A Travellerspoint blog

One month ago today........

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.........was the last time I blogged.

Some of you are probably wondering what the heck is going on. Well, maybe not. But just say that you have been and it will make me feel much better about myself.

My flat mate, Lena, left Russell about a week and a half ago to get ready for her trip to Australia. I took her out for coffee and cake. We went to a restaurant called “Gannett’s” which is owned by a very nice German man that Lena got to know while she was here. She asked if he would make apple cake for his “cake of the day” right before she left as it’s her favorite kind of cake. He said he would and he ended up making her a whole cake for herself. It was like an apple crumble and it was quite tasty.

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Then later that night she came into The Gables to have dinner as Bernard makes dinner for all his employees when they leave. Very nice. I got to serve her and it was really fun.

Replacing Lena are two very nice girls from England named Sam and Suzanne. We all get on very well. I share a room with Sam but I call her “Samwise” as anyone who knows me would expect. Aki and Suzanne are in the other room. We’ve been having a very good time working and living together. Although there hasn’t been very much working going on. The weather here always changes as it does when you live by the ocean. For two days it’ll be very sunny and absolutely gorgeous but then the next two days it rains cats and dogs and that effects whoever works in the garden bar as you can’t really open the garden bar if it’s pouring down outside. I haven’t really lost any hours since I’m inside all the time but I do feel bad for the girls as they are only here five weeks and they need to save up a lot of money for Australia which is their next stop. I told them it should get better after Christmas as Bernard and Megan told us that’s when it picks up every year.

Speaking of work, we have now changed to the summer menu and The Gables is now a fish specialty restaurant. Meaning that I now get to go to all the tables with a tray of dead fish telling the customers about all the different kinds that we got in fresh that day and then they pick it out. Once it’s cooked, we then get to go out to the table and fillet it for them. And they get the whole dead fish. It’s really crazy and it’s something I never thought I’d do as a waitress but hey, there’s a first time for everything. Here's Suzanne filleting her first fish:

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It wasn’t as easy for Sam as it was for me. Sam has a phobia of dead fish and was not aware that she would have to be around dead fish at work all day. Bernard did not make it aware that they would be cutting up bits of fish for the next five weeks. The first day that we had a go at it she started to cry and at first I thought she was upset for the fish as she’s a vegetarian but she was just straight up scared of the face. But since then she has filleted many fish and has overcome her fear. I’m so proud of her!!!

She also overcame her fear of heights and did a sky jump at Lake Taupo which is the middle of the north island. Go Samwise!!!

Time has gone by in Russell extremely fast. November came and went. I honestly think that that is the fastest a month has EVER gone by for me. It was literally over and done with. I also realized about two weeks ago that I have been in New Zealand now for five months. Which would make it five and a half months now. Crazy. That really trips me out, especially considering how I’ve been wanting to come here for the last seven years. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. Although I haven’t had much fun in Russell. It’s pretty boring. But since there have been more people in the flat it’s a bit more entertaining. The other night we got some beers and watched some scary movies. Always a good idea, if you ask me.

I’m really excited for the next three months to get over with. ‘Cause that means Curtis will be visiting!!! I’m excited to see more of the country and with someone who I’ve known for a long time. I already have tons of ideas of what we can do and see. And I can’t wait to get back to the south island as I like it a lot better. And I want him to meet all of the friends that I’ve made. YAY!!!

I’ve been listening to my ipod a lot lately as it was broken for awhile. For some reason, it refused to turn off. I don’t get it either, but whatever. So I had to charge it every night if I wanted to listen to it the next day so after awhile I just got tired of doing that and just let it die. Then one day it just started working again out of the blue. Which I’m really glad it did ‘cause there are tons of great songs that go along with the scenery while I’m walking to work. I wish that it would’ve worked in Christchurch. There would’ve been some great songs for the scenery there. I came up with a list of some of the songs that go perfect with Russell scenery. And also with the scenery that I saw while taking the bus from Auckland to Paihia. And they are, in no particular order:

“I’m Waiting for the Man” David Bowie
This is one of those songs I play on my way to work to give myself some energy and to put me in a good mood for the day. Plus, the song just flat out rocks. It’s the live version.

“America” Simon and Garfunkel I think this song would go well with any kind of scenery but it sure goes well with the scenery here.

“Nineteen hundred and eighty five” Wings This is much like the David Bowie song mentioned above. Freaking awesome song. Good for getting you pumped up.

“Man on the Moon” R.E.M. Love it. Good for a slow walk.

“Corrina, Corrina” Bob Dylan Beautiful song and again, good for a slow walk when you just want to observe your surroundings.

“The Rain Song” Led Zeppelin I actually listened to this song when it was raining here and it truly is a rain song.

“Nude” Radiohead I listened to this on the bus ride up here and with the rolling green hills in the background it was a perfect match.

“That’s the Way” Led Zeppelin Another great road trip song.

“Jack-ass” Beck I’ve always loved this song. Yet another song to add to the road trip playlist.

“In My Time of Dying” Led Zeppelin I don’t know if it’s just ‘cause I like this song a lot or not because it’s one of those jamming songs that lasts forever but the lyrics really stand out to me and I listened to it in Russell for the first time.

“Cemeteries of London” Coldplay I love this song and it’s kinda eerie which the title would suggest. But it’s awesome.

There are others, of course. But they represent more of time here in New Zealand so far, not necessarily just the scenery. But that list is for another time.

Here's a cute photo of Timone sleeping in a box I got in the mail:

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Little bugger.

Posted by Squarabara 17:20 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

Just a quickie.....

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Now that my tattoo is finished healing, I was able to take a photo to post on here for you all to see. And here it is:

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I titled it "Finished" Tattoo as that is the finished product of the artist but I do not feel that it is finished. I want more work to be done on the flowers because I don't like how they look so I'm gonna get someone else to do some revamping on it, if you will. Add some white and all that. 'Cause I don't think they look ANYTHING like the flowers on the tree of Gondor. But it's easily fixable. Other than that, I love it. I can't believe I actually got one done, to be honest. "It's quite cool."

FYI.....everything else is good and I'm just taking each day as it comes and counting down the days until I can leave Russell and get back to the south island. YAY!!!

Posted by Squarabara 18:23 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

More photos from Russell.....

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Hey all:

There was a gorgeous sunset last week on the Russell waterfront that I just had to take a photo. Check it out:

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Isn't it beautiful??? I can't wait to see more of those. And at nighttime, the amount of stars that are in the sky is unbelievable. I could stand outside for hours just looking at the stars.

I also took this photo of the church here in Russell which just happens to be New Zealand's oldest church:

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The first white woman ever born in New Zealand is buried there. Interesting.

And last but not least, this is Timon:

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He's Rowan's cat and he is a sweetheart. He gets hair everywhere though. But I still love him.

In other news, everything is fine here. I was having doubts earlier this week about wether or not I wanted to stay in Russell for the summer 'cause it truly is very boring here. But I'm gonna be making a lot of money and I want to be able to do things with Curtis when he comes to visit. I'd rather be bored for a few months and make some money than leave now and not be able to do anything when my friend comes to visit. That would just not be fun at all. So I have decided to stay. And it's really not that bad.

I'd like to ask you all to keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. I found out yesterday that my Uncle Robby died. His parents found him in his apartment in California. They aren't sure yet exactly what happened but they will be doing an autopsy soon. It's a really rough time for them right now so please say a prayer for them.

On a more positive note, America has elected the first black president!!! I think that's awesome. I have a feeling that he will do good things for the country. Hopefully get the economy back up and running. And get the troops back home!!! I know of a lot of happy people in the states right now.

Well, that is all for now and as always I'll be in touch with any new updates. Take care!!!

Posted by Squarabara 17:51 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Pictures from Paihia/Russell!!!

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Nothing too exciting, I'm afraid. I haven't really gone out to do anything but I can definitely show you what I have so far.

From when I first arrived in the Bay of Islands, these are the photos I took while I was in Paihia:

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YAY!!! The following photos are from the town of Russell. This is what you see when you walk out of the restaurant that I work at:

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The next bit is some of the restaurant that I work in. In the back we have a garden bar that looks like this:

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And this is my flatmates and I who work at the restaurant:

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From left to right it's Aki, me and Lena. Aki is from Hong Kong and Lena is from Germany. They are both lovely ladies!!!

This is my boss, Bernard:

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That is one cool little French dude!!!

The next pictures are of the inside of The Gables which is the area I work in:

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Okay, so it's just one photo. But I did take photos of the artwork that is on the wall that I just LOVE!!! It's by this guy named Alan Scott and his work is some of the best I've seen it awhile 'cause it's so different from anything else I've seen. Check it out:

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The last one with the castle is my favorite. I think this guy rocks.

Okay, so here are some pics of our new home for the summer:

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View of the front.
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View from our porch.
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That's Lena getting ready for bed. We share a room. It's not bad at all. We get on very well so we are the perfect flatmates. =)
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And that's Lena in the kitchen making us her homemade pizza. It was SO good.

In other news, work is good. Slow, but good. Pretty easy, to be honest. And today in New Zealand it is Halloween so I want to wish my mother a happy New Zealand birthday!!! YAY MOMMY!!!

I also want to say hi to my lovely English ladies in Chrstchurch who will be going to Francis' Halloween party. Lucky ducks. Oh!!! Speaking of ducks, we see tons of them around our flat all the time!!! Check it out:

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They are so cute!!!

Okay, hello to everyone at Charlie B's........I miss you SO MUCH!!! I wish I was back on the south island so I can dress up with you all tonight. Have fun and take tons of photos for me!!!

Bye everyone, talk to you all soon!!!

Posted by Squarabara 17:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Hello, Bay of Islands!!!

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Well, I have made it to the lovely Bay of Islands and it is just gorgeous here!!! I am so excited that this is where I'll be spending the summer months. Just like Queenstown, everywhere you look is a picture perfect view. I will be posting pics as soon as I can get batteries for my camera so I can actually take the pics!!!

I left Auckland this last Friday on a coach bus. The ride was so beautiful. Rolling green hills, little towns, a few rivers here and there. Gorgeous. It was about a 4 hour drive and halfway through we stopped at a cafe called "The Swinging Cow Cafe". And there was a picture of a cow with her rear end facing you and her udders swinging in the breeze. Lovely. Then when you went to the bathroom the ladies door has a picture of a cow and it said "heifers" underneath it. I know someone who will get a kick out of that. I arrived in Paihia which is the main town in the Bay of Islands. It’s beautiful. I stayed at a backpackers called the Saltwater Lodge. Very nice. New, clean, comfortable beds. After checking in, I decided to get something to eat as I was not up for cooking after traveling all day. Right next door to the backpackers is a place called The Salty. They gave me a coupon for a pizza meal deal and it was SO good. I got a little mini pizza, some garlic bread, a salad and a pint of beer. All for 12 dollars which is REALLY good in New Zealand. It was the perfect meal. That night I only shared the 4 bedroom dorm with one other person. She was from England and she was headed out the next day so I didn’t get too much time to get to know her.

The next day started out really nice. But like all island weather it changes every minute. First it was hot, then it was cold, then it started to rain. But it didn’t start to rain until after I had explored the town a bit, so that was good. Paihia is a really awesome town. When the summer season kicks off, it’s really gonna be a fun place to be. Lots of little shops, restaurants, bars and what not. The beach is right there and you can see Russell across the way plus some of the smaller islands in between the two towns. I took a walk on the beach and you wouldn’t believe all the beautiful shells that wash up on the shore. They’re HUGE!!! And so pretty. There are some rock pools nearby with shellfish and starfish. So awesome. I went to the nearest supermarket to pick up some stuff for dinner and thank god they had Dr. Pepper there. I really didn’t think that they would have it, being that it’s such a small town. But they did. And not only did they have it, but it was the cheapest price I have paid for it yet at $1.50 a can!!! I was in shock. Needless to say, I was a happy camper.

When I got back to the hostel, I met a girl named Emily who was from Arkansas. YAY!!! Someone from the states!!! I haven’t met many at all. The funny thing was, she saw that I had Dr. Pepper and said “Oh!!! Any time I can find Dr. Pepper I get as many as I can!!!”. It was so funny. I told her how I drink it like water and she said she does the same. “I paid 3 dollars for a can in Auckland!!!”. “Oh yeah??? I paid $3.50 for a can in Queenstown!!!” So funny. She went out after that and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her again before I left. There was one other lady who was staying in the room named Beverly. She was from Vancouver and she just retired from teaching high school. I thought it was so awesome that she was going around traveling on her own and doing it old school style. Most women her age would want a room to themselves in a posh hotel. But she was just fine with staying in a hostel with other travelers. Awesome. She was out on the deck drinking red wine and eating cheese and crackers and I sat down and started talking to her and we talked for a good hour or so about what our plans are and where we came from and all that good stuff. She was so easy to talk to. She then went down to make herself some dinner and she came back up to ask if I wanted any. She made a salad and she had too much so she shared with me. So nice!!! After that, she went off to go see a Maori show that they do every night in town.

Speaking of Maori, I went to a show when I was in Christchurch that I forgot to talk about. It was an organized one for people in the travel industry so I got to go for free seeing as we booked their show at Charlie B’s. It was really interesting. It’s one of those mobile type stories where you walk along from place to place and they act out the story for you. It basically took place around the time that the English arrived in New Zealand and how guns and alcohol had an impact on the Maori people. It featured two different chiefs who were prominent during that time. I only took a few photos but I will post them when I get around to it.

Continuing on........

I stayed in again that night as I had to get up early to check out and work out my ferry ticket over to Russell. So I woke up, checked out and I had about 3 hours to kill before I had to meet up with my new boss. So I went around town again and got something to eat. Then I went over to the local bookstore and found the newest copy of Empire Magazine. YAY!!! This time the featured cover was the 100 greatest characters of all time as voted on by the reader. *Start Rant* I knew that I was gonna see Jack Sparrow in there. The question was, which number??? Well, I’ll tell you. NUMBER FOUR!!! Are you freaking kidding me??? If the pirate sequels had not been made, I would definitely put Jack Sparrow in this list. Well, I would still put him in my list but it would be based off of what I have seen of him in the FIRST movie. But he would not be in the top 10. In the top 50, yes. But I would never put him in the top 10. You may think this is not a big deal, but let me tell you who he beat out. Luke Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi, HAN SOLO, Gandalf the Grey, Gollum, Aragorn, Chewbacca, Yoda, Lt. Ellen Ripley, E.T., William Wallace, The Godfather, Tony Montana, Forrest Gump, Hannibal Lecter.......do I need to go on??? MENTAL. What are people thinking these days??? I do, however, agree with the number one choice. Indiana Jones. One of my all time favorite film characters. He wouldn’t necessarily be MY number one, but for the general public I am very glad that he was put in the top spot. At least some people are thinking clearly. *End Rant*

I went back to the hostel to get my luggage and then headed over to the wharf to catch the ferry to Russell. It’s about a 20 minute ferry ride and it’s SO gorgeous!!! Tons of boats sailing everywhere, people kayaking, little tiny islands in between the two towns. So awesome looking. I got off the ferry and started walking towards the main road. This german girl came up to me and said “Excuse me, I have to ask, are you working at The Gables???” I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, are you a psychic???” but I just said yes. She then said that she was working there as well and the reason she could tell was ‘cause our boss, Bernard, told her that I would be arriving at the same time as her and I was the only one on the ferry with a whole bunch of luggage. Fair enough. We didn’t have to meet up with Bernard for about 45 minutes so she invited me to come with her and her friends for a small picnic on the shore. That was very nice. Her name is Lena.

We then went to go meet Bernard and I got a look at the restaurant. It’s small, but nice. Really cool artwork on the walls by a local artist. They have a beer garden in the back and of course, regular dining inside. Apparently, I will be working split shifts. Blah. And since I have more waiting experience, I will be working inside ‘cause the outside is more casual eating. Lena will be working outside which I wish I was ‘cause she gets to work from 11 to 7 or 8. I have to work from 11 to 3 and then 5:30 to 10. Suckage. I don’t like split shifts. But I need money so I just better shut up.

After the tour, Bernard and his wife took us over to where we will be staying while we work here. It is SUCH a nice flat. Really clean and tons of space. Lena and I share a room and then there is a girl from China named Aki who is in the other room. There is another girl who lives here named Rowan but she is not working at the restaurant. She just knows the owners and rents a room from them. She is really nice. We all get on very well. In fact, Rowan’s brother works on a fishing boat and she gets free fish all the time. Last night she made us a curry fish type dinner and she showed me how to prepare it. I told her that she needs to teach me all kinds of cooking skills as I don’t have any. Oh, and she went outside to pick some watercress for the dish. Not from her own garden as she doesn’t have one. Just from the plants that grow around in the area. That is so freaking awesome. Speaking of the area, it’s so beautiful around our flat. There is a duck in our backyard who just had babies and she walks around all day with the little ducklings. It is so cute. But the sad thing is, she started with 10 ducklings and now she only has 3 as some of the other predatory birds have eaten them. SO SAD!!! But Rowan has a cat named Timon who is super sweet so he makes me feel better. I feel a bit more at home having a cat around the house.

As far as the town of Russell goes, it’s smaller than Paihia and there isn’t much that I can spend my money on which is a REALLY good thing as I need to save for when Curtis comes to visit near the end of summer. So I can really only spend my money on paying my bills and getting my groceries.

Oh, and I did check. They do have Dr. Pepper at the Russell supermarket.

Posted by Squarabara 14:35 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

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