Monday, September 30, 2013

Sept 30-A Day at the beach

Even though the weather is once again gray and nasty. Ilka and I decided to take a trip to the beach (west coast, black sand) It was super windy, but we managed to enjoy the fresh air and watching Poppy run around like a crazy dog. We even found some pretty shells (do I hear my family moaning)

You might say it was low tide. But the ducks didn't seem to mind at all.

Ilka trying to decide if the shell is worthy of our collection and Poppy investigating this beached object.

No picture can truly show the beauty of this land. However please note the Yield sign in the picture "Give Way" and that blue arrow can be seen at every intersection. It is to remind people like me, which side of the road you SHOULD be on. Also, something to think about. Here in NZ the sunny side of the mountain is the North side, not the one facing South. Trust me, it is an adjustment process for sure.
But we're still smiling...I also tasted my first Samosa today..yummy. Sort of a take away pie with an Indian touch. Oh Take Away is our Take Out. Yup, it's an adjustment alright LOL

Those Adorable Penguins

The day after the party, Saturday, there were no pictures. It was a lazy , lay around sort of day and something we needed. Of course we did fit some shopping in LOL Looked at some things to bring home, laughed about perhaps needing another suitcase . Rainer did go alone to the Car Boot sale (the Boot here in NZ is what we refer to as the  "trunk" of the car. He did very well as far as "finds" for me...we have this thing going on about Minions (you only know what I'm talking about if you've watched Despicable Me...)On his way home he stopped at an Op-shop (translation: Thrift store) and low and behold found the entire collection of Minions. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.

Sunday was an exciting day. The day finally came when we would be seeing those precious blue penguins, up close and personal and it was raining like a monsoon. A lot of positive thinking brought us some dry time as we entered the zoo. 10 min. later it started to sprinkle so Rainer ran back to the car for our jackets. Harriet, our cute little guide, assured me that once we had jackets, the rain would stop and it did.
We were given special badges and taken to "Staff Only" places in the zoo, behind the scenes.
First stop the  holding room for the penguins, this is where we got the low down on our little friends and  the fact that they are all rescue birds. Each with it's own story. Blue Penguins are the smallest penguins in the world, they are only about a foot tall. Their names are Moki,Koura,Mako,Ari,Kingi, Tai,Marlin,Dory and Coral.
This is Dory, note the size of my gloved hand.
Some preferred we throw the fish into the water. When they had  enough attention they let us know.
Also living with the Penguins are Boswick and Austin, two spotted Shags. We got to feed Austin when he decided to come down from his house.

Then it was on to the sea lions and seals. The Auckland zoo has several New Zealand Fur seals that can dive deeper then any other seal.The female Moana and the male Kaiako.
Atamai is a baby fur seal and the funniest little guy. I have to admit that we had the most fun with Scuttles the sea lion. He was hell bent on getting us soaked and he managed quite well. So much for dodging the rain LOL Harriet took professional pictures of us but they are on a CD and NOT very flattering (LOL that's another story)
Harriet taking a picture of Rainer with Orua. Then me, also with Orua, up close and personal
At first we were more interested
in the penguins and almost requested they allow us to stay with them rather then move to the seals and sea lions, however,these animals captured our hearts and I am so glad we got to spend time with them.They are amazing animals and so very smart. They can be trained within 3 days to listen and react to commands.
What a fabulous experience this encounter was. Harriet also took us behind the scenes to see how the salt water is made for the pools, and how animals, in this case the Giraffe  are transported over the ocean from one zoo to another.

If you are ever in NZ, make sure you put the Zoo on your list of things to see. It is a wonderful as well as educational experience.Ask for Harriet, she knows her stuff LOL
 Needless to say I took hundreds of pictures. I hope you've enjoyed those that I've shared. More adventures lay ahead so stay tuned.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Party (Sept 27th)

Okay so now that I have you totally confused with dates LOL I don't get to BLOG every day so I just blog in order of what I'm doing. There is still so much adventure ahead of me. So this is Sept 27th day.
The local Women's Center was having a celebration of 30 years. There was face painting station, a flower weaving station and Ilka and me doing affirmation cards. I met the most incredible women there, made some new friends and had a totally wonderful time. I even got my face painted, that's on someone elses camera but I'm sure the picture will show up at some time or another. After the party we went shopping. Now in New York I would have gotten some funny looks with half my face painted in butterflies and flowers. Not here, nope just another normal face in the crowd.

Ilka waiting for things to start and Jannine a new found friend.

Wonderful food spread and someone made Butterfly cup cakes with edible glitter. Does it get any better then that?

Some people actually understood "Affirmation Card"
That blond lady in the foreground is another new friend named Vivian, very funny lady.
Then there were those who thought they had found a free card making station i.e. Birthday, Anniversary, New baby, Get Well LOL" Hey where's the envelopes for these things" 
Ilka, sweet soul that she is, found a deep  Psychological meaning where I just found a lesson in the human experience and their feelings of entitlement . I am truly a tainted new Yorker LOL It was all about the fun...
The party was a wonderful experience in cultural differences and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Getting Bird food

For those of you who know me well, you know the best way to make me smile is to bring me around animals. Even a trip to pick up animal food was an exciting  adventure.

These are Rainbow Lorikeets yes they are for Sale, NO I didn't buy one, but I came pretty darn closed. They are very smart and needless to say Gorgeous.
These chickens were wondering around the pet store and that fluffy white one almost came home LOL He has a big poof on his head and I fell in love.
Once we left there it was back to the studio to work on several things I have going on. One of them is perfume bottles made from beads. I had a great deal of help as you can see.....
Kiki helping me remove a top from a small bottle.
Helping to chose just the right bead.
Holding the glue stick. Oh yes, she was a wonderful helper when she wasn't trying to rip off my ear or attacking my fingernails (she hates them).
This next picture is for my Grandson. I finally found someone who loves Lego's as much as you do David. When Rainer can't be found, chances are he is off somewhere programing a new Lego Monster. This lovely..Scorpion  tracks down a little bug (also made of Lego's) and attacks him with red bullets

. Of course the minute he finishes one he takes it all apart and makes another so stay tuned for the next creation.
Next adventure is a party at the Women's Center celebrating their 30th anniversary.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Day at the Zoo

For those lucky enough to have visited the San Diego Zoo, I'm sure you will agree it is beautiful.
I would have thought it impossible to find a zoo more lovely then SD Zoo. However, the Auckland Zoo managed to top it by a mile. It does not give the impression of being a zoo at all. It is like walking in a park or perhaps walking around the world  with each bend in the road bringing you into another country. Not only are endangered animals being saved from extinction, but rescued animals are given a safe haven for life. They even take animals for walks around the zoo for additional exercise.
Here, one of the elephants are walking up the stairs next to the Merkats.
and here one of the pigs is having a noon day 
walk. Please note how clean the walkways are. Not only are the paid employees diligent at keeping animals and grounds well kept, but there are hundreds of volunteers as well. No matter where we wandered , we bumped into a volunteer preparing food, cleaning or caring for animals.
WE got to see 3 week old Merkat babies, under the watchful eye of their Mum.

Lots of beautiful birds in natural
surroundings. My favorite is the NZ Pukeko. I just love this silly big bird. It is also called a swamp hen because that's where you can find it most of the time.
Okay, so it isn't all that pretty
but aside from the Kiwi, it shouts NZ.
Please note the fluffy white carpet he is laying on. Talk about a contented animal.
Of course my favorite was the Fairy Penguins. The smallest penguins in the world.

Originally we felt that $120 per person was a lot of money to visit "Behind the scenes", but then we saw these little guys and found out we will be alone with them (not in a large group as we thought), we will get to spend 1 and a half hours, feeding and playing with them. So Rainer (as big of an animal lover as I am) decided it was something we had to do and booked it for this coming Sunday. It will be the high point of my trip for sure. All of these little guys are rescued, some are even missing a flipper and the zoo hopes to one day have an entire breeding colony of these little endangered penguins.
Stay tuned....

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What Day is it anyway?

Keeping in touch with family back home gets me a bit confused. I tell them it's Monday Morning and they say No that's tomorrow, it's Sunday evening. "No" I say, "That was yesterday" LOL
Before I forget, My DGD made bracelets for my friends here. They found them quite intriguing (made on the Rainbow Loom with rubber bands) They wanted me to be sure and Thank her for the delightful "gift" so here ya go Krista:

As you can see by the smiles, they love them and as you see by the background, they wear them EVERYWHERE!
This is the place we stayed when we went to Rainbow Springs. Talk about lucking out. The place just had a small sign in house on the main drag, cute, white, clean but not much of a draw. The places in Rotorura (tourist town) are very expensive, this advertised $70 a night. We were so happy we stopped because down a hill, in the back, off the road, this is what we found.
The place was immaculate and compared to the MOTEL look of all the other more expensive places, this was just a private little piece of heaven. The Asian owner was so proud, he just glowed when he told him how happy we were that we took a look. Of course Patricia and Norma shared the experience.

That would be them hanging out in the tree and waving from the Gazebo. But then the BIG bug got them...

Sorry girls but we just couldn't pass that one up.Okay, back to the trip. I just have to share this country with you. Everywhere you look is a picture waiting to happen.
Looks like a post card doesn't?
That green that looks like moss climbing
up a rock are actually very BIG pine trees.What looks like lint on a green blanket are actually sheep, hundreds of sheep...
How do you  like the size of THOSE round bales?
How beautiful are these cherry blossoms . It's Spring here.
A bit off the right hand side of the picture, on the horizon you see a white object. That is a snow covered volcano. Perhaps I will get a closer picture of that some time in the future. I found it unusual to see all that green and yet so much snow.
So I will leave you with these bits and pieces of my days here in NZ. Hope to visit the Zoo today or perhaps the beach. Undecided, but what ever we do it will be fun....See you later!