Monday, 30 July 2012

Morgs the brave.

Look how good I am! Only a week since my last blog! I spoil you people.

On Monday we arrived in Arrowtown, a 20 minute drive from Queenstown. We had arranged to stay with a couple called Alf and Louise who put us up and fed us for a week in return for us doing some work for them. They were LOVELY. fed us a ridiculous amount and kept telling us we had done too much work and should finish for the day and make the most of our holiday! We worked on their vines for them for the majority of the week, roses the rest, so I am now adept at pruning - that's going on my CV. Arrowtown is an old gold mining village so we went an explored that one afternoon, and Alf and Louise's house overlooked Lake Hayes so we walked all round that a few times in the gorgeous sunshine. On Thursday we treated ourselves to a little adventure and went horse riding in a place called paradise (did I mention they filmed several lord of the rings scenes there? And a little film called the hobbit? Purely a coincidence of course.) It was a very new experience for both of us but luckily my horse, Monty knew much more about it than I did so I left him to it. I did have to get my stirrups shortened as small as they will go though, but at least I got ON.

Continuing with the theme of new experiences we tried something else new on Friday morning and jumped out of an aeroplane. Did not tell parents until after, although did spend the night before writing my will. I joke. Wasn't actually scared, but I think this is more due to it not sinking in until I was in a harness strapped to a 6 foot Dutch man hanging out the side of the plane. Was COLD. Moving at 200 kmph made my podgy little cheeks very chilly, and I could feel them flapping around with the force. Not sure if the video will be going public as its not my best look. Felt quite ill for the rest of the day, that's intense motion sickness! Views by themselves were worth it though... mountains EVERYWHERE.

We left Arrowtown on Sunday and drove to Milford Sound. Its another very remote location, there is only one tunnel as the sole way to get in. Very beautiful though. Checked in and I did what I do best: napped. Man in our dorm told me I wouldn't sleep that night. Fell asleep at 10 woke up at 830 next morning. That showed him. Went on a boat trip through the Sound and picked up a bottle nosed dolphin tag along, which swam alongside us for a good 15 minutes (and another several thousand pictures). So beautiful. This place is the furthest south we will be, in terms of distance when we leave here we will effectively be on our way home! Its been more than 6 months since we left, but I'm sure you all know that and are counting the days until I get back. Well some of you anyway I hope!

Let me know if anyone wins any medals, I'll be finding glaciers on the west coast!


PS I think I've managed to attach a pic of my daring feat for those who dont have Facebook!

Monday, 23 July 2012


I dont know why this always happens, but every time I write a blog, something really exciting happens the day AFTER so I end up having to write it down so I dont forget! The day after I wrote my last blog, we experienced our first ever earthquake! About 10 in the evening I was just telling sean something riveting that had happened at work when I heard a funny crunching noise. Thought it was the neighbors moving furniture around again so carried on with my story until sean eventually grabbed my arm and shouted 'morgan there's an EARTHQUAKE '. That's when I realised... it was an earthquake. Felt like we were on some kind of conveyor belt rolling up and down, but then the walls started to bend and then it was pretty frightening. Watched the news straight away and they said it was 6.3 so obviously got straight on Facebook to tell everyone. So annoyed when they changed it to 7 and I'd already done my status. It was definitely not an experience I'd like to repeat any time soon!

We both finished work on 6th July and I was much sadder to leave than I expected. Who would have thought I'd have so much fun working at inland revenue! Spent the weekend packing, organising and watching harry potter films, and finally our last day in Welly arrived. Sean sold his guitar and we got the deposit back on our flat and then we were off on the ferry, two unemployed hippies again.
First stop on our adventures was kaikoura, a place well known for whalewatching. We didn't get off the ferry until dark so the journey there was a bit dull! When morning came though we could see that its a really gorgeous place, with big mountains going right down to the sea. The morning was spent out at sea, where we managed to see 4 sperm whales and get surrounded by about 200 dolphins which was one of the highlights of the trip so far. Next time I get near a PC you'll all be in for a treat when I upload the 7000 pictures I took of what basically looks like a rock in the sea.
That night was full of drama as a middle aged European woman checked into our lovely quiet little hostel and started screaming at everyone from 8pm onwards that she was trying to sleep. Just to illustrate, it was so quiet that she heard me drop my book on the floor at 850 and she screeched through the wall that I had woken her up. She then woke everyone at 7am the next morning yelling and THEN walked into our private room and woke him up to ask if we would take her to Christchurch with us. Sean told her to ask me. Computer says no.

Next stop on our whirlwind tour was Christchurch, via Hanmer Springs which is famous for its thermal pools. To be nice we gave two backpackers a lift there for free. It was lovely, bloody freezing running between hot pools out doors in a snowy mountain village, but gorgeous when you were in (minus the slight distraction of the strange man asking bikini clad girls to pull his not sean). Then onwards to chch.

Bit of background info at this point: about 2 years ago there was a massive earthquake that destroyed a lot of chch. We thought that maybe there would be the odd building that they hadn't quite got round to fixing yet, so nothing prepared us for the shock of driving into the centre of this city and finding it deserted. Big wire fences stop you walking into areas that are unsafe, but this is actually a massive area. Sides or fronts of buildings are just gone with broken glass still in the windows. Small businesses like family restaurants still have the open sign on the door and furniture laid out for business, and it makes you realise how much people lost. Its like that scene in 28 days later.

The next place we visited was called mount Potts lodge, a sheep station in literally the middle of nowhere. Why? Well they filmed edoras (two towers) there so obviously I had to go! So remote that they've got no phone signal or anything so I embraced being a country bumpkin for a week. We painted lots of buildings, bottle fed baby goats (sean managed to get covered in goat poo during this venture while I remained immaculate) and I looked after a lovely little boy called Archie who has informed me that sean is my dad and Archie is in fact my boyfriend. Sean didn't seem too fussed about this. Managed to sneak onto a tour of mount Sunday for free (everyone else there paid $240) and sniggered at all the geeks while correcting the tour guides lord of the rings knowledge. I dont think we were very popular as a result, the only person who spoke to me started a conversation about artificial insemination in cows. All in all was a brilliant week, although I think I can now confirm that I would not make a good farmers wife and that I am not ready for children!
Left the station in Sunday and headed to Twizel, via a fair few breathtaking lakes, mountains and eventually a glacier. For now I will leave this blog here, I would hate to run out of things to say in the next instalment!

Hope its stopped raining, weather here is fab!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Say goodbye to Wellywood

Well, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day but this will be my final blog from the wondrous city of Wellington. The ferry leaves at 230pm Tuesday 10th, and we will be on it ready for some new adventures on the South island! Since I last blogged I have achieved lots, mostly working my way through the library including the entire Harry Potter series. Happy days. We have also been out and about and exploring what there is left – not loads as it turns out! The good thing about Wellington is that even when you run out of sights that you would see as a tourist, you can still just drive for half an hour and get to somewhere amazing and just wander around to your hearts content. The one thing I don’t understand, is that there is so much space in this country but absolutely none in our flat. One of the great mysteries of life that I will never know the answer to. In other big news, nobody was more surprised than me when I ended up at a senior technical tax conference last week. What was worse, was that I actually understood what they were saying! Although most of it was still a blur – phew. Anyway I actually had a brilliant time, for another reason… firstly there was the tea break in the morning. I thought I’d grab a quick tea… but just as I reached for a cup my eye was caught by a huge plate of freshly made scones. And a bowl full of jam. And an even bigger bowl of cream. The poor cup of tea was left abandoned as I got stuck in. Then I had a little break, and it seemed to me the perfect time to polish off my packed lunch, which I did. THEN someone came and got me and told me it was lunch time… and lunch was provided. Upstairs I went obediently, and saw the most food I think I have ever seen in my life. I did what I had to do, told my belly to pretend it wasn’t full of scones and sandwiches, and got involved with the buffet. There were a few funny looks when I came back with a plate full of pasta bake, roast potatoes, 8 different bits of sushi, seafood salad and a Caesar salad, but in my defence I didn’t get any of the veal. I’m a poor backpacker I need to fill up where I can! Did have to take my belt off on the way into the afternoon presentations though… anyway I have decided that I really do enjoy conferences and that I must attend more. We have been doing loads of planning and booking stuff for America, so we have got the itinerary pretty set in stone (allowing plenty of time for Disney World and Universal Studios – don’t worry). We’re both getting pretty excited about that, and have to keep reminding ourselves that we have a little holiday in Fiji before that. Nina told me the other day that she has seen Elijah Wood in Wellington ‘loads of times’ but so far I have seen no evidence of him, which is a bit much I think. There are six days left for him to find me and ask me to live in the shire. That’s pretty much all my juicy gossip, so I will leave you now with this tragic tale of something that happened to me last night. There I was being a domestic goddess and cooking a culinary masterpiece involving quite a lot of cayenne pepper. Forgetting that I had used my hands I adjusted my nose stud, and about 2 seconds later felt a horrific burning sensation. Yes, I got cayenne pepper stuck in my nose piercing. My nose hasn’t felt that horrible since I got a bit of snickers stuck up it. Half an hour later, I couldn’t take anymore and started rinsing my nose out. It was not an experience to be repeated. Dinner was nice though. Lots of love, and not too much cayenne pepper xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx