Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Picture day takes us to New Zealand!

After I left Australia in July 1992, I spent a week in New Zealand before flying home. I went with three girls - I'm such a ladies' man, you know - two of whom with I had journeyed to Tasmania in March 1992 (as seen here, here, here, and here). As we had only a week, we could only wander around the North Island, and therefore didn't get to see many of the places where Peter Jackson filmed The Lord of the Rings (we also didn't as far south as Wellington, where at least one occasional reader of this blog lives). New Zealand is a beautiful country, with ten times as many sheep as people. Of course, the people who are there never get lonely!

To get started, we need a map! Whoo-hoo! This is a pretty good map, actually - I know it's small, but you can always click it and enlarge it a bit.

Posted by Picasa

We flew into Auckland, the capital, and hopped on a bus. We drove down the center of the island to Hamilton and then Waitomo. Waitomo is a very neat town whose claim to fame is caves. Yes, caves. You can go black water tubing through these caves. It's awesome. Obviously, I couldn't take any picture inside the caves (it's freakin' pitch black, after all), but I could show how you go into the caves. Voila!

After we came out of the caves, we ate thick bread and hot carrot soup. It may have been the best meal I've ever had. Posted by Picasa

Waitomo remains in my memory for a couple of things: the night we spent there was, I'm pretty sure, the day Andre Agassi won Wimbledon, and I watched the match in a bar, cheering him on (I've always liked Agassi). In that bar I also had Waikato Draught beer, which is one of the best "normal" beers I've ever had (boutique beers don't count, because they're, well, boutique). Drink some Waikato Draught today!

From Waitomo we drove south and then cut across the island to Napier, on the east coast. Napier is a cool city. In 1931 it was destroyed by an earthquake, and the city was completely rebuilt in the style of the times.¹ Luckily for us, the style of the times was ART DECO! Art Deco is, of course, superb. So a lot of the city is in this style, and they're very proud of it. Napier overlooks Hawke's Bay, and if you can afford it, maybe you can live in this neighborhood!

Posted by Picasa

We climbed up this bluff and wandered around for a while. That was when I was young and svelte, after all (see the first picture). Posted by Picasa

We ate at McDonald's and I guess my friend Lisa Ellis didn't like her food too much. She expressed her disgust:

If she ever stumbles across this blog, I'm sure she'll be happy to see that I posted this picture! Posted by Picasa

Finally, it was on to ...

The Kiwi House! It's New Zealand - of course there's a Kiwi House! Posted by Picasa

So there you have it - a small taste of New Zealand. Next week we get into Art Deco in a huge way. You won't be able to stand the coolness!

¹ Kind of like when Grandpa Simpson says he used to wear an onion in his belt, as was the style of the times.


Blogger Nik said...

Cool shots. I keep wanting to go to the Waitomo caves but in our last few visits we haven't gone. We're heading over again to visit my wife's family in February and maybe then we'll get our chance. We did get to South Island in 2000 though and that was pretty amazing, the entire Milford Sound area will blow your mind. I should do NZ photos myself some time!

9/10/05 9:36 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Nik, you should definitely put up some of your own pictures - I for one would enjoy seeing them. I'm very disappointed I didn't get to the South Island, especially because who knows when I'll ever get back there. A week isn't very long, though. I'll be posting pictures of NZ for a few weeks - more art deco next week, then Taupo and bungee jumping pictures!

10/10/05 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand - not Auckland.

There are 4 million people and 80 odd million sheep. This compares with other agriculturally based countries around the world where the number of livestock considerably outnumbers the populace, so no biggie there.

You couldn't possibily have planned a trip to NZ and not visited the south island - surely that's poor planning?

10/10/05 11:25 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Damn it, Anonymous, you're right. As I was typing it, I was thinking, somewhere deep in my brain, "It's not the capital, you doofus!" It is, of course, the largest city.

I had very little money at this point and I had scheduled my flight to Los Angeles for only a week after I arrived, so going to the South Island just wasn't feasible. Now, of course, I wish I had stayed an extra week and said "Damn my lack of money!" but I was foolish. It still bugs me that I didn't get down there.

I know there are a lot of countries in which the livestock outnumbers the people. I just like the joke Australians tell: "How does a New Zealander find a sheep in the grass? Very satisfying." Oh, those wacky Aussies!

10/10/05 1:45 PM  
Blogger chosha said...

I've wanted to see New Zealand for a long time. Of course we're so close here that lots of people visit NZ and I also hear how beautiful it is and how friendly the people are. It's always the way, isn't it? What's close to home you always feel like you'll see one day and you keep putting it off.

10/10/05 11:23 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

That's always the way indeed, chosha. Whenever Krys and I move someplace new, we act like tourists for the first few years so that we can see everything. It's still one of those things - when you live somewhere, you don't think of the places near to you as exotic. I would encourage you to visit NZ, though. It can't be that expensive from where you are!

11/10/05 6:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home