the knitting ref

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Insert Witty Title Here

We didn’t have much time in either Wellington or Christchurch, but that’s no big deal as the weather wasn’t conducive to much outdoor site-seeing. But it wasn’t a total loss as we toured the Christchurch Museum (fascinating) and I got to feed a 3-week-old lamb.

We left gloomy Christchurch and traveled down to Dunedin (pronounced Dun-Eden). The countryside along the way was very pretty. The further south we’ve traveled the more Bavarian the scenery has become. I wish we had had more time to tour Oamaru. The town is very quaint, with lots of Victorian architecture.

I think the trip finally got up with both of us as once we reached Dunedin, we napped before going to dinner. Dunedin is the San Francisco of the southern hemisphere. Not as big as SF of course, but the geography and the architecture. Right down to claiming that they have the steepest street in all of New Zealand. I believe it.

We spent the next day touring the Otago Pennisula. It seems like around every corner was another postcard-worthy vista. We took the high road on our way out and ran into lots of iceberg watchers. I don’t know if the news has reached you all but there are currently 3 very, very large icebergs about 45 kms. off the coast of Dunedin. It’s been huge news here. People have been taking helicopter trips (at NZ$500 a pop) to go out to the icebergs. Some have been foolish enough to try walking on them. Fortunately no one’s been hurt, but still. No views from land yet, but many aren’t ready to give up.

We spent considerable time on Victory Beach. I don’t know why, there’s nothing much to look at:

Beach attire is not exactly what you see on So. Cal. beaches. So what do you wear at Victory Beach? Well, when we were there, this was the height of beach fashion:

(Cause it was about 65 degrees with a wind that tended to cut right through your clothing.)

I have run into plenty of New Zealand wool, but I won't share my haul until I get home.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Green, Green, Green, Green, Green

{Stupid Blogger won't let me upload all the pictures I want, so you'll have to use your imagination for now.}

Everything here is so green. And every shade of green on the scale. So far, I’m reminded very much of Hawaii with all the lush vegetation that is present everywhere. Hawaii without the heat and humidity.

Since the last post, we’ve been very busy. We’ve driven over 1,700 km (you do the math to convert it to miles) so far. Tonight we’re just outside Wellington in a town charmingly called Lower Hutt. We’ve seen so much, it’s hard to know where to start. So, for now, I’ll give you a brief overview, and when we get back, I’ll fill in more. From Auckland, we drove up into the Northland, and got as far Wharangei. We stopped at the falls.

{And here I'd be showing you a picture of the falls. Very pretty. Oh well, too bad.}

What I found most amazing is that the falls are right in the middle of a residential area. Truth be told, a lot of amazing New Zealand features are found right in the middle of residential areas. But that a whole other post.

We traveled down to Coromandel where we spent the night and on from there to Rotorua. Pretty amazing stuff--all of a geothermal nature. From hot water (well over boiling) pools to mud pools. Too bad you don’t have smell-o-vision. The sulphur smell around town absolutely defies description.

After Rotorua we moved on to Napier. I just have to include a picture of the Huka Falls, which we stopped off at on the way to Napier. The color is this turquoise color, and the volume of water is astounding. Wish we could have spent more time there.
{I WILL be including a picture of Huka Falls another time. Not to be believed.}

From there we drove to Lower Hutt. We’ve spent all our nights at B&B’s and homestays. To a person, every single host we’ve met since we left Auckland has been nothing but warm and generous. We’ve had some great discussions with our hosts. We’ve learned so much about New Zealand and its people from them. Definitely the way to get “into” a foreign country. Tomorrow we fly to the South Island. Can’t wait to see what awaits us! For now, I’ll leave you with an obligatory sheep picture.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What a Day--Or Is It Days?

16 hours of travel across the Equator AND the International Date Line—and that doesn’t include the hour and a half to LAX. No wonder we’re a little punchy. (And no, Mom, I'm not too tired.)

But I will say, if I’ve got to be on an airplane, Air New Zealand is the way to go. I’ve traveled on a number of carriers, and Air New Zealand is top of the heap, by far. Lovely, lovely crew—whether it be the men or the women. We were on a very clean, very comfortable 767. We wound up having 3 meals during our sojourn. All very tasty (Stuffed chicken, spinach, roasted potatoes, with a small salad and cheesecase for dessert) food, served hot, with lots of beverages (including complementary wine for dinner). And this was regular old whatever-you-want-to-call-it class.

I didn’t sleep much, but then I never can unless I’m completely horizontal. Not that I didn’t try. The Hubster did better in that department, but like I said, we’re both a little punchy. (Really, Mom, I'm fine.)

I can now say I’ve been to Fiji, but other than the airport interior (which I didn’t think TSA or the Fijian equivalent wanted me taking pictures of), this is all we saw of Nadi, Fiji:
We were outside just long enough to recognize that it definitely is a tropical island. But one that we may have to explore in the future.

Here’s our first view of New Zealand.

And it only gets better from there. But that will have to be for another time.

We managed to get through NZ customs without a problem, although they did clean the soles of the hiking, excuse me, tramping boots. (Too much dirt for their sensibilities.) Picked up the rental car without any problems, although I do have to say that driving on the opposite side of the road is still freaking me out not just a little bit.

First stop, the Bavaria B&B. Very large room, with a very small bathroom—I think my closet at home is bigger. But still very nice nonetheless. A comfortable bed which we tried out immediately. Get your mind out of the gutter, we HAD to take a nap.

After a short nap, we walked down to one of the bigger thoroughfares in Mt. Eden, and found a Portuguese BBQ chicken restaurant. Don’t laugh, it was very tasty.

Following lunch, we went up to the top of Mt. Eden, a long-extinct volcano. Spectacular 360 degree views of Auckland and surrounding countryside. That pooped us out (or at least me) enough that we just went back to the B&B. No plans for the evening—other than scrounging up a telephone book so I can maybe scope out some yarn stores.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Show Off

Yup, that’s me. As we’re heading off on our adventure, I have to show off my yummy sweater. I actually have an FO. Amazing!
Pictures kindly taken by the Hubster.
[Back view shown headless 'cause of ugly bed head]
This is the Bettna sweater from the Noro Revisited pattern book. It’s made with 14+ balls of Noro Silk Garden, color 211. I made absolutely no revisions to the pattern. I actually think this pattern would also make an interesting sweater in a solid color. Something to think about.

I will say that this is the third Noro pattern I’ve done and, as has happened with the other 2, the pattern understates the amount of yarn needed. I suppose I could have done it with the 14 balls of yarn if I had just picked up and started at the beginning of every new skein. Because of the color variations and differences in each skein, if I had done that, there would have been a number times that the same color stripe would have been right next, or very near, each other. I wanted the colors more spread out.

I also have to show a close-up of where I had to do surgery. Can’t tell unless you’re right up on it, can ya. I’m soooooo happy. Love, love love the colors.

I am taking this on the plane with me. It’ll be my blankie while I sleep (and more than likely on my body the entire time I’m on the plane—it tends to be a bit chilly when they’re at altitude.)

Well people, it’s time to jet. Talk to you soon!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy [Early] Thanksgiving

Hope I didn't freak anyone out. But, since the Hubster and I won't be in country on the "official" Thanksgiving day, we gathered family and friends and had our Thanksgiving today. Before I go too far, I'll explain the picture. Mama somehow came into possession of this funky turkey. You can "choke" the neck, squeeze a wing or tweak the beak and it plays a corny song. Very strange, but the only Thanksgiving decorating that got done around here. Anyway. It was a fabulous day. Lots of talking and laughing with people I love and like a whole lot. As we had 13 people present for the festivities, we went casual with a serve-yourself buffet and t.v. trays all around the living room. Thanksgiving is when the Hubster takes over the kitchen and cooks. Which is a really good thing. As usual, there was too much food. It's a good thing the kids will be home while we're gone to finish up the leftovers.

One of our friends is an elderly gentleman who made his living as a photographer. After we ate, he graced us with a slide show of his experiences in New Zealand. And Lincoln has quite a way of turning a phrase that made it very enjoyable. I was ready to leave for NZ the minute the travelogue finished. He gave us some great tips, especially about the South Island which is making us more excited than ever. (Not that I needed anything else to get me excited.)

We ate early (12:30) so that the Girl Child could be with us before heading out to work, so everyone had cleared out a little after 3:00. The rest of the afternoon was spent watching the second half of the Broncos game. They won, but I tell you, it's not easy being a Broncos fan. They are on quite a winning season, but it seems like you're never sure until the very last minute that they're gonna make it. All's well that ends well, I guess.

Between the Boy Child's soccer game yesterday and all the visiting today, I got quite a bit done on my latest mindless project--another plain stockinette stitch sock.When I visited the newest (and closest) LYS, I grabbed this yarn without paying too much attention to the label. I just liked the colors (and still do). But when I got home and started working with it, I realized that this yarn is "mit Aloe Vera und Jojoba Ol." You can probably figure out that that means "with Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil. I really like it. The addition is very subtle but noticeable after working with it for a while. I'm figuring I'll finish 1 sock before Thursday's liftoff, at which point I'll pack it and the remaining yarn for working on in NZ.

And bless my favorite LYS owner's little heart, when I whined to her that I was going to be grossly short of yarn on my Two Piece Sweater, she bustled around and scrounged up 3 more skeins. So while I won't have the sweater finished to take along, it now will be packed for the trip.

Add the necessities for the Storyteller Socks (see previous post), and that's all the knitting supplies I'm taking. No doubt I'll come back with much more yarn than I'm leaving with. (Gotta save room in the suitcase for that, right?)

It's doubtful that I'll be able to post again before we leave--although stranger things have been known to happen. I have promised Mama semi-frequent posts so she'll sort-of be in touch with our daily adventures. Tomorrow is the computer lesson for Mama. She will be the first to tell you she's completely computer illerate and likes it that way. But she's willing, provided I give her step-by-step instructions, to learn a little bit so she can check in on us periodically. Fingers crossed, we'll be able to figure out the intricacies of working online in a foreign country, although a number of the B&B's we're staying at supposedly have computer access. In the past I've purposely stayed away from being that "wired" while we're on vacation, so I've never done this before. Wish me luck.

Here's hoping my next contact with you will more be from the wonderland that is New Zealand. 3 days and counting!