28 March 2009
The rather shallow River Avon winds through Christchurch. You can't operate a boat with any sort of keel on it, hence the punts, apparently hired largely by middle-aged (and older) tourists. Wait, I was a middle-aged tourist! Damn!
Ah...morning tea. Now this is a custom we should import to the US. It seems like wherever you are, be it at a conference, in class, weekday or weekend, around 10 AM there will be a break in the action and you'll have the opportunity to go get coffee or tea and a bite to eat. If you're in some sort of gathering of any size, it's likely the food and beverages will be provided by the host. The best thing is when someone invites you to their home for morning tea because you often get homemade goodies.
Even though it's called morning TEA, this is such an insane coffee culture that almost everyone gets coffee, but at least tea is available. The bites to eat tend to be sweet: little chunks of Danish, brownies, carrot cake, this horrible stuff called lamingtons (see photo, courtesy of www.benjaminchristie.com), that sort of thing. Sometimes there is fruit. It's great as long as you avoid the lamingtons. Unless you like them, of course. That white stuff sticking to the outside is coconut.
Marylou just pointed out to me that I've neglected to post any photos of our trip to New Zealand last month. Let me rectify that straightaway. Phil shot this while we were hiking part of the Queen Charlotte track near Picton on the South Island. A good half-day's hiking, 14 km, with stunning views like this around nearly every bend in the trail (or 'track' as it's known locally).
22 March 2009
Back in November I posted a photo of me with my peeps having lunch out at the Hundred Acre Bar. It is (so far) my favorite expensive restaurant in Brisbane. It's located on a public golf course in St. Lucia, about 2 miles from our house and a mile or so from campus. The menu is creative, focuses on seasonal foods, the wine list is broad and mostly reasonable, and the surroundings couldn't be better. And except for around the holiday season, you hardly ever need to book ahead.
This photo shows a typical, nicely preserved house built in the style known as Queenslander. Qlder houses tend to share certain characteristics: generally they are built up off the ground (to catch cooling breezes and make it harder for critters to enter); they have verandahs on 3 sides; when restored they often have multi-colored paint jobs to highlight quaint architectural detail, like the swinging doors at the top of the steps on this one.
19 March 2009
Wow, I see it's been over 2 months since my last post. What's my excuse? Well, I was traveling in the US for 3 weeks back in Jan/Feb. Then we spent a week in NZ ("En Zed", that is) so that we could get our permanent residency visas granted -- don't ask -- En Zed was lovely and I'm eager to go back.
As soon as that was done, school started for me, both as teacher and student, so I've been busy.
My other excuse is Facebook -- I've been spending my online energy there instead of here.
But here's a photo of a cool bush I saw the other day: it has both flowers and berries at the same time. The flowers are purple and the berries are yellow, a really nice color combination with the green leaves. No idea what it's called, of course.
Now that the semester is under way, and I'm a little calmer, I'll pay more attention. I promise.