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I'm getting better at selective uploading you'll be happy to hear! Only 9 pages this time ;)
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Thursday morning I had a date at 8.30ish with Megan, who is going to the same camp I am. When I found out she lived in Christchurch, I figured it would be cool if we actually met before going to camp! (And we're now catching the train together as well, which'll be good!). I thought she'd said at the cafe at the art gallery, and had heaps of extra time, so went for a wonder, trying to figure out where the school was, so I wouldn't have to find it the next carrying 90% of my worldly possessions (or so it felt!). I went the wrong way, but figured at least that way I knew which way TO go, and so headed back to the art gallery, releasing a book at the Dyslexia Foundation on the way.

Giving the statue something new to read


Arrived bang on 8.30, the cafe didn't seem to be open, so I waited outside. About 10 minutes later, I re-read the text - I was at the wrong place! I had obviously misread 'the Arts Centre' as 'the Art Gallery'. Luckily they're just down the road from each other, so I briskly walked down, and arrived not *too* late!

Megan was the only one in the cafe, so wasn't too hard to pick out! I sat down, and we started chatting about camp. Figured lots of stuff out, and it was great to get to meet her before travelling together!

After breakfast, Megan offered to give me a lift back to the hostel, via the school so I would know where to go, and I accepted, so she dropped me off. I was scheduled to have lunch with my cousin at some point that day, so I headed up to the computer room at the hostel, and checked facebook to see what time, and how to get there.

Was running a bit late by then, so ran down to the bus exchange, and asked for directions. The guy at the help desk was really helpful - directed me to the right stop, and I only had to wait a couple of minutes for the next bus :D Unfortunately the driver didn't know the street I was looking for, despite it being a main road, so I sat up front to keep an eye out for it. I was surprised when we crossed it, it was a huge road, and I couldn't believe the driver didn't remember it!

Got off, and it took me a while to find the right house, but eventually I did, and found my cousin :-) Was great to catch up with her - she had made some soup and bread which was delicious. After lunch she had plans to go and check out a venue for her 21st (can't believe how organised she is - her birthday isn't until December!) and she invited me along, so we got picked up and drove into town again. Had a look at a place, and then her and her friend were off to get their eyebrows plaited or something like that (I'm up on fashion - really I am :p) so I headed back to the backpackers to dump some stuff and pick up some more, and then texted Kirsty as we'd planned to meet up some time in the afternoon. While I waited for her, I had a small look around the market in the square.

Eventually she arrived, and we had another look around the market, purchasing friendship bracelets (ok min is around my ankle) for each other, and some other small gifts for the drivers of the road trip. I also released a book, 'Whistle Blowers' outside the cathedral :-)

Out releasin'


I really wanted to have a go on the vertical bungy again, so we did that :D So much fun, and I mastered a front flip! For some reason I find back flips much easier... Once my thighs turned to jelly, we decided to go back to Base and hang out in my room, which we did until about 6.30, and then made our way to Cafe Bleu for dinner.

I thought we were going to be super early, but when we got there it seemed as though there were hundreds of people there already!!

Went and sat down at the end of one of the tables, and chatted with LW for a bit until Moem and Rubberchicken arrived, at which point I ran up the table, crawled under another table, and gave them each a huge hug! TRULY AWESOME!!

They came and sat down at the 'cool' end of the table and we got to chat :D Eventually we all ordered, and the food came. I got 'the usual', which is FC's usual order of a burger, which when it arrived was AMAZING! Actually everyone's food looked fantastic...would definitely go back there again!

The rest of the evening was spent chatting and taking photos...and ended perfectly, when Moem got tea. Although, for some reason, the cafe wouldn't sell her tea for three, and insisted she have three pots, so we were sitting, drinking tea for a while! No complaints from me though :D


Rubberchicken and Moem



Rubberchicken and MikeTroll with a camera


Newk

Gizmo and Nuteile

Alkaline-kiwi

Lyttletonwitch and FutureCat

Ringbear

Rars and Moem

Rars, Moem, and MissMarkey
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view from the backpackers parking lot

Mountains at sunrise


Wednesday morning I woke up about 7.30 when my alarm went off - I'm not used to being around people 24/7 and wanted some alone time, but didn't complain when Alkaline-kiwi crawled out of bed with me - as my BBFF (Bookcrossing Best Friend Forever) I knew she wouldn't mind being quiet together, and we went and found a quiet spot behind the backpackers. Pepper, the hostel cat soon found us, and got the attention he deserved!

Resistance is futile!

I'm still deciding if A-K looks cute or scary here!

and smiling!


After a while I got into the shower, got dressed, and cooked some porridge for myself. We all packed ourselves up, I got a few minutes on the internet to make journal entries for the book I'd released the previous day, and the ones I'd left on the hostel bookshelf.

We left the hostel around 10, somehow managing to forget our bags of food - hopefully some other backpackers found it and enjoyed it, with A-K, and Skyring and i in one car, and Earok, K-j-h, and MissMarkey in the other. LOTR was still in the cd player, so we enjoyed the music for a little bit longer until A-K took it out (slightly to my disappointment!). We stopped a few times on the way down, the South Island is truly magnificent, and I feel totally justified in telling tourists that if they have limited time, they'd do better to see it than the North Island!

again, *sigh*

Ringbear

and from the outside :p

Stopping for photos

Awwwww

Beautiful NZ

Mountains from land

Kaikoura


By the time we hit Kaikoura we didn't really have much time for lunch, so we headed straight to the 'Whaleway Station' (yes, it's really called that!) to check in for our 12.45 tour. Luckily we had a bit of time between checking in and our instructional video, so we went and had some lunch at the cafe. Totally over priced and not of the best quality, I guess they rely on people like us to make money! Surely they can't rely on repeat business much :s

After lunch we released a few books, and then crowded into a small annex for the video, describing what to do in an emergency, and some of the things we might see, and then we got on the bus to the boat. Took about 10 minutes to drive around to the marina, where our boat awaited us, and we all piled off, and waited to be able to embark. Unfortunately we were right at the back, and so didn't get seats together, but I sat with a man and his two children who were really nice! It was a bit rough, and he felt a bit sick, so I passed round the barley sugars!

As we were sailing out into the deeper waters, the tour guide told us a bit about why Kaikoura is known for its whales, and other marine mammals (deep trough under the sea that goes down suddenly, really close to land, so you only have to go out a little bit to be over really deep ocean, that sperm whales like). He also told us about the kinds of animals we were likely to see, and how this tour company found them, which was really interesting! They seem to be really dedicated to not using anything that would harm the whales, so they don't use those undersea scanners that you see on boats these days! First thing we saw were some different sea birds (including some a small variety of the albatross!).

A bit later we had a message from another boat that was out that they'd seen a whale, and so we went over to meet it. Amazing! You could just see it's huge back, and when you consider how much of the whale is tail, it made me feel rather small! I took a few pics, but it was kind of hard to make out, so I just enjoyed watching the whale (whose name is Manu, because his tail looks like a flying bird), and trying not to fall over (it was a bit rough!). The tour guy (whose name I've forgotten, but he was really cute :p) gave us a few seconds notice before the Manu was about to go back down for more food, and so I got a video of Manu's tail doing down. Truly magnificent. We all traipsed back into the cabin, and the tour guide told us a bit about Manu, who is apparently a regular!

A fellow whale watching boat

Anyone jealous yet?

Ole Spurty



Amazingly, we then get word that another whale has been sighted, so we moseyed on over to the second whale, Tutu, named after a Maori god! Got some more pics of this one before it dove under the water and it was time for us to head back to shore.

On the way back to shore however, we spotted a HUGE pod of dolphins - mostly dusky, with a few common swimming with them. This was the highlight of the whale watching for me - I love whales, but dolphins just inspire a feeling of joy in my heart! Took LOTS of photos and a couple of videos of these as we were heading back.

I <3 New Zealand

I want a better zoom lol!

More dolphins





Once we got back to shore we disembarked and waited for a few minutes to get onto the bus.

Fresh off the boat


The bus drove us back to the 'Whaleway Station', and we met A-K and Earok there, who had been looking around Kaikoura while we were out whale watching. We all checked out the shop a bit, and our books that we'd released before the tour, and then made our way back to the cars, where we did a bit of shuffling, and took some pics of the group using Skyring's tripod.

'The Road Trippers'


MissMarkey and I ended up in K-j-h's car, so that Skyring could drop A-K and Earok at A-K's aunt and uncles place, and because K-j-h, MissMarkey and I were all staying at Base Backpackers.

Drive wasn't too bad, Kev let me choose the music so I was happy! At some point I got a text from Kirsty saying Libertine101 had been talking to Newk, who had texted Skyring, saying there had been a mistake at the backpackers. I couldn't get any more details, and thoughts that we wouldn't have anywhere to stay for the week floating through my mind :s

Stopping for the sunset


We stopped just out of Christchurch to get petrol and milk (for me), and we got into Christchurch relatively easily. Well, relatively easy for MissMarkey and I anyway. After circling around the backpackers twice, and not finding a car part, Kev dropped us off outside, and went to look for a park. We checked in, found out that the issue was that we weren't all in the same room, as requested. I couldn't be bothered finding somewhere else to stay, so figured I'd stay there, and so we got given keys etc, and went to drop our stuff off up stairs. I was on the 4th flour, and MM was on the second floor. We took the lift up (we both had a quite a collection of stuff), which was an experience in itself. The lift (and building) are REALLY old - you have to open the outer door, and then the inner door of the lift to get in, and then shut them behind you, and its not particularly fast! Problem is if someone forgets to shut both doors when they get out it gets stuck and won't go anywhere...but it was ok this time, and we both got our stuff to our rooms, and I grabbed my camera, wallet and hat to take to dinner at Ginkgo, which Newk had organised.

MM and I met Kev down on the ground floor, he checked in, and we eventually made our way to Ginkgo, after asking directions at reception! Walked the wrong way down one road, but not too far, and we were only a little late for dinner!

I let Pete's table know that they should just order something for him, as he had texted/rang/somehow communicated to me that he was running later than we were!

Was SO cool to meet heaps of new people - Gizmopuddy, Bookworm76, and the Trolls were definite highlights!! And it was great to see all the 'old' faces too!

My table decided to just tell the waitress we wanted so many vegetarian dishes and let her choose something for us, which worked out really well! We got some delicious dishes...the beans were particularly memorable :p

After I finished eating, I went over to the other table to say hi - got to meet the Trolls which was exciting!! A bit later Skyring played a nasty prank on the other table...the table we were at had an extremely spicy chicken, that only a few people had tried - he tried a bit, declared it spicy, so went and took the other tables last jug of water, taking the chicken in return...I didn't hear *too* many squeals!

Once we'd sorted out the bill (I think we were the last people left in the restaurant), we all went outside and chatted for a bit longer. Newk wanted to try on my hat, so we swapped, I got his 'dark side' glasses, and he got my 'light side' hat'! We both looked remarkable good :p

'swapping accessories'

'swapping accessories'


Eventually we got cold and I know I was feeling tired, so those of us staying at Base made our way back, and headed to bed. I felt sorry for my roommates, being kept awake by my comings and goings, late at night and fairly early in the mornings!! I fell asleep pretty quickly I think!
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Friday morning should have been my tidy up/sleep in/domestic goddess day - it was the first day off I'd had in 3 weeks, so when work called my cell the first time I ignored it, but after the home phone rang, and then my cell again, I took mercy and answered it - it was time and a half and a day in lieu after all! Apparently someone had called in sick at the last minute for a half day (11-3.30) and they desperately needed someone to cover. I agreed and headed into work. Worked till 4.30 (time and a half and all that :p) then headed to the supermarket to get more supplies. got home about 5.30 or so, watched a bit of tv with Jeannette, and then got stuck into it. Luckily Jeannette volunteered to help, and I of course accepted her offer!

More messy room!

Dirty room!


It took us about an hour or so, but we could finally see the floor AND the bed! We then vacuumed and I put a load of washing on.

Clean room!


I then headed to the kitchen to make dinner for the following night (no idea what I had for dinner that night :s) (tomato soup) and then a banana cake and some muffins - which Jeannette also volunteered to help with. We put the cake and muffins in the oven and went and watched a bit more tv.

Banana muffins!


Once my washing was done I started making the bed and Jeannette pumped up the air mattress Dad lent me.

Next day I just worked. After work I read back of house until the lights went out and then headed to the supermarket again (needed more supplies!). Had a wild panic moment when my eftpos card wouldn't work - not sure what happened but the cash machine let me withdraw money so was resolved relatively quickly :-) After the shopping palaver, I headed to my favourite playground and had a go on the swings for about 10 minutes, before it was time to collect Alkaline-kiwi and Earok. I headed to the railway station where they were waiting. We headed back to my place via taxi and when we arrived I heated up the soup and made some scones. We chatted for a while, I dyed Kirsty's hair and eventually went to bed - A-K and Earok on my bed and me on the air mattress.

Dead Kirsty Two Dead Kirsty One


Next morning we got up and headed to church. Really enjoyed most of the music! After church we hung around and had a drink and easter egg and chatted to some of the locals. About midday we left and made our way to the vege market next to Te Papa. I got some fruit/veges and Erik and Kirsty got us all a frankfurter for lunch. While eating we wandered around the vege market, having a look at the other stalls. Kirsty bought some soap like things and we also got some venison salami for the pizza for dinner that night. We then wandered round the waterfront, looking at some gorgeous puppies and cats in a pet shop, and then headed to Pulsar Max, a geek store with figurines and manga to your hearts content! We spent about 10 mins there before catching the bus to the airport to pick up k-j-h and Skyring.

I got a text when we were about 5 minutes away from the airport saying Kev was through customs and where were we! Obviously should have caught the earlier bus! We got to the airport and found Kev, and about 2 minutes later Pete came through as well. Big hugs and smiles all round as we tried to figure out the best way to get back to my place. Eventually we decided on a shuttle, so we left the airport and found a shuttle willing to take us to my place.

Got to my place and chatted and chatted and chatted! Eventually we ended up in the lounge and laptops, iphones and pda's appeared! I mentally cursed myself for telling everyone the wireless password and considered hawling my computer down the hall so we could all chat online instead :p

Reason one not to invite bookcrossers into your house


Lots more chatting until we got hungry and collectively headed to the kitchen to make pizza. One chopping board, 5 people in a 3.5m square kitchen and 4 fruit knives later, we stood around eating delicious pizza (think tomato paste, garlic, cheese, red & yellow pepper, salami, ham, more garlic, pineapple, onion), and drinking french champaigne out of mugs. What more could you want!

Several thousand puns and a lot of laughter later we were ready for bed :-)

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August 2011

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