Monday, April 26, 2010

Socialized Medicine

After discovering that I could not lift my arm above my shoulder, I decided to head over to the emergency department for an xray. After filling out two forms (one for the hospital, one for ACC), Becky (who like most doctors at Hawke's Bay, looked far to young to be a doctor), led me into an exam room, quickly diagnosed me with AC joint disorder (why yes, we've got a pamphlet for that), and sent me down the hall to radiology. The x-rays came back normal; I then received a tetanus booster (actually a tetanus/diphtheria booster, as that's the only way tetanus vaccines come here), and was sent back to work with a prescription for ibuprofen and paracetamol.

Total time spent in ED/radiology: 40 minutes (which included about 10 minutes for the student radiology tech to adjust the machinery).

Total cost: $6 for the two prescriptions, which is supposed to be refunded by ACC, but I don't know if I'll bother figuring out how to do that.

Tetanus shot pain now hurts more than bicycle accident pain, so I'm taking a well earned sick day today.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dangerous Country

Roundabouts (Traffic circles to you Americans) are one of the safer places to be on a bicycle, as the cars are forced to slow down to bicycle-like speeds. However, in a few places in and around Havelock, (non-cycling) traffic engineers have tried to make the roundabouts even safer by designing bypasses for cyclists. Yesterday, I made the mistake of riding the tandem on one of these bypasses, and promptly got hit by a van. The bike and Nicole came out of it in good shape; I'll heal; my expensive Santana Jersey is in need of some repair.

Please note: all photos that follow were taken are after the morning collision.

After cleaning up my wounds, and changing to a plain red jersey (to hide the blood), we tagged along on a wine country bicycle tour. The ride included a shortcut through an olive orchard with grazing sheep (just visible between the trees in this photo) running across the road.

I'm usually very good at remembering which wineries we've been to...but due to the pain (which was largely unrelieved by the afternoon sampling), I can't seem to recollect where I took these pictures. At any rate, most wineries in Hawke's Bay have some sort of beautiful picnic ground (or expensive restaurant) in which to rest for a few minutes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm not looking for a New England

Alternative title: Quoth the Raven

Yesterday marked the official end of summer (at least according to the Napier Sailing Club). The final race of the season included a delayed start (due to lack of wind); several very strong gusts; a few 180 degree wind shifts (twice causing an upwind and a downwind leg on the same leg). The local sailors all remarked that the conditions were very unusual, but many seem to have a short memory for such things.

Today (Sunday), Nicole's only instructions for afternoon tea were: "Don't overdo it".

A little chilly tonight, so I was thinking about starting up a fire. Upon opening the fireplace (read wood burning stove) door, I noticed the ash moving around a little. With a puff of smoke (read ash) out flew a bird. It chased me around the house for a while as I tried to open doors and windows, then disappeared down the hall. A couple of umbrellas eventually convinced our new avian friend that he would be more comfortable outside.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Linux photo editing

My first attempt at a panorama--view from Te Mata Peak. With a little practice, I might be able to smooth out the colour...
Te Mata Peak II

At least I think this is my second Te Mata Peak entry. Last time, we drove most of the way up; on Sunday, we walked from our house to the top. It's about 6.5 km (each way) by car; I'm guessing the walk was a bit longer. There was supposed to be afternoon tea near the top, but this place was closed.

Here's a photo from the top...which might look exactly like a photo I posted last time.

And would you believe we have redwoods right here in Havelock North?

Yesterday, I finally got around to hanging up our Coke lamp.

I just wanted to add that our New Zealand dining room looks nothing like our Newport Beach dining room. (The bookshelf in the photo above was in the bedroom.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hastings Market

Alternative title: I don't want to think about what the other 10% might be

Hawke's Bay has some incredible farmers' markets; the best of them is in Hastings. We've been stopping by most Sunday mornings to sample the local wares...and Nico cannot seem to pass up anyone trying to sell her: 1) grapes 2) herbs 3) avocados.

I'm mostly certain this is Kiwi humour:

And I believe this one is serious marketing:

Can somebody tell me why Kiwis don't have accents when they sing? If I sing something, will they think I don't have an accent?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Napier Sailing Club

I had not been putting much effort into finding my way onto a boat, but as it's starting to get cold, I figured I'd better get around to it. A single email later, and the sailing club manager had said he'd put me on a "trailer sailor". I was not sure what to expect.

I ended up crewing (rather poorly) on a Noelex 25.

At the helm, 16 year old Mathew:

His grandfather, Alan was calling tactics; Alan (like most Kiwis) did not seem amused by my camera, so I don't have a picture of him.

Here's another Noelex 25, and the only boat we finished ahead of:

Some pictures around Napier that made me start thinking we're living too far from the water.

Sorry for all the pictures. I was having trouble finding a single one that captured the beauty of the marina; probably because I was steering on the way in, and I could not figure out how to turn the throttle down.

PS: The answer to both of your questions is "Yes". [The boat is named Big Bird, and that is a tractor.]
And now for the important stuff

Last weekend (while taking a break from tandeming), we stopped at Beach House Wines, where the charming owner invited us over to his other (apparently more profitable) business: Roosters Brew House. Sorry, there is no link (or photos--I had a camera, I'm not sure it was the sort of place where I'd be snapping pictures). Very Kiwi bar; full of men in coveralls, just off work...and possibly carrying their own beer mugs. Unlike any US brewery I've been to (which are really just restaurants that happen to make beer), Roosters is more like a winery that makes beer (they also serve Beach House wine). Although a sign on the door made reference to "lunches", I saw no other evidence that food is served. The best part about Roosters: Free beer from the Irish bartender--or maybe that's the best part of drinking with Irish friends...

In other news, there is good Indian food in Hawke's Bay: Master of India in Hastings (there's apparently another in Ahuriri) was considerably better than typical Orange County Indian cuisine. Now, if only I could track down a Mexican restaurant.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Not quite paradise

Alternative title: Fair and balanced journalism

Everything you always wanted to know about the sand fly.

I believe I made it through white water rafting without too many bites (the provided wetsuit was pretty good protection). Afterwards we stopped for lunch (was that at the River Valley Cafe in Esk Valley?), and made the mistake of sitting at an outdoor picnic table on the grass. I am covered with bug bites. I am never going outside again.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I could sing a few lines of the Purdue and IU fight songs, but I can't for the life of me remember how Butler's goes. I'm sure a couple of hours of dueling pianos would set me straight.

River of Terror!!!

Alternative title: And I wished I could ride a horse

Brief interruption: Yesterday's lunch in a vineyard.

This morning, it was up to the Mohaka River for white water rafting.

These were Grade II rapids...which I guess means that on a hot day, you can do this sort of thing. (Yes, those are my feet).

Aoife jumping off a cliff. She was supposed to take a picture of me jumping off an even higher cliff, but apparently did not, as I have no such picture.

The water on the lens helps capture the ferocity of the river.

Maybe next time:

Friday, April 02, 2010

Thank G-d it's (Good) Friday, and the Official Sports Drink of Backyard Cricket.

In case I didn't mention it already, Easter is a four day weekend here. It is my new favourite holiday. As I type this, it is now Saturday...the sun is out, the birds are singing; or at least chirping their 4 note song (which I think is really a two tone song repeated twice, but Nico disagrees, and she is a bit more talented musically, so we'll go with 4 notes).

Yesterday, we spent the morning with my coworker Jason and his family on a hike through the Blowhard Bush Scenic Reserve. I was a little worried about the level of difficulty this hike might present because of our recent experiences on other voyages; but it turned out to be a relatively easy walk (through caves, native forest, and some plants that looked a lot like the California coastal sage scrub I had to identify in Biology 5C (or whatever class that was that made me decide not to be a botanist).

If you look closely, you may notice that I'm trying not to think about the bottomless abyss behind me.

Kiwi children do not share my fears.

I somehow forgot to take pictures of the backyard cricket game we played in. Jason patiently went over the basics; I promptly forgot those I may have understood. Anyway, hitting a cricket ball is a bit easier than hitting a baseball.

Today, we're off to the Clearview Winery for lunch; I am happy to report that our first tandem ride since becoming Kiwis will be a sober one...not so sure about the second ride.

Tomorrow, it's Final Four. I am guessing that no Butler alumni live farther from Indianapolis than do I. So we broke down and had Sky installed. One month was a long time to go without TV. Unfortunately, the antiquated receiver would not work with our American television, so we had to go and buy a new one: 32 inch Samsung; cheap even by US standards. Due to a problem with online ordering (from a local store), I've ended up with two. It was so cheap, I'm thinking of keeping the second one. Is anyone not interested in us having a television in the guest bedroom?