Dunedin - Our first trip out
So, I haven't been in touch recently, not keeping you up to date HUH! Well, that's because I had little to inform you but now, finally after nearly a month, I have enough gossip to fill 1 page!
For the boring bit - WORK. My work has been mediocre at best. I've been cleaning rooms for minimum 40 hours a week for the past 6 weeks and I've pretty much had enough of it. It's really funny though how excited I now get when someone checks out and we have to do what we call a departure clean. The reason for this is simple, Megan (the lovely girl I work with) and I run into the room to check what they have left. I don't mean to steal their sweaty socks or pooey pants and believe me, people do leave this kind of stuff. I don't even mean to get our hands on the $1000 some guy accidentally threw away, oh no, I mean to get to the FUDGE! When the guests depart they leave leftover milk, bread, wine, and the fudge we provide on arrival gets cast to the side. Megan and I devour the lot! It's very sad and desperate and pathetic but it's how we get through the days. LOL! (BTW Adam's work is fine!)
Sam had a birthday not so long back and to celebrate we had a lovely morning of pancakes and tea followed by white water rafting on the Kawarau river. It was apparently very tame by normal standards, grade 2-3, but I had a blast. We also jumped into the river, it was pretty cold as the water started trickling down the back of my wet suit but I was proud of myself. The guide also tipped the boat back so it was vertical to the water and made me climb to the top like a hero! We kept ourselves warm along the way with a tot of turkey ;-) It was great fun.
In other news Hannah and Adam have bought a van. It cost them a lot of money and had to be sent to the garage straight away to be fixed but it now runs like a dream. It is a Toyota Townace and goes by the name Stella. It was empty in the back when they bought it so 5 hours labour to make a foldout sofa/bed in the back of the van was hard work but worth it! Incidentally Hannah, Adam and Stella recently travelled to Dunedin together.
It was our first outing in the van, as well as our first 2 days off, so we were pretty excited! We decided to head to Dunedin. It is Gaelic for Edinburgh and so it goes, that they tried to emulate the feel of Edinburgh in the city. Well it certainly felt like Scotland as we arrived in the cold and the rain on Friday afternoon. The drive to the coast went well but took some time with our numerous stops on the way, but Stella got us there safe and sound. We had a wander round the town though there was little to really see so we headed out on the peninsula to see if we could catch sight of some sea lions and penguins. At Sandfly bay there were loads of sea lions and to my amusement and Adam's dismay, Mr Taberner decided he was more than a little nervous of the creatures. He wouldn't walk past them at any speed and the yellow eyed penguins were at the other side of the beach. In the end I think we made it about a quarter of the way across as he was too scared to keep going. As we headed on the steep walk back up the hill the light was fading fast so we needed to hurry. However, the lack of light was to be the least of our worries. We realised that someone had left the car lights on the whole time and drained the battery. And it wasn't Adam I am ashamed to say. It turned out alright in the end as we managed to get a jump start from some other intrepid travellers but that could have been the end of our day. Instead we headed into town and settled in to some lovely Japanese food, great wine and live music. Lovely.
We slept in the van, and it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be, but I did wish we were staying in a hotel. In the morning Adam cooked us breakfast, which he insisted on cooking on the camp stove even though there was a communal kitchen 30 seconds away, but it tasted pretty good indeed so who am I to complain? As long as he was having fun.
Off we trotted to the world's steepest street. It doesn't really look that bad from the pictures but it was pretty steep though the view from the top was worth the walk. We then went to the public art gallery that Adam really wasn't impressed with. It was modern art so very different but interesting none the less. He was, however, much more impressed with the tasting tray at the Speight's Brewery and ended up being slightly tiddly for the rest of the afternoon. It was off to the peninsula again with a stunning drive followed by breathtaking views from the castle. Larnach castle is the only castle in New Zealand and is rather poor by British standards. It looked more like Ragley Hall. However, the views really were something else. The sun was streaming through the trees and we enjoyed a spot of tea in the garden without our coats on. For me, this was the first time since arriving nearly 3 months ago that I went out without wearing my snow boarding jacket. It hasn't happened again since!
The drive from here took us to the only mainland based albatross colony and we were lucky enough to see a few from the head of the peninsula as it was so windy. We weren't so lucky in our plight to see the blue penguins. We waited for about 2 hours and after seeing a couple of seals from a distance and no penguins we decided to give up as it was dark and we still had a 4 hour drive ahead of us. But as we walked back to the car we caught sight of 2 blue penguins in the bushes making a lot of noise. We couldn't really get a good photo but we tried. The journey home was long and tiring but we'd had such a good couple of days we were smiling the whole way.