New Zealand 23 – Case of the Mondays

Last week was the first time I skipped a regular post. I typically really enjoy chronicling my travels on a weekly basis, but last week I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ll make up for it with the next 5 weekends of chaos before I leave New Zealand — Auckland, a relay race in Rotorua, a possible Hooker Valley day trek than wine tour, Milford Sound trek, and I’ll be saving my last weekend for whatever last bucket list item I feel the need to get in. All the while fitting in 10+ hour work days to finish up several different projects that are on the verge of settlement.

The previous weekend was a break, Friday night was movie night with wine + cheese + Spaceballs–what an interesting combination.

“I always have my coffee when I watch radar, you know that!” — How I feel when completing document reviews…

On Sunday I escaped work & Christchurch and drove myself out to Hamner Springs–the South Island’s spa capital. I found a great lunch at Chantellinis (highly recommend) and got a massage at Hamner Springs Spa. It was really just an excuse to take a drive away from Christchurch and enjoy the scenery.

Road to Hamner

Road to Hamner

My office cabin fever was cured on Friday with an all-day site visit to a local department store that has been closed since the big quakes. My colleague and I spent most of the day examining how the structure was built so we could do some further analysis on it. This ended up with us on the roof for a while and finding where “the bodies” were hidden. Before we left, I made sure to catch up with some new friends…

Raising the roof

Bodies found in the attic…

Shining my high vis glow with my new friends…

This past Friday was, you guessed it, another movie night with great chicken + great wine + Office Space–a great combination.

“I deal with the customers so the engineers don’t have to”

One of our senior principals is in town for two weeks which ultimately means doing some great tourist activities over the weekend. On Sunday we went over to Castle Hill–an outcrop of giant limestone rocks and background to movies such as the Chronicles of Narnia.

Path to Castle Hill rock outcrop

Get a sense of the large scale of these rocks

This would never be allowed in the States. Or if so, there would be several additional fences and warning signs.

What’s great about Castle Hill is that there are no “trails.” You make your own path, or just climb around the rocks. Further away from the main outcrop there was a large grassy hill. As much as us engineers kept mentioning we can eat our lunch at a low elevation the bosses kept pressing us on. Everyone ate their words a bit when we ended up taking a break every few steps in an attempt to scale this steep, grassy, and slippery hill. However, it was worth it, there was a pretty incredible view at the top–

We climbed to the rock. You’ll see my colleagues in the foreground taking a break.

Luckily the view & perfect lunch seat was worth it

Failing at not looking exhausted and disheveled. At least the mountains look pretty.

Sunday was a first for me. Several coworkers woke up early to go fishing in Akaroa all day and this marked the first time I declined on a group outing. Not that I didn’t want to go fishing or enjoy the sun with everyone else, rather I realized I’d be waking up to my alarm clock everyday for the next month and figured it may be healthy to take a day of rest. I spent the day waking up when I felt like it, getting brunch, doing some work (real restful right?), going to the gym, and cleaning–I’ve noticed by the end of the week my hotel room looks like it has had a clothing bomb set off; therefore, it’s a constant cycle of cleaning up on the weekends because there’s no time during the week. Luckily, later that night, the fishermen came back with 18 fillets of fish and were willing to share for an amazing dinner.

This Friday evening I’m flying up to Auckland with two other female colleagues for, what we’re calling, a girl’s weekend in the city. More to come…

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