A Travellerspoint blog

Before I forget…

Since the true intent of this blog is to write about my experiences, I have to put one down on paper that I really don’t want to escape into the deep abyss that is my memory. Do you remember a while back when I shared that I had signed up with a temp agency and they offered me the job of food sample person at the grocery store? And you may recall that I laughed my ass off almost to the point of not being able to breathe for a good few minutes? Well, after I thought about it more, I asked myself, “when else am I ever going to hand out samples at the grocery store?” Quick side note to God – please don’t make that be my future career. Thank you! Okay, end side note. And so I called the temp agency back. Unfortunately, they had already filled the position with someone else. Darn. But as luck would have it, a week later I got a call. Yep, that’s right, I got called in to hand out samples. I had the distinct pleasure of handing out Puhoi Valley yogurt for eight hours over two days.

Highlights included:

• Getting free yogurt – yum!
• Getting a behind the scenes tour of the grocery store – surprisingly cool!
• Chatting up the blue haired folks – apparently no one over the age of 60 shops between the hours of 10 – 2.

Not so exciting:

• Having to repeat myself about three times over when speaking with said blue haired patrons.
• Being mocked by co-workers walking through the store.

Alright, on to find my next random job. Another day, another dollar.

Posted by keoco1 12:32 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

Walkin in a winter wonderland

semi-overcast 40 °F

The place: Nashoba Valley
The date: January 2, 1990
The people: Me, my mean ski instructor, the mountain and my mom

Me: Mommy, I really don’t want to go skiing. I don’t like it.
Mom: Oh, Kerryn, you’ll be fine. Just get over it and go.
Ski instructor: Take your hands out of your pockets and ski!
Me: (bursting into tears) I want my mommy!!

The place: Queenstown, New Zealand. Driving up to The Remarkables Ski area.
The date: July 9, 2010
The people: Me and Juan

Me: Okay, you know how I’m pretty annoying a lot of the time?
Juan: (immediate nod of the head) I’ve lived with you for four months. Yes. I think I have an idea.
Me: Okay, when I get onto the mountain, my annoying factor will increase exponentially. That’s because I have a serious aversion to being on anything besides solid ground.

Yes, unfortunately for me, I’ve never gotten over the childhood trauma of being forced to take ski lessons. I much prefer to snow shoe, sit at the house, cook, bake, play games, sit by the fire, etc. ie. Just be really lazy. Regardless, every time winter comes around, I inevitably endure some time on the mountain. There’s usually a lesson involved and then after 30 minutes of that, I’ve had more than my fill for the season.

Once again, unfortunately for me, Juan is a snowboarding fanatic. And because of that, he was quite excited to take me out for my first time on a board. Even though I reminded him about five times along the way to the mountain that things could get ugly, he would not be dissuaded from giving me my private lesson. He actually had it in his head that he would show me a bit on the bunny hills and then we’d go up on to “the big kid” hill (as I like to call it). hahaha. I laugh in the face of his naiveté.

Juan: Remember when you didn’t think you could learn to drive manual, but we still did it together?
Me: Yah, but remember that we got into a massive screaming match on the rotary? This lesson will be the snowboarding equivalent. Prepare for battle my friend.

So we end up hitting the bunny hill, which honestly could barely be called a hill. Probably more like the most gentle incline known to man. Sure enough, about ten minutes later (actually, if we’re being honest, about two minutes later) the expletives were flying. Ahh, good times. About ten minutes after that, I finally convinced him that, “no, I wasn’t lying. I really would like to sit in the hut and drink hot chocolate while you snowboard.”

Regardless, I may still give snowboarding another try. Thanks to my sister, Caitlin, I was fully prepared with a helmet and wrist guards. I can’t blame a broken wrist for not giving it another shot. The rest of the weekend was spent lazing around the Queenstown area including a morning spent around Arrowtown and a drive up to Glenorchy which is about 40 minutes north. Juan, being the clever one, built us a nice little fire on the beach where we grilled up some steak and eggs. Then we got to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

And! I realized after many emails and phone calls with friends and family that the mystery man has yet to be revealed. so in an effort to prove that he’s not my imaginary boyfriend as has been insinuated by some (thanks), I uploaded some photos to picasa below. And you may actually recognize him, but don’t be fooled. I’m not dating Jesus. That’s right, thanks to the sweet beard which he grows more and more fond of by the day, he does bear an uncanny resemblance to the big man. I’m threatening to shave it in the middle of the night, but prospects are not looking good. To be continued…

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/QueenstownGlenorchy?authkey=Gv1sRgCKvcnNmG64TgwQE&feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 08:52 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

I’m just livin’ the dream…

Well, kind of in a roundabout way. Okay, so those of you who know me, you know that I used to have a mild obsession with The Gilmore Girls. And when I say mild, I really mean the opposite of mild. Let me paint a clearer picture. I actually had a tour of the GG Warner Brothers set in Burbank. That’s the kind of mild I’m talking about.

It all started one rainy Monday night when I was flicking through the channels and came across the fab mother/daughter duo. After that, I proceeded to catch up on five seasons worth of episodes in the span of about two weeks. Lucky for me, I had a willing accomplice in my sister who was on maternity leave. So there we sat, Kealy in her favorite position (for four years straight), strapped to a chair with a baby on the boob and me, maxin’ and relaxin’ on the couch. There was, Dean, then Jess, then Logan. Ah, the teen angst and love triangles. And with great lines like:

Lorelai: Hey, how many margaritas is too many margaritas?
Rory: Um, if you can't remember where the living room is.
Lorelai: Ha ha, I'm still good.

How could you not love this show? Unfortunately, for those of you who have never fully experienced the greatness of the Gilmore Girls (I just shed a tear for you) you would not be acquainted with the great Kirk. No last name. There’s no need for one. He’s like Madonna. But for Gilmore Girls.

So something happened yesterday and I’m now feeling one step closer to the show. I am officially the Kirk of Invercargill, New Zealand. You heard me right. I am the Kirk of Invercargill. Well, minus the fact that I am a girl and thanks to the lack of ozone, slightly less pale than Kirk I. Let me explain. Kirk is literally the jack of all trades. He has been a cable repair person, beauty product salesperson, hockey announcer, mail carrier, checkout boy, bartender, etc.

So yesterday, I was teaching swim lessons at the pool and a woman came over and asked me a question. No problem. I’m a helpful person. Happy to answer. Later on that day, I got a call from Coco Bella to come in and work for the afternoon. On I went to Coco Bella to sell the finest adult wares in town. In walks the same woman from Splash Palace.

Woman: (weird look directed at me)ummm… g’day. I’m looking for this bra in dark red?
Me: No problem!

After work, I decided to head to Waxy’s to enjoy a pint of Guinness that a nice customer had bought for me earlier in the week. A very wise man once told me never to drink where you work. And here’s why:

Boss: Hey, Kerryn. Any chance you can work tonight?
Me: Only if I get a gold star. (I would do anything for a gold star.)

Later on that night, the woman from Splash Palace and Coco Bella walks up to the bar.

Me: Hi. What can I get for you?
Woman: Ummmmm. (another weird look.) A gin and tonic please. Actually, wait. I’ve seen you in three different places today, right?
Me: Yep.
Woman: Wow, you’re quite the jack of all trades.

See? I am the Kirk of Invercargill. Just livin’ the dream.

Posted by keoco1 15:03 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (5)

Sittin on the dock of the bay

Hello, party people. I know it has been a while since I last wrote, but I have been a busy working girl. Not to worry. I’m talking about the Melanie Griffith kind of working girl, not the Jenna Jameson kind. Given my position at Coco Bella, I can understand how you may be confused. Yes, life in Invercargill over the last month or so has been busy and I am settling into the swing of things. I am still holding down a few jobs and possibly on the hunt for others. In an effort to keep you all in the loop, I will give a lightening recap of the happenings.

Over at Waxy O’Shea’s, I am working on perfecting my shamrocks on the Guinness. There are some Irish lads that come in regularly and gladly let me practice on them and give feedback. My most recent pour was designated a 9 out of 10. Coming from an Irish Guinness connoisseur, I was quite proud of this proclamation. So Waxy’s has been taking up many nights and weekends, but it is all good fun. There’s nothing like being serenaded with “you’ve got that loving feeling” at 2 o’clock in the morning to make you feel appreciated at work. This at least helps make up for the fact that I get paid minimum wage and don’t make tips. I think I may have actually made more money when I was nine. I promise that’s not an exaggeration. Cold hard facts only in this blog.

Meanwhile, over at Splash Palace, I’ve been teaching swim lessons about 10 hours a week and hoping to pick up more next term. I’m reliving the “scoop the ice cream, put it into a cone and serve it to the customer” days. Most of my classes are 8 – 12 year olds. Although, I have one very special group of fourteen year olds who make Dennis the Menace look like a saint. Let’s just say Wednesdays at 2 pm are a bit rough. My favorite line from a recent class was:

Me: What’s your name
Fourteen year old punk: I don’t have a name
Me: Well, I don’t have a name, enjoy your time sitting in the corner.

Juan declared the “I don’t have a name” bit to be an oldie, but goodie. I’m still not that amused by it. In other working news, I still pick up occasional hours at Coco Bella and quite enjoy a good chat with the clientele. It’s quite a diverse crowd that walks through the doors and you just never know what you’re going to get.
So, I have decided to stay in New Zealand until my visa runs out and as such, I am thinking about jobs and whether making slave wages will keep me going for the next six months. I still pick up the Wednesday and Saturday paper with the job ads almost exclusively dedicated to dairy farming. While I am hoping to help out this fall with the lamb birthing, full time farming might not exactly be my style. As such, I decided to make a visit to the local recruitment agency. After a thorough interview process ie. Name, how fast can you type, are you a convicted murderer, I was told I would be contacted if any jobs cropped up. Sure enough, the next day I got a call.

Recruiter: Hi, Kerryn. We have a job you may be interested in.
Me: (trying to contain my excitement) really?!? What is it?
Recruiter: Handing out food samples.
Me: Ummmmmmmm…… where?
Recruiter: In the grocery store aisles.
Me: (trying to hide the laughter that is bubbling up inside) uhhh. You know. Uhhh. I just don’t think that would be the right fit.

It took me a good 10 minutes after this conversation to recover from my laughter enough to tell Juan what the position was for.

Other than working, I have been spending time in my woodworking class trying to finish my coffee table. So far I have a table top and four legs. I’m hoping to put the finishing touches on things in the next two weeks. I also recently took part in a little ocean dip the day before winter. Needless to say, the word chilly would be a bit of an understatement. I have included video footage of me coming out of the water in case there are any doubters out there. And pardon the getup by the way. I figured the best way to do it was to run down to the beach and work up a sweat, throw on my bathing suit and jump in the water. Unfortunately, Juan was supposed to meet me there with my bathing suit which was an integral part of the plan. When he arrived sans bathing suit, I figured my sports bra and his boxers would be the next best thing. Unfortunately once again, his underwear drawer needs a bit of an update as there was a gaping hole in the back. Hence, video footage cut down to me coming out of the water. I’m pretty sure the world seeing my white bum flapping in the breeze would go under the TMI classification.

Other than that, we’ve been doing some fishing – off the rocks in Bluff and looking for crawly fish in stream beds, ice skating (video of me taking a massive fall on my bum will be forthcoming), a trip to Milford Sound, visiting with his family out at the farm, oh! And the best bit! Visiting the Thornbury vintage tractor museum. Can you say wild and crazy!? I will try to get a picture of me on the John Deere posted. We’ve also been getting into crossfit in the morning. Waking up at 6 am usually goes something like this:

Me: Ugh, I can’t feel my face and I can see my breath.
Juan: Why did I agree to do this?
Me: I think I will get hypothermia if I lift the covers.
Juan: Why did I agree to do this?

Fortunately for me, I’ve developed a new trick. I now sleep with my (clean) workout clothes on if we have to get up in the morning. What’s less sexy than sleeping with five layers? Sleeping with a sports bra.
And, speaking of physical activity, I am organizing a team for the North Face Peak 2 Peak race in July. It consists of a 2 km ski or snowboard (performed by Juan), 17 km mountain bike, 7 km kayak, 9 km run (performed by me) and a 9 km road bike. The race will be run in Queenstown stretching from The Remarkables to Coronet Peak. While the scenery will be breathtaking, weather will play a large role in the fun factor. Ie. Will I be wearing snow shoes or sneakers for my run. Our team is set, but support car drivers are still needed. Anyone looking for a vacation is welcome to come along for the fun! Alright, that is all for now!

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Posted by keoco1 15:50 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

I’m a little bit country…

This weekend I was invited into the inner sanctum of male bonding…the mai-mai. This is where all the action goes down for duck shooting, a popular “sport” (sorry to duck hunters reading this, but I put duck hunting up there with fishing or nascar) here in Southland. The adventure actually began last Thursday when Juan and I took a ride out to his family’s farm to feed the ducks on his duck pond. I was prepared to hand feed some cute little duckies with a bit of leftover bread. I even contemplated packing a picnic. I had visions of re-enacting summer days spent in Boston Common watching the paddle boats go by, people laughing, feeding nearby ducks and swans. When I hopped into the van and saw Juan haul out 100 kilos of feed from the garage, I quickly realized I was a little off base. Well, that and it’s about as warm as an arctic breeze. Not exactly idea picnicking weather. So off to the duck pond. It had been raining for several days. Truth be told, it rains almost everyday here. I kind of feel like I now know what it would be like to live in Seattle or Portland. I can officially cross those two cities off my list for potential future residences. Alright, so we get to the top of the hill overlooking the duck pond.

I’m thinking: wow, really pretty, but eek, it’s all wet grass to get down there. I sure wish I’d brought an extra pair of socks and shoes.

Then Juan steps on the accelerator. Two seconds later, we’re careening wildly down the hill until we make contact with the side of the fence. Well, that’s one way to get down there. Later on that day:

Juan: I handled that really well. I did everything I was supposed to do. If we’d had a little more room, we wouldn’t have hit the fence.
Me: Uh-huh.
Inner monologue: Yes, you’re just like Dale Earnhardt.

Fast forward to Saturday which is opening day for duck shooting. Juan and co are up at the ungodly hour of 5 am to start the festivities. Due to my training, I got to sleep in and headed out there in the afternoon. Mid morning I got a call to tell me the duck pond was flooded and I’d need gum boots. Right-o. A stop at the warehouse and I’m good to go. In the afternoon, I met Juan and his friend at his parent’s house for the afternoon shoot. And oh lord, they’re faces are covered in camo paint like they’re going out for some kind of military operation. Hmmmm… this is again not the leisurely afternoon I was expecting. This then starts about 10 minutes of bickering about me having to cover my face in camo paint otherwise the ducks will spot me and fly away. Luckily, they were quickly distracted when I pulled out my gum boots and revealed pink and purple polka dots. Apparently no one else wears them as a fashion accessory.

Alright, so on to the mai-mai where due to the splendid weather, it was flooded and the water was just below knee level. Sweet. An afternoon of bitter cold sitting in knee deep water. So, basically duck hunting consists of sitting for hours, talking about all the ducks shot in years past, complaining about lack of ducks in current year, some bbq, beers, bathroom jokes and talking about girls. An exciting afternoon. As you can imagine, after a few hours of this, I was ready for something to distract me from the fact that everything on my body was about 95% numb. Juan has an iphone which he is quite fond of. He was able to download an app that has a bunch of different duck calls. So his ipod got hooked up to a decoy duck which has a speaker inside of it. My job was to use the duck calls to get the ducks to fly in. Fun!…for five minutes. Alright, ready for a new distraction. Oh! He has an airplane game on his iphone. Woohoo! Just as I started getting into my game, in the last 15 minutes of duck shooting, the ducks finally started to arrive. However, I couldn’t be bothered because I was bound and determined to beat Juan’s high score (did I mention I’m competitive?) So they’re shooting off their rifles and getting all excited, while I’m sitting in the chair getting all excited about the possibility of topping the high score…then tragedy (please imagine this in a sarcastic tone) strikes. Unfortunately, I lost the round and had to reset the game. However, in my agitated state, I accidentally said “Yes” to the music option. All of a sudden funky airline app music starts streaming out of the speaker in the ducky decoy. Shiiiiite! Duck shooting is now over. Proceed to get look of death from Juan. Yep, apparently I scared off five potential ducks that were just about to head into their pond. I still hold to the fact that if it had been better music, they may not have been so scared. That and I’m actually a duck conservationist. Anyway, I’ve been writing this blog entry over a couple of weeks and let me tell you, this has become one of his favorite stories to tell people about. That and the boiled meat I made for dinner one night in the crock pot. Another story for another time.

On to Tuesday where I spent the day with his brother on the farm. I think the invite may have been incited after my first coffee date with his sister-in-law. When I excitedly suggested that her one year old son would be loads of fun to hang out with, she may have picked up on a hint of boredom. So I was out at the farm around 8:30. I got out of the car and kicked off my gum boots before heading inside to say hi to Louise. Marshall (name changed to protect innocent) gave a little chuckle behind me.

Me: What’s up?
Marshall: Oh, nothing. Just your boots. Juan showed me a picture of them.
Inner monologue: That kid is like a sieve.

Basically the day was spent moving around fences and sheep and me asking about a million questions.

Me: What does this do? What about this?

All in all, I think farming is pretty cool. I got to wear a flannel shirt. We stopped for cookies and tea in the morning. Then lunch at midday and another break in the afternoon. All good in my book.

Quick update: I’ve been working on this entry over a couple of weeks as time seems to be limited. I did in fact get my job at Waxy O’Shea’s. I just finished my first week and so far, so good. I’ll be doing a mix of waitressing and working behind the bar. In Coco Bella land, I sold my first vibrator last week – three cheers for that! I’m going to be teaching swim lessons at Splash Palace (thanks, Chickoo, for the job lead :).) I am almost finished with my first shirt in my sewing class. Albeit, it’s a tunic so it only takes about 10 seconds to make, but I’m still pretty excited. And! I’m also taking a woodworking class and will be making a coffee table and a cutting board. Not just any cutting board, but a cutting board with a cutout for a bowl so you can chop and then push the food straight into the bowl. Oh! And! I’m officially a youthline volunteer. After a fairly rigorous 8 days of training, I passed the assessment and I’m ready for the real thing. I’ve decided to give water polo a pass for now as my list of “extracurricular” activities is getting a little long. And that is pretty much the story.

Posted by keoco1 13:52 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

Domestic Diva or Desperate Housewife?

rain 53 °F

I have a major announcement to make. I have decided to change careers. Yes, I’ve decided the adult toy industry may be my calling. That’s right. I am now an official employee of Coco Bella. Actually, I take that back. The manager is very particular about the store. She refers to it as an “adult boutique. It sounds classier.” Nothing says classy like a sheep blow up doll and whips and chains. My first day of training, she told me to look around at the products and ask if I had any questions. I took a look at the first display of products. Quick scan. “Hmmm… how does EVERYTHING on this wall work?” Not sure if it’s fortunate or unfortunate, but my knowledge of most adult products is pretty limited. Although with products like the nipple clamp, I’m actually okay with my naiveté. Seriously don’t mean to offend any of my readers that may use said product, but really!?!? Those had to have been invented by a dude.

In other news, I continue to scour the community notice boards and newspapers for things to do. My social life is actually picking up significantly. I had my first sewing class last week. Don’t laugh. I’m actually genuinely excited. I’ve always had this dream of making my own clothes. Well, that and walking everywhere and growing all of my own food. That usually lasts for about an hour before I drive over to a McDonald’s drive through. But maybe the sewing idea might stick. I’m thinking perhaps I’ll try to make a parka to shield me from the harsh wind and cold of the igloo I’m currently residing in. Nothing says sexy like going to bed with five layers on my body. Unfortunately, Juan is not bearing the fruits of my new job. He is an advocate for my receiving payment in products rather than dollars, but I’m not convinced yet. Maybe when the giant hole in the bedroom window gets fixed I will consider stripping down to four layers instead of five. I’ve also signed up for woodworking. My first class starts next week. I thought it would be a brilliant idea for Juan to join me.
Me: “Oh, come to woodworking class with me! It will be awesome!”
Juan: “You do remember I build houses for a living?”
Me: “Oh. Right. Not so awesome.”

He also probably needs a bit of a break from me. Since most of my time during the day is spent alone doing I’m not totally sure what, I tend to be a super chatty cathy upon his arrival home. “How are you? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? I have to tell you this crazy story about my trip to the grocery store…” However, I have to thank him for setting me up on two dates… with girls. I actually drove almost an hour just to go for a run with his friend’s girlfriend. It was an exciting morning. Three weeks with almost no female interaction and I was trying to play it cool and pretend I wasn’t totally stoked to have a potential friend. I had quite a pep in my step on that run though. And same day, a coffee date with his sister in law and his nephew. Later that day:
Juan: How was coffee with Louise (names being changed to protect the innocent)?
Me: Oh great. Although, we only had 45 minutes because I had to go to work. I can’t remember if I actually gave her a chance to speak. I was kind of excited to talk to someone that wasn’t you… no offense of course. (no one can tell me I don’t have a way with words. I really know how to make someone feel special.)

Let’s see what else. I am in fact going through training for the youth helpline. It’s an 8 day intensive course which I started today. The nice thing about working limited hours is the ability to get involved in things I otherwise would not have time for. While volunteering has always been something I try to make time for, life in San Francisco did not allow for any ongoing volunteering commitments. So I’m happy to try my hand at this. I’m also potentially going to help coach a water polo team schedule permitting. I have my first practice tonight which I’m pretty excited about. I also saw an ad in the community newspaper for volunteers at the SPCA. I already planted the seed about fostering a dog. Not sure it went over very well, but I am confident in my ability to wear down the will of another person. I seriously could have missed my calling as a CIA agent. Forget water boarding, just put them in a room with me. Let’s see. Other than that, I am continuing my frustrating search of looking for work. My Coco Bella gig is a casual on call position. Ie. In the off chance someone gets sick, I get called off the bench, or in this case, maybe called off the bed would be more appropriate? I’ve had a lot of leads, but none seem to be panning out. However, I got a call tonight for an interview at Waxy O’Shea’s. I don’t want to jinx it, but I have a good feeling. That is where my Invercargill adventure began. Seems appropriate.

Alright folks, that is an update on life in New Zealand. As you can probably tell, the pace of my life has slowed down a bit. While I know you’d probably love to hear about what I cook for dinner, price of groceries in New Zealand, how often I go to the bathroom, etc, I may be spacing these updates out a bit. Although, when cool things happen, I promise to post. Until

Posted by keoco1 19:05 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

I’m goin’ back to Invers


View Where in the world is Kerryn O'Connor? on keoco1's travel map.

Alright, for the sake of this blog, I’m going to pretend this is just as catchy as “I’m goin back to Cali.” Lucky for me, I have quite a good imagination and hoping that all of my readers do, too. Not too sure how ll cool j would feel about it though. Since my last update, Heather has departed and returned to the good ol’ us of a. We spent our last few days together in Christchurch. There was rugby, dance parties, attempts at getting some uptight kiwis to loosen up, attempts at getting a loose kiwi to straighten up and general shenanigans. We had a great trip with some highlights including: Heather’s four (I think she was named customer of the month) bungee jumps, skydiving, walking fox glacier, tramping abel tasman, living off the land in Marlborough sounds, Heather’s first nz hitchhiking and couchsurfing experiences and lots of laughs.

After her departure, I headed back down south (ps. Heather, no bathroom breaks the whole way there and I beat the google time by 90 minutes. It made my day!) to Invercargill. I am thus far, unsuccessfully, attempting to find work in the area and living with someone I will refer to only as “my special friend.” When I revealed to him that I have a blog to capture all of my noteworthy moments on the road, he wasn’t particularly keen to be a featured player. While I will protect his anonymity, I might have to give him a code name so that I don’t have to keep referring to him as my special friend. Maybe John? Or something more exotic like Juan? Well, if he gets a code name, I feel it’s only fair I should, too. Maybe I’ll start referring to myself as Nikita. Or maybe not.

So the job search is on in Invercargill. I am finding that there is a great need for dairy farm managers. I am wondering if my one week on the farm would make me a qualified applicant? Past experiences: Milked a cow for 3 days. Named a cow. Collected a dozen eggs. Yep, I’m sure I’d be a shoe in. Other than that, I had a walk around town to see if there were any signs up in windows. Sure enough, there is only one in the whole town at Coco Bella, the lingerie store. Sweet. Juan seemed quite keen on that idea. shocking. But, I’ve been working on my resume and will attempt to go door to door on Monday. I’m sure that my years working at Philz Coffee, Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers and the Cheesecake Factory will really pay off for me. Time shall tell. Other than that, I am test driving gyms in the area. Right now I have a one week pass to the YMCA. Every time I go in there, all I think to myself is all I want for Christmas is my TRX. The trx revolution has not yet made it’s way to the new Zealand ymca. Well, neither have resistance bands, towels, soap, shampoo or conditioner. Hopefully you’re getting the picture. We’re talking bare bones. I’m also looking for some social outlets. Thus far I have only come up with an organization looking for volunteers for their suicide hotline. Can you say wild and crazy good times? Invercargill is a hotbed of activity, let me tell you. But, I did manage to rally a few couchsurfers for a meet up next week. The group has been basically defunct so it’s very possible that I could be sitting at a table nursing a drink solo come Friday night. But my hopes are high until then. Alright, party people, I am off.

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/Christchurch_HanmerSprings?authkey=Gv1sRgCPPV_vivp6y_GQ&feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 16:05 Comments (2)

Life really is beautiful

overcast 65 °F
View Where in the world is Kerryn O'Connor? on keoco1's travel map.

We just spent two nights in Nelson where we were welcomed with open arms, literally. My Wells Fargo co-worker has in laws that live there. Before I left the states, Jill gave me their contact information and told me to look them up when I was in the area. The first night we arrived, we enjoyed a delicious dinner with the whole family. We had a great time with them and spent a couple of days relaxing and recovering from our Abel Tasman tramp.

Now that Heather’s time in New Zealand is running short, we’re trying to be really strategic about what we see. We were thinking about going out for a shorter tramp on the Queen Charlotte Track which is a series of islands located between the north and south island. It is another one of New Zealand’s “great walks.” The day before we were set to leave for QCT, we were planning out our camp spot and I came across the Hopewell Lodge during our research. After a quick look at the website, we decided camping was way overrated (especially with my Dora the Explorer sleeping bag.) Well, we just arrived at our lodging for the next two nights and it’s awesome. It took us about 3 ½ hours down a mix of gravel and paved roads to get here, but totally well worth it. We walked in and were treated to a nice cup of tea and cake with the owner in her house. Afterward, she showed us around and it is by far the best place we’ve stayed in on this trip. It sits right on the Kenupuru Sound. She said you can often see dolphins swimming by and a couple of weeks ago they had a pod of Orcas come through. The area is stunning and we have access to mountain bikes, kayaks, hot tub, fishing gear and a rowboat. Tonight we’re having mussels on the deck that overlooks the water. Tomorrow Heather and I are talking about working for our food…going digging for clams, mussels and oysters at low tide. I also want to try my hand at fishing from the rowboat. Should be comical… Will report back soon.

A couple of days later and an update. I am officially adding fisherman to my list of possible careers. We enjoyed a fabulous (if I do say so myself) meal of oysters, mussels, clams and fish last night. Pictures below…


http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/KenepuruSoundHopewellLodge_KaikouraCoast?authkey=Gv1sRgCOfmyNz01fLUAg&feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 09:01 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

That’s just the way the cookie crumbles

sunny 70 °F
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It’s official. I am a camper. We just emerged from a 4 day adventure in Abel Tasman National Park. I have surfaced back into civilization with a few more blisters and bug bites, but the 50 kilometer hike was incredible and well worth every pesky little bite. It is considered one of the “great walks” of New Zealand, a 3-5 day hike along the picturesque coastline, dotted with white sand beaches and turquoise water.

I will spare you from going into minute detail of each part of our hike. But, after we arrived by water taxi in Mutton Cove, the most northern part of the park, we spent 4 hours laying out at the beach and frolicking with some very friendly seals. At that point, I knew, whatever was to come would be well worth it. But, a few things to share.

So, as I’ve mentioned, Heather is actually a legitimate camper. As we were preparing for the trip, she told me to pull out my bag to see what we could fit in. I pulled it out and revealed…wheels.

Heather: “Kerryn, wtf is that?! You won’t be able to carry anything. Okay, I’ll just pack everything in my bag. Pack super light because that thing is going to suck.”
Me: “No, Heather, seriously, I did a ton of research on this thing. It’s a convertible bag. I can wear it as a backpack or use it as a roller bag. Btw, we’re bringing way too much water. Let’s just bring my liter water bottle.”
Heather: “You’ve never camped before and you’re carrying a bag with wheels. You really think you’re qualified to tell us how much water to bring?”
Me: “Definitely.” Look of death from Heather. “Errr. Maybe not.”

Heather thinks we’re becoming like an old married couple. Admittedly, I have been trying to get into her sleeping bag… sorry, guys, that’s not a euphemism. I’ve literally been trying to climb in with her every night. So, before she got here, I bought the cheapest sleeping bag I could find. Honestly, I’m surprised it doesn’t have a Dora the Explorer cartoon emblazoned on the outside of it. That’s the quality we’re talking about here. When Heather arrived, we stopped in at the Warehouse and found her a down feather sleeping bag on clearance. It’s a thing of beauty. We call it the silver bullet. Every morning that we camp, I wake up purple and shivering while Heather complains about sweating through the night. I try to convince her that it would be amazing if we had 2 pads and my sleeping bag under us while we snuggle in the silver bullet. I finally broke her down and she let us give it a try. Unfortunately, my road trip diet made that option a physical impossibility. Damn the Tip Top shops at every street corner.

But, I think she may be right about the married couple thing. As she pointed out, we even have our “sides” in the tent. I would say the marriage is a blissful one, except for the one blowup on day 2 of our NZ trip. Heather cursed at me for a good five minutes while I laughed my ass off and tried not to pee my pants (admittedly a little came out.) Seriously, getting her to a point resembling anger takes a real special talent. I couldn’t stop laughing that I am one of the few people in possession of said talent. Apparently, I have this annoying habit of inviting people out with us… no matter how boring. After two nights of torture by dull conversation while I went off and chatted it up with other patrons, she’d had enough. After that, we came to the mutual agreement that I’m not allowed to invite any fellow travelers out with us. We had a close call at Fox Glacier when I offered to take a picture with our camera for someone who only had a cell phone camera. I got “the look” and quickly pretended to take an immense interest in tying and re-tying my shoelaces. But, she just hauled all of our food, tent, sleeping pads, cooking utensils and water for 50 kilometers, so I would say that I am one very lucky bride.

We are now in Golden Bay and will be working our way eastward back to Christchurch where she will be leaving from in a week. Once that sad day comes, I will be figuring out if I can once again become a productive member of society and secure myself a job. Prospects are looking dim, but we shall see. A few things that I am most excited about to settle in one place for more than a week should someone take pity on me and offer me employment:
Most longed for creature comfort that I will be requesting gets mailed to me asap: my flat iron. Little children are hiding behind their parents when they see my nappy locks. It’s quite scary.
Second most longed for creature comfort: Uggs. For those of you who told me not to bring them, I will reserve my hostility for when we meet again in person. Be forewarned.
Other points of excitement: a gym membership. Never thought those words would escape my lips. But, right now I would kill for a treadmill.
Lastly, a refrigerator. My body might go into shock from eating a vegetable, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/AbelTasman?authkey=Gv1sRgCLah6ObFypHulgE&feat=directlink

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/GoldenBay?authkey=Gv1sRgCOrC2cakv4aZEQ&feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 11:51 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Don’t call me a bitch, payback

The year: 2001
The place: Andover, Massachusetts

It was a cold and snowy night. Five high school seniors exhilarated by the prospect of spring break were out to dinner. Among the group: me and Heather.

Heather: “Hey guys, I think I want to color my hair before I leave for the Bahamas tomorrow.”
Me: “Oh, I can totally do it for you. Let’s go for highlights. It will look awesome.”
Heather: “Have you done it before?”
Me: “Totally.” Thought bubble: Well, how would one define “done it before?” I’ve seen it done before. That’s pretty close, right?

On to Sally Beauty for the beautifying agent then back to 9 Deerfield for a makeover where no parents or siblings are present for the whole night. Put the cap on her head, pull the strands through. Oops. That was a big strand of hair. No problem though. It’ll blend in I’m sure. Oops. Another big strand of hair. Good thing no one knows what I’m doing. Telephone rings. Our friend Alex needs to be picked up from school. And, Heather has just realized she does not have her passport with her. After an intensive search, Alex comes up empty handed at the dorm.

Me: “Alright, Woodin, here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s wrap your head in plastic wrap. We’ll book it down to school. You run in, get your passport, jump in the shower for a quick rinse, we’ll get Alex and be back at my house in no time.”
Heather: “Sounds good to me.”
Driving down the dark winding roads of the boonies we hit something. Crack. Shite. What was that?
Me: “Heather, that didn’t sound good. I’m just going to pull over really fast to make sure the car is okay.”

Get out of the car. Whoosh. Hiss. Shiiiiiite. We hit a crater size pothole and are now the proud owners of a flat tire. Okay, parents are not home. I have my friend in the car with her hair wrapped in saran wrap. It’s freezing cold and snowing out. Who to call? Think. Think. Wait, when I was in 5th grade, I remember a policeman coming to visit us at school. “Boys and girls, whenever you need help, just call 475-1212.” Andover’s finest. The po po. After a few minutes, a fine officer arrives. He calls for a tow truck to help us out. While I’m trying to grill him on the patrol practices of his counterparts and get the inside scoop on their favorite hideouts for trapping speeding teenagers, I hear the car door open and

Heather says: “Ummm, Kerryn, my head is really starting to burn.”
Me: “Woodin, go stick your head in the snow.” I shit you not. This exchange really happened this way. Word for word. Is anyone else shocked she’s still friends with me?!

Alright, tow truck driver shows up. And apparently this is the first time he has changed a tire. After jacking the car up, it slips out and the car falls on its front end. Awesome. After finally getting the spare tire on, we follow him 10 minutes down the road to an ATM machine. Meanwhile, Heather’s head doesn’t just feel like it’s burning, it actually smells that way, too. Eek. Okay, back to the house. Heather sprints upstairs faster than I’ve ever seen anyone run. Ten minutes later, she comes back down…with my dad’s baseball cap secured tightly over her head.
Heather: “I’m not taking it off. Kerryn, please take me to CVS so we can get a box of hair color.”
Me: “No, Heather, I’m not driving on the spare tire.” Once again, I kid you not. “Just take it off. It can’t be that bad.”
After much cajoling to no avail, we finally tackle her to the ground and pull the hat off. What’s revealed underneath is a MASSIVE white streak of hair on one side of her head (remember the oops moment at the beginning of this story? Yah, apparently pulling too much hair through the cap is not a good thing.) The rest is just a mix of freakish looking orange and white streaks. I still say it could have been worse. At least her hair didn’t fall out. Apparently that wasn’t much of a consolation prize because she didn’t seem to agree.

Fast forward to present day. I’ve been on the hunt for sun in for the last two months. Apparently Kiwis have not experienced its wonder. Very sad for them. And my hair is getting crazier by the day. Something must be done. Enter Heather.

Me: “Woodin, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but will you highlight my hair?”
Heather: “It would be my pleasure.”
And I swear I detected a slight smirk when she thought I wasn’t looking.
Off to The Warehouse which is probably like the equivalent of Walmart’s red headed step child.
Me: “Subtle blond highlights. This should work.”
Heather: “No, you should go for the lighter one. Definitely.” I swear she wanted to add a mwah haha at the end of the statement while drumming her fingers in a steeple-like fashion.

On to the hostel where we took over the common area with our toxic bleach fumes. We were very popular that night. Let me tell you. Actually, as I’m typing this, I might as well just tell you, there is no punchline to this story. As you’ve probably been able to tell, none of my stories have actual punchlines. I would say my stories are like the proverbial lump of coal in your stocking. It’s hanging over the fire place looking all tempting. You might get a little excited for what’s inside. After some build up, you poke your head in and… nothing. Part of me wishes I could tell you I had a massive white streak on the side of my head. That part is pretty small. Maybe even microscopic. But, alas, it actually looks relatively decent… I think. I still have this sneaking suspicion that there may be something in the back that I can’t see. Because when I came out of the shower and had a look of amazement on my face that it came out so well, heather seemed fairly quiet... or maybe she’s just bitter that she couldn’t even the bad hair color experience score. Although, I also need a hair cut, so there’s still time. She might be able to exact revenge for my friend Sophie whose hair I accidently hacked off in high school... another story for another time.

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/HairColor?authkey=Gv1sRgCM2trLTRrufVAQ&feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 10:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Splish, Splash I was taking a bath

all seasons in one day
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After a stop for a few days in Wanaka which is one of my all time favorite New Zealand spots, Heather and I continued on our merry way up the west coast. Quick aside. Something I am soooooo excited about. I have been bound and determined to get in at least 5 more days of laying out before the doom and gloom of winter sets in. And Wanaka did not disappoint. We got two 70 degree days where we hung out lakeside for a few hours. But here’s the exciting part. For many years, I have been mocked for my beautiful, milky white skin tone. Words like anemic, pasty and casper have been bandied about. I think people are really just jealous. Who doesn’t want to be glow in the dark?! I am proud to say, however, that Heather has declared I am now more tan than she is. For those of you that don’t know her, she lives in Arizona and likes the sun. That should give you an idea. You will not be able to tell from photos since the face still gets spf 45 thanks to that little hole in the ozone, but we are talking about taking a comparison photo as proof. Get excited.

Alright, so we had originally planned to do an overnight hike to an area called Welcome Flat Hot Springs. It was going to be 6 – 7 hours of hiking in, followed by camping and soaking in hot springs. But unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating with us to make this happen. Plus, I had this eye opening conversation.

Me: “Heather, you know I love camping, but I also like to feel my fingers and toes. Also, remember that if I am miserable, I promise I will make you miserable. Proceed at your own risk”
Heather: “Kerryn, I have to tell you something. I wouldn’t really consider what we’ve been doing camping.”
Me: “What!?!? I’m sleeping on the ground. I definitely get camping points for this.”
Heather: “Okay, but just so you know, it’s not really camping if you have wifi access, bathrooms, showers and kitchens.”
Me: “Me…hmmm…okay, well played.”

So after deciding to forgo the hike, we thought about at least giving “camping” a go. We pulled into a lakeside campsite at 5:30 p.m. and were greeted with 45 degree temps and drizzle. This site did not have wifi, showers, bathrooms or anything remotely resembling creature comforts. We contemplated popping ambien and securing ourselves a good 16 hours of sleep. I’m trying to stay true to my bold statement that I promise anyone who comes to visit me a good time. But, on second thought, this would just be waaay too much excitement for one night so we moved on once again to a warm and cozy hostel. Next morning, we woke up and headed out to Fox glacier. The weather proved to be miserable once again, but hiking on the glacier was pretty incredible. The area is beautiful, maybe even more so with the low mist hanging from the tops of the trees. Video of this event will be forthcoming soon. After the 5 hour hike, we decided to be true rebels and sneak back into the hostel for hot showers. We’re sooo crazy!!

While the rain really does wonders for the hair and clothes, we decided enough was enough and ventured north to Pancake Rocks in hopes of seeking refuge from the delightful weather. The area has “layers of limestone that have weathered to resemble an immense stack of giant pancakes.” Then on to our “campsite” where I am so proud to announce I set up the tent all by myself. Please hold the applause. I did toy with the idea of titling this blog “I am woman, hear me roar.” We took in the sunset from the beach and then decided to treat ourselves to an actual restaurant, sit down dinner. Big doins. Setting up the tent by myself was hard work. I know I earned it… Heather, what’s your excuse?

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NUqZHhwi7m223DSOy9CLHA?authkey=Gv1sRgCIaYjJLr0u6nUA&feat=directlink

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/FoxGlacier?authkey=Gv1sRgCMLL57qGzqH4qQE&feat=directlink

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/PancakeRocksWestCoast?authkey=Gv1sRgCOWZopWis93rswE&feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 17:34 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Heather, I hate yooooooouuuuuu!!

sunny 70 °F
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This is what I screamed at the top of my lungs as I was launched out of an airplane at 12,000 feet. A feeling like no other and all was forgiven by the time my feet landed on the ground. Video below and pictures to come soon…

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/TKMC3rKEOx9NCPaPFq0Uzg?authkey=Gv1sRgCIaYjJLr0u6nUA&feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 21:05 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Vicky Cristina Invercargill


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Alright, first, I shall start off with an apology. My previous blog post was bad, even by my low standards. I promise, I’m not depressed or developing a fondness for sharp objects or tall bridges. Instead what I discovered is that writer’s block is possible even in the blogging world. Contrary to the rushed tone of my previous posting, last week was pretty sweet. After I returned to Invercargill on Saturday, I was treated to a personal tour of the area. My friend took me to an area called Bluff which is south of the city. Lots of beautiful vistas. Or, they were probably beautiful had visibility been more than 20 feet. And would have been even better if the mop that is now my hair was not blowing across my whole face leaving me blinded. I’m thinking about rocking the rapunzel look. Anything to save $20.

Later that night, we had a couple of friends over that I worked with in the Catlins and dined on venison steaks and wine. Delish! Not sweaty at all. Quick aside. The first time I tried venison, I was with my sister. I said, “what’s venison like?” “Oh! It’s really good. I would say it’s a little sweaty though.” Hmmm?!? After that, we headed out for some drinks and dancing. All in all a good night. Next day, we ventured out to one of the rivers for mock jet boating. Everyone here is trying to convince me that jetboating is the best thing since the pogo stick. I had never heard of it until I got here, but basically, you sit on a boat that goes really fast and can speed along in water that’s only a foot deep or so with 15 other people. And then what? I’m just not convinced. But, the personal version I got was far superior even though we got stuck in the mud a few times, hence mock jet boat.

The rest of the week was pretty mellow, but I did get to check out a few of the sites. I went to Southland Museum and Art Gallery. My favorite exhibit was the Victorian section. It looked like a scene out of the house of wax. Dim lights. Mannequins. Weird poses to simulate life back in the day. Fantastic. I also went to the Invercargill brewery. I missed the tour, but ended up doing a tasting and then was treated to a private tour of the brewery. And! More exciting news. You’ll all be happy to know the Black Beauty is better than ever. In the last week, it’s gotten: a new battery, balanced tires, 2 new front tires, a custom fan and a power steering fluid top off. Let’s just say, I’m hoping to get some mad money back for all of the extra love I’m giving bb.

On Thursday, I headed about 2 ½ hours north to pick up my friend, Heather, from the Queenstown airport. Heather, get excited, you get to be a featured player in the blog over the next two weeks. What happens in New Zealand does not stay in NZ. And, all of you that have been asking me for more pictures also have reason to be excited. Heather is an avid photographer. To give you an idea, we spent a good 15 minutes at the airport while she documented everything; walking out of the airport, the black beauty in the parking lot (can’t blame her though. Who wouldn’t want a permanent memory of that?), putting her luggage into the trunk, heather getting into the black beauty, the road out of the airport… I think you’re starting to get the idea. there will be lots of pictures.

Alright, so to give you some background, Heather is a good friend of mine from high school. I like to call her my smart friend because she is about to graduate from medical school and will be an orthopedic surgeon. Glad one of us is going to have gainful employment in the near future. Anyway, we hadn’t seen each other in quite a while, but she had a rotation this fall in San Francisco. There were many a wild and crazy nights out, then a road trip to Portland, then a girls weekend in Vegas. And here in New Zealand the fun times shall continue. And while I normally might feel my traveling style could get a little cramped with another person in tow that is not the case with heather. I like to think of myself as layed back, but I’m really not. I generally like to get my way. I blame it on what I will refer to as youngest child syndrome. I cry and my parents were too exhausted to deal so presto change-o, I get my way. But Heather actually is go with the flow. Example: “Kerryn, I really don’t want to make any decisions. You figure out everything and I’ll go with it. I pretty much like everything.” And therein lies my ideal traveling partner.

Alright, so first stop after the airport was to the store to pick up camping gear. While I’ve never actually camped, I have a long held belief it’s something that I really want to do and would be quite good at. Sitting. Check. Drinking. Check. Eating. Check. Three of my favorite pastimes. Lucky for me, Heather is actually a legit camper. So we grabbed a tent and a sleeping bag for her and then headed out to town. The one request Heather had is bungy jumping. We made a stop off in the center of town which is bustling. Again, quick aside. Queenstown is kind of like the vegas of New Zealand. There aren’t any actual kiwis that live in Queenstown and it’s pretty commercialized (by NZ standards.) So we had a chat with the bungy folks and Heather signed up for the thrillogy – 3 different jumps. I decided to let her test it out to see if she lived to tell the tale. We then made our way over to a river sledging company to sign up for that. After that, it was on to the grocery store and then to our campsite.

The campsite was situated lakeside. Mountains towering over us in all directions. Crystal clear water. Just another day in new Zealand. So then heather went to work setting up the tent while I practiced my simple life impression, “umm.. so heather.. where do I wash my face? Where do we brush our teeth? eek! A bug!” Anyway, after some dinner and drinks we headed into the tent. We then spent a good 30 minutes contemplating why we were too cheap to buy the $10 mats so we wouldn’t have the feel of cold, tiny rocks under us. Awesome. I then launched into energizer bunny mode to catch her up on all of the drama-rama that has been happening in my life. After 20 minutes, she declared we both needed an ambien. Five minutes after that the energizer bunny died a very fast death and we both passed out. Quite an enjoyable first night of true camping.

Next morning, I dropped her off for the bungy jumping and I did some errands (salvation army store for camping gear) and poked around queenstown a bit. After her first two jumps, we met up and then hiked to the top of Bob’s Peak for her 3rd and final jump. I got video which I will post soon. Then on to a yummy burger dinner and eventually out to enjoy some of the nightlife. Anytime there’s more than one bar in a town, you seriously have to take advantage. Okay, more to come...

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/WanakaQueenstown?authkey=Gv1sRgCIrohbHq-bOMSA&feat=directlink

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/gYMuFw5UzMJPdUtBd70neUlYF5y0j2ohbvY-v1sHeZ0?feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 14:05 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Top o the morning


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I can finally see the sun which means today is a good day. And it also means I have seen the last of the Catlins. After my week of working in the cafe, most of the group rallied and headed to Invercargill for a St. Paddy’s day celebration. Well, that and it was also a bit of a going away bash wrapped into one Guinness and Irish whiskey filled night. While the Whistling Frog Café is good for food and a warm fire, management leaves quite a lot to be desired. In one day, they had four of their eight staff members quit. I actually think it’s pretty impressive. I mean, that almost takes a special talent. Getting half of your staff to walk out in one day. Kudos.

Regardless of the crap management practices, it was still a fun week. And! I learned how to make coffee. So many bright, shiny buttons and nozzles. The machine seemed to be calling my name. If you would like a flat white, short black, long black, latte, cappuccino or mochaccino, I am your girl. Unfortunately, no dolphins or surfing were to be had thanks to the awesome weather, but I’m leaving with a permanent souvenir. Dents on the hood of my hood from the hail. Poor black beauty.

On Wednesday, I packed up and headed down to Invercargill. On the way, I stopped at Slope Point which is the most southerly point in New Zealand. A little windy, but the weather was actually pretty nice. When I got to Invercargill, I was supposed to be meeting up at Waxy O’Shea’s which is the only Irish bar in the city. So sad for Invercargill. And so sad for me because I had to wait in line for over an hour. The next day I headed off to Te Anau which is about 2 hours north and the jumping off point for visiting Milford Sound. I stayed with a nice American guy and was treated to a stirfry dinner and a post St. Paddy’s day celebration. Can’t complain about that.

The next day, I headed out for a cruise on the Milford Sound. I will be totally honest, right now, I’m just not in the mood to write which is why everything is coming out very bullet pointy. But, I think for Milford Sound, that’s okay because words really cannot do this place justice. I keep thinking the last place I left is the most beautiful and can’t be topped, but Milford Sound is truly incredible. I have pictures which, again, never do this justice, but since I’m being very lazy today, it will have to work. I would love to go back to this area as there are several multi day hikes. I made it there on a beautiful, sunny day, but the weather was going to turn to rain. So, instead on Saturday, I decided to head back to Invercargill to hang out for a bit with a new friend and here I sit. Will be back with other updates later…

http://picasaweb.google.com/keoco1/20100319?authkey=Gv1sRgCMr1kM38lOSvzAE&feat=directlink

Posted by keoco1 13:26 Comments (1)

I will be the sleepy dwarf

all seasons in one day 55 °F
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Alright, friends, an update for you. I have discovered something about the Catlins which I had not known prior to coming. The weather here sucks. There’s really no other nice way to put it. Except for my first day which was 75 degrees, it has been pretty miserable here. Temps are upper 40’s, hail for 5 minutes, then driving rain for 5, blue skies for 30 seconds, mix, add some wind, repeat. And voila. You’ve got yourself some crap weather. That whole thing about going where the wind blows you can come back to bite you in moments such as these.

Plus side to all of this. I am staying in this cozy little one room cabin. Yeah for second straight week of privacy! After my 3 hours of work when everyone else is still going, I’ve been sprinting through the rain back to my room, flicking on the space heater, turning on my electric blankets and enjoying afternoons of reading and praying my cabin doesn’t blow away. That part is actually pretty nice.

And since I now have an abundance of time to do nothing but think, I got to thinking about something… The other night, I was hanging out in the steam room with a few co-workers after dinner. I’m still not sure why it has earned this name as the room does not have any white fluffy pillows, spa slippers or steam to speak of. It’s actually almost always cold and pretty grungy. But, I digress. Typical. So, I was talking to one of my co-workers and she was telling me that she did solo travel when she was younger. “It really builds character. Gives you a great sense for who you are and what you value.” Hmmmm. Perhaps. I agree, but not fully. I don’t feel I’m on this trip to “discover myself.” While I don’t purport to have all the answers in life, nor do I want to, I do feel I have a firm grasp on who I am, what I value, what makes me happy, etc. Knowing this is actually part of the reason I’m on this trip. I value life experiences over monetary gain. What better way to put those values in action than to be jobless and traveling?! So here’s the question. Am I building character and I’m just blind to it? Like not seeing the forest through the trees, so to speak. Is it like osmosis and it seeps in slowly without realizing it? Will I wake up in a few months and think, I’ve built character! Woohoo!

I’m not sure. Perhaps too soon to tell. But, I will tell you this quick story. No punchline to it so don’t get excited. Last night I was lying in bed, out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving on the pillow next to me. I got up to turn the light on and saw a massive spider making rapid progress toward the sheets. I very calmly got a piece of paper, scooped it up and dropped it outside. Not a big deal, right? Wrong. If that had happened to me 3 months ago, I would scream for someone to come help me while running in the opposite direction. I’m not proud to admit this, but I have actually left a dead mouse on the stairs for days to avoid having to touch it. That and I was also trying to make a point. I had just picked up all the dog poo in the backyard therefore I determined it was my sister’s turn to deal with the unsavory vermin. Fair is fair.

Anyway, I am still hoping the weather might clear at some point to go surfing down in Curio Bay. I’ve also been given the all clear to make a staff dinner. I think I have proved my culinary prowess to the chef that he will relinquish his throne for the night. Other than that, trying to rally the troops to go out for St. Patrick’s Day. Possible options: the dairy mart 30 minutes away, the mini mart an hour away, or a small city 2 hours away. Did I mention the Catlins are remote?

Posted by keoco1 18:10 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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