Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Hobbit Hole Internet Cafe

So I write from the hobbit hole internet cafe. Woo hoo - in Matamata aka The Shire. Very shirefic indeed. I cannot upload picutres because I this computer is running windows 98. I did get some good pictures of Hobbiton tho. Eva hooked me up with a free tour which would have been $50. Was pretty sweet.

ok, was able to upload:
Image hosted by Hobbiton

Image hosted by Hobbit sticks head out of Bag End.

Image hosted by From inside Bag End.

Image hosted by
The Party Tree

So to bring you up to date, let's see... went see kayaking a couple days ago where we enjoyed hot chocolate, mochachino, cafe lattes and any other frappachino drink you can think of on the beach. The kayak guides brought it along. Was pretty fun but the guides wouldn't let us try to ride the waves in without assistance because someone's kayak flipped when trying to with the guide assisting. The kayaks are long and narrow so you have to go perfecty straight to do it, but I think we would have managed.

Image hosted by At Mercury Bay after sipping a Mochaccino on the beach.

Also went for a short walk where there were these rickety bridges that we got wobbling and bouncing pretty good. Alas, until I find a computer where I can upload you'll just have to use your imaginations. :/

I arrived in Matamata on Saturday and Eva has been a wonderful host and she and her friend and I hung out at a lake where I decided to try and climb this really tall narrow tree and nearly got myself into trouble. Was prolly the most technical and challenging tree I've attempted to climb but I wasn't really ever terrified, just a bit afraid at times. There were a lot more dead branches than I thought there'd be, and many branches that had leaves on them behaved like dead branches (broke really easily) Not having medical insurance definitely affects the level of risks I was willing to take. Was contemplating tryin to get to the top of the tree but settled with 2/3 way up. Took awhile to get down - to plot my course as it were. I have no pics of that but I did bring my video camera up the tree with me.

Burned my fingers on the burner this morning testing if it was on. Thought it was off. Seared the flesh on my fingers bad. Was worried I wouldn't be able to do much with them for the next couple days. Pretty nasty burn. But I put them under cold water for 20 minutes and then kept reapplying Weleda burn ointment and I'm amazed at how fast my fingers have healed. Barely feel the burn at all anymore - typing on this keyboard with no problem at all. Tip of my left pointer was burned the worst. So... THANKS MOM! cause I almost didn't bother bringing all your remedies. Glad I did.

I can't take anymore pictures because my card is full and I have no way to upload. Eva and her friend Katarina both don't have computers. Not good. Will have to figure something out soon!

I had no way to get back to Matamata from Eva's place. Eva and Katarina are working on Stud farms which are farms for raising race horses which can sell for as much as half a million dollars or more. Got a tour of the stud farm on the back of a little four wheeler steered by Eva. So anyway, I had no way of getting back to town from her place this morning because she was at work all day. Decided to try and walk but realized I didn't even know the way. A car started to drive by just as I had left the driveway of Eva's place and so I stuck out my thumb and gave a "please stop and pick me up?" kinda look and the guy pulled over and asked if I was going to Matamata. Very sweet. Yes, Kiwis and people in general are very friendly here. He offered to give me a ride back in 2 hours or so which is good because otherwise I'd have to find my way back, which wouldn't be much fun. I offered him money but he refused. I was quite surprised at my luck there.

Tomorrow I leave on the Kiwi Experience bus again. Next up is Zorbing which I'll talk of later and louge run - which I hear is pretty fun in the town of Rotorua. Lots of crazy fun things to do there. 40mph go carts too. Yes, bungee jumnping (not sure about sky diving) but I want to save those for Queenstown where they are extra awesome to do because of the height and views. I may be meeting up with Katarina in a week or so (man, those German girls sure are cuuuuute!) Well, I think that's it for updating of the last few days. Internet in the small towns costs an arm and a leg and a small fortune (okay, $3 for 20 minutes, but still - will have taken 3 hours to compress all the photos and email them home....) Hopefully pics with the next update! Love ya all! Thanks for reading the pictureless blog that isn't so pictureless now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chocolate Beer

Quite good actually. Went for another city tour to kill the time while I wait for tomorrow for to start the journey proper. One of the tour stops was a pub with beer made with chocolate. Very reminscent of the Guinness chocolate icecream I had in Bar Harbor Maine a few summers ago. Remember that Dan? k, more later.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Still in Aucklnad

Finally decided to do a tour which basically is a bus that takes you to all the cool places and you can stay as long as you like and get on the next available bus since there are many of them. Easiest way to avoid the headache of planning and booking as they do the lionshare of that for you. That kicks off on Friday. In the meantime, just hanging out in Auckland. Got stinking drunk last night with some people from the UK and an American which was a pretty good time. Did a scavenger hunt as part of a thing to clean up the streets of auckland -yeah, that was pretty lame,but free food and t-shirt and was somthing t od. time is about to run out. will have more later.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Auckland Day 2

So the flight went smooth and I slept fine and didn't suffer any jetlag.

Qantas has a great inflight entertainment system replete with tons of movie choices, video games and music. The cutlery for the meals was one metal spoon, one metal fork and a plastic knife, but I'd much rather be stabbed by a blunt metal butter knife than a four pronged fork.

Pixagogo direct photo link

There are tons of Toyota Previas here. I saw a gas-electric hybrid bus which was pretty cool. Despite this fact, the emission standards seem to be pretty low compared to the US. The exhaust fume smells are often reminiscent of the ones in South America (very poor emission standards there.)

Pixagogo direct photo link

Tomorrow I meet up with Eva in Hobbiton and I may get a free tour of the Shire! Which I heard is like $50 otherwise. So danke bitte shonnes, Eva! Kind of exciting that I kick off the NZ adventure visiting one of the things that was high on my list when I was thinking of coming to NZ.

Pixagogo direct photo link

The city tour today was pretty cool. It's been beautiful days yesterday and today and I was told it was pretty miserable before yesterday. We visited some extinct volcanoes but there is really very little evidence that they were volcanoes. Just small green hills really. There were some tunnels that went into the side of the hill that were kinda cool. Stay tuned for pics if I ever figure out how to upload pics online.

Pixagogo direct photo link

I am a bit bummed at not having made any friends yet. No good reason for it I'm afraid. Met many young people, most of whom are travelling with someone else. Quite a few people from England at my hostel. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring was playing last night in the hostel, albeit with commercials. Was playing on a big TV in the internet room. Slept through most of it tho, but it was still fun watching.

I fell in love with this tree:

Pixagogo direct photo link

This is the still not so intrepid Dr. Root signing out.

Auckland Day 1

Arrived in Auckland to some spectacular clouds and wobbly green hills. Met a Russian American on the flight who I was going to hang out with in Auckland but I lost his phone number (the only thing I've lost so far - but it's felt like a juggling act keeping track of all my junk) Haven't made any friends yet though whoever idea it was to make mixed dorms knew what they were doing. Yesterday walked around Auckland - went to a museum but found I couldn't really enjoy myself walking around alone. So that's one thing I know so far - I don't like travelling alone -much less than I realized. I'm about to leave on a city tour, so hopefully I'll haves something to report on that. Some of the trees here are really cool. I may be going to the Shire in a couple days to visit Eva johannes' sister who is working on a stud farm there. cheers

the not so intrepid Dr. Root


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pictures from LA

Allie and I at her place in Beverly Hills adjacent. (don't laugh, she'll kick your ass)

A Journey in the Dark or The Craigslist Experience

San Fran was nice. Nikolai's pad is sick. Illona's tummy is round. Paulo makes a mad French Toast. Thanks Nikolai and Paulo and Illona Root-Chang for a wonderful time!

After various Craigslist postings and phone calls, one of which was shady at best, I finally arranged for a rideshare from San Francisco to Los Angeles last night. Five of us piled into an old F-150 extended cab (much like the one we drove up to Cape Breton in, Sol) helmed by a former scateboard hero of his town. One guy was a slight Japanese photographer who looked a little bit like you Arnie. The other guy was hispanic and I didn't get a chance to speak to him because he was sleeping in the back of the truck the whole time with the last of our motley crew, a guy who went to Bard College and has walked the streets of Great Barrington and made a documentary in Venezuela on the referendum there last August and also went to university in Santiago Chile, I mentioned you to him Mike, but your name didn't ring a bell.

I asked them all about 911 and one was afraid of what I was going to do with the footage of him saying whether or not he thought the gov't was responsible, our driver had some insightful things to say, like there's a passage in Orwell's 1984 that directly speaks to what the Patriot Act was set in place to do by this administration. Sean, feel free to speak to that end in a comment! We also agreed on some other specifics regarding the topic of 911 as an inside job, such as our interpretation of Bush's thoughts as he is sitting in front of a classroom of kids dumbfounded after a secret service whispered in his ear something about 911 in the Farenheit 911 video. But I digress

After everyone was picked up, we were on the road at about 7:30pm and the ride went smooth until the last leg when they decided to close off a section of the 5 (the highway to LA) for shooting a movie which set us back an hour and then our driver had to drop a package off for a friend which put us out another hour, but no complaints really as I let my new Ipod Nano transport me to Middle-earth through the LOTR soundtrack despite driving through a landscape of pallid light polution and concrete; also the photographer and I needed to be dropped off within a block of each other so we both got as close to door to door service as one could hope for. So overall a good experience and I will defiately do Craigslist again for getting back to SF from LA to see Illscabetstein's new baby which is due a week before I arrive back from New Zealand.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Last minute scramble and departure synopsis

Okay, so this will be where my NZ adventures shall be chronicled. Thank you everyone for tuning in, hopefully soon there will be something worthwhile to view here! Check back in a week or so.

Tomorrow marks a final frantic dash to buy a pack, pack my pack, pickup my iPod which Dan the man Schmolze has graciously agreed to load up with an eclectic travelling blend of music as I will not have time to fuss with it myself having in typical Root fashion left everything to the 11th hour.

I leave to San Francisco at 1:30pm tomorrow where I will be staying in the posh, waterside accomodations of one Nikolai Singh and will spend Sunday with my beloved, and of late, round with child sister along with hubby Paulo before heading south to Los Angeles via carpool with a random stranger to be arranged via the site In LA I will visit friends and hang out with the other sister Allie who will lovlingly see me off at LAX airport where I depart Friday evening, the 21st of October and arrive on the other side of the world in Auckland, New Zealand on October 23rd where the adventure finally begins.

Until next time, this is the intrepid Dr. Root signing out.