A Saturday Exploration




Happy in NZ

Originally uploaded by Leigh Torres

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Thinking our housing situation was under control (foolishly, we found out today. More on that later.), we headed up the west coast a bit up to visit the quarantine facility that Mango will stay at for 30 days when she comes over in May. We drove up the Kapiti Coast, called so because of the large beautiful Kapiti Island off the coast. The highway, called the “motorway” here, only lasted about 30km out of town before it turned into a 2 lane road that winded through the hilly farmland. We saw our first sheep of New Zealand! And lots of sheep there were! And many cows too.

The quarantine facility was ok. Clean and well run. They happily indulged all our questions. It was just hard to think of my Mango in a 4 X 4m room with concrete floors for 30 days. That’s with no time outside! I think Mango will be depressed, and rightly so. Wouldn’t you be? I think she’ll survive it, but it makes me sad. I can visit her between 10 and 4pm everyday, but I just have to figure out how to get up there and back. No car yet….

So, after that we were on the hunt for a beach to check out and maybe a hike. We were just about to feel bummed for missing the ‘spot’ when I saw a sign along the motorway for Queen Elizabeth Park. And wouldn’t you know it? A park named after the Queen was delightful. It stretched along the coast with picturesque views of Kapiti Island and a big area of rolling dunes to hike through. We hiked through the dunes/bush for a while and then on the beach. The greatest part was learning that is a very dog friendly park. The rules say that a ‘dog must be under control’ not ‘on a leash’. And in fact, we saw 20+ dogs and not one was on a leash. All very happy, under control, running on the beach and through the dunes. Fantastic! This will be Mango’s first introduction to New Zealand after I fetch her from quarantine. She’ll have a blast.

That night we headed out on the town for ‘leaving drinks’ for a friend. These are the drinks you have for someone when they are leaving town. Apparently this happens so much in New Zealand they have a term for it. Anyway, the bar we went to was awesome. Called the Southern Cross. Very funky, packed with folk, cool artwork by local students, a local band playing some fun tunes, a huge outdoor deck area, board-games for kids and the idle, and a sweet décor. I said it again, “This ain’t the Backstreet.” I miss my pub back home but upscale variety is nice sometimes.

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