Tim & Anja's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

This is an Argo or as I learned "a tank without a...

Quad bikes all lined up

My bike enjoying the view

Snow capped mountains off in the distance and the Pacific ocean in...

View from our camp ground in Kaikoura

Mountain scenery along the way to Hanmer

Last weekend I (Tim) spent a weekend away from Christchurch leading a group of students on a field trip about 2 hours north up the coast in Kaikoura. When Anja and I visited the small town on our tour, we kind of came away with an okay view because the weather was bad, but this time it was a glorious, sunny day, kinda cool, but perfect for riding around on some quad bikes. The students are part of that American study abroad group at the university in town that I advise part time, and although my predecessor in the job organized the trip, she couldn't go so I jumped on as the 'new guy' and chaperoned. It was a fun group, 3 guys and 9 woman, and all seemed to have a good time. No one did anything stupid like tumbling off a cliff or got stuck in too much mud. I even got to ride around a little, something I didn't expect, but a few of the students wanted to ride in the argo instead. Yes, a vehicle I had never heard of, but was referred to as a "tank without a top", before I saw and experienced it. Alistair, our guide, drove up front with one passenger, and four others squeezed in the back. I wouldn't say the ride was comfortable, but adequate, only until he would turn and go 'off road' and we'd fall all over the place and hold on for our dear life. Very cool!!! We even rode up a fairly deep stream and managed to get a bit wet, but we didn't care because we had welly boots and jackets on, and yes, helmets too for you safety nuts out there. We ended the day by enjoying a tasty barbecue with snow tipped mountains in the background in one direction, and ocean off in the distance in the other.

The next day we headed to Hanmner Springs, a small little resort type town, on the way back to Christchurch and the highlight was definitely the hot pools. It ended up raining, but we didn't care because we were soaking in 39 degree water. Very hot, but you get used to it. At first it is odd to be there in your swimsuit, with 'lifegaurds' walking around with bulky winter jackets on, and in this case umbrellas, but it's well worth the experience.

After my soccer game this weekend I could have used a soak in those hot pools again. After my performance last week with three goals, I was nervous expectations would be high, but things turned out alright. We won 2-1 (no goals for me), the other team was much better than last week, and it was a close fought game. I came away with a few bumps and bruises, even got the wind knocked out of me after this one dude plowed in to me, that hasn't happened in a while. There is no official referee in this league, just a guy from each team refs a half, so the play is physical with slide tackling all over the place. But I get a good run around, and the guys seem pretty cool. I'm now 'Tim the yank" with the international crowd of a few British blokes, and a guy from South Africa too.

Otherwise things are going swell. We've been enjoying having internet access at home, expect recently when the provider had a server break and we were disconnected from the world for 3 days. Not sure where their back up system was, but after 45 minutes waiting on the help line I gave up, and tried not to be too angry. One reason why this update is coming a bit late. The tax job is pretty boring now, but it's nice to earn some money and try to save a little too (so we can buy our ticket home :). Friday is casual day, but they call it 'mufti' day here, not sure about the full story on that one. The part time university gig is slow now, but soon I'll be flying up to Wellington for two days of meetings, and then up to Auckland in early July for a four day orientation with a new group of students. I'm looking forward to that. In the meantime, I'm keeping my ears and eyes open for maybe a different job, what do you think of this one I saw: "Looking for someone with a genuine American accent to work with us in making animal training videos". Not sure what to expect, but I contacted them and we'll see what happens.

My sister is now in a band back in Seattle, and she played on the radio recently. She mailed me a copy of the CD which was super cool. Now we can listen to some tunes in our tiny little cottage, and my sister is a rock star!!! Well, not quite, but she plays a pretty mad violin in this group and it sounds awesome. I'm happy for her.

I must say I miss my Red Sox, and the only thing to really replace it with here is the rugby. The good thing about Christchurch is it's the home of the champion rugby team, and last night they won their semifinal match and play at home again next week in the finals. Reminds me a little of the Patriots and Red Sox championships living in Boston, maybe there will be another parade to celebrate. I must say I am pumped for the World Cup in only about two weeks, there might be some bleary eyed mornings with the time change. Ugh.

Hope you're happy and healthy with whatever you're up to. Stay in touch!!!!

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