Thursday, April 7, 2011


~the Maori word for New Zealand, meaning something like "land of the long white cloud"~

So, it is day 17 of my time in New Zealand and I know what you're all wondering: yes, there are a lot of sheep.

fabulous outfit at the Saturday market
I spent a week in Nelson, which is at the top of the South Island. The wonderful thing about the top of the South is that there is ocean EVERYWHERE.  And apparently from coast to coast the widest point in New Zealand is only 250 miles across.  I stayed with Laurie, who went to med school with my parents.  She is a radiologist, and she has (not one but two!!) houses in New Zealand.  She spends about half the year here.  She has a young couple staying in her Nelson home. Their baby Leo is 9 1/2 months, very sweet, and loved to stare at me; Emma said I can tell people I have an admirer in New Zealand.   Laurie has a friend who is a dairy farmer, so I got to visit his farm (which I think I will see more of in the future). We went to her beach house on Golden Bay for a night, then to an amazingly beautiful beach called Wharariki.  Her friend Deb has an organic citrus farm called Bay Subtropicals, which we visited, and which I am headed to on Friday.  I had lots of fun exploring Nelson.  There's a wonderful stretch of beach, the fabulous World of Wearable Arts museum (check it out!), an old Cathedral, shops... lots to do.  To end my visit, Laurie and I went on a private winery tour in Blenheim which was extravagantly amazing. 
Laurie and I on our wine tour
On our way to Motueka, we stopped at Lake Rotoiti, which is really beautiful, and had a lovely walk among Tuis and bellbirds.  They both make a lot of noise!
Lake Rotoiki

I am now staying with Ania's parents on their farm outside of Motueka.  I am loving the country experience.  The community is pretty tight knit.  I've gotten to meet several of the neighbors, which has been wonderful.  My favorite neighbor experience was feeding alpacas with an adorably precocious 8-year old while the adults had tea.  The Upstills are really into food, which was great news for me.  Their garden is huge, and I've picked tomatoes, dug for potatoes and carrots, and picked stink bugs off of lots of plants to feed to the chickens.  They also get fresh milk from a dairy farm nearby.  I've become a diligent bread and cheese student, following Krys around the kitchen.  I've also been introduced to the mysterious fruit that is quince.  It is ostensibly the "golden apple" of legend, though I don't know who would want to eat one as they are bitter and quite sour.  BUT when you cook them, they turn pink and add a great tartness to sweet cakes, such as the quince-almond cake I made a couple nights ago.  It has been getting pretty cold at night, but still gorgeous during the day.  And it's not hard to sleep when you pre-heat your bed and pajamas with an electric bed warmer!  Yesterday we went to Abel Tasman National Park, which is beautiful.

I am learning a lot about New Zealand (lingo, wildlife, culture, food, etc).  For instance, I know to avoid sultanas (raisins) and white bait (a tasteless fish that is considered a delicacy), ask "How are you going?", and laugh at pukekos.
pukeko or "swamp hen." they are hilariously cheeky
The whole country is shoe-optional, which I find fascinating.  Kiwis are much nicer to the environment, and I've been pegging clothing on the line* when I do laundry. Also, they are really nice to their animals, so they say the meat tastes better because the animals are so happy (it is delicious, but I can't say that I can taste the "happiness").
  Soon I'll be off to Bay Subtropicals in Takaka, where I will WOOF for maybe 2 weeks.

*yes, that was a Decemberists reference.

No comments:

Post a Comment