Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hey, Mates!

Greetings from tomorrow and New Zealand. Here's the first of several planned entries from Kiwi Land. This week I'm in Nelson (as in the English admiral) as Jenifer completes her final week of teaching at Hot Yoga of New Zealand, and then we head to Wellington and the unknown. After three decent nights of sleep, I'm finally feeling human after having survived the Barthesian stresses of flight and waiting and not-doing. I left Philadelphia at 8 am last Friday, arrived in San Francisco six hours later, wandered the airport for 10 hours until my 13-hour flight to Auckland, waited another four hours, slept through most of the 75-minute flight to Nelson, and then arrived at an airport about the size of a pregnant Wawa, greeted by Jenifer and her Australian friend Kate. Somewhere in there I read The Children of H├║rin and the screenplays for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Dances With Wolves, but mostly I sat and walked and waited and otherwise inhabited a no-man's land of time and contemplation. It was not altogether unpleasant. I wonder what space travel would feel like.

I haven't seen much of the country yet, but what I have seen is beautiful. Coming into Nelson by puddlejumper, you're struck by the purple clouds, the jade water, the merging of mountain and mist. Within minutes of landing I was standing on green sand and surveying the bowl of mountain that surrounds the the town. The streets and architecture feel like a somehow familiar mixture of Los Angeles, Seattle, and the suburbs of Hamburg, Germany: narrow, hilly streets; cute square houses nestled in the green trees everywhere.

Nelson is a smallish artists' community and surprisingly international; it's a place people choose to live. Jenifer commented a few weeks back that one of her classes featured more "foreigners" than New Zealanders. A number of our new friends hail from the U.S., and two of them, Tom and Heather, took us sailing yesterday. I practiced my casting but didn't catch anything. Tom, an organic farm magnate and bookseller, fared better, as did Kiwis Simon and Julia. Nonetheless, I was granted a fillet of Kahawai prepared by Grant, our Kiwi captain; I cooked it up last night and have never enjoyed fresher fish.

Jenifer and I were blessed to sail with such great company, and to taste a future we hadn't contemplated until now. I've never been one for stuff, but I wouldn't mind sailing a yacht now and again and chartering it in between. Tom and I discussed management, and I was particularly struck by his approach to gaining the allegiance of his employees: "Don't assume that everyone is intelligent. But allow them to succeed and to do so with dignity."

Today is pretty much an "off" day for me as Jenifer has a full load of classes. I hope to have a report of Golden Bay after the weekend--and then we're off to Wellington.

A parting note: these NZ posts will be updated with photos when I return to the States.

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Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

That's a lot of travel time. I think I would have gone crazy.

Glad to hear you are there and having a good time.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

October J is doing fine. :) - A (forgot my $$##@!@ blogger password)

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

How did you like Children of Hurin?

Mini-review, please!

7:28 PM  
Blogger Ryan Rasmussen said...

CoH: I liked it a lot. No complaints, really, except that I will probably always long for the intimate density of LoTR. I thought the "new" ending wonderfully tragic. (Was is there before? If it was, I don't remember it.) The tour guide was about halfway through it and thought the beginning fairly hard going (as many reviewers have been commenting), but I've always enjoyed the "high style" of this and The Silmarillion.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous ahmed salah said...

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7:03 AM  

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