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February 28, 2005


Hellllo! I'm in New Zealand. And I'd forgotten my password to this account, because I have it programmed into my computer and never have to type it in. So here, finally, I am. On blog.

I arrived to Christchurch on schedule, had a late dinner with friends, went to bed. Spent a few more days in Christchurch. Activities included lounging in the park, eating, chatting, shopping, sending stuff north, and rafting the Avon. The Avon is the sluggish stream which winds leisurely through the city. It's not really raftable. It's puntable, for those familiar with punting. So really, we just floated the Avon in cheat inflatable 1-2 person rafts. It was fun. Sorry no pictures.

[Anne May, Mikee C., and me at dinner one evening.]

Some friends were going to a town called Hanmer for the night to soak in some hot springs, so I went along. We soaked ("Look," said Ann, as several boys approached the pool we were soaking in, "they're even whiter than us." They must have been on holiday from the UK or the like. Ann and I high-fived.) and made dinner and drank pina coladas and watched "Spiderman" because it was on TV.

[Kim and Dave remember how to use a kitchen.]

[Kim makes yummy beverages.]

I was quite sad to return to the city the next day, but Kim had to get back. She was going to start a hike with some others.

I decided to get quickly out of town and go to the nearby beach town, Sumner. I was excited. I took the bus. It was cheap. It was easy. See how cheap and easy this is! I exclaimed to myself. I walked to the one backpacker in town. I'm sorry, said the man behind the desk, we're booked through tomorrow night.

I got back on the bus and went back to Christchurch with my backpack. I didn't want to have to find accomodation in the city. I checked the time. I was half an hour too late to catch an afternoon bus headed out towards any of a number of other destinations. I sat in the square and chatted with my friend Burmy. I motivated to walk toward the Y and shared my plight on the way with my friend Brian. It's impossible to walk in that part of town without running into someone else from the ice at that time of year. Brian offered to let me stay in his extra bed at the Y if I got in a bind. There were no rooms available at the Y. Hooray for Brian.

I had a marvelous dinner of sushi that night with some other friends I ran into, and afterwards went on a grocery shopping spree to prepare for the coming week. I'd decided: I was going on retreat.

I had happened to read a little blurb about a YHA (a type of youth hostal) on the west coast which described itself as a retreat and which appeared to be both close to the coase and nested in rain forest. On Tuesday morning, I hopped on a bus and was on my way. Personal retreat, here I come.

The place was close to the beach. It was also nested into rain forest, alive and whirring tremendously loud with cicadas. But it just wasn't right. I enjoyed two days in the area with my new friend Lou, who arrived and left on the same buses. Lou is a lovely young woman from London. Lou didn't love the place either. But together, we enjoyed the sunset at the beach and a walk through the rainforest and a couple drinks in a nearby pub.

[Pancake Rocks near Punakaiki.]

[Lou and the beach just down the trail.]

[Another woman staying at the hostel.]

[A young woman staying at the hostel who was working on a project, and sketching her surroundings to later jog her memory.]

[And the moonrise, after the sun was done.]

[A rare open view of the rainforest, the next day.]

I've been doing a pretty good job of keeping track of the day of the week, but not such a good job of keeping track of the date. When I realized on Wednesday that it was the 23rd instead of the 24th, I was elated. I had needed desperately to get away from everyone from Antarctica, and now I needed desperatly to be with people I knew. So I booked the last bed at a hostel near the town of Takaka called Shambhala, and I booked a seat on the bus headed that way, and headed north on Thursday. I made it to Takaka in time to meet up with a herd of folks from the ice and see friends Shawn and Quinn play at a great pub called the Muscle Inn.

[The beach downslope from Shambhala.]

From there, it's been moving with the flow. I've spent the past few days doing close to nothing to speak of. I have had some wonderful conversations, have done a good bit of ready, have gotten some quality naps in, and have jumped from a great rope swing into an equally great swimming hole in a river.

[My tent-buddy, Marnie.]

[Katie gets in a good laugh with Johnathan, my rope swing partner in crime.]

Now, I'm hoping to meet up with friends who have organized the renting of a house near Takaka for a week. After camping the last few days (only stayed one night at the hostel--which, by the way, I highly reccommend) I'm looking forward to a comfortable atmosphere for lounging, cooking, and ... well, more of the same, just in a shared house. The only trick (since I accidentally deleted the directions from my computer) is finding the place. I'll let you know how it goes!

Sorry no pictures to attach at this time. I've got some nice ones, too...


I did indeed make it to the house. And stayed there all week. Thank goodness for a small town--I ran into Kim and Anne May on their way in, and didn't have to sweat too much over finding the place.

[The porch...]

[...The beach.]

[Anne May just can't resist.]

[A post-Ice dream meal: Fresh, fresh fresh. Organic friuits, veggies, and edible flowers, prepared by Susan.]

You can take the boys and girls out of Antarctica, but you can't take Antarctica out of the boys and girls: Doing nails on the porch.]

One of the days, we took a break from relaxation to day-hike in nearby Abel Tasman.


[Back to lounging.]

[Last shot of the crew, including my friends Aga (left front) and Ico (right front), who I know from Boulder and who I spent the next several days with, eating fresh food from the garden and learning about grapes on Ico's father's vineyard.]

Posted by beth at February 28, 2005 2:09 AM


Hello Beth! Sounds like you're having a fabulous time in New Zealand! I'm looking forward to some pictures. Rob and I got your package in the mail today...THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE WONDERFUL GOODIES and those rare Erebus crystals! Take care and keep us updated...Lisa

Posted by: Lisa Omstead at March 9, 2005 3:14 AM

Hey Beth - Thanks for the Soap! It smells so nice. Nicer than I'm used to... Drop me a line, would you. I'd like to keep in touch as I winter.

Be good - Red

Posted by: Red at March 19, 2005 11:59 AM