Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Woohoo, it's time for pictures! Here are a few of my favorites from the past week, in roughly chronological order; there are no other people in them for now because I haven't asked permissions. You can click on any of the images for a larger picture.


This is what Fiji looks like, or at least what the main island looks like from the airport on a day with crummy weather. The entire area is rather hilly and green as a result of all the rain...

Orientation American Style (north of Auckland)

This island is named Goat Island, and is one of several "Goat Islands" in New Zealand. When the first European settlers arrived on the mainland they discovered several feral goats and pigs originally brought by the Maori, and transplanted a lot of them to small offshore islands so they'd be easier to hunt. Ends up the pigs were intelligent enough to swim off but the goats stayed, so there are several places named "Goat Island" along the coast today.

This particular Goat Island is now a nature reserve for endangered animals so you're not allowed to land on it, but you are allowed to snorkel and kayak around as much as you like (which is exactly what we did). Also it's not in the picture but just off to the right is a nice little place owned by the University of Auckland Sciences, which is mainly a marine biology lab but also used for field trips for a lot of classes. It's sort of like "The Farm" that CWRU has, except in a much nicer location and the geeks don't have to share.

This is what most of the New Zealand countryside looks like north of Auckland: lots of fields with tufts of trees, and all rather lovely to the point where you take it for granted. It always rather abruptly turns into ocean, which is an additional prettiness factor.

We were doing an after-dinner walk, and came accross these horses in pasture in a wonderfully tranquil scene. One of the most impressive things about New Zealand, I think, is right outside a major city you have pristine beach properties (yes, that's the ocean in the left) that would be snapped up in an instant in the United States, but no one around here seems to think or care that way so the horses get the prime real estate instead.

Some really nice-looking gal who was having fun on the beach got someone to take her picture to prove it. I hear she keeps a blog, or something.
Really now, this is a picture of me with my "flower" that I wove out of a leaf on the shore. I am using the phrase "I wove" in a rather liberal sense here because quite frankly I discovered that I rather stink at weaving so the Maori woman ended up taking over half of it for me (which was sort of a Scouting moment since the same thing always happened then in these sorts of activities). As a result of this complete lack of domesticity, I suppose I'll stick with physics!

Motuihe Island

My residence hall organized a trip out to this island today, which is one of several islands ~45 minutes by ferry from the center of Auckland. There's a nice beach on the island and what not and the water wasn't terribly cold, so we had a very fun day on the beach.

A view of the Auckland skyline from the island. The tall tower in the center is known as Sky Tower, and is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Similar to the tower in Sydney, Australia, there's a lookout and a swanky revolving resteraunt at the top of it.

This picture is also noteworthy for the sailboat in the middle of the view: there are a lot of them here! Auckland is nicknamed "The City of Sails" because it has the highest number of sailboats per capita of any other city in the world. They're rather nice for short trips out to the nearby islands like the one we were on, which all have lovely beaches and are practically deserted. (In New Zealand, people complain that a beach is crowded when there is anyone else on the beach with them.)

Hooray for pretty flowers! Most of the island was used as a farm until it became economically unviable, but there are still several signs of this past on the island (primarily in the form of abandned buildings and fields). The one I liked the most though was how there were countless numbers of these pink lilies growing everywhere having escaped long ago from someone's garden: they were all in bloom and quite lovely, and looked rather surreal.

I think that's it for the pictures now, as I need to go to bed in anticipation for tomorrow. There is someone VERY exciting coming to the local bookstore tomorrow, and I need to get up early so I can get there on time! Details after it happens, as I like to keep you guys guessing and don't want to say too much in case things don't work out according to plan...


Don said...

Sorry I haven't written any comments yet. I'm trying to do too many things at once and I haven't had anything interesting to say anyhow.

Yesterday, Kate came into Diana's office and had a fit when she saw some Perl that I had written on the chalkboard for you sometime ago. I hope you are practicing while you are there. There are some serious Perl-oriented tasks waiting for you here when you get back!

Sorry about that. I just had to be a little nasty since you are in NZ and I am still not in Hawaii. I hope that you get in to see BB. I heard that most of the times were sold out...

Yvette said...

Sorry Don, I am barred from all employment here due to my visa, so no work for me. Hopefully I won't forget everything, as it would be completely terrible to have all that head-banging go to waste!

And for what it's worth, your Hawaii postcard is on my wall here. :) It was a bit amusing because I had to explain what it meant exactly to the students here, as they're not at all used to the connotations of snow vs tropics!

don said...

Who said anything about employment. Perl is fun!

I eventually had to change the background on my computer from the view of Waikiki Beach we had from our hotel room to one of the kids in our snowy back yard. It was just too depressing.

Try to explain to the Kiwis what HALF A METER OF SNOW means! I guess they have a good example from Peter Jackson, although I can't take the Mines of Moria to get to school. That actually happened in upstate New York. Try FOUR METERS of snow! Even my Ohio-born mind can't grasp that! See what you are missing out on!

Silvanemrys said...

The landscape: beautiful

The girl: ditto ;)