Sunday, April 6, 2008

Latest Email

[my latest email to family... enjoy]

So, we've changed time here in NZ... I believe we're now... 6 hours off of saskatoon. I thought we were moving to 4 hours off.... but it's 6. Sorry if I told people the wrong way before. (according to my computer's clock, Saskatchewan is 7 ours off Auckland. I think this "clock" needs a fixin'.

Today Travis and I went on a wine tour on Waiheke Island. We want to move there (not going to happen, btw). It's really really nice. 35 minute ferry ride to downtown Auckland. We were told by our tour guide that real estate has boomed there in the last 15 years, and in the last 10 years the price of housing increased 700%. Ya. 700%. But it's gorgeous... it was basically where all the hippies moved 30 years ago, so we were told that if you want to invest in property, buy property where hippies currently live because it'll always increase in value in 25-30 years.

We went to 3 vineyards, a brewery and an olive estate. Very interesting. Did you know that olives are basically inedible off the tree? I didn't know that! They're either made into olive oil, or soaked in water for 5 weeks, changing the water every day (to get rid of the bitterness), and then soaked in brine for another few weeks, then they're ready to be stored or canned or whatever. But it's quite an involved process to be able to eat an olive. All 4 olive oils we tasted were certified extra virgin - the extra virgin olive oil you buy in stores is not actually extra virgin... that classification is a misnomer. To be declared extra virgin the oleic fatty acid content must be below 1%. As well, all 4 olive oils we tasted had a very grassy flavour to it. It's really weird. The woman who gave us the tour told us that one of the oils would have a "fresh cut grass" flavour... but we thought all of them had a grass flavour. Shrug.

Yesterday was a really, really laid back day. I did a bit of work, and re-potted some plants. We cleaned the house, and returned Emma's car. We jogged back. I'm having a hard time walking today because I had a personal training session with my neighbour, Paul, on Friday and he worked me to the ground. Shuttle runs, lunges, squats, leg presses, some boxing, push ups, and do it over and over. UG. So my feet are really sore today after the big workout on Friday and running yesterday.

Travis is doing well. He's planning to go to some area where they have Kokako birds on Thursday - he's doing his research on locating Kokakos using an array of microphones placed in the forest... so he's going to do some initial analysis this week. I told him given enough notice I'd come out to be his assistant. I don't think 4 days gives me enough notice to bank up some extra work time... plus, it would include waking up before the crack of dawn, since the kokakos start making noise early in the morning. Arg.

That's all I've got. I haven't written many emails recently since I started my blog. I hope to write one or two posts on the blog per week, and they won't really be the "what I did this week" type of posts.... it'll be more the perceived cultural differences between here and Canada, or just weird things that Travis and I have noticed. We've got a list of things that I'll write about in the next little while. I also plan to post more pictures on there soon, too. Also, feel free to comment on the blog. Here are the links to our pictures and to my blog:

Talk to ya later! And Happy Birthday Uncle Bert!

Amy and Travis

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