Turns out the ferry was to Picton, through the Marlborough Sound, which was the eeriest experience I’ve ever had. More to come.

We drove from there to Nelson. Yesterday, I went for a three-hour hike in the Abel Tasman National Park, followed by a visit to The Grumpy Mole, where one of the other members of the tour lived up to his Australian stereotype by drinking 15 beers before shifting over to screwdrivers for the rest of the evening. Said evening, note, comprised less than 4 hours. One of the other Australians was surprised by my behavior that evening. “I thought you’d be more… aggressive,” he said. I think, based on the way I’ve portrayed myself to some people, that he was expecting a Begbie-esque experience last night. Well, there’s still time in Queenstown…

Today was a drive down to Kaikoura (where I am now), to be followed by an evening drive to our destination, Christchurch. Took some wonderful pix yesterday during the hike, and some funny ones during the evening out. But the camera got doused in the sink this morning, and I’m hoping it’s just the battery that’s messed up. I’ll find out when we check in tonight. Grr.

(My New Zealand pix via Flickr)

No Beef with Wellington

Cut me some slack; I’m buzzed and I can’t come up with any good puns. We drove most of the day, in cold rain, to get from Rotorua to Wellington. The terrain’s absolutely gorgeous. Can’t wait to share some pix with you, via one of my wacky slideshows (the captions will likely be as dumb as this entry’s header).

Tomorrow’s off to Nelson, on the South Island, via a lengthy ferry ride. The day after’s a lengthy hike in the Abel Tasman reserve.

Speaking of Tasman, I just found a first edition (Australian) hardcover of Richard Flanagan’s great novel, Gould’s Book of Fish. Happy Hanukkah, Gil!

I’m such a geek…

(My New Zealand pix via Flickr)

Safe and Sound

Made it to New Zealand safely. It was a LONG pair of flights. I have no idea how Singapore Air plans to handle their upcoming 19-hour nonstops, unless it’s all business seating. Being in coach for this trip was pretty tough.

Dylan, Terry, Louis and Abe are making me feel quite at home. Once they go out, I’ll check out that coriolis effect.

(My New Zealand pix via Flickr)

What Were the Skies Like When You Were Young?

I’m 6 hours away from starting my 15-day trip to New Zealand. Many thanks to Signature Destinations for setting up my tour. Additional thanks to Dylan Horrocks for giving me a place to stay near Auckland for my first night.

I have a ton of batteries for the iPod’s power backup. I’ve got semi-trashy airplane reading (20 hours in the air today, with 3 hours sitting in LA). I bought a 256mb SD card for the digital camera, so I’ve got capacity for about 750 pix (I promise not to put ALL of them into a slideshow).

In the words of Biz Markie, I need a haircut. Other than that, I’m pretty much ready to go.

I live a life of blessings.

28 Days Later, MP3-Style

Now that I’ve downloaded the PC version of iTunes and compiled my MP3 library, I’m really happy to learn that I have FOURTEEN DAYS’ worth of music sitting on my desktop machine.

What’s particularly frightening about that is that I have an equally large stash of music sitting on my laptop.


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