World Trip Home Post Fourteen

Post Fourteen - Waterworld

Positive SunlightPositive Sunlight

We were walking through the small town of Orewa on the coast north of Auckland when suddenly the clouds parted and the sun came out for a few hours. The light on this inlet was so striking that I had to snap a few shots as we went by. -- Scott

Fresh OystersFresh Oysters

While kayaking on Marlborough Sound in the north part of the south island, our tour guide pried a few oysters off of some rocks to add to our lunch banquet. We popped them open, mixed up a quick sauce for them, and sucked them down. Well, some of us did. Karen looked closely at one of the opened oysters and said, "It's moving." "Of course," I replied. "It's still alive." For some reason, Karen was suddenly uninterested in trying the oysters. -- Scott

>Kayaking on Marlborough SoundKayaking on Marlborough Sound

I know that people complain that there are too many photos of me, and I absolutely agree! However, as a photographer's companion, you soon surrender to the inevitability of serving as "scale" for photos.

This is one of the few pictures of me that I specifically asked Scott to take. I was so euphoric to be kayaking in Marlborough Sound, I wanted to be sure I had proof afterwards. -- Karen

The Chill InnThe Chill Inn

This appropriately named hostel nestled into one of the slopes of Marlborough Sound was one of our favorite places in New Zealand. The friendly proprietors, Ali and Gary, have decorated the home with artifacts from their own world travels. A bright kitchen, groovy living room space, excellent book collection (I read "Harry Potter"), and star-gazing hot tub all add to the inn's general "chillability." The view of Marlborough Sound from the deck wasn't too bad, either.

Budget accommodations in New Zealand have the widest variation in quality that I've seen anywhere in the world. One night, you'll find yourself in a hostel like the Chill Inn: a quiet, comfortable space that feels more like someone's home than hostel accommodation, complete with soft beds, fluffy towels, clean, spacious kitchen facilities, and warm, comfortable common areas. The next night, you'll be bedding down in a hard, bedbug-infested bunk with stained, worn sheets after eating in a dirty kitchen where the refrigerator contents look like some weird science project. We learned quickly to book ahead, discount guidebook descriptions, and rely on independent recommendations and ratings. -- Karen


On the drive south from Marlborough Sound to the South Island's west coast, we passed through Nelson Lakes National Park. It was beautiful here but we only had time for a quick lunch stop. We collected our lunch fixings and headed down to Lake Rotoiti to eat. As we spread our lunch out on this dock, the sand flies descended in droves. A sand fly bite initially hurts like a horse fly bite, but later it becomes inflamed and itches like crazy for a couple of weeks. These bites are particularly annoying when they are on your feet, constantly being rubbed to irritation by your socks. It's amazing such nastiness can hide within such beauty. -- Scott

Down UnderDown Under

We came across this sign south of Westport on the west coast of the South Island. As you can see, at this location we were closer to New York than London (and closer to Cape Town than either). It seemed a pivotal moment in the trip. At once I had a sudden realization of just how far we had traveled. From the time we left Spain, we had traveled to almost exactly the other side of the world. I stood on that windy hillside staring at that sign for quite a while, reading off the names of places I'd yet to see and silently making plans for future trips. -- Scott


Deb, Karl, and I are standing on the South Island's spectacular west coast, near the town of Westport. This area has a sleepy, country feel, its empty roads taking you past lush, rolling fields and stretches of deserted beach. We noticed a number of people enjoying a simpler, more quiet life here - the kind of back-to-the-land adherents who might have been called hippies twenty years ago. We also got the impression that more than a few of the inhabitants might grow a personal supply of a certain green plant with psychoactive effects. Not that you needed any help to appreciate the beauty of the region... -- Karen

Next Up: Adventureland

Copyright 2002
Scott & Karen Semyan