Posts Tagged With: Kiwi

Our Last Day in New Zealand

The scenic coast!Well, our time in New Zealand has just about wound down to a close. Last night, Brooke and I jetted about an hour north of Auckland to have dinner in Warkworth. We dined with another set of new friends whom we had met when we first arrived in the country. Our last dinner in New Zealand was at an upscale pub where we finally had a chance to sample the fish ‘n chips we had been salivating over from town to town. Deliciousness followed. Driving back, we were greeted with the gorgeous site of the Auckland nighttime skyline welcoming us across the bay and into our final New Zealand hotel stay. I know I’ve said this a dozen times in a dozen posts, but it is a beautiful country.

We leave New Zealand about a thousand times more knowledgable about the culture, people, geography and history than we were when our plane landed in here thirteen days ago. And we’re still learning new things. For one, it turns out that when a sheep gives birth, the result is always twins. Never just one baby lamb, but two. We’ve also determined that given the Kiwi bird’s propensity to sleep up to 20 hours a day, Brooke might actually be part Kiwi. (Note from Brooke: “At least I wish I was. At least then people wouldn’t judge. Oh, they judge.”) Last night, we also learned about the Feijoa: A fruit that boldly claims to be like none other. Since the feijoa are out of season we won’t get to sample. But I’m continually surprised by the sheer number of fruits that I’ve never heard of. Last week, Brooke discovered and fell in love with the Tamarillo. A tart citrus fruit with the essence of a tomato. Unique, no?

Post Cards writing and Long Black Drinking BrookeWe managed to see a little bit more of Auckland on our last day including stumbling across an adorable shop called The Garden Party in the Ponsonby section of town. We limited our purchase to an Andy Warhol styled Sheep Coaster set (trust me, they’re awesome. Come to our new place for drinks and we’ll break them out) but the store had some endlessly great gear. We ordered one last Long Black coffee at one last café, sent a few postcards, and I even found a respectable enough looking barber to give me a much needed haircut. Our last day to-do list included wanting to try a Meat Pie for lunch which, despite it’s off putting name, is a much beloved local favorite. No stranger sounding than a Sloppy Joe, I suppose. We weren’t able to make that happen, but we’ve added it to our next time list. Our to do list for when we return to New Zealand is getting longer by the hour! We have a whole Southern Island to explore!

I think one thing I’ll remember most about New Zealand is the roads. We’ve been told that an old Kiwi joke is that road builders here get paid not by the mile of road they lay down, but the number of curves they install. Every day outside of the cities is a bit of adventure driving. Yesterday, we came across the commonly seen sign for “falling rock ahead.” Less than a mile down the road, we nearly plowed into a giant friggin’ boulder the size of a small Honda Civic. The mammoth rock was firmly situated about a third of the way into the road. Yikes. Also, in driving over 1,200 KM we saw a singular Kiwi Bird Crossing sign. Ah, I should have taken a picture of that one. Moving forward, my stress dreams may consist of riding around curvy mountain hills that you can’t see around, only to discover a double-long logging truck barreling down the other side of the two-lane road with 300 foot drop-offs.

Off to the AirportIn our next post, Brooke and I will share our favorite moments from New Zealand. But for now, Vela has been returned to the Spaceport, we’re at the Auckland International Aiport well in advance of our flight and will board our China Southern flight back to Guangzhou and then to Tokyo, Japan. Brooke and I are looking forward to our path to Tokyo and our stay at Camp Zama tomorrow. Next stop: The land of the rising sun! Onward to new discoveries and new adventures.

Categories: Driving, Eating, Japan, New Zealand, Reflections, Transportation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

New Zealand and The Olympics

As with many things, timing is playing a big role in our Round the World Trip. In this case, the timing is presenting a unique situation for us to watch the 2012 Summer Olympics from another country’s point of view. Specifically, New Zealand, which is where we will be stationed for the duration of the games.

Every four years (every two if you count the winter games), I’ve watched the triumphs and trials of the Olympics through a decidedly American lens. Catching the ubiquitous and never-aging Bob Costas deliver endless profiles of American athletes who have overcome adversity to be on this grand stage. It is cool. It is inspiring to cheer for the red, white and blue. It gets the heart racing from time to time. But it also gets a tad predictable.

Go Kiwis!We are really eager to see how the Olympics are presented & televised from another country’s viewpoint.  The New Zealand National Team is sending roughly 1/3rd as many athletes as the United States is sending. For a country that has approximately 1% of the population that the United States does (4 million as opposed to 314 million), that’s not too shabby.  They have 185 men and women competing in 15 sports.

In 2004 and 2008, New Zealand won medals in Rowing, Cycling, Sailing and Canoeing; all events in which they are perpetually favorites. I can name the entire US Men’s Basketball Team and many on the US Men’s Swimming Team, but I don’t know a single thing about how one earns a gold medal in Canoeing. I’m assuming it takes more than not flipping over the canoe, but it is a world I know nothing about. I’m excited at the prospect of finding myself in a Kiwi bar collectively yelling with others at the TV at 2:00 AM (due to the London time difference) cheering on the New Zealand Sailing Team race towards the finish line. Man, we have a lot of exciting things to look forward to on this tip.

On a related note, I’m also hoping that while abroad, I can finally learn what in blue blazes the game of Cricket is all about.

Categories: Diversions, New Zealand, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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