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Anna's New Zealand adventures

The end is nigh!

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 6 December 2008 | Views [489]

So, this is my last N.Z entry before I come home and bore you all by telling the same stories all over again. I can't really believe how fast the past 11 months have gone, it feels like a few days ago I was saying goodbye to you all. I'm so excited to be coming home and seeing everyone I've missed but a bit worried about how hard it will be to settle back... still at least I have a proper Christmas to look forward to. I'm not all that keen on the summer Christmas- take the red suit away and but him in boardies and sunglasses and father Christmas is just a fat man on the beach! Don't get me started on the poor old reindeer!

Anyway, back to my pre-Christmas experiences of the last 3 months. Most of that time was spent working in a hostel called 'Chester St Backpackers', which was only 5 mins from the city centre but had a lovely suburban feel to it. It even had a fat, ginger cat called Vinnie, with whom I developed a beautiful friendship (in no small part due to the fact I was one of his primary feeders). The humans weren't bad either- Gemma, who's job I replaced and whom I got to know well before she left was comfortingly English and sometimes when together we could have been at home. I will always be thankful to her for including m in her 'All Black' encounter- yes it took 9 months but I did finally meet one in the flesh. I also went to rugby games in Christchurch and can now understand most of what is going on. We had amazing seats near the tunnel, so I could have touched the players as they ran out... I restrained myself admirably but my excited state was caught on t.v. camera and it turned out Clare and Tom had seen me as they watched the game in a pub on the North Island!

One of the people with whom I shared most of my Chch experiences was Jenny, a girl from Bavaria in Germany, who became a close friend and I was very sad to leave after 3 months of laughs. Admitedly it was about time I broke free from our strictly enforced schedule of home and away, dinner, shortland st, supper, bedtime, but it was tough going for a while. Perhpas harder was being seperated from the cinammon apple cake and banaba loaf which she regularly cooked up. We both worked the hostel by day and then shared the staff accomodation which took the form of an old vintage bus- apparently the 1st to go from Dunedin to Chch. The owner, Anthony, was a dab hand with vehicles and had fully restored it and fitted it out with beds and all mod cons for us both. Athony also had two daughters with his wife Karen, and one fo my fave jobs was babysitting for them. They were two of the sweetest girls, Rosa,4, and Lucy, 2, and it was great fun, if exhausting, looking after them. I certainly always slpet well after.

My adventures weren't restricted to Chch however, and I got the opportunity at the start of Nov. to return to Larnach castle,where I was working before, for the Masquerade Ball. It was possibly the most amazing ball ever, from the stilt walkers who greeted us, the huge banquet of food and procession, seemingly endless supply of bubbly to the fire dancers after dinner, it was a spectacular experience. It was also a lovely way to say godbye to all the friends I'd made there.

Back at the hostel, the day to day routine was interspersed with bbqs in what was known as the 'car-b-que' ( a bbq in the back of an old ford anglia- a v. popular photo op' for Japanese tourists) and the odd lamb roast- a kiwi tradtion. Being friends with quite a few Germans meant that these were usually accompanied by some less traditional kirsch liquere and a lot of punch from the homeland.

After 2 months my time at Chester St. was up and Harriet, who had arrived from home in October, was standing on the doorstep and we were off on a blink and you miss it final kiwi adveture. From Chch we took the train up the coast to Kaikoura where we stayed just long enough to fit in a whale watch trip. This was an awesome experience- we saw 3 sperm whales, 1 humpback and its calf (apparently v. special) and a huge pod of over 200 dolphins... oh and an albatross. We were so lucky as the weather was gorgeous and not too choppy on the water (we took gingeer pills just in case though). When we walked past on the way to the station the next morning all the trips were cancelled, so we are counting our lucky stars!

From Kaikoura we got the train from Picton and the caught the Interislander ferry to Wellington. It was another fine day and this time I managed to get a super view of the Marlborough Sounds in all their glory. We had a day in Welly- enough time to do a tour of the Parliament and Beehive and have the obligatory coffee (more cafes than New York apparently- yes my dream come true) before we flew to Auckland. Auckland is still as we left it at the beginning of the year and we spent our time preparing and unpacking (and repacking) for Fiji- the next adventure!

Well, nearly all done now- hope you are all happy and healthy back there, can't wait to see you all! It wll be such a luxury to be at home... still have Fiji and Singapore though to keep me interested till then!

lots of love of course

Annie

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