dinsdag 11 augustus 2015

November in New Zealand - or: our last month in Wanaka

Hello lovely readers! Below you'll find November's travelogue, covering the last month Mark and I spent in Wanaka. Meaning: the last post that might be slightly boring to read - and even a teensy bit negative at times...apologies for that! Just trying to stay close to the truth, instead of showing a polished reality. And don't worry, there are some promising foretastes of what's about to come included as well!

Click here for the automatically translated Dutch version of this blogpost.


Mark did something very special today: he went looking for gold(!), together with John (Mark’s colleague), who has serious plans with a patch of land somewhere close to Wanaka. Today's work consisted mostly of taking samples, to see whether the concentration of gold is high enough. At a lot of places the question is not really if the gold is there (because it is), but if there’s a sufficient amount to make mining actually profitable. After John’s and Mark’s first ‘prospect’, it seems like this might be the case. Promising results, but it needs to be investigated further. It’s all very interesting and also quite complicated, very geological and exactly Mark's cup of tea. John knows quite a bit of geology and his father has been mining gold for years, so he can tell Mark plenty about it. In the meantime I kept busy making curtains and tea towels for in the van, and I went for a run. Gotta stay fit!

Don't you just love these cozy curtains? Made from an old bed sheet, scored
at Wastebusters of course!


It was a bit of a messy - but productive day today. I had to do 3 massages, and in between we went shopping at Wastebusters to get some stuff for the van. We spent a total of $70 for pretty much all the bed linen (including blankets, pillows, covers...everything really!), all the kitchenware and cutlery and some extra clothes for Mark. Isn't that incredible? I really love Wastebusters, I wish they had a place like that in every single town. Their motto ‘Repair – Reuse – Recycle’ is very environmental friendly too; an inspiring counter-reaction against modern consumerism.
It was raining cats and dogs, so we went for an indoor climb at Basecamp afterwards and had a good work-out. Life with “granny” still doesn't go very smoothly; luckily she left today for a 2-day trip out of town.

If you’ve read our previous post, you might remember that our granny-housemate is quite a typical lady… She’s very precise; everything needs to be done her way really. She has a habit of constantly intervening, pointing out how (or how often) I need to do our laundry, telling us to keep the windows open or closed in our bedroom, prohibiting us from using the dishwasher because in her opinion the dishes won’t get clean enough, etc. Mark and I are trying to politely follow up her rules where we can, but we’re really starting to feel like we have to tip-toe around the house. It’s a bit worse for me, since I’m home more often than Mark…frequently together with granny, and I’m not really feeling relaxed at those moments. Weird, because we are paying rent to live here, really. It feels a bit like we’re expected to behave like guests instead of tenants!


With granny’s help (she deserves credit for this!) Mark found a car mechanic/electrician who is more than willing to help us out with the electrics in the van (just because he enjoys doing it!) and who might have a secondary car battery for us. Amazing! More good news is that the concentration of gold in the samples Mark and John took last weekend is indeed pretty high. They will probably go for a second prospect soon, to take more samples and investigate the area further.
The weather is pretty bad at the moment (still lots of rain), but perfect for working on the curtains, pillows and macramé plant hangers for in the van - if you're going to live like a hippy, better make sure you do it right huh?! Meanwhile I'm doing massages, stayed busy with housekeeping (washing out all our thrifted linen), did some skyping with my bestie, ánd we sneakily already orientated ourselves a little bit on what we possibly want to do after NZ...

The macrame plant hangers...


The weather is getting better, thankfully. Yesterday at the end of the afternoon I went running to Mark's work (6,5km) to admire the latest progress on the house, which is turning out very nicely.
We drove home together where I took a shower and dressed up for work. I had to do just one massage, after which we had a barbecue with Elena and Quentin (my Spanish massage colleague and her boyfriend) and their French friends Marc and Emily. Quentin insisted on calling Marc and Emily ‘the possum family’, because they love New Zealand’s (expensive!) possum knitwear so much that they can’t stop buying it, haha! Silly French people… We all went to the resort again where Elena and Quentin lived for the past season, even though they left the place last week. They said nobody would check on us and it would be totally fine, which turned out to be true. We had a great meal together, sharing some good travel stories as usual. After they left Mark and I went for a dip in the hotpool, a perfect ending to a lovely night. Quentin and Elena had left Wanaka last weekend and made a trip to Mt. Cook National Park, but came back today to pick up some stuff and organize a couple of things. They're leaving again now towards Milford Sound, but will be back agáin in a few days. Having ordered a new solar panel for their van to be delivered at our address they have no choice really, but actually we just think they like Wanaka too much. Which makes sense, because it’s an awesome place :) 

Mark, standing on the roof of the house he helps building. Just look at the
view it has, on Lake Wanaka and the mountains...isn't that insane?!

Today was a quiet day with a bit of work. I earned $30 on tips – yay! Supposedly it’s an American holiday, resulting in lots of US tourists who are very generous when it comes to tips. Besides work I did some crafting (painting mohair on commission) and messed around in the van. Mark made very nice anti-skid mats to go on the kitchen shelves and I cut and sewed our mattress cover to size.


Sigh. Working on call drives me completely crazy sometimes. The timing is often so terrible, you start to think they do it on purpose (which is ridiculous, of course... I know). Today Mark finished work early and I had nothing to do. The weather was great, so we wanted to go climbing at Mt. Iron. Just as we were about to leave, all packed up and ready to go... PLING! “60 minute massage in 45 minutes please”... Argh! I know these are the consequences of working on-call, but só often it goes exactly like this! And when Mark's working and I'm thinking ‘hopefully I'll get a few massages today (and don’t have to spend all day at home with granny)’: nothing! Nada! I don't want to keep going on about it or sound like I’m complaining all the time... I know I just have to accept that this is the way it is right now, it’s not like it’s forever. Plus the pay rates are very good... But goodness, flexibility is SO not my strongest point! I just need to persist in seeing these moments as a way to become better at it, I guess. Anyway, after work we still had time for a short climb and a visit to Paul (the car mechanic/electrician) who indeed had a battery for us and really helped us out with the wires and electrics and stuff. Meanwhile I played with their enthusiastic dog and 2 cats. So it kind of turned out to be a good day after all.

The view from Mt. Iron, on Albert Town (a kind of suburb of Wanaka).
Check out the size of the backyards people have here!


Today we finally bóth had the day off and took our chance to visit Rob Roy’s Glacier. We’ve been talking about doing that for weeks, so we were pretty excited to finally have a perfect day for it, with good weather and no work. The road through the Matukituki Valley (which leads towards the glacier) is all unsealed and quite corrugated, and you constantly have to dodge sheep and sometimes even cows. It was quite tough on poor Carry, but very much worth the effort. Really, what a breathtakingly beautiful area! The hilly grasslands stretch out on both sides of the road, gradually rising into steeper mountains that eventually form the almost vertical walls of the valley. Everywhere you look waterfalls dramatically drop down from these walls, endlessly filling crystal clear pools from which curvy little streams meander through the meadows. (Gosh, I even went a bit poetic there!) Can you imagine it? Words fall short really, I can’t believe places like this still exist. Nature here is untouched by human hands, besides the road we were driving on. The peacefulness is hard to describe…

Raspberry Creek Carpark, with a view into the Matukituki Valley. 

We did the track towards Rob Roy's glacier (10km return), where we were treated with an amazing view of the melting glacier. We went at a good time; during spring you can really see this brutal force of nature in full action. Hearing the ice cracking (a magical, frightening sound!) and witnessing several small avalanches was a truly humbling experience, luckily all from a safe distance. The weather – and thus the visibility couldn’t have been better, it was like we had first range seats for one of nature’s spectacular show-offs. 

The glacier in all its glory.

Yours truly, on the bridge over the Matukituki River.

Next we went climbing at Wishbone Falls. Climbing next to a waterfall in a heavenly beautiful valley? It doesn't get any better than this! Very tired but even more satisfied we got back home at 20.30... Hopefully we'll go back there again, maybe even for a few days!

The view from the Wishbone Falls climbing spot. Pretty amazing huh?

Let me expand on the climbing for a bit more. Wishbone Falls are a couple of waterfalls like the ones I mentioned earlier, in the Matukituki Valley. We stopped along the road, because according to our climbing guidebook there had to be a couple of bolted routes just next to these waterfalls. Something we highly doubted - like I said: the valley is really desolate and a long ride away from civilization. We had to walk through some meadows to reach the edge of the valley and the waterfalls dropping down from its walls. The pool at the feet of the falls surrounded by small hills with grazing sheep everywhere absolutely deserved the word ‘paradise’ and was worth the short walk even if we wouldn’t be able to climb…but believe it or not: little glimmering bolts on the rock meant there were climbable routes indeed!
Climbing next to a waterfall...it doesn't get much

I don’t think we ever climbed at a more beautiful, spectacular location, and the climbs were exciting as well! You know what, this is one of the things I so love about climbing. Without the promise of those routes, we would’ve had no reason to stop at the side of the road and cross the meadows and discover this little paradise.


Sore muscles, but still very satisfied! Now we’re looking forward even more to traveling around and enjoying more of such amazing days. First, however, there'll have to be a few more weeks of making money. Today I had two 90 minute massages and one 60 minute one, while Mark did some more work on the van again. The fridge, gas cooker and lights are now working; it’s more and more starting to look like a livable home-on-wheels!


Today I massaged the Oak Ridge (where the Spa is located) resort’s owner for the 3rd time, on request. You would expect he would finally give me a tip now, especially since he only has to pay half of the price anyway, and he's also huge (like in: HUGE!) with muscles like a wall, which makes firm pressure massages hard work! Pfff :P 

How I get called to work...lol!

The first birthday cards are slowly starting to come in, it’s really nice being the birthday girl for almost a whole week like this!


Happy birthday to me! Let's not mention my age…it feels like 30 is slowly coming in sight now, which sounds só old! This morning I first Skyped with mom and dad, who recorded the sweetest video ever: singing for me wearing Hawaii-style flower necklaces, haha! I love them so much :) I know me being here isn't always easy for them, but they're also very proud and supportive, more than I could wish for! There were more cards and presents in the mail and Mark came home with the sweetest hand-written birthday card ever, and as a present... belay glasses! Hello super-awkward climbing look, goodbye sore neck and headache! We ate a massive tortilla stack (we pretty much had to roll into our bed afterwards, walking wasn’t possible anymore) and my day was perfect. Birthday in spring for the first time in my life!

For everyone who’s wondering now: “what the heck are belay glasses?!” I’ll provide a little explanation. When climbing, one person belays the other person – the climber. The higher the climber gets, the more the belayer has to look up to keep an eye on how things are going, ready to catch a fall if necessary. This is especially the case with lead climbing, which is what we usually do outside. Since we started spending an increasing amount of time at the rocks during the last couple of months, I noticed an annoying headache each time after climbing, that sometimes even lasted up to a couple of days. Nothing too bad, but still quite annoying. It didn’t take us long to figure out what caused this; it’s a common climber’s problem – or actually: a belayer’s problem. Because of the constant looking up, tissues in the neck get pinched, resulting in a nagging pain in the head and cervical spine. To solve this problem, some creative climbing folks designed the so-called belay glasses: a type of glasses with little mirrors in them, kind of working like a periscope. The mirrors are built in on such an angle that when you seem to be looking straight forward, you’re actually looking úp through the glasses. With the help of this handy device, the belayer doesn’t constantly have to bend his or her head backwards anymore to keep a close eye on the climber! Excellent…except that the glasses look absolutely ridiculous, even a bit terrifying on some persons :P But I guess I’d rather be pain-free than fashionable! It’s a very thoughtful birthday gift :)


You won't believe what happened today...we're being kicked out of the house! I had been washing our bed linen and was hanging it out, when all of a sudden an angry granny stood behind me, yelling at me. I misunderstood her at first; I thought she was telling me she was moving out in a few weeks, and I happily responded that we were going to leave around that time as well, so all would work out fine. But then she responded that WE were the ones leaving - in 10 days, adding that I didn't have to look so surprised. I thought we were acting up pretty well to all her crazy rules, but apparently it still wasn't good enough. Now we have to leave before we're done working (both Mark and I told our bosses we’d work till 31 November), which is absolutely not practical... And I'm stuck with an even grumpier granny the rest of the time. I have to admit I had a bit of a meltdown over it, why does she have to make things so hard on us? The first thing this woman checks when she gets home from work is if all her teaspoons are in the drawer, and if not, she starts yelling at us even with her coat still on! If she instead just looked 1 meter to her right, she’d see the spoons lying to dry on the rack together with the rest of the dishes, after we’d been washing them. I mean, really? What’s up with her? It’s just one of many recurring examples of her strange behavior…or is it just me? I really don’t know how to behave in her proximity anymore!


It’s becoming way too quiet again at the Spa. No work yesterday and just a single 60 minute massage today. Meanwhile I'm dying and re-rooting (translated: making doll wigs) a lot to at least make some money. Yesterday I ran to Mark's work again. It's fun to see the progress on the beautiful villa! Actually we both just try to get out of the house as often as possible, mainly to avoid granny…so after work we went for a beer with John at the Waterbar. Talked about gold mining and compared Mark to Sir Edmund Hillary, with his current huge beard. He’s not really standing out at the moment though, since it’s Movember here…the month in which you’re supposed to grow your moustache and beard. Although I must say that in Mark’s case October was kind of a Movember too…just as September for that matter... Oh, and they handed out pork rolls at the Waterbar, so we were all like: yay, free food! After tasting one of them I completely understood why they gave them away for free though, gulp…


Today was a bit of a strange day, somehow. I was on call but wasn't called to work. It was really windy, sometimes it rained and sometimes the sun was shining. Mark realized he lost his wallet. He even went through the security videos of the shop we went to yesterday and where he last used it, to eventually find it under the blankets of our bed… No comments please :P We went shopping at Wastebusters and Salvy's (which really seems to have become a weekly ritual now) and had a coffee and ice cream (Hokey Pokey for live! Why had I never heard of this flavor before I came to New Zealand?!) in town. We started cleaning and vacuuming the van - which was certainly necessary after all the working on it - and finished the day with a slightly bizarre movie: Incendies.


Hayden and Maddie were in town! We went climbing together at Roadside, a new area for all of us. There was an awesome roof for the guys to play (and show off ;)) in, I had a go at it myself too...meanwhile chatting away and catching up on travel stories. If I hear the talk I – once again - can't wait to hit the road ourselves!

Mark struggling his way through the roof.

You might remember from last month’s blogpost that our American friends Hayden (with whom Mark has been working the last couple of months) and Maddie left Wanaka, to explore the rest of the South Island. They started with the area below Wanaka, a region that covers more or less the lower third of the island. Right now they’ve come back up, passing through Wanaka again before settling down in Cromwell for a couple of weeks: a little town close to Wanaka. They will work there in one of the many vineyards there for 2 or 3 weeks before moving on to the rest of the South Island.

Tonight we were invited at Carl's (Mark's boss) for a barbecue. John (Mark’s colleague), his wife Amy and their kids were there, as well as two other couples. We had a great time: friendly people, a beautiful house, and Carl’s wife Jill is an absolutely praiseworthy cook!

A close up shot of one of Rob Roy's glacier's many crown walls.


I got finally called again to do a massage today. Quentin and Elena were back in town again and their solar panel had arrived, so Mark helped Quentin with installing it on their car's roof, while I helped Elana sewing and mending their curtains. Afterwards we had a barbecue at the resort again, where we listened to their stories about the Catlins (a region in the south of the South Island), the Keppler Track (one of New Zealand’s great walks), the Milford Sound and a lost telephone in a garbage bin... I'm a bit afraid this was the last time we went to the resort though, we got *ahum* a bit of a eeh…warning for trespassing (*looking very ashamed*). 

A little explanation of the phone in the garbage bin: after spending the day at the lakeside somewhere, Quentin found out he lost his phone. So, retracing what they had done that day, and where he had last used his phone, they drove back to the lakeside to look for it. Calling himself with Elena’s phone they searched the area, until he heard his ringtone…coming out of a garbage bin. Because, apparently, he had thrown it away, somehow. He had to dig through the trash to retrieve it…but at least he got his phone back! Lol, this is really something that could only happen to a guy like Quentin, I’m quite sure his life is never boring.

A little movie of Mark climbing at Wishbone Falls.


The guys hadn't quite finished fixing the solar panel to the roof of Quentin and Elena’s car (Quentin had bought the wrong size screws, he's not exactly a natural DIY-er). So after work they came by again to finish it, while Elena and I continued on the curtains and talked about life on the road, movies, books and relationships…just a good ol’ bit of girl talk :) After exchanging some movies for rainy days, it was finally time for them to leave - with a full hard disk, fixed curtains and a solar panel on the roof. The leaving took another hour, our friends kept on packing, unpacking and repacking endlessly, moving stuff around in the van and tying surfboards to the roof; everything just barely fitted. Then it took about 80 tries to get the van out of the garage, which was quite a hilarious sight.. However, we will definitely miss them, they're a great couple and likeminded souls. I hope we will see them again at some point, in New Zealand or anywhere else. Safe travels Quentin & Elena!!


Luckily it's slowly getting busier again at the Spa. I massaged three Americans at the Edgewater Resort yesterday (US clients means tips, ka-ching!). The last client turned out to be a journalist, who gave me a crash course on the American immigration policy. He was quite passionate about it, to put it mildly… (you're not really supposed to talk to the clients, but some of them just can’t keep quiet :P ).

Nothing really exciting happened besides that, just lots of random stuff…, which altogether made for some pretty awesome days though, to be honest! I got Mark (against his will) addicted to the tv-series Lost (check out one of my recent posts about it here) and I received a belated birthday gift from my bestie Eef: Lush products, a handmade leather journal, and the sweetest birthday card. She knows how to spoil me!

Happy birthday gifts from Eef!

Through the Wanaka Trading group on Facebook we scored a free bike rack for our 2 bikes and on Trademe.co.nz we got a camping stove and Personal Locator Beacon. Oh, and the flashing little light in the van that kept bothering us turned out to be just a broken sensor, and we didn't even have to pay to get it replaced!

A little bit about the Personal Locator Beacon, or short: PLB. We spent quite some thinking on whether to buy one or not, because these little devices are insanely expensive, and you can also rent them from the Department of Conservation. A PLB is a kind of personal safety device that can alert search and rescue services and allow them to quickly locate you (based on GPS coordinates, sent via a satellite system) in case of an emergency. It works wherever you are: deep in the jungle or in the middle of an ocean – you just need to pull out the antenna and hold a button for a few seconds. Since the phone coverage in the South Island is quite limited (only really existing in and around towns), you won’t be able to call for help when something happens in the backcountry, unless you’re on a mountaintop. That’s the main reason why the DOC offices throughout the island rent those devices to trampers and other kinds of adventurers, making sure they can send an SOS signal in case of a broken leg or worse (as long as you’re still conscious, of course…but let’s not go there ;)).

Mark and I both agreed on not going out into the backcountry without such a device, and already noticed that even on some more remote climbing spots (like in the Matukituki Valley) it might be a useful thing to have at hand. We’re also planning on quite some multiday hiking trips. After much debating, it seemed like the soundest idea (both financially and logistically) to get a PLB ourselves, instead of renting one every time. A big investment, but I guess you don’t want to save on your personal safety!

Mark having a lazy moment on a flat stone island, in the Matukituki Valley.


Today I had to do a massage in someone's personal hotel room, which meant dragging a massage table and suitcase full of towels and linen around the resort. Sigh…who’s idea was this?! The client had the balcony doors open and all of a sudden there was a curious little bird hopping under the massage table, so sweet! I’ll admit it instantly made up for the effort :)

Tonight I had mistaken the time for another massage by an hour, so I had Mark pick me up again to have a beer together at the lake (ssssh!! Just one!). The poor guy thought he finally had a contemplative moment for himself… It's very windy once again, but luckily I have gathered some nice blankets over the past few weeks at Wastebusters – because, what’s a campervan without some snuggly plaids?!

Staying warm at the lakeside in one of our thrifted blankets.


Hayden and Maddie came for a coffee this morning! They finished their job at the vineyard in Cromwell, and are leaving the area now for real. This time they brought an American friend along, who will travel with them in their car for a while. Which is pretty unbelievable actually, since they have just a station wagon with a mattress in the back – poor girl sleeps outside in a hammock during the night! Their plan is to travel the Haast Pass and then go up the West Coast towards the North Island. It was really great to see them one last time! A bit sad as well, it feels like everyone is leaving Wanaka...but so will we, in just about one more week.
I had to do a bunch of massages today and wanted to relax a bit afterwards by taking a bath tonight, which resulted in another crash with granny...so much for the restored peace.

Yeah, the situation with our English housemate hasn’t really improved, sadly enough. A couple of days after she gave us our sudden notice, somehow things escalated between her and me agáin. I have never experienced something like this before, we simply seem not to be able to be in the same room without ending up in a fight. While I’m actually quite conflict-avoiding normally! Things went so badly this time that I knew nothing else to do but to run out of the house (before I’d really start shouting things I would regret later), calling Mark on the street. I was sobbing, completely losing it, I SO hate these kind of situations! It feels like I’m drowning in all kinds of overwhelming emotions (anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness), losing all rationality and normal perspective. Mark was just on his lunch break, and decided to quickly come home before returning to work. I’m glad he did, he handles these situations a lot better than I do. I don’t know how, but somehow he managed to calm both granny and me down and even agree on a departing date that would work for all of us. Seriously, what would I do without him?!

Anyway, the peace seemed to be restored, but it turned out to be only for a couple of days. A quiet bath was not admitted – this time even our German housemate (whom granny favors like a son – her words!) apologized for her behavior towards me. Sigh…I. Can’t. Wait. To. Leave.

View from our street: farmers burning tussock on the hills, to clear
grassland for the sheep.


We had our weekly trip to Wastebusters again. Mark found some new books - he's over the moon with his Neil Young biography. He wants to read a lot in the van, and I can't help but finding reading men very sexy :) I continued cleaning the van, which makes a huge difference (I actually think the vehicle was once owned by a chain smoker; the roof above the front chairs turns out to be a completely different color after a good clean up!) and Mark finished the last of the woodwork in it. Just one more week to go - I'm a little bit nervous!

Oh, we also both have a wetsuit now. We figured they might come in handy while traveling along the coast a lot – New Zealand’s sea waters are apparently not of the warmest kind. I got mine earlier this week and Mark got his today from a couple from Uruguay. Very friendly folks of our age, we hang out with them for a bit. They got a perfect little unit all for themselves, a bit like a little holiday apartment in someone’s backyard (honestly: right now any place without yelling housemates seems better than our current living situation). She decorated it very creatively, he had his climbing gear hanging around…so there was an instant click :) They were leaving Wanaka for Australia, so Mark (having lived and traveled in Australia for 2 years) could give them some advice about where to go. I really love this part of traveling: meeting people from al over the world!

Some of my crafty results of November: hand dyed
roving and sock yarn :)


It's a bit of a messy week; it feels weird to know we will be leaving Wanaka in a week, after having lived here for four months. Mark's still mucking around at work: the house is almost done now, so in that regard our departure is very well timed. I do a few massages here and there. Yesterday I had to treat the resort owner again (remember, my hardest client?!); a 90 minute firm pressure treatment, and, sigh….nope, still no tip! Meanwhile I sewed the last pillows for the van, got my hands on a good letter of recommendation from my employer at the spa, and registered and figured out our PLB - we should be totally safe now! Wanaka is slowly getting busier, the number of campervans by the lake is growing steadily.


Emotional meltdown yesterday... Nothing worked out well: granny dictated when I had to do my laundry and was complaining about the smell in our room. Well, sorry granny…I have a boyfriend who works really hard and comes home in sweaty clothes, that’s why I always open the windows in our bedroom! Maybe it would help if you didn’t sneakily close them again every time when we’re out?! Oh, and since when do I have to take off my helmet in the post office? (As if I don’t hate wearing that thing enough already…I’m a Dutchie for heaven’s sake, I KNOW how to ride my bicycle!) And why can't the bank exchange my 10 US dollars (massage tip) for New Zealand dollars? Sigh... And then on top of all that my Macbook screen stopped working... It was just one of those days when the world seems to be against you, and having a good cry is the only solution for that. Luckily I have the best boyfriend in the world (“come to papa bear and let it all out, go on...”) and today it seems to be going a bit better again. Of course :) I’m probably just stressed out by the situation with granny and a little bit anxious about our big upcoming change of moving into the van. This whole ‘living & traveling overseas’ thing can be so overwhelming at times!

The result of many hours of hard work...doesn't our kitchen look amazing?!


Well, the laptop seems to be miraculously working again, and so does granny. She's being impossible again! I spent 1,5 hour cleaning the bathroom today, but she was still nowhere near satisfied. I don't like to despise someone so much, to let someone have so much influence on me (because I realize it’s partly my own fault, I keep letting her hurt me and taking her behavior way too seriously!). Mark handles it a hundred times better than I do, even though he's getting pretty sick of it too by now. Luckily he came home early today: his very last day at work! He really enjoyed building the house, learnt tons of new stuff and I think his boss was really happy with him too, since gave Mark a nice bonus! It’s always nice to bring something to a good end, and the timing is perfect as well – like I said: the house is pretty much done! I had a massage today, and I'm still on call tomorrow and the day after. Meanwhile it's really time to start moving all our stuff into the van now! Had a nice skype session with my friend Yessica (who, living in Indonesia for a year, is currently geographically my closest Dutch friend) this morning, hopefully I can Skype with everyone else this weekend too…before we have to say goodbye to free wifi!


I actually had quite a busy day at work yesterday, making good money just last minute: two 90 minute and a 60 minute massage with a bit of time between all of them, so it was a lot of cycling back and forth. Meanwhile Mark painted the interior of the van! Of course granny didn't like it (“you should have done that weeks ago!”) but it turned out really nice. It's petrol blue and ochre yellow - the only colours they had at Wastebusters, except for black and white. Today, around midday, we finally managed to leave. We left in a hurry, because granny was acting up again, so we ended up throwing everything randomly in the van and speeding off. Meaning we had to unpack and repack properly at Albert Town Campground, just outside Wanaka... But hey, we left granny for good, and our trip across the South Island has finally started. A new stage of our trip!

One last picture of Rob Roy's glacier, with lots of waterfalls coming down.

And that was it: our four months in Wanaka! Despite some obvious hardships, we're both looking back with a smile. What else could we do, Wanaka has probably been the most beautiful place I've ever lived, and I seriously doubt it will be topped.
Another thing I'm looking back on with great appreciation is the work experience. I know, a couple of paragraphs back I was still complaining like a grumpy old lady...and working on call was definitely a huge challenge for me. But I did it, all the way to the end. I got an excellent letter of recommendation, my clients were happy with me, I had great fun with my colleagues and a friendly but professional relationship with my boss. I left the Netherlands just after quite a negative work experience, which truly made me doubt myself a lot. Even still now, I struggle to process it and let it go. But the positive time at the Spa showed me that I can have good work experiences as well, and that it was not necessarily just me who's to blame. For that I'm really thankful :)
Okay, enough rambling. Next time – finally! – more interesting stuff will be covered, exploring the beauty of New Zealand’s South Island and living on the road together for the first time. Stay tuned!

Last but not least: a cow who pertinently refused moving his
lazy ass, on our way through the Matukituki Valley. 

zondag 31 mei 2015

October in New Zealand

Finally some new journal logs from our travels in New Zealand! That was about time huh ;) They will cover October this time, which was another month spent in Wanaka - our third already! Starting to feel a little bit 'kiwi'... 
In case you missed previous posts and like to read about our travels from the very start: simply click the tab 'travel' on top of this page to find the other travelogues!
Oh, and one little side note: I didn't take many pictures of all the boring daily stuff, but I did shoot a lot on our hike to Isthmus Peak on October 12th. That's why you find them scattered throughout this post, to fill up the gaps a bit.

Click here for the automatically translated Dutch version of the post.

Isthmus Peak: Hayden, Maddie, me and Mark halfway to the top.


Mark had the day off today (still working as a hammerhand, building this crazy beautiful villa with views over Lake Wanaka), because the building inspector was meant to come inspect the site. Which, by the way, can be tense with a boss like Mark's... he is absolutely one of the most absentminded (but nevertheless very kind) persons I've ever met! Since this all meant the builders could have a sleep-in, John (Mark's colleague and carpooler) invited us yesterday night to come have a drink at his place. So we got on the bikes and raced through Lake Hawea like a couple of ten-year old school boys. I don't know what got into us, the amount of fresh air around here probably makes us a bit wild...we rode like idiots through the streets, competing to be fastest while barely having enough light from our small headlights. So much for safety... John is very nice and I think he's pretty smart too. He's very interested in geology and has serious plans to start a goldmine (no kidding!). Mark is - naturally - very interested, and he has insured himself a job already. I think I like where this is going ;)

Today we took our chance and slept in together, followed by playing Contraption Maker in bed.

This is not nearly as naughty and exciting as it sounds, believe me. Contraption Maker is a computer game in which you have to build crazy contraptions using a wide array of objects, creating endless chain reactions to achieve a specific end goal. If you're on Steam and like a bit of thinking and puzzling, you should give this cheap game a try!

A little screen shot of Contraption Maker. Graphically not outstanding,
but still quite addictive!

I think we're a great team of puzzle-solvers together. Mark tries to think first and solve the puzzle from start to finish, whereas I always start adding random stuff in the middle of the contraption. Our solutions are completely different from the official ones most of the time (you can always compare them once you've solved the puzzle). 

When we went through the front door to go to Wanaka - me because I got called to work, Mark to do some grocery shopping - it turned out we had a flat tyre. So instead of giving a massage, I found myself changing a tyre for the first time in my life. I keep learning new stuff! You know what, I might actually become handy one day (or maybe that's a bit too optimistic...?).


Back to work! I could be found in the Spa, and luckily the building site passed its inspection so Mark could get his hands dirty again too. (He probably could've otherwise as well, although it might have been for a grumpy boss then :P) I really started noticing at the Spa that it's holidays here now, it's becoming busy! 

After work today we helped Hayden (Mark's American colleague) and Maddie (his girlfriend) getting their flat car battery started again, which turned out to be quite the mission. Their car was parked front first on their driveway, with no room to get past. Of course the jumping leads were way too short. Lifting up the car (yes, we actually tried that), didn't work (I keep telling Mark we need to eat more vegetables...spinach maybe?). In the end the flowerbed was given up; it got partly flattened and with a lot of driving skills we managed to get the van between their car and the house with a millimeter to spare on either side. It's a good thing that no-one will notice a few more scratches on our van. Finally we managed to reach their battery with the jumping leads, which turned out to be in less than perfect condition, but after about 28 attempts their engine started running. Hurray!

Afterwards Hayden and Maddie followed us to Lake Hawea to stay for dinner, drinks and sleep the night, which was a lot of fun :)

Isthmus Peak: on our way to the top, accompanied by hundreds of
sheep and the cutest little lambs. 


Weekend! Maddie had to work today, but Hayden, Mark and I went climbing. The guys were slightly hungover (which meant Hayden had an almost-throw-up moment halfway on the rock and Mark's climbing skills mainly involved falling off the rock and Tarzan-swinging around). I did climb pretty hard, because somebody had to do some serious climbing.

Climb and be happy!

The second half of the afternoon I had to work, while Mark used John's trailer to get the remainder of our firewood supply to our new house (in return for two weeks worth of power and bills, seems like a good deal to me!). 

Yes, you read that correctly...we found a new room. After the debacle with our disappearing room mate (see previous month), there was not much left to do for us than search for a new place to live. We lived in Lake Hawea with four people, and the rent divided by four was just about payable for us. With one roommate gone, rent got higher for the remaining three of us...which none of us was exactly happy about (or even able to pay). We put some effort in finding a new roommate, but since we're in between high-seasons (winter's over, summer hasn't really begun), a lot of rooms are available in Wanaka too...and nobody is willing to live in Lake Hawea and drive 20 minutes to get groceries if it isn't really necessary. Even though the house is really beautiful and big and all that. So, to the dismay of the house owners - who turned out to be pregnant with triplets and could really use the money, to make things worse - we ended our tenancy with them and got ourselves a room in Wanaka.

Another sad side effect of all those financial disappointments (our housemate's disappearance while still owing us 600$, as well as our broken van - again: see last month), was that when Andy, our backcountry skiing guide, dropped in one night to discuss the details of our follow-up course, the one in which we would finally go to the glaciers...we had to tell him the whole plan was off. It would simply not have been a wise decision to go through with it, we'd be broke afterwards! It was a huge setback for us both, since we looked forward to it so much and we hadn't been able to do all the glacier-stuff as planned in our first course. The decision was hard to make, but at least we both agreed on it, and shared the disappointment... I guess it would've been even worse if one of us still wanted to push through regardless of the financial consequences - and believe me, we both felt the temptation!

Anyway, back to the new place, which is at walking distance from the Spa, so at least we'll be saving money on diesel. The head tenant is a 'granny' (sorry, I don't mean that in a degrading way...but she really is!); an older woman from the UK who seems to be quite neat and tidy and probably won't suddenly disappear (you start judging possible room mates differently after certain things happened). There's one other tenant; a German guy who is studying to become a primary school teacher, and doing an internship at one of Wanaka's schools. Sounds alright, huh?

Oh, by the way, our house hunt got us at some very interesting other places as well...we visited an ultra modern house in the middle of nowhere (we didn't dare asking John to drive about seven kilometers of unpaved roads both ways every morning to get Mark for work - although the house was pretty cool), and looked at a room in some scary single man's house, previously occupied by two Asian girls.... Naah, thank you very much.

Isthmus Peak: I loved how the sun played a beautiful game of light
and shadow on this steep ridge line. 


Today we intended to climb Isthmus Peak, but the weather was really terrible, so that didn't happen. Instead we played Contraption and drank coffee in bed again (help, we're almost out of puzzles!). The rest of the day we spent messing about the house. Mark cut our mattress to fit in the van; it was quite a mission to saw through the springs, but there was no way it was going to fit in our vehicle otherwise. 

And... tonight we went to Cinema Paradiso! Finally! Mark refuses to go to the movies when it's light outside or when it's not raining, so finding a date wasn't easy. It turned out that “Gone Girl” was playing today, the new movie by the director of among others Fight Club, the Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And it was GOOD! Absolutely thrilling :) Paradiso is a very cool cinema. Their two rooms are filled with old couches and even old-timers to sit in, and during the break you can get freshly-baked cookies (oh, that smell!) and local craft beers. Yes, they bake cookies during the first half of every movie they show! Now thát is a kind of service more cinemas should introduce! Omnomnom... 

The famous, still warm, homemade cookies.


Alright, it's really busy at the Spa now. Karen (one of the firm-pressure colleagues who works at the Spa permanently) is on vacation, so Elena (my Spanish colleague, also a physiotherapist in her home country and traveling through New Zealand) and I do practically all massages. Yesterday I did 5 massages (three x 60 minutes and two x 90 minutes), today was good for three 90 minutes... My hands are really sore, I didn't know you could have such bad muscle ache in your thumbs! I'm home late every night because most clients book their massages at the end of the day (we're open till 9pm), but hey, we're making good money :)


Tonight there's a full lunar eclipse, which we are anxiously waiting for. The moon is half blacked out now, but it should turn red shortly... I can't wait to see what that looks like. Thankfully it's a very bright night. Camera ready!

My pictures of the lunar eclipse and the beatiful Blood Moon. After
lots of fiddling with the right camera settings ;)


We're dealing with a mystery. An unexplainable mystery. Our letterbox keeps inexplicably filling up with hay. I think there are only two possible answers. Either the postman puts it in, or the wind blows in (one and a half meter up, through the tiny slit? I don't think so...) We're leaving this weekend, so I'm afraid we'll never find the cause. 

Oh, by the way, we drank beers by the campfire with Hayden and Maddie, who're camping now at the Albert Town Campground (just outside Wanaka), which was lots of fun!

Hayden and Maddie had to leave their house because the rental contract had ended, but they want to hold on to their jobs for another one or two weeks. So...camping it is, which I find quite impressive, because they have a station wagon (and not a van). I would already find it a challenge to travel & sleep in that size vehicle (although lots of people manage it, even though you pretty much have to move all your stuff the whole time - to the front seats when you want to sleep, to the mattress when you have to drive...aargh!), but imagine you live in it AND also have a job. And that one person takes the car to his or her job, and the other one is pretty much homeless then... Maybe I'm still too attached to luxury and comfort though :) It's eye-opening to see that people actually do this, without making a fuss about it. Even if it's not for me; it ís possible!

Isthmus Peak: halfway to the top, with Lake
Wanaka in the background.


Today was The Great Cleaning Day. It's really nice to have a big house, until you have to get it completely clean and neat and tidied up because you're leaving. Mark, my hero, put on his cleaning face and has been very busy while I completely lost the overview and mainly ran around like a lunatic. What would I do without him? Meanwhile he managed to also help Elena and her French boyfriend Quentin with their van, which they brought to our place. They needed some carpentry work done and were pretty much clueless about it, so Mark helped them on their way, cleaning scrubs in one hand and a hammer in the other. How's that for multitasking?! In the meantime I did three 60 minute massages at the Spa. Productive day!

This is the view from our Day Spa room at the Edgewater Resort,
another location the Spa operates from. Could be worse, huh?!
I gave quite a lot of massages, dreamily staring out over the lake
in the meantime...


Pfew, we managed to move today. Only just though, it was quite a struggle fitting all our stuff in the van! Of course I panicked about how this was going to work later, forgetting we also carried a massive bag of stuffing, a lot of wood off-cuts, an extra mattress and another half mattress. 

Did I ever write about that bag of stuffing? I was looking for some filling for amigurumi's (crocheted animals) and such, when I was still preparing the crochet courses I was meant to teach at the craft store. I couldn't find anything in Wanaka, so went online to score something on TradeMe (a New Zealand kind of Ebay). I found a bag for 7 dollars, photographed on a floor or something, with no size reference at all. I just automatically presumed it would a small to medium sized plastic bag, nothing special.
So...I asked our housemate Jessica if she could pick it up for me in her hometown (Dunedin). Next thing I knew, after the weekend, there was this absolutely GIGANTIC bag full of stuffing standing in the hallway. Poor Jessica could barely fit it in her tiny car, and was constantly wondering what the heck I would need thát for... 

The bag of stuffing. With a girl attached to it.

After we unloaded everything at Niger Street - our new address, we went to pick up Hayden and Maddie (who also moved, to the hotel Maddie's working at...camping and working wasn't all that ideal in the end) to climb Isthmus Peak. A 16 km hike, about a thousand meters up and a thousand down again. Oh, my legs...we definitely need more training, if we ever want to get used to this kind of hiking. 

Isthmus Peak: Hayden & Maddie, just leaving the van to start the climb.

The view was definitely worth it though, from the summit you can see both Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea! The track went through a sheep farm, with lots and lots of little lambs, which were unbearably cute. Some of them had only just been born, making their first uncertain steps with the umbilical cord still attached. Aahw!

Isthmus Peak: "Baaaaaaah!" was our soundtrack. 


Back to work again! With bad muscle aches...I got some sympathy from Elena, who - having hiked Isthmus Peak about a week earlier herself - knew exactly how I felt. She asked if we'd like to come for a barbecue with her and Quentin and some friends after work. They live in a resort, with communal spaces with barbecues, a gym, a sauna and hot pools. Yes, that's right: hotpools! Oh my goodness, I can't even start describing how nice that was for our sore muscles!


I had a lovely day off, finally time to unpack, organise and relax. Untill I got called around dinnertime to do a Body Blitz (60 minutes massage + 30 minutes facial) on a barely English-speaking Russian man of about 50 years old. My goodness he was scary (and of course I happened to be alone at the Spa!), and really, which guy wants a facial?! Believe me, gently scrubbing in lotions on a stubbled chin that smells of nicotine very badly is something I wouldn't recommend to anyone. I was quite relieved to have him snoring deep asleep on the table after 10 minutes, which made the rest of the massage a bit less uncomfortable for me ;)

Isthmus Peak: the most dramatic photo.


More quiet days. One massage a day at most (holidays are over and Karen is back...), which isn't very good for the money, but perfect for recovering, answering emails, and working on dolly assignments (which brings in a little money as well). I sold my vacuum cleaner for the same price I bought it for 2 months ago, and skyped with the two cutest Dutch little girls I know (my mom looks after them, and the occasional skype-date with them means lots of giggles and funny faces) . Meanwhile, our granny housemate (the neat, do-it-my-way, but nevertheless nice main tenant) is on holiday for a few days, so we can be a little less cleaned-up. We found out that we have to tiptoe our way around the house a bit, but right now I can actually leave my coffee cup on the counter top for a few hours before washing it. 

Our new bedroom in 'granny's' house :)


YES! This lady managed to obtain a 500gr bag of possum-fur carded with merino, how awesome is that? 

Dublin Bay Pottery, where I bought my possum-merino fiber.

A quick video I shot at Dublin Bay (yes, I just drove the
van right onto the beach :P ), looking out over Lake

Mark finished early today and was bought lunch by Carl (his boss) together with Hayden and John, because today was Hayden's last day at work. After that we went to mess around on the van a little bit. Mark has finished cutting the mattress to size, which I'm sewing shut now. Meanwhile the shelves in the kitchen have been upgraded and a herbs-and-spices shelve is being made. Tonight we went on a pub crawl with Hayden, Maddie and John to say goodbye to Hayden and Maddie, who are leaving tomorrow, such a shame :( Had a great Mexican meal and laughed hard about Mark who couldn't find the toilet in Fitzpatricks. 

The cut-through mattress, that I'm sewing shut again...
yes, by hand. Best job ever.

Haha, that last part might need a bit of explaining. It was at the end of the evening, so there might have been some alcohol involved... Fitzpatrick is an Irish pub with quite a classic interior, so the old-fashioned bookshelf that is actually the secret door to the toilets is not really prominent. I have to admit, I had some trouble finding it myself the first time! The thing is though, Mark hád actually used that toilet before...so the fact that he was completely clueless and even gave up in the end when he had to use the little boy's room for the second time, was quite hilarious ;)


Today I had to do a massage in the Lookout Lodge, a location in the middle of nowhere high on a hill that's available to rent for weddings and such. This weekend however, there was a yoga retreat happening. The client, an overly-tired mother, was so grateful for the massage that afterwards it seemed like she could burst out in tears and hug me, which was great :) Tonight we sharpened our skis and snowboard using online tutorials and youtube videos. Way cheaper than getting it done professionally, but important to get right, especially with such expensive gear! We want them to last a couple of years at least, so hopefully this will help. Next week we're going to buy an iron, so we can give them a good wax as well.

Isthmus Peak: almost on the top!


We both had the day off today, and the weather was good, so we finally went climbing again. But, oh, my hands get so soft from all the massage oil, which really sucks. Hopefully the weather will soon be good enough to explore the climbing on the other side of Hospital Flat. 

Hospital Flat, the climbing area, is divided by a road that runs right through it. On one side the walls mainly face north, which means lots of sun (we're below the equator here, remember?). In winter this is absolutely perfect, you can even climb in your top while you see people skiing at the Treble Cone ski field in the distance, but in summer it's way too hot, you'll burn alive. That's when most people go to the other side, where lots of walls are facing south - meaning shadow. During winter, those south facing walls stay wet for too long to be really climbable. All in all this makes Hospital Flat a perfect year-round climbing area, the inhabitants of Wanaka and surroundings are really lucky!

Isthmus Peak: more dramatic ridge lines...


I haven't been called to work at the Spa for 2 days now, not making much money this way. Luckily we got most of our bond back. Not all of it, because they had a few things to whine about, which we thought was quite ridiculous and unfounded, but we accepted it... Maybe it's not the best idea to rent out your house if it's already sold? We're glad to be out of there anyway. It was a nice house, but all the unpleasant events with our housemate and the houseowners' cold reactions to that made me happy to leave. Sigh, sometimes I get so tired of the fact that I take everything too personally! Anyway, I finished and sent 2 alpaca/mohair batches (= doll hair) and secretly took photos in the library of the Wanaka Rock Topo. Oh, there are so many more climbing routes to be discovered in the area!

I took the photos secretly because Wanaka's rock climbing guidebook is sold out, and the new version is not coming out before next year. In the meantime, we can't borrow the library's guidebook, nor are we allowed to make photocopies, because of some silly copyright rules according to the library lady. Well, how on earth are we thén supposed to know where to climb?! So I went on a mission, sneakily hiding behind my backpack, looking very innocent every time someone passed my table...hah, I felt a bit like a spy!


It's still very quiet at the Spa. It's always all or nothing, it seems. Luckily Mark is still doing long hours, and enjoying the work (especially when his boss is buying sushi for lunch! :P). Meanwhile I picked up on my spinning course again, it's really time I finish it by now. It can be pretty hard at times, but it's very interesting. The guidance by the tutor - through email, post and Facebook - is very good as well. Plus it's a New Zealand course (even though international students can sign up and I started it back in the Netherlands already), it's nice to be in the same timezone as my tutor now! Makes asking quick questions a bit easier :)
I went bouldering for an hour at Basecamp (the local climbing gym) and we waxed our skis and board with our new iron. They're well protected for summer, and we learned something new.

Mark giving his skis a good fat summer wax. 


Mark had an emergency job at work this morning (Saturday), as they delivered some doors yesterday that turned out to be the wrong size. Normally he doesn't have to work Saturday, but this week the extra money was more than welcome. Quentin en Elena were supposed to come to work on their van a little bit, but they were too tired/hungover...so we ended up doing some work on our own van instead. I've almost finished sewing the mattress shut and Mark started on the second closet, where I can put my crafting stuff in. It even has a fold-out table for my sewing machine. He also found the perfect place for our solar panel, on the back of the closet, behind an opening window. Goodness, everything is turning out so cool!
We watched the worst movie every tonight, I don't even dare to call it by name. Talk to Jenny if you want to know, she máde me watch it.

How's that for a van's kitchen?!

Mark being very proud of his
folding-out countertop.


Today I had to work at 11.30 and 16.00, and in between we went climbing. We went to Mt. Iron this time, which is a small climbing area at a 10 minute drive away. Not by far as big as Hospital Flat, but three times closer by! There were actually more good routes than we expected. It's Labour Weekend, and the Red Bull competition is being held in Wanaka these days as well, so it's very busy in town. But, in the sun on Mt. Iron it was great! It's less than 10 minutes from the town center but it feels like you're in the middle of nature. Thankfully climbing went a little better than last weekend. At least less work means less softening of my fingers...always look on the bright side!

Looking out from Mt Iron over Albert Town, a kind of suburb from

Tonight we discovered a new game, called Road not Taken. We had to find a new obsession, because we solved all Contraption Maker's puzzles. I have no idea why, but Mark absolutely enjoys sitting next to me and watching me play the game. I think it's because I'm so bad at it, it's just a kind of malicious pleasure...

Some of the wonderful creatures of 'Road Not Taken'


Today Quentin and Elena did feel good enough to come by with their van, Mark helped them make the bed slightly longer (they're both very short, but still tall enough to have their feet in their kitchen). Meanwhile I cut fabric for the curtains and pillows, because it's almost time for furnishing now. 

Our 'house granny' put on her best face today and showed a lot of interest in our friends and their van. It was quite funny when Quentin started selling her stuff they don't need in the van (she only took some nails, but his efforts were very amusing to watch!). I'm glad they were all friendly and nice together though; living with granny isn't always easy as it turns out. She is just SO neat and focused on her own way of doing things, she even tells me how I am supposed to do my laundry and starts cleaning up after me (with lots of obvious sighs) if I leave something laying around - on purpose, because I want to use it again 15 minutes later! Let's just put it this way: our current accommodation came with free training in patience ;)

This afternoon we all went to Hospital Flat, Quentin & Elena and some of their friends came along. They were keen to try outdoor climbing, so Mark and I led routes for them to top-rope. They found it pretty hard (it's completely different than climbing indoors, which they had tried once before!) but I think they enjoyed it. We felt we all deserved the BBQ and hot pools after all that torture on the rocks.

Isthmus Peak: Team America on the way down.


Yesterday, as always, no work at the Spa, then today I all of a sudden had three 90 minute massages in a row! Worst timing ever, because we also wanted to finish Quentin and Elena's van and have dinner with them afterwards. With Elena and me working non-stop from 4 till 9.30 that turned out a bit different than planned... Anyway, Mark en Quentin finished the van (a solar panel is now glued to the roof - like, forever. It is never coming off again!). And by 22.15 we were finally eating delicious home-made pizzas, absolutely worth the wait. 


There are too many moths here in this house. Tonight we had one fluttering through the room again, and studied it closely. Now we are wondering: are those things blind or something? They fly full-speed into stuff áll the time. And then next they sit down somewhere to easily be picked up - which I have to do, as Mark has a moth phobia. You should see him when a moth enters his personal space :P. They're curious creatures really.

Isthmus Peak: back at the van again. As always, patiently
waiting for us to hop back on :)


Did 2 massages today, and afterwards had a free dinner with Mark at Red Star, where Quentin works. It's a burger restaurant, but very fancy and very good! Afterwards we were invited to the pub to celebrate Vanessa's (my boss) birthday and say goodbye to Elena. Sadly she and Quentin are leaving Wanaka really soon now! I played pool for the first time in my life. I know, I'm 26 years old... But I made up for it by beating Mark 3 times! Ha!

It was actually Quentin's last day at his job, and it also happened to be Halloween. So he was dressed as a banana. Quentin is already a funny guy to see, quite short (you should see him next to Mark!), quirky dreadlocks and always a smile. But as a banana, he's even better! He had sayings written all over him in permanent marker (such a good idea) and made us the best hamburgers we ever ate. He's also very keen to learn stuff, even though he is absolutely clueless when it comes to rebuilding their van for example, or repairing clothes for that matter. He came to me earlier with his favorite jeans and a piece of colorful fabric, with the question if I could show him how to repair it. I'm not sure if he'll ever learn, he went off to work halfway and I finished the job, but when he turned up to Vanessa's party this evening he was proudly wearing them, totally happy with how they turned out! :D

Mark and Banana-Quentin. Notice the different in height, lol!

And that's it for October! I hope you enjoyed this travelogue again - even though there's not much traveling involved yet... The plan is to spend one more month in Wanaka, which will be covered in the next blogpost, and then really start touring around the South Island. Something we both really look forward to!

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