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Apr. 24th, 2011

Greetings from Middle Earth

Two days of left-hand side driving with no crashes, roadkill, or panic attacks. (Okay, I confess, one panic attack at Porter's pass with a SHEER DROPOFF just a few centimeters the road. Had to talk myself through that one.) But it's some of the most gorgeous countryside I've ever seen. Also met a "wild" parrot at a car park who, once he discovered I had almonds, practically attacked me for the bag. Pictures coming soon.

I spent last night on the shores of Lake Palmer, listening to the rain fall. Typical camping, right? But woke up to a stunningly gorgeous day, had a couple of very strong flat whites loaded with zucker, and met the van to take me to Edoras. (Well, Mount Sunday to the locals, but Meduseld to us, right?) Wow! I can't describe how amazing it was to be standing there on this craggy outcrop surrounded by the scenery that I recognised so well. The tour guide was quite a character himself - an ex-pastor who sure liked to talk (glad he enjoyed LOTR talk more than god talk) and seemed to be having as much fun as we did. Our group was interesting - an Indian family from Tasmania with a little baby, two Norwegian guys, a Chinese guy from Melbourne, and a girl from the Hague who's working in Auckland now. The family kept to themselves so the rest of us just tramped all over the place, and had some interesting discussions with the Dutch girl and Australian guy who bemoaned how people didn't work hard enough in NZ and Australia and had good lives without working hard and never had to want for anything; the Norwegians and I were going, "Yeah, sure do hate that!"

And then we slaughtered them with our genuine Middle Earth swords! MWUAHAHAHAHA. No, but we did have swords (Narsil and whatever Eowyn's was called) as well as Gimli's axe, so we could have. Instead we just exchanged email addresses for photograph swaps and were terribly civil about everything.

But no, we really did all get along pretty well. Guess that's the thing when you're submerged in geek culture. It really was a lovely day. And it was clear and unseasonably warm and the winds were whipping past me and it was just unbelievable. I can't even imagine how much more thrilling it's going to be when I get to Gondor. (Er, um, Queenstown.)

That's a few days off still. Tomorrow I'm heading to Oamaru via a very winding route that our tour guide recommended, past Fairlie and Lake Tekapo and Pelennor Fields (er, Twizel), where I am sure to shed a tear. Then if I hit Oamaru at the right time, I should be able to see the Little Blue Penguins AND the yellow-eyed penguins. [info]alsha you should be getting a call!

But tonight I broke down and got a real hotel room in Methven, which was probably a good idea because being chauffeured around all day is exhausting. *g* I'll take a much-needed shower and then read a bit. I just started a great new book last night, but after the disappointment of the last one I just finished, I'm cautious of tremendous beginnings because they seem to always fall flat. (Please Emily Carr and Katherine Dunn, I know you are top-selling authors, but please let me rewrite your endings, okay?)

OK, that's enough blather I suppose. I can't wait to get my pictures uploaded, expect picspam soon!!

Apr. 20th, 2011

Quite likely the longest post I've ever written

There is way too much to update, and I don’t know where to start – and as it turns out, I know some of my friends don’t even know what is happening or where I am, since I’ve been so sporadic about updating stuff. So maybe I will do this with numbers. Yes, that’s a good idea.

Mar. 15th, 2011

Self-indulgent picspam

To celebrate the (agonising) completion of my 1000 words today (which will soon be edited back into oblivion) and purchase (for a completely ludicrous amount of money) of a cardreader (so I can retrieve my pics from my camera), please to be enjoying this picspam.

Hope you enjoyed the picspam. The next one will feature Things Wot I Am Eating!

Mar. 13th, 2011

Trees, jetlag, thingy & the other thingy

I’ve been in New Zealand for a little over two weeks now. Sometimes it feels like I’ve only just arrived; other times like I’ve been living here forever. I thought I should try to record some of my impressions and thoughts for later; they might not be interesting to anybody but me, but I suspect that looking back on them a year from now will make me smile.