Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hello, again, my faithful readers!

Let me fill you in.

So, when I last left you we were in Nelson. Awesome city. And the weather is great. Nelson is right next to a national park called Abel Tasman. I must say the Abel Tasman could be my favorite place in New Zealand. It is so beautiful. It is right on the coast of the Tasman Sea with white sandy beaches and then it goes up into lush green rainforest. So amazing. The only downfall is that it is called a rain forest for a reason. Especially in the winter. (it is winter here, lest we forget) So we hitchhiked in the pouring rain to a hostel right outside the park. Now this is a magical place. They have this art gallery outside where people carve things into trees and make jewelry and all sorts of cool artwork. We bought some cool necklaces from a french woman who is a reiki master. Of course i had to do a reiki session with her. It was awesome.

Then next morning we got up and headed for the hills. They have huts along the trails where you can stay. On the coastal track you have to pay but we did the inland trail which isnt as popular and so they don't charge. We met these two boys from northern california who we ended up hiking with the whole time. They were way funny. One was 18 and the other was almost 17. We started on the inland track and we were more out of shape than we thought so we didnt make it to the first hut. We did make it to a possum infested shelter though. It is not as nice as a hut but it gets the job done. We kicked the possum out and set up camp on this kindof bunkbed with ghetto foam pads that had all sorts of mystery stains. There were dirt floors and a tiny fireplace where we magically started a fire with wet wood. It was a fun night. We had to build a possum proof door. It worked but we could hear them try to get in all night. And one of the americans eased the situation by reading us to sleep with Lord of the Rings. He did all of the voices.

We woke up the next morning and decided to hike down to the coastal track so we could experience both. That was a cool hike but it rained like non other and we got totally drenched. We made it to a hut that was pretty nice. There was a gas fire that kept us warm and dried out clothes. By the end of the day there were 11 of us in this hut. There is a room in the middle which is a kitchen and where the fire place is and then there are two rooms on the side that have beds with matresses. Well we were all too cold to sleep in the rooms without fire so we crammed 11 matresses in this little kitchen and all slept on the floor. Good times.

Then the next day was clear and beautiful and so we had a nice hike back and headed back to Nelson where we stayed with the Hippolite family again. We love them. Such a great family. We stayed with them another few days and we got welcomed onto a morai (not sure on the spelling).
It is a moari meeting house and you can only enter onto it if you are welcomed. They have a whole ceremony where they sing and stuff. It was pretty cool.

We finally said goodbye to the Hippolite and the south island and headed north. We took the ferry and i got sea sick! I have never gotten sea sick or had motion sickness. Crazy... Then we took a bus up to a town called Rotorua. Here we have been staying for the past week with Yoga Master Paul Barton. He is an intense yoga instructor that runs retreats from his home in the forest farmland. So pretty. So we have been studying meditation and Iyengar Yoga (which is the yoga that makes you hurt). I will say that it changed my life. My body kills but wow. I cant even tell you what I have learned about myself and the mind and all that jazz. I never knew that yoga could work so much on the inner self.
Also while in rotoura we went zorbing which is rolling yourself down a hill in a giant rubber ball filled with water. So fun!!! Kiwis are crazy people.

Now we are right outside of a town called Hamilton. We are staying with another member couple. They are the parents of a family we met in Nelson. They are a pretty funny old couple whose kids are all grown up so they just go on service missions for the church. They just got back from serving all over the cook islands. Here we will go to the new zealand temple, which will be really nice.

So ya. Thats the new update. Oh yea, and we are coming home August 4th!!! I am loving this crazy journey, but i must will be really nice to be home.

Peace and love!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Milli Vanilli

Well friends,

A good amount of adventure has happend since last post. Allow me to share...

So we stayed a few more days in Dunedin. Turns out we got to stay at the hostel for free because we got along really well with the owners and they let us stay for free if I gave them massages. Its was cool.
So our plan was to hitch about 4 hours from dunedin to Christchurch. Our first ride was our friend Alex that we met in Wanaka. He was the swiss guy that gave us a ride to Queenstown. He just happend to be passing by when we were hitching. It was cool. He gave us a ride about half way. After Alex we just kept going from little town to little town until we got picked up be a Semi carrying like 2oo+ sheep. That was fun. He took us to our friends in Southbridge right outside of Christchurch that we stayed with at the beginning of our journey. We were there for a few days and then headed north up to a cute beach town called Kaikora.

We were there for 2 nights. Then we hitched back down south about half way to christchurch to try and take a road to the west coast. Well it is a tiny road and not many pass on it. One of the only cars to pass us was our friend Ralph! He was one of our German friends we met in Franz Josef and then again in Dunedin. So random. He was going to blenheim, which is a few hours north of Kaikora. We were so excited to see him and didn't know if we would get picked up again on that road so we just went back up north with him.

We went to church in Blenheim. That was really nice. A member had us over for lunch and had a good chat. We also met some members who were visiting from Nelson which is 2 hours northwest of blenheim. They said if we needed a place to stay we could call them if we were in Nelson. Little did they know how much we would take them up on their offer.

We were on our way out of Blenheim getting ready to hitch and we passed a little lot with a bunch of old used cars for sale. And they were way cheap. We hadn't had they best hitching luck the past few days so a car looked pretty good. We found a red 1988 toyota camry wagon. It was pretty ghetto but it had alot of charm. We fell in love with it and just bought it on a whim from some chinese guy that barely spoke english for 650.00 nz dollars, which is about 500 american dollars. And we figured we could just sell it when we left because people do that all of the time.

Since we now had a car we decided to go to Nelson instead of to the west coast for reasons that are not important enough to explain. The car got us to Nelson just fine. We called up some our member friends the Chattertons and they took us out to dinner and then to the Hippolites to sleep. Two very awesome families. Well, the hippolites had us take our car to a mechanic because our muffler was so loud and we could get a ticket for it. Long story short, to make our car safe for the road we would need to replace all four tires, get a new muffler, fix the speedometer, and who knows what else.....

With much contemplation we have decided to junk the car. It would cost too much for us for it to be worth driving for 2 months and it guzzles gas like none other. We lovingly named it Milli Vanilli because it was not as good as it seemed and didn't last very long. We took it around town to junk yards and no one even wanted it!!

So we decided to just leave it somewhere and take the plates as souvineirs. That was the plan until the wonderful Roma Hippolite talked to a mechanic at church. He said that he would take it and fix it up and then give it to someone in the branch that could use it! See, now it wasn't such a waste of money after all!

So we have been staying in Nelson at the hippolites for almost a week now. They are such a fun couple. Their kids are away at school so they love having us around to entertain them. A few kids just got in today because they are on a school break. We are havin a grand ol time. Now since this post is way too long I will post later about our magical trip to abel tasman national park where we slept with possums!!

Ok, until next time!! much love!