Monday, January 19, 2009

Would you say you have a plethora of photos?

It's been a busy few days here, and it's great to be back online, although I'm still reporting from the quaint little library here in our suburb. I have lots of photos to share, so let's get on with it, right?? First I can't wait to show off a couple shots of our new little house. Here's the living room, or what everyone calls the lounge. The glass door opens to a little deck that overlooks the harbour.

And I need to sneak in a quick pic of Jake on his way to his first day of "school" last Monday. Of course he didn't want to take the photo, but I was sure Adena would appreciate it.

Here's a shot of our view on a sunnier day. The weather's been fantastic... not too hot, and it's only rained a couple times since we've been here, so we've had the windows open a lot.

But I think our parking space has the best view of all. Isn't this amazing?? You can see a ferry leaving for the South Island in this shot -- something I see several times a day (since all I do is sit and stare out the window). Sometimes we see cruise ships too. So from here, you have to walk down about 30 steps to get to our front door.

This weekend was the first time we had a chance to venture out of the city. We headed to Cape Palliser, which is on the very south east corner of the north island, a couple hours outside of Wellington, I'd guess. We drove through the Hutt Valley and then through/around/over some of those giant green hills. About halfway through, we stopped at a scenic lookout and started up a hiking path. I didn't think we'd go in very far, so I just wore my flip flops, and was actually pretty proud of their performance climbing up some steeper sections and down through some loose rocks and gravel.

This was the top of our hike and it was pretty darn windy there, although it doesn't really show.

Here's our view from the top. Amazing!

On the way down I'll admit I was pretty distracted and psyched at the view, and of course I fell down on the trail... no big deal, other than one of my hands landed fully in a spikey little plant. A thousand invisible splinters -- four days later and I'm still trying to get them all out.

The purpose of our trip was to camp and hike among the Putangirua Pinnacles, which are these giant cliffs that have been worn down by wind erosion to these pointy pieces of rock. (Better description here.) We camped within site of this beach. The weather was nice, but the water was a bit too chilly to swim in, although I couldn't resist putting my feet in.

Allow me to summarize our camping experience with this photo. This poor tree is leaning for a reason. Jake and I definitely deserve some kind of award for being able to put up our tent in such a gale and staying sane and married. Of course after we tied the tent down, Jake reinforced it on the windy side with some heavy-duty rope tied to a nearby post and our car. Immediately the wind changes directions and he goes to work on the other side. But then we found someone leaving a comfy little spot along the tree line, and we uprooted the whole station and moved.

Our hike among the pinnacles was just as windy. But what an amazing view.

Certainly worth putting on the ole' hiking boots.

We found these little pieces of Paua on our walk on the beach that evening. I guess this is a type of abilone found here in NZ.

We saw seals! This is on our drive the next morning along the coast. Our guide book said to drive slow so we didn't run any of them over. We didn't see any in the road, but we were on the lookout.

The last stop before heading home was this little lighthouse on Cape Palliser. There are 250 creeky old wooden steps leading up to the top, and Jake was sure that they only replace them when they break. I was a bit nervous about the steps, but it was worth it.

Here's a view from the lighthouse.

Sunday night we had tickets to see the Wellington Pheonix soccer team take on a team from Adelaide (Australia) at Westpac stadium, which is the big stadium here in town. They call this the A-league -- not sure if that means anything to all you sports junkies. Jake got the tix from work, and we walked a couple miles (including 460 stairs down from our suburb on the hill) to the stadium. I think I was most impressed by being allowed to buy four beers at a time (in bottles with lids so you don't spill half of it on your way to your seat) and a couple of "American" hot dogs (complete with Confederate flag logo), all for $29 -- that's only about $20 USD.

The stadium may look empty, but that's because the 8,000 fans who attended were all sitting in the sunny section to the left of this photo. The home team left with a 1-1 tie.

I think that's all we have for now. We'll have more regular updates once we get Internet access at home. Apparently when someone tells you "We'll call you tomorrow to get everything set up," it's just a friendly greeting and has no literal basis.

Also wanted to share our mailing address with anyone who's interested:

Jacob and Jamie Swearingen
91 Amritsar St.
Khandallah, Wellington 6035
New Zealand

Hope everyone's well. Talk to you again soon!



Anonymous said...

Your place looks amazing and I am insanely jealous of the view. Sounds like you guys are having a great time!

Keep the updates coming! I love seeing little tidbits from your new life. Miss you guys!


Mom Deed said...

OMG, your place is just beautiful! The view is so incredible. I so much enjoyed all the great pics. Jake looks handsome and professional on his "first day," (right, Adena?) and the one of him w/the 4-pack and Confederate hotdogs is good. Jamie, you're lookin' good too! That sounds like some camping trip, wow. If I know you Jamie, you have more than one pair of flip-flops, yes? So no problem burning a pair of them hiking! I'm just blown away that you guys are really there and doing all these wonderful things. Keep up all the adventures--they're awesome to read about!

jamie said...

Mom -- I'm so proud of your blogging lingo ("OMG"). You sound like a pro! Great to hear from you. xoxo

Mom Swearingen said...

From Mom Swearingen,

Sooooo glad to see you have updated, I'm kinda slow at getting here and seeing all the adventures.

Really appreciate the pictures of your home, view from the car port is quite awesome! I'd love to join you in the afternoon, Jamie, for that glass of wine!

Jacob looks sharp all dressed up for work. I'm sure it was hard to get him to smile for that one, Jamie, thank you for thinking of me. Really appreciated the picture.

I like the pose of Jamie pretending a dive into the water, now that was a good one!

I have to get a map of the country, I feel this need to pinpoint all these locations you are mentioning that you visit.

Hope that this weekend brings to you more adventures to share.

I'll be thinking of you when the temperature here is in the mid 20's!

Love you both,

Jami said...

Wow! What a beautiful place! How many fun adventures already. I'd have to say I'm pretty jealous. But wondering where are all the sheep! Your blogs also sound very professional. Nice job Jamie, thanks for keeping us up to date and we miss you guys! Chilli cookoff is Feb 1st, along with Superbowl so we'll be thinking of you!