Mul like a pieball pony in Kerry!

Mul like a pieball pony in Kerry!
Anyone tell him about Grecian 2000?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Final Summary..honestly!!!

My overall synopsis of NZ in 6 of the fastest weeks ever!
  • Dodgy hair styles... is the mullet still trendy with old fogies like myself?
  • Great post boxes including, a filing cabinet, a microwave, beer barrels both wooden and stainless steel, air conditioning unit, wood carvings, kennels etc
  • Some phrases like... "sweet like", "hay", "mate" to suit both genders and lots of profanities and the most annoying of all..."AWESOME".. everyone uses that word any gender and age! It drove me simple!
  • Outlandish radio live talk shows...with a good dollop of racism thrown in and loads of profanities.
  • Unpaved roads
  • National pastime is road repair and not rugby!
  • Hitchhiking is still in vogue.
  • The constant inhaling of sulphur in Rotorua cannot be good for the bod!
  • Tattoos... on everyone!!!.Most unusual was covering a ladys chin in Albatross world.. and no it was not a birthmark!
  • Pub closing times and any social outlet open after 22.00!
  • An obsession with health supplements that cure every thing from breathing to heart defects and the one I love.. "Ignite... supports healthy Erections"!!! All on offer as well of two for the price of one and if you are not completely happy we will give you your money back... yeah as if that will happen!! You are either well dead or not rising and wont ask for it back!
  • Sandflies.. the bastards!!
  • INCREDIBLY friendly and proud people. Proud of their country and appreciative of same, Very hospitable  and generous rellies. You are all welcome in my gaff anytime!
  • Incredible body called the DOC (Dept of Conservation) that is in control of national parks and the maintenance of same.. Superb
  • Excellent tourist information even in places of 100 souls!
  • Lack of traffic... and in addition "old" rental cars.. average age 10-14 years.
  • The most incredibly clean landscape and public toilets.
  • Beauty.... abounding around every corner no matter where you turn.
  • Superb weather.. I only got a max of 4 days rain and the perfect climate with max of 25 deg C. 
  • Hatred of Possums! Loads of road kill! Fat hawks though...!!
  • Politicians being indiscreet.... but whats new.. thats global!
  • Value for money...definately not as much greed  as at home!
  • Unbelievable scenery... did I already say that?
  • Amazing wildlife.
  • Clean air
  • Bad hole in Ozone layer just overhead ensuring burning after 10 mins exposure!
  • Fantastic hostel organisation called the BBH which encourages people to chat and get to know each other. Brilliant company, friendliness (apart one nationality I'm sorry to say) and new friends and contacts made.
  • Woofing.... its available everywhere.. work for your accomodation with or without meals! Fantastic idea.
  • Most definately worth a visit or a prolonged return visit!
Overall..... the best holiday I have ever experienced... come out here and experience it for yourself! The Kiwis need our dollars.. they ae only borrowing about a 50th of what we are!!!
Go n'eiri on bothar libh! Slan and beannacht.
April 2011

Road to Christchurch & the lost rellies?!

I am reverting to my old ways again..... it much be in anticiaption of the departure in 18 hours time but it was a case of not getting a good night sleep again. Had a great chat with Benjaman a young French guy in the backpackers and headed to bed after a few coffees. I should really know at this stage in my life that this is not a good idea especially when the loo is a good 200 yard dash., I think I spent the time worrying that I would need it and that kept me awake! Anyhow I did eventually manage a good six hours again awoke to an incredible morning. Met a lovely English couple at brekkie who were on a six month sabattical doing volunteer work in nature reserves in NZ, Thailand and The Philippines. They work together and both asked the boss could they take the time off. He did not initially know they were a couple so it could have been an awkward one if the boss had refused one of them. Anyhow they are on the same flight as I am to Sydney tomorrow on their way to the Phuilippines.
Decided that I would leave the Olive Grove and head back towards Moeraki town and the lighthouse where there wasa colony of Yellow Eyed Penguins." Dont go near the noraml path" Kim the Hostel owner told me.. "Go right and past the lighthouse".Nothing like the local knowledge casue I was rewarded hugely.. There were seals and sea lions and then I stumbled across two yellow eyed penguin chicks. As I went further I saw the whole colony on an island but I could not get up close and personal but did get pics with the zoom. I was really happy now casue I had seeen most of the wildlife that I could with the exception of dolphins and whales..... not a good time of year and secondly I was in tooootally in the wrong part of the country!
I was trying to figure out where the best place would be to stay for my last night. I had heard that a lot of motels were full on the outskirts of Christchurch so I settled on Ashburton.. an hour from the airport. I am now reclining by the said of the swimming pool in the blazing sunshine and it nearly 17.30. On the way here I was passing through fairly unexceptional landscapes when I was flying around a corner into a town called Timaru when I spotted on the side of a big shed... Mulcahys Sheep and Wool! Now there was no way I was not gonna stop. I got talking initially to a guy called Bob and said my name was Mulcahy.. "I'll bring ya to the boss" says he! and before I knew it I was talking to both Barry and Terry Mulcahy who act as merchants for wool trade and they gave me a bit of their family history.. Apparently they are related to some Mulcahy who had a run in with Elizabeth 1st. Jeez and I can only go back as far as the start of the 1900's with my crowd! I can also report that the "good looking gene" was no where in evidence with the Mulcahy name in the Southern Hemispere either, so I think we will just accept the genetic make up we were destined to have! They were unusual Kiwis in that they have travelled theri own land extensively and even exported their eldest brother to Copenhagen!
So my plan for the evening is to try and download some more pics and then get the bag sorted out. I will then do one final blog re my other observations of NZ and my comments on same. I hope that no one will be offended by my musings.  Thanks to one and all for the positive comments and I hope that I gave you some idea as to what this country is like and the huge variety of opportunities for exploring and losing yourselves in this wonderful land!
Its been an absolute blast from beginning to end and I have been incredibly lucky with the whole experience here.. people I met, travel mates and what I have seen and done!.
Hmmmm.. Now now I must really find the number of my "friendly" bank manager to sort out the loan for the return trip!!  Scheduled trip home is with Quantas on the Airbus double decker A380 I think.. Christchurch to Sydney. Sydney to Singapore and then straight to London with an hour to grab the connection to Cork! I may not be very coherent for a few days! Apologies in advance but thanks for sharing it with me!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Birds of a feather!

I woke quite groggy (must have been the lack of wine or any alcohol!) to a magnificent morning. As a night cap to myself and a source of exercise/weight loss I walked around at a lick to give myself some fresh air  and to tire myself out. It did not work...finally got off at 2.00
I must say I had some curiousity re Alans suggestions and headed off for Baldwin Street, the "steepest street in the world". Ok I will give him this one... it bloody well is incredible!. I though Patricks Hill was bad, but here you would get a full weekly workout by just heading to the shop for milk.!! All the folk I saw had buns of steel that they would be able to crack walnuts between their cheeks! From there, I drove up to Signal Hill Road to the lookout over Dunedin. One thing I find really strange in a country that has so many natural disasters like volcanos and earth quakes is why do they build houses clinging to the sides of VERY steep hills?
I decided that Alan obviously knew what he was on about so headed off then to the railway station and added a few dozen pics to the 2500 I already have. Beautiful old buliding but the bus load of eldery British that that parked right in front of the building did not help my humour! I had to stay another 15 mins till they and the bus disappeared to get better shots!
Decided to get out of the city and try and get to see some penguins, sea lions or albatross and where best to do it but Otago Peninsula. This is the most incredible land mass south of Dunedin and about 26km long with the road that goes right by the side of the water passing places like Dublin Bay, Broad bay, Company Bay and eventually leading up to a  place called Taiaroa Head. You have to keep your wits about you on this drive though as there is no barrier and one slip up or sneeze and you are in the briney!! Incredible drive though. I got to the top and the place called Royal Albatross Nature reserve. On the way there, I tuned into my fav talk show host Michael..not Lord but I think Lars or maybe Laws! Anyhow its difficult to understand the kiwi accent at times. They were still on about gun laws and were discussing the banning of the game of cowboys and indians in kindergarden schools. A lovely lady called Mary rang up to discuss it from the kindergarden teachers point of view. Anyhow the bould Michael told her what she was saying was  load of  and I quote "bollix" and promptly cut her off. Somuch for freedom of speech. Not only that but he then commented further that having teachers like her taking over the parenting role and not sticking to her bloody job of teaching would be the down fall of many of the future generations to come. Marys credibility was shot to hell! Id say she booked striaght in for therapy after the call. This guy Michael is an ex politico and was the Lord Mayor of some big city at one stage but that does not excuse the fact that he is one of the most obnoxious people I have ever heard on the airwaves...Come back Neil P 96FM ... you are a pussy cat in comparison!
Anyhow, I reluctantly left the car to head into the Royal Albatross Nature reserve. Now those of you who know me, know I dont have the slightest idea about birds and in particular the feathered variety so I decided to pay my $45 dollars and get an education! On the Otago peninsula, NZ, has the biggest and only land colony of Albatross in the world so the money would be well spent for something unique!. I was joined in the touring party by some very enthusiastic birdwatching fraternity with huge lensed cameras. In the intro movie which was honestly fascinating, one of the crew had to take a few puffs of her inhaler as she announced to everyone she had I quote " terrible asthma"! She was also the crankiest of the group. She had a large knapsack and when the lovely Lillian (tour guide) asked us to hike the 3 mins up to the observatory then she nearly had heart failure and instantly started bitching.Did she think they would bring the birds to her or what?. She puffed and wheezed her way to the half way mark and had to take a rest! The rest of the group who were mainly the blue rinse elderly brigade were all knacked by the time we did reach the very well appointed hut which composed of a tiered standing area, with windows to the front for the best viewing. This hut was literally three mins or 200metres from the main building.. I knew the observation time would be comical by the initial interaction with the group. The weight of some of the cameras was enough to requiring the hiring of a pack horse and sherpa to go with it!
We got to the hut and it was fantasitc. Three, two month old Albatross chicks were just below the windows of the hut waiting for their parents to come back and feed them which could be once a day. Now one thing to explain is that the parents grow up to a metre long and a wing span of 3 metres. They are huge. The chicks get to 12 kg in three months so they are no mean birdies to be tackling!
The lovely crew were initially oohing and ahhing at the chicks when Ms Wheezy started bitching that the chicks were not looking in her direction when she was trying to take a battery of pics with the longest lens I have ever seen. No wonder she was wheezing with the weight of the fecking equipment on her back!  Someone commented on the length of the lens and she quipped " it took an awful amount of night duty to pay for this"!, I wondered what type of "night duty " it was, but refused to stir it.. at this stage anyhow!Anyhow that was the start of the whinging.. " why cant you just cut that bush next to the nest so that the paying public could get a better view?" was another comment. She then wanted to go outside. Lillian the really patient guide nicely told her that she was damn lucky to get to look at them from the hut and through the windows.. Oh yeah that was another thing. Cause Ms Wheezy was so small, she could not see properly out the windows and they had to get a stool for her to step on!! When the chick eventually obliged and looked around, I could hear her finger hitting the shutter of her camera like a machgine gun. She calmed down and one of the others took over the baton. It was Sue, the nice suburban permed haired septagenarian from Sydney. An Albatross parent was just landing to feed its chick when she was trying to get her zoom lens into focus. All I can say is that Ms Nova Scotia from Slope Point lost her recent title of Curser of NZ when this woman did not manage to get a full focus action pic of mummy or daddy albatross!.
"S**t, Bugg*r, B**tch, F**king bastar* she shouted in quick succession at the bird that was appearaing without doing the proper thing of notifying her in advance so that she cold have her lens at the ready!!
It was hilarious.. . I decided to stir it a bit and told Sue she had offended my ears greatly and that she would spend six months in confession repenting for that outburst. She did not give a damn and when the stupid bird swooped back over for another attempt at landing another litany of one worded profanities escaped her lips directed at me cause I had distracted her!!! She then glares at me and says" Right ho Mr Smart arse outta my way and keep an eye out for the bugger" So much for her love or nature.. NOT..She was def determined to get her photo shot and value for money! I was gonna ask her if she wanted to take home some Albatross pie to ensure she got all her monies worth but declined luckily.  I threw a few more comments in before running outta the hut but firstly thanked Lillian for the great tour and then sympathised with her in a loud enough voice (so that Sue and Wheezy could hear) that she was one hell of a patient woman and that she deserved cannonisation for putting up with this crap! She does the tour 4 times daily! Note to brain be very wary of birdwatchers in future. They are a foul mouthed bad tempered bunch!
After my escape from the Royal Albatross Santuary, I checked the map and saw that there were  several other bays on the southern side of the peninsula with promises of penguins etc. I saw a place on the map called Sandymount point and headed towards there for a hike. It was incredible with deserted sandy beaches on view below with the sea, estuaries peninsulas all stretching out below me. I hiked to the Chasm... 230 metres deep with a huge sea arch and Lovers Leap about 200metres deep, really impressive drops that in any other country would have busloads of people queueing up to have a gawk. I met one person in a hike of 60 mins! When I got back to the car I sat out in my shorts and shirtless while I watched hangliders  soar just above me over in the clearest blue sky. It was magic. Left the place reluctantly at 5.30 as I knew I had no bed booked and needed to get up nearer Christchurch or Thursday would be a rush. Dunedin looked amazing in the sun and all I can say is that its location is amazing...... well in sunshine anyhow. I also had another first.. my first time in KFC giving myself indigestion from the 6 large pieces of chicken. How is it so cheap or why do they give so much? Maybe it was not chicken at all? Hmmmm.. they said they were missing some birds in the Royal Reserve!  Park that one Mul!
Incredible sunset again and just as I was trying to find my backpackers Olive Grove Lodge in Waianakarua I stumbled across Moeraki Beach which has the infamous completely spherical large boulders strewn on a part of the beautiful beach! This was def a treat as I got there just at sun down and very few others around! Major bonus! Arrived at the hostel at 8 and what a better treat..€20 for a very comfy pvt room with hot water bottle on a beautiful organic farm.. I wonder do they do Albatross?!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cursing in the Catlins

Ok...I have a confession to make. I did not stand on the most southern part of the South Island when I battled the elements to get up Bluff point on Monday.... I thought I had... but discovered on my journey today that Slope Point about 40km away to the east is indeed the most southern point of the south island.but any way I just needed to clarify and not set you astray fgor your pub quiz nights. I am also not including Stewart Island if you want to add tha tto the argument.
I also have an apology to make re my comments on Invercargill. They weren't exactly gushing! When you see a place in lousy weather, it does not look its prettiest like any place else in the world. However in the bright light of day I think I would say it was a mix and gatherem of the most unusual architecture I have seen in a town of 50k. In fact it has the highest level of retail outlets I have seen for such a population as well. This is a thing I cant figure out... how does such a small population support all those businesses? Anyhow I digress. I decided to take the scenic route and boy am I glad. I passed the way along the coastal areas called the Catlins. It is the landscape that reminds me the most of Ireland. The day was improving and the sun began to blaze again. But there was  howling wind. I was I suppose on the extreme south coast and the place where I presume the Tasman and the South Pacific Ocean clash and by God do they... they should bottle that energy. Crashing waves the whole way along the coast. I got to Wapapa Point and saw a live sea lion on the beach there. He was lumbering his way up the  beach.. According to the nature tour on Doubful sound the other day, seals eat half their body weight in food a day! This guy looked as if he was after eating a few of his colleagues!! Anyhow I got to meet the same couple I met at the cheap lunch yesterday. They were the couple who took the last slice of the delicious carrot cake. Anyhow she cheerily greeted me with.. " hmmm we meet again".  Well we continued to meet again and again that morning so I decided to chat to them. They were from Nova Scotia and I have now met my match in life for the amount of profanities that can be uttered in a short conversation. This lady would make a docker blush with her foul tongue!!! It even shocked me and as you know thats a hard thing for me to admit!! Her prim husband was not impressed and was trying to ignore us by walking to the edge of the cliffs to get the best wave crashing shot! Id say he would have liked to get a pot shot of her mouth as her voice was carrying beautifully on the high winds!
I sat into the car giggling to myself to make my way on along the coast to Curio Bay... home of the yellow eyed penguins. Anyhow I got to tune back into the Talk FM station.. This time I got to listen to Michael Lord. This guy was a combination of Joe Duffy, Neil Prendeville and Jerry Springer together! I never heard such outbursts and in addition I was a bit shocked at the racism towards the Maoris! He was almost suggesting that the young Maori males should be sterilised when they were between 14-17 to prevent them being able to father feral children!! Thats like saying the same thing about northsiders! Jeeezzz, what country am  I in?? The bold Michael then said the word bolli* twice! God I know that there should not be censorship but maybe a little?? Comments please!
The penguins were not in Curio as I suspected but had fecked off to gorge themselves on the bounties of the seas. I did not get to see any. They were out in the rough swell eating their body weight in fish too! Apparently they return at dusk but I would have no bed for the night if I waited! Had a late lunch/early dinner at 5pm in Owaka. Unusual place with one of the most unusual gardens I have seen on my travels. It was called Teapotland with every conceivable shape and type of dipenser for tea ever seen. I hope I can download a pic!
Rang a few places in Dunedin to book a bed but every place was full. Finally sorted the Alhambra Motel on Great King Street in the heart of the University district...and a very "know it all" owner called Alan. He bugged me from the second he answered the phone but he had the only room available so humble pie would have to be eaten and I had to take it. He seemed to know more about me than I did.. for example when I said "I'm Irish" He said "I know". When I said I was from Cork. He said he knew as well..Who was this guy ? Mystic Meg?? Anyhow he also advised not using the sat nav to find the place as it would not work.. Maybe he WAS Mystic Meg after all and knew Melissas nasty little traits already!! He did know!!
I got to the place at half 7 and he was gushing at the things I should do like ... "Go to the steepest street in the world.. Its in Dunedin you know!! In addition the Railway Station is in the top 200 of the most photographed buildings in the world". This guy has some fascinating tourist titbits... That will keep me occupied for about 10 mins! But I will still check them out even to keep the railway station up in the rankings.
If I thought Invercargill was unusual this place is even more interesting. Its a University town and has all the hall marks of same. Some beautiful Edwardian and Victorian houses, but they have been thrashed by the use of students over the years. Lots of the houses have been renamed. Examples of same are as follows... the Shrieking Shelter, Pandoras Box, The Jolly Roger and finally the Muff Inn!  I will do a walking tour of the place tomorrow and see what else I can glean from the place. Stay tuned if ya can bear the excitement of the anticipation!!!!.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Way down South!

I think I am in the most southerly city in the southern hemisphere namely Invercargill and its really nothing to write home about. Decided to stay in a motel as I needed some time me to get myself organised and wind down to heading back on Friday! I bargained with the lovely Natalie in the "Homestead Villa Motel" and got the suite for €57 for the night. That is a full kitchen, diningroom /sitting room, bathroom separate loo and 2 flat screen tvs! Not bad. Natalie will even deliver the paper in the morning. She thought I was charming and kept asking me to speak with my lovely lilting Irish accent.. now if I could sell it that easy to others the hol may have cost me half the price... this fool should have definately exploited this earlier!! She was giggling away telling me I was "just the ticket hay" while I cajoled her to knock another $5 off!  So all in all it was a great day. After writing up the blog for yesterday I left Manapouri and headed for Tuatapere which has the accolade of being known as the NZ sausage capitol.. I only knew this as I was leaving it but surprise surprise I did happen to have my dinner  of Sausage casserole here in the most fantastic place called Yesterdays Museum & Cafe! It was delish.. that with two veg, potatoes , a cup of coffee and a huge wedge of the moistest most delicious carrot cake all for the pricely sum of €8.50!!! Lads I will repeat it again... " we are being screwed back home"!!
On the way towards Invercargill, I was listening to the local Southlands Talk show 94FM.. a little like "Talk to Joe on RTE" but even more opinionated if you can believe that!! At one stage the presenters Willy and JT start fighting and insulting each other up to their eyeballs talking about a most controversial subject.. the shooting dead of a teenager by Police in Napier today.. Apparently the cops here have shot 9 people dead since 2000. This caller rings in to give his opinion and ended up whimpering off after WIllie told him to " shut your face"!! I was agast but determined to listen in for the rest of the time I am here. Nothing was sacred on this. One of the callers told JT he had "shit all" idea what he was talking about!! They dont cut off a crank caller.. they seem to thrive on it and the insults flying every few seconds.
I was getting a little hot under my own collar myself when I stopped at a place called McCrackens Point to view the huge expanse of beach and the surfing waves crashing close to a surfers paradise with the ugliest sculpture (I took a pic!) in a town called Colac Bay. Next stop from there across the water was the Antarctic I think!!! It was bloody freezing with gale force winds blowing but I just happened to bump into two Kiwi sisters.. Ann & Margaret (nee O'Grady) who asked me when I come back I was most welcome to stay with them!! This was after about 5 sentence with them.. By God, I was gonna exploit this Irish accent bit and ham it up!! Anyhow these ladies were descendants of some distant Paddy called Jones from Mallow and Kanturk and Margaret asked me did I know them?  I think the wind was getting to her and scrambling her brain a bit but she was asking for a contact number after 10 sentences!! I politely declined thinking that I well may end up having an "O'Grady/Jones" reunion in Cork at some stage in my gaff!! By this is it about the Kiwis.. I have not met an unfriendly one yet! They would nearly promise you their first born if you talk to them for longer than 5 mins.They are amazingly open and really thankful when you tell them their country is great. The good thing is that all of them agree and appreciate their homeland and just hope that every visitor enjoys it as much! How could you not I ask?. Its an incredible place as if you could not glean that from my gushings at this stage!! Drove through Invercargill to the most southerly point called Bluff... a definate bit of a hole but I wanted to ensure that I had reached the extreme top and bottom of both Islands which I did. I know that in reality the most southern part of NZ is Stewart Island but I was not willing to risk the danger of 1.5 hours of up chucking on one of the most violent seas on the globe. Anyhow I think there is a tornado due here soon!! Yikes... hope it passes before Friday! Dont fancy being blown to Cork via Argentina!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The best thing about birthdays!

I know I had confused some by saying Happy Birthday to me after Julia and I had done the skydive but it was done as a subtle reminder.. or warning ..heheh and to check who was really reading this!! The best thing about celebrating the big 46th in NZ was the fact that it went on for a total of 48 hours. I felt like royalty.. a 2 day birthday with the time difference. The first texts started coming in on Saturday and the final ones today Monday the 28th. Thanks to one and all and I am grateful to everyone for all their kindness, support, love, best wishes and taking the time to send or offer greetings. I had a fantrastic day!!!
It started off badly though... tragedy of tragedies my porraige boiled over in the dodgy microwave but just as I rounded the corner cursing into the dining room of Barnyard I was greeted by birthday candles burning brightly on a packet of caramel tim tams and a chorus of multi tongued "happy birthday" coming from all the fellow backpackers and staff. The two girls were grinning like cheshire cats at getting things set up without me suspecting a thing. I knew that there was definitely something up with Julia the day before in the supermarket as she was skulking behind the aisles and peering up and swivelling her head around like a KGB agent!! I was marched outta the shop by Carmen announcing " Ve vill leaf NOW!!" ( Apologies Carmen but I have to add the german bit in.. Your english is brilliant!!)... I duly obeyed but slightly concerned that Julia did not know we had left. Anyhow she planked her backside in the car with a big smug look on her face so I should have guesssed she had been up to no good. The absolute darling presented me with a Skydive bag with my 200kph 15000ft tee shirt which she had gone back to Wanaka airport a few days after the great event. She even said she met her tandem dive buddy the guy who was attached to her as she hurtled herself towards earth. He recognised her and asked her was she back for more.... believe you me when you are attached to someone that closely you remember them VERY well! She asked him did he remember that loud bald never shut up Paddy I was with.. can you remember his size?? Hmmmm she got it perfect and I was very humbled with the fantastic treatment I got.. One of the highlights of the holiday! Julia headed off and was heading on a Penguin misson.. she was damned if she was leaving NZ without seeing one in its natural habitat. Even in Doubtful Sound on the ship the other day she nearly knocked a few of the few fellow travellers overboard when someone said " is that a penguin in the water"? I never saw someone charge so quickly over to the side of the boat! Nothing or no one was gonna stand in her way! Pity she did not knock gleeful Gina or Clicking Chuck overboard! We hugged our goodbyes knowing that she will probably be having a few pints with me in Henchys over the next few months or else I will be holed up in a beer tent in the Ockotoberfest in Munich drinking beer for brekkie and eating pretzels!!
I was gonna have just one more cuppa and head off to god knows where. Well it was lashing and I just kept drinking coffee, tea and having a laugh at the table with the staff and Carmen. She then got up hugged me and headed off to Invercargill. I just kept on chatting to the others and drinking more tea. Looked at the clock and it was 1pm. No point in moving now, so I booked in for another night. The staff of Jackie( loud New Yorker) Lyn (Cornwall) and Barry (Dublin) ended up chatting and doing tim tam slammers for the afternoon. Great chats and sorting out lifes problems.. I am great at doing that for everyone else. Gave Barry and Lyn some advice on CV writing and updating and then Barry and I went for a long walk by Ta Anau lake in the evening sun... Pizza salads and the 3 litre vino for dinner and they all helped me finish  it even the Texas couple of Fred and Leanne.. So to those of you thinking I drank it all my self and have a problem ... NO! I only had three glasses. It was great that the others helped me cause I think my filling problem is probably being caused by the cheap plonk weakening the molars!
Its now Monday morning and 11.30 NZ time.. I think its 23.30 Sunday at home as the clocks went forward?? I was waved and hugged goodbye by the staff of the Baryard.. Jackie is now by best pal! Just before she left to do her duties she bellowed "where is Dermot John Francis Mulky and gave me a bear hug that would do Arnie Schwarz proud!!.  Anyhow off to the Bluff... I think the southernmost point of NZ. with the exception of Stewart Island. Sitting at the side of Manapouri Lake writing this and the wind is howling but the sun shining brightly. Autumn and winter are approaching as the first snows were on the mountains this morning and some trees are changing colour. Other things are changing colour too.... I gave in and packed away the shorts!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Never upset the landlady!!

Having spent hours the other night writing the blog re the "Oh Mein Gotts" I was left alone in the Barnyard Backpackers Te Anau, knocking the keys on the keyboard trying to outline the details of a fantastic day. There is a rule in this place that everyone vacate the main buliding by 22.30 while the caretakers can get some sleep but I decided to stay on as there was no internet access in the lower bungalows. I found the area with the best signal and kept typing away even though I had turned the lights off and was like a mouse in the corner. Every so often I would hear the door open on the mezzanie floor and my large New Yorker land lady throw open the door upstairs and say in a stage whisper (or in other words 20 decibel stage whisper) for a yank " Who the hell put their runners in the tumble dryer at this hour?". I would stop and ask her was I disturbing her and she would gruffly answer.. "No but some MORAN is up to something and it sure as hell is buggin the shit outta me". She stomped back to bed and I continued typing with avengence. Anyhow at 00.45 I hear the thumping again and the door swung open again and she shouting at this stage" Jesus I am fit to kill" as she descended the stairs noisily. She cast an accusing eye at me and asked .... " did you hear anything?"  to which I meekly replied.. "no".. all I am doing is typing quietly.. She thought it was some animal thumping outside and I told her I thought there was a mad cow outside alright cause I heard it bellowing!. She was just about to disappear again and she turned on me..."type again" she demanded.. and I did.. but as I did the table shook, and banged slightly off one of the posts holding up the ceiling.. Now what I did not know is that beam was also supporting the crossbeam to which the canopy over the large hearth of a fireplace was secured to..... so in other words every word I was typing was causing the vibrating thud that was echoing in her quarters .. so "I" was the trainers in the tumble dryer and the mad cow. I scarpered quickly down to my room and hid under the blankets in case the real mad cow came charging after me.
I gingerly opened the door to the common room the next morning to be greeted again by Jackie the New Yorker. I was nearly geneflecting with apologies and said that I was REALLY sorry for disturbing her night sleep.. She quipped .. "never mind I was not all that bothered" If that was her notion of "not bothered" then I would hate to see her if she lost her temper!!!
We had planned the day before that the terrible threesome would go on a overnighter to Doubtful Sound. It was with Realjourneys Holidays and we were to be in Manapouri Lake by 12 the next morning for a 12.30 sailing. We arrived to see the rest of our shipmates.... all of 26 others. Normally there would be 70 in total but the earthquake and the economy had shrunk the numbers. We had a marvellous cruise across the lake to  be picked up by coach to the other, and then bused to Wilmot Pass and then onto the cruiser called the Fiordland Navigator. Its a wonderful ship with three sails but engine driven.. if ya know what I mean. We had a 4 berth quad room ( two  bunk beds) just above the water level. We dropped our stuff and cruised the wonderful sound in brilliant sunshine with the storm clouds appraoching and munching freshly baked muffins and coffee. We passed loads of seals at the mouth of the sound and came back in. There was then a choice of either a kayak trip or to go on a nature trail in a tender boat with Carol the wildlife guide. It was just at that point that the heavens opened and we got soaked to the knickers. The girls had wisely decided to go kayaking while I was stuck on the boat with a pair of cranky "know it all" yanks and a lovely Brazilian lady called Margaret. While Carol enthused eagerly re the flora fauna and wildlife we, namely Mags and I asked appropriate interested questions while the water was pouring down our necks and soaking our backsides. When we had fininshed our questioning and were beating off the swarms of sand flies Carol sweetly asked.. "Any more questions?" to get the one question from glorious Gina the cranky yank " when are we going back?"!! So I decided to ask more questions to pee her off more. Any fool who goes out on the water in the rain in a hoodie and her good shoes and full make up is a complete gobshite as far as I am concerned and she had had a puss on her since the original boat trip across Lake Manapouri!
This Realjourneys crowd are so organised that when we got back to the boat they had clothes horses set up for our sodden clothes and provided fresh towels & hot showers to get ourselves warmed up again . The girlies arrived back after their kayaking and definately the over exposure had got to them as they wanted to go swimming off the boat. Mad fools were joined by the other youngtsers in the piddling rain and diving in. After they thawed themselves again with their showers we headed for dinner.. It was like Ballymaloe with a buffet and LOADS of excellent food. We got a bottle of wine and followed with 2 others. Everyone had gone to the wildlife lecture and then to bed bus us 3 lushes were solving the problems of life in the saloon until 12 midnight. Everyone one else were in bed since 22.00. We giggled and fell down the stairs  thinking we were being quiet and fell into bed in brill form. The beds were about wide enough for a 5 year old midgit child and either I kept hitting my elbows or backside off the side wall for the night. We were warned that there would be an alarm call in the form of the ships engines starting at 06.30 but were not prepared for the din. I suppose if you pay for the cheap rooms you know you are not too far away from the engines! Anyhow we were all up agian at 06.45 and at brekkie for 07.00 much to the surprise of our fellow shipmates!!! This is a holiday for Gods sake!! The view that greeted us was magical though! There was a heavy rain and mist but the place was mystical with no other craft around and surrounded by mist shouded mountains rising magestically above us. The cloud was clinging at different sections to the hills and the "soft" rain was incessent. At one stage the boat stops and turns off the engines and everyone just stops and does not move..Complete silence descending in the shouded landscape and all you hear is the rain and the birdsong........ Incredible.  Well it would have been but cranky Ginas husband Chuck decided that it was his time to shine while he moved like a beached whale taking the pics he "just " had to take there and then! Julia felt like breaking her silence and pushing him overboard and to be truthful it would have been a happy day for mankind if he had grabbed on to Gleeful Gina and pulled her with him!
I can never understand why people put themselves though an "endurance" and do things cause they are the right things to do on hols and then bitch so much that they make life for everyone else miserable. I think that Chuck and Gina should be part of the 80% of Americans who should NOT have a passport.. The girlies in Rangitoto Island would also belong to that group.... oh yeah and the yank that told me the best view on Key Summit was 15 mins away!
Anyhow enough bitching...... we had the most wonderful time and really great laugh .. the three bottles of Pinot Gris (NZ wine) helped immensely and we all thought we were hilarious.
Got back to Lake Anau and chilled for an hour and settled ourselves back into the Barnyard Backpackers before heading out to the NZ National Rodeo!! Yes you heard it right..... YEEHAW!!!! It was fantastic! Te Anau had the honour of holding the event this year. A true Rodeo with the stetsons, denim Wrangler jeans, cowbow boots and check shirts and all!! We sat mesmerised while cowboys lasooed , got the cows on the ground and then tethered them in about 16 seconds!! I was thinking it would take me not 16 seconds but more like 30 mins to get on the bloody horse as several of my buddies will testify to!!! Never mind grappling a writhing beast with very hard horns that could do you lots of damage!!! It was brill though. These guys were risking life and limb to win a few measley dollars and the accolade of NZ cowboy of 2010/2011. I would have preferred to sit at home drinking cheap vino and congratulating myself on NOT doing the stupid thing of riding a mad horse or indeed an even bigger madder bull! These guys were true sportsmen and incredibly skilled. It proves that men can indeed muultitask... ride, lasoo, balance, descend and tie ya up in knots.... whats new?? I can confirm that all cowboys are bowlegged!! They were hilarious to look at but built like the preverbial s**thouse wall! When someone won an event they were brought on the back of a open 4 wheel truck around the track waving their stetsons madly and proudly at the delerious crowds while smiling with large toothless mouths caused by several hooves in same!!
A fantastic day overall with wonderful company, great fun and great food! Tomorrow brings the parting of the ways for the terrible three but definately not the last time that we will meet.