Saturday, September 06, 2008


We finally have some more NZ exploration under our belts. On Saturday, we drove about 30 minutes to North Head and Devonport. We took in the sights, and SURPRISE SURPRISE took pictures.

This is Lowell strutting his stuff Canadian style. He's really not shy about flaunting his Canadianism around here!

We then continued on to North Head which was a defense fort that was set up in the late 1800s to defend Auckland from a feared Russian attack. The fort was later expanded as part of Auckland's coastal defense system during World Wars I and II.

I'm no history buff, but it was fascinating nonetheless.

The view from the top (oh, and me doing kung fu on a stick) :

The defense system included a big 'Disappearing Gun':

Man, that's a big gun (well, a big replica of a big gun).

I would explain more about it, but if you're interested... you can read it for yourselves!

Here's a closer view for those of you whose eyes have suffered the effects of aging (Mom) :

There were creepy looking underground tunnel areas that we toured as well. They were dark, confined concrete halls with little cubbies. It did not look inviting but Lowell forced me to go in anyway.

And there was NO colour. Except... is that blood splattered against the wall?


The view from the other side of North Head was also spectacular. And somewhere in there is one of the hospitals that I work out of (Lowell fed me that information. I have no idea where in there it is) :

As we were heading back into Devonport, I spotted a road sign, slammed on the brakes, and exclaimed, "Lowell, we MUST get a picture of you with that sign!"

He looked back, and agreeably inquired, "You mean with the 'NO EXIT' sign?"

Me (a little confused that he would be excited about getting his picture taken with a 'no exit' sign) : ""

There was a sign for 'Duders Ave', and Lowell used the term 'duder' incessantly during his undergraduate University days. So here is Lowell on Duders Ave being a cool dude(r)!

After that invigorating little adventure, we thought we'd complete our Saturday outing with some fish 'n chips. We received our meal sans ketchup (which is a crime in my books), so we returned to the counter and requested some. We were met with a blank stare, then the kind gentleman pointed to a bowl of tiny little packets of (fake) ketchup that were 50 cents EACH. I'm talking like those weeny little jam packets. That wouldn't even cover one of my fries. Soooo...we decided to wrap up our meal in Lowell's jacket, and drive home where we had unlimited access to an entire bottle filled with the heavenly red stuff. And then we watched PS I Love You while chowing down.

Oh, and for the record...I don't think it's part of NZ culture to withold ketchup, it was probably just that shop. I sure do need to be careful about the generalizations I make because often when I see something new/quirky, I tend to automatically apply it to the entire culture. Let's hope that people here aren't generalizing everything Lowell and I do/say/think to all Canadians... ha!

And now fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Have I mentioned that we live down the road from like 6 produce stands and 5 Strawberry farms? Yep, one of the farms is our next next door neighbour. We can hardly wait 'till summer when the strawberry fields will be busting with big juicy strawberries.

Today we took a walk to our nearest produce stand. It was a brisk 10-minute walk. Fun hey?

It's okay to not change your pants in NZ... isn't it?

I also did laundry today. Not generally an exciting affair because I usually force Lowell to accompany me to the big, dark, empty lodge where the washing machine is. It scares me half to death to even think about entering alone, but I decided to be a big girl today.

And of course, the first time I go there by myself, THE ALARM GOES OFF! I don't know who set it or WHEN, but it scared the daylights out of me. Not good for my Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Syndrome. (Carlynne diagnosed me this summer. It's a real thing. It means I'm jumpy... look it up.)

While we're on the topic of our abode, I think I should update you on the bed situation. We brought over another single bed (from the lodge), so we are now upgraded to a KING sized bed. Thank you to those who offered to hook us up with a bigger bed though!

Oh, and we also have a groundskeeper. Well, I use the term 'we' loosely here. He's not OUR groundskeeper per se, but he keeps the grounds that we are living on. So, we'll just continue to refer to him as our groundskeeper!

We'll see where the wind blows us tomorrow!


Shelley said...

oh zealand doesn't really have ketchup. They have tomato sauce which pretty much sucks. We found that Burger king DID have actual ketchup packets and we'd steal them everytime we saw a burger king.

NZ also doesn't have powdered iced tea or kraft dinner.

If you send me your address, i can send you said items (As i had a friend send me ketchup and iced tea when i was down there so it's kind of like a pay-it-forward type thing). :D

Carlynne said...

You are going to have to start bring ketchup to restaurants! Just like bringing our own Aunt Jemima to pancake breakfasts. Oh why can't people just meet our needs? We're not that demanding are we?

AJ Wilgus said...

I want a groundskeeper!!! That is so high-class:)

Lowell & Julie said...

Update on the ketchup situation: It IS cultural! Well, I'm sure it's not ILLEGAL to get ketchup with fries, but apparently it's the norm across NZ and Australia to sell ketchup separately in the tiny little packets. And it's not ketchup- it's tomato sauce.
But they DO have good ol Heinz at the grocery store, so we're thinking of buying another one for our car.

And Clyn... Aunt Jemima isn't here either. After you mentioned it, I was gushing about it at work and people asked me questions like "What flavour it it?" And I was like "I don't know, there are different flavours." And they'd say, " it maple." I'd say "No, not maple...." And they kept pressing me, so I finally said "It tastes like sugar." The pressure got to me:)
So it's understandable that pancake breakfasts here wouldn't have Aunt Jemima b/c it doesn't EXIST here, but in Canada? Unforgivable. I can't believe more people haven't hopped aboard the Aunt Jemima train there. tsk tsk.

No, I don't think we're demanding. I think we just know a good thing when we taste it! ;)