Hobbiton, Seals, and the facts

(written on 10/07/12 Dunedin, New Zealand)

They look awfully cute,  but smell like a dirty diaper.
I feel like I've lost my balance, or, rather, my bearings. There has been a whirlwind of activity and travel lately and all of this action leaves me at a loss for what to say or where to begin. I hate it when people write things like what I just wrote. I always read crap like that and think to myself, "just get to the point already," now here I am annoying myself and others like me who want nothing more than the brass taxes. 

Without further ado, here are the facts:
a) I will be 27 years old starting tomorrow.
b) I'm in a place I've never been before and will continue to be in places I've never been before tomorrow and the next day(s).
c) I'm full of pasta cooked here at a holiday park (camping place) where we'll be sleeping tonight.
d) The South Island of New Zealand is mind-blowing, stunning, majestic and awesome. 
e) Since I last posted a blog I have: 
1. visited the actual Shire in Hobbiton, MIddle Earth, which just so happens to be outside of a town here in New Zealand called Matamata 
The actual Shire! 
2. met some great people along the way, including: a group of missionaries at a Youth With a Mission base outside of Matamata, two Americans and a Brit (one of the Americans had the name Conal George Badger), a British girl with blue hair, an Irish magician named Donald, lots of Canadians (too many to count), two Kiwi comedians who couldn't stop referring to one another as the most disgusting word used for the female sex organ, three Chilean gals, one Argentine man with the last name Ferrari, an old friend who lives in Rwanda, but just so happened to be in New Zealand visiting friends, all the friends that the aforementioned friend was visiting here in NZ, and kiwis everywhere. 
3. Seen the ocean waves wash up on a shore as snow-capped peaks hovered in the background at Kaikoura. 
4. Slept through a bitterly cold night, but witnessed one of the most vivid starry skies I've ever seen up near Lake Tekapo.
5. Fallen in love with falafel shawarmas from "Abrekebabra" in Wellington. 
Hobbit-style tramp up a stream.
6. Read my first Italo Calvino novel "Baron in the Trees." 
7. Greeted sleeping seals.
8. Witnessed my first car crash on a New Zealand gravel road.
9. Tramped up a stream for roughly 4km to the Sawcut Gorge in bare feet (Hobbit-style).
10. Searched for penguins, but found none. 
11. Been astounded at the turquoise color of the alpine lakes up near Mt. Cook. Apparently, glaciers crush rocks into a flour-like sediment and that, mixed with the lake's water, reflected with the sunlight puts off such a surreal blue color that it leaves you scratching your head in wonder and amazement. 
12. Climbed atop some minaret-shaped clay cliffs in the badlands. 
13. Posed for photos on top of incredible boulders on the beach outside of Moeraki. These boulders are insanely round, and look as if they are some old musket balls left behind by some forgetful giant. 
14. Mastered driving on the opposite side of the road. 
15. Bottle-fed baby lambs.
16. Toured a chocolate factory.
Clay Cliffs in the badlands on the South Island. 
17. Witnessed, with much sadness, the destruction of the city of Christchurch from the recent earthquakes. 
f) I miss my family.
g) I'm re-addicted to coffee because it is so good here. Long blacks are where it's at. 

We didn't completely understand, or anticipate, what the weather was going to be like once we arrived here, but we've been informed now, and it's much colder than we had anticipated. We're trying to see the South Island in the next week or so and have been making good time, whilst still seeing all the good stuff, but really long for some warmer weather. It's just tough to be comfortable sleeping in the back of a car when the windows are turning to ice. 

Photo taken near Lake Tekapo from Mt. John's Observatory. 
Go check out more of my photos on the "Photos" tab at the top of this page for my most recent picture posts, or go visit http://www.flickr.com/ramblewithaplan/ for all pictures posted since I left the States. 

...ramble on...

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