Friday, February 26, 2010


Here's a few photos to start. The top is our new friend Billy. He lives right down the road in that little goat house. Poor thing. He loves a scratch between the horns!

The second is an iconic Koru. This is the baby form of the tree fern which is everywhere in NZ! I actually did a painting from this photo and I must say, it came out pretty damn good!

The third is, you guessed catching a fish.

We've got jobs and a place to live again, so life is good! We've landed jobs as apple pickers :)  in Hastings. Along with the job comes a share house complete with our own caravan (a bit mildewy but roomy just the same!) not to mention a full kitchen, hot tub and would you believe even a sauna? Oh, we've also got all the modern convieniences such as television and a washing machine! Woo hoo! Super score. 

We are sharing the house with 7 other international backpackers. We've got 2 French, 2 German, 1 Brit, 2 Czechs and 2 Norwegians just left, so it's quite the hodgepodge of nationalities! The work isn't too hard other than the fact that you have to climb up and down a ladder all day with 7 or 8 pounds of apples around strapped to your belly like a pregnant lady! We're already the 2nd best pickers next to the Czechs who have been doing it for a month now! So we're pretty good. I'm just waiting for one of the apple trees to turn on me and throw an apple at me like in the Wizard of OZ! The best part  is that we'll make enough money in the next couple of weeks to get us by as we get situated on the South Island. I don't mind a bit of hard work, especially when we can eat well and watch the Olympics at night time! It's quite funny with all of us internationals sitting around the tele watching our respective countries competing! I'm proud to be an American for sure! Go USA! I've been thinking about introducing the idea of an Applympics next weekend. I've already come up with a few good ideas like apple bobbing and lawn bowls with apples! Should be a good time. 

We're off for the weekend, and it should be good fishing so we'll see if we can't get down to the beach and catch a couple of fishies to keep us going next week! That's it for this one, stay tuned!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Change in Plans

Change in plans: So I kinda failed to remember that I tweaked my knee on the last trek therefore making it hard to do a 3 night 4 day trek 2 weeks later. So, we started on our wonderful excursion, and had to turn around an hour down the track. So disappointed...

Don't worry, I'm fine. Just need a bit of downtime for a while that's all. I didn't want to chance it with my knee and be sore for ski season, so we turned back. The trek was meant to be amazing, and we got to spend a bit of time in the area otherwise. The good part is that we had a really nice time in Mahia where the surf was going off, so Mick was stoked. And, once again, met some amazing people!

I failed to mention last time that I'm really getting back into a creative phase in my life. I've started painting again, have been knitting and crocheting my buns off and have been writing a bit more as well. It's nice to always have a project going, and I've been really enjoying the creativity of it all. Being creative just increases your self worth a bit!

So we are hoping to find some work for the next couple of weeks doing some harvest work aka fruit picking :( but I don't mind doing a bit for a few weeks if it will help us on our way. I'll keep you posted once we find some work!

Sorry, no pics this time...damn library computers!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ah, the People!

I've said it before and I'll say it again...the people you meet when yo travel are what really makes the trip. Here we are again, in a beautiful house, warm, clean and welcome in the home of some folks we've met along the way. Actually, they're quite the interesting gang! Himali is a doctor, Ian is an aid worker (shipping out to Haiti next week!) and his twin bother Jim is a studying Theologist. Kind of reads like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it? You can just imagine the conversations we've had since we've been here. The three are such a wonderful combintaion of human beings. As Ian put it last night, they all help people in some way or another. Ian the mind, Himali the body and Jim the soul. They've got all the angles covred!

We feel so lucky to have met them as Ian and Himali have allowed us to stay in their home for 3 nights in a super comfy guest bed with access to the internet, shower and washing machine! All much needed after nearly a month on the road. Ah, the comforts of a stationary dwelling! Now we're cleaned up, recharged and ready for a few more weeks on the road. Oh, I forgot to mention that Ian just 'happened' to have a full snowboard set up the fits Mick perfectly that he has given us to take n our journey. That doesn't happen every day! Man, we must be doing something right! Someone loves us up there becuase our prayers have been answered!

Now we are heading west to Ragaln, a legendary surf break and then over to a place called Waikaremoana Lake for another 3 night 4 day tramp (aka hike) around the scenic lake staying in huts along the way. You can bet on some sweet photos from that trip so stay tuned. Remember, we met this group of wonderful people on our last tramp!

In closing, I'll just say that if you ever find yourself in the position to help out a traveler and give them a place to stay and a shower for an evening, please do it! Pay it forward. It will all come back to you when you need it. This is how the traveling community works, and you have no idea how much it's appreciated!

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Zealand Tramps

Okay okay, it's not what you think! A "tramp" is actually the kiwi word for a trek, or a hike...pretty funny eh? Mick and I just banged out our first "tramp" in New Zealand :) We did a 3 day/50 kilometer (30 mile) hike around the Northern Circuit on the North Island. We saw 3 volcanoes on the hike, one of which starred as Mt. Doom on Lord of the Rings! Mt. Ngauruhoe was just as spectacular as it was in the film....sans the hobbits. New Zealand has a wonderful tramping policy whereby they offer back country huts as an option to overnight hikers. Man, what an experience. The first night, the hut we arrived at after 8 1/2 hours and 22K's of trekking was full...which meant we had to spend the night on the floor sharing a single mattress while the 26 other bunks were full! Only one snorer in our room, and a few jimijias (that's for you fam!), but it was enough to keep up both awake nearly all night. We met some amazing people who were part of a "tramping club" hee hee... and scored some local knowledge about free hot springs, which we hit up last night and today.

Prior to our 3 day excursion, we have been enjoying NZ to the fullest. So far we have camped with gypsies (like a dream come true!), made friends that were staying at one of the swankiest hotels (Hilton) in Lake Taupo, found some amazing secluded camp spots next to world class fly fishing and tramped through some beautiful lush landscapes. As far as dining goes, the "green lip" NZ mussel is a local favorite (and fits our budget perfectly at less than $1 a pound) Mick's prized rainbow trout and "pipis" or clams have been on the menu.

The van is running famously and we are very much enjoying our trip thus far. Now we are in Rotorua, the tourist capital of NZ. There are tons of geothermal activities here and thrill seeker activities, but we're on a bit of a budget, so we're opting out of the expensive stuff, which is fine by me. Which reminds me, we need to get some jobs soon!

Stay tuned...