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September 04, 2006

Cook Islanders are called Cookies

So here I am, on the home stretch, in Rarotonga, Cook Islands in the South Pacific. It should be a brilliant time, but the weather is terrible. Its been really windy and hasn't gotten warm at all. It's downright cold today. But I'm making the most of it, and went snorkelling yesterday amid heaps of bright blue fish, crazy blue/orange/red/yellow striped fish, a neon blue starfish, and clams with colorful insides that like to snap fingers off.

I haven't had time to write about my last 3 weeks in NZ, so I'll have to skip that for now and get it down later. Basically, we had a blast going up the North Island, walking on dunes, doing donuts in my car on 90 mile beach in the middle of the night, etc etc. It costs $8 an hour for internet, so this will be only one of two postings from here.

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August 13, 2006

I'm standing on a volcano

You ever had soo much to say it made you not want to say it, because the saying would be long and tiring? Me, too. I wrote only a few days ago, but we're moving really fast now. No time (or money) to hang about.

I was sad (*sniff*) that I didn't get to walk to the famous Tongariro crossing. It's a one-day walk that looks like your hiking across the face of Mars--steaming pools, no trees, wierd colored rock--that's covered in snow right now. So I opted to take a drive with Ben around Lake Taupo and check out the mountain from the highway. We went around Tongariro and hardly got a glimpse thanks to poor weather. We were circling around it when I stopped at a sign that said Maori village excavation site.

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August 10, 2006

Step 1 Steal underpants - Step 2 ... - Step 3 North Island

After spending my entire trip on the South Island, I was a little scared to make the leap and cross into uncharted territory: North Island. It's funny how quickly we get used to the way things are and the familiar place and people your life starts to build upon. I know the South Island really well by now, and coming North almost feels like starting over. And it is all new in a way, and I have once again been disconnected from what I knew and the home I had made. I'm a traveller again.

We spent our next to last night on the South Island camped out on the beach in the rain. We were dead set on building an (illegal) bonfire, but had only picked up a few pieces of firewood and an axe from good old Swampy's Backpacker. While we were setting up the tent in the dark at around 9 pm, some cars drove up and settled in the carpark. We were a bit nervous for some reason, but I thought it was a bunch of kids out to do what we were trying. So I grabbed the wood and newspaper and found them on the beach...building a bonfire! We added our chunks and had a nice one going for a few hours, but is was really wet outside! We slept in till noon the next day because the rain just kept coming.

After only a week, we've made it halfway up the North Island. We crossed the Cook Straight on Monday(I think) and only spent an hour or so in Wellington. The crossing was uneventful; calm seas, but foggy and rainy so we couldn't see anything. The national musuem Te Papa in Wellington is really cool, though, and has a ton of awesome interactive exhibits and cool Maori artifacts.

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August 03, 2006

Near Death Experiences and other facts of life

So many things can happen to a person when one is just living normally. Its a wonder we make it to the dairy across the street without losing a limb, or at least getting clipped by a fast moving car. But in my case, it was an exploding tyre.

For example, consider my last few days on the road. We have been driving over curvy roads in the mountains of Fiordland National Park covered with grit/gravel for the "ice" that wasn't there. Try walking on marbles; its easier. A few days later, we're in Wanaka. As I slow down to take Ben down the scenic lakefront drive, I notice a wobbling. Its not the earth, or my eyes, or even my brain on some wild trip--its the car, and I can't tell where its coming from...

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August 01, 2006

My car is powered by hydrogen fusion.

So we must have put a thousand km on the car since we left Christchurch. We left on Sunday around noon and drove for 6 hours. We arrived in Queenstown about an hour and a half faster than is typical. It's probably the fastest the car has ever been driven.

Ever.

But we made it around to Milford Sound and back already. It's been a good time so far, and I am officially the poorest I have ever been in my life. But hey, that's money for you: As soon as its in your pocket, a woman tricks you into buying her things, or you lose your wallet, or you get hungry and buy a lot of muffins. We ate 12 yesterday. Muffins, I mean.

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