I am back in my hometown, Olympia Washington. It's pretty odd here. I think my mind is still in NZ, and my physical form is (attempting) to reject this cold, end of winter drabness of the wild. I even saw snow on the ground yesterday when Trever and I went up into them that Black Hills! It broke my no-snow streak.
Today I then got the ole' Dart out of "storage" and man what a trip that was/is.
-Had the damndest time changing a completely flat tire. Pneumatic wrenches are my enemy.
-Fluids. Fluids and more fluids.
-Mold. Yup, serious mold. I am going to have to completely clean the inside. There's fuzzys all over.
-"Burnin' it out." Just getting to drop the hammer down, to burn off all the crap that had formed during it's sabbatical.
-Driving on this side of the road, whatever side that is.....still haven't figured it out.
I love it's noise, it's utter lack of "feeling safe," it's size, it's lack of power anything! It's like riding an animal, nay a BEAST, that barely wants you to hold on. After Petanquing it for so long, respect Japanese cars built in the 90's suckers, but respect even more the cars of Detroit built in the 60's. That is the quality America needs again. Serious metal. Heavy duty.
Anyways, life here is like jumping into a cold river. I feel like I can't react to swimming in it's current yet; I need to adjust to it's chill....
Saturday night we had the final installment of Alligator-based parties for the summer. I feel like the Great Gatsby, but poorer. And less likely to hit and run....anyways:
The party was a good one: Hawaiian food, nails once the weather was less shite, drinkin', bloody marys, and the hat that makes you roll 100 times harder than you normally do guest appearances.
And then more drinkin' on the town. Yes, you could say we got it done.
Sunday was full recovery mode to be sure. Unless you are Ben Davie, then you got another beatdown, but you'll have to ask him all about that yourself.
The proof is in the pudding.
Today I am packing up my stuff; I leave for the US tomorrow at 5pm. I don't really want to go home, since it is all unknowns and doing those unenviable tasks of moving and finding work....lament, lament!
I got back from Lake Waikaremoana late last night. If you were in the group of people who received one of my return-to-modern-civilization-I-am-manic-there's-no-sandflies emails, then I'm sorry if it seemed like I was on crack.
It was just a cup of tea.
This walk was the last one of the Great Walks for me to do on the North Island- I have 8 more to go I think. I'm looking forward to the day I get to do the Stewart Island one....it's a new goal of mine- to complete them all.
After a sleepless-due-to-snorers night, I headed up to the remote lake. Basically, the first day is uphill for 4 hours. You go up over 500 meters above the lake. The views when it cleared were amazing, as you can see in the photos linked below.
The second day was my longest- I walked for about 6.5 hours with a lunch break of 30 minutes. It got to the point that each corner I expected to see the hut, then would see nothing, or be harshly teased by the DOC official's hut....
The 3rd and 4th days were easy, relaxed and sunny. I cannot complain too much.
And for your record: The water was VERY cold.
The big Alligator-Jamberoo is tonight- gotta go cut me hairs!
-cevacaci, Serbian meatballs made of lamb and pork, grilled and served on roasted onions with dill
-Doris plum crostata with sweet buttermilk
-Felice's perfect chewy pavlova with fresh, tart raspberries
I know it's sort of a mash-up of styles/regions, but when you get sweet corn, avocados, and berries that all grow here and are ripe now....I guess I should've gotten some passion fruit is all I can say to exacerbate more!
On a completely unrelated note, I am going camping at lake Waikaremoana this week, so I won't be back till next weekend. See you soon!
Camping with Morgue in the Orongorongo river valley last night was great. We hiked out there- it's an hour or so of walking- and found a decent spot. There was only one person out there, the DOC official who told us "no fires!"
We had some Talisker scotch, played cribbage, ate dinner, talked, and enjoyed the full moon and a mostly clear, cool night. Other secret, occult activities did not transpire.
Over night, rain came in, and light wind too, but by the time we got up, it was fine. Breakfast, striking camp, and then the walk home, with stories of banner weekends.
Pictures linked below- some cool long exposure night shots that I've messed with...
It's been a long time since I got pictures to y'all, and, I know it breaks your hearts not see my wonderful mug on your screens after a while.... Here are some pictures that I've uploaded today, in reverse-chronological order:
Cricket, Black Caps vs India 2nd Twenty20. Cuba Street Carnival, and it's insanity. Coromandel Peninsula's remote ruggedness, in all it's beauty. The Alligator's Birthday, Dinner/Strike Sound System/GatorScarf-The Legend Begins!
Just for the record, I haven't expressed my excitement that my childhood hero, Ken Griffey Jr, has returned to the Seattle Mariners, after leaving for the Reds after the '99 season. This will be his 20th season.
He will not do much at the plate, and less in the field. He will be the clubhouse leader, and a fan draw. If he somehow reproduced his '97 stats-nay, if he somehow produced HALF of his '97 stats (for the record .304 AVG/56 HRS/157 RBI/1.028 OPS, over 600 plate appearances) I would be happy.
I knew that I had been saving my "Griffey in '96" shirt in the closet (with the tags still attached) for a good reason! (Yes- he ran for president of the US in a Nike ad campaign)
I received a letter today in the post. Now usually, I am quite happy to get mail, since it's usually good news. This letter was from Immigration NZ, and I opened it up, excitedly. The news was not good, in fact it was quite confounding actually! Basically, once I read through lengthy descriptions of possible reasons my paperwork wasn't in order, I gleaned these conclusions: -My culinary school diploma is not recognized for some reason. -My entire, 10 year culinary career is not recognized.
This whole thing is based on a points system; I had claimed 135 points. Only 30 were recognized, and those were for my age being under 30. I re-read the letter, and it concluded that any questions or concerns can be submitted to the office via written correspondence. I immediately wrote a letter back to ask questions, and to explain things further. I was not aggressive, I did not complain, nor was I condescending. I reserve those literary seasonings for later letters.... I am vexed, as I wrote in the aforementioned letter, as to why this whole process is so confounding and tortuous! If it's this hard for me, imagine how hard it would be if you're a Pakistani taxi driver?
I am sick of being sick! I haven't felt great since I left the cricket match, and I figured that was due to the very dodgy hot dog I ate there. But no, it's full-on sicksville for me. I haven't even left the house all weekend, and I have done so much sudoku I can see a grid with numbers in my head....and I can fill it in too...ugggh! I made dinner tonight for Owen's birthday, and when the pot roast was resting, having been finished for consumption, the dish it was in (an oven-proof baking dish) shattered.
You might say the secret ingredient was glass! Or as Homer Simpson so eloquently put it when Marge told him his "sweet, sweet sugar" had glass in it, he replied, "those are prizes!"