march 2003 archive

Saturday, March 01, 2003

::new zealand travel diary::

::a diary of my travels, part one::


LAX 9:15pm

the terminal for united airlines international is alive with passengers awaiting flight 841 non-stop to auckland. the status board displays the words "ON TIME" in bright red letters.
we have perused the shops in our little neck of the terminal. i still want to visit the duty-free, but i can't think of any expensive perfume i would want to buy, and i don't have a need from booze or smokes. i forked over $12.84 at one location for a pack of chewing gum (it helps with de-pressurizing my ears) and a small watch with a black vinyl strap embossed with purple, pink, and red flowers. it is LOVELY. woo hoo!
the ride here to the airport was scarier than the "orange alert" issued earlier this week. i mean that in the sense that i felt a real and imminent threat to my being. driving neck-and-neck with a lazy-laned fedex truck should never be the ambition of an airport taxi.
only a short time now before boarding. i wish i had my cell phone on me all-of-a-sudden. one last phone call to my parents would be pleasant.


en route/6:55am NZ time/6187 mi. (9961km) traveled/37.000 ft in the air....

slept off and on last night. what's the word for that? fitfully? even if i'm wrong, that word always brings to mind images of restlessness, unrest, and all the rest...
we are leaving our world behind, realizing there is nothing to be done about the past or even the present. we are out of the usa and onto kiwi territory (yeah for middle-earth!).
they broadcast paul mccartney's back in the us concert on channel 2 of sky-radio. it is looped over and over (didn't i listen in during hey jude 7 hours ago???) nice!
it is less than one hour till we land. so close to australia! we almost had the chance to take a connector flight to sydney, but i know it would have only been a glimpse of last years honeymoon (!).
this is the first time i didn't watch an entire movie on a flight this long.
kept my shoes on for the most part & only my ankles swelled.
the sunrise is rich with orange and yellow against the brightening blue sky.
points of travel: land in auckland, go to piopio, taupo, napier, wellington, and nelson. mix in car rental and puddle jumpers for a brief preview of it all.


PioPio, New Zealand, 4:55 pm @ carmel farms

if there is one place in this world i wish i could send my parents to, it's here. rams grass outside our bedroom, just beyond the sliding glass door and the deck that extends from it. rams with black faces and fat creamy wool bodies, nibbling in the shade. the landscape is lush green and the flowers are uniquely shaped and colorful.
this is the place.
this is the place.


PioPio 12:16 pm

we're leaving shortly. dinner: roast chicken, gravy, buttery mashed potatoes with capers, kumera (sweet potatoes, but different from those sold in the states), red wine, white wine, homemade cheesecake with a sweet tart apricot topping and fresh whipped cream. homemade from the 500 cows on hand (not all 500 were necessary to produce the whipped cream which was consumed). breakfast was cereal, fresh homemade bread and tea w/milk from the cows. REAL milk?!? my mother would be (is) jealous.
very relaxing. josh & i are enjoying ourselves very much. my hair is soft from the water here (so much nicer than "city" water)
the rooster crowed this morning: twice!
funny incident occurred as i looked on from the deck: 2-3 men were trying to move 2 mules down the road a block. the mules are squirley. a car approaches, slows. way. down. mules find their path. car leaves. much funnier to watch than to describe.
alas, it is time! this visit is all too brief.
i hope that we (josh & i) can stop dreaming about work!

11:10pm. Napier
what an exhausting day! stopped in Taupo for a while. walked around by the lake, ate (yummy food!). josh had a go at the hole in one challenge: try to hit a golf ball so many meters (100?) across the lake and onto this floating island. no luck, but a couple close calls!
Napier is nothing out of the ordinary, but we just got here close to sunset and are visiting with friends. i'm buggered and ready for bed! cheers....

17 february 2003

Air New Zealand flight to Napier, 5:35pm
i love these flights.
1st, h2o served in plastic containers sealed with foil.
2nd mumblemumblemumble says the flight attendent. i nod yes & am handed a curious translucent green plastic mug ("ExpressMate") with a cap on it. upon further inspection, i find:
a chocolate chip cookie, a small and rather transparent aqua-colored spoon, a packet of suger, a miniature tub of milk and a napkin (or, serviette as they are called)

our flight attendents are older gentlemen (older than me!). one looks like a surfer, the other looks like he sells vaccuums door-to-door. they move steathily. handing out one goody after another. water, expressmates, "tea or coffee?". they are swift and sure, tackling the tasks that get them through the 35 minute flight. it is lovely.
"This coffee tastes like processed sausage."
"I mean, with coffee like this, who needs vaccuum-sealed meat bi-products!?"

i strongely suggest you consume the tea,
next time you find yourself flying Air New Zealand.

No. What was just announced was gale like winds in Wellington. 110km/hr

(Lord of the Rings, p.50--progress!>

10:57 pm Wellington Very Windy

dinner at the white house was 1st rate. recommended by Nancy's friend Daniel. Only a minute's walk down one steep hill reminiscent of San Francisco and we arrived.
new music warms our ears tonight care of the airport music store and the local who knows his stuff. yee! very much enjoying it. i sort of feel like vacation is starting all over, especially since we hopped a plane to get here. what a ride that was too. was the first time in my life i felt the fear of death at my door (with the exception of riding on a roller coaster). wellington is a mighty windy city and i think the only thing that saved me was the calmness of the flight attendants.
hope to take wonderful pictures of this place we're staying. it is amazing. yet another place i would send my parents. the people of New Zealand are incredibly warm and hospitable.

of note:

our room contains: a towel rack with a built in warmer (and the shared bath has one mounted on the wall!)
also, a picture of a giant cat with green, yellow, and red stripes holding a pink fish in it's mouth as it walks out of the ocean and onto the shore. the unusually large cat towers over boats and people alike. it is very colorful.

below this house is a street and then the oriental bay. there are trees hung with small white lights (like you would see during Christmas) and it is so so beautiful. so peaceful.

18 february 2003

GlenAlton @ Oriental Bay light drizzle

sitting in our room on a small pinkish-rust coloured sofa. we are rooming at a homestay, did i mention that? it is beautiful, built circa 1903. our bedspread is all white and filled with down feathers. very cozy last night and my back doesn't hurt at all.

our night in Napier is a different story! neither josh nor i could locate any blankets or pillows, so we procurred some bath towels and cuddled. when josh's dad awoke early to shower, there was only one towel left, which had been used the night before. a short time later, i awoke, freezing and still tired, i wandered into the bedroom (we were in the common area) and i hoped for blankets or anything. luck found me with 2 flowery twin comforters and 2 standard pillows! stripping the bath towels from our makeshift quarters, i rolled them up and tossed them into the bathroom. i then tucked josh & i in and we both slept past our 10 o'clock check out time. the funniest part is that when josh's dad walked back in shortly after this happened. he had been directly outside and it puzzled him greatly that these towels mysteriously appeared when no one had come through the door and he had not yet had a chance to ask for more!

it is raining heavier now. we are still listening to our new music. bic runga is verygood! so glad the clerk recommended it!

::a diary of my travels, part two::

19 february 2003

Motueka, outside of Nelson, 7:35 pm

our plans changes suddenly when the reservations we had just outside of abel tasman national park were canceled due to some confusion with the dates. a minor setback, however, as we are now staying at a lovely bed & breakfast hosted by Laura and Sandro.

The scenery is gorgeous. we are on beachfront property. i will take more pictures than i have at this point. sadly i neglected to take pictures earlier, though only because i had no film for my camera! i feel like i haven't written for two days!

yesterday we saw whale rider, a beautiful film about a Maori family. of course there is much more to it then that, but at the moment i am trying to get everything down. all i can say is: go see it! June 6 is the date it is due out in the states. call me. i will go with you! the incredible soundtrack is by Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance fame. i don't believe a cd is available though, but maybe someone will change their mind.

Thoughtfully,....i am reminded of there being more on this earth than my own little world. i am also pleased to be challenged by my own sense of mortality (air new zealand puddle-jumpers are very bouncy!) i pray through this as well as other recents dicoveries that i will stick to the following: cease trying things on my own and realize the full extent of God's sovereignty in my life. i have been far too self-absorbed lately & i need that to cease & desist. there are other people in my life to be concerned with.

quote of the day

"your bones are well traveled"--josh


by josh... Abel Tasman National Park
Such an amazing and inspiring place to visit. Tomorrow we will get even closer. In the meantime, the Italians and the Bohemians have been very accomodating...

20 february 2003

Motueka, 7-ish
drove around a lot. i am learning that in New Zealand, Kiwi's frequently hop jets to visit other parts of their county. it is very inexpensive for them to travel domestic and i think some government agency helps to fund that. don't quote me on it though.
also, townes are rather spread apart from each other. went to golden bay and takaka today, as well as locations in between (see this guide to new zealand via lord of the rings film locations). so much beauty. i think a lot of how the actore might have felt as they traveled all over this beatiful, breathtaking landscape. everything is amazing. it rained off & on today. when it rained, there were big, fat, wet drops and the sky was heavy with moisture. the wet drops seemed to move in slow motion....

i had a lot of time to think during our drive. Kiwi's play a lot of the same stuff on the radio as what we call "top 40". it is interesting to travel as a family because i haven't done so in a long time. traveling with large groups always involves compromise. tomorrow should be GRAND (aside from the early am wakeup call). Maybe even some horse trekking???
josh & i will drive "into towne" tonight. yeah for adventures in driving on the left side of the road. (i will not freak out, i will not freak out....)
who knows if we will end up at the cinema. wedo not have a booking & the movie schedule says it begins at 8:30. i wonder if a lot of people try to go? only 5 seats? that's crazy! (that rabbit cuts it's own hair? that's crazy!)

9:20pm. Hot Mama's
josh & i are out on our own, which is nice. the decor is nice: bright red walls and dark wood tables complemented by black sconces and pillows. the server here remembers us from last night & though we tried several other venues, no one serves this late. past 9 o'clock that is.

::a diary of my travels, part three::

21 february 03

8:14 am, Grey Heron Bed & Breakfast
dressed & ready to go, only to learn that i've a little time for r&r; before we drive to abel tasman national park. we are taking the "Aqua Taxi" to Big Tonga, where we will walk around & relax for a few hours before heading home. what a change of pace. i hope the pictures i will be taking might begin to describe the beautiful sights. i think i will take a nap....(if you could read the actual book i wrote in, you would notice that the more tired i am, the smaller my writing becomes. it is very very small here!)
quote of the day

" we should be silent now...because when we get in the car, all of the talking is going to bring us back into a National Oxygen Shortage again!"--josh
10:29 pm
abel tasman ntl park is AWE-full! we hiked 4 km from Big Tonga (Onetahuti Beach) to Anchorage. Amazing views that also seem surreal. breathtaking foliage, unbelievable water filled with water-color-like painted on colors: blue, deep blue, teal, and aqua blue. sandy beaches that are white gold, golden tan and strewn with grains of black sand. that sand sparkled with bits of glittery golden grains. will my photos even begin to capture the beauty? i doubt it. i do believe it is the most gorgeous place on earth. i am tired out, but it is a good sort of exhaustion.

22 february 03

10:16pm, nelson, rutherford hotel
left our Italian hosts today for a day of r&r; in nelson. our hotel is just a door away from the jewler who crafted the ONE ring to rule them all for Lord of the Rings. What--quelle chance!
dined tonight @ the Boat Shed which was lovely. ate mussels in a wonderful sauce with capers. yummy. this trip has included many wonderful meals.

[on a side note, rambo: first blood is on the tv in our hotel room right now & i have never watched in before. i no longer think it is some "stupid action flick" based on this final scene @ the close of the movie. the closing song is dumb though.]

23 february 03

7:41am, nelson, rutherford hotel
lame song (bob segar: against the wind) plays on our alarm clock, sadly singing of our soon departing.
i am missing this place already.
::of note: josh had terrorist dreams last night and both of us feel a bit uneasy. if the article in Time Magazine that caught my eye is true, people in the states have gone a little nuts, buying up water & duct tape. i don't really want to go back. i want to defect to australia and though the threat could be anywhere, i want to know when it stops. when the fear stops ruling our lives. it's not healthy to live like this. that, my friends, is why we're going to was. (song that came to mind as i was writing: Freedom, Paul McCartney)::

the sunlight streams over the horizon & alights on the houses on the hill, changing and shifting their colours to a soft yellowish white. it is beautiful.
must get one more schweppes sparkling lemon, one more Lift before we leave. no fish & chips but lots of fish everywhere i went--yummy! i think i had chicken or lamb on a couple of occasions.

today we hop from nelson to auckland & hang there until 6ish, when our flight departs for lax.

::a diary of my travels, part four::

23 february 03

12:17pm, auckland, en route

just arrived from nelson & are taking a taxi (a toyota previa!) to Queen Street, aka, the Viaduct. it's very pleasant here & the driver agreed to pick us up at 4pm and deliver us to the airport.
it is suburban here. reminds me of....long beach? older homes. stone, brick, wood: varied construction. we are on our way to meet mykeljon, a friend of josh's from a colaboration project that sonik was working on.
this is our last kiwi experience before we head for the states. we have seen some FUNNY road signs! (the "slippery when wet" sign at the bottom of this page is classic)...

back at the airport

For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales
--Lord Tennyson, excerpt as painted on the wall at Auckland International Airport

the longest day goes on...which time would you have?
it is 9:15pm, saturday, 02.22.03 in LA
or 6:15pm, sunday, 23.02.03 in NZ
welcome to the switch!
we had a lovely time with mykeljon & family. auckland is one of my favorites on this trip, but i think it has much to do with the people we were visiting. we are still in pre-flight status & i am excited to come back and anxious all the same. mykeljon's wife, stephanie, just moved to new zealand a few weeks ago & i know she is excited to be in a safer place for her daughter. the states seem to have such a crazy mentality: i can't stand the fear & only being in another place do i find my perspective changed and it does me good. i like traveling & i think that josh does as well. we want to spend more time abroad--it's a dream of ours.

the songs are but a timid distraction
there is softness in my heart
for these travels still thunder in my head
commanding my attention
sun peeks over the wing
bidding farewell
it is a departure less thought of
less waiting for
only one day
we'll be greeted again
to return to see the all-black flag
waving high above
i could cry but for the joy it brings
so glad am i to travelyonder
across our ocean (nearly 7,000 miles!)
we share a common water to bridge the mighty gap between hither and thither.
(first draft)

so, back from whence i came. returning to a hurried, rushed, busyland. but, God willing, i will cling to this, their little bit of culture or thought. perhaps 'twill make a better world. what of: kiwi friendliness, openess, relaxed un-stressed nature & i hope our west (their east) never corrupts that. let restaurant dining be a relxed experience. let life be enjoyed fully.

**author's note: i see how tired i was when i wrote this! i will have to make some revisions (eventually). at least this is all typed up! :-)**
**fifth and final installment to follow**

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