It’s been a while! I meant to catch you all up much earlier than this, but I just spent the last nine days without internet while enjoying my awesome Easter Break roadtrip. But that’s a story for another day... While maybe not quite as cool as swimming with dolphins or walking on a glacier, I did do some stuff before leaving for my trip - like turning 21 years old. Thanks to midterms craziness, I got some more quiet time around Dunedin in the week before I left on my roadtrip. My Saturday morning started off with a trip to the large farmer’s market...
First stop - crepe stand. I had been dreaming about eating this mound of sugary deliciousness since I first saw them on my first morning in Dunedin. Unfortunately (well, fortunately), I’ve been away all Saturday mornings and haven’t had a chance to get one. Finally, my banana, chocolate and whipped cream masterpiece:
[Yum yum yum...]
I quickly filled my backpack (and emptied my wallet) as I walked around the market, taking in all of the colors, sounds, and smells it had to offer...
[NZ apple season definitely rivals PA’s. There’s nothing like fresh, crisp apples (with a dab of peanut butter) for an afternoon snack.]
[Lamb stand. Bought some chops for dinner that night. Not quite as meaty as I had hoped, but very tasty.]
[A large variety of veggies...]
[And TOO much cheese to handle. I usually go straight for the brie, but he was out! I grabbed a slice of Camembert instead, and soothed myself with the fact that this locally-made cheese is also available in the grocery store - very cool.]
Missing are photos of the bacon stand, the coffee hut, the nurseries, the local wineries, and so much more. My camera chose this moment to die, just meaning that I will have to go back again soon so I can share more of this wonderful market with you all. The only bad thing - I was too distracted by my stomach to pay attention to the drizzling rain. I left my hood down all morning, and the damp cold combined with my midterms stress to give me one heck of a head cold. Just hours after getting home from the market, I was curled up sideways on the couch under a blanket, clutching my hot water bottle. It took me until almost the end of my Easter Break trip to kick it completely.
Despite my spinning head and runny nose, I fulfilled a promise to myself and finally made it to the Otago Museum on the following day. It was the last day for a special Maori exhibit recommended by my archeology professor, so I had to go. It was a quick trip, but the live butterfly exhibit made it totally worth it...
[Not part of the actual exhibit, but still cool. I had a lot of trouble getting pictures to come out in the museum, but here’s an example of some Maori artwork.]
The Museum is home to a live tropical butterfly forest. We peeled off our coats and scarves and walked into a very hot, steamy room, complete with jungle trees and waterfall. There were butterflies everywhere! They even had a window into the hatching chambers which were filled with cocoons, both broken and whole. (They release the new butterflies every morning.) I wasn’t lucky enough to have one land on me, but many still posed for some pretty pictures...
[I left the security camera in as a size scale. This moth was HUGE!]
When we reached our limit with the heat, we moved on to new exhibits. We played around in the kids’ science center (similar to the Carnegie one in Pittsburgh) and then explored the ‘Faces’ exhibit, which allowed you to play around with photos of yourself in different applications. I got to see what I may look like at the age of 70 after overexposure to the sun - NOT pretty. My next favorite exhibit after the butterflies was the Animal Attic - big surprise. This room was filled with stuffed animals - including a giant leopard seal.
[Baby albatross! Still pretty big for a bird.]
[My little blue penguin friends!]
[Replica Moa birds - NZ famous extinct land mammal. There were a couple different species, but all were wiped out by the first Maori settlers. The biggest could reach about 12 ft in heat and weigh over 500 lbs. As my one professor said, ‘If one sat on you, you would definitely know about it.’]
[Just a little intimidating...]
I worked my way through my midterm tests and papers, did what I could for my nasty head cold as it got worse and worse, and then finally! Break began on Thursday evening - which also happened to be my 21st birthday. While a little sad I couldn’t celebrate the special day with my family and friends back home, my flatmates definitely took care of me and made the night one I will never forget. Complete with tiara, badge, and (temporary) butterfly tattoos, I had a great time.
[My birthday cake - which was really a lemon meringue pie. Somehow my flatmate Elizabeth (to my left) was able to fit all 21 candles onto it. To the left you’ll see my drink of choice for the evening: a locally bottled alcoholic lemonade. Definitely more juice than buzz - just the way I like it :) And to the right of the pie, my obligatory 21st birthday shot - coconut rum, another gift from the flatmates.]
[Finally, a nice picture of the 441 Leith St. tenants, as they join in on my obligatory drink. From left to right: Julia, Ida, Elizabeth, me, Charley, and Richard]
The next morning, we were up early and off to Christchurch to begin our Easter adventure! We had fun, but going through these photos made me realize how happy I am to be back in Dunedin, with my flatmates and the awesome market. This city definitely has its downsides (namely, the dreary, cold weather), but I’ve come to find it very comfortable and perfect for what I need while abroad. I have lots of fun exploring out of town, but it’s nice to know I have a good place to go home and relax.