Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Queen Mary 2

I wasn't looking forward to going to work last night at 11pm. But that all changed when I got ensnared in a traffic jam on Tamaki Drive and saw this beautiful sea beast:

(photo by Brett Phibbs)

I've never been so happy to be late to work as I was last night (nor have I ever been so happy to get stuck in traffic!) The Queen Mary 2 left our harbor late last night and I loved watching as she flirted with us on her way out of town.

Want to see what I saw? Go to this NZ Herald site and also explore the your photos of the Queen Mary in Auckland link and the video of her arrival.

So, do you have plans for the 13th of February, 2010? You could be enjoying a stopover in Auckland on the QM2 during your full world tour! I promise to wave you off with my handkerchief when you leave and shout bon voyage! (so long as you toss confetti).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Waterfalls, Kiwi camping

Getting back to adventures had with my folks...

Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands.

We stayed at Aroha Island in Kerikeri - highly recommended. Can't wait to go back and stay for at least a week!

The rest of our nights were spent at Kiwi campgrounds - like KOAs back home, but better than the KOAs I remember from my chilhood. These campgrounds (holiday parks here) are really popular, and offer everything from just a grassy spot for your (enormous kiwi) tent to cottages with kitchens and bathrooms. There are communal kitchens for cooking, BBQs, and plenty of fun things for the kids to do. P loved the trampolines. This campground (Ahipara Backpackers which didn't actually seem anything like what is advertised on the website, but I mean that in a good way) had pukeko running all around, and horses for P to pet. Plus 90 mile beach is a short stroll down the road. A winner!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Pack N Save meat

CB, a friend back home, was pretty excited about my pack-n-save pictures, and wondered what "rump-in-piece" is, so I tried to find out today while doing some shopping. Wouldn't you know they didn't have any rump in piece today? Figures. Fear not- I was able to find something even better:

And they are cheap too - at $5.82! A real bargain meat!
I'll have to look for some recipes featuring bacon bones. Surely Martha Stewart's got some good ones. If nothing else, good for split pea soup?

Looks like crocodile tail fillet (pronounced fil-ut, not fillay) has gone up in price - now $79.99 a kilogram. Funny that a place called Pack N Save, where the consumer bags/boxes their own purchases in the name of saving money, offers such an expensive food.

And, as always a weird and wonderful collection of meats. Rabbit saddles, fresh or frozen goat...

...whatever Hogget is...

but no ox tongue or pickled pork - very misleading signs. Perhaps those things under the ox tongue sign are rump in piece?

Offal is still my favorite.

I'm intrigued that various chicken vicera don't fall into this category and instead get an area all to themselves (with no special signage)-

Evidently necks, hearts, livers and gizzards are not offal.
I have a lot to learn.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More beaches, more sunsets

This was in Whangaroa harbour.

On Ninety Mile Beach at Ahipara.

I had no idea how many dead things wash up on beaches. I'm quite fascinated by it. Here's my folks and P investigating the upper half of a shark (ok, actually only P and I were interested in it. I even touched it with a stick and flipped it over to checked out the underside.).

90 mile beach at sunset.

M&D and P on St Helier's Beach, also at sunset.

Catherdral Cove on Coromandel Peninsula.

Hot water beach on Coromandel Peninsula. This place is very touristy - definitely the busiest beach we went to, but for good reason! Hot water springs bubble up through the sand and at low tide you can dig your own hot tub. Dreamy. I imagine if low tide was at 2pm it could be an unpleasant experience - like being boiled alive, but we went at sunset and it was perfect!

Finally, Piha beach. Yup, sunset.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dave in NZ

Our friend D is visting NZ. If you want proof here is a picture of him using modern wizz-bang technology to have a video conference with himself. He and B were in Dunedin on the South Island this week at a conference.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ship Art

The best part of entertaining out of town guests is that you get to go the museums! I noticed a theme when I was organizing my pictures from the trip - I like to take pictures of pictures of ships. Like this one:

"Yo-Ho- a shipload of dental health"

I found that at the Auckland War Museum. It was next to some really great health posters promoting milk, and warning about parasitic worms. Sadly those photos didn't turn out. You'll have to go see them yourself (they are better in person anyway).

This is outside the Museum in Russell in the Bay of Islands.

This beauty was at the maritime museum. There are so many things to love about this painting! I love the impossibility of all those sails. Mostly I love the frame.

I've always wanted to cross the ocean on a really big boat. I love hearing the stories of those who crossed the oceans years ago to immigrate here. I can't imagine what it would be like to spend 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks at sea! (From the maritime museum.)

I wish the Awatea was still around! What a great way to get to Australia!

(From the maritime museum)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


During Auckland Anniversary weekend, the public was allowed to come aboard the HMNZS Te Mana, a frigate. We weren't allowed below deck, but did get to inspect the bridge, and P even got to sit in the Captain's chair. (I suspect "Captain" is not the right word. Commander? Commodore? Admiral?)

My mom pointed out the "cute" kiwi that adorns this ferocious war vessel. And cute it most certainly is! No doubt it is so the crew can locate which grey frigate is theirs when on leave at busy ports. I imagine the US Navy has a large, predatory eagle on theirs, and a flag that is 6 times larger than standard.

While on deck, we were thrilled to get our hands on some real guns!
They were really heavy!

My heart nearly burst with joy and pride at the sight of my beloved daughter trying out all the guns! Too bad they were chained down and ammo free!

We were lucky to be in line with this fine fellow (standing behind his lovely partner) because he knew what all the different guns were used for (besides just shooting things, like I assumed).

After the tour we listened to the NZ Navy marching band play the theme song from Lord of the Rings. The perfect end to a very hot day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Parnell Rose Garden

My parents have been in town and instead of creating one very long post I'm going to attempt several small posts. Small posts with lots of pictures!

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for my mom to get here so I could take her to the rose gardens because I just knew she would love it. It did not disappoint.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Intermediate School

Today is the first day back to school for P! Yippee, P! She is very excited to be back in school and meet her new teacher.

She is in the "year seven" or "7th form" which is the first year of intermediate school. Junior High! Back home she would be in the middle of 5th grade, but somehow here she is already in intermediate. I think she will make up the difference by going through five years of Grammar School or College (which is what they call High School here, very confusing) instead of the typical 4 years of high school back home.

In our backyard.

I hope this does not mean our summer is nearing the end! I have so many glorious plans that involve the sun!