Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Come, come, Dick. Pine. Elm. Hickory, chestnut, maple. Part of our heritage is the lure of living things, the storybook of nature."

So I arrived in Kaikoura safe and sound—lovely bus ride, by the way, lots of hills and sheep and hills and trees and more sheep—to the Sunrise Lodge.  I started working (2 hours a day max! It’s the sweetest gig ever!) and it’s an amazing environment here: small enough for a family atmosphere where everybody basically knows each other, blooming flowers and the sounds of the ocean…

It’s great! 

I’m making some pretty good friends, here—a couple of guests here are long-termers, hanging out for the summer season and earning some money in town.  And repping all sorts of countries: France, Japan, Germany, to name a few.  We’re having some really interesting conversations, too.

It’s really unfortunate, though, that I have to go home: my grandfather has passed away, and I need to get back for the funeral and be with my family.  We were really close; all the same, I’m just…numb, about it.  It’s not real, yet.

The plane ticket home was ridiculously expensive, so I don’t know if I’ll have the funds to make it back to NZ this year.  We’ll see. 

The best thing I can tell myself right now is “You’re young.  There’s no time limit on travelling.  Be with your family.”


Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations."

Several surreal moments of the day:
  • Riding the bus to the airport at 3:00 AM with the bus driver whistling along to 50’s pop hits.  In a demented, Jeepers-Creepers sort of way.
  • Hearing a KFC blasting Mozart opera across the Christchurch City Mall.
  • Walking around the City Square and realizing it looks like what would happen if New Orleans and Marble Falls and DC’s Chinatown reproduced.
On the bright side, I am in Christchurch, and it’s a beautiful day, and I’m exhausted, but it’s been very nice to wander around and see the pretty flowers.  The Botanical Gardens are fantastic; I bonded with a lone duckling who apparently said “Forget all you guys, I’m claiming this pond in the name of Duck-hood!” and found a massive tree. 

I wanted to name it Jorge, but got the feeling that wouldn’t go down so well with the groundskeepers, so.  

And apparently Guy Fawkes day is a big deal here (I really should have figured this out sooner) and now I’m wondering if me arriving in Kaikoura tomorrow is going to make things hard for my boss. 

Ah, well.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Saliva is nature's glue." "And raisins are nature's candy!"

I went to the museum yesterday, thinking I’d scope it out and see if maybe I could volunteer there.  It’s an okay museum, if a little confusing: not only are there waaay too many artifacts in a case (which, yeah, I can see doing if you’re trying to demonstrate the diversity of material culture, but this was slightly ridiculous), something about their information plaques was just.  Off.

It was hard to put my finger on it at the time, and between thinking “Everything’s in past tense, like Maori/Polynesian culture has already happened and isn’t anymore” and wondering about how authentic traditional Maori dances are when they’re being performed in an institution for visitors (not that it’s not a valid experience, and not that performers or the audience are getting any less fulfillment from it) I’ve decided that there’s this sneaky postcolonial vibe going on there.  It was very off-putting, and disheartening to realize that even the trained professionals have a hard time recognizing their own biases.

Mr. T informed me that apparently they had a huge staff turnover recently, with some new madam curator from South Africa coming in and practically overhauling everything, and that the friends he has that work there are unhappy with the changes she’s made. 

So0000…I don’t think I want to work there.  Not to mention the fact that they’re not hiring, and they don’t accept volunteers.


I’m going to Christchurch tomorrow, then on to Kaikoura.  Hopefully the boss-peoples will let me stay a while; if not, I’ll work on some applications to be an apple-picker.  I could make up to $180 NZD a day! Wouldn’t that be sweet? BA-DUM-CHA.

PS—Korean barbecue=the best ever and it is absolutely a crime against all that is good that I have never eaten at one before.

That is all. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"You look like a bird who's swallowed a plate."

Had kind of a burst of writing inspiration this morning.  Ah, Stumbleupon, how I love thee~

Also quite looking forward to seeing Christchurch and the East coast of the South Island.  And whales!  Dolphins!  Mountains!  Seafood!  And vino!

Wandered around Auckland Uni with Mr. T last night—it’s a wonderful campus, and if I were still an undergrad I would be all atwitter about studying here.

And, I have a confession: I am the tightest wad that ever wadded.  Seriously, I’m not even interested in doing all the fun things here that cost mega-amounts of money (they’re not actually that expensive, I’m just cheap).  I want a job..!

So, no Sky City.  No ferries to the beach, I don’t think, and no busses to the hills outside Auckland, because getting to Kaikoura’s already making me bite my knuckles.  

Besides, I’m having the most fun wandering around.  I think I’ll go to the Rock Shop soon and beg to be let onto one of their keyboards…

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Don't dip your oar in this sordid sea, Dick. You might be besmirched."


I am hardcore excited, because it’s now one of my favorite months. :DD

The best part?  IT’S SPRING HERE. 

It’s a Spring-y November.  And this wonderful country’s preoccupation with keeping up with the Joneses (…or rather, the Northern Hemisphere) means that it’s pumpkin-time everywhere.  

With no added winter!  No bracing winds, no sleet, no need to dress in three layers before braving the outside.  Glorious!

(So now I can have my pumpkin soup and have my sunshine, too!)


I’m reading like I haven’t read in years, now, and it’s a beautiful feeling.  All this freedom means I’m being a little rebel, too, and reading about 6 books at a time:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The Art of War
Water for Elephants
How to Analyze People on Sight (although it’s so arrogant and ethnocentric and laughable I can’t quite take it anymore)
Paradise Lost
My Man Jeeves