22 July 2007
I’m sitting here in our New Plymouth motel, with my laptop on my knee watching the news. They’ve just had an ad for steam trains running on certain parts of the main trunk line on select Saturday’s. Obviously our Saturday wasn’t a ‘select’ Saturday.
So, what happened today?
We got up and dressed (no shower again, the shower head was too high) and had breakfast in the Downtown Backpackers café. Pancakes with banana, bacon and maple syrup $10 each. (D.C. paid) I had an orange juice and D.C. had a hot chocolate – both $2.50 and I paid. We’re trying to keep track of who pays what so it’s even.
We decided to get some photos of Parliament Buildings. Of course, Wellington decided to rain at that point, so we were dashing between shelters such as Pohutukawa Trees.
We packed up our bags and Ann picked us up at 10.00am. She took us to the airport with a stop off at her office at Victoria University. She bought morning tea for us and asked us what the captions should be for her exhibition’s catalogue.
The plane was a little matchbox sized 13 row prop job. I looked at it and thought “I’ve got Thunderbird Fours bigger than that!” We had seats 3C & 3D. We left at 11.25 and I took photos of the take off and then got told afterwards by the stewardess, or whatever they call them now, that they don’t allow photos to be taken during take off and landing. Why? I can understand cell phones, and possibly MP3 players, but cameras? And why don’t they tell you? D.C. reckoned that it’s because they don’t want any evidence if the pilot makes a mistake.
It wasn’t a bad flight, though it’s a little unnerving to see the stewardess biting her nails when the plane was taking off. We got up above the clouds and could see snow on the South Island through the windows on the other side of the plane. I could see a bump in the clouds on our side and wondered if it was Mount Ruapehu. It was. We could see it’s snow-capped peaks above the clouds, and I’d had to put my camera away when I discovered that.
Haven’t seen all of Mount Egmont/Taranaki yet. Saw the flanks as we were landing, but the peak was shrouded in cloud. We got into New Plymouth at about 11.45, which was about 15 minutes early. Must have been a tail wind. It felt like it as we descended. Especially when the pilot banked the plane to make his approach. I did not like that, it felt like we were at about 45º and D.C. and I were leaning in the other direction, I don’t know why, it’s not like it would have had any effect.
New Plymouth Airport is really high tech. They drive the luggage trolley into the terminal and everyone goes and offloads their own bags.
We caught a taxi. $43.10 later and we’d learnt that Ted the driver had been an engineer for the Forestry Department in the Auckland/Waikato/Coromandel region. He’d be helicoptered into on of the Coromandel’s camping huts, off load coal for the hut, and then be helicoptered out to take coal to the next hut. He’d be out of Auckland, supply two lots of coal and then be back in Auckland in one day. I paid the $40.00.
We were met at the Bella Vista Motel (Corner of Queen and King Streets) by the proprietor and Ted the dog. She let us drop our gear off in room 10 and told us that someone from Puke Ariki had dropped off a fruit basket for us. There was a note from Diana Gibbons, and is a nice gift from her.
Because New Plymouth Society of Model and Experimental Engineers only runs on Sundays and we’re not sure how much time we’ll have next week we wanted to see them and have a ride today. We took off to the track, but it was deserted. Then we realised that they open at 2.00pm and it was only 1.00pm. There was a bit of a shower at this point.
So we decided to head to Pukekura Park for lunch. (For those non-New Zealanders, it’s pronounced PawKeeKooRa – roughly) Practically the first thing we saw was a big, fat Keruru/pigeon gorging itself on some berries. I got photos and then in flapped/lumbered away.
Lunch was nice. We had stuffed chicken breast on mashed potato and with salad $14.20 and hot chocolate $3.80. Very nice. The marshmallow was a different type with coconut on the outside. Was watching to see if the Mount was going to clear, but all I could see was cloud.
We had a look through the Fernery. Very pretty and cool and soothing.
After we’d finished we went back to the track and Martin Smythe was driving an electric DC style loco. We were introduced to Phil and said hello to Monty George. Paid $2 for our rides ($1 each). Then had a chat to them and a cup of tea/water. They have the same issues that we do.
Then we went to New World and bought Weetbix, hot chocolate, marshmallows, Vogels sunflower and barley toast loaf and some muffins (yum).
Then we went to the Warehouse and D.C. bought herself a couple of books and a pair of boots.
Then we went along the waterfront for a couple of blocks. We saw Len Lye’s “Wind Wand” and D.C. decided that she couldn’t wait, so she ducked across the road to the toilets while I took photos of the Wind Wand and Puke Ariki.
We came home and had tea – muffins and one of the apples in the fruit basket (three bananas, three apples, three kiwi fruit and some chocolates) and a hot chocolate.
I’ve hired an internet cable from the motel, so I might be able to start a blog of our holiday, or at least email. This is going to be interesting…..
Bed about 8.45pm
I've given up posting photos with the blog. I'll do it seperately.