Sun 10 Jun 2007
I am looking at day to day life on the road. We opted for a car and hostels instead of the caravan because it seems too cold and windy as winter would progress. They make note that the winds that hit the South Island last saw Antarctica and then came across the ocean. They are a beautiful, wild and loud phenomenon. We have been glad to be in a stone house rather than a wood one at times. And on the clear, warm, sunny days it is gorgeous. You can't get out in it enough. Next time I would come sooner in the season with readiness for 'tramping' on beautiful trails that have a great hut system or camping.
We carry in our car our luggage a revolving supply of groceries, stocking up in the bigger towns and stores for economy. We have a carryall with the breakfast stuff that we can bring in mindlessly if we are late and just want breakfast when we wake up. For us that is fruit, cold and hot cereals, dried fruit, nuts, powdered milk, coffee, juice, vitamins. It is the start of the flu season down here. We have a small insulated bag that we can carry lunch items in and we keep small things cold from town to town.
On the road we snack with raw vegetables, fruit, cheese, nuts. Lots of carrots. We will see if your eyesight improves. We brought our own energy saving bulb and lamp to supplement pretty consistently poor reading light. In the hostel, today I made chicken soup with peppers and barley for some zip. Tomorrow maybe pea soup with cheese sandwiches and apple sauce. Lamb and venison are very available here. They farm their deer. They were brought here and with no natural predators they were overrunning the place. It is strange and beautiful to see herds of hundreds of beautiful deer grazing in a field between sheep and cows.
The main thing about the hostels is the wonderful interesting people we have met. Dave always said there was there large world of travelers out there and surely there are. We've received many invitations to visit people in their homes when we get in the area. And many people are eager to know about the people of the United States. The people of New Zealand are also dealing with inflated housing prices. Saying the hostels are for backpackers is a misnomer. You can get any kind of room, with bathroom facilities en suite or not, for cheaper. Some are fancy, some are casual. They all have the added benefit of a large communal kitchen that you can use as much as you like or not at all.
It is a great way to meet people when you are all working on something that humans have in common and sometimes more contact than you want depending on your mood. The ongoing benefit for this traveler is that it is very grounding to get to cook and play a little house when I want.
I am feeling much better.
If there was a bug from Fiji it has passed and I am getting more sense of pace and rhythm for ourselves. We have to schedule time to stop having our attention being on the world. Time to wring out the sponge so to speak. I noticed we have chosen the most modern and spartan places to clean our attention palate and take a break from 'interesting' and take time to 'be'. This travel seems to be an ongoing feast for the senses.
We are looking at how we want to visit Australia. It is so big that we are choosing the places we want to visit most at this time. This is in contrast to trying to cover the most distance to see the most places. It's worked really well to do this with the three months we're having in New Zealand. We think we will fly to the three main cities that we wanted to get to know, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, and get an apartment for a month or use hostels. We can take short trips with rentals and get around the cities with public transportation.. I think we are going to be ready for a break from riding around in cars. We went to a masseuse and sports injury therapist/accountant for a twist in Dave's knee.
She shared her historical house they are renovating and her wonderful garden. He is fine and we learned good resistance exercises for keeping the joints toned and limber. A good practice in the face of hundreds of different beds and pillows. We each brought a small neck pillow that we favor and it has been worthwhile.
We've had wonderful days on the southern coast 20 minutes from the southernmost spot. We have pretty much had this beachfront hostel to ourselves.
Everyone had stayed away with the weather forecast. We didn't check, we just saw the ocean and when the hostel was full for the Queen's birthday weekend we went away to the sheep farm hostel and reserved the next week.
We went on a night flashlight hike to a local water falls.
The beach place winter prices for 4 nights instead of in and out is equal to $28.00 US a night for both of us, with kitchen, and view. Don't worry, be happy. Much hedonism.
I had a funny dream. Dave, myself and two other people had submitted some papers for scholarship and/or publication and we were just getting them back like students to work on them some more. There was a young man who had done well and it was just what they were looking for. The other woman's work was not shown. Dave's was needing more work/trimming on the data and mine, entitled something like 'Better Corn Grown with Love,' was handed back to me wordlessly. There you have it.
New Zealand is essentially a farming society. Everything is scheduled around sheep, cows, deer, lambing and shearing and calving and growing.
They have something called Gypsy Day in June when most of the farm land and stock sales and transfers take effect. So that day/week you can expect to be slowed down by many trucks carrying stock and herds being moved over and across roads to new properties. Those who can go to the warm beaches of Australia during winter do so.
We met a wonderful young man, John, 24 taking care of the farm and stock for 7 weeks while his parents were gone.
They had 1500 ewes pregnant with cattle and deer adding more . He had about a year to decide if he was going to take the farm from his father. he'd been traveling for most of the last year to see a bit of the world. We've been to a wonderful small town museum that shows the settlement and settlers of the land. With old photos of still-present family names arranged in groups of where they settled. Along with all the implements and newspaper articles. Such a wonderful place for them, located in their community, not just a box in the closet. I don't know that it would work for larger populations. Could work for Cascade Iowa maybe. Interesting to design the newer families into it.
Click http://dianeanddave.net/albums/DayToDay/index.html for more pictures.