Playing Travel Agent

It’s Friday here so planning was needed for our trip to the South Island. That’s because we needed to figure out what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go on Monday.

An aside. If you are gluten-intolerant, AU and NZ are perfect places to plant yourself. Everywhere we go we notice things on the menu and things on the grocery shelves that trumpet ‘gluten free’. Not sure why.

There is road kill in NZ and that’s because the poor critters have no where to run once on the road…except if you are goat…we haven’t seen any killed goats on the road yet. They roam free, apparently, and when you come upon them in the road as we did yesterday, they run up the sides of hills like, well, mountain goats. See the goat? It was in
the street’s middle about 10 seconds earlier. He really moved out. Hence no dead goats on the road.

But I digress.

We literally spent most of the day planning the trip which as I described to my cousin in an email as thus:

“So, today being Friday around 3 p.m…we leave Napier for Wellington on Monday morning and then we travel by plane, ferry, and train to get to Christchurch and then jet off to Queenstown, drive down to get on a boat for a cruise of the fjords and then we jet back to Auckland for two days before backtracking to Sydney for two days to get accustomed to the 3 hours time difference so we can jump on our plane and leave for LAX a few hours AFTER we arrive at LAX even though the flight is 14 hours long which I plan to sleep through, thank goodness for drugs, and arrive all perky for say a day and then collapse while thumbsucking until I board the train to San Jose if you’ll pick me up and then back home on Sunday so that I can do laundry and be ready to leave on Nov.1 for a drive down to the desert where we will play golf for a week even though we haven’t picked up a golf club in ages…(editor’s note – I did change one little thing…but you get the drift).

Now, we are not doing all this singlehandedly. No, we stopped at the AA place in Napier and spoke with Fran who is helping us secure the car rental, the train passage, the ferry fares to complete the planning. Bottom line… we will be there from this coming Tuesday until we arrive in Auckland, Oct. 18th. So as you an see, heavy planning was necessary. We did all this with great nashing of teeth, bashing of gums. Let’s just say that year 21 of marriage could have started out a wee better…but we made all necessary plans and none of them involve yurting, bungie jumping or river rafting. They do, however, require wool leggings (good insurance), hats, wool socks and the such that we have acquired since arriving down here in NZ out of sheer necessity. No whining…just an observation…two springs in one year is one too many.

This weekend we plan to go wine tasting in the area now that we know where the wineries are… and we plan to go to the laundromat. Yes, the laundromat. You read it right. We washed clothes yesterday and they still aren’t dry. That’s because the dryer is broken and it hasn’t stopped raining on and off. So, we have our clothes hanging on a metal hanger in the family room right next to the stove which is burning wood. Ah, the sweet aroma of burnt wood on your clothes…now there is something I haven’t smelled since, let’s say, camping. So, we decided we would take our clothes that are still damp down to Napier tomorrow and visit the laundromat as one of our adventures for the day. The other adventure will be wine tasting…while bike riding. Restated…biking from place to place while interrupting our biking with stops at wineries. What could go wrong?
Another aside. Our new friend, Richard (the one we ate with the other night) was a world champion croquet player and as such went to Sonoma to a winery where he won his trophy. He took up croquet after his rugby “tour” where he almost made the national, All Blacks team and almost went to the Olympics, I think in Canada. Anyway…he explained the All Blacks name and logo. It is all based on the fact that their uniforms have always been all black. And there is a fern that grows in NZ that is all silver on the underside. So there. My imagination took me in other directions. But we won’t dwell on it. Well…maybe we will. Most mascots are animate objects aren’t they? So why not the All Black Kiwi’s. No, I guess that won’t work. How about the All Black Crows? I think NZ has crows. Or say the All Black Coots? They must have coots. How about All Black Sheep? Or All Black Magpies? ….although there are connotations to consider. Well…I’m either stumped or I’ve managed to bore the hell out of myself…in either case…that All Black name seems to be a bit limited, now, doesn’t it?

One other thing. We drove down to the next to the nearest town for dinner last night. We were the only people in The Oak Room for dinner for about 1/2 hour. Then people started arriving. This restaurant is in a town of about 1 thousand people? and 50,000 sheep! And our dinner was fabulous. Roasted pork belly. I’m going to get a picture of it from their website and include it here. I didn’t take my camera because I wasn’t expecting this type of food quite frankly. The food, the coffee…fabulous.

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