Spent the last couple days in Dunedin, second city of New Zealand located in the south east of the South Island. New Zealand has some of the damndest weather in the world I'll tell ya. Staying comfortable is impossible unless you are willing to throw on and off layers every 30 seconds all day long. One moment it's sunny, then windy, then rainy, then sunny and rainy at the same time (quite a favorite of the NZ climate) then every once in a long while you get a brief spell of fine weather as they call it when trying to predict the weather forecast which they do much worse a job of here than back home.
I met an Italian guy by the name of Michelangelo at this Hostel with some very friendly staff. We ate out at a fancy Italian restaurant where Christmas music played in the background sung by Italians. Michelangelo kept saying how much he missed his food back home and cannot even cook himself a proper Italian meal because the authentic ingredients cannot be gotten in New Zealand. While I enjoyed my mushroom sauce pasta very much, he complained his was not nearly up to snuff.
When one of the managers of the hostel overheard Michelangelo and I bemoaning the cost of renting a car she offered to lend us her car for the day, hence the title of this blog. People in New Zealand never cease to amaze me. So we drove around the scenic and wildlife abundant Otago Peninsula seeking out sea lions, penguins and albatross. These are the same birds that Shackleton saw in Antarctica in "Endurance" and a very small, windy tip of the Otago Peninsula is supposedly the only place in the world where you can see them. Watching them whirl around above me while the wind relentlessly whailed against the mountain cliff was quite an awe inspiring experience. Other seabirds would play in the wind letting themselves nearly get smashed against the cliff before managing to swoop up again. (of which I wasn't able to get a decent picture.)
Curious fur seal looks at me inquisitively.
Sealion comes ashore
Yellow Eyed penguin waddles up the beach to its nesting site.
Blue Penguins up close and personal.
We finished our day waiting with about 30 other people for the blue penguins to come ashore at nightfall. The Department of Conservation (DOC) setup an area for close viewing of the penguins without disturbing their evening routine as they come ashore to return to their nesting sites. Dozens upon dozens of these little penguins waddled ashore in several groups of about 18 penguins. Unfortunately it was too dark to get pictures (flash photography damages their eyes.) They were the cutest things in the world tho, especially when they'd try to hop up these little steps.