Rainbow Warrior.

Who knew Dubya was such a pioneer? 

And, who is the Wellington Cafe Chick?  Inquiring minds want to know.


New Tent.

I got a new tent today.  I had been thinking about a new one for a few days, seeing as the crazy boxing day/end of years sales are going.  And with the exchange rate, I figured, why not at least take a look.  Yesterday I went to many different outdoor shops, some filled with crappy but large coleman tents-as big as a cabin sometimes!  Some had nice tents, and some had expensive, but seemingly of poor quality, meaning something was fishy...
Anyways, I decided I wanted a Mac Pac tent, which is a NZ brand.  I went to the store today, and found out that all the tents I was interested in were all sold out.  Not only in the store, or even the country, but in the stores in Australia too!  There were 2 tents on sale that were 2 person.  One was not a freestanding tent, and the least expensive tent Mac Pac made.  It was on the small-ish size.  Then the other was a heavy duty, 4 season Fairydown (also a NZ brand), top of the line alpine tent.  I bought the latter, and it's pretty hardcore.  I may have a better tent than even the one the famous Siberian explorer T-Bones McGillicuty has...maybe.
I pitched it this afternoon to check it's nuances out.

Also pics of NZ's Christmas tree, the Pohutukawa, namesake of the street I'm on.



How does one make their blog more delicious?!?

That's easy, add BACON!


Kiwis vs Mexicans.

Oh man, it's a beautiful day!  The weather is fine, oh so fine!
I've been taking it easy on this Sunday- a run, laundry, phone calls back to the peeps back home, reading in the sun....life is fine.
Yesterday we celebrated the day after boxing day, aka, Shadow Boxing Day.  I made a big Mexican brunch consisting of shredded beef in chili colorado, beans, pico, handmade tortillas and eggs, all topped with perfect avocados from up north.  The tortillas were not on a level of a Mexican grandma, or even a 5 year old Mexican girl to be honest.  But they tasted great.  It's not your fault Morgue- all issues were mine not knowing the secrets to teach you!
And then the piñata.  Oh what a beauty she was was!  A little black kiwi, filled with little treats, and ready to be demolished!
A few before me tried their best, but my 6th sense took over me, and I smashed that sucker like it was sitting still (which it kinda was...).  But we had great fun!

OR, the video form.


Box, Box Santa.

We had a great Christmas day yesterday.  Sunny, warm and easy.  I made my gramma's orange rolls for breakfast, then hung out during the day, nibbling on broccoli and cheese knishes.  We played games, drank mint juleps and beer, and ate Ben's Russian fudge.
And then the dinner came:
Lamb/Ham/Mashed Kumara/Asparagus/Roast Potatoes/Plum Puddin'/Trifle/Whiskey/Whisky

mixed up with ultimate frisbee/playground climbing.

It was a great day, except for the fact that I somehow messed up my knee with that frisbee.  It's sore, and I have a slight limp.  Sigh.  Oh well, it's Boxing Day!


What's Maori for "Piñata?"

Man, today was such a fine day weather wise.  I love that it was 72 degrees and perfect skies, opposed to the 18" of snow I heard about back home (and it's going to keep coming apparently)!

It seems like each time I'm about to embark on some headway on my project, I run into something that forces me to change direction....I can't get any momentum I feel.  The bottom line is this: NZ immigration!  Let me in or else!  I'm not crazy/diseased/wanted in my home country/speak english.  OK.
I'll keep on it though, even if that means I have to go towards the backdoor route of getting a skilled work permit which I have to pay for, as opposed to the business permit, which is free.
Perhaps I should apply for the ambassador job?

But in more positive and uplifting news: The Day-After-Boxing Day (aka, Shadow Boxing Day) fiesta's piñata is finally finished, and drying in an undisclosed location, to prevent any premature-candy-desiring-whacks!  It's a beauty!


Macho Madness Scares Beth Davie

I went to the house warming party at Matt and Miri's house last night.  It was the much-awaited "Fluoro" party.  And by fluoro, they meant neon.  It was great fun: lots of great music, great friends and the Macho Man's favorite whiskey, Fighting Cock.
Highlight: Actually SCARING Beth with my amazingly accurate representation of the Macho Man.
It was excellent.  There will be some pics later posted on this very web page.


Totara Flats

I went hiking out there at Totara Flats on Thursday-Friday.

(Clinking the photo will take y'all to the gallery....)

I started at the trailhead in Waiohine Gorge, and the 1st thing you do is cross over a really long, single occupant suspension bridge that's 200 feet above the river.  And it bounces.  A lot.
Then through muddy native forest for 3 hours, fording 2 streams, I finally got to the "flats" part of the walk.  I thought to myself, "it's pretty windy.  I should find the hut that's out here, because otherwise I'll be up all night with the noise."  I tried in vain to find the hut (I just found it on google maps, and don't know how I could have missed it, except for the really tall grass?) which wasn't signed at all.  I got kinda frustrated, but mostly because I was tired, and in searching for the hutt I wasted an hour or so by going farther that I needed to...
But I found a terrific place to camp.  It was a spot that had been previously used, and it had all that one looks for in a spot: a nice soft, flat ground for the tent, easy access to water, a fire pit already made, and most importantly, WONDERFUL protection from the wind.
I was so happy to find that place.  I pitched camp, had dinner, read, and made a companion/entertainment fire.  I slept pretty well.
In the morning, I was sore in my shoulders and hips from my bag, and my body rejected the idea of wearing the pack again.  I finally had to get going, as I had a time I had to contact Anne, otherwise, the police would've been called in to look for me...
It was the most strenuous hike back out.  It was hotter, more humid, and seemingly endless on the way home.  But I did it, and rewarded myself with an obscene amount of fresh strawberries from a fruit stand.  Yes.
In the evening I hung out with Morgan and we drank some Scotch.  Some really nice stuff-finished in Sauternes casks... We told stories of all sorts till he needed to go sleepy-time!



Not much to report other than my team destroyed everyone at pub quiz last night.  We won a $50 tab at the bar.  I really want everyone to know it was Miri who enabled us to victory.  Without her, we would have been last probably!

I might be going camping tomorrow, so there would be pictures up by this weekend....


Duck n Dodge.


I frickin' love it.  Dubya gets shoes thrown at him in Iraq.  Now reporters aren't going to be allowed to wear shoes during press confrences....

In other news, I'm starting my piñata today.  I'm either going to do a Kiwi bird, or a donkey or Tana Umaga.....


Rivers and Coppers

Yesterday I went out "tramping in the bush" as they say here.  Out in the Rimutaka Forest Park, the trail took me through native forests filled with podocarps, most notably Rimu  (That was for all the biologists in the audience).
After about 1.5 hours of walking, I came to the Orongorongo river, which was running rather low, and I ate a lunch I had brought of a ham 'n cheese sandwich, a banana and some wine biscuits, which have a rather odd name for American consumers...oh, and I brought along a thermos of tea, 'coz I can.
The weather was fine-ish until the last moments on the trail on the return.  As soon as I got to the car, the rain came down something fierce.  I'm glad I wasn't one of the group just starting their hike for the day....

And last night I got invited by a friend to the National Police Headquarters Bar.  The cops have their own bar on the top floor of their office tower.  (In nice weather) Great views and...

$3 DRINKS!  I needn't say more!


This is what it sounds like when doves cry.

Well I made some Posole on Monday night.  I joked that I might have been one of the 1st 5 people to make the classic dish of pork and hominy stew in New Zealand.  But I didn't really compromise, in fact, I would of been proud to have served it back home, even in a restaurant....
Anyways, I rant thus because of the "Mexican" food I ate for lunch today.  It was a place recommended to me, and I'm pretty sure I even heard Spanish being spoken in the kitchen.  The Oaxacan Tacos I ate could best be described as "Hippy Mexican,"  but it wasn't quite that odd.  It certainly wasn't Family Mexican-god, what I wouldn't do for that styles beans!
So in that vein, I truly miss good Mexican food, just like I did 2 years ago.  And you know what, so did Mark Twain!  Well, he didn't miss any enchiladas (if he had only known!) but he did miss amongst other things:

American butter, Saratoga potatoes, Connecticut shad, Baltimore perch, Brook trout from Sierra Nevadas, Lake trout from Tahoe, Black bass from the Mississippi, Virginia bacon, San Francisco mussels, Philadelphia Terrapin soup, Canvas-back-duck from Baltimore, Prairie hens from Illinois, and broiled Missouri partridges.

So there you go...even Taco Bell....ok, maybe not even Taco Bell....

Also I bought another hat.  The 1st step is admitting you have a problem...



The 1st is one I bought yesterday at a clearance.  It's  a Hills brand, made here in NZ, and I like it, but it'll be too hot for summer wear.  It also needs some work on the front brim.

I roll 100 TIMES HARDER with this one.  Remember?!?



I went to the Lower Hutt farmers market yesterday morning with my friend Damon, on recommendation.  It was pretty nice- utilitarian- but the selection was pretty homologous between stalls.  The prices were great too...
Anyways, I got an amazing lamb roast I cooked tonight for dinner tonight, and made lentils and a radish-cabbage slaw to go with.  The flavor was rich, and relatively mild for lamb.  I'm going to be ordering a side this week for the holidays...
And I went to the beach again today.  I just exacerbated my sunburn!


Beach Bum

I just got back from the beach, laying in the sun and swimming in the bay.  It was perhaps 70 degrees F, maybe 75.  Very warm, but not miserable.  And the water was pretty cold.
But I finished my book about Gondwanaland.  When was the last time you read a book about that place?
Dinner and/or trouble in town tonight with Morgan and Cal.  I've seen more of his siblings this week than him with his studiousness! 


Rawk Climbing

I am so impossibly sore this morning.  My grip is nearly non-existent, from trying to hold my body close to a rock and not fall off.  My legs never really recovered from the ultimate-stairmaster climb of the eastern hills over the Hutt Valley.
 There will be physical activity for me today, other than walking.  Unless someone needs me for a netball game.....
I took many pics from the trip, since I was much better at doing that than climbing the rocks (really, it was the massively painful shoes that were too small).  When the sun went down, the light became awesome, and the wind even awesomer!


Bush Wacked!

Man, I just scrambled to the top of the ridge on the east side of the Hutt.
It was a steep go up the fire break, but once I got to the top, the views were worth it, even if one side was Wainuiomata....

But then I got lost coming down.  The trail I chose to take was of poor quality, very washed-out, and very narrow, meaning I was running through hawthorne-like bushes.  I then hit the nicer, "more foresty" stuff.  But the trails were confusing, and I kept coming out into people's backyards!  I just wanted to get out of the bush.  But I did it, and treated myself to my 1st meat pie of the trip.  Man it was GOOD.  I love 'em!

And I replaced my camera- the one that I bought for this trip, and then washed the day I left for NZ.  It never worked after that...but I got a new one, with a nicer lens (a LEICA!).

I'm going to rock everyone at pub quiz to-nite!