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Archive for April, 2006

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I guess I don’t miss Oregon that much after all…

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

Ran across this news story the other day. Good old Oregon.

Oregon man survives 12 nails to the head


Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

I’ve finally got all of my pictures and videos uploaded to a website for everyone to view. Many thanks to my friend Todd Garrison for providing the space to host my pics on his server. I owe you a pint or twelve!

Here’s the link:

A word of caution: The bungy jumping videos are about 5MB each, so if you are on a dial-up connection be prepared to wait a while for the file to download. Also, the video files are in Windows Media format, but Mac users should be able to view them.



Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

It’s been really, really great being in Dunedin with Kevin and Milyn and their little boy, Issac. I got to see Kevin briefly in the States about a year ago, but I haven’t seen Milyn in probably four years. Kev and Mi have been great hosts, and it’s been really nice to have home cooked meals, hot showers and a warm bed.

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More Bungy Pics!

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

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Kawarau Bridge, 47 Meters

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Nevis Highwire, 134 Meters

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The Ledge, 43 MetersĀ 


Sunday, April 16th, 2006

They call Queenstown the adventure capital of New Zealand, and for good reason. Queenstown is a lakeside resort town set in the midst of the mountain range known as the Remarkables. Every third shop in town is an adventure shop, hawking everything from rafting trips, cruises, jet boats, winery tours, skydiving, caving, river boarding, canyon swings, nature tours, and of course, bungy jumping. (Queenstown was the site of the world’s first commercial bungy jump.)

I arrived in Queenstown on Thursday evening, after a long ride from Franz Josef on the Magic Bus. The west coast scenery is stunning (as is almost all of New Zealand) From Franz Josef we followed the coast down a ways, and then headed inland toward Queenstown. The scenery inland is quite different from the coast, as you leave the rainforest and head over to the other side of the mountains where it is much drier. There are lots and lots of lakes, and most of them are very dark in color and are called “mirror” lakes because the surface is so reflective. The dark color comes from tannin which is carried into the lakes from the water running off the mountains. The tannin is the same substance which gives tea it’s brown color, and I suppose it’s also the same tannin found in red wine.

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I Would Walk Five Hundred Miles

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

I arrived in Wellington late Friday night and it seems to be a great city. As the capital of New Zealand, it’s a bustling city with lots to see and do. I spent most of the day Saturday sightseeing. My backpackers was located right on the waterfront, conveniently located across from the bus station and the ferry terminal. It was an easy walk down to the city square where the city gallery was located. The city gallery had some very unusual and interesting art on exhibit and I spent about an hour there browsing the exhibits. From there it was down the street to Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. There were a lot of great exhibits there also, ranging from the traditional Maori exhibit and a Lord of the Rings exhibit, to a geological exhibit on the earth’s tectonic plates and an earthquake simulator. It was a nice museum, but there were no exhibits that really stood out. So after leaving Te Papa, I walked to the other side of downtown and went to the Moko Museum, or tattoo museum. (Te Moko is the Maori term for their traditional tattoos.) The Maori Te Moko are unique to the individual, and each design is a representation of that individual’s geneaolgy, heritage and life story. The museum also had tattoos from all over the world, and talked about the traditional methods of applying tattoos before the existence of needles and tattoo guns. Picture being tattooed with a hammer and chisel and you get the idea. Ouch. I actually met a guy in Mt. Manganui who had a large and elaborate tattoo done in Thailand. It was applied using an instrument made of bamboo and took three days to do.

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Friday, April 7th, 2006

I’m in Wanganui now, a couple of hours northwest of Wellington. It’s a great town with lots of history. The Whanganui River runs through town and Wanganui is one of the oldest towns in New Zealand. (Yes, the town is spelled with a “W” and the river is spelled with the original spelling of “Wh.” You can thank the English for that.)

I arrived here on Wednesday afternoon after hitching a ride from Opunake. Getting a ride turned out to be pretty easy, considering that Opunake is off the beaten track and doesn’t get much traffic. I only had to wait about 20 minutes for a ride, getting a lift from a Samoan guy named Shane who lives in Opunake and is a sales rep for a school supply company. He was up on the Surf Highway calling on a school and was on his way back to Wanganui when he picked me up. It was about an hour and a half ride to Wanganui, and he dropped me off at the local visitors center where I got my bearings and booked a backpackers for Wednesday and Thursday night. I stayed at a place called the Tamara Backpackers Lodge which was really great. I got a good bed, not a bunk, for only $19 NZ a night. The host, Rory, was very friendly and knows a lot about the area. He gave me a map and pointed out all the places to see in Wanganui. After checking in I walked downtown to browse the shops and pick up some groceries. I spent Wednesday evening relaxing and visiting with some of the other travelers.

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Life’s a Beach

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Since my last post I spent another night in Paihia, caught the Magic bus back down to Auckland for a night and then took the Intercity Coach from Auckland to New Plymouth. I’m now in Opunake, a small beach town on highway 45, also known as the Surf Highway. The Surf Highway runs along the west coast of the North Island from New Plymouth to Hawera. I arrived in Opunake Sunday afternoon spending the weekend in New Plymouth.

My last night in Paihia was quite fun. I had spent the day just kind of walking around town, doing laundry, and mostly just relaxing. That evening I went to the bar below the backpackers for a couple of beers and met a couple of locals from Auckland, Mike and Adrian, who were in town for work for a few days. Both were sales reps and were in Paihia calling on clients. I had been sitting by myself in the bar when they invited me to join them. This was a little surprising, but the New Zealanders are a freindly lot. We chatted over beers for some time, and they were even nice enough to offer me a ride back to Auckland with them the next day. I had already booked my ticket on Magic, but thought I’d skip it and join them anyway since they had offerred to show me some more of the north coast and share a room with them in Monterey. Unfortunately, as the night wore on and we all got more drunk, we lost track of each other and never did work it out. It was all just as well though because after the hard night of partying, I wasn’t that keen on getting up early to leave by 8:00. So I stuck with the original plan and caught the Magic back to Auckland at 1:30, arrivng at my backpackers around 6:00 that evening. I stayed at a new place in Auckland called the City Garden Lodge, in a district called Parnell. Parnell is a cool little burb near the University with lots of shops and cafes. After I got checked in, I rang Gavin, my friend from the Habitat build, and we met at a local pub for a burger and beer. Gavin had just finished up his work at the University of Auckland and was preparing to leave that weekend for a 5 week trip to Dubai and Europe, and will be running the Paris Marathon next weekend. We exchanged travel notes and talked about the Habitat build some more, but called it an early night and I got back to the backpackers about 9:00 or 10:00.

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