NZ- sunday

i had a morning transfer in auckland. i had a couple of hours, so no rushing, but being unfamiliar with the territory i was nervous about being in the right place at the right time. i had plenty of time to take a picture of the glowing sunrise, but i thought i should keep moving to tackle any problems that might arise. i had to get my bag and switch between the international and domestic terminals. there is a shuttle that runs between them, or you can follow a line painted on the sidewalk and take the ten minute walk. it was maybe 40 degrees out. i still had my pants rolled up and was wearing short sleeves to accommodate the heat in seoul. . . and i opted for the walk without putting my jacket on. the air was so brisk and wonderful. the walk was like water for my thirsty soul.

once landing in auckland i couldn’t keep this silly grin from settling on my face. through security, through my next flight, i can only imagine how dopey i looked to everyone else. . . but damn i was happy to be there. (ps, didn’t need to take the liquids out of my bag, or my shoes off. as i started the security guard said, ‘this isn’t the states mate.’)
* silly grin *

the next flight to christchurch was short. . . i didn’t realize how much water is between the two islands. it would probably be fun to take a ferry between them. landed in christchurch, and walked right up to camille and holly who had only been waiting a few minutes. we collected my bag and set off for lunch in christchurch. we found a great pub place close to the mall called fox and ferret. we had hoped to drive around some of the area still under construction from the earthquake, but a lot of it was closed off to cars.

so we set off to oamaru. my sleep schedule was a bit off and the afternoon sun and hum of the car made me sleepy. . . i might have missed about an hour of the drive, but i had my eyes glued to the scenery while i was awake. we made a stop at a favorite place of holly and camille’s. cookie time cookie shop. this was the first in many experiences where i wanted to buy more than i needed simply because i could read the packages. bags and bags of cookies everywhere. a cooler with things like ginger beer made by the same company that i am used to seeing ginger ale from. (ginger beer’s got a little more of a kick. . . awesome) we selected some cookies and brought along some for other people we’d see later.

we also made a quick stop at a dana’s house (holly’s friend.) dana was moving to australia to be with her husband so she hung out with holly and us for the evening. we stayed with holly’s family in oamaru and we arrived just in time for dinner. gail, john (her parents) alanna, jasmine (her foster sister and foster sister’s daughter) and dana. the food from the kitchen smelled amazing. we had a NZ meat and veg dinner. . . john asked me if i had ever had lamb before. i have, maybe only a dozen of times. . .it was something mom would get on a special occasion, but i was still looking forward to it. holly’s family had gone all out. . . lamb and gravy, peas, and a pan of roasted veggies; potatoes, kumara (known to me as sweet potatoes), parsnips, yams (which look nothing like what we call yams) and pumpkin. i was so stuffed and then the apple and pear pies (made from apples and pears from their trees) came out. well, had to try one of each of those. . . >.< everything. yum.

i was thankful for a chance to walk about a little after dinner. holly, camille, dana and i took a little tour around oamaru. not much was open. we missed the main time to see the penguins come ashore, but there were still a couple of stragglers wandering about. the lights of the car seemed to alarm them, so i didn’t take pictures at the time. we caught the view from a lookout point. they pointed out shop signs that dana had helped create and we even drove past her work. there were little bits of artwork around downtown that were also related to the steampunk theme. . . but dark and rainy don’t make for good pictures.

we also made a stop for the steampunk hq area. you could drop coins into the machines to make them operate, but it was hard to see all the detail at night, so we’d get a better view in the morning. the victorian downtown was really interesting to see. something about the uniformity of the stone made it seem a little more foreign to me. again, i was looking forward to checking it out during the day.

(one other difference i noticed: most of the time, people in the states will say, ‘i’m going to the bathroom.’ people in NZ will say, ‘i’m going to the toilet.’ well, perhaps that’s because the rooms are actually a little different. in the states there is a room with a toilet, sink, and bath or shower. . . or maybe just a toilet and sink. most of the houses i was in on this trip, the toilet was a separate entity from the place where you showered. a sink didn’t even accompany the toilet. just an observation.)

back at holly’s we watched a little of the olympics and news and listened to jasmine play with her talking book. we all caught up on our statuses online and then turned in for a delightful sleep. and man, did i sleep solidly.

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