Sunday, December 31, 2006

Thanks for a Great 2006, Bloggers!!

Because of all of you, 2006 turned out to be a fun year. Thank you!! We appreciate the many visits and complements and challenges and laughs and friendships. Do please keep them coming in 2007. Soooo, see you all tomorrow?!?!?

(Or we'll see you in a few days if you go to a great party and look like this in the morning.)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Centre of New Zealand

About 20+ minutes steep walking, just slightly east to the town centre, is this monument. The pen-like object points to a plate underneath which is the symbolic geographical centre of New Zealand. It's the tiny white/blue spot on this map. The real geographical centre is a little further south. More info here.

On this day, I saw bunch of primary school kids coming with teacher and parents to learn how the Maitai River flows to the sea.

This is on your way up. Here is a view from the top.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hint, Hint, Ben

I want to go again! I don't like the frozen ones when heaven is only a 15-minute drive away!! I'll be waiting in the car!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

No Smoking Please

On the bench outside the Nelson Post Shop/City Council building, someone left a deep red rose under the No Smoking sign. I thought it was a very good message and a photogenic situation.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Berry Picking

On the 17th, we did one of the Nelson Pre-Christmas must-do activity, berry picking. Because we are nuts about berries, and because last year we couldn't go at all, we went a bit overboard and picked 8kgs. We picked raspberries (my favorite of the ones available), boysenberries (Ben's favorite, too macho for me; I now call it the Hemingway Berries) and tayberries (a cross between these two). I think Nelson's soil and climate best suits boysenberries because they never fail, but this year raspberries were delectable as well.

As for my ultimate favorite, blueberries, they are available from supermarkets but we haven't found a place where we can go pick our own, so I have a small plant. On the 17th, it looked like this and we thought we should pick the good ones before the birds get them as they do every year. Around lunch time on the 18th, the ripe ones were all gone again! How on earth do the birds know exactly the right day to come and steal my blueberries!

We froze half of our loot, but that will be gone before 2007.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How Many Sleeps Until Next Christmas?

Christmas is over, over here, folks! Only 363 more sleeps to the next one. Anyone else still finding Christmas colors everywhere? Found at Cold Store Gallery, Mapua.

Happy 51st Anniversary, Mom & Dad!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Carols by Candlelight

Christmas carol on Cathedral steps on Christmas Eve, an annual Nelson event that we had never been to until this year; we were a bit late but it was fabulous and Nelson Summer Festival is all go. Have a wonderful holiday season, everybody.

Another shot
.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa Has the Right Idea???

Our famous Harry's Bar, again. I've seen it before, so it's not a Harry's original.

And I'm not putting a damper on the Ho Ho season, but I hope you are not placing yourselves (especially all of you mothers and grandmothers) under great stress when the occasion is meant to be enjoyed.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rudolph on Break

Tomorrow is his big night. Earlier I spotted him on reconnaissance in town but now I'll let him relax a bit. Here's Ben's not-so-paparazzi style and here's his result. Happy Holidays to all who celebrate Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Collingwood St Pharmacy Revisited

Remember this? It was a sticker and we said it wouldn't last the Nelson summer. Ben told me quite a while ago that they did something to remedy it, so last week I went to investigate. Now two new leaves (I couldn't tell if it was an identical sticker to the previous one) are affixed to a thin piece of plaster-like white board, which is screwed to the cement block wall. From a distance it almost looks like the old sticker, but the green leaves are less vivid, because of the white instead of the gray background, and you see the screws all over the place.

I vote for painting the leaves: it's probably cheaper in the long run.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Floating Barge

The anchor of this barge looks like a plug. When Meg and I saw this, we both said the same thing: "Who pull the plug?!"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Grinch Hiding on Rabbit Island


Yeah, he thinks he's smart hiding out here until Christmas Eve!

And Nikon101 of Hemminway's Paris has correctly identified our Hooded Blogger Friend; it is indeed Mile Stones of Time and a Word; I wish I could say I went to beautiful Lisbon to photograph him, but Mile was playing with his spiffy new cell phone.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Have a Break!

This is a old bench at lake side of the Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park. Here is a wide angle shot.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Harry's Bar Wisdom

At Harry's Bar, Hardy Street. They usually have witty but relatively unknown quotes. Nice bar, great food, 90 second from Ben's office.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel

This is a giant eel under the jetty posted the day before yesterday. It was about 60~80cm long. If I remember correctly the indigenous Maori eat smoked eel.

And a mini quiz here: many of you will know our Hooded Blogger friend; can you guess who it is?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jetty

This is an overview of Jetty at Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Unashamedly Touristy

But Lake Rotoiti is photogenic, I can't help it. And then someone comes along to show off, or are we invading his/her space? At Nelson Lakes National Park.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Now It Looks Like This...

This is the result of erosion. This is used to be a large pine tree. On Rabbit Island.

Monday, December 11, 2006

We Oppose Opposums...

Possums have become predators in New Zealand; they eat shoots of native trees and eggs of native birds. They also climb up poles and chew on the lines, (I wonder if they get electrocuted in the process) so we often see slippery metal sheetings covering any tall structures where we don't want possums climbing and chewing.

There are many country pubs that offer a free pint if you bring in a dead possum, but we haven't had the pleasure of encountering any customer collecting on that. (And I'd like to keep it that way.)

Possum fur is collected and used to create such wonderful products as these attractive attire or possom-blended yarns. It took me six years to try possum yarns because I could not get rid of the picture of a roadkill, but the yarns are nice.

And an update on the Kiwi water tank: Owner Tim said most of the water in his tank is from a well, but some collected from the roof goes into the tank also; his water is not treated nor filtered. And yes, he uses the water from this tank for everything. Knowing the quality of the water in Nelson City (bad!!), he's still drinking cleaner and nicer water than us, I can tell you.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gold Mining – Howard River Valley

About halfway down the Porika 4WD track, near Lake Rotoroa, one of the Nelson lakes, there is an old gold mining area. You can look for gold at the New Creek gold fossicking area without license.

PS. This shot was taken quite while ago. If I had another chance to go there, I will introduce some of the back road that need 4WD.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Beware of Tiny Nocternal Birds

The sign says, "Beware of tiny nocturnal Kiwi birds wobbling across this 100km/hr stretch of road." Spotted on SH 63, just a little northwest of Nelson Lakes; in fact I never knew Nelson Lakes were Kiwi Zones.

And do you remember this? On our way from Nelson Lakes, we almost smashed with a silver car stopping on another 100km stretch to avoid a family of ducks crossing the road; no signs there, I'm telling you, they were country ducks.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wonderful World

I took this shot at Cable Bay beach near the entrance of walk way. Several series shots were introduced at sketchbook late last month (22nd to 27th) but I wanted to share this particular one here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Rusty

No, it is not an abandoned; I believe it's still is use, though I am not sure for what purpose.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Remember Agfa?

Sometimes it pays to look up. As long as we've known, (sine 1992), this office has been the Air New Zealand Travel Centre, but it was something better before. I was always a Fuji user, but it still was like running into an old friend.

Here's another just in case the leaves got in your way. I wonder where Franky is now.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hazy Mountains and Green Field

I'm just showing you an empty paddock; I found hazy the mountains attractive on this day.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fact of Life

I gasped when I saw the magazine cover in the supermarket last month, and debated with myself and with Ben whether to post it. The topic comes up in a big way every three years before election, but "specials" spring up to keep us on our toes.

I admire Santy for never shying away from tackling social issues; somehow I feel inhibited to do so because we are transplants/visitors/intruders/Asians, and we have no right to criticize a country that has allowed us to move in and has given us a good life.

At other times, I'm reminded it's a topic some sections of the country feel strongly about, but not all. And I suspect, in this day and age where mobility is not reserved for the privileged few, it happens all over the place. Still, it's not pleasant, and I was most surprised by my own reaction after 12 years in this country.

Factual rebuttals have been voiced, most notably by Keith Ng, but never in a big way. This week's New Zealand Listener mentions one source reporting 82% of the North & South staff found the cover offensive.

Still, this is only one part of life in Nelson.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Rabit Island

Some unknown artist left this signature at middle of empty beach. (Here's another shot.) Meg was so grumpy about Theme Day she kept mumbling and shooting strange stuff, and then her battery died!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Theme Day: Below the Belt a la Barcelona Bob

I didn't "get" this theme; some of Bob's examples were of people from the waist down, others were shot from a low angle; we disagreed on the interpretation of the theme for the entire month, but most of all both of us felt uncomfortable shooting people below the belt. So this is NDP's best shot. (But it does have the light-and-shadow like Bob!)

Today is Theme Day. Other DP Blogs have also shot people (from) below the belt in their cities. Please click on the numbers below to view them.

1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -10 -11 -12 -13 -14 -15 -16 -17 -18 -19 -20 -21 -22 -23 -24 -25 -26 -27 -28 -29 -30 -31 -32 -33 -34 -35 -36 -37 -38 -39 -40 -41 -42 -43 -44 -45 -46 -47 -48 -49

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Arty

Well, yes, it's been done hundreds of times, but I really wanted to shoot this particular tree, so Ben had to turn the car around, near a curve, in the rain. Afterwards, I realized there were dozens more trees like this all over the Takaka Hill. Well, been there, done that. I can move on.

LOTR fans may know this area as "Chetwood Forest".

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Richmond: TDC Entrance

At the entrance of Tasman District Council Building in Richmond, there is a beautiful Maori Carving. The curver's name is Jon Mutu according to the plate beside the work. Sorry, I have not much information about this person.

Here is the closeup of plate.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Mideval Ruin?

I wish; it's just a rocky hill, cut up for our convenience; limestone is quarried across the street, so they needed a work area. Behind me is Port Tarakone, Golden Bay. Here's the reality.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

SH6: Rohatu Hotel

Further down from Belgrove, this pub is situated on the corner of State Highway 6 and Motueka Valley Highway. The route is a lovely circuit connecting Nelson, Richmond, Tapawera (very rural -Motupiko on the map), Motueka, and back the coastal road to Nelson; we go at least four times a year to enjoy the changing colors of the seasons, and quite often in the summer because there are numerous picnic sites by the river on this route. This is the route you can find this cow.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

SH6 : Belgrove - Opposit The Pub

This is on the other side of the road from the pub from yesterday. I have no idea whose windmill this is, or what it does, but just possibly it's producing small amounts of electricity for this farm, or somebody near by.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

SH6 : Belgrove Pub

Little eating/resting place at on the side of State Highway 6, a little southeast of Nelson.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

End of the Orchid Season

In Nelson, orchids are left outside most of the year. When the flower buds start to grow, you could bring the pots inside the house to hurry the growth; if you do this, they will flower from around May/June up to about this time of the year. If you leave the pots outside to let the buds grow naturally, they flower from around September to after Christmas. This year, for the first time, I did the former, so we're looking at the end of the orchid season. We had a good run this year, after I split the bulbs two years ago; I have something like eight pink cymbidiums in two sizes, and this year added a yellow one and a white one.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Jump!

The guy with the yellow kite was performing lots of acrobatics at Tahunanui Beach. Few more in my sketchbook here and here. These were shot on film. (Please click photo to enlarge, it is slightly better colour in that way.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nelson Airport Security

When you board the plane, a man stands by the tree on the right to direct you to the correct gate. This was taken a week after the scare in London in August.

New Zealand love small airlines. Nelson-based Air Nelson was bought up by Air New Zealand a while back, so we had Origin Pacific, which operated for around eight years before it went bust a couple of months ago. Now we're going to have Kiwi Pacific starting, again in Nelson.

Don't get me wrong, we are all for the small operators. You get to fly over Cook Straight to Wellington on a 7-seater Cessna during rain, (read: bad). What I don't understand is, Kiwis are, besides New Zealanders, New Zealand dollar, and Chinese gooseberry, the tiny nocturnal flightless bird. So, Kiwis on planes? Kiwis are the mascot of New Zealand Air Force, and there was another Hamilton-based airline called Kiwi International (I think) which lived for around six years. It's got to be the rich Kiwis' sense of humor I'm not getting, right?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wildlife Crossing!?

It's not strictly Nelson, but in Blenheim I found this sign. Ducks are really wild, and that's why we have to shoot them; though kids can get equally wild, we pray they grow out of it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Caged Rocks - Beyond Controversy

Plate 1: NMIT LLC

In the last decade of 20th Century, caged rocks were a prominent feature of more than a few educational establishment in the South Island of New Zealand. (Plate 1: Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Library Learning Centre.) These structures, with no apparent function, were designed by blokes, as it is evident the effects of gravity over time were never considered.

Ben heard these are allegedly someone's sculpture/outdoor art. Yeah, right.