We Have Transportation

 Daniel found a bike for himself first…

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Then we added a trailer for the wee one in our family who was completely worn out with walking.

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Finally, a proper bike was procured for myself. (I’m so pleased there’s a sign here dedicated to keeping Aunties safe.) I, in particular, need all the help I can get. See next picture for the reason why.

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This has become my mantra. As I wrote home, if you think round-abouts are tricky in the States, try it on a bike. In a country where everyone is going the opposite direction. Those left-hand turns in the states where a green arrow is so nice, are the opposite here; it’s the RIGHT hand turns to fret over. I’m still working on getting it in my mind that you’re to look right first when walking, keep to the left when walking on the sidewalk, and of course drive on the left. So I appreciate little reminders like this, directly in front of my front bicycle tire. Oh, excuse me, tyre.

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There is a nice bike bath on the edge of town with this view on one side, and the bay of the Pacific ocean on the other.

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One nice thing about not only New Zealand, but Germany as well, is the lack of stop signs. You just give way, give way, give way and it’s really handy. Especially in neighborhoods where a complete stop is kind of silly at every intersection. I tell you, the USA goes a little overboard with their stop signs.

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 On this particular outing, we had just been to the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in town. We have gone every Saturday so far, and the best buy we’ve found are the apples for $3.50 per 2 kilos.

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Helmets are required for all cyclists down here, even those who ride in a little trailer. Of course, this little passenger had to have a pink one. Fortunately the second-hand store had one her size, with flowers. Bonus!

 

First Saturday in Nelson

:: Breakfast in the sunshine ::

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:: Trial class at the Gym for Preschoolers ::
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:: Almond-Date Tart at the Farmer’s Market downtown ::
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:: Poppies on our walk home ::
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:: Did I mention that it can be really long walk at times? ::

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:: Spying our house from a distance ::
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:: Our street ::
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:: Home ::

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:: The moon coming up over the mountain behind the house ::

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In Which We Arrive and Settle In

Things started out well in Sydney, waiting to get to New Zealand. We had one flight to Auckland, then one final short one to Nelson. We waited happily, and then, continued to wait as our flight got delayed 3 times. That was about 2 times too many, but we were hopeful that we would still make the flight to Nelson.

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Oh my, was this girlie tired. Not with jet lag, but simply lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of…being in a house? She was beginning to reach the breaking point of traveling. Nothing was going right and to make matters worse, her ears began bothering her at every landing.

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So we arrived in Auckland, but not soon enough. We rushed through customs and hurried as fast as we could all the way across parking lots following the green line to the domestic terminal, but alas. We missed our flight. But my ever persevering husband did not give up and burst into tears like Natasha was doing, or like his wife felt like doing. He determined taking a bus or renting a car was still not not as sensible as buying new tickets, so after doing just that, he rallied his troops with some takeaway (not “to-go” as we say) and off we went.

I think we had the last 3 seats available on this flight, and it placed Daniel with Natasha in the very back against the wall, and me a couple rows in front. While I was able to spend the 2ish hours getting to know more about New Zealand from my row companion (a gentleman who told me he works out of Auckland and has a boring job: An international pilot), Daniel struggled almost the entire flight with an very unruly and sleep-deprived, screaming and kicking 4 year old.

But we finally arrived in Nelson, New Zealand, our new home for the next three months. It was just like the movies, stepping off the plane and down the open stairs on the tarmac and meeting Nelson in the windy, dark night. I’m sure we looked a little ragged, but the pilot who I sat beside on the plane was all too kind and still offered us a ride to our new home.

(By the way, neither he, nor our landlady who greeted us, could believe what we carried was all our luggage. Can you tell I’m still a wee bit pleased about not over-packing?)

The next morning, things were looking much, much brighter.

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We spent the day doing absolutely nothing but finding food for our fridge (huge matter of importance), e-mailing home, trying out the trampoline, watching the goats watch us, and enjoying the view from our deck.

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The house is ideal, with little amenities that I am thrilled to have. Like, Natasha can reach the bathroom sink to wash her hands without a stool. The kitchen is well stocked, even with a muffin tin and a french press. It’s a bright sunny house, with windows everywhere, so it’s not dark at all. We have our very own washing machine and clothesline, which is *really* wonderful. (Those of you who know the story of me washing cloth diapers in Panama will understand my genuine happiness about that.) Natasha has her own room, and our landlord was kind enough to add some children’s books and stuffed animals for her to play with. There’s a “BBQ” on the deck for us to use, and of course, the previously seen trampoline. And, there’s even a full length mirror. That might seem very trivial, but it’s nice to know what you look like before dashing out the door.

I think we’re going to like it here. :)

 

 

A Day in Sydney

{August 5th, 2014} We {gratefully} interrupted our flight schedule to spend a day and night in Sydney. Our flight from Jakarta arrived early August 5th, we were able to shower and regroup before doing a bit of sight-seeing. That night, we slept in real beds in a quaint little one-room guest house in an Sydney family’s back yard, before starting out the next morning to New Zealand. Here’s a tip on using the trains in Sydney: Don’t buy tickets at the airport.

They’re about 4 times more expensive because of airport specific taxes! We did the slightly odd thing, and walked out of the airport over roads that had traffic streaming in and drivers looking at us funny, before finding a nice walking/biking path that took us to a regular train station. The ~1 mile walk to another station (Tempe) saved us about $36 AUD.

This was just one of the many times I was happy we weren’t lugging a ton of luggage around. After a lovely lunch at the Sideways Cafe, we headed off to see some wild animals of Australia. This particular “Light Rail” train\track section is very new, only about 100 days old. You pay once you’re on the train by handing money (which we didn’t have yet) to the kind ticket-master. We hadn’t changed any money yet, and they don’t take credit card like some of the other trains, but he was very friendly and kept saying we could have this ride on Sydney, and winked at us. 09-056

The Australian Animal Adventure Park is at Darling Harbour, with a terrific view of the water and the city.

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These frogs made us laugh. Can you see them, just perched on a leave like a big fat lump? 10-062

Zoo Keeper Janel with a baby Tasmanian Devil.

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Sitting on a wombat.

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Posing with a wallaby.

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The kangaroos weren’t being very photogenic but this fella stood very still and stately for us. 15-081

See the koala?

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Ringo, the crocodile, was incredibly huge. I had no idea they got this big. 17-086

Darling Harbour:

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After this picture, Natasha proceeded to go around to each statue and imitate its position. 20-093

We will have about 2 more days in Sydney when we return to the States, so we’ll be able to do more sightseeing then. But this was a fine little outing to welcome us Down Under. 21-096