my Waitangi Day

Right, where was I? Oh, yes, watching “The Muppets” and then a Q&A with James Bobin in January.

This post will be short and not very relevant and up to date, because it’s about Waitangi Day on 6th February. I made a small celebration of this day myself, more in a culinary way, rather than dancing and singing. Or street protesting together with a Maori community.

I just simply made lamb meatballs for dinner, had L&P bought from Kiwi Fruit shop (which doesn’t exist anymore 😦 ) and baked Pavlova according to this recipe. Everything was delicious, but I liked how my sister described the dessert. She said it was as if she was eating a cloud!

By the way, I visited Waitangi last year in September.


FRIDAY, 23rd Sept.

Matamata is an hour from Hamilton by bus, so I left Hamilton after 10 a.m., because I’d booked a Hobbiton tour starting from Matamata iSite at noon. At the Visitors Centre, before I got my ticket, I had to sign a confidentiality contract. I could take pictures or even record everything, but I couldn’t show it to anyone, even friends or family, which is absurd. But I think their biggest concern was about publishing it on the Internet. So, sorry, guys, no photos from Hobbiton this time. The ladies at the iSite couldn’t tell when I’d be allowed to show them online, maybe after the release of the movies next year. So expect an update on it in December 2012, right after the premiere of “The Hobbit, part 1” and hopefully the Hollywood bullies won’t have any reasons to persecute me.

But I’m going to show you what bus took us to the farm where the movie set was about 20 min ride from Matamata.

On the way the bus driver talked about the town and people who were extras in The Lord of the Rings. Probably there are some involved in The Hobbit now, but of course she didn’t tell us anything about it. It’s a secret, which I don’t think is possible to be kept in such a small town like Matamata (population 7800 people, according to my guide book).

In my confidentiality contract, I signed that I must keep what I “see and hear strictly confidential.” So I think I can tell you what I didn’t see and hear. I didn’t see the inside of Bilbo and Frodo’s hole, Bag End and I hadn’t heard before purchasing the ticket that it’s closed for the visitors at the moment. I understand it’s being prepared for the filming, but at least they could have mention it on their website to avoid general disappointment, because I wasn’t the only one who said, ‘Oh, NO!’ when we heard that news. So my advise is that if you want to see the Hobbiton Movie Set, visit it when the filming is completely over, or even after the films’ release and you should be really satisfied with your tour there. I was in 50% happy to be there (at least they should have made the tickets cheaper, which now cost $66).

After the tour, we saw sheep shearing in a wool shed. It was just part of the attractions. I always feel sorry for sheep and after being disappointed with the tour, it didn’t make me feel better seeing poor scared sheep being sheared. Probably I’m talking silly, but that show made me feel like a stupid tourist and I don’t like that feeling. Another attraction was feeding lambs, so the farmer who’d just sheared sheep for us, brought two little lambs and bottles with milk and I fed one. The lamb meat doesn’t taste that good after that experience. If I worked on a farm I think I’d become vegetarian.

Some people stayed for lunch at Shire Rest, but I wanted to go back to Matamata and have my lunch in town. It was after 2 p.m. when I got off the bus, so still pretty early and I had to wait till 5 p.m. for my bus back to Hamilton. I should have booked an earlier bus, because apart from Hobbiton, there was nothing to see or do in the town, so I just wondered around the main street, had a pie, tried frozen L&P at McDonald’s (I prefer the classic drink) and chatted with a girl while waiting for the bus. She had a cute laugh and asked me if I tried ice cream from Challenge (she used to work there). I didn’t and it was too late to go and buy it, because my bus could have come any minute. Maybe next time, because I want to come back and have a better experience with Hobbiton and remember it in a better light.

[Edited on 25th Sept. 2012: see the suplement post Hobbiton]

first day of spring

1st September.

I took off from Brisbane at 8:25 and landed at 11:15 (13:15 local time). I thought I’d sleep, but I was hungry, because I didn’t have breakfast (we left Kippa-Ring at 6 a.m.), so I didn’t want to miss it on the plane. I watched The Greatest Film Ever Sold. I love Morgan Spurlock.

I didn’t have any problems at the border. They didn’t clean my shoes from the soil or anything like that. They asked if I had hiking boots or a tent in my bag, though. Then I found a friendly face waiting for me at the airport. A friend I ‘met’ thanks to What The Folk! Forums was there and she helped me that day all along. She advised me about the choice of mobile phone service. It’s Vodafone and I can make international phone calls for $2 for 60 min to 30 countries, including Poland! Then H. took me to my hostel (she wanted to take me to Mt Eden lookout on the way but it was still closed and it was raining) and had to go back to work. I’m staying at Nomads on Fort Street. It’s pretty decent, but I have nothing to compare with at the moment. There was nobody in my room when I arrived, so I went to sleep. I needed it after the early morning.

I got up at about 6 p.m. and went for a walk and had a coffee. Fort Street is next to Queen Street, one of the main streets in Auckland. It was busy and I had that feeling that I was walking up the stream. Sky Tower was close and it looked so tall and I wasn’t even close to it yet! After 7 p.m. H. came back and we rented Love Birds with Rhys Darby, bought some fish & chips, L&P and went to her friend to watch the film. She lives on Ponsonby Road, which is great to be around especially when Mr Taika is in NZ. 😉

On the way back, we stopped at one of the side streets and used H.’s car as my tripod to take this picture.

But this photo doesn’t do the justice of the real view.

a different song

First thing I’ve noticed when I got to my new home was a different song of the birds outside. I was even cheated by one bird which sounded as if someone was whistling, so beautiful song. I’ll have to record it one day to show you.

Second thing was that inside the house it was colder than outside, which is good, because you can hide from the heat. Winter here is like summer should be in Poland. Days are very warm and it gets a bit chilly in the evenings. However, the sun rises at about 7 a.m. and sets after 5 p.m. and both are like switching the light on and off.

The house has 3 bedrooms and a living room with a huge tv set (I’ll try to stay away from my friends’ DVD collections). One bedroom is my firend’s, G.’s, the second one is P.’s who is the owner of the house (his parents used to live here and he bought it after they died) and the third room is mine.

When G. showed me my bedroom, we had our morning coffee and went to get familiar with the neighbourhood. He lives very close to a shopping centre with a cinema and everything you need, but it’s still a very quiet and nice suburb. First thing we bought was a big bottle of L&P, my first essential New Zealand experience, actually (watch the ads: Stubbies and Swimming Pool Bombs). I would compare the drink to Polish “oranżada”, but I think it’s sweeter. It tastes of lemon and candy with more emphasis on candy and when you drink it you’ve got this impression of having a candy on your tongue.

In the afternoon I was so sleepy, that I’ve decided to get to bed and slept from 4 p.m. till 7 a.m. the next morning. This bed is very comfortable!

I changed my time in my mobile to start getting used to this time zone. It’s hard when you live for over 30 years in one rhythm and then you turn it upside down.

The highlight of Thursday was a short trip by bikes to the waterfront of the Redcliffe peninsula and seeing all a bit richer people’s houses with their boats in their marinas next to them. Those people must have a very boring and unhappy life. 😉

Good thing it’s winter, because in summer that jetty is packed with people,