Monday, November 22, 2010


Hello beautiful friends, just a little retrospective on my few days in Auckland. The garden belongs to Stuart and Jenna and it is so glorious. It has: a grapefruit tree, a lemon tree, a (probably) plum tree and a very well-loved vegetable garden. I spent an entire day lazing under a tree reading and listening to music, and in doing so checked off one thing on my long list of life fantasies (I have always wanted to lie in somewhat unkempt grass under a stone fruit tree).

On a slightly more productive day, I drove ZamZam and Liz to Mt Eden and got them to snuggle me for this photo: (HEART).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pilot Whales

Here are some pictures of some of the twenty-plus pilot whales we saw on the Tutukaka coast, near Poor Knights. The photos were taken and kindly emailed to me by Martin Wallis.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poor Knights

The Poor Knights islands are part of a marine reserve near Whangarei, pictured above in the far off distance. Jacques Cousteau named them one of the top ten dive sites in the world and they were recently listed as one of the top ten places to see nature. I've wanted to go for ages, so I thought I should make it a priority before leaving New Zealand.

I stayed with lovely Bob and Cyn, two Californians who have lived just outside Whangarei for a few years, after sailing from San Francisco to Auckland. They now make their own sail boats and partake in cycling races in the North Island, although both activities are currently impossible given to Cyn's knee operation and Bob's broken femur (from a cycling accident).

They live in a beautiful semi-rural 19th century home down a gorgeous drive and I was their first couch surfer.

I asked them if they didn't find it testing to share such a small space (a boat) for so long, and they both laughed.

Bob said: "Well, Cyn is pretty great company actually"

And Cyn looked over from the kitchen and said "My idea of heaven is to be with Bob all the time. So ... "

As to the dive trip, OH MY GAWD. As we were taking the boat out we found ourselves in the middle of a huge pod of pilot whales - seriously at least twenty of them - who were often only metres away, surfacing regularly and traveling with their new babies. I was quite delirious and asked the skipper:
"How often does something like this happen?"
"Oh, maybe two, three times a year. This is the kind of thing you have to work on a boat for a year to see."
Me: "Or just come once, on the right day!" (Brat...)

Cyn and Bob below.

My room:

p.s. If you're ever going to Whangarei I really recommend seeing if Cyn and Bob are around. They told me to come back with friends. Heart !

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Wellington was a total lovefest, as always. We danced, we danced, we danced. Well, and we drank and posed for iPod photos - Alex, post them please !

Little Pierre really loves Gianna and Alex, it's quite rare he connects with people so easily and quickly.


So, I just had my last week in Dunedin where I got tearfull and embarrassing on numerous occasions, most noticeably crying into Lucinda's hair in Re:Fuel. Oh, the shame. I am supposed to a stoic German.

Anyway, another thing which made me feel slightly sick was leaving my beautiful, if messy, tower room in the Manor. Here are some leaving shots of my mayhem.

I don't do good-byes and usually prefer to slink out in anxiety-ridden weirdness, but instead, my beautiful friends threw me a farewell surprise. Check out the phallic straw below.

I also went diving out on the mole one last time and got to hang out with this local.

I finally got a photo of my favourite graffiti in Dunedin. I love it because, in Dunedin, I think it's kind of true. I was describing Dunedin to my American friend John and he said "God, your town sounds like a high school in the 1950s." Beautiful !

But despite all my tears and nostalgia, it's worth remembering where I truly live: right here, on the internet. And that is coming with me. xo !

p.s. Sorry for the lame quality of these photos, I am learning to use my budgo point+shoot marketed as 'suitable for tweens'.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hotere's Ex-Home

On this beautiful, rainy Friday (my last in Dunedin), I borrowed my sisters car and drove out to Carey's Bay - listening to "Hits of the 70s", driving too fast and remembering why I really need a car in my life. Alexis Belton, who now lives in Hotere's grand old home with several others, graciously allowed me to come out and be snap happy in their 1880s sanctuary.

Above you see the entrance to the lift which was necessary after Hotere had a stroke in 2002.

The 'famous' kitchen, Alexis and - below - Bronwyn. Alexis was one of my most precocious students a few years ago in POLS101, and as this is Dunedin, turned out to be the cousin of one of my dearest friends. For those who don't know, the Beltons are the most wonderful, eccentric and gifted family I have ever had a good fortune to be allowed to loiter around. Alexis himself is no exception, having his feet in two camps (New Zealand and France) and with an inexplicable (to me) interest in medical history.

Bronwyn, the cat, turned out to be (biologically speaking) a tomcat actually, but 'she' had been called a girl for so long that she has remained so for all intents and purposes.

Alexis pulled out this giant tray for us to take tea with, in order to create a complete fantasy of what his life in this house is. Turns out, pragmatism had other plans.

Alexis: Umm, can you help me this tray? It wont fit.

"The best study. Ever"

The lift. Alexis confessed to finding it rather frightening. "Well, you know when you're using a lift in a public place, it's serviced, but if this stopped? ..."

I can't recall the name of the above cat, but Alexis clearly favours it and told me about it before I met it, "Oh, if you think Bronwyn is cute, wait til you meet ... (Zeeke?)"

Also - elder flowers are the best thing ever.

The inhabitants!