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Jon’s Travel Diary

Friday, 14 Jul 2006

Location: Hawks Bay, New Zealand

MapSo my two week roadtrip around the South Island of New Zealand has come to a close. It was an incredible trip with so much to reflect on and write about but I'll put it in short as to what we all did over the two week time. Went street car lugging in Queenstown, caught a cold, climbed a glacier, did a few beautiful tramps through rainforest in Abel Tasman, went sailing in A.T., mountain biked in Nelson, on rainy days we just sat in and watched season two of the OC (sorry Anna), went kayaking, watched street performers in Christchurch, went to a New Zealand All Blacks tri nations rugby match against the Wallabies (aussies), All Blacks victorious!, attended "Boogy Nights" twice (the best bar in the world as it is all disco music with a really cool light up dance floor) in 70's attire, the second time with the rugby teams (all blacks and wallabie players) and the last day had a nice brunch with my best mates minus Arny and had to say our inevitable good bye.

It's amazing how close you can feel to people who were strangers 6 months ago. Though these friends over the past 6 months have been there and stepped in and played a brotherly role. It's not the places you travel but it's the people you meet along the way. My trip was what it was because of the friends I made. It was hard saying goodbye to these guys on Sunday but it was more of a see you in a bit. I guess it's the same back home because home is such a special place because of the friends and family I have. And that's why it's so hard being away but I'll be home in 20 days.

Currently I am on the sheep farm. Slaving away, talking sheep, eating sheep, and some how counting sheep (every night). Sleeping has never been so easy. So far I have been drafting sheep which is seperating sheep into sheep that have one lamb inside them and sheep that have twins. They are seperated into different paddocks (which are fields) because the sheep that have twins need more feed so they need to be in where there is good grass. I didn't know how much sheep farmers relied on good grass. It's worse then golfers! Possibly more then our next door neighbor (Neil) grass. I have been blown away with how good the dogs are. Ian the brother of my friend Haley that I'm staying with, has six dogs, and on his command he can get each individual dog do something different. So if the sheep are in the back of the field he calls his pointer dog (which is the dog that is really fast and directs the sheep) to go push the sheep up, then he'll call one of his huntaway dogs (which are the noise) to go and bark at the sheep to move ahead. Once the dogs are in place he has a dog whistle to direct them and by yelling commands. It really is something to see. We could be on top of a hill watching the dogs heard sheep from a km away, still giving them commands. He tells them to "go right, left, stop, speak up (bark) go to the back (back of the pack) that's good (stop you've done what I wanted you to)" etc. If only people listened that good. Ian says the sheep are dumb but the only thing dumber are the things that chase sheep. I chase sheep so what does that mean?
Anyway yesterday I had to give them medicine, via the mouth. That was a chore, your in a tight space with lot's of sheep, sheep are as heavy as 80 kg and not wanting you to touch their mouth. They especially don't like it when you stick a small little rod in their mouth and spray blue liquid toothpaste substance in there! My strategy was to talk to them tell them it was candy and then go for it. Some weren't convinced and didn't like it to much and spit it out. This called for me to have to do more work (which is always inconviniant!) and go for the clamp down with my hand after I gave them the medicine approach. This worked! I was told I did a good job and after 30 minutes I had about 30 sheep done. Probably set a new standard for the slowest person ever to dose sheep. I have also learned how to open a gate good, as you are always having to open up a door to get into and then having to close it behind you. Sheep like open gates, as do pheasants I guess! Also I ride around on a 4 wheeler alot, sorry no horses. It has been a very good experience being here. I have also shadowed Haley's dad, Brian, to his nightly physical activities. He is a very fit individual and am having a tough time keeping up to him. Tuesday and Wednesday I went to badminton with him which was great to get back into that, last night I went to his pump class which worked every muscle in your body and makes you really soar the next day, afterwards playing ping pong. He told me "It's very social for him and I might break a sweat" well I've broken a sweat every night and been soar every day! Tonight I might take off just to rest and relax. Next week I have been invited out to go skiing with him and his wife. I'm keen to go skiing so I think I will be taking him up on his offer.

I best be going many smelly, loud, grass eating sheep to tend to. 20 days and I'm travelling to my favorite place in the world, HOME! Love to all .... sorry about my spelling