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Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a fun ride

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Milford Sound and Earthquake Preparedness

 Next stop Milford Sound. I came all the way back to New Zealand to see this darned thing and fortunately, it was mostly good weather. 
This boat was pretty neat but it wasn't ours...

....this catamaran was and it included a buffet which had pork belly!
But not before a frantic shuffle between all 4 boat companies, none of which could find my reservation...and there is no internet, no phone, no nothing. $5 dollars later, Trevor had a satellite connection to my gmail and the first desk that sent me away, all of a sudden found me in their system.

But I didn't come all the way back to New Zealand just for Hokey Pokey ice cream and Milford but to see my good friends Leslie and Holming.

And the sound was awesome! 


Driving back, had Trevor stop for this photo. Reminded me of the steps to Mordor. 

Mirror ponds.

And this time we got an actual room with 3 separate beds. 

We went for dinner at an Italian restaurant where everyone loved their meal.

Especially me with a bolognaise using local beef.

The girls fell asleep and I just had to take this cute photo. 
(hope they don't mind)

The next day was horseback riding in Paradise but not without breakfast!

The van picked us up in town and drove along the lake. 

This valley was the film spot for the riders of Rohan charging against the hoard facing Minas Tirith

And more gorgeous road to go.

Meet Cort. I was convinced he was one of the dead horses from Dunharrow.

 But in spite of a horse with less vigor and pep than my grandmother it was still a great day because of the awesome scenery.

Rose and Liane were doing well on their mounts.

This was the scene where Boromir dies and Aragorn fights Lurtz.
Its also the scene where Gimley could have been shot in the dark by the Elves.  

And this is the valley of Isengard.  

OK OK, enough with the Lord of the Rings but geeze, I swear, everywhere you look, you can see how it was filmed here. 

We headed back to Qeenstown and found this cool bar. Cowboys.

The next morning I took a bus to get to Christchurch and went by Lake Tekapo. The blue was amazing. Glacier water is different.  

Shortly after this stop, we all got back on the bus and started to panic. My jacket was gone. 
The girl in front of me, napsac was gone.
The guy across from me was missing his bag....

Oops. Wrong bus. 

Gets better. Tire blew out. 

So I decided to take a stroll down this lovely country road. 

Made some new friends. Very noisy ones at that. 

And this nervous horse who likes apples.  

I took a little grass break and found this cool mushroom so I took a photo of my travel Hello Kitty under it.

Now I got a bit bored and ventured out behind a house and found these 3 very skinny, very scared dogs. It pissed me off so much that I left a note in the mail box about what I thought of the treatment of these poor animals. 

No visit to New Zealand would be complete without a photo of sheep. There are more of them than people.

Arrived in Christchurch after dark. Perhaps that was for the best too since the city has hardly begun to recover from the earthquakes that hit almost 2 years ago.

Went for my usual morning hot chocolate. They like to put marshmallows on top. 

And the usual meat pie. 

The following photos won't be happy ones but I felt it was a haunting city and quite sobering seeing just how everything can grind to a halt overnight. 
No banks.
No grocery or markets.
No gas stations.
Nothing....except the sound of power tools, bull dozers and buildings being torn down. The locals call it the sounds of progress.

New Regent street was just re-opened that day.

But most of all the store fronts were still empty.

I found a salon on the 2nd floor and loved this sign. You can see my reflection in the glass. 

A common image. Containers are being used to store valuables while homes are rebuilt. Buttress buildings until they can be fortified. 

It really was so I turned towards  the park and enjoyed some beauty for a couple of hours.  

A future off road rider....

The rose garden.

Was walking down the path under gigantic trees and these little nuts kept raining down on my head. Ping, pong! 

Finally, a bank. Yup, in a container. 

Arka, are you hungry?

Someone clever decided to use containers as store fronts. The district is called Re:START

And I found a designer fudge shop. 

Not sure why this tree was painted orange but I liked it so....

This was my hostel. Forgot to take a picture of the room. 4 Twin beds and a lot of space. It was great. 

But what is up with these tiny sinks?

So a little word about earthquake (or any disaster preparedness). 
Do it. 
Google the list.
And get off your butt and do it.
At the very least here are my top 5.

Cash. Small bills. At least a few hundred.
Plan B. Have a place to go out of your immediate area.
Gas. Always keep at least half a tank. 
Water (at least 5 gallons).
Food in cans. (enough for a week)

Good luck.