New Zealand 8 – Cinco de What?

This week marks a whole month living in New Zealand. Therefore, I’ve officially driven more on the left side of the road than the entire past year of living in the States driving on the right side of the road. I’ve also finally broke down and purchased things like good olive oil (a product I finally missed too much to cook without). Lastly, It’s becoming very difficult to do my own dishes–

*I think I’ll do the dishes tonight…no, maybe tomorrow before work, (tomorrow morning comes), oh no I’m out of time…conclusions – oh well, the maid will do them for me*

One of my coworkers jokes that we’ll all have to hire maids when we go back to the States. I should probably start getting used to chores again before I go home in 2 months!

But enough about olive oil & dishes.  This past work week included following up with site visits & reports and then on Friday I sort of volunteered myself to crawl underneath a gym floor. By sort of, when I heard the project manager ask my fellow engineer if he would go to this gym site visit and the engineer mentioned another deadline he had, I volunteered my crawling-in-small-spaces talents (of which I have none). As a background, this gym floor is built 2′ from the ground on several concrete piers. During the February earthquake several problems were noted which we needed to follow up on. This included checking underneath the gym floor to see if anything looked crooked or settled. By order of age, experience, and my apparent willingness, this lucky crawler happened to be me.  This all involved an extra-extra large disposable jump suit that the office made the project manager promise to get several photos of, and crawling around in some dirt for a bit to see what was going on. In the end it was a fairly interesting experience, and maybe shows my friends&family back home that I don’t get this free trip for nothing 🙂

attempting to start a new fashion trend

Onto the good stuff. This weekend, on Saturday to be exact, was busy. I planned a trip to Kaikoura with four other coworkers to do a coastal hike. Kaikoura is a 2+ hour drive north from Christchurch and known for their seal-viewing.

New Zealand Fur Seals at Seal Point, Kaikoura

We parked at Seal Point where we saw a few seals basking on the rocks and continued up the hills to start the walk along the ridge.

Peninsula Walk – along the ridge

Walking along the ridge was beautiful (despite the gloomy weather), but on the way back we decided to be a bit adventurous and hike along the shore instead. Typically, this would be impossible; however, the tide was low and luckily stayed low until right after we got back to the car park. We also were able to get up close and personal (a bit too close…) to the fur seals.

Peninsula Walk – along the shore with the seals

We were told to stay at least 20 meters away from the seals off the trail, though sometimes that was just not possible the way the seals strategically situated themselves across our path. Seals tend to blend in with the rocks, so we learned very quickly to step carefully! Seals are not fast, but tend to be grumpy and hissed at us a lot.  At one point we got between the seal and the water and one of my coworkers had a close-call seal attack. (seals don’t really attack, he just got a little too close for comfort)

Seal Attack

Once we got back to the trail, the seals seemed a bit more friendly and even posed for the camera.

Hello There

Once we got back to Christchurch we had a one-hour break before heading off to a Cinco de Mayo party.  An American engineer who used to work with a coworker of ours invited us to his place to celebrate (he is living in Christchurch now indefinitely).  Housing is fairly scarce in Christchurch, but since most locals are weary of living in the hills after the earthquakes, our host had a gorgeous apartment that overlooked the town and ocean below (my night iPhone photo does not do this justice).  Those who live in the hills typically have community elevators to bring them to their houses. When we left, we hoped in the lift, pushed the down button, and were brought down to our car parked several feet below. What a nice form of transportation!

Sumner Views

The party involved several engineers & spouses from all over the world. We quickly learned that outside of North America, no one has any idea what Cinco de Mayo is. Actually, several guests had to Google it before arrival and then go out to buy sombreros & ponchos to fit in. Overall, it was a great meeting so many people outside of work that are also transplanted here for a while.

Pinata Gathering

Today (Sunday) was a great recuperation day. Tried out a new breakfast place (I’ve been making an effort to try a new one every weekend), joined a local gym, bought some NZ merino wool clothing that my coworkers keep raving about, and decided to use part of my daily food allowance on a manicure…typical. I will leave you with my coffee photo of the week. Cheers!

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2 thoughts on “New Zealand 8 – Cinco de What?

  1. Bonnie Lepage says:

    Sounds like you had a great week. I had a similar encounter with elephant seals in California – they really do protect their area of the beach! Enjoy whatyou have left of the weekend …

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