Thursday, January 25, 2007

She returns!

and you thought I'd been swept away by an albatross...

no, no, just off on my honeymoon. In case I didn't mention it before or you hadn't gleaned it from my last post, DH and I took a delayed honeymoon to the bottom of the planet where we drove around a lot on the wrong side of the road, stalked wildlife, sheep and people's dogs, laughed at roadsigns and billboards, hid from the sun, fell for all the tourist traps and otherwise had a grand old time. I'll be slowly posting the highlights from our Kiwi adventure over the next few days (weeks? I hope for your sake not...) so be forewarned that I'm going to hijack this knitting blog for some travel pr0n.

But before I dive in, I should mention that I did manage to finish 3 projects since last we left off. I just don't have any progress pics to show you and everything's wet still from blocking, so watch this space for a cute baby sweater, some quickie socks, and finally polishing off the g-ma socks.

Auckland Dec 25-27

DH and I left on Dec 23, lost Christmas eve somewhere over the Pacific and landed in Auckland on Dec 25. We figured that we'd go with the good old standby for Christmas evening of Chinese food and a movie, but we found out that Kiwis really do take their Christmas holiday seriously and completely close up. So we took our loopy sleep deprived selves for a walk about the city center and marveled at the funny sounding signage: "Dogs on Lead", "Beware of trucks maneuvering", and "Park and Display" (which immediately brought images of Hugh Grant and Divine Brown to mind).

The next day, we met up with a friend of a friend for some Boxing Day fun. We took the ferry out to Rangitoto but we might as well have arrived at some beautiful deserted island in the middle of the Pacific. Lush greenery around and some of the best views of Auckland to behold:

Okay, from the top there were definitely beautiful views of Auckland, but I have a thing for lighthouses.

We then rewarded ourselves after the 3 hour hike (boy does that cure jet lag!) with a visit to a Belgian beer cafe. Belgium is known for its mussels, and so is New Zealand for their green-lipped variety, so we went for two pots of steamers there. The waiter was so apologetic for the mixup with our order that they decided not to charge us for the drinks we had and brought another round, supersized, again for free. I think DH had almost a liter of free Lefft Dark, so he was happy. I was happy with the Texas sized mussels:

We were told that it's actually illegal to pull anything out of the water less than 4 inches there, so apparently this is normal. If I were home, I'd be wary of eating anything this large for fear of toxic waste contamination causing the mutant gargantuanism, but hey, this is New Zealand, nobody lives here to dump anything in the water!

We toured 2 of the extinct volcanoes that make up the seven hills of Auckland and discovered that Kiwis are a practical bunch. Not only do they use their public spaces as park land, but they also use it as farm land. I was very pleased to see the bovine and other inhabitants of the park:

The next day, we explored the city to check out the various churches and their stained glass windows. Then we ventured out to the Waitakere area to hit the black sand beach. I guess these beaches aren't exactly LA beaches where people hang out all day basking in the sun:

Next up: Christchurch

Post-Script: If you're still reading this, then you must be truly interested in my ramblings. So I have more to share. Turns out DH's brother popped the question to his girlfriend while we were away! We're extremely excited for the two of them and cannot wait to see them wed. They are a loving couple and very good for each other. We wish them all the happiness in the world.

Post-Post Script: My brother announced to me yesterday that he and his wife are expecting! So I guess that makes me an auntie-to-be, and one crazy busy knitter. I have burp cloths, blankets, bibs, sweaters, hats, booties, and toys all lined up, so get ready to see a whole lotta dishcloth cotton at Chez Spaz. Just don't tell DH that it also means a few more trips to Michael's since dishcloth cotton is hard to find round here. Unless you think babies will like the scratchy tweed?