June 17, 2007

Glöggi is good for Juhannus!

This weekend we experienced the beginning of the REAL winter. Last night we had +4C degrees and since our house is more like an uninsulated barn, it must have been about the same inside. The electric blanket (when was the last time you considered using one?!?!) unexpectedly appeared to be a life saver. Somehow the bed just stays warm, so we don't need to keep the heater on in the room anymore! I don't really want to see our power bill for the next few months... :(

You wouldn't believe it, but we went surfing yesterday. It felt much warmer in the water than outside on the beach. They say that it doesn't get much colder than what we have now, so it is very possible that we'll be able to surf over the winter. Glöggi (hot mulled wine) helps to warm up after few hours of floating in the sea. Glöggi for Juhannus! (Karstas vynas Joninems!) Way to go! The great thing is that in 2 weeks the days will start getting longer again...

Besides that, we found out that our steamed up windows are not only an aesthetical problem. This morning we discovered that we have mold on our window frames and the front door (that we never use) had started growing mold all over!!! Few panic searches online for health hazards and symptoms related to moldy houses, hair raising findings, quick trip to the shop to buy "Exit mold" chemicals (the great variety of cleaning agents and brands available in the shop gives you an idea how widespread the problem is) and the mold was quickly gone with the chlorine vapour (yuk!). We do try to air our house as much as possible (but how many hours a day can you have your windows and doors open when it is +10C outside?!?!), I think from now on we'll keep the curtains off during the day, so that we catch the maximum of sun... and... any other ideas?!?!

Posted by gkligyte at 08:55 PM | Comments (1)

June 04, 2007

God thanks for the Queen and her birthday!

This is what we encountered on the way to India.. I mean on State Highway 1 North of Auckland. We were driving up to Ahipara for the long Queen's Birthday weekend and halfway there we were stopped by farmers herding their cows to a paddock couple of kilometers down the main highway. The SH1 is the main traffic artery in this country and last Friday it was blocked for at least half an hour till the cows strolled to their new pasture. We couldn't believe it, the traffic queue must have extended for tens of kilometers, as it was the beginning of the worst rush hour of the mass exodus ex Auckland on a public holiday. We were the 3rd car in the queue and were biting our nails - if we'd been a wee bit faster we would have made it through!.. On the other hand, we wittnessed this, so we know where the priorities lie in this country...

The winter officially started this weekend, but Northland once again was basking in sun, temperatures pushing up to +20s, giving us (the last?) oportunity to get some colour in the sun.

The sea was flat once again, so not much surfing done (again!) People at the Endless Summer Lodge had stories to tell about perfect waves last weekend... Bad timing once again...

The problem, really, is our day jobs. If we could surf at any opportunity when the conditions are good, we'd be pros by now. But so far surfing has been our "hobby" and weekend entertainment, so no real progress to report... :(

I didn't regret going to Ahipara anyway, the weather was fantastic, even though we spent quite a few hours walking along the beach carrying surfboards to no avail, it was worth it: we went to sleep early, read books, watched the ocean and basked in the sun. Couldn't ask for more from a holiday!!!

The annoying development in Ahipara is the new obsession with quad-bikes (kind of an off road motorbike with 4 wheels) that hundreds of people were riding along the beach as you were trying to go for a walk or collect some shells. Ahipara and Far North is a bit of lawless place with lots of local people living in very poor conditions, fishing, diving for mussles and basically living off sea. "Lawless" probably means that it is such a backwater (there are wild horses on the 99 Miles Beach, for example) that you basically can create your own rules or establish new boundaries of what is allowed. So the recent "in" thing is riding up those quad-bikes up the sand dunes. It was breaking my heart to see those nasty stinky noisy cars driven by boy-racer teenagers crawling up the beautiful white sand dunes, choking on exhaust fumes and listening to this nasty eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeegh... sounds... It is kind of illegal to drive up the dunes, but there were literally hundreds of teenagers going up and down... Not surprisingly, one of the 5 deaths on the road this weekend was a pedestrian in Ahipara. Seeing all the boy-racer action there, I'm surprised that more were not killed. How can people be such petrolheads completely disregarding other people, the nature, basically anyone and anything?!?! Your "pure, clean and green" NZ... Where have you gone?!?!

On the way back we visited Mangonui, one of the most beautiful harbours in NZ with a great fish shop above water (famous fish and chips, though we usually go for smoked fish...)

Oh yes, our passports came back with the permanent residence stickers (cool!). The first thing I did was to sort out a credit card (we've been living without plastic money for 9 months!!!). Life will be so much easier! We can book our holidays, buy books online and become truly respectable citizens! And we can vote!!! Excellent, we just have to register and in the next ellections the Green party is getting my vote! They seem to be the only party that really doesn't play the Labour-National game. They are the only ones consistently pushing more funding for public transport and increasing legal driving age, suggesting to curb property speculation, etc. They initiated "anti-smacking bill", they are anti-nuclear, anti-war, etc.

Queen's birthday was a good weekend (we even had a birthday cake!), unfortunately this is the last public holiday until end of October... Long winter months ahead and nothing major to look forward to (except we may break the long wait with a week's holiday in tropics... we so deserve it...)

Posted by gkligyte at 11:10 PM | Comments (1)