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Fri, 9 Jan 2009 – Kia Ora!

July 1, 2009

Kia Ora! (as the Maori say here in New Zealand)

I have not written an update in a while, not because I have been too busy but rather because I have had a lot of time and less motivation to sit down at any given moment and write when I can do it later, tomorrow or whenever. I have been house and dog-sitting in a pretty dull suburb North of Wellington since just before Christmas and had the ease of having unlimited internet, SKY TV, and washing machine usage. The washing machine was a particular novelty at first having been used to the “crushing grapes” method of washing my few items of clothing in the shower or latterly waiting till a sunny day, wearing my dress and washing everything else in a hostel’s laundry room. I shall not complain as if the only thing I need to worry about is when and how I do my washing then I do not have a lot to worry about!

I have to say that although it was tough with language barriers and different customs in every country and the fact that in most I was not there for more than a few days, it was much more exciting and adventurous than turning up in New Zealand.

It was nice at first to chill in a coffee shop eating and drinking what I wanted with the full knowledge of what it was rather than exercising the pointing method then having an apprehensive moment of discovery where taste-buds met with inside of mysterious pastry-covered food item to varying results; only one being particularly terrible after buying from a street seller on a small Hong Kong island.

I then spent the next few days wondering why I had come somewhere that was so like England but without my friends here, but then I got on the road again and went exploring, meeting new people, making friends with fun Aussies on trains then I was glad I was here!

I have since realised that I have been spoiled with the company of intriguing characters, diversity of places and grandeur of scenery that I have seen. Actually, this “dull suburb” is surrounded by higher hills than you get easily in the UK, I’m sandwiched between two bays, one being particularly pretty, I have met some extraordinarily hospitable people, danced the new year in Rock ‘n’ Roll style at a local dance I turned up to and learned the Charleston with my fellow house-sitter.

Prior to turning up here I spent a few days north of Auckland in the Bay of Islands spending horrendous amounts of money on tours and boat trips but it was well worth it for the experiences, particularly sand dune surfing, sleeping on a boat overnight, and night kayaking to spot some phosphorescent algae! As well as this I learned about the poor translation of the Treaty of Waitangi about ownership of land that is still a contentious issue between the Maori and the European settlers today. I then hopped aboard the Overlander train to travel the distance between Auckland and Wellington in 10 hours the scenic way passing a snow topped volcano en route. As I arrived at my destination the sun was glistening across the bay and I was trying to guess which hill I’d have to cycle up to get to my home for Christmas and new year.

I am now preparing to move on, either with great haste and by public transport if I get a job down south or in a more relaxed fashion on my bicycle exploring the south island at my leisure.

Here are the links to my online albums:

Auckland and Bay of Islands
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=204996&id=847665248&l=fabf244376

Wellington and Kapiti coast:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=229271&id=847665248&l=7606eaf81e

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