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So, a pretty fun weekend, but I’ll start up with a pic of Christchurch that took last week.

Which is a pic of someone punting on the Avon, the river which flows through the city. Apparently the city is called after the college of Christchurch in Oxford? Seems a funny name for a college to me.., will have to check that one out.

Anyway, so yes, Friday was a lazy enough day, mainly spent praying that I’d get a call with another job so that I’d not have to go and do the door-to-door sales on Monday.. :) Hehe, well maybe it’ll be fun.

So I headed into town, after getting mostly packed for Wanaka this weekend. I was pretty annoyed at myself for forgetting my silk sheet-bag (like a sleeping bag only it’s just a silk sheet). Which my brother Matt had given me when he came back from Oz… and it’s a very nice piece of travelling equipment, as most hostels will provide blankets for free as long as you have a sheet bag. Which is excellent as it means you don’t have to bring a sleeping bag so you can travel light.

Only I left mine in Ireland.

Which was annoying. So anyway, headed to The Salvation Army shops (they’re all over ChCh) to get some clothes for my door to door sales… just so that I could look the part.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

For $20 ~ Euro10 I got :

  • A sheet bag – cotton – $2
  • A Shirt $4
  • A pair of linenish trousers $6
  • A pair of ‘proper’ shoes $8
  • A belt – free

So that cheered me up somewhat! Good old bargains, and to be honest, it’s really actually not such a bad looking set of clothes for a tenner! I’ll put a pic up sometime.. though twill be interesting to see how much I enjoy walking around in the shoes all day Monday, seeing as they’re only an OK fit.

Right.. so that was Friday afternoon – and then once Maeve had arrived home we headed off for Wanaka – which is a town, by a lake, about 70Km from Queenstown – about a 5 or 6 hour drive from ChCh.

So off we went.. and a fine old drive it was, though we have to get a tape adapter for the car so that I can plug my jukebox in, radio here is pretty patchy. The only really interesting thing along the way – well, worthy of note, besides the awesome scenery and ‘Fush and Chips’ (it’s how they say it), was – well flying along in our trusty car – gazillions of flies, moths etc. loved our headlights. And loved them so much they totalled themselves against our windshield.

So we washed them off.

Until we ran out of wash.

So… I was all up for stopping the car and hopping a fence and getting water by hook or by crook from one of these massive rotating water-spraying things they have for keeping their crops watered. But we didn’t.. as the road we were travelling on was due to cross a river, and we figured we’d head down and fill up.

Fortunately, I spotted a pub/hotel and we just called in there and filled up from their bathroom… I was heading back and forth with my water bottle to fill up, and then one of the inhabitants came out.. and offered me a jug. Which I thought was nice! – but I was finished by then, still, was nice. They really *are* nice over here. Which, to be honest, takes a little getting used to.

Onwards to Wanaka. Got there about midnight and pretty much crashed.

Saturday up bright and early, this…



Is pretty much the view from town.. the shops etc. are just behind where this pic was taken. It’s pretty sick just how beautiful this place is sometimes, just hope it doesn’t completely spoil me :) Still… sometimes it’s fun to be spoilt.

So yeah, onwards to the climbing, after buying the guide ($20).

The rock is Schist, which is something I was familiar ish from climbing in New Hampshire it’s the same rock. And I like it. Even if it is a little dirty… the friction is awesome. Which is good, as the handholds were all quite small, so often it was balancy moves.

Yes, this was a very very easy climb, but I’m just easing myself back into leading.

And here’s one of Glynn

We did a rake of routes over the course of the day, all 15’s and 16s, which is really only about French 5a/5b. However, Wanaka grades are harder than other places… certainly some of them didn’t quite feel like 5a…

So yeah, that was fun.

Oh, this next picture isn’t actually of kite surfing, as it’s not on water, but there was someone doing kite surfing in the evening, and it looks great . Really great. And I guess very dangerous too. But still… what a sport. Doubt it’s faster than windsurfing.. but I must check that out. And I really really *really* want to try it.

Basically you have a massive kite and you just fly along, do massive jumps, and generally get hurt a lot when you smack into stuff at high speed.

So a couple of beers, a nice Thai dinner (Maeve had forgotten she was wearing her Thai t-shirt out and the waitress’ were most impressed, and she got to use her Thai to say thanks). Good food though, shame the Bangkok cafe looks like it’s closed down back home in Dublin :(

SO yeah, then a bottle ‘o wine in front of a fire in the hostel, and it was just a good way to end a great day.

—sunday–

Up, off bouldering, met a couple of Americans, lovely people, two of them on a two week climbing honeymoon, from Chicago. Tom and Lena just incase anyone is passing through Red River Gorge / climbing in Chicago and spots them! And a bloke ‘wots name I didn’t get, who is working illegally as he was training to be a commercial pilot, but after 9/11 it all fell through, so off he went travelling, was doing some flying for a sheep ranch, and then moved to Wanaka when that finished up, and is now working for a fush and chip shop. Still, he gets to drive the boss’ company car on his days off… and it has a cool fish on the roof. Again, wish I’d taken a pic, would make this story so much better ;)

All too soon was time to head home, so after stopping off in town – where Maeve got a pair of Oakleys (with Glynns help ), and I went for a walk on the pier, and came across these tiles, all the way along the seafront.





It was their marking of the millennium. Admittedly a year early like everyone else, but hey.

So yup, they had tiles from about 1200 up, there were gaps though ;)

Drive home was pretty spectacular though, as we went by Mt. Cook and others, quite spectacular



At least I think it was Mt. Cook, not too sure really.

And now back in ChCh, starting work tomorrow… have decided that I will work on whatever I have to in order to stay employed so that I can have tonnes of cash for a good round the world onward trip later…even if that does mean door-to-door or labouring.. Though I am angling for an opening that’ll be coming up in one of the recruitment agencies when one of their number leaves at Christmas time… fingers crossed… the woman in charge is from Graystones. So that can’t hurt my chances ;)

much.

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SO! what a day, what a week, yet another pretty lazy and fairly unsuccessful week as regards getting a proper job.. however, did see an absolutely awesome job programming Java for an Environmental Research group, twould be J2EE stuff… so have been busily brushing up my skills…

Doubt I’ll get it, but it’s fun to dream, and you never know… if you’re not in… would be a 6 month contract…

Also went along to another recruitment company… and was very pleasantly surprised when my touch typing skills (learned over the last 3 weeks) came out at 54 w.p.m. Which isn’t really all that shabby. Oh, and MS Access (database program) that I know *nothing* about, came out at 97%… I reckon the person setting the questions didn’t know anything about it either which is why it was so easy…

However, I have landed *the most awesome job EVER*. It’s outside, it’s interacting with the public, it’s has the chance for HUGE cash potential every week (well direct debited actually)…

Guessed it yet… correct, door to door and office sales. Also known as (as far as I can remember) cold calling. Yeah right.. Irish gift of the gab had better come into play bigtime methinks. Mind you, I did go around today with Johnothan, a.k.a Sales Guru #1, and we, over the course of an hour and a half and 2 blocks worth of calling in, managed to sell the grand total of {} voucher packs. (yes, that’s the null set, zero, zip, nada, rien, niente, nuffink’ luv). So yeah.. I’ve a lot to live up to.

Did meet a nice bloke from Sheffield though, 63 years old, mechanic, looked about 48. Mad.

Didn’t buy anything though, even when I talked about liking the Gritstone crags in Sheffield. I was so annoyed!. Mind you, he may not want to be going paint-balling, tis true.

So yeah, that was fantastico. Am starting on Monday at 11am (pretty sociable really). Very much doubt I will sell anything, so very much doubt they’ll keep me on for more than a day or two.

Mind you.. see it does pay (relatively well…) it’s hourly rate is as much as labouring.. and you get commission on top if you can actually sell the (damn) things.

So we’ll see.. could actually be a laugh, the way I look at it, I’ve absolutely nothing whatsoever to loose!, there aren’t any office jobs at the moment, I have the skills (I reckon) so that when they do come up I’ll get called, at which point I will drop this job. Unless I am raking in cash, in which case I’ll stick with it. And to be honest, it’s not as bad as it seems (mind you I was only in spectator mode not actually having to try and sell the darn things!) So we’ll see, more to follow I guess.. Start on Monday, managed to get tomorrow off as I’m off climbing in a place called Wanaka for the weekend, should be a laugh, if the car get there (and back ;)

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So another day spent bouldering and waiting for a phone call to say I gotta job! Did get a call… but very strangely it was delayed from saturday evening. Which was annoying as it was a message to the effect that they’d found me ice-axes and crampons so that I could go on the walk :(

However, this day must go to Donald Rumsfeld for winning the Foot in Mouth competition, though the Governator came in second with a sterling effort that

“I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.”

You can read about it all here

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So a pretty cool weekend, Saturday was spent pretty lazily, at least until the evening when we went to ‘Coca Cola Christmas in the Park’ Not that it was solely sponsored by Coca Cola, though they did remind us that it was sponsored by them at pretty much every interval they could. Fair enough I guess, it was kinda fun. Probably 90,000 + people turned out, a really big family-evening-out.

Though it was so strange singing “I’m dreaming of a white christmas”, and all I could think was “keep dreaming, it’s not going to happen!” All it would have needed was “In the deep midwinter” to really round off the bizarreness of the situation! I reckon Christmas down here is going to be slightly odd!

The fireworks (no I have no pics) were pretty excellent at the end..

———-

Sunday then – well up at 7:15 as I decided to go on another hike. It was excellent, but I would have been going on a longer one except that there was a big South Wester came through and dumped a pile of snow on the hike that the harder hike was going up and ‘cos I don’t have ice-axes and crampons I wasn’t able to go.

The hike was kinda cool though, started off walking (along a road) through a beech forest.



A lot of the trees were covered in algae of some sort, apparently where you get mists going through the forests it can stretch all the way to the forest floor, but it wasn’t that big here.

Then it was up onto a ridge and on around to a sorta summit, gained about 2500ft, up to about 5000 in total. There were some nice views from up on top though, this one:



Is a ski-field area, I think, in the winter though it looks a little steep to me.

And a few more pics.



Then this bloke Ewan, a carpenter, who told me such stories like taking a couple of Japanese tourists that he and some others befriended out ‘Spot Lighting Rabits’ Guess… yes, you drive along in your car (usually with a separate flashlight I guess) and then when the rabbits get caught in the light they freeze. And then you shoot them with a gun. Easy eh ;)

But yes, he told me about the pastime of Scree Running. Where… yes… you run (well slide) down a scree slope. He said it was the NZ equivalent to bull running. Though I must admit, I found bull running much scarier when I tried it in Madrid.

Anyway – here’s a pic of Ewan, and some of the scree we slid down. It was actually very easy, and not 1/2 as scary as I was expecting.

The last thing, is of this triangular box with rocks in it, it’s on the right hand side of this pic, quite small. Wondered what it was, but apparently it’s an avalanche deflector, and it splits (you can’t see it in this pic but it’s sorta on the prow of the mountain between two valleys) and it splits the flow off down into the two valleys.

So that was this weekend, may have to check out the Cambridge Tramping Club and see if they’re….well…. younger.

And I was only joking about the bull running ;)

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So still no joy with jobs.. could be January methinks before something proper turns up…. slightly irritating when you get turned down for Call Centre work ‘cos of lack (well complete absence) of experience… Ahh well… at roughly 90 euro a week for food and accommodation it’s ok.. I can last quite a wee while.. and I am getting to climb quite a bit so it’s not all bad! :)

One thing I must comment on – Birds. That really is one of the excellent things about NZ.. everywhere you go there’s birdsong, even in the middle of the city. See they just don’t really have that many natural predators here, well all the ones they do have were imported… so they flourish. Especially once you get out into the countryside.

Joined the squash club and went along to check them out, am really dying for a game so will be getting in contact with the club captain this week so see who’d be up for a game.

May be going on a hike on sunday.. just depends on whether I’m going to need ice-axes and crampons (of which I have neither) hopefully will be ok without them.

Went out sport climbing as well yesterday – to a large crag – about 200+ routes about a 20 min drive from where we live. Called Briton Crag, it’s all odd basalt kinda rock, lotsa crimps and few jugs, but the friction is really good, and it’s just great to be outside climbing again. Reckon that’s going to become our usual haunt, except when we get away for the weekend.

It also has a nice view which this pic



doesn’t really do justice to.

Oh, and Declan sent a link to a site which has a pretty good description of a 6 months climbing trip around NZ, climbing ish the sorta grades we’ll be climbing.

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