EDIT: I should probably follow Greg’s marvelous example, and note that it is 6:50 pm, Saturday the 17th of February, New Zealand time.
Hello all. Its about time I posted a little something – the past few weeks have been so busy, exciting, etc. (not to mention our delayed internet).
Wow, I’m in New Zealand. !!!! Still seems bizarre! Its strange to think about how far we are from home, floating down here between the South Pacific and the Tasman Sea. I woke up on the plane (feeling rather stoned after downing two Gravol) just as we passed over the equator. It was a love/hate relationship with the plane’s trip map – so cool to know where we were, but agonizing to see how far we had yet to go. I watched 3 movies (Confetti was great, The Last King of Scotland was disturbing), an episode of America’s Top Model (my selection was limited, ok), slept for 6 hours, and still had time to sit staring at the seat in front of me, lethargic, drooling. On a good note, the food was delicious. And they gave us free wine. (Probably not wise to mix with Gravol and high altitudes – I felt good, though, so no harm done.)
I’m having a fantastic time. NZ is gorgeous. The summer weather alone is worth the gruesome 12 hour flight. I’m so glad that I finally fulfilled my dream of visiting here. “Palmy” is a nice little city, with great parks and walking trails. I like where we’re living, on the outskirts of town. Things are quieter, and the walk downtown is enjoyable (takes me about 15 minutes longer than Greg, of course – short legs).
Our trip to Wellington yesterday, as Greg said, was a blast. I loved the cricket match. Its a great game. Easy to understand, fun to watch. I loved the entire atmosphere. We had a couple beer, ate a fantastic assortment of deliciously disgusting junk food, relaxed and soaked up the sun (Greg’s necklace tan is too funny). Listening to the fans around us was a riot – as the afternoon unfolded, the consumption of alcohol encouraged more than a few hecklers to voice their opinions of the players – both the Aussies and NZ’s own Blackcaps ….. pretty much anyone who found himself too close to the stands was considered fair game. I felt rather sorry for “6 chins Gillespie”. It became quite chilly in the evening. I was glad to have my sweater and windbreaker with me – lots of climate-spoiled Kiwis were wearing scarves, toques, and winter coats. Apparently Wellington is NZ’s windiest city, and it was the wind that was so cold. The trip home was fun, too. We had great conversations with Greg’s friend David and his friend Calum about our respective countries and wildlife and politics and the royal family. The stars were amazing last night. I was very excited to finally spot the Southern Cross.
I’m heading out on Monday for my 13 day North Island Solo Extravaganza Tour. I’m very excited. Its been somewhat of a headache to plan (I’d die for Auntie Kim’s travel planning talent – she should really start her own company), but I think I have things mapped out now. My schedule of activities is enormous. I’ll be exhausted when I finally return to Palmy – may have to go into a week long hibernation. I wish Greg could come with me, I know we’d have a blast. I’ll admit, though, its very exciting to be heading out on my own, with just my own wits to guide me. (Hmmm……that could mean trouble…..well, it’ll be interesting to say the least.) I have the feeling that there’ll be a few classic Hollis stories to share.
Okay, Greg’s awake from his nap, and I’m starving. Time for steak and cheese pie!