Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We Made It

Grant and I made it to NZ! After a little initial confusion at the airport when Grant tried to get us on the wrong plane to LA when we were supposed to go to San Francisco, we made all of our flights with all of our bags! Air NZ was pretty good. They had complimentary wine and beer with refills in coach. The food was decent enough, and they had this incredible  entertainment center with hundreds of movies, tv shows, games, etc to choose from. Grant tells me that this is standard on overseas flights, but I haven't flown overseas coach in almost ten years. For work I fly overseas business class quite often, and I still don't remember this range of options.

On our connector flight to Christchurch, we sat next to a really nice man who used to work in Antarctica, so obviously he worked with Patrick G! Buckwheat says hello, Patrick. As the saying goes, it's a small world...or is this an example of six degrees of separation? He gave us a lot of good advice, but basically told us to keep doing what we're doing, which is winging it and 

We did pretty well with the jet lag, and stayed up until 10pm with only a two-hour nap in between. We started our search for a campervan on day one, and so far it has been overwhelming. With a good nights' rest, today shouldn't be as daunting.
The Kiwis are already living up to their reputation of being warm, and friendly people. We stopped at an auto shop to ask for directions to a car lot we were trying to find, and they had no idea where it was, but gave us directions to a place they liked, which was all the way across town. So, a customer paying for his car offered us a lift. We took him up on it, and he drove us straight there while talking up a storm about NZ.

Christchurch is very nice, albeit expensive and trendy. Microbrews have been about $7-$8 NZD which is about $4-5 USD. Every restaurant I have seen has a vegetarian option, and we are not talking portabella sandwich and Gardenburgers. They are creative, interesting meals. I would say that this is the most vegetarian friendly city I have been to, much more so than Seattle, even. Of course, Grants "normal" food has been great as well. He had some spicy mussels last night, and the kumara-pumpkin mash was fantastic. . Shhh, don't tell Grant that kumara is another word for sweet potato, because he hates sweet potatoes!

Our hotel is nice. They are tiny rooms. Basically you get an affordable hotel ($60 US) with the important amenities i.e. free wireless internet, tv, restaurant and bar, but it's all packed into a closet. The bathroom is a glass-enclosed cubbyhole, so it does not afford much privacy. Grant and I are pretty close, but not this close. We are going to try to move into a hostel on Friday. So we're off, like a herd of turtles. We'll check in again when we buy our vehicle and move on. Cheers!  

P.S. Our hotel "hi-speed" internet sucks, so I can't load pictures right now.  We'll try to add them later.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Practice Vacation

We decided to spend a week in Jackson at our condo before making the final push for New Zealand next Monday. We came home to our resident moose pair, mom and yearling, in my yard. We have seen the pair, or at least mom, in my yard for two years now. Unfortunately the camera was dead so take a look at these photos from October and then picture snow drifts around them.

Grant went skiing twice. Unfortunately, it hasn't really snowed in three weeks, so no fresh powder. But Grant could still ride the new Tram and hurtle himself down the side of a mountain, which I think is the main point.

Grant took me on a sleigh ride through the Elk Refuge for my birthday, and it was fantastic! I really don't think people should dismiss the tourist things because they are a lot of fun. I can't describe to you the sound of thirty male elk butting their antlers together practice fighting while sitting ten feet away, or the little yearlings mewing for their mothers. They kind of sound like kittens, but not really. It's pretty surreal if you've never heard it before. Now we have a few last minute appointments and things to do, and we will be on our way. Cheers!