Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas in Summer

It's rather odd.
I'm sorting photos late into the night at the momment before we trundle off into the mountains for the New Year tomorrow. It's just occured to me that I should probably work on being up past midnight and up for the dawn, just to be one of the first couple million people to welcome 2009...

Hopefully, I'll be getting a new system worked out that will allow for more regular photo posting and (very optimistically) more regular textual posts as well.
We've been puttering around the south island for over a month now I think, and summer is hitting. today was showing 28C in the shade at about 4pm. It was pretty full on. So we went swimming over in Littleton. Which was great! the water was actually warm enough to stay out in for 20 mins or so. and only 2 or 3 of my toes were yellow by the time we got out!

Anyway, yeah gotta finish up and get to sleep if tomorrow night is going to be as short as seems likely!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ummm yeah...

It's far too late to make my own post now but... it really was surreal.

After 2 weeks in Nelson, we're planning to move on tomorrow. We've got a week to try and do as much of the south island as possible before Christmas.

Then the maddness starts.

Also: Billy Connolly in Rotrua on Feb 21!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

At least I'm Journaling

Well, I should say at least I'm Journaling more more than I've been blogging. :)

We're in Nelson now, after a couple days camping near Blenheim. Yup, we're on the South Island. We came down on the ferry on Nov 21st, and went pretty much straight to Hopewell, about 20km as the tui flys from Picton when the ferry lands, but over 100km by road which takes about 2 and a half hours to drive. It's a really bendy road.

So.. since the beginning of November, eh?

Yikes. And my photos are even more behind.
well let's see what we can do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh yeah.

I've put up some new photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/Syrrys they
only cover from when we arrived until we headed north on oct 23rd but
there are more coming soon. And with luck i'll have time to sort out a
post with some stories too. As of now we're in Auckland for 4 more
days getting Daisy's break pads replaced then we're off to the
Coromandel, Rotorua, Taupo and on to Wellington to arrive in about two
weeks. Kinda feels like cheating since we took just as long to do just
the Northland. Ah well. Need to hustle if we're going to get
everything done that we'd like too before we need to stop and work for
a while. :)

Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Going to the ends of the earth.

Big day!

Wow. Obama has a big job ahead of him now. :) and that's good news. So
having gotten the US election out of the way (yes i voted. Mailed from
Whangerei last week. So it'll be late but in time to count), I
registered to vote here in NZ. I had thought that I wouldn't feel
comfortable with all the issues, but having been here for a month now,
i think i may have an opinion. We shall see how it feels on Saturday.
But for now Guy Fawkes Night in Auckland feels a little like everyone
is celebrating Obama's victory. :) though that might just be that
american egocentrism showing itself. Or maybe just jealousy that i
wasn't able to be in Grant Park tonight. ;)

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Going to the ends of the earth.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Place holder

Wow. So much to write about, we went up to Cape Reinga and then did a glow worm walk and got up close to some weta 2 days ago (Monday) and have stayed the last 4 nights on the Karekare Peninsula at the RustyAnchor.
But that'll have to do for now. We're going snorkleing today.
Yay Beaches! Photos tonight maybe?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tane Mahuta

Dear Diary,
Today we saw big fck-off trees.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another week gone!

Wow time flies when there are no fixed plans! but we've been doing well with the things that need doing. And been eating lots of good food. It's a good thing that there are so many hills in this town otherwise we'd be at some serious risk of getting fat :)

We bought a car yesterday! we'll get to pick it up on tues or wed. It's a Green 1998 Ford Escort Wagon 1.8L Turbo Diesel. Awesome. It's an old school diesel with the glow plugs and the whole bit, so it'll take sometime to get used to. The 5 speed manual aspect will also take some learning, if only because I don't really have much practice shifting with my left hand!

Today we made our plans to shift out of Verandahs Lodge where we've been for the past week and in to exciting new hostel. We woulld have kinda liked to stay where we are until we got the car (cause we're lazy) but they don't have a room for us on tuesday night :( so wedecided to comit to another hostel instead. Then after we get our wheels(!) we'll be heading out of town promptly. We're getting quitecomfortable here so it's time to move on, beyond the big city. I've been claiming that it's been our aclimitization time... it's hard to go cold turkey from internet and wii and cable tv to living in the wilderness. but so exciting!

Speaking of cable tv and the wilderness, two of our other activities of theday were buying a tent and associated gear and finding a bar showing the shanghai F1 race. Ideally we would have waited to get the tent (4.8kg! of extra stuff to carry tomorrow + a couple off brand selfinflating sleeping mats) until the car but there were a few sport/tramping stores that were having sales that ended today. Ah well.

As for our search for some where to watch the Formula 1... that actually came up by accident as we had headed down for an evening of Diwali festivities at the Viaduct Harbour and i realized that I needed money so we went off in search of an ATM and decided to stop for a quick beer afterwards, they happened to have skysports2 on showing football or rugby or something that was just ending, so we got to see qualifying(r) and the start (with caramelized onion and goat cheese bruscetta mmmmm), then hussled off back to Diwali to take in some dancing and cheap deliscious indian food! of course we had to stop back at the bar (Trafic at the Corner of Queen and Quay just in case anyone needs to know) to catch the last 15 laps. and have another beer. :)

Then it was time for a link bus and home! bit of packing to make the morning better and now I'm going to join my wiser partener in sleep!

PS. the XO (laptop.org) that we brought has been christened Xoey and over the past few days I have managed to upgrade her to the newest version of her linux OS! I'm super proud of both of us :)

Oh and photos will follow ASAP. Xoey doesn't like web upload forms so we're trying to figure out alternatives that will work.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Well today was the big move. The day we got on to the meat of the trip. We've finished with all these hoity toity hotels and such and are now spending $45 less per night than we were, staying in a hostel.
I'm suspicious that we might have intimidated some people in the kitchen with our stuffed peppers. They were awesome.

The rest of the day seemed to involve a lot of walking up and down hills. The best part was that it was only going up the first time that we had our massive packs on. The rest was slightly less painful.

We're now members of the AA and have applied for tax ID (IRD) numbers as well. I tried to get my drivers licence switched but because I got a new IL card just before I left there is no evidence that I've been driving for more than a few weeks. :( So I'll need to see if Jesse White can help me produce some kind of documentation to prove that I have driving experience and so avoid needing to do a road test down here. I can of course still drive on my US licence for a year but it would be nice to have an NZ licence if only to have some additional documentation that includes an address etc.

Yesterday was a moderatly slow day, as we only got out around noon and ... actually I'm not quite sure what we did for the afternoon. I do remember that it was good. Then we watched the Fuji Grand Prix (F1)... wow such an exciting start!

Saturday we hardly moved at all. Played Pokémon most of the day infact. and watched abut 6 episodes of the simpsons followed by the second half of Ratatouile. (I think it's a great movie.)

Friday hmmm.. blanking there again. I beleiev we spend either fri or thursday mooching off of S&Y's hospitality/internet again and looking at cars.

Made some banking progress on the wire transfer front as well. I think I sent money to myself. if not there will be someone else who is very excited in the next couple days!

We've also done Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Experience and the Auckland Museum in the past week which were also fun!

but as you might be guessing... I'm not remembering well, so I'll take some time to get to work on a journal so I have some notes next time I do this. :) Really. it might happen.

Now off to find another hill to walk up!

Oh and happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cheap update

There's more here because I've been busy on other things.

But we're loving it! The NZ music awards last night were quite good too!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


S and I have arrived safely in Auckland!

So I decided I should make some kind of thing that would allow people to keep track of what we're up to.

We would of course also appreciate any suggestions if you happen to have good ideas for things that we might enjoy doing!

So far?
This is what we've been up to:
[Edit] well I almost got that posted the day we actually arrived, which was wednesday. But the internet died before I could.
Now I don't have all the photos/cables etc but...

Here's an effort to catch you up:

We arrived on wednesday all safe and sound, but very tired after our long (and longer flights).
Cousin S was there to meet us at the airport, but as S was arriving a couple hours after me, we dropped off my gear and had a bit of a family catchup at S&Y's place, before returning to the airport for S.

Cousin S made us a light lunch (flying means that we had both been eating every 5 hours for quite a while) We filled the time until our hotel check-in with a trip up to the Waitakere Ranges for a bit of a walk about.

Chifley Suites

Then checked into the hotel and went down to mission bay and had a very nice Mussel pot with Blue Cheese and Spinach sauce accompanied by some Chimay Blue. We started drinking out on the deck, but decided to move in just as the mussels arrived and about 30 seconds before it started to rain. Win!

Then Cousin S dropped us off and we promptly fell asleep.

Day 2: Thurs Oct 2

We woke up early and lounged in bed watching car ads for a few hours before heading out to get NZ SIM cards. We now feel terribly local with our +64 phone numbers. (I still need to cancel my cingular acct!!!) walked down to Foodtown for a few groceries for lunch, then bck to the hotel for an afternoon of perusing guidebooks and chilling out, before meeting up with CuzS and Y for dinner in Tanuki's Cave

and a concert of the Auckland Philharmonic. S and I both stayed (mostly) awake.

Day 3:

Devonport and Takapuna. Yupee! north shore towns, very nice cute little places. The i-site tourist info place was very helpful and enthusiastic. then we largely ignored their advice and walked (all the way) to Takapuna.

Where we opened bank accounts! Fun!
Lunch was the S&R 'World Famous' Avocado, Blue Brie and Ham Sandwiches with Tomato, lettuce, mustardmayo (possibly with a bit of my finger. oops) and a very nice Latte on Takapuna Beach. Then we took the bus back to Devonport, wandered around for a bit and stoped for my first NZ local beer (Steinlager!) which was rather nice (S checked out how well Carona is cared for in shipping this far. She discovered that it's shipped just fine but that with lemon instead of lime, it foams much like methane in soapy water.) My discovery of the day was that my new hat fits tight enough to be safe from the winds on the front of the harbour ferry!

Once we got back to the CBD we grabbed some sushi and headed home for a quiet evening of reading and relaxation.

Saturady Oct 4 (That's today!)
We got up nice and early (aka about an hour later than the last few days) to got to the Otara Market with CuzS & Y. Breakfast was some hearty Hungi food and a bread thing slathered in butter and golden syrop. Mmmmmm....

Then we met Helen Clark and shopped our way through the rest of the market.

After that we were off to the Fish Market to drop Y for a Cooking class, and after carfefully looking over all the fish and fish parts, the rest of us walked over to a really sketchy car market. I don't quite have words to adequately describe the shadiness of some of the characters there.

Then off to the French Market, for some more browsing. Somehow I managed to convince S that we needed some olive oil. and bread.

After that we had time for a driving tour of some of auckland neigbourhoods and a quick visit up Mount Eden. Volcanoes are cool.

Then we stopped at a gorgeous gourmet imported food store called Sabato. So. Much. Olive oil. and bread. and other wonderful wonderful things to taste. and free coffee to cleans your palate. and more samples and truffle oil and MMmmm... by then Y was quite done and waiting for us to get back to the fish market. Ooops :) Sorry.

Another couple of stops for some more groceries (Halal meat and beer and etc) looked at some very exciting wedding cakes too.

And now we're back at CuzS & Y's, mucking about and going to have a BBQ tonight.

Tomorrow... Well, who knows.

We're having a great time.