Tuesday, February 8

For Leo

Dear Leo,

The temps down here have been from 20-30˚C with a high around Christchurch of 42˚C (107˚F) this is approximately 68˚F to 86˚F. The water temperature is a little more difficult...it is warmer than lake superior and was chilly, yet swim-able when the temperature was 86˚F. My mom had a blast cooling off in it while hiking...so, it is nice, but when you get out the wind chills you if its not warm. When we went to Milford Sound it was really cold in the morning so we were issued thermal long underwear, a fleece, and a waterproof rain-jacket in case it rained. We also got hats too now that I think about it. It was cold with a misty morning to rival Duluth in the fall, with the occasional sprinkle at night. HA! It was actually about 260mLs (15 cubic inches)...all the rivers flooded and someone who was camping had to head to high ground at about 3 AM. We got to kayak after this massive rainfall and it was BEAUTIFUL with about a 50 waterfalls going that day...and it wasn't raining. :) We've been lucky and avoided the rain until today. We're currently in Dunedin (DONE-E-DIN), a city founded by Scots in 1848. They found gold here and mined the town until the gold ran out. There are a ton of beautiful Victorian style homes and giant Gothic churches scattering the hillside on which the town resides. It reminds me of Siena, Italy with all the hills and the old buildings.
We had a little bit of trouble finding the hostel and managed to get a parking ticket because all of the parking spots you have to pay at a little mailbox and get a receipt to place in your car window. This is not explained anywhere and it just looks like you can park anywhere. Oh well, a learning experience. We then tried to navigate the city and to quote my mother "these streets are ape sh!t!". She was referring to the layout of the city and the fact that the streets are narrow. It was tough because you can't really tell which streets are one ways, which street they actually are because they are poorly marked, and the fact that we had a really bad map. We managed to find it after pulling over, exchanging some loud, strong language, and gathering ourselves for a second attempt. I understand that I was confused during the beginning as the navigator, but when the driver decided to become the navigator and tells the navigator after not seeing the map that the person with the map is wrong...phew! Its like driving with Leo sometimes! (just kidding!)
Anyways, I finally got my BBH card so that I can get discounts on the hostels that we're staying...a little late, but better than never. We booked a night at a really relaxing place for tomorrow night in a bay about 20 minutes from Christchurch. We can dig for mussels, sit on the deck and sip a nice beverage. We also get free toast with internet access...so it must be good! It will mean a 6-7 hour drive day, but we'll stop and make it interesting. We wanted to get up there in order to be in position for a sunny day for surfing at Sumner Beach. This beach is sandy and is supposed to be great for beginners. I'm looking forward to this and seeing the University, my host mother, and just settling in for the work ahead. Soon my mother will have to go home and I want to be comfortable for the long haul ahead.
We often think of those at home...How Patty would love looking at all the plants and fowl, Peg would love to sit and talk with all the friendly New Zealanders and visiters on holiday, Dad would love the countryside with the massive amounts of sheep and deer grazing in pastures, Leo would love all the strenuous treks to torture himself on, how all the country fried chicken places would make Bruce jump with joy and many many other thoughts about how this country compares to different parts of the states.
Anyways, I've been listening to my iPod and showing others the beautiful place that I live back in the states in order to keep from being homesick. Also, all the comments from people about the blog help a lot too...

Well, time for bed. Lucy has been there for about an hour passed out already.

Cheers from the Southern Hemisphere,


1 comment:

  1. Awesome report, Grace. Sounds like a vast range of temps occur on that island in the summer.
    Hope to see Milford Sound pix. It was about (-)26 degrees C last night in Clover Valley. When the navigating in a new city- fraught with narrow streets, bad signs, questionable navigation help, and the delights of back-assward traffic laws- truly deteriorates, all that really can help is creative and life affirming issuances of all the most colorful and inappropriate swear words. If these people have descended from Scots, they will not only understand, they will join your blasphemous chorus and offer some whiskey to ease the translation. Happy surfing. take care,