Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Whale watch video

The guide explains why watching a sperm whale is not boring, although it doesn't do that much

video

Saturday, December 27, 2008

First Christmas update

Chilling on our overnight boat in the Doubtful Sound

Christmas Eve in Christchurch

Kaikoura shenanagins

Christmas in New Zealand baby

I've been traveling with my family for almost 2 weeks now in the south island of New Zealand. pretty amazing so far, covering lots of ground and seeing so much, and yet, just making a dent on the island. We've been wine tasting, whale watching, hiking, hanging out on the beach, kayaking, and just got back from an overnight boat ride through the Doubtful Sound seeing dolphins, penguins, seals and tons of birds. Pretty sweet out there going past waterfalls, side canyons, huge islands and fishing for dinner.

It's been a great trip so far and tomorrow if the weather is good, I'll be skydiving in Queenstown, where we are now, then off to hike in the mountains and go across swinging bridges. The adventure capital of NZ.

The weather's been good for the most part, not as hot as normal for down here, but still a lot better for the family than the snowstorms in the States. been wearing shorts a bunch and living it up in the sandals.

Merry late Christmas to everyone. Happy early New Year.

Cheers,
Justus

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Carols in the summer

Santa flying around in his helicopter

Picnicing in the sunshine before the carols

The carols band, all 70s decked out

Wellington loves to put on a good old fashioned Christmas carol night every year. This year it was at the cricket stadium and over 10,000 people showed up. Pretty massive. We got their early to picnic and get set up before the show started. Felt pretty different to be celebrating Christmas while wearing shorts and throwing a frisbee around outside. Perfect weather out.

Although the event was called Carols by Candlelight, there were no candles for sale, just glowsticks. Guess candlelight sounds better than carols by glowstick. All proceeds went to help the Childrens Hospital.

The music was pretty wicked, all different versions of the traditional songs. A samba Jingle Bells, a blues Silent Night and such. Interesting and it kept the crowd into it. The highlight was the helicopter with Santa flying around the stadium. No sleds down here folks.

The band was dressed up as 70s TV characters. Felt more like Halloween than Christmas. But they did sing the Peanuts Christmas song about Snoopy fighting the Red Baron, so you can't argue too much.

Here's a short video of their Christmas song to Michael Jackson's Thriller video

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Summertime in December

It's definitely summer down here. Got my first wicked sunburn this past weekend. Been having the weekends free from work so it's been nice to relax at the beach. We have a beach just 6 minutes away from our place, so been heading down there with some friends. Swimming in the cold water and playing a little rugby, pretty much the national sport. There's always people playing rugby at the beach or park. I've got a beach chair, so it's nice to go out and have a spot to sit that's pretty comfortable. And on the way back from the beach, it's nice to stop off at the supermarket and have a seat in front of the cold meats to cool off.

Work's been solid as always. Having a blast in the kitchen. It's nice to be in charge when I'm there, doing the orders and telling people what to do. I'm doing 3 dinner shifts a week and 2 brunch shifts, so it's a wide variety and keeps me on my toes. I'm working for just about a week more, then will be leaving with my family to travel around the South Island for Christmas. Going to be an awesome trip and I'm excited to see more of New Zealand.

Played tennis with one of the cafe owners at a fancy tennis club the other day. Got to know more about the cafe and their other side businesses.

Saw In Bruge with 10 other couch surfers. Awesome movie. A good night out with a bunch of people at a small movie theater. It's pretty typical here for the smaller movie theaters in each town to have a cafe there with good cakes, coffee, alcohol and the ability to bring drinks in with you to the theater. Pretty cool, despite the fact that movies come out here a while after the States. Bond just came out last Thursday here.