Monday, January 26, 2009

A day at Midnight Espresso

I've been working at Midnight Espresso for a couple weeks now and will let you know what I've been up to there. This is what one website says about Midnight Espresso:

Midnight Espresso is Wellington's longest standing late night cafe, situated in one of Wellington's historic areas - Cuba Street. Midnight offers a diverse and colourful atmosphere, encouraged by staff, music and clientele.

Laid back and relaxing, Midnight is a great place to go just to have a coffee and read the paper, and of course sample some of the magnificent cuisine. They offer a range of predominately vegetarian counter and menu food, with awesome flavour and presentation to match.

Midnight Espresso are users and stockists of Havana coffee - NZ's only cuban coffee wholesalers. Also available are freshly cut and squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, vegan, vegetarian, and wheat-free food.

My day starts at 6am, when I get there to open up, do the cheese and milk orders and then get started on my baking. I whip up both sweet and savory muffins, making about 2-3 dozen of each, then I make enough hollandaise sauce for the day, then I make cheesy scones from scratch and get our bread set by mixing the flour, yeast, soymilk and maple syrup together to get the dough rising. After my baking is pretty much done, I start making our standard breaky sandwiches with croissants and bagels we get ordered in.

By that time, food orders start coming in and I"ll be cooking eggs and bacon etc as well as finishing up the sandwiches and then starting to work on some counter food. I'm often making vegan lasagnas, or veggie pizzas with a twist like the last Asian one I did. There are a few recipes I can follow if I want, or I pretty much just do what sounds good. Very flexible as to what I make. Just need to make several a day to keep the counter going and looking good.

I work until 4pm getting lots of things done and having a blast. Good coworkers, great music and fun food makes it a good job. I'm leaving in a week or so to go traveling so I'll miss the job, but I'm hoping to come back and work there in a couple months when I'm done traveling.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball takes over Wellington! Stars from around the world, teams that are amazing, but didn't make the Olympics playing on the beach. Over the weekend Wellington held an international beach volleyball tournament. Pretty sweet to see some good volleyball and relive the Olympic memories when everyone was into beach volleyball. Well it's summer down here and that means beach volleyball is still in full effect. I watched the finals for the both the men and women, with Germany losing to the Kiwi women and the Dutch men losing to the Kiwi men. Everyone was happy with the results as the Kiwis won so everyone could party, and the other teams put up good fights so they were cool. Would've been bad if the Kiwis had lost, so although it might've been rigged, it was still a good afternoon of entertainment.

Somes Island

In the middle of the Wellington Harbour is Somes Island. It used to be used as a quarantine station for sick passengers, then for sick animals, then it was used for increasing quality sheep by taking quality sperm and eggs and making lambs. For the last 10 years or so, it's been an animal sanctuary and has been flourishing with native wildlife.

As my roommate Stefan, friend Angie and I had the day off, we headed out to explore and check out the 360 views of the harbor. Perfect sunny day for it, with a slight breeze. Upon our arrival, we were checked for rodents, as that could ruin the environment on the island. Our shoes were also checked for mud or seeds that could bring non-native plants to the island. You might ask who did the checking, well, it was done by yours truly, and I am happy to say, there were no rodents in my bag. Rangers did supervise of course.

We saw the oldest lighthouse built around Wellington, old gun battlements from WWII in which the guns were later sold to the Japanese (ironic, eh?) and some funky looking sheep, plus some finicky seagulls who tried to take a bite out of Stefan.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Right after Christmas, my sister and I went skydiving in Queenstown. Up to 15,000 feet which meant about a full minute freefall before the shute came out. The weather wasn't good the day we wanted, so we went early the next morning on a perfect day, with nary a cloud in sight. after getting all suited up in a jumpsuit, cap, gloves and goggles, we hopped in the small plane to take us and another jumper up. Crammed into the plane, we rose higher and higher, with the view getting better. In the distance we could see Mt Cook, the highest peak in NZ. We kept climbing higher and higher, then the other jumper jumped at 12,000 which already seemed pretty high and the brain started those second thoughts, but then we kept rising up to 15,000.

When you reach the height, the plane levels out and the door opens and you know it's time. I went first, leaning out of the plane with my instructor hooked on behind me, and a photographer holding on outside the plane. To be honest, the first 5 seconds sucked. It was basically the nightmare you have about falling. But then you get used to it and get to enjoy it, checking out the amazing scenary and making faces for the camera. We fell for just under a minute before the parachut popped out and we floated down slowly. Quite an amazing experience and in one of the most beautiful places around so I was quite happy. Enjoy the photos.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Check out these amazing dolphins we saw in the Doubtful Sound while on our overnight boat. Jumping all around and playing the surf we created after they swam alongside our boat for a long time.

And check out this closer video shot by my fabulous sister:

Christmas part 27

Family teeter totter pic taken on Christmas Day after walking around Sumner beach, exploring cave rock and opening presents in Christchurch

The children ponder the largness of Christchurch's xmas tree

Climbing in santa hats in trees on Christmas Eve must mean I'm in NZ

Looking for Captain Cook to come flying in from England to settle the country

Airport arrival with santa visors, it's summertime you know

Job update

On Saturday morning I had 2 job interviews to try and get some work since I left my last job to travel. By 10:30am, I'd lined up 2 job trials. Today I had my first of the trials, at a large bar/restaurant with a large menu. It went pretty solid. A slow day which was good to just get the feel of the place and learn a lot of the plates. They have a stone grill menu as well as heaps of others, which means that we serve a super hot stone with some meat on top of it and let the customer cook it to their liking. Pretty sweet. I liked the place and might take them up if I get a job offer. Who knows. Got in my 7 hours by 2pm and am ready to rock tomorrow morning at my next job trial.