Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Over and Out

Haven't written for a while. Well, to make it short: I am not in New Zealand any more, my 6 months are over, and they have been good. Have seen quite a few parts of the country, have met wonderful people, have found friends.

But it was time to say good-bye. And now, after 2 weeks in the "home country" Austria, I am now in Slovenia for 3 weeks. is dead, long live!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Heey, ab in den Nordeen!

Back from the South Island.
We were travelling down there for 2 weeks after the conference in Christchurch. First we went up to the very north of the South Island, to the Abel Tasman National Park. We did a 2 days hike in one direction and then went back with the Aqua Taxi (=boat). It was amazing! The weather was really nice, and if the sea was a bit warmer, I would have gone for a swim. On the way back we saw some dolphins, too, so the taxi really paid off.

When we came back to the car, we had a flat tire. We found a guy who pumped it up again for us, and we managed to get to the next garage little after 5pm (they close at 5). The mecanic there persuaded us that we should get 4 new tires, and I think it really was a good idea. All of them were old, one already had some metal wires sticking out..

Then we continued our travel and went down the west coast. It was raining, but still it was very fascinating to see the rain forest and the coast line. And it is supposed to rain a lot there anyways. The weather was also bad when we were in the Franz Josef and Fox glacier region, so we decided not to go up there. We continued our travel over Haast pass where it was snowing and lot of people had problems not to get stuck. With our new tires (and Alex driving) we didn't have a problem :-)

We stayed in Queenstown for 2 nights, one in a backpackers, and one at the place of the people where Reinhard had worked last year. The next day, we made our way to Milford Sound. The street was closed because of avalanche danger, but opened the same day, so we only had to wait about one hour. We did a round-trip with the boat (the weather was fine again), and it was not a lot of tourists around which was great, too.
We stayed over night in the region and did a hike the next day, just up the mountain for about 1.5 hours one way. Was great, because we were up in the snow and had a beautiful view round the mountain area. I don't have any hiking shoes, so I went around with plastic bags in my sneakers. It worked fine!

After that, we continued our travel and made our way to the east coast. We stayed in Gore, and then drove down the presidential higway to Clinton and further to Balclutha. Then we went down south to the southernmost point, and back up again to stay in Dunedin. I was really impressed by the city. It seems to be one of the oldes cities in New Zealand, with Scottish history. And they have 2 really great vegetarian cafes! I checked out the muffins in one of them, and we had dinner in the other one (pizza and scones, *mmh*). We walked up the (former) steepest street in the world (not too fascinating), and Alex and Reinhard went to the chocolate factory. The weather went bad again, and so we travelled back up to Christchurch, from where we wanted to go to Arthur's pass - which we didn't do in the end because of the bad weather. We drove to the peninsula though and had some laid-back days in Christchurch. I was able to go to the SAFE office again, and to meet some friends for dinner. On the way up to the ferry, Reinhard and Alex wanted to to the dolphin watching. It was a beautiful sunny day, but apparently the wind was too strong and the sea too rough, so the boats couldn't go out. Pretty disappointing!
We did see seal pups though, who swim from the sea up a river to a waterfall, where they stay during the day. Pretty impressive. Back in Picton (where the ferry to the North Island leaves) we did a short hike up the hill to have a look around the area, and the next morning (with 2h delay), we finally went on the ferry back. We went up to Wanganui where we stayed over night and went to a very good Indian restaurant, and now we are back in Hamilton.

We live in the YWCA, have a room for us three and only pay $80 per week. Pretty cool I think.

New Zealand time is almost over..

Saturday, July 08, 2006


This was a busy week. We are in Christchurch since Sunday evening, and the 3-day HCI workshop started Monday morning. A lot of it we have heard again, and we again had to deal with personas, scenarios, paper prototyping and all that stuff. But it was fine, and Mark, the organizer, was really helpful with everything. In the evenings/nights, I was basically writing on my report that was due one and a half weeks ago, and I finally managed to "finish" it today. Anyway. Thursday and Friday was HCI conference. I did like it, but I was distracted by working on my report, so I didn't pay too much attention to all of the talks.. And I was very sleepy.
The food was quite nice, they have an Indian/Chinese place where I could get food, and most of the place have some vegan food. The 101 cafe was great, they have a few vegan things (even cake), and it is labelled! I liked that :-)

Tonight I was going out with some Animal Rights people in town, we were supposed to meet at a Chinese Restaurant at 7. Already late, I saw that one of the warning lights in the car was on. I showed it to Alex and Reinhard, but nobody knew what it was. After almost one hour of trying to find out more, I asked Graeme (the Englisch guy) to bring me there, and so I finally was there and could get some decent food.

After that, Sacha and I were going out in town. Awesome concert in the Dux de Lux, the power went off for a minute 3 times, but they managed to even make a good show then. After that, we went to an Iris pub live band :-))

Monday, July 03, 2006

Arrived in Christchurch

First visit to the South Island!

Alex and I left Hamilton Thurdsay morning (8am was the plan, but we finally left at 10pm..) to Wanganui, where we picked up Reinhard and continued driving down to Wellington. I have slept most of the way down, partly because I haven't slept the night before (unsuccessful attempt to finish my project) and partly because I just get very very tired in cars (ask Sigi and Christian what I did most of the time on our way from Copenhagen back to Austria).

Then we stayed in Wellington for 2 days, met the 3 other guys (Daragh, Graeme, Primosz) and did a bit of sightseeing. Was a good time (did a lot of sleeping, too ;-)). We have been to the World Press Photo exhibition, which was really moving, and were to Te Papa, the national museum.

Our ferry to the South Island went Sunday morning, and the time on the boat was just great! The weather was phantastic, and it was so beautiful sitting outside, enjoying the sun and looking at the great country. The rest of the day was basically driving again, with a stop in Kaikoura to enjoy the landscape. From this spot, you can see the lake and the mountans (with snow on top) going up right from there. Amazing!

The rest of the time I did a lot of sleeping (the car effect), so I don't really know what happened on the way to Christchurch. After check-in, we went for a small tour around the city, and guess what: when we crossed the first road, there was a bus waiting in the lane. And the people in the bus were the people I wanted to meet while I am in Christchurch!! They recognized me (fortunately), and we had a little chat in the middle of the road. Great :-))

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

South = cold

Wow. Time flies.
We are moving out tomorrow morning for our South Island trip, which means we did all the packing and house-cleaning today. I still haven't finished the report that was due yesterday, now I really HAVE (have, have!) to write it. Few hours to go.

We met the future inhabitants of the house already, a bunch of Chinese people. They managed to get a big heater for the living room and small heaters for all the other rooms. But, you know, they will have horrendous energy bills if they use them all.
Anyways. I'm going back to my report-work.

That was 20 Liston Crescent 2006. Six weeks living in backpackers, here I come!!

Happy New Year!

Yesterday, Alex and me went to the Marae at uni at 6 in the morning to attend the New Year's celebration, called Matariki. It was freezing, and clotheswise I was not prepared to sit outside for an hour. The beginning was quite interesting, but at the end there was one guy talking in Maori for half an hour, so it was pretty boring. I was in desperate need of a blanket and a babelfish.

Monday, June 26, 2006

double-decker checker

I tell you guys, the weekend was fabulous!
Despite the fact that there is this 8000 words report due on Tuesday, I was going to Auckland for the weekend to go to Colin and Jesse's farewell party. The two are going to India, Colin for 6 weeks and Jesse for a month, so it was the last chance to see Colin, and the last chance to see lots of other people who attended the party.

I went to Auckland in the morning by bus. It was a double-decker bus and I had one of the front seats. Which was great :-) Good spot to take some photos..

Finally arriving in Auckland, I went to help at the SAFE stall. Was quite encouraging I have to say. So many people have not heard of battery hens before, they have no idea where their food comes from. The response was really good, people were interested, listening and could see the benefit of making different decisions. The best discussion was with one guy who said that he would always buy the cheapest, but after talking to me for a while he wasn't that sure any more. I got him by asking him if paying 1$ less is also that important when he goes out to have some beers..

After the stall, I went to Alice and Billy's place. They are so generous and let me stay over night at their place every time I come up to Auckland. I was going for a walk with Alice, her sister Sue and her dog (can't remember his name..). Billy was watching the World Cup in the meantime ;-) After that, I went to get some food for the potluck party in the evening. I then cooked and watched TV at the same time (works quite well), and then it was almost time to go to the party already!

I forgot to bring my camera unfortunately, but you know, sometimes it is better to enjoy the situation anyways. Ended up talking with Jesse for quite a while. He is planning to live in Taiwan next year, what I find very exciting. Hope that it is easy for him to be vegan there. Not everything I heard was positive..

I almost forgot dancing that evening (too much talking ;-)), but I had at least a few minutes of dancing with Colin at the end of the party.
The food was of course aweseome, did not know where to start :-) Pizza, spring rolls, sushi, salad, carrot soup, bread and beetroot rice (by manu), fruits, chips and dips, pie, and and and. Marvellous :-))

I wanted to go back to Hamilton early in the morning, but I managed to sleep until 9:30, and when I finally was back in the city centre it was 11am, and the next bus left at 1. So I decided to walk around and have some food and chill out a bit more. The bus was a bit late, and after arriving in Hamilton and walking home for about 50 minutes, I was back home at about 4:30. Report is still waiting to be written..

Anyone who wants to write a report?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cooking instruction

Did you ever want to know what the best way to peel a potatoe is?
Then have a look at this video:
How to peel a cooked potato in one shot

Otherwise, dont :-)

By the way, I had my first and last exam yesterday, YAY! Was not too worried about it and it went ok (I hope). They have a very strict system here. You are allowed to bring pens and a bottle of water, nothing else really. And you need to have your student ID right next to you. If you need to go to the toilet, one of the supervisors is guiding you to the door (and they write down who went for how long). You are not allowed to leave in the last 15 minutes of the exam, I was lucky to being able to leave right at the beginning of this time. I had choir rehearsal right afterwards, and I came home 2 minutes before I was picked up for it.

The chor is part of a theatre performance that tries to make aware of the wetlands in the Waikato area, funny thing. Dress rehearsal today, performances the following 3 days.. I'll try to take some pics today.