Friday, January 23, 2009

Flashback two weeks...

So just over two weeks ago after a three-day trip (including wonderful family visit in northern Cali and a not-so-wonderful accidental international fruit-smuggling incident in the Auckland airport that cost us NZ$200), we were escorted by four cars (needed to hold all our luggage)and various welcoming folk to this charming 85-year-old house on a hill with lovely view (as shown above) of the city of Wanganui and the Whanganui River (the h is controversial - more on that later). The city is about 40,000 in population and very friendly and navigable -- even from the left side of the road and for the directionally impaired such as myself. It was a major ocean and river port, but is not a tourist magnet although it does boast the river on which people can jetboat (fast and adrenaline-inducing), skull or kayak (the opposite), or take a ride on the only paddle steamer still operating in New Zealand (coal-smoky but fun) and some lovely parks and gardens, as well as a stunning beach with cliffs and black sand (the golden sand beaches elsewhere in the country are regarded more highly by natives). Within the first few days we had discovered the farmers' market, the library, and the soccer (football) fields; checked out both boys' schools (which start their new year at the beginning of February) and the hospital where Mark is working; and Melissa had struck up conversations with just about everybody looking for friends, jazz dance and Maori language classes, volunteer opportunities and other ways to ensure she doesn't get bored while not working here. ("Fat chance," says Mark.)

No comments: