first, happy barfday, mara! normally i keep family out of this, but my sister's birthday is today and i thought you all should know.
we've been in the hinterlands of nz for the past couple weeks hence radio silence. we conquered two of new zealand's great walks, the milford track and the routeburn track, were boxed out of renting a car, still managed to putter our way down to invercargill and stewart island, and are currently living it up in the oh-so-scottish dunedin. somewhere in there we spent a number of nights in queenstown and te anau, where we didn't do much but watch films while recuperating from walking. we did arrive in queenstown just in time for the opening of patagonia, a new dessert cafe, where i ate no fewer than three desserts for dinner. i also applied for a job there, which i later turned down, as by that point i was already in invercargill. it also occurs to me that i don't yet have a government tax number.
the milford and routeburn tracks were outstanding. photos are currently being handcrafted one pixel at a time by the little gnomes that live in my camera. by the time we arrive back up north they should all be compiled into a series of picturesque scenes that i'll be able to show publicly. i think brendan said it best though, when he said something to the effect of, "the north island has lots of nice sections, but the south island is just epic." both of these great walks were packed front-to-back with nature's grandeur. mountains, waterfalls, forests, rivers, avalanche zones, and freeze-dried meals (not natural, but still grand at the end of a long day of hiking). it also had smaller pleasures too, like a couple of fantail birds that buzzed about us while we had a brief respite. brendan almost got one to land on his outstretched finger.
y'know how people who live above the mason-dixon line make fun of/fear people below it? well, invercargill is below the non-existent mason-dixon line in new zealand. it is the southernmost city in the country (there are towns further south, but they're all pretty small). via a connection i made while in wellington, we ended up crashing on the floor of some students at the local polytech university. they were a very hospitable bunch and we had some good conversations about music, food, and politics. we were even able to catch an episode of the daily show: global edition, which was much appreciated after months of a jon stewart-less existence. okay. anyway, i re-learned the term "munted," which means "beat-up" or "damaged." for instance a wrecked car would be considered munted, as in "that car is totally munted." or, another example might be "michael jackson's face is totally munted." or, "michael richard's career is munted." et cetera.
up in dunedin, we've checked out the local art scene (which is thriving), gone to two design exibitions, gone to the movies, talked to a very reasonable born-again, eaten a ton of baked goods ("not baked goods, professor! baked bads!"), found an excellent saturday farmers market, and done other sundry city-related things, like walking.
some south island stats...
live music acts heard: 11
movies seen: more than can be remembered
movies seen in theaters: 3 (the departed, borat, children of men)
movies seen featuring selma hayek: 2
books read: 1 and about half-a-dozen partially completed.
crepes eaten: 2 (nutella with banana and strawberry-rhubarb jam fillings)
cars driven: 1
pizzas consumed: 1
casseroles maquerading as pizzas consumed: 1
have a nice day.