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May. 15th, 2010

Oh, and God is really into art deco. Who knew?

May. 15th, 2010

I think I'm ill. I just went into a shop and looked at little beaded and stitched handbags and purses and glasses cases and thought they were really pretty. What am I, a girl or something? I managed to resist the temptation to buy one of everything (okay, being tempted to buy 'pretty handbags'? I must be really unwell; if I start talking about 'gorgeous shoes' please euthanise me immediately) and settled with buying a nice hand-held fan. At least it's practical given the weather - I really could have done with it yesterday - and although it's unlikely to last the entire journey it was very cheap at $5. Then again, the little bags and purses were cheap at $8... perhaps I'll go back...

Anyway. I didn't get a call from Fergy, and seeing as the tour should have started over two and a half hours ago I'm going to assume it's not happening. Oh well. I'll just think about the money I've saved rather than the experience I've lost out on. It does mean I'm a step closer to going back to Wellington, which I'd probably prefer anyway. I think I'm going to save Trainworld for tomorrow, as it's open on a Sunday (something of a rarity in New Zealand). I'll look into the mini-golf later; it rained a lot this morning so hopefully the course will have dried out by this afternoon.

I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep last night, which was rather confusing as I'd got a lot of exercise (well, for me it was comparatively a lot) and lots of sea air, which usually makes me sleepy. Yet it took several hours for me to finally settle down, after I spent an hour or so doing some Sudoku. Still, one good thing came out of tossing and turning for so long; for the last month or so I've been desperately trying to remember Bert's siblings but since I stopped reciting them after quitting my job I couldn't for the life of me recall them, until last night when all of a sudden they popped into my head: Jack, Reg, Maisie, Bert, Vera, Tom, Nancy, Betty, Fred, Peggy, Eric and Dick. I think I've found Vera's grave, but the cemetery is too far away for me to visit. I guess the others must have moved away, as the cemetery database for Napier has nothing on them. I've discovered a site where I can look up historical births, so I've found some of the Prebbles there (unfortunately those that came after Bert aren't classified as historical so I can't access the information for free), and also I've found most of them on the death register too. Oh well, I'll keep looking and see what I can find.

In other news: Either Nick Clegg knows that David Cameron is suffering from a terminal illness and won't last another five years, or he really is a sleazy bastard. If I were Labour right now I'd secretly be rather pleased - the Con Dem coalition has pissed of core supporters for both parties and they're clearly going to make a massive mess of the country. All Labour needs to do is replace Gordon with someone charasmatic, sit back and object to everything that the government's doing wrong (which is bound to be plenty) and wait for the country to realise what a mistake it made at the last election and agree to not do that again. Unfortunately, the rest of us will just have to suffer through the next five years. If I didn't have such a problem with the milk here I'd be seriously considering emigration right now...
So Napier is... nice, I guess. It's reasonably interesting from an architectural point of view, but other than that it's pretty dull, especially for a lone traveller with no transport. I'm getting rather tired of looking at tours only to find that there's a minimum requirement of two people. I tried to book myself on a scenic/wine tasting tour for tomorrow but I need at least one other person to book it; the guy's got my number so I've spent all day just waiting to see if its happening or not. Right now I'm so unamused by the whole thing that even if someone else turns up I'd be tempted to cancel; the only thing that would stop me is if they needed me to go on the trip. Anyway, as I haven't heard anything it looks like I might be playing mini golf tomorrow; it's cheap enough that even if there's a two person requirement I'll just have my left hand play against my right hand. I'll also check out Trainworld and pretend to be a giant.

Today I walked to the botanical gardens so that I could check out the old graveyard in case there were any Prebbles buried there. It was incredibly hot and humid, and naturally the cemetery was at the top of a hill. Nevertheless I was dermined to look for possible relatives of Bert and I found the grave of John Prebble, who died during the Clive flood. I don't know if he was related to Bert, but I'd imagine that with a surname like Prebble he probably was a relation of some kind. I'll do some more investigating and see what I can dig up (metaphorically speaking - I'm not about to rob any graves).

The walking in the heat got to me a bit, so I decided to treat myself to a chocolate milkshake from Esquires. Big mistake - it turns out that Esquires must use the same milk that I am unable to tolerate. I'm hoping that most of it has passed through my system, but I still feel rather sick and have the occasional stomach cramp. Not so much fun. I don't know what these crazy kiwis do to their milk, but I really don't like it.

And before I forget - whilst I can appreciate art deco buildings to a certain extent, an art deco cathedral is just wrong. And exceedingly ugly.

May. 14th, 2010

I forgot to mention in my last post that I also visited the Te Papa museum, which was really cool. I was the only person (possibly in the history of the world) to respect the policy of no-photographs, but there you go.

I know there was more that I'd forgotten to say, but guess what? I've forgotten it again. It's not that I'm stupid; it's that I'm exceptionally stupid. Oh well.
I think I annoyed the staff at Starbucks back in Wellington, as it took me over two hours to drink a cup of coffee as I was killing time whilst waiting for the bus to Napier. Oh well. Maybe I'll make it up to them next time; I'm planning to go back to Wellington later in the trip (depending the state of my finances).

So yeah, I'm now in Napier. The bus trip was okay, just very tiring. But seeing as I'm no longer in Wellington, it's perhaps time to write about what I did and saw whilst I was there.

On my first day there I went in the cable car and spent most of the afternoon exploring the botanic garden, which was nice. I had intended to go to the Carter Observatory, but I'd missed the last showing and never got around to going back. Next time...

On the Friday I spent the day at the zoo, which was fantastic. I saw so many animals: various varieties of monkeys and birds (including a one-legged kiwi), servals, chimpanzees, giraffes, ostriches, dingoes, african wild dogs, baboons, kangaroos, wallabies, agouti, cheetahs, meerkats (which I kept going back to as they are my favourite), tigers, lions, llamas, porcupines, a sun bear that was misbehaving, bats, another penguin, and some otters that were in dire need of sex education. I also discovered a have a (possibly) irrational fear of pelicans, though I will argue that the fear is completely rational - the oversized beak and unblinking, unreal-looking eyes freak me out. Ugh. But all in all it was a great day, not least because there was a promotion on so that the entrance fee was half price if you arrived by bus (which I did). I think the promotion runs until the end of June, in which case I might go back...

On the Sunday I did the Lord of the Rings tour, which was awesome. I got to be a proper geek without feeling too embarrassed about it and got to learn a little bit more about the filming, so now I'm an even bigger geek. Seriously, being a LOTR tour guide is the best job in the world - you get paid to drive people to a bunch of pretty (and a couple not-so-pretty) locations and be a geek. Photos will come at some point, as I haven't had a chance to upload them yet.

On Tuesday I went to see the seals, which confirmed my love for 4WD. Driving along the beach was so much fun, if a little lot bumpy. There were probably about 20 or so seals, which was more than enough given just how badly they smell. As a child my family used to go seal spotting, but you don't really get to smell them when there's a cliff between you and the seal. Being a few metres away, however... it really was quite unpleasant. They don't smell fishy, it's more like... shit, really. Still, it was really cool to get that close to them; they looked so sweet. They really reminded me of my cat, but that could just be because most of them were very lazy and trying to sleep. Or maybe I'm just weird. Who knows? Again, photos and video will hopefully follow at some point, but again I need to be able to upload them and I'm not sure when I'll get the chance. Hopefully on Sunday.

The rest of the time was spent being lazy with the occasional discovery of delicious food (e.g. tub of fresh fruit with muesli and mango yoghurt).

Tomorrow I'll go to the i-Site and see what's on offer in Napier. There appears to be a couple of sightseeing tours, and there's also the possibility of a wine tour (Hawke's Bay is "wine country" after all). We shall see.

In other news: I am really looking forward to going home and using a laptop that doesn't keep changing the font size of web pages for no apparent reason. That's going to be really good...

May. 11th, 2010

Babies should not be allowed in hostels, especially ones that have a no-noise-after-10pm policy.
I'm going seal hunting watching in 20 minutes, which should be awesome.

I haven't forgotten about the fact that I still haven't written anything about the zoo and LOTR tour yet, but that's because I'm waiting until I've uploaded the photos. Unfortunately the hostel has strangled the upload speeds (rather than download speeds, which I find to be rather weird) so I'll have to come back to the iSite tomorrow to try to get everything onto Flickr before I move on again and get really far behind...
I will never be the "GIRL POWER!!1!" type of feminist, which is why I'm posting this message that I just received:
Ok ladies here's another game, like the bra color game which was a total success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the News. Well this game has to do with your handbag, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example "I like it on the couch", "I like it on the kitchen counter", "I like it on the dresser" well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your Status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let's see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER - DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE, SIMPLY PUT YOUR ANSWER AS YOUR STATUS, THEN FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO YOUR FRIENDS

Warning: the above contains spoilers.


I've got lots to write about, mainly my trip to the zoo, which was awesome, and the LOTR tour, which was fantastic.

Perhaps I'll do that tomorrow when I'm less tired.
To make sure that I actually get to the zoo today I woke up rather early (and yes, 7am is "rather early", especially when the zoo doesn't open until 9.30). And because I went to bed later than usual last night (it's so weird that after 10pm has become "later than usual". This really is upsidedownland) I am having to fight the urge to snuggle up in my lovely warm duvet and go back to sleep.

I need to go and get dressed whilst I still have the will power...

May. 6th, 2010

Right then. As I've decided not to go to the zoo today I've been busy spending my money in other ways. I've booked a place on the Lord of the Rings tour for Sunday and also on the Seal Coast Safari for Tuesday, which looks totally awesome and seals are guarantees for 364 days of the year.

I might go to the Te Papa museum today, because it's free. Once I can persuade myself to move from my bed, that is...

May. 6th, 2010

Hmm. I had planned on visiting the zoo today but I've been rather lazy and took far too long getting myself up and dressed this morning, which means I've missed the first couple of talks at the zoo (Monkey Island & Amazing Animals). So I could either go along anyway and do the rest of the day or I could leave it until tomorrow and make sure I get up early enough to see everything.

I think I'll have to wait until tomorrow :o\
I am as excited as a very excited person who has a special reason to be excited. Why? BECAUSE THERE'S ANOTHER LOTR TOUR, which is less than half the price of the other one and doesn't require a minimum number of people to book! The only difference I can really see is that it visits Bree and not Lothlorien. Fair enough, I can live with that. The weather forecast seems to have good things to say about Sunday, so I'll probably do it then. Huzzah!

In other news: I've done a lot of walking today, mostly around the botanical gardens. Photos will follow if Flickr starts behaving itself.

May. 5th, 2010

I'm in Wellytown
I finally talked myself into doing a $325 Lord of the Rings tour in Wellytown only to discover that it requires a minimum of two people to book it. Bugger. Maybe I'll bump into someone else who also wants to do it? Oh well. I'll just have to do it when I'm rich and come back, and I'll book myself two places.

I did a little tour of New Brighton and Christchurch today, taking far more photos than necessary as I said goodbye to all the places that have become so familiar to me. The weather was gorgeous, which was nice. All that remains now is repacking my rucksack - a task I have not been looking forward to. For the first time since coming to New Zealand I have made a proper mess that I've now got to tidy up, and trying to fit my belongings back into the rucksack won't be easy. Ho hum.

May. 4th, 2010

Right. Where was I?

The Wildlife Shag Cruise was a huge disappointment. If it had been labelled as a harbour cruise with the possibility of seeing wildlife then it wouldn't have been so bad, but expectations were raised by the inclusion of "wildlife" in the title, and a million shags and a couple of glimpses of two penguins don't quite qualify as a "wildlife cruise" to me. Oh well. I am perhaps feeling a little more bitter towards the cruise than is really fair because I caught a chill in our fruitless efforts to find the dolphins and had to spend the rest of the day in bed, which wasn't so much fun.

Yesterday I wrote a million (okay, it was only eleven) postcards and managed to post them (the amaount of time that I've spent carrying around written postcards before eventually posting them is ridiculous), so I'm pretending that that was a productive day.

Today is my last full day in Christchurch (and as such the south island), so I'm going to wander around New Brighton and the city centre and take a lot of photos. At least, that's the plan. Tomorrow I'm catching a flight to Wellytown, and from there I shall start exploring the north island. And maybe fit in a LOTR tour or two along the way...

I spent this morning trying to work out how much time I'm going to need in the north island, as the sooner I can book the flight home the cheaper it'll be. In the end I realised that I definitely ought to be finished by the 25th June, so I phoned Air New Zealand and rearranged my return flight to then. It does mean that I'm going home in 51 days time, which doesn't sound very long at all. I'll just have to make sure they're an excellent 51 days.

May. 2nd, 2010

For some reason I find this to be hilarious.
I've just made the most dangerous discovery of just how cheap Pizza Hut is here. Seriously. My waist and hips are really going to hate me...

May. 1st, 2010

I had intended to plan the next stage of my trip today, but it turns out that I'm far too indecisive. I'm struggling to choose which hostel to stay in, and whether or not I want to take a trip to the Abel Tasman national park. The cruise I want to go on is only available in the summer, so I'd have to settle for a slightly less good, slightly more expensive version. And keep my fingers crossed that the weather won't be rubbish. I'll try to have made up my mind before I go to bed tonight...

Edited to add: I finally gave myself a metaphorical kick up the arse and decided which hostel I was going to book, only to find that the intercity website is experiencing problems and won't let me book the bus. I'm wary of booking the hostel without be able to ensure that I can actually get there, so now I have to wait for the website to work again before I can do much else. Oh well. I've decided to stay in Nelson for two nights, so I'll have a day to do the cruise if I want (but I think I'll probably pass on that and put it on my "things to do when I'm rich and come back" list).

May. 1st, 2010

This is absolutely amazing.
I also think that Brown should have stuck to his guns over calling that stupid woman a bigot, as apologising didn't appease anyone and having the courage to stand up and call her out for her right wing tabloid-based opinions would have won him more support from the liberals and lefties. That's just my tuppence worth, anyway.
So... That didn't work out. It would have been useful if I'd remembered before I got on the bus that it was rush hour on a friday night. I thought I'd better go anyway but, as I'd feared, pretty much every pub in the city was packed. Oh well. I walked around a little before deciding to get a bus back and go to Subway.
So... I didn't go into town because I remembered I was supposed to be being a good girl and so did my mountain of washing instead.
I was interrupted part of the way through by the fire alarm going off; it wasn't a drill so we all had to evacuate. Two fire engines turned up and quick check of the building revealed that there wasn't a fire (none of us had thought there was) and what had happened was someone had used a hairdryer in a dusty room and that had set off the oversensitive smoke detector. Oops. Glad it wasn't me. Luckily there wasn't a call out charge (this time) and I was able to finish my washing.
Afterwards I realised it was far too hot to go into town (the weather forecast reckons it's 22°C) and so I went to the beach to cool down. I seriously considered jumping into the sea, but decided to try to act my age (for once). Maybe another time when I've actually got the right stuff with me.
I was really glad that I went to the beach as there was a guy drawing a picture in the sand, which was pretty cool:
IMG_2255 IMG_2259

Anyway, I might go into Christchurch later for a bit of supper (I'm really tempted to try out The Bard on Avon), or I might end up being lazy (and cheap) and go to Subway instead. Decisions, decisions.

Apr. 30th, 2010

I had planned on having a lazy day in New Brighton but (as usual) I find myself to be rather bored, so I think I'll take a trip into the city and check out the i-Site and anything else that might be vaguely entertaining...

Apr. 30th, 2010

So... I'm super excited about Sunday night, as the weather forecast reckons it'll be a clear night. I might finally get to see some southern constellations, which would be totally awesome. I'm very sad that I won't be able to see Ursa Minor as that's probably my favourite constellation, and the lack of a North star has disorientated me a bit. Still, it'll be a good (if somewhat confusing) experience, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of the upside down moon.