Some parts are quite good (the hand, I like). The full monster costume isn't terrible, but it looks more bat than wolf. But the transformation sequences... I laughed. Nope, can't take that seriously.

Macnee is fine, but doesn't really get that much to do. The word 'avuncular' comes to mind when I think of him. Sad to see him go, and this is one of those movies that don't really need to be seen to complete his oeuvre.


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Saturday, 27 June 2015

It Fallows

Hey, it's a horror movie. Some good reviews, so let's enjoy!

After having sex, Jay is told that what was following him is now following her. Only she's the only one who can see it, no-one else can (except those who've already been cursed(?)). Where this comes from... who knows. What exactly the rules are around it... are somewhat conflicting. And I have no idea what happened at the end that they were trying to say.

I also spent a lot of this movie wondering how the Tenth Doctor would handle this. Obviously, he'd try to communicate with it, but since other that It following, we get absolutely no sense of what whatever it is is all about, so that wouldn't go anywhere.

While some scenes were good, other parts just felt discordant. And I can't get behind that soundtrack at all, it was also jarring.

Overall, not really a plus from me.


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Friday, 26 June 2015

Second Alias

Let's look at Season Two.

The big schtick this season is that the mother turns up, who was thought to be dead, but don't trust that in this series. But can she be trusted? There's a lot played with 'is she good? is she bad?', and when she appears to be bad is it for good reasons? And when those motives are uncovered,... it just goes on. That's an annoying bit this series does is gives you a little, then says 'but that's not really the case, keep watching another ten episodes for another hint'! If I weren't rushing through these...

Another thing in this season is that they just give up on The Alliance halfway through. All of a sudden, 'hey, we can take them out', and then that's that for that plot line. Rambaldi is still going, and Sloane becomes the enemy for the remainder of the season, and trusted people are revealed to be agents of evil (another common trope here), until the big build up at the end... and the final cliff hanger is jumping forwards two years.

Yep, they just switch up the way the series works. Because...

It's amazing how everything important (mainly related to the Rambaldi plot) is centring around Sydney. Yes, she is the star, but there is only so much backstory you can suddenly reveal... but again, more will be added.

The big thing is really the chance of story format with getting rid of SD-6, but that's nothing to what's in later seasons.


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Thursday, 25 June 2015


I've seen this being promoted in my twitter feed, so fine, let's give this a go.

For some reason eight people have a connection with each other that some times enables them to see each other as if they are in the same room as them, and sometimes to 'replace' the other person and act as they would.

Why? I don't know. Because I gave up on this series too. What this really meant is that this was the chance to have eight different soap operas going on with different characters and us having to sit through them all waiting for an answer. Naveen Andrews isn't the only reason I'm thinking of Lost.

The few times when it's 'the other person is now there and able to use their skills to help the original person' shows the promise of the premise, but it's just taking too long. Even having the Wachoski's and JMS involved doesn't mean we'd get anything good (*cough* Jupiter Ascendant *cough*).

Maybe I'm just too impatient and with so many things demand our attention I'm not giving it a real chance. But I spent more time remember the one episode of Mr Robot that got out than I spent thinking about this series.


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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Waywand Pins

Another series based on a series of books, in which there is a weird town.

We start with a Secret Security agent waking up in the weird town... and I'm already wondering if I should watch Twin Peaks again. Weird things happen, and then his family join him, but he isn't able to connect to outside, and it seems the town is isolated.

And then the truth is revealed to the audience. I'm not going to spoil what it is, I will say I didn't see it coming... because it's really bizarre. And doesn't make a lot of sense. The town shouldn't be the way it is. Sure, people would have trouble believing it, but still there should be more signs of this truth is what's around them.

One person involved in this is M. Night Shyamalan, so of course there's something else going on. What a twist! But this is more late stage M. Night that his earlier work.

I gave it a fair shake... but that's enough. Onto something else.


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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sans Andreas Quack

[No, this was not shown at the Film Society.] The Asylum are skating close with this title, but that's never stopped them before. However, the plot is pretty damn close too.

A seismologist works out how to predict quakes, and she then predicts some big ones about to hit. Her new boyfriend is a helicopter pilot. And her daughter is wanting to live her own life in the city. Then quakes hit, and they all have to get together before everything falls down around her. Although, being the Asylum, it remains fairly basic.

When the quakes hit, they start with a 4 and a 5... and you know what, as someone who's being through those, they don't do nearly the scale of damage that this movie would have you believe. They are more like 7 or 8s, but hey, if they said that, there wouldn't be anywhere to go... except they go for a 12 anyway.

It's silly how seriously the movie tries to take itself, and fails hard. Come on, Asylum, you can do better.


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Monday, 22 June 2015

You Had One Job

So, Steam Summer Sale... and yes, I spent money, but I do intend to play those games... For example, I picked up Please, Don't Touch Anything.

The main premise is there is a big red button. Which you aren't supposed to touch... and indeed, if you don't you win! But that isn't the only way to win, there are many others. Which start with pushing the button. Some are easy, some are hard... and some are just nearly impossible. Pushing buttons opens up panels which reveals more buttons to push, and then you need to work out what to push next and...

It's not entirely clear what you are supposed to do next. In some cases, the pads are multi-functional, but it's not clear if this pad is supposed to be used for this code, or the other pad, or that you can use this other pad for multiple codes.

It's a fun game, and worth grabbing, but you will probably end up using the internet to help you before the end...


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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Asylum from Asylum

One more post on Arkham Asylum, because... I've finished it! Well, the story at least. When I left off playing last time, I had two fights to go, the pre-Joker fight and the Joker fight.

And the pre-Joker fight was extremely annoying. There are two large chaps and various minions... and I kept dying. Because again of the controls not working properly, and the camera not being my friend. All too easily, the big guys could pivot target, where I couldn't even do that, and even being near their charge would damage me. I simply had to try over and over and eventually came up with a strategy that sort of worked, and I got there... yay?

Then the last fight, which felt a lot like more of the same, only with annoying twists. There was a bit of a gimmick, but it was so easy to be knocked out of doing it that it just artificially extended the fight. Still, it was easier than the above one.

And now, with that all done, I've nothing let to do but collect them collectables. Aka, find all the Riddler trophies and solve the Riddles... only I'm too stupid for that, so we'll see how long it takes before I head for a guide. I'm guessing not that long.

I can't see myself playing this again, and Arkham City awaits...


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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Na nana na na

What does the mistress songtress choose to rhyme with her name? The above title... yeah, that's stretching yourself.

Just released is the video of the song. And the video is just something that plays under the song, and Maddy isn't even pretending to lip sync properly to the song.

She also has a lot of guest stars, with other artists and actors and... a lot of people I have no idea who they are. How does she get them?

Bitch, she's Madonna!


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Friday, 19 June 2015

Over the Garden Wall

This is a 10 part mini series on Cartoon Network... and it's weird.

Two brothers are in a strange land of the Unknown. They befriend a talking bird and travel through the land trying to get home, and being way of the beast. Along the way they have a few adventures, and help isn't always what it seems. Until at the end, we find out that... well, there still isn't a good explanation for it, but we can handwave it away.

The art style is very cartoon, with some moments moreso than others (although that is an obvious homage). It's also funny... and very dark at moments. Especially when you know what's going on, it's really dark. Still... it's for the kids?

Voice talent wise, we have Elijah Wood, Christopher Lloyd, John Cleese, Tim Curry, and no doubt other famous people I should have recognised. While only ten episodes, it's very well done.

And I wouldn't say that you can check it out for yourself if you go here.


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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Hensel v Gretal

Nothing like Asylum to jump on a bandwagon, and this one I'm surprised they bothered to jump on, being a year or so late. It's a cheap ass Hansel and his sister in modern day fighting witches.

Hansel is a witch killer and his sister runs a cafe, where the pies are made Sweeny Todd style. He comes home as four witches roll into town, and sets about dealing with them, with the help of his sister... who is using him to bump off the competition, because she's totally evil and a witch herself (as is obvious from the poster and the title of the movie). The actual 'v' part is hardly in it, and nothing much comes of it anyway.

This could be an interesting premise, a movie where Gretel is evil and the two play off of each other, but it's not this movie. This does mean they could consider a sequel where that happens, but I can't think of the last time the Asylum did a sequel for any of their movies. Best to just move on to the latest idea to rip off.

The Asylum have been doing well recently, but this is not a good one (such as it is).


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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

X Maxina

Will you believe a robot is capable of humanity? How about when it is a sexy woman?

A coder wins a prize to visit his boss's home, and then finds out he's there to test a robot. She can already basically pass the Turning Test, but now the question is: when you know she's a robot, do you still think she's capable of thinking for herself? And can you deal with your jerk of a boss?

What does it mean to be a robot capable of human thought? This movie covers a lot of the ground we've already seen elsewhere, and completely fails to consider the real point: how do we know if humans are really thinking or just well programmed? But no-one ever asks that. Instead we get this talky drama with ideas of wanting to show off great old ideas.

At least the effects are neat, with the robot being large chunks of see through plastic. Charlize's arm? Nothing compared to this.

Now, I already knew what was going to happen, as I was spoilered on this, so instead I just got annoyed at how long they took to get things done. And I don't know how I would have tolerated what happened at the end if I didn't know. Ah, the problem of spoilers.

Overall... can't say I'm overthrilled by it, but since I knew the story that needs to be taken into account.


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Tuesday, 16 June 2015


Okay, Portuguese movie this time, one that isn't really my cup of tea, Tabu.

In the first half, we get a pair of older women, two white neighbours, and a black maid. The one with the maid is going slightly mad, and then dies, but reveals an old friend. The second half is the friend narrating their history, and a rather sordid romance that they went through...

Yeah, drama and romance, not really for me. The second half, which had actual plot in it, was better, and it was an interesting narrative technique with just voice over and sounds of the scene, but no actual dialogue was said (they just mimed it).

Another narrative trick was that the movie was in black and white. The first half is present day, and the second is back in time (no years are given) and the black and white nature, with the setting being a hunting area of Africa, reminded me of the various old hunting movies I've seen via MST3K/Rifftrax (only without the snarky comments). It made the setting of the second half work, but I'm not sure about the first.

Others would enjoy this more.


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Monday, 15 June 2015

Jurussuc Wurld

Is it a sequel? Is a reboot? Is it just a dinosaur movie? It’s all that and less! Peter and Al may have their own opinions.

Take the first movie. Writ it large, throw in elements of the second… and you're done! It’s a large island with dinosaurs (so a ‘world’ in the same sense of 'Disney World'), and they made a new one. Guess what happens. Oh wait, you already know what’s going to happen because you’ve seen the trailers. (So I haven’t given anything away.) Like the first movie, they spend a LONG time talking about how everything is set up, and we get teased with dinosaurs. That’s fine, and the build up is nice after previous movies splurged it straight away. But once the 'oohing and aahing' is over, we get onto the screaming and it’s just like any other action movie. Even though it is dinosaurs, it could easily be anything.

So I hated it? Not really, I just wasn't blown away by it. I'm too jaded, fine, and the fact that it was made as a modern movie was fine, but some parts just didn't help to sell it like in the first movie. In the hamster ball, the kids are looking outside… in random directions, and not at the actual CGI dinosaurs. When Claire and Owen are up close with one dinosaur, all I saw was a servo-powered head animatronic.

Still, dinosaurs! A lot of them, and aside from certain moments, mostly built well into the scene. Yes, we get Chris Pratt with the velociraptors, but that worked more or less, and the big new dino has a lot of hand waving to get it to work which goes by quickly enough that you don't question too much. The actors aren’t too annoying, even the kids, although the kids plot line gets very painful(ly bad) at points. There are nods to the first movie, and no-one mentions the other two so that’s nice.

Really, this isn't quite up there with the first, but definitely above the other two.


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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Control Asylum

Yep, another post in which I will complain about the controls of Batman. In this case, this is one particular fight that just ticked me off. It's a fight with inmates while going after Killer Croc, so that's enough said about that.

You need to stealth around in a different way than the usual 'sit on the gargoyles' because reasons. What this means is that you don't have the usual hiding spots, and indeed can be spotted quite easily. And they have guns, so you need to sneak and not get caught or you die. A lot. As I did.

First problem: damn geometry. Often I tried to jump away, or over the fence, but I couldn't. Partly because it detected a corner I'm sure I was missing, but also because the controls. To run, you use Space. To climb things, you use Space. If you are near a fence, and run up to it, you will continue to run into it until you've stopped and repressed Space so that Batman then climbs. This means nothing is fluid, and you get trapped too easily and shot.

Another problem is animation. Quite a few times I got locked into an animation and then got shot. No I-frames here, Indeed, you can take full damage and not be able to do anything about it because you are opening a grate, or putting someone down, or anything.

Problem three is the time to get back to the fight. When you die, you have an animation from a bad guy while the game reloads from the checkpoint, which you could skip after a point. Then you need to travel back to the fight, have a cut scene (which fortunately you can skip) and then open the door and (for me at least) give them a minute to get into position so you don't die immediately when you go through (although given randomness, sometimes I still did). All that means it's some time between death and reattempt. Annoying.

It just got to the point of letting myself die rather than try to deal with this crap. I did EVENTUALLY get past that fight, so it's on with the story, but this just exemplifies that this is otherwise a good game, but there are a few spots where you just hit a brick wall because of some stupid combination of mechanics and stop having fun.


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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Starship Lee

With the passing of the legend, let's bask in his career and check out... Starship Invasions!

An alien race comes to earth 'cos their sun's going to blow up, and decide earth is the place they want. However, there is already a race of aliens here, so they destroy most of them, except one ship that goes on to pick up a UFO researcher and a computer expert. Then there's more running around, and a big battle between ships and then the good guys win?

The effects in this are horrendous. This is buying straight into the Flying Saucer books, and I think they were inspired by the UFOs in the Usbourne books, because they look straight out of there. Part of this movie is incredibly dark in that the aliens are inspiring people to commit suicide (hey, M. Night, yeah they did that back in 1977!), including one of the "hero"'s wives.

But we are here for Christopher Lee, and he is the captain of the evil aliens. He stalks around the set and gets a lot of voice work in as all the alien talk by mental telepathy, so a lot of shots are them just standing there with voice overs playing. While he is the head evil, he's not trying too hard, and to sum up his experience on this, let's see a picture of him.


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Friday, 12 June 2015

First Alias

I'm shotgunning my way through Alias. Why? Because I haven't seen it before. Well, that's not exactly true. I did see the first few episodes back when it came out, but the slow drop feeding of information as to what's really going on just annoyed me too much to keep up with weekly progression. But when I can run through multiple episodes at a time...

The first episode sets up the premise: Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Gardner) is an agent for SD-6, a branch of the CIA... only, it's not! It's actually a cover for the bad guys, known as The Alliance, and she goes to the real CIA to become a double agent. So each episode is then getting a mission from SD-6, and doing the CIA's counter mission. She ends the first episode by getting some macguffin SD-6 wants, and saying she's in.

Getting an item the bad guys want and getting in that way is a beat that will recur in other episodes. And various groups being The Noun will also happen again. But that's in the future. Here we have the ongoing threat of Sydney's double agent status being under threat, and the slow uncovering of her history and finding out there was more going on than you thought. However that's doled out slowly, although it's not too crazy yet.

The other big set up is the idea that Milo Rimbaldi, a 15th century philosopher who somehow predicted current era technology and set up all sorts of devices and such to be uncovered for a ... thing. This isn't explained in the first season, and I have no idea why it's even in here, this ancient world tech going against the spy world scenario the rest of the series is working on. Hopefully it will be well paid off in the future (spoiler: it's not).

One big schtick they have to keep people watching is ending each episode on a cliffhanger, which is usually resolved in five minutes in the next episode. While it seemed exciting at first, that quickly wears thin.

So, a decent beginning all up, but there's a lot of pieces yet to be placed.


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Thursday, 11 June 2015

Arkham Asylum

Yeah, let's get back into playing a full on vidya game, and let's dip into the well received classic Batman: Arkham Asylum.

So far I seem to be about halfway through. Not that you'd know that from my percent complete score, but there are also a ton of collectibles I've not gotten, and plan on getting after completing the story mission. (I hope, if the game lets me.) I know some of the big story points already, but it is quite different seeing it unfold, and I get to experience all the in-between bits of getting from place to place and fighting all the peoples myself.

And I am playing on Normal... and I'm terrible at it. It took me ages to get past Bane, and the controls don't help. My usual fighting style is spam buttons until the mooks are down, but for the mini-bosses you need tactics. And good controls. And what I don't have are good controls. (I'm on PC, using a keyboard.) I indicate direction, and double tap to roll away and WHY DID I JUST JUMP FORWARD INTO THE ATTACK??? Happens many many times. And it doesn't seem to matter which way the camera is point, nor the Manbat himself, he just jumps into damage. That's not making the game fun.

Still, I am slowly getting through it, so back to it!


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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Only

I remember liking this movie a lot. Great effects, good action, what's not to like?

Jet Li is in a multiverse and he's killing himself. Because why not? And as he does so, he gets more powerful. After a neat twist set up of the repeat of the opening scene, we get Good Jet Li against Evil Jet Li, with Jason Statham helping. After a fight scene or three, we get the last second 'no wait, which one is the right one?' and then a happy ending.

Unfortunately, the effects don't really hold up. Obvious CGI all over the place, and it does not look good. And the movie is a lot shorter than I remember, but then that's good in that it doesn't outstay its welcome. The premise is nice (killing selves over the multiverse), although I'm not sure it holds up, in that as people get older their other selves will die and they should become more powerful? And other plot points you aren't supposed to think about.

This was during Jet Li's big screen time, and written and directed by the X-Files pair James Wong and Glen Morgan. At the time, it was a big deal... but it hasn't aged well.


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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The 10th Victim

Oh Italian cinema, I will never understand you. But I do like some of the movies you produce. Such as The 10th Victim.

To help with violence, there's the Big Hunt, in which people sign up to kill other people. Some times they are the hunter, but other times they are the victim. We start with the 9th killing by one person, and then she has just one more hunt to go before she gets the big money. And her victim happens to be a rather charming guy. She goes after him, he's not sure about her, they move uncertainly, until at the end when... actually, I'm not sure what happened at the end there...

The two stars are Marcello Mastrolanni, playing Marcello Poletti (it's rather amusing when someone's character is the same name, because you start to wonder if they do that to make it easier, because the actor can't get complicated, or it's just coincidence...). And the other is Ursela Andress, playing the American Caroline Meredith, which even with the voice over she isn't convincing as. As well as pretty actors, we also get a lot of pretty scenery, and lots of location shooting around Rome and Italy.

Still, I'm not sure what to make of it all. But it's definitely something.


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Monday, 8 June 2015

Kung Fury

This is so 80s it hurt. And it's available for free watching on Steam.

A cop gets kung fu powers, and does his job that way. But Hitler comes from the past, and so he must go into the past, but goes to far into the past, and has to back up, and...

That sounds weird, and it is weird. But I watched with a big grin on my face. And it's only 30 minutes! (I see that it was Kickstartered, and if there was a sequel to this, I suspect he would be overwhelmed with monies.)

There's so much packed into this, it's amazing. It flows quickly and gives a lot to play with. And despite some extreme 80s moments, this is well done with the latest tech, especially around Triceracops. (Yeah, that's what I said.)

Anyway, if you haven't yet, go watch it!


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Sunday, 7 June 2015

Sans Andreless

When I saw the trailer, I thought "this is a generic disaster movie". And now I've seen it.

We start with a small incident to show off how much of a hero the father is, and then set up he has a broken family home, with a mother who is seeing someone else, and a daughter who loves them both but is getting to know the new boyfriend. Then disaster hits, and guess what? That's right, the mother and daughter are in trouble, and so the father goes off to save them... and lots of stupid things happen along the way.

This movie doesn't really do anything new. The father is definitely the hero, the mother needs saving. The daughter (who is played by Alexandra Daddario, last seen playing a wife, now a younger daughter) is actually a strong character who helps others... that she got into trouble in the first place. And you can guess what the state of the broken family is by the end of the movie, so nothing that happened surprised me. (Oh, and guess what happens to the scientist's helper?)

Even spectacular-wise, this movie didn't impress. You've seen most of the big effects in the trailer, and there isn't even much quake shaking (did we get a quake-suffers-friendly version?).

Catch when on TV.


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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Furious Roade

While I was up in Auckland, I had some time, so checked out a movie that people seemed to be liking.

Mad Max is wandering along, and falls into someone else's adventure. That being that of Imperious Furiosa, who has decided to take her own stand in this world. And then Max goes around, joins with her, and does about one commanding decision but is otherwise a plot tourist, but then again that's about par for the course.

This is one of those movies where they went to lengths to make the effects practical - although I did spend a lot of time wondering how they did one effect in particular. They also spent a lot of time trying to make things look cool (see the guitar war boy), but I in turn wondered how much resource they could have saved if they hadn't make extremely ridiculous vehicles like that. (If you are going to be post-apocalyptic, I'm going to ask rational questions. I'm not the target audience.)

Some muttering has been made about this being a feminist movie, and sure most of the best acting parts are given to women, but then so are the better characters. Men still have the power, but they act like jerks with it, so no wonder women have more thinking going on. I liked that part, and didn't have a problem with it.

But as I said, I'm not the target audience. I saw this in an otherwise empty theatre, so could just relax into it. In that regard, it was fine, but it's not something I'm up and cheering over.


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Friday, 5 June 2015

Auckland at Night

On the way back from my cruise, I took the opportunity to spend the night in Auckland and take a look around at night. From up the Sky Tower. Unfortunately, the upper upper deck was closed for elevator repair, so I was forced to merely be on deck 51.

Other pictures are available.


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Thursday, 4 June 2015


The last past was Noumea. However, we visited it on a Sunday, when everything was closed. You'd think they'd want tourist money? But the only place open was the market place right beside the boat and the duty free store.

I went on the Tchou Tchou train, which was a connected set of carriages with a train theme. We went around the bays and such and saw some nice views and got a good history of the island. And had some nice pastries.

The lady said that to get to the aquarium all I needed to do would be to catch the 10/11 bus and it would be 200 South Pacific Franc (basically $2). I tried to catch the bus, but the driver wasn't interested in money and I needed to have some form of pre-purchased ticket to feed the machine. Um, that didn't work.

So I wandered around, but with the shops shut, it wasn't that exciting a place.

Pictures available here. There is a lookout view here, and:


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Wednesday, 3 June 2015


On to New Caledonia, and the island of Lifou. Again, a big place for swimming, and the water did look lovely.

I went on a tour of the forest and secret grotto. The forest section was nice, and we saw a large range of trees and heard about them. The grotto was largely a hole in the ground, so... yeah, not much of a secret. Then we saw some hunting examples, of catching crab, pig and bird. Quite effective.

There was also a nearby church to walk to for the view of the island. While it's a nice view, I'm not entirely convinced it justifies the walk. Still, it was good to get out and around.

Pictures available here. See the view from Notre Dame de Lourdes, and see the Coconut Crab (since I had no control over the camera, the part of me holding the cam is sideways).


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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Port Vila

The main part of Vanuatu is Port Vila. It was hit badly by a cyclone a few months earlier, and they had to miss out on some cruise ships (which is a large part of their income), but not ours. And so some parts of the city are still suffering from damage and people needing help, but at least us tourists are catered for.

I went on a lagoon cruise around the islands nearby, and for a while wasn't sure we were actually going anywhere because a lot of it looked the same. Hey, they build the same style of huts over and over, I can't be blamed for not recognising them as different. But we do get to see the varied parts of the city, and we heard a lot of how Australian and French peoples are coming in and putting in expensive houses and living large and not paying a lot of wages.

The main part of the city seemed rather haphazard, and I only poked around a little. I'm not really the tourist type.

Pictures available here. Lagoon cruise videos are part 1, part 2 and part 3. And this video of me taking the water taxi.


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Monday, 1 June 2015

Mystery Island

First visit was to Mystery Island, part of Vanuatu. This is largely a flat island, quite small (can walk around it in under an hour), and was used an airstrip during the war. No-one lives there, and islanders from nearby Aneityum Island to staff the stalls and see the usual range of goods.

Basically, it's just an island to hang out on and swim and snorkle (neither of which I do). I did plan on taking the glass bottom boat around the island to get a look around, but it was broken, so that didn't happen. And I was too overheated to do anything else after being there for a few hours.

A pleasant enough island.

Pictures available here. Note that the large island is not Mystery Island. That's the long flat one you see.


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