Saturday, October 25, 2014

And Then There Was One...

Well... for those of you that haven't heard, I am back in New Zealand!

We all left Otautau in mid-September, said our painful goodbyes, and went back home to Missouri to see all our family and friends.  Cole is starting his new job in Bowling Green in November.  Rebecca and I had a house to buy, and I had to find a job (both of which are going very well).  Anyways, my next job wasn't going to start until February or March, and the clinic down here in Otautau still had a need so I agreed to come back down for 8 more weeks.  I will go back home in mid-December so don't worry, I will be home for the holidays.  Unfortunately, Rebecca didn't come with because she is starting her job soon as well...  we Skype everyday.  So for now, it looks like I'm the last man standing...

It was 30 hours of straight travel down here, with only a minimum amount of sleep.  I worked the very next day on Tuesday and had a full week.  I'm on call this weekend too, so I haven't left Otautau since being back, I haven't even gotten to Invercargil yet for any grocery shopping.  It's labor day weekend down here though so my first day off is Monday!  Can't wait to see some countryside again.

Otautau hasn't changed (surprised?), in a good way. It is peaceful, and I had a warm reception from all my friends in the community.  Spring has finally rolled back around down here, it is staying light until 8:30PM at the moment (and will get later and later to around 10PM).  All the flowers and trees are in bloom.

With the jet lag, I've been waking up early in the morning and going to bed early at night.  My first day off the plan I was awake 2 hours before I started clinic, so I took a little extra time commuting to Night Caps clinic, and took a few pictures around the neighborhood for everyone.

It's been a little cloudy and windy this week, but not much rain.  Everyone's flowers are blooming, and the cherry trees are beginning to shed their petals...  Longwood forest is off in the distance hiding in the mist.

Right across the street from our clinic is the old joinery (woodworking) building.  There are several more cherry trees down along main...

The road to Night Caps, the Takitimu's are still covered in snow...  Awww it's good to be back....

All the lambs are out and starting to grow up already... They are already past that "bouncy" lamb stage and are fattening up and getting a thicker coat.  These were the few lazy sheep next to me, watching me take pictures of the mountains.

I'll be down here for 8 weeks, and I promise to get some blogging in.  It will be another 2 weeks before I get a nice 3 day weekend to have some new adventures (I plan to get back up to Tekapo and get some more spring pictures of the lupins).  In the meantime I'll keep putting up posts from all the visitors we had.

Hope all is well wherever this is read, if we haven't talked in a while drop me an email!

Friday, October 3, 2014

East Coast Adventure: Dunedin to Oamaru

After our awesome West Coast Adventure, Erin and I decided to spend the following weekend exploring the East Coast a little bit. Our main destination was the Oamaru area.

First stop, though, was Dunedin to visit with the lovely Howells Family! Always a delight to see those two!

Then a quick visit to Tunnel Beach, of course. I think it was one of my favorite spots to visit. 
and it's not hard to see why

This time, however, there was a board blocking the entrance to the trail and it said 'closed for lambing'. I felt like this needed a little fact-checking before we completely gave up on the possibility of getting down there (It's a very large downhill hike to get to the beach). So a quick walk to the nearest house to ask about the lambing situation resulted in a solid answer of "there are no sheep down there. I don't know why that sign is there. Go for it, Mate".  And that's exactly what I wanted to hear!

So after a steep hike down, we got to play around at Tunnel Beach! 

Erin playing Queen of the Mountain. She had to fight the seagulls for the top spot.

So after our steep hike back out of Tunnel Beach, we headed on up the coast to the city of Oamaru. 
The Historic/Victorian District of Oamaru.  All the buildings were made of Oamaru limestone.

We had seen 'Pennyfarthing lessons' (that kind of bike is called a pennyfarthing) advertised, but the place to do it was closed... we were disappointed, but we quickly found other things to do. Oamaru was a very quirky town. The Victorian district is very quaint and neat with lots of interesting shops like these: 

Then, in direct opposition to the neat antique vibe of the old town, there's SteamPumk. I had thought Steampunk was just making lots of stuff out of metal and making it fun and interesting. Turns out, Steampunk has a lot more demonic/torture undertones! Lucky for us, the Steampunk HQ was right there in Oamaru, so we went to check it out.

They basically take old trains, boats, bikes, chairs, ...anything.  and then try to make it scary.

This display was one of the weirdest. The camera flash makes is look less intimidating, but most of this stuff is in a large dark warehouse, and you have to get pretty close to things before you can really see what's going on, then you're weirded out.

And there would be spots to stop and watch a bizarre short film, but your seats were dentist chairs and things like that. Just creepy.

But then mixed in the weirdness, there would be little things like this list of dietary habits of the 'down-trodden'. 

And this: 

This is the fearsome chap they mention in the sign.

Outside, they had more machinery to check out.

Back inside, we cut back through the main room to go down to the basement. But not until I had helped this guy with some internet research.

Down in the basement, there was a weird light show video that played on the brick wall.

I couldn't resist the opportunity to make shadow puppets.  The best part was when the light display made what looked like a hallway on the wall, and the bunny turned to look down the hallway. You probably had to be there to really appreciate how hilarious it was....

So being thoroughly uncomfortable by the end of the SteamPunk adventure, we needed to stop and appreciate this spring flowers that had bloomed along the street:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lake Matheson

You may recall my first visit to Lake Matheson was beautiful, but disappointing.
Well, the second attempt was perfect, and the views were worth walking the trail twice to see.


See? The cloudy day was still pretty, but just not the same. I knew there was something awesome hiding behind those clouds!

Mount Cook and surrounding peaks.

See? Just doesn't have the same appeal anymore!


And like I said, the trail itself was pretty nice too:

Something that wasn't so nice was this blatant disrespect for the rules:
I mean, the sign is pretty clear.

Oh well. Not even illegal parkers could steal our shine that day. The hike around Lake Matheson was pretty incredible.