We are in New Zealand! And staying there for awhile, at least, we’re not getting on a plane for a long time (to us) and maybe getting used to a time zone (fyi: we’re 20hrs ahead of Portland).
Some facts about New Zealand:
1. It was settled by polynesians in canoes a 1000 years ago.
2. A kiwi is: a) the fruit, b) the bird, and c) a New Zealander.
3. They take quarantine seriously (even more than Australia). They even wash your shoes if there’s too much soil. Good thing for the Portland snow: ours were squeaky clean.
4. It separated from the rest of the world so early it only had 2 mammals when it first started.
Mary and Roger greeted us at the gate, and it was so warm and sunny when we stepped outside — but no where near as humid as Singapore. Still, we’re having second thoughts about our down jackets and hats. They keep reassuring us it’ll be of use in the mountains.
Here is where we’re staying in Christchurch, with Kerry in NZ. Such a cute place with a cute tenant!
After some local cheese and kiwis (the fruit), we went “tramping” (hiking in NZ talk). We were looking for a world class bouldering spot, which we thought was called Castle Rock and is right in Christchurch. After getting to the top, we met some trad climbers who corrected us: it’s Castle Hill. Fortunately, we’ll pass that on our way in a few days. Stick it!
The hike was a perfect one for the afternoon: a nice climb up to the top of a hill with spectacular view. Only thing it was SO windy. At times, the wind picked me up and moved me.
I’ll update our big hiking itinerary later (before we leave, b/c after we probably won’t have internet access so often). In the meantime, time for some roast lamb.
p.s. At Tuti’s request, I’m uploading pix here too (on top of flickr, ahem!). But I’m, again, new to blogging/wordpress, so for now, I simply plopped them in gallery format (the default setting) this time. I’ll get fancy later, and if you have suggestions, let me know. [Update 2/25: I’ve changed the gallery to flickr. Phew.]