Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back in the US--First a week in San Diego

Yes, I am alive and well, back in the states. I'm writing this from San Diego's airport (thank god for free wifi!). I spent the last week here, because my best friend, Paul, got married last night to Liz. I couldn't have picked him a better woman. They were terribly generous, letting me invade their place for a week. I got to go swimming in the ocean and enjoyed some nice local beers, which didn't cost the $7 I'm used to! Long story short, they had a great ceremony last night.

The site was the Thursday Club in San Diego's Sunset Cliffs area. Great location, overlooking the ocean:

Me and Paul:

Me and the maid of honor, Liz's sister Becky:

Me with Paul and Liz (stunner, eh?)

And the happy couple:

Anyway, I have to get on a plane now! I'll be back in Omaha at 1030 tonight. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My last photos of New Zealand

Probably. I thought I would go out with a here are some good ones I got during my trip last week.

Mt Ruapehu contains the highest peak on the North Island. It's also an active volcano, erupting as recently as last September (when I was just a few hundred kilometers north).

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel. This is one of the country's most famous landmarks. It's a beautiful beach, with a cave hewn out of the rock nearby. This cave is featured in the new Chronicles of Narnia movie as the place through which the children enter Narnia.

Off the east coast of the Coromandel. Lots of little islands.

Hot Water Beach. Just a brief drive south of Cathedral Cove. A couple of geothermally heated pools rise to fill the holes that are dug out of the sand at low tide. It can get scaldingly hot--up to about 140 degrees F.

Along the beach where I stayed in Coromandel.

I finished my trip with a drive out around the East Cape on the Pacific Coast Highway. Lots of nice views along the coast.

...including an isolated Anglican church.

Only three more days left. I'm spending them with a shitload of children. There's a big kapa haka competition in town right now, and a couple teams are staying here--at least 60 kids. They are dictating when we can eat and do our laundry. It's cool to see them practice, but I do like it better when the hostel is empty.

Monday, June 09, 2008

North Island road trip: Days 1 and 2

On Monday, I got the car and drove north. Was a fairly uneventful, except I drove past Mts. Ruapehu and Tongariro, two of the tallest on the North Island. Some cool photos to come.

Today, Tuesday, I continued driving North to the Coromandel, a beautiful peninsula east of Auckland.

View Larger Map

I'm in the town of Whitianga (the "Wh," in Maori, is pronounced like an F). It's a nice little town on the coast, and my hostel is right next to the beach.

I'll need to upload my photos later to appropriately show you what I got up to tonight, but one activity I took part in was digging my own spa pool on Hot Water Beach. After I dug out a hole with a few folks I met there, we just lounged on the beach, staring at the moon coming up. Photos to come, I promise.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Coming to an end

Two weeks from now, I'll be back stateside, spending a week in San Diego. I can't believe my time here is nearly done. My last night of work was Saturday. I'm unemployed once again. In New Zealand, you are entitled to eight percent of your total earned income as holiday pay, which you can have paid out as you earn it, or in a lump sum at the end of the year or when you leave your job. So I'm due for a nice bonus before I leave.

Tonight is my last night in my long-term room at Wellywood. Tomorrow, I'm getting a car and doing a brief tour of the North Island, seeing some things I haven't yet seem. I will have plenty of nice photos to share next week. My last week will be spent in Wellington--have to close my bank account and whatnot. I'm excited for something new!