Greeting from New Zealand's South Island!

Thursday, November 21, 2002
I am now the proud owner of a Gold 1985 Ford Laser. We promptly named it the Moon Unit. Neill, Carla and I bought it after spending less than 24 hours on the South Island of New Zealand... it's probably the only time I'll ever pay for a car in $20 bills! It's funny owning something as big as (one third of) a car after traveling around for almost six months with only a little backpack. Although, I suppose the car really is just another place to PUT my backpack. It's also a standard, which somehow I have NEVER learned how to drive. I guess the time is right...

Here's some stuff to ponder from New Zealand:

  1. Got harassed by customs on our way into the country. It took almost two hours as they searched my bags. Carla and I both got questioned, but I always get the third degree. I must look guilty?!?
  2. The most popular chocolate bar in NZ is the Moro. It's like a Snickers minus the peanuts and not as good. I found this out on the Cadbury tour.
  3. I went to a church that was converted into a bar called The Mission. Carla and I played pool against two dairy farmers. We lost.
  4. There are more sheep than people in NZ. There are 4 million people and 40 million sheep.
  5. Citizens of NZ are called Kiwis. It's a local bird.
  6. I saw the albatross in flight. NZ is the only place other than the Galapagos that you can see them - they spend 80% of their life flying over the ocean. Their wings span over 9 feet!
  7. We saw a reserve of yellow headed penguins. They mate for life, but a woman can "divorce" her man if he is a bad parent.
  8. At the backpackers we stayed in the other night they had a cat named Neko. Neko means cat in Japanese.
  9. Went to a glacier today and are spending the whole day hiking through another one tomorrow.
  10. Saw two famous New Zealand bands the first two nights we arrived!!
  11. Traveling with Neill who joined up from the UK for the month. We also met a Kiwi on our first day who helped us buy the car and he also traveling with us for a while. He's a skydive instructor and we might jump with him!
  12. Carla almost burned down the backpackers this morning trying to make me toast, then she put a liter of diesel in our non-diesel car, and then she bought a $50 phone card not compatible with any phone we have access to. It all worked out fine - but we decided she wasn't allowed to drive the 25 kilometer switchback road up to the glacier in the rain today. Thanks for the entertainment, Carla!
It's been great hearing from you all so often, thanks for keeping in touch! Congratulations Andrea on your engagement!!

Love, Alison


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