Here’s the deal. We have a normal size (for New Zealand) refrigerator. We have two teenage boys, who consume on average 8 to 10,000 calories a day. Our day basically revolves around keeping the boys fed. For breakfast, Deb stands at the refrigerator and passes me food (eggs, English muffins, crumpets, bacon) and I cook it as fast as I can, and we just hope the boys get full by the time the refrigerator is empty. Then, it’s off to work at the hospital, which is strategically placed across the street from the New World grocery store. We buy as much food as our Subaru Legacy will hold, come home and organize the assembly line that is called ‘dinner’ in some homes. We can usually buy enough food for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning, but that’s it. For lunches, each boy brings a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jam and they makes their own sandwiches.
It was a surprise this week, then, when we couldn’t find bananas at the store. We asked the nice young man in the produce department, “Hey, where are your bananas?” Thankfully, he knew we meant the fruit. He was surprised, he said, we hadn’t heard about the shortage. What shortage? We wondered. A boat from the Philippines had broken down, he said, and no one in Southern New Zealand had bananas. No one. Not a single store. They didn’t expect any for about week, until they could get some from Ecuador. Oh, that’s right, we live on an island. And you don’t need to remind us it’s not a tropical island. Well, it’s apple season.
Last Friday our good friend Ryan Hubbard and his brother Jeff came to visit us. They had been in New Zealand for about a week, having lots of fun around Queenstown and the West Coast. It was great to see them, and we enjoyed a nice dinner on Friday night with a typical beautiful evening view.
We started a fire in our outdoor fireplace and planned to roast marshmallows after dinner, but in typical fashion it began to rain just as it got dark. So, we enjoyed a little bit of the fire in rain, roasted a few marshmallows in between rain drops, and planned our outing for Saturday. We decided to go to Nugget Point on the Southern Coast (they hadn’t spend much time on the coast).
It doesn’t take too much imagination to see why this is called Nugget point. It was a great afternoon, and though you can’t see them, there are dozens of seals on the rocks below (many with little pups).
On the drive along the coast, we spotted a yellow-eyed penguin (it’s very unusual to see them on the shore in the daytime), and had to stop and say hello.
He was a cute little guy….hopefully not lost, but he didn’t seem phased at all by us taking pictures of him. My son Ryan said this is how celebrities must feel, with people stopping and taking pictures of them wherever they go…
We were sad to say goodbye to Ryan and Jeff later that day, but they had a plane to catch the next day. Our Sunday was a different story. Our Ryan had a school debate practice, so he stayed home while Deb, Matt and I headed into Central Otago. Our plan was to go to Naseby, where there is a curling rink. But, as we left Dunedin the weather improved dramatically (that happens a lot), and we stopped in Middlemarch and inquired about renting bikes for the Central Rail Trail. Sure, they said, so since was a clear blue sky 70 degree (25C) day- we don’t get many of those here- we switched gears and decided to go bike riding. (Did you catch the pun?). Deb hadn’t brought any shorts, so she picked some flashy new ones at the bike store.
The van took us up 42km up the road to the Central Rail Trail, and then the plan was we would bike back to the store. Matt wasn’t initially as excited about the (long) bike ride, so we bribed him with a “V”, the local energy drink. Here are the before and after pictures.
He was faster than us the whole way!
It was a beautiful ride. For the first 15km we followed Taeri River in a canyon, and it was magnificent.
The Central Rail Trail is a 150km track that used to be a rail line, but after the railroad went broke, they decided to put dirt on the tracks and convert the rail into a biking track. It’s fantastic. No cars, incredible scenery- everything you want in a bike ride. Along the way are cute little stopping places, like in the town of Hyde (where there is always lots of drinks and treats to help sustain you for the ride).
Sometimes they get the signs wrong, but you can’t be real picky about this sort of thing.
It was a terrific day. We headed back to Dunedin just before dinner time (which in our house is anywhere between 1pm and 10pm). Later that evening the hills across the bay were stunning as the fog rolled in.
We certainly made the most of that weekend. This week it is back to school, work, volleyball, softball, futsol, running and water polo. Gee, I wonder why they eat so much?
Next weekend, if all goes well, we are off to Queenstown.