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January 14, 2007


All right everyone, here are some pics from our big trip. I'll put them below the fold so as not to crowd the rest of the story..

sm-img_1547.jpg The view, looking down, from the top of Auckland's Sky Tower.
sm-img_1555.jpg The Sweetness, looking all cute whilst making lunch in our Spaceship.
sm-img_1570.jpg The Greatness zorbs..
sm-img_1587.jpg The Craters of the Moon geothermal park. Spooky.
sm-img_1597.jpg Mt. Tongariro and associated volcanic peaks in the National Park. This is so Middle-Earth!
sm-img_1621.jpg Unexplained "pancake rocks" at Punakaiki.
sm-img_1633.jpg Scaling the Franz Josef glacier. Pretty extreme, don't you think? We have cred now.
sm-img_1670.jpg A piece of the road at Arthur's Pass through the Southern Alps.
sm-img_1705.jpg Punting on the Avon (not us) in Christchurch.
sm-img_1729.jpg At the harbor on Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands.
sm-img_1734.jpg Words fail to explain the awesomeness of the Palace Burger in Rarotonga.
sm-img_1735.jpg Another perfect beachfront in the South Pacific..

Posted by The Greatness at 08:20 PM | Comments (1)

January 08, 2007

Back to Halifax

... and it's not really much colder here than it was in New Zealand.

I'll have pics later this week, but right now I'll just sum up the end of the trip. Last stop in Christchurch was the International Antarctic Centre, home base for the U.S., N.Z., and Italian Antarctic programs. Jen and I survived a ride on a genuine Antarctic all-terrain vehicle and a simulated "Condition 1" Antarctic storm (though, really, I've gone grocery shopping in Halifax in similar conditions, so it wasn't all that impressive.) Still interesting to see the "last stop" before Antarctica, however.

Then later that night, we flew to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, arriving 19 hours before we left. It's on our side of the Date Line, you see. Our host picked us up at the airport and showed us our room for the trip, which turned out to be more spartan than either of us had expected. And noisy! I swear, there must have been a dozen roosters within a mile of us, all crowing in unison from 4am on. Welcome to paradise, I guess. Rarotonga was very warm and humid, and one of our two days there turned out to be a public holiday so nothing was really open. I'm not sorry I went -- it's beautiful, and outside of the big resorts it's not at all touristy, which is what I wanted to experience. They say the Cook Islands are like Hawaii was 50 years ago, tourism-wise. Jen and my sober judgment: we'll come back in 50 years.

From there it was back to Auckland, to catch a flight to Fiji, then to Los Angeles and a visit with Jill again, then to Toronto and finally to Halifax, yesterday at 1:30pm AST. After three weeks, six time zones, and goodness knows how many air miles, we're back. And we're beat -- but it was a memorable trip!

Posted by The Greatness at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)