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If you are into book reading you most likely would have come across this name – Scholastic. For the less wise they are a publisher especially of children’s books world over not just here in New Zealand. They are all about keeping the charm of the written word alive and run events and promotions from time to time. These drives are to promote reading amongst kids and nurture the habit of reading daily.

On one such occasion Scholastic NZ ran a 2 day event. When I read about this event on my Facebook I knew I just had to go. Having had my newborn son Svojas recently, I wanted to build his book collection for our bedtime story sessions. “What better way to stock up”, I told myself!!!

Again this idea of the book fair in itself was a stroke of brilliance or should I say a “box” of brilliance. The event was “All you can fill in the box” for $20 (NZD).

Set date, time, venue. People queue up, pick up box, go into the Scholastic book warehouse. Pick up available books of interest. As many as you can. Only catch – as many as you can fit in the box without the overflow or bulge. Then you pay and leave.

I tell you the place is a haven for bookworms. And for someone like me, I was like a kid in the candy store only this was a book godown. I so underestimated people’s interest in these kind of events. The queues were milling right through the Scholastic property and on to the road till you saw the queue blur into the horizon. I didn’t manage to take pictures but I clicked a few pics of our salvaged treasure after coming home.

I just had to share about this awesome event and appreciate Scholastic’s efforts within the community encouraging kids to read and also giving me the opportunity to enrich my son’s personal library.

Scholastic you are fantastic!!!!

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Buddha's Day

I found this interesting article on Herald late Friday evening that claimed that there was such a place in Auckland that would make us think we had entered a different dynasty. Finding it amusing I read the article further to find that it spoke of a Buddhist temple – Fo Guang Shan located in the Botany Downs suburb of Auckland.

Ram and a couple of my friends decided to check it out today especially since the temple was hosting Buddha’s Day and a multicultural celebration. And I have got to agree with the author every bit and more. Whatever the author of the article described was true to its word but thousands times more vibrant and colorful than my imagination.

Some of the scenes that are still green in my memory were the bamboo stalks lining the Zen Gardens, the cute little Buddha statues at every other part of the garden striking various poses, the stone lanterns, the Big Drum, the Iron Bell, Wishing bell and the stand out architecture in the middle of South Auckland. To give it an all gyrating mix which heightened our enjoyment of the first time visit was the traditional performances of various cultures. There were Japanese drums, Chinese Dragon dance, our very own Kiwi favourite -The Haka, Flamenco etc, Asian women and children decked out in traditional regalia and food stalls lining the gardens and paths with an all vegetarian fare to sate hungry tourists and devotees. As if that wasn’t enough there were stalls giving away Paper lanterns, Chinese zodiac stones, gift articles for a donation, which went towards the maintenance of the temple.

The main part of the event of course should be mentioned, which would be the prayer offering to Buddha, with many people lighting colorful candles and incense sticks and placing it in front of the deity for their wishes to come true. Because it was a big event, there were many dignitaries present from different cultural backgrounds offering the prayers in their national language. Another notable new thing I came across was the special session for ‘Baby blessings’. As the name goes, it was exclusively for babies where in families brought them to get blessed so they would have a bright and prosperous future.

After watching few of the events and prayers, out we came on to the food stalls, where they had organized a coupon system of prepaid food. And redeeming it for what ever we wanted. Very reasonably priced and a lavish array of items to choose from. We settled for Pad thai, Iced lemon tea and Sago dessert.

Having experienced the Fo Guang Shan on one of its busiest days, I can’t wait to go there on a less crowded day. Most of the temple scape was dotted with throngs of people, which  I am hoping will be less crowded on other days. I can literally imagine the peace and calm of those ornate walls and stone gardens beckoning me already.

Here are some of the memorable images from our day out.

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Enjoy!

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The Statues of the Two Kings - Gates of Argonath

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, always chanting about the beauty of New Zealand, I must admit my appreciation for its natural beauty only seems to be escalating. The fascination to visit New Zealand intensified when I watched the trailer of Lord of the Rings (especially when I saw the trailer for The Fellowship of the Rings). Now that I am here, I can understand why the film makers not just Lord of the Rings makers, but also others across the world choose this country for their work. The plush meadows, rolling hills and the many rivers and lakes is the perfect answer for many film makers scouting for “THE” perfect location.

Be it for romantic walks alongside dreamy blue beaches, action and suspense on the wildest treasure hunts, or mysterious disappearances in the bush, or fantasy where pixies come alive under the white silver moon, or the eerie feel of haunting amidst shadows of giant-sized trees, or better yet sets for the likes of war films, epics, documentaries or dramas to show the magnificent sprawl of land with its bountiful space, NZ is the answer to all of the above and more.

I had this wonderful opportunity of visiting Matamata with my husband who found an awesome deal to visit Hobbiton online. Matamata is known for its thriving farming and thoroughbred horses and that which boasts one of the largest farms which was the very setting for the Hobbit village. A farm converted into a Hobbit set. You may think “what’s so great about that?”. May sound mundane, but the work that has gone into it to create the set was huge.

The Shire's Rest - Hobbiton in Matamata

We started our tour from the Shire’s Rest, gave our tickets to the guide and boarded a bus. And it struck me that its been aeons since I’d last been on a bus and remembered my college days only too well and the groans and back pains after a bumpy ride in the bus. But fortunately bumps were very few this time round. We rolled up the farm tracks watching the many white dots decorating the lush green paddocks. And by white dots I meant sheep. The tour guide was chatting away on his microphone with his tourists throughout the bus ride about the films. One thing in common amongst all the tourists on the bus was that everyone (except maybe the kids) had watched the movies and/or had read the books.

The White dots

 

To add to our fortunes the ever unpredictable kiwi weather seemed to be tour friendly with the late spring sunshine beaming down on us wiping out the chill in the air. It was just perfect for the 1.5 to 2 hour slow trek up and down the paddocks and low hills. With an ado about safety and acceptable behaviour from the friendly tour guide, we marched on. We visited the homes of Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee and many more featured in the film. Apparently the people who built the set had to literally cut into the hills to create holes and ploughed the dirt and roots out. And started building these home like structures. They are quite narrow if you enter them, one will barely have space to fit more than 3 individuals in a horizontal line. And only of one of the hobbit holes were made larger than the rest as they wanted an angle from within the Hobbit hole looking out at the scenery.

Hobbit holes

Hobbit holes

Hobbit holes

Another landmark from the film was the perfectly symmetrical oak tree which apparently caught Peter Jackson’s eye which also tipped the scales in this farm’s favour in terms of becoming the location for Bag End.

The Oak Tree

Because the tour was conducted in a relaxed and cool pace I was not even tired. While we were waiting for the bus to arrive, the tour guide who was armed with a stock of interesting anecdotes and snippets about Lord of the Rings trilogy and Tolkien fanatics shared a couple of interesting cases of fan frenzy.

One of them was about a couple from overseas (he thinks they were probably of Norwegian or Swedish descent) visited Hobbiton. The husband and wife duo spoke Elvish. And the husband was the only one who spoke English, his own native language & of course ‘Elvish’. He translated the tour guides dialogues to his wife in Elvish, which many of them found amusing but took it in good spirit.

The other was another extreme. A fan bought a $750(NZ $$$) gold ring like the one in the movies, that was sold at their souvenir shops and took a scenic flight over the mount where Mordor (Mt Ruapehu in NZ) was filmed and dropped the ring from the aircraft. Hows that for crazy? Gold melting idiot I’d say.

As if on cue the bus arrived just as the story ended. And we trudged back revelling on the experience we just had. We left the Hobbiton immediately and went to the city centre to have Pizza from a local Pizzeria – Power Pizza that sated our ravenous hunger. And the pizza was surprisingly good. And we also had a tangy soft drink – Frank’s Blood Orange which was the perfect solution to quench our thirst(given that we were parched after the trek).

This is a must see place for the Lord of the Rings fans. I highly recommend a trip to the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata. They also have packages including Sheep rearing shows, Farm stays etc. Do check out their website for more information. My South Island tour of the movie set is still due (the one with the Gates of Argonath pictured at the top of the page). Hopefully in the next couple of years. On the whole the long weekend was well spent and well worth it!!!

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The Food Show

To describe the Auckland Food Show in three words – “Bustling, Colourful & Inspiring”.

Never did I think that one of my long forgotten wishes was going to come true. When Ram came home that evening, he had this really smug grin that made me wonder what he was up to! He asked me to open a plain white envelope. I looked at him with narrowed eyes all sorts of things racing through my head. Could it be movie tickets? A pay rise?(Yeah right, we are barely out of recession…duh!!!) Invite? A surprise holiday?…… I wish!!! Ram a holiday in Bali would be nice :). I slit open the envelope with these thoughts playing around in my head.

And what do I find? Two tickets to the Auckland Food Show. I was stoked. No words. No reaction. Just a gaping silence from me. My eyes misted and I smiled sheepishly, thanked Ram for surprising me and for remembering such a tiny detail from a long forgotten conversation.

So both of us got our very first taste of attending a Food Show in the midst of Food Connoisseurs. We were clueless where to begin. We scanned the hall to find on one end an amphitheatre that was going to host cooking shows by top celebrity chefs from New Zealand and across the world. And the remaining floor area housed stalls in various shapes and sizes of the gazillion retailers offering up their produce for the people to sample and judge. And if they were lucky to win the vote, some spot sales and collection of their business cards for tying bulk deals.

I realised that the Food Show is such a wonderful platform for companies to showcase their products and build their public image.

Hawkers galore –

Some of the stalls had such enthusiastic sales people inviting people to sample their products that the hawkers in the streets of Mylapore would have had a healthy competition. The stalls boasted a wide range of products and services right from the most divine cheeses to exotic fruit juices, luscious wines, electronic gadgets, delightful chocolates, rustic chutney, organic preserves and many many more items. I am sure one can imagine the scale that I am trying to describe. Humongous!

GeeBees Chai –

We started around by visiting the first aisle of stalls. An announcement was made that the first cooking show was going to start in a few minutes. Ram and I checked the schedule and made a beeline to the amphitheatre.When we were doing so, we almost bumped into a poor girl standing with a tray of tiny plastic cups carrying samples of different teas. The aroma of the tea assailed us. We tried Ginger Chai, Cardamom chai and my favourite of the lot Masala Chai. I looked at Ram wistfully wanting to buy them. Ram said let’s go for it and we picked up a box of each. They are sweetened and flavoured tea packets sold for instant chai and all we need to do is add water. Worth trying!!! And by the way I checked out the price, it’s $10 a box with 10 sachets in it. A dollar for a mug does seem expensive but not when you have it once a while.

Annabelle White & The Feijoa Chocolate Man

Annabelle White –

We hurriedly paid for the tea and made a move onto the theatre. We went up 7-8 steps and grabbed a couple of seats right in the middle for a good view. We faced a middle-aged live wire on stage who was so vivacious she would have put young people to shame with her boundless energy and smile. She was Annabelle White. Her every sentence was punctuated with wit and humour. Her theme was Comfort Food, Home cooking tips and fun while cooking.

She singled out Ram as he was acting cheeky. When she asked the audience to “Hold on tightly to your chairs”, Ram being Ram literally did that. Am sure you can get the drift. So she cornered him and said “you, the man with the baseball cap. Can you please stand up please?”. His neighbour on his left and I poked him in the ribs to stand up. Annabelle said “Because you have been cheeky you need to be punished. So what chocolate would you like – Feijoa Milk Chocolate or Caramel Chocolate? Am pretty sure you will be picking Feijoa……I mean who can say no to it….”, when Ram interrupted and said “Caramel chocolate”. Annabelle became all animated and sent her assistant flying to us with a pack of mouth melting Caramel chocolates and that’s how Ram was named the “Feijoa Chocolate Man” for the remainder of her show.

She shared not just some tips for home cooking, she also shared some of her recipes which I am yet to try, but I am pretty sure will turn out as wonderful as her. I ended up buying her Cakes and Slices book from the book stall eventually that evening. After the show we even managed to talk to her and got treated to a photo opportunity too.

I am sharing some of Annabelle’s tips –

  • Food should always be served with seasoning and a little bit of sweetness to add that oomph factor
  • Rubbing lemon on apples prevent it from browning and also increases its flavour
  • Pumpkin Soup will never taste the same, with a dash of lemon juice and adds a wonderful zing to it
  • Never add salt to boiling peas as it hardens the peas
  • Add oil only while draining your pasta and not while cooking it

We pretty much stayed put for the next two shows as the crowd had just started milling into the Food Show. So it definitely pays to go early for good seats and some fresh perspective.

Stefano di Pieri

Stefano di Pieri –

Next on stage was accomplished Jack of All Trades / The Self taught Chef Stefano di Pieri who is based in Mildura, Australia. He was a person who had a nice fading Italian accent, adding just the amount of rustic charm. His love for food was apparent from the way he handled the food. His show focussed on Modern Italian Cooking. He spoke about bread making  and demonstrated making a Rosemary Foccaccia. I have always pronounced Foccaccia as ‘fo-k-asia’, but apparently the right Italian way of pronouncing it was ‘Fo-kaa-ch-ya’. He also demonstrated making a Piadina, a traditional Italian flat bread which according to him is something like a Pita bread.

Some of the things I learnt from him were –

  • If you want really good bread always purchase a high quality grade flour
  • Use flour without gluten
  • Some of the ingredients he suggested we can use to liven up your boring bread is to add Sultanas, Rosemary, Thyme etc while making your bread
  • While making bread always ensure you prepare it in a warm environment. Warmer the environment the better your bread will turn out
  • The world’s most expensive mushrooms are Porcini Truffle Mushrooms. There are 2 varieties apparently – White Truffles and Black Truffles. White Truffles comes from Piedmont in Italy and the Black Truffles from Périgord from France

Stefano’s show was certainly different, presented on a different level altogether and something I could appreciate because I just love Italian food. Sitting without moving for over 2 hours was a real pain. But well worth it. We finally waited it out for the next show, for the chef who is a common face on New Zealand Televisions these days and Ram’s favourite.

The most animated Chef – Richard Till

Richard Till –

The temptation to yell out to Richard, for him to say “Shop smarter NZ” in his overtly enunciated voice was just too much. But I was on my best behaviour. Richard’s theme was method and technique. But I have just 2 words for his show. Sloppy and entertaining. He spoke about browning of onions, cooked a rabbit and made Aioli which was the saving face. I wouldn’t say I was wowed by his presentation, but there is just something about him that keeps you on the tenterhooks. But as an after thought, it’s probably trying to understand his talk and accent which was the challenging part during this particular show.

I will hunt down my recipe sheet and share the Aioli recipe shortly.

There after we started scouring the numerous stalls sampling items of interest and buying if it was great. Have put the pictures of only brands/products that are worth mentioning.

To die for Almond croissants

Paneton – A french bakery located in Auckland central. We just happened to pass by their stall. The aroma of warm bread drew us like a moth to a flame. We saw the array of food for sale on display. Those Almond croissants that they had made were the best I have ever ever had hands down. So soft and almondy, the medley of  smells of melting butter, almond essence and warm baked sweet bread was so mouth-watering and irresistible. I can’t get the softness of the croissant off my head. It was that perfect!!!

You will find this jewel at 21 Halsey Street in Auckland opposite to Victoria Park.

Nuttz

Nuttz – As the name goes, nuts in such a variety of flavours. The show stealer was their Moroccan Tagine cashews. Also good was the Chilli and Lime cashews. Packed with flavour and quite addictive I must say. This sales representative for Nuttz, was quite enthusiastic, even tried on some of his linguistic skills on us. Bubbly and energetic living up to the brand name he represented.

Equagold Vanilla Woman – Suddenly in the milling crowd, I came across this golden statue or that’s what I thought. I gaze at the golden spectacle with open curiosity, the head-gear dazzling me and suddenly I get a wink.and that’s when I realised it’s a human statue. I immediately had to get a picture of the golden human statue.

The Golden human statue

Heavenly Fudge –

Heavenly fudge

Butterscotch is the flavour. Mouth melting. Worthy of finger licking. Delicious!! Need I say more. Gorgeous!!!

Masala Dosai in the middle of a Food Show –

While all we were getting were tasty nibbles and small samples, we were hungry for a good bite of food especially since we missed breakfast to accommodate all that tasty samples. And wonder of wonders, in the middle of the rows and rows of stalls, the smell of masala dosai filled the air. Our noses followed the aroma of the dosai and saw fresh hot dosais being made. And paired with Mysore style sambar and coconut chutney, it was the perfect lunch that afternoon.

Masala Dosai

After buying some Sun dried tomatoes and Greek Olives and booking a snazzy Kenwood Food Processor, we returned home with a full stomach and our minds filled with images of food and foodies memories!!!

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Picture this! You are invited to a photo gallery showing. The photographer’s specialty is nature at its best. The colours and shades of each leaf, tree or animal is captured with such life, it feels almost real.

The water drop hanging off the edge a leaf could taste of the freshest rain. The shades of green are so many in number that it cannot be captured and contained in a bottle of paint.The moistness of the wind can be seen glistening on a birds feathers. The curves and shadows of the ferns beckon people to take a closer look at their secrets.

You go on a long drive, you come across so many farms, with unending lush green acres sporting post and rail fences made of solid tree branches with the sheep and horses lazing under the sheer blue sky. Has anyone ever noticed how blue skies and green grass goes so well together like a match made in heaven? And to add to the alluring charm these farms have such long dreamy driveways lined with such tall trees that it gives the feeling of being in the midst of a glade.

Golden sand and black sand beaches compete to get their share of the sea with a blue that uniquely belongs there. And the views from atop the ranges are breathtakingly beautiful. You can just sit for endless moments, gaze into the distance, do some soul-searching or be mindlessly numb taking in the beauty of the world below, losing track of time.

If you think this is beautiful and belongs within the sterile pages of a photo album or a gallery, you are wrong, I just described a sample of the beauty surrounding my life. You have got to come and experience it to believe it. Its way better than the views in that of your postcards, photos and books.

I can tell you quite honestly, no exaggeration at all, I have lived here in New Zealand for almost 3 years and the beauty surrounding me is a balm for tired eyes and minds. It just calms you down and soothes you after a long tiring day at work.

The blue beaches that I mentioned of is such a unique blue that we are yet to find a synonym to describe this brand of blue. Maybe I should name it the “kiwi blue”! What say??!!

Lonely sail at Waitangi

Even if you are the world’s worst photographer, you can never go wrong because each frame will turn out perfect no matter what.

New Zealand is so beautiful, that you don’t need postcards, pictures and paintings of beautiful sceneries hanging off your walls. You will be living in a postcard haven with backdrops of these postcards only life-size. “Haere Mae”! Come and experience New Zealand!

*Haere Mae-means welcome in Maori

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Whitianga

It is funny how life changes or should I be saying how much I have changed!

I was going through some of my old emails to my family. I came across this mail that spoke volumes about my fresh uptake on my first time experiences in NZ.

To see the world for the first time is a sight so amazing. But to see the world with a fresh perspective is perhaps more refreshing. Many synonyms spring to my mind. Something akin to breathing mountain air after the onslaught of polluted city air. Or a feeling of the web of forgetfulness masking our eyes being dusted. Or wiping clean the dust off an old photo frame.

My life is NZ is no doubt blissful, with me happily bustling about my daily activities, going places, to work and back, doing this and that and what not. But come to think of it, my life is punctuated with lashings of monotones, more than I dare to admit.

But reading these old mails, made me pause and realise that I was so caught in the rut that I never stopped to reflect and appreciate the enthusiasm and energy of looking at things the first time round.

Here are some excerpts of my email to my dear dad, mom and my sister.

——— >>>>>

The Job Hunt –

How r u guys? Long time since I wrote to you guys. Have been applying for jobs. Things are warming up. I am getting calls for interviews which surely is a good sign. Have given one interview so far which was okay! But I dont know how the results will turn out.

Dogs on a leash –

On sunday – 16/9 , we went to this exotic place called Waikowhai park pronounced Wai – Ko – Fai. In maori if you see the alphabets w and h together make the fa sound! So we went there. It had wide spread vegetation with loads of native trees and plants encased in walkways leading to the beach front. On the edge of the beach near the cliff walls, one will find a dog exercise area where the dog owners can release their dogs from the leash and you can see them play in the water , running or fetching sticks with wild abandon.

Painting the pebbles –

Walking further, one will find the rim of the shore encrusted with pebbles, sea shells, rocks, sea weed, algae of different variety . One can only take back a certain amount of those things.I picked up as many as 10 pebbles well rounded and smooth in a pale jade green algae color. It was fun. I am going to do the same thing I did when Jaanas gave me those stones from Bali. Paint them green 🙂

Watching the turning of the tides –

Then we suddenly come onto an area where you will find only pebbles that the area almost looks like white sand but it is actually sea shells strewn about. Unbelievable colors, shapes and formations makes me look at them with wonderment what with me having grown up in a coastal area and thinking there is nothing more different you can find about seashells. One needs to see them to believe what I am actually talking about. Then comes a huge rock along the coast where one can sit and watch the waves during a low tide.

Flying Fox

Flying fox –

We then headed back to the parking lot. Near that was the park. Do i need to tell you further. The child in us made us go on the swings. We headed to this contraption near the play area that my cousin was grabbing and trying to do latch onto. I was observing quietly as to what it was. It was something new and I had never seen in my life and I waited with baited breath. And wheeeeeee………..!!!!!! she goes screaming to the other side. I ask her what it was. She tells me it was a “Flying Fox”.

OK this is the part where you understand what it is. Two poles set on either side on a slope about 15 feet over the ground and gradually decreases height joined together with a cable. A metal rod is hung at the steep part with a seat kind of thing on it which is used to park ourselves and cling on to it. You grab on real tight and jump. This has a spring that can carry our weights and we go wheeeeeeeeee like on a cable car but with more  speed and less protection. There is a rubber padding beneath it in case of mishaps. When you think Damn! I am gonna hit the pole is when you realise the other end of the string is padded with 4-5 tyres which brakes and stops you from hitting the pole.

A child from Enid Blyton’s books come alive –

You feel like a child flushed with excitement and reckless to the point that we kept doing it until we got tired. After that we all drove down to the beach again. One good thing about these public places is you get a spot to sit with family like benches or picnic tables.  We had come geared with lots of munchies which we snacked to our heart’s content and ofcourse had coffee. You know how Enid Blyton describes these picnics and adventures. My day felt like a day right out of her books – a fiction that became a dream that turned into reality.

Dwarfed by the Muriwai

Dwarfed by the Muriwai –

Then yesterday, Ram and I had gone to a place called Muriwai beach[Moo-ree-wai]. Muriwai gives one a feeling of being dwarfed by the magnificence of the sea. It is so vast one can only merely begin to imagine what might be on the other side. It is so huge that it keeps going on and on for such a distance – like they say in tamil – kannuku ettum dhooram varai.(which means to the extent of one’s eyesight).  And the vantage points are so gr8 that you feel like you are standing on top of the world and observing the sea, its whole expanse with life thrumming below.Can you imagine the feeling?One feels like a tiny micro organism compared to the vastness of the water body. And to add to that splendor is the myriad shades of blue and greens on the sea. You turn away from the sea one finds ranges and trees and clouds and birds and hint of sun’s colors. The scene looks like something out of an oil painting. I know it is trivializing the beauty of nature to an oil painting but the point is such shades and beauty can be captured in an oil painting best.

Gannets galore –

One other attraction are the gannets. They are white birds with a yellow head. The yellow part looks like someone put a dollop of yellow butter on their head that not only does it look yellowy soft but it is glossy as well.Along side below the vantage point are rock spaces where gazillions of these birds and their colonies can be found. July to November is the mating and hatching season. During this period one can actually see the birds’ behavior patterns. If two birds are putting their beaks together and rubbing their necks it is courtship. If one dives like an arrow southward to the ground they r jus going to grab their prey and so on. The young ones hatch in January and no one not even their parents teach them about hunting food or flying. The beauty about these birds are they have only 1 partner for life mostly. The male gannet flies around and gathers food while the female gannet sits with its webbed feet on the egg.No siblings or any future kids. One and only one egg for a lifetime for the couple. These birds come here to NZ for hatching and fly back to Australia once the young ones are born. And those young ones when they are probably 4-5 months old they fly to Australia (remember no one teaches them this) and when they have seen the world and had their adventure they come to the same rock looking for their mate.And the cycle begins. Isn’t it beautiful?

After some gannet watching we went down to the cliff area where people can fish. You can find hoards of kilinjil here. Some rocks have holes and cave formations that when a huge wave hits the cave the water comes fountaining out of the hole. It looks like a geyser. Also something we will enjoy is the drumming sound created by waves when they hit the cave walls. After enjoying the spray of sea water for awhile we headed back feeling elated and dwarfed at the same time by the effect Muriwai beach had on us.

Sun, surf & sand

When the sun’s out –

And when the weather is good and sunny, you cant find a kiwi in the house.You will find them at the beach. Doing something. Not like us all sitting or walking in the beach. They swim, surf, snorkel, build sand castles, boating,fishing, gliding….you name it.they do it. it is almost considered a sin not doing anything in the beach.We saw so so so many surfers with their surf boards and them all going surfing and floating in the sea. Wow!It is a phenomenon to watch these things for real.

Having Hokey Pokey –

After a bit of surf gazing, we stopped over near the car park on a picnic table and had snacks and coffee. This time we took some snacks as well. And we chatted for about an hour or so. By then all the snack also got digested. And no one leaves Muriwai beach without ice cream. I had hokey  pokey. It is a vanilla based ice cream mixed with oodles of honey and butterscotch crisps. Yummiest ice cream ever. Ram had vanilla and boysenberry, perima had choco-nutty ice cream and peripa had passion fruit ice cream which is yellow and white in color.

Pristine beauty

Guilt of not sharing the joy –

Then back home the journey was pretty much reveling on the ice cream and of course the beauty surrounding us. I missed you guys like crazy I almost felt guilty that I am so blessed to be enjoying all of this alone. But I pray to God that some day he gives me the privilege and strength to bring you guys here and enjoy it all together as a family and live our dreams that were held so close to our hearts.

Love you guys so much. Missing you guys that the physical distance/void is almost as a physical pain or irritation.

Loads of love,
Rats

– —–>>>>>

Comparing then and now –

Job Hunt – Yes I got a full time job.

Dogs on a leash – I want a dog quite badly, but now is not the right time. Probably when we move into a bigger and fenced house. Hmmm….to see that day.

Painting the pebbles – I have not done them yet. I should probably add this to my To-Do list 🙂

With hubby dearest

Watching the turning of the tides – Fortunately my husband and I have a love for long drives and walks by the sea. Nothing like a walk in Orewa and a coffee at a local cafe to recharge ourselves. I cherish these moments and  not to forget our long talks about our dreams and aspirations.

Flying Fox – In Waikowhai is broken. But our memory isn’t.

The Boy next Door by Enid Blyton

A child from Enid Blyton’s books come alive – I think its thanks to my dearest hubby, he still has preserved that side of me. I think it’s good that he lets me be me … And oh.. I recently purchased one of my most favourite Blyton novels -The Boy Next Door that introduced me to Mysteries and Adventure. This book still leaves me craving for more.

Muriwai – Muriwai’s one of the entrances from the beach through cliffside is closed. Access to the Gannet colony is through the Maori Bay track. We have also found another breathtaking vantage point which we go to whenever we visit Muriwai.

Gannets – I noticed recently that the gannets are coming more closer to the Kiwi border or hedging closer to it atleast. Wonder how they are going to be this winter!

Beautiful sunlight

When the Sun’s out – I used to hate the sun back home, NZ has left me craving for more. And I have become more Kiwi this way not wanting to spend my day away from the glorious golden rays. For people visiting NZ during summer, do not underestimate the sun, do come geared with oodles of sunscreen, jandals and ofcourse your sunnies.

Hokey Pokey – Hokey Pokey still remains my most favourite ice cream till today. However there has been a recent contender in the form of NZ Natural’s White Chocolate and Raspberry icecream. Ummm, heaven!!!

Road to Mt Ruapehu

Guilt of not sharing – Now I can really enjoy life guilt free as my parents, inlaws and my darling sister as well have been here. And we had a wonderful opportunity to share this Green Heaven on earth with our families. I am hoping to arrange a big reunion someday over here in NZ.

Wow….that list is quite the height of the Waitakere ranges. My Season tree in front of my window is a silent witness of not just the seasons but my life as well. Will be back with more musings!

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