Friday, July 29, 2011

Another cute pic

Here's a new one:

They are near some water.  Because I am Sherlock Holmes, I have determined that they are at the Fishermen's Wharf in San Francisco.  Ha!

Where in the world...

Jessica sent me a bunch of new photos!  The trick: KC did not give me any info about where they are.  So, I've had to use my deduction skills...
KC is apparently drinking Monster.  Evidently, it's the "meanest energy supplement on the planet", plus it's lo-carb.  This tells me nothing about his location, but he looks cute and I like his sunglasses.

Based on some of the details hidden in this shot, I suspect they went somewhere in the area of Gilroy, California: Garlic capital of the world.

And it appears the group traveled to the Winchester Mystery House in the San Jose area.  The house was built by Sarah Winchester -- awesome name, creepy story.

Here we have Jessica and KC at Sarah's stables...

And now the whole group :)

I have to say, the Winchester House sounds really interesting.  Also, I am a big fan of garlic, so I'm pretty jealous of all of this.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mountain pic

KC and Jessica on Mount Tamalpais:
Please note KC's stoic attitude.  Evidently, he's pretty nonchalant about hiking up mountains and being surrounded by beautiful scenery.  Great picture, though!  Thanks, Jessica :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Somewhere in Northern California...

KC and Jessica:

This time, I am not really certain where they are.  Looks like probably near a pool, possibly at a hotel.  Also, it looks like KC may have zombie eyes.

According to KC, today they will be going to Mt. Tamalpais and "maybe a beach".  I'm jealous.

And more videos!

Finally, I've gotten together some of the vids from our trip to the Healesville Sanctuary. 

The first is an Australian Pelican, who was giant.  I was afraid he was going to bite one of the little Australian children.

These next videos were taken during a presentation about different native birds.  Sorry if the shot is sort of all over the place or makes you nauseous.  I was laughing a lot at the birds (with the birds), and there were also lots of little kids jostling me.  

Bernice the Black-breasted Buzzard was adorable.  WAY nicer than our North American buzzards, which are kind of gross.  This one also shows off some really impressive tool-using skills.

Kevin!  Kevin was possibly my favorite bird (though I REALLY liked Bernice).  Still, Kevin is hilarious.  Mostly because his name is Kevin.

And last but not least, another cute koala.  This one was almost close enough to touch :)

What else?  I still need to post some pics of Jack and videos of Aussie Rules Football.  Maybe I can even get Cameron to make a "Best Of" montage from his Roosters game...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Speaking of videos...

Look at this cute one I found of baby Peaches!  KC took it years ago when he first got her.

Videos :)

So, no recent pics from KC.  He's obviously too busy.  However, in the meantime, I've had a chance to upload some videos.  The first was taken at our favorite Thai place, Abalone Thai, in Christchurch.

This next one is a long shot taken during our drive from Christchurch to Queenstown.  (Cameron helped shoot another amazing video during this drive, but I haven't been able to find it yet.)  This video is a little bouncy and you can see some window glare, but it does show how nice our views were on the drive.  I was in one car with Cam and Trevor, and Kim, Heather, Mark, and Katie were squeezed into the car in front of us.

One of our stops along the drive was in a town called Twizel, where we had lunch and Heather, at least, took some time to stretch her legs.  Twizel was also the location of Gondor, so Heather's glee is understandable.

I know I already posted some pics from our trip to the ice rink in Queenstown, but I think this video really captures the energy out on the ice...

And just before we left the holiday house in Queenstown, the guys gave a violent goodbye by destroying the snowman I spent all morning building.  (Somewhere, I think my aunt and uncle have some footage of the actual creation process for all the snowmen.  Maybe I can get that so you can have a true before and after experience.)

More videos coming soon!  (And, I hope, more KC pics also)

PS: Somebody let me know if any of the videos don't work.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

KC and Jessica

Looking nice!  I am assuming this is at Jessica's cousin's wedding.  KC is even wearing a shirt!  (It hides the sunburn well.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Broiled KC

Evidently, KC and his hosts spent a good amount of time at a beach.  Possibly Pismo Beach.  Details are unclear.  What is clear is that he got a beautiful sunburn.

Thanks to Jessica for passing along this "after" photo.  It's pretty scandalous, too!  Meanwhile, here in Boston (and pretty much everywhere else), we are all boiling in our own juices.  Enjoy California, KC!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Check it out:

Another traveling Savage!  KC is with Jessica and her family, checking out California and going to a wedding.  So far, he's passed along this great pic, capturing their ride in the rental car...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My last day in Australia

So, it's about midnight on Saturday and I am in Brisbane.  It'd be nice to explore a little, but I am only here for the night and then I'll catch my plane back to the US in the morning.  I was so sad to say goodbye to everyone here, but it was REALLY great to see all the Stevensons and friends and I had a lot of fun.  Still, sad.



I spent this morning (technically, afternoon) with my aunt visiting the Queen Victoria Market and some other shops around Melbourne.  I didn't get any pictures because my hands were full, but it was a fun market.  A huge fruit and veggie section and then a whole separate souvenir-type section.  I got some good stuff :)  After a delicious lunch (artichokes with lemon butter!), I sadly packed up and headed out.  Overall, not a very exciting blog day.  I should have gotten fresh pics of everyone....

Other big news:  Today is Jack's birthday!  Happy Birthday, Jack!  Unfortunately, Jack has been in England and France for most of my trip here.  In honor of his birthday, I should put up the pics we took right before he left for his big cricket tour.  *Nevermind.  This hotel internet won't let me. I'll just have to do a separate post later.  Jack deserves his own post, anyway.

Yesterday was much more exciting.  Since it was my last full day in Melbourne, we snuck in one last fun outing and went to the Healesville Sanctuary, which is basically a zoo for native animals with an on-site animal hospital.  I was able to check off a bunch of other Australian animals and we saw a really cool presentation on the "Spirits of the Sky".  We got to see and hear about various Australian birds of prey and parrots.  I got some pics and video, but its not all great resolution.  Plus, the birds kept moving.  I think the best birds were probably....the Wedge-tailed Eagle, the Black-breasted Buzzard, and the Long-billed Corella, named Kevin.  The eagle was just HUGE and awesome.  The buzzard was like a dog in a bird's body.  He would run after the keeper and look up, begging for treats (or raw meat?  whatever he was eating...).  Plus, we got to see how he used a rock as a tool to break emu eggs.  And Kevin the talking cockatoo was just hilarious.  I'll stick some pics and vids up here ASAP.
This one speaks for itself.  But seriously: Use recycled toilet paper and save trees!
Turns out, pelicans are huge and scary
There was a whole squadron of pelicans.
This guy looked bored, but he was pretty cute.  By the way, did you know that all baby marsupials are known "joeys"?  Not just kangaroo babies, but koalas, possums, wombats, bilbies, etc.
A hungry koala!
And a wise koala
We spent the evening back at my aunt and uncle's, having a really nice dinner and watching more movies.  I can now add Strictly Ballroom to my list of Australian movie classics.  I also experienced Death At A Funeral, which I probably should have seen years ago.

Anyway, I should probably get to bed, since I have to get to the airport early tomorrow.  Not looking forward to the long flight, but it will be nice to see everyone back home.  PLUS -- I will have a new kitchen!  Maybe I will post some pics of that.  Either way, I'll have to keep blogging, because I still have lots of pictures and videos and stuff to share from this trip.

Good night!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter!

I saw the movie before everyone in America -- haHA!  But I won't tell you what happens.  That would be cruel. 

Instead, maybe I should update on all the stuff that's been going on since the glacier and the day of no horse-riding.

Friday: We went skiing at Coronet Peak.  Skiing had sort of been the main plan all along, but the snow conditions weren't too great until Friday, so we headed up.  It was pretty snowy and the road was rough enough that we were required to use chains on the tires.  The views heading up the mountain were great.  The skiing was pretty good, but very crowded (only 2 out of 3 lifts were open).  Unfortunately, visibility got a little rocky and the snow conditions were sort of all over the place.  I actually ended up taking a pretty crazy dive -- more like a flying leap -- and wrenched my shoulder pretty badly.
Looking down from the side of the mountain.  See the Shire below?
Ready to ski!
Cousins :)
Waiting in line for the lift
Still waiting...
Me standing at the spot where I [crash] landed.  The red line is there to show the top edge of the drop off.  (I totally did not mean to fly off of this edge at high speed.)
(The aftermath)
But it was still fun!
Saturday:  Half the group spent the morning and afternoon skiing and a few of us went down to town for some shopping.  Queenstown is a pretty impressive little ski village with lots of shops and restaurants.  I discovered Peter Alexander (Australian brand).  Also big in New Zealand: Paua shell, jade, Maori pendants, wines, and Merino wool (which is also big in Australia).  We met the skiers back at the house for dinner and pannekuchenhaus for dessert!
Pannekuchenhaus uses lots of eggs and butter (but don't worry -- we were making a double recipe and we didn't use ALL of that butter).
Heather made an eggshell sculpture.  Somehow we thought this went well with a tempting hand gesture.

It's healthy because of the fresh fruit.
Sunday (our last full day in Queenstown):  Pannekuchenhaus for breakfast!  We got lots of snow overnight, and it was great packing snow so the morning was spent making snowmen and really painful snowballs.  Some of us were hoping to spend the day visiting Milford Sound in Fjordland, but some of the windy mountain roads were closed due to the weather.  So, we headed back into town in the afternoon, planning to head on to visit a local cidery.  But just getting down to the town required chains on the tires, and then we found out that our route back to Christchurch was also likely to be closed due to weather.  The plan: take a longer route out of Queenstown.  This meant we had to leave immediately, so we did some frantic packing and escaped before it was too late.  After a long drive, we spent a nice evening in Dunedin.
Kim made a snowman version of the Fonz.
My snowman stood proud, but didn't turn out as evil looking as I had hoped.  (He was later destroyed in a fit of violence by Cam and Mark.  Might add a video soon...)
He's a big fan of Cam's footy team, the Roosters.
We had dinner at the Speight's brewery in Dunedin.
Speight's -- Pride of the South!
Delicious dinner
Mark likes his bangers and mash!
Monday: After a long drive to Christchurch, we revisited our favorite Thai place and got to bed early in preparation for our early morning flight to Australia.

So, now I am back in Melbourne.  Last night we made fattoush and watched Australian movies (Muriel's Wedding and The Castle).  Today, I spent the afternoon at the National Gallery of Victoria with Kim and Heather, checking out a really nice exhibit called Vienna: Art and Design.  Lots of Schiele and Klimt :)  Then Harry Potter.  (Who wants to know how it ends?)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Recovery day

The day following the glacier, we'd planned to take a horseback tour around Glenorchy, which is where many of the Lord of the Rings scenes were filmed.  However, when we arrived there, it turned out the trip was cancelled because of the rain.  So, we ended up with a relaxing day around Queenstown.
We did see some nice views of the mountains on our drive to and from Glenorchy
We ended up going to a New Zealand wine tasting place.
Smelling the wine -- we are pretty serious about our wine.
After wine and some shopping around town, we headed home for dinner.  Cameron showed us his Danny Zuko look.  


We went to a glacier a few days ago!  It was a day-long experience, too.  We left from Queenstown at about 4:30am (ugh!) and drove five and a half hours north to the Franz Josef Glacier in the Westland National Park.  It was really rainy, so we got all geared up and then headed up to the glacier.  
Leaving at 4am, most were still sleepy.  (Heather sleeps with her mouth and eyes open.)
Evidently, it is the steepest glacier that takes any guided tours...which is what we did.  I think the total climb from start to finish took about five hours and it was really amazing.
We wore crampons
To get to the glacier, we had to walk through rainforest.  (See the mountains in the distance?)

Closer view of the the mountains as we walked into the glacial valley.  (That white spot is rain on my lens, I think.)
So, we walked through this valley toward the glacier's terminal moraine, where the hike started to get steep and rocky.  By the time we got up to the terminal edge of visible ice, most of us were hot and wet (despite our "water-proof" pants and jackets).  We then put on our crampons and prepared for the ice.
The Franz Josef Glacier
The glacier looks small from a distance, but it extends too high up to see through all that misty stuff.

See how shiny the ice is?
Hiking up the face of the of the glacier was a good workout, alternating between digging our crampons into the fairly steep ice or marching up the ice stairs that have been carved out by the glacier tour guides (often using ropes for support).  But it was totally worth it -- the views of the glacial valley and surrounding mountains were great, and the glacier itself was beautiful.  Our guide took us over and through lots of deep blue crevasses (every time made me think of that Tenacious D song, Wonderboy -- "There! The crevasse!").

Kim and Heather glacier-ing
Me about to climb out of the crevasse
Strolling across some glacier...
Look at this blue ice!  We squeezed through it single file, one foot in front of the other.
Nobody got stuck!
Chillin' in an ice tunnel
Me and Uncle Trevor
"Bear Grylls!"
By the time we finished, we were all cold and wet and tired, and we had a five hour drive to get home.  Exhausting but good.  (So exhausting, I was too tired to blog when we got home.  Sorry for the delay!)