Tag Archives: new zealand
My parents moved to New Zealand two years ago. This often confuses small-talk participants ('Wait, you're American, you live in Denmark and you go to New Zealand for Christmas? Is your dad Bernie Madoff?'), but it has its perks. When they're not trying to talk me into installing Skype, my parents send pictures of their upside-down travels. Dad fishes and paints, Mom bikes and reads the books I Amazon her for Christmas.
New Zealand is a weird place. The country is gossamer and gorgeous, but underpopulated as a Copenhagen Easter. As a result, all their pictures end up kinda looking like the sample desktops that come with your PC. It's not my parent's fault, they just live in a country without any foreground.
All this turquoise splendidry has been nice and all, but I seriously can't wait to get back to a proper city. I'm in dire need of good beer, crowded sidewalks, sunrise walks home, needlessly overdesigned architecture and non-parental human interaction. Seeya on the other side.
This morning I got up early and headed down to the beach. It’s the middle of summer here, but New Zealand gets all of its air directly from Antarctica, so it has 30-degree weather with 8-degree wind. This more or less means that you pack your parka and your sunscreen whenever you leave the house.
The beach was whitecappy paradise, and I hung out at a cafe, slowly choked the life out of The Dissertation That Wouldn’t Die, and watched kayakers get gust-raped.
Tomorrow I’m off to my favorite new Alps for a surreal summer crispmas. I don’t know what proper kiwis do to pageant-up this unholy celebration of a Jewish deity’s sketchy birth, but we’ll probably end up eating barbecued ham or something.
It's been an action-packed week here at the Summertime Ranch. Two days after my arrival I was treated to a visit by a buddy of mine from my halcyon Aarhus days, and we promptly took off on a roadtrip together.
Among the highlights:
Penguins (cute!), albatrosses (huge!), geologically mysterious glacier-rocks (round!) and a colony of sea lions (whiskers!) on the beaches north of Dunedin;
A trip to Milford Sound, which is actually not a sound but a fjord and features the verticalest fucking scenery I've ever seen;
Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki (yes, it sounds exactly like 'bukkake'; no, that never stops being funny), two glacier-fed stopoffs in the middle of the South Island's interior, which has roughly the population of a homecoming dance;
We frosted it off with a big night out in Christchurch, a 300,000-strong minipolis on the west coast. None of the shenanigans were documented (they sell Red Bull and Jaegermeister together here. That's not fair.), though that's probably for the best. One sleepy bus ride later, I'm back in Dunedin; laid back; with my mind on my dissertation and my dissertation on my mind.
So here I am, sitting in my parents' house in Dunedin, New Zealand, on a clear, Saturday, summer morning. Getting down here required the unholy convergence of four different flight companies, plus assorted shuttle-buses, customs-lines, quarantines and immig-terrogations, and I'm genuinely suprised I made it on time, alive and un-frisked by the Honh Kong police.
I'll be spending the next few days dissertating and getting my bearings in my parents' old-fashioned, hilly little college town.
Well, this is it. Winter Avoidance '07 starts tomorrow. Here's the current 'tinerary
London, UK: 2 days.
I used to live there, Son, and I miss the joint. As well as doing all my Christmas shopping, I'll be beering up with my old Belfast buddy (I call him Troubles) and couch-surfing with Ivan, a Sardinian I used to translate rap lyrics for in Aarhus. Weather and sobriety permitting, my only two goals are to see the Tate Modern and visit my favorite neighborhood sandwich place for a brie-and-bacon toasty. Yes, motherfucker, brie and bacon. Leaving the Healthic countries has its benefits.
Dunedin, New Zealand: 1 month.
I'm officially supposed to be devoting all my New Zealand time to my dissertation, but I'm already getting sidetracked. As well as a 5-day road trip courtesy of another of my favorite Italians from the Aarhus Era, my parents have booked us A Very Mountain Christmas up in Queenstown. My dad'll probably talk me into going fly fishing a few times, plus there's bike-riding, rock-climbing and sheep-counting to compete for my time as well.
This is what I have to look forward to:
OK, so it's raining. Look at those temperatures, though. I haven't seen the business end of 60 degrees since July.
Sydney, Australia: 10 days
Yet another of my adulthood-postponement Study Abroads, I haven't been to Sydney since I lived there in 2001. I have no plans for this leg of my journey yet, but between my Sydney friend Chris, who gave me a day-by-day schedule of what I should be doing with my down-under gayness, and Sheila, who is possibly the most culturally literate Sydneysider alive, I should be able to enjoy myself. It's like having an Id and a Superego built into your Lonely Planet guide.
Return to Denmark: Jan 20, 2008:
I'll be coming back to a new year and a new job (is there a patron saint of work visa approval? If so, light a candle for me), and I'm actually excited to see what Denmark is like when you're not stressed out about school and money all the time. Probably about the same, 'cept with less cursing.
I'll be posting boastful photos of the next six, summerly weeks. Have a good winter without me, Denmark.