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August 26, 2006

Swan Song for Auckland

My Auckland existence is now a thing of the past. The apartment has been emptied and cleaned beyond all recognition. It was very strange still living in that tiny space without our photos and posters on the walls. The lack of personality left the apartment feeling barren and somewhat creepy. I didn't like to look around much, except of course to look out the window. I could never tire of that view.

I am now on a bus heading towards Rotorua. It's dark out and so there's not much to do except play with my gadgets. Computer running, ipod entertaining, mobile... well... I'm a bit annoyed because the mobile has been left with my luggage in the storage under the bus. There are texts I could be writing! Mostly I'm just a little worried that it isn't lock and its down there completely inaccessible for four hours and making all sorts of expensive phone calls and annoying friends with blank texts. I am officially a technology junkie. I can't even imagine how I would function without my gadgets. On the other hand, I'd probably get a lot more exercise.

But back to Auckland and some of the photos I haven't had a chance to share yet.

These are from a trip up the Skytower.

In the photo above you can begin to get a sense of just how many volcanic cones there are in Auckland. A total of 50, but its hard to spot them all.

I love cities at night. Especially if I can get up quite high to look down at all the lights. In my opinion Auckland is certainly at its most glamorous from this perspective:

This Z shaped building is (was) my home. The name of the building is Zest.

We were lucky enough to get to host Robert's sister and mother for a couple of days. It felt a little cramped in the apartment, but I was quite happy to host my first guest from abroad. I say that in the singular because Jen (Robert's sister) is living in Wellington (for now). One blustery day we hopped on the ferry and headed over to Waiheke.

Arrrrg... I'm running out of internet time and have more photos to share. They will have to wait. By the way, I'm in Rotorua at a cafe uploading alll of this. These last two were taken at Auckland Domain

Please excuse any spelling errors as I have no time to spell check :}

August 16, 2006


It was the six month anniversary of our arrival in New Zealand just a few days ago. Robert and I arrived on the 15th of February, and I left Canada on the 27th of January. I was going to write a bit about how it doesn't feel like six months, etc., etc. But what is six months meant to feel like anyway? Time constantly seems to be either dragging or speeding by, and usually whenever I'm looking back it seems to have sped along at a shocking speed. This last period in my life is definitely a bit of a blur. I've done a lot, but Auckland has afforded me a fair amount of down time that I don't expect that Sydney will. As a result I feel like I've been a bit lazy with my explorations. I'm excited at the prospect of moving on to the next adventure, but at the same time I feel a little sad too. Some friendships that felt like they were just getting started might now be ending, or perhaps just going into stasis. Auckland is not an ideal city, but I've certainly grown comfortable. Maybe I just shouldn't write blog entries while listening to melancholy music...

Some people mark the periods of their lives by occupations, friends and lovers, family situations, or perhaps hobbies. Cities seem to be the defining marker and shaper of the chapters in my life. I've been trying to guess at what this period of my life will look like in retrospect. At this point, I'm having trouble hazarding a guess. Perhaps because this whole chunk of my life seems a bit random. I made the decision to come to New Zealand about 48 hours after Robert put it to me as an option. Within months I had scraped together the financial resources I needed, compartmentalized my life into little boxes left in various locations around Ontario and put myself on an extremely long flight to parts unknown. I've always admired my friends and family who were able to put their life into a few pieces of luggage and whisk themselves away to far away places for long periods of time. Now that I've done it too, I find myself every once and a while wondering why and if I am perhaps, insane. I think I've been feeling a bit homesick this week. Although I am already about halfway through my time in this part of the world it feels like it's going to be ages and ages before I am in familiar surroundings again with the people that I love. I could go home at anytime, but I'm not ready yet. I'd regret leaving so many things undone. I just have to ride this wave of unsettledness and wait for it to pass. In six to eight months from now, I'll be looking back on this upcoming chapter and wondering how it passed so quickly.


That's better. I've put on some upbeat music and am drinking some ginseng tea. Time to share a few more photos.
My last day skiing in the South Island was spent at Treble Cone. The most beautiful and most difficult slopes in NZ. I'm very glad I went, but an unexpected trip (tumble) down an icy black run has left me with several bruises that seem to have no desire of fading. Luckily, the views were worth it.

The below photos are of Lake Wanaka (in a town called, Wanaka, surprisingly enough). Hardcore Queenstown fans attempted to dissuade from spending a few nights in Wanaka by appealing to the "trip the lights fantastic" girl in me. I'm glad they failed. Wanaka is an extremely friendly and cozy little town that has the best movie house I have ever been to. Instead of regular collapsible seats they have a plethora of tiered couches and a full menu including irresistible fresh out of the oven cookies. Yum...

August 12, 2006

More Queenstown

I don't think I could ever tire of the view from a plane window, especially when that view is of the South Island. The endless mountains make me want to jump from peak to peak like Spiderman. I'm told it looks just like BC, but I haven't seen enough of British Columbia to confirm or deny this assertion. Anyone out there have an opinion?

Queenstown is the epitome of quaint tourist town with its endless rows of cafes, restaurants and shops. Doesn't it just nestle into this valley just the way you'd expect a ski-town would?

This is the view from the bottom of the Remarkables. As this was only my second day on skies in far too many years I wasn't quite confident enough to take my camera on a run with me.

One last photo of the stunning sunset in Queenstown.

August 8, 2006

Tired Legs, Tired Me

I will get back to finishing my Queensland journey, but I had to take a break from that story to share a little bit of Queenstown with you. Did I tell you that I had won a trip? It was meant to be a trip for two to Sydney, but as I am moving there anyway, there didn't seem to be much point in taking that prize. Luckily I managed to convince the prize givers to reward me with a trip for one to Queenstown and Wanaka! Any remaining money they would've put towards accommodation in Sydney, I get to spend on lift passes! Yay!

I have quite a few photos to share, but due to my tired body (which hasn't been skiing in YEARS!!!), I have very little energy to get them all posted. I do however have the energy to share my most prized photo.

Evening: Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown, South Island, NZ

August 3, 2006

Mission Beach and Magnetic Island

Well, I really meant to go on a blogging binge when I got back from Australia, but then I realized that the Auckland International Film Festival was in full swing. Being a girl that has a hard time resisting a festival of any type, never mind a film festival, my internet ambitions got momentarily pushed aside. It was so much fun to attend the Auckland Film Festival, partly because I had insider knowledge due to Toronto's Film Fest last September, and partly because unlike Toronto the movies almost never sold out!! It was quite pleasing to be able to wander up to the ticket booth 5 minutes before a screening and still get to see the movie. And did I mention that the furthest cinema is a 6 minute walk from the gate of my apartment building? So if you see these movies playing, please rush right out and see them. Oilcrash / A Crude Awaking, (Crude... haha.. Ummm... this documentary scared me... It's very good.) Mind Game (wonderful Japanese anime), the Science of Sleep (Is this out in North America? I'm thinking it must be. Same writer as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but this is even better because he directed it too), ScaredScared (Canadian Doc that I wanted to see at TIFF, but was sold out), Whole New Thing (Another brilliantly written Canadian film, with an unfortunately lackluster title) and last but certainly not least is the decadent French film How Much Do You Love Me?. I also got to see one of the most shockingly terrible films I've ever seen, Under the Sun of Satan. It unexplicably won a zillion awards and good reviews. My theory is that no one else understood it either, but they were too embarrassed to just say so, and so they called it brilliant. For me though, the Washington Post's opinion really hits the nail of the head (...sorry about the pun...).

But Back to the Oz Adventures!!!

In Mission Beach I stayed in a hostel in the middle of the rainforest (very beautiful) and took a shuttle to the town and beach.

Out of all the communities I visited in Australian, Mission Beach is the one community that most showed the effects of Cyclone Larry.

Apparently these green bummed ants are quite tasty, kinda like a sweet and sour candy. I decided not to try one. I had to take a photo though as I didn't know that some ants lived it trees.

Next stop, Magnetic Island. Just off Townsville, this island is a beautiful spot to hike, or lay on a beach and read.