He’s back! I’m so happy he’s home. AND he’s brought snacks! Pretzels and Tootsie roll pops and Cheez-It’s. I am a really happy girl. He’s sleeping right now. After such a long flight ( twelve and a half hours), and the early morning arrival he had to be beat. I figure I’ll catch y’all up on my two weeks here while his body sorts itself out.
I was hoping to catch up with my friends here in Auckland and at this point I can say I pretty much accomplished that except for one person. It’s been a little strange in that I haven’t had a car for the last two weeks so I was relying on others to pick me up except for when I could borrow Jane’s car for short trips. Rachel got the ball rolling by picking me up the day after he left and taking me to Cornwall Park. We had a nice walk around the domain and were joined by her best mate and computer guru; Bruce, about half way around. I had to be a bit careful on the paths, the folks that exercise here take it quite seriously and I almost got run over once or twice.
Another day my girlfriend Debs picked me up and we drove up past Warkworth to Pakari Beach Horse Rides. We had booked a one hour ride and it turned out to be an intimate group of just us and the trail ride leader. Debs horse was named Jerry and he was a good sort who mainly played follow the leader. Mine’s name was Axel and he was a bad boy horse. He’d drag his hoofs and fall a bit behind and then get startled by the fact that he was behind and so he’d take off with a quick smart trot to catch up to the others leaving me clinging to his neck when he’d stop. Of course every time he’d do this I would be in the middle of taking a picture so I have several disjointed pictures of my lap, or his legs. We all survived though and even got to do a canter once or twice and swim through a flooded ditch. That was really neat. Funny though, I think I went to bed way early that night, I was so tired. Too much excitement.
I’ve done some cooking for the household here and helped with the cleanup from a small house party Jane threw. Kinda nice to step back into a situation where I already knew what to expect and where everything was. Jane has been a wonderful flatmate. Very easy to get along with and she’s made sure to invite me along whenever she goes out somewhere.
Rachel too threw a dinner party for eight that I got to help with. That woman is such a good cook and I’ve learned her secret for awesome roast garlic potatoes. First, you have to parboil them. Then, toss them with the olive oil and garlic and rosemary before putting them into the oven to bake. Oh man! They come out so crispy and crunchy brown. They taste wonderful. Her gravy/ sauce is the bomb too. Never knew that lemon juice and a little Galliano could do so much for a chicken gravy.
I also got to spend most of last weekend with Rachel. She took me to the French Market in Parnell on Saturday and we spent a good couple of hours browsing the stalls and buying little dishes here and there for breakfast. Everything looked so good and smelled even better. We were thinking about buying some hand-made ravioli but by the time we were positive we wanted some he had run out. We did get some yum smoked salmon and a bag of greens that makes a lovely salad. Each bag comes with an edible nasturtium bloom and herbs are scattered throughout the bag for added interest. It’s been really good. Rachel and the salad vender also introduced me to a new fruit. I’d never tried a Feijoa before. It was nice, slightly sweet and a little gritty. She gave me another as a gift and I’m saving it to share with Marc. The vendor said she gathers hers only at night and does not pick them off the tree, but rather harvests them after they’ve fallen off as it’s thought they are at their ripest then.
We got lucky at the French Market as the skies opened up later that day and mother nature resumed the frequent rain showers we’ve had since arriving back in Auckland. Rach and I ran a few errands and did some bra shopping at my favorite Bendon outlet, had leftovers one night and I cooked a red sauce another night while we watched a movie I’d been dying to see. Fresh Meat came out in theatres shortly after we arrived last year and while we meant to go see it, we just never got around to it. I think it has an all New Zealand cast and was this darkly funny movie about a group of Maori cannibals who get taken hostage by some outlaws. While the ending was pretty predictable, I thought it was still pretty good. Check it out if you can find it in the US.
I did manage to go for several walks in between rain showers, but really wish the weather would have co-operated a bit more. I’d have loved to get out the one meter and gone kite flying at the park but that wasn’t a possibility most days. On the other hand though, it was much-needed as a lot of New Zealand has been suffering from drought lately. Hopefully two weeks of rain might go a long way towards rectifying things. So, that’s been my two weeks while Marc’s been back in the states. I think I’d better go wake him up now before it’s too late. Y’all take care now, ya hear?