Location: Birkenhead, Auckland
Alas, long lost Eli returns for one final update from this side of the world.... I come to you from back where I began my Australasia experience- Huka Rd, Birkenhead where I will spend my remaining two weeks here decompressing and trying to figure out how I'm gonna get all my stuff home.
I was contemplating making up some outragousely entertaining story about why I've been out of communicano but the truth is I've just been soaking up as much fun in the sun as I can. As psyched as I am to see you all and beautiful NH in summertime- I am sad to be leaving as I hate all endings- always have.
In all reality, the actualization of communication remains difficult and expensive but I think of you all often and hope you catch my vibes. I have received many positive updates from my sources on the homefront and know good things are happening for many friends and family and I'm psyched about that. Two short weeks left and I'll be home- I can't wait to see you all and catch up. There is just too much to try and put it all here.....
By the way, not sure if anyone noticed that the feature photo on planetranger today is entitled "Hidden Message" by Eli - showing the END HAIGHT photo I took in San Fran. GIven the fact that I am receiving unexpected amounts of fame and publicity due to the photo, I feel it neccessary to give props to Sammy who with her keen eye was the first to actually catch the hidden message. Thanks girl- I'll be directly all fanmail your way. Big love.
Australia was awesome, especially the brutally hot sun! As most of you know, I don't do cold well and although Queenstown was lovely- the firmiliar fall feel screwed with me and I had to escape to warmth quickly. It was a messy exit from NZ- not one I'm proud of- and probably wont share with my children or Kikster (allthough she saw me in Rome so she knows what I'm talking about). Went to a casino to boost the funds for my Aussie trip and as anyone can imagine that is so not the place for someone as hopefully optimistic and supersticious as myself. Everything they say about losing yourself upon entering those gates is true- and so- I lost the better part of my judgment temporarily- minimal damage luckily other than the worst hangover I have ever experienced in my life while trying to get through an airport. I do not recommend this condition for travelling....
Flew into the Gold Coast and miraculously made it to Surfers Paradise- which was the busiest place I had been in my travels. Stayed in a sweet backpackers called surf and sun- Think Beach/City- awesome place- off the hook surf comp was on the day we arrived and you can imagine how sorry I was that I was not looking/feeling the best while surrounded by pro surfers. It was fun though and while it's not a city I think I should live in, I could definately imagine myself spending more time there.....
I was somewhat stationed with a friend in Lennox Head, a hip little surf community where I could hear the crashing waves from where I slept. Did several day trips around Byron Bay, Nimbin area. Checked out some awsome animals at a nature conservatory. And for the grand finale of my Aussie adventure- I engaged in yet another shady car rental. This time I jumped into my 91 Mazda bubble car with the wheel on the wrong side of the car and headed North on the wrong side of the road. Weather continued to bless me and although it sounded like the engine /floor of the car could fall out anytime- the car got me all the way up to Fraser Island (the biggest sand island in the world). Stopped in Brisbane, Noosa and a few other places along the way up and cruised back in time for my flight back to NZ. Once again- there is heaps more I need to explore in Aus but I think I'll have to come back with my girls and a year for that mission.
So much to say- so little time- I hope this actually posts as sometimes I spend an eternity typing things that simply vanish into cyberworld in the end.
I fear I will be without cell for some time when I get home but I trust that our paths will cross....
Until then, love and light - Eli
Kia Ora familia,
I hear Spring's warm sun has been gracing you all in NH- dig this- it snowed and hailed in Queenstown today. Crazy how hot it was in the North Island compared to here. The beauty of the South Island is majestic but winter is on! Brr.... So..... typical Eli stylie- I'm off to chase the sun again.
Gearing up for a big night out- last night in NZ- off to Oz tomorrow. It has been a life changing experience being here. It will take me forever to begin to fully process all I have scene, heard, thought, learned. It has been a truly blessed opportunity and I typically melancholy about my pending departure. I will undoubtedly miss this place the moment the plane takes flight.
Nevertheless, I'm psyched about Australia- gonna check out the Gold Coast and onward from there- will touch base as soon as I can more properly. In the meantime, be well. Big love.
Location: Queenstown- South Island, New Zealand
Blessed Greetings! Just arrived in Queenstown fairly far down on the South Island and interestingly (because of the equator dynamic) when you head South here it actually means colder weather. So, the South Island is mystically beautiful (think Lord of the Rings scenery) but feels a little too much like New England fall for my sunchasing excursion. Took the west coast down after hitting up the northernmost point of SI - Farewell Spit where I saw the most spectacular beach ever. Climbed up over rolling hills with sheep (the whole more sheep than human ratio thing really set in upon arrival on the SI) and then sand dunes that rolled on for seemingly ever which eventually landed me at the most amazing beach- laden with rock structures and caves galore. There was an adorable family of seals sunning and swimming right in close. They were totally showing off for us- especially the babies which of course I wanted to hug and almost got to. They are so friendly and when we attempted to leave they actually followed us in trying to get us to stay. Awesome stuff. Sand of every color- special rocks and shells- collecting greenstone (jade) on the beaches. Planning on making some killer jewelry with Laura assuming I can safely smuggle all my treasures out of NZ.
Driving has been fun- never drivin a van before on the wrong side of the road (feels kinda like a schoolbus) - I cruise but I did back into a rather deep ditch on a dark, desolate road my first night on the SI. Got out luckily but took a few days off to humble myself.
Still eating well- lamb is obviously big here and is actually delicious. Been doing less beach bum and more nature walks too which has been a good change of pace (kinda). People continue to be rad and friendly although there is an obvious distinction between North and South Islanders. Kinda look New Yorkers and New Hampshirites.
So, Queenstown as I said is cold. The days are actually pretty sunny and hot to be honest but the mornings and night are chilly. You can feel Winter coming on which while I have a certain fondness for fall is not what I was expecting. The air here is so firmiliar. Very happening snowboarding scene here though- young, hip energy and it's great to be in a city after weeks of no human sightings. Gonna hit it up for the weekend with some superfriendly cats I'm housing with. Having a change of heart about getting a job and staying though due to the whole weather thing- so I think I'm actually gonna head on to Australia (Gold Coast area- probably) in the next week or two and shoot to be home end of Mayish. Gotta follow the sun and NH's best time of year is on it's way.... Hard to imagine leaving this place though I know it has changed me. I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up- a professional Sun Chaser! Snazzy label huh? I kid- but not really- people out here are doing it- chasing the sun- the snow- their dreams. It's been beautiful and inspiring to see! So, gotta use the rest of my time here to check out the ticket situation but I'll try and touch in from Oz. Was gonna upload some photos but forgot the stupid converter thing I paid $60 for so you'll just have to trust me that I'm gonna blow your minds with the pics when I figure out how to show you all them. Be well and enjoy the scent of spring! big love- many blessings- eli
Just returning from another week long North Island excursion.... Spent a few days is Coramandal and checked out heaps more beautiful beaches (all with amazing breaks p.s this is surfers paradise) and neat little seaside towns. Lots of funky art- went to the Bluesfest Saturday which was "going off". I highly encourage you all to check out the following bands (some of them Kiwi- some not) Holly Smith (serious soul sister) Xavier something, Pluto, Selmonela Dub, The Feelers and Katchafire for some local Reggae virbations. All good bands and Buddy Guy ended the night with an amazing gig. Great people, good energy- killin tunes. Headed on to Roturua to check out the vibrant (and stinky) volanic action. No kidding there are parts of this town that are fenced off beacause the Earth literally cracks open and starts spewing. Definatly a heavy smell but interesting experience. We also took a tour of a local Maori Tamaki Village. Our tour guide was awesome- half Maori/ half Irish- funny dude. He had us in hysterics the enitire ride to and from the Village. On the way home he was calling people out by country (I, of course, was the only American on the entire bus) insisting we sing our National Anthems. He called me out by name and I probably would have eventually belted out Oh say can you see enthusiastically until he suggested I sing it for GW.
The traditional performance in the village was amazing. You should all check out the haka which is a dance the Maori perform and is also the extremely intimidating chant they perform before the legendary All Black rugby games. Crazy stuff. We were actually instructed not to smile or show any expression toward the warrior dancers during the ceremonial performances. It was an amazing display allthough I think it would terrify most children or weakhearted. We then celebrated with a Hangi feast which is a traditional meal of fish, lamb, chicken, mussells and all kinds of veggies slow cooked in an earth oven. Delicious. As weird as I felt paying money to take a peek at the sacred traditions of a native culture, I have to say it was very tastefully done and I got the strong impression that the natives involved were happy to share their culture and heritage and hoped that through the further sharing of their ways their story would continue.
DId some more fishing- cannot explaine the insane beauty of eating fresh caught fish most nights. Good stuff. Digging the camping and loving a hot shower after a week of ocean cleansing. At least the water is warm and many of the beaches have natural hot springs so you can dig a big hole in the sand and soak in your own personal hot spring.
Climbed deep into a pitch dark ancient Maori burial cave in Haikai which was nutz. You literally drop into this dark bottomless pit clinging for dear life to damp, mossy tree vines lowering yourself into the a cave. Once I got to the bottom I was releaved that my feet seemed to be on level ground at least but still a little nervous because I couldn't see a thing and although NZ has no poisonous creepy crawlies, I have heard of giant wetas. It was crazy though how my eyes adjusted so quickly that within 10minutes I could actually see very clearly and all these glow worms started lighting up around the cave like little stars.
So, thats my rambling recap for now. A few keys on this keyboard are loose which is making typing quite difficult and my e-mail is not working so I'll try and touch base again soon but know that I am still loving and living it and missing and loving you all.
Off to the South Island next via the west coast (Raglan, etc.) and I'll touch base from Queenstown.
Big love- many blessings- Eli
Location: Auckland (North Island), New Zealand
Kia Ora friends and family,
Hoping this finds you all warm despite the harshness of New England winter. Know that I am taking one for the team down here and doing my best to battle the blazing sun. It's actually entering fall here so the mornings and nights have been getting cooler but the days are still hot. New Zealand is absolutely breathtakingly amazing! I don't even know where to start but I'll do my best to recap as I'm not sure of the next time I'll be able to link in. Of all the opposites here the electronic situation is a buzz. I can't plug anything (including my laptop) in here for risk of explosion. I smartassidly giggled when warned on this seeing as I had already researched the whole converter thing but it seems NZ power just doesn't like foreign gadgets and they actually will explode- ouch.
The more interesting differences though include: steering wheel and driving on the other side (also dangerous for crossing roads)- no tipping- $4 cokes- take away- $50 bottles of rum- barefoot in stores or anywhere is cool- $14 cigs- no napkins on laps- interstingly blunt and comedic advertising- and then there's the lingo. As much as a sucker as I am for accents just for starters- and the kiwi accent is quite lovely on the ears- it's more the vocabulary and rambling style that I dig. Some terms that are used affectionatly towards and between friends would at the least get you slapped in other countries. "Ay" is a sound made after every sentence and sometimes just for the heck of it. I quickly caught on to the fact that this was just a statement of sorts and solicited no response or answer neccesarry. "Naked" means tired and you can imagine how confusing that can be. "Good on ya, Sweet as, Heaps" all common and of course everyone is a mate or bro.
The Kiwi's are an extremely kind, friendly and hospitable people. The general attitude is super relaxed and laid back. There's alot of razzing that occurs between friends which can almost seem harsh to us sensitive type but it's all in good fun. The hard, labour intensive work ethic is over the top and you can tell that only cats like these could build what they have in such a short time. Everyone I have met has been super nice and interesting as they all seem well travelled. In yet another contrast from home, the Maori people are highly respected in this country and great efforts have been made to preserve there heritage, customs and traditions. It's refreshing to say the least.
It is amazing how stunning the scenery is here. Every beach I get to I swear is the most pretty I've ever seen and then right around the corner is another mind-blowing- untouched, unspoiled shoreline. Been going crazy on the seashells. The contrast too of almost Scotland like rides through the center of little villages full of sheep, cows and horses to english rolling hillsides and then purely tropical beach makes for a spectacular roadtrip. Been exploring the water a bit too via my flippers and by boat. Catching a lot of Red Snapper and I must say- sad as I am for the little fishies- there is something greatly rewarding abouthing catching your dinner. I have been eating the most fresh food ever! The fruit is off the hook sweet and there's an abundence of organic produce and free range meats.
Met some very cool people who ended up taking us aboard their multi-million dollar yacht for fishing, dinner, hot showers and our own bedrooms. Sweet As... Ay. Everyone here surfs and we'll be heading down to Raglan which is pretty renound this week. Also coming up is Rotura- home of natural volcanic fed hotsprings and the highest population of traditional Maori people.
We treked all the way to the northernmost point of the country last week where the Pacific meets the Indian- neat spot. It was great to hit the road (most of which are unpaved and some of which are terrifyingly narrow, hilly, bendy-curvy cliffy) given that my home spot in is in Auckland where one of the four million people in the entire country live. Hip city though with a very vibrant scene. Checked out ninety mile beach and Spirits Bay which is another very cool place. Been seeing lots of rainbows and a few white feathers along my way too..
I wish I could actually put in words what I'm seeing/feeling/experiencing right now but just know that I am absolutely loving and living it up. Thinking I'll be heading down the the South Island eventually and trying to score a bartending job to replenish some fundage for a possible Australia excursion. Stay tuned.....
I miss you all and think of you often. I wish I could reach out and touch base with all of you in a more personal fashion but just know how painfully slow and expensive communication is here. Being away from people and things has a way of making you realize how truly blessed you are and how uniquely special the people in your life are. As you read this know how blessed I feel and how deeply appreciative I am of this wonderful- once in a lifetime opportunity and experience. Wishing you all good health, love, many blessings and of course that you were here. Eli