Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Still raining

Just a note, my blog hasn't been very adventurous, but that's because I haven't been very adventurous...yet. Upcoming side trip to the glaciers in the south, stay tuned.

Pictures! This is a lovely gloomy picture of our home, aka "The Barn." Can you see how it developed its name? My room is the top right with the window propped open. Because I like to sleep freezing.

This is part of the very very long walk back from some shops halfway to town. I think this time it was from the bus stop. We are trying to take advantage of public transportation, but busses only leave every few hours so timing is not completely convenient.

I went to the librarryyyyy. (Okay by now I've actually gone twice but I won't keep posting pictures every time I go, don't worry.)

Sarah captured a candid of my impatient reading before we even got home. Hey, it was a long ride. See what I'm wearing? People back home, it's called a jacket, and a headband/ear warmer (for those icy winds.) For when it get really cold out (so, under 100) and then you actually have to put clothes ON. And more than one layer, too! It's crazy, I know.

Look, Mediterranean Kiwi food! Whaaat. 
Funny story. We bought some lentils. Got home. I look at them: "Sarah, there are moving lentils." Weevils! Ewww...Thankfully we didn't open them or eat them before we noticed. At least they were posh weevils coming from such a posh place. You could tell by the hoity-toity way they moved around munching the lentils.

I've never seen this before.

Yum. Also: $40.

What kind of cooking is this even used for, anyway? Scott, I don't know why, but when I saw this I thought of you.

After shopping in the morning, Sarah, Ali and I took a walk (hike) up Kaiti Hill. It's right next to the ports, and there is a lot of logging production there before it all gets exported.

To the top its a few k, maybe a couple miles, but its pretty steep. Because it is early on in our trip, as we get used to landscapes that don't resemble flatness, there was some...huffing and puffing. Not exactly the most encouraging thing to see joggers lap you while you're still heading up. Once we arrived at the top though, beautiful view. This pano here is actually the almost-top, but had the best viewpoint all around. About 5pm and the sun is on it's way out. By the time we turned around to go back down, it was near black.

As we made our way back down the hill, I spotted what I thought was a cat in the tree above the path.  No, it was a possum. I've never seen one before! I am pretty excited about finding it. It looks very cat-like, but if you look at it (in real life) you can tell by the way it sat and slightly moved, it was not a cat.

And this is at the lookout point as well. "In Memory of Princess Diana Who Planted this (can't read kind of tree) in 1983."

Checked out a town beach on our way home, and there are these beautifully carved benches all along the wooden pathway.

And then there's this. Add to the album of weird foreign foods. At the same time, I'm very curious to give it a try...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Boomshack Band: In Which I Decide to Socialize

I went to a musical event in town last night at the Poverty Bay Club. Part of the building also houses the Dome Theatre, the cool movie theatre in town (which I'll hopefully have a post about soon.) The concert was a fundraiser for the Dome to help raise money toward an expensive upgrade to fix some of their film equipment. For $15 at the door, it was definitely worth supporting this historical and cultural landmark. This is a picture of the building that I stole from TripAdvisor, so you can get an idea of the atmosphere, at least of the outside.

So for an extremely unexpected turn of events, I decided to forgo my evening of reading by the fire at the Barn, and instead tag along with my cousins and their friends to experience the exciting nightlife of Gisborne... We didn't see more than three cars on our way because absolutely nothing happens in town after about 5pm, but once inside, I realised this was where everyone is hiding tonight.

Now, I haven't been to too many bars with bands playing in them, but I think this one was pretty unique. Some things stood out in my experience. I don't have more than that outside picture for a couple reasons. One, it was about 40 degrees out and my hands were permanently stuck in my jacket pockets until I entered the nice warm, overcrowded bar. Two, during my entire evening, from about 8-11:30, I did not see a single phone in anyone else's hand. No video recording the musicians, no selfies, nothing. I decided very quickly I was not about to scream FOREIGNER and take out my phone to snap pics just to blog about later. And it would have distracted me from actually, you know, enjoying the performance and atmosphere. It was a high energy night. Everyone was dancing, drinking, just having fun with their friends, and being present.

Maybe this was just an isolated incident, or maybe it's a small town New Zealand thing, or maybe bands playing in bars go by entirely different rules than concerts and I'm reading too much into it. Either way, it enriched my experience of the whole shindig. I'm still in disbelief.

The band that played is a semi-local one, called Boomshack Band (^ as seen above.) I had not looked them up beforehand, and with an odd name like that I really had no idea what to expect--I just crossed my fingers. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised. They mostly covered old rockabilly songs like Johnny Cash, Elvis, Chuck Berry, and also threw in some surf rock and The Kinks. THIS is my kind of music! (Yes I know it's weird but I wear my weird music tastes proudly.) And people my age were dancing to it! This renewed my faith a little in the music-loving world. It's not all crap out there. I had a whole lotta fun this evening.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Settling in for the Winter

As I slowly adjust to the local time and shake off the jet lag, the sun still rises at the late hour of 7:30. Although the sun is theoretically rising, due to the constant cloudy weather and rainstorms...it never actually seems like it does. This is no complaint. It is my new favorite thing in the world to wake up in the dark, make some tea, and read my book by the fire in the lounge. The sounds around me: the roar of wind throwing rain onto the metal roof, crackling of pine burning in the wood stove, and once that pseudo-sunrise hour approaches, birds chirping into the morning. During my trip to the library soon I'm going to look for a book about local birds because there are so many around here and I have no idea what any of them are besides the adorable fantails.

The rain is finally supposed to cease by tomorrow, which will allow for easier walks around and motivate us to do more activities besides sitting and reading. (There has been a healthy amount of that already.)

We did brave the rain and check out some secondhand shops in town for fun. I found an old writing desk that I really want. If it was in the States I would buy it right away. It is too big to fit in my suitcase, but I took a picture so I can imagine having it.

Awkward mannequin in the middle of the shop.

Tiny old books. They were in a box like container, and almost a hundred dollars. Okay, not worth that much cute.

Also, persimmons are in season here! This fruit doesn't ever seem to ripen properly at home, so it is a delight to have them here. All the other fruits I'm used to getting here are not in season right now, like passion fruit and feijoas, so this was a nice surprise.

In our exploring, eventually some coffee and cake was required to continue. We stopped at the Poverty Bay Club, a coffeehouse/art stores building that used to be a gentlemans club way back. 

Jaffa cake. Yes I'm taking pictures of my food.

I find the middle sign just a tiny bit puzzling. 

Upstairs are some small businesses like a tailor, and a jewelry maker.

She told us about huge sales in Auckland a couple times a year where she buys vintage fabrics to make clothes with. Apparently old ladies can get quite vicious at these things.
 Then she brought down an incredible project (kinda blurry photo) of a certain kind of shuttle weaving or something. The details are lost on me, but it looked so intricate and pretty.

Random cute dog picture of my cousin's pup, Juno. Look at that face.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Missing Wednesday

I'm back for my next adventure across the earth. In case you're just tuning in, the purpose of this blog/journaling is to help me remember what I did, and also to keep myself writing most days. And maybe to keep some people a little entertained at my (sometimes odd) experiences along the way.

(I wrote most of this while traveling, but we didn't have wifi access until we got to the Barn so I couldn't post it until now. Just a heads up.)

After a relatively uneventful 13 hour flight from LAX to Auckland, New Zealand, we had a five hour layover till our final small flight into Gisborne. We took our time and had some tea and foods with leftover pocket NZ change from our last visits. On my part, I also raided my coin collection for extra coins. They do no good sitting in my closet.

But then my tea buying experience went like this:

*hands over change*

"Uh we don't take those anymore, those are old coins. We have a new 20c now."

Hm they can't be that old, that's weird. I find different coins instead and afterward I check them: 1977. Well. Okay....whoops. Coin collector nerd alert.

We also purchased phones from the 90s that will text and call people within the country. This will be especially helpful for when we have no wifi, and/or we get separated from each other. You see, Sarah and I have a wonderful codependency problem. It takes me about two minutes to compose a one sentence text. This will hopefully force me to actually get my face out of the obnoxious digital world, and do different things. With my full attention.

It's a cool 50 or so outside, cloudy once the sun rose at about 8:15. I've already forgotten twice that it's winter here. When we landed at 6am I was curious to why it was pitch black out. Yes, it was just the winter solstice the other day. A big difference from the 115 we just left.


I've missed the cacophony of non American voices filling my ears while walking through airports, and it makes me smile to see all the sheep scatter as our plane touches down into this beautiful countryside.