Thursday, March 31, 2011

Letter to coworkers:

Dear Friends, Family and Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I tender my resignation, effective immediately. I will miss all the strange and wonderful peole I have met in this strange and wonderful land. However, a business opportunity on Kiritimati has presented itself, and I am unable to pass it up. Also, when we moved to Hawke's Bay, I had been expecting an exotic island lifestyle...but New Zealand is just too big; one can only tell he/she is on an island from an aeroplane...and the only exotic thing we have encounered has been beetroot burgers.

Wind in your sails,

Michael B. Lasko

Saturday, March 05, 2011

2 more days in the City

We seem to be getting pulled over to Auckland more often than I would prefer...but as long as we were there, we decided to do some exploring of the perimeter.

Rangitoto Island is Auckland's newest volcano.

Much of it is now green, but there is plenty of bare lava left. (In New Zealand, they have 100 words for lava...)

There are some lava tubes that make Hawaii's look safe. I thought I had a blog entry about Hawaii's lava tubes, and how we were trapped with a dead torch [flashlight for you Yanks] in a completely dark cave, but I can find no such entry. Anyway, the same sort of thing happened on Rangitoto, except we had no torch at the start, and didn't realize we were in total darkness until we were halfway through. I also didn't start thinking "I really hope there's not an earthquake" until we were halfway through.

The pictures from the little Sony do not do the view justice.

Not having had enough of islands, we took a little drive and then a little walk to Motukaraka Island.

Note: Only attempt walking to Motukaraka at low tide.
Note 2: Only attempt walking to Motukaraka from the Beachlands Marina (and not the boating club). Nicole will be unhappy if you make her walk through the mud rather than the sandbar (on the marina side).

A little later in the day, and it's a real island.

A stop off in Taupo on the way home (where I was supposed to pick up a sail boat) finds a former intern making her first takealotofdrugs appearance. Thanks for the coffee, Cloudy.

PS: Does anyone know the difference between a loo and Superloo?
Poor Kiwi Folk

When Nico and I moved to New Zealand, we knew we would be giving up European travel and expensive tandem vacations. This weekend however, an expensive tandem vacation came to us.

We joined the tour for a ride through Rotorua. Here are Bill and Jan McCready slowing down enough to have their picture taken.

And here are a bunch of tandems riding through some geothermal death spas. Sorry, I have no photos of the descent (on an MTB) track through the Redwood Forest.

A ride up some hills took us to the Buried Village of Te Wairoa.

I seem to have not taken many photographs...probably because it spent a fair amount of time raining; but I did finally get the opportunity to use my new flash.

The next day, we took an opportunity to climb Mt. Maunganui...

...and were rewarded with a world class view.

Onward to the Coromandel, where we stayed in an authentic Kiwi bach in Tairua. With a couple of days of cleaning and a few bug bombs, it would have been a nice play to stay...we'll just leave it at that, as the owner has been rather nice in addressing my complaints.

Though we have not been on a Santana tour in close to three years (except for New Zealand, which nobody was ready to repeat yet), we were happy to see some familiar faces.

And I just can't get enough of that Kiwi Dundee.