Monday, July 27, 2009

Mmmmmm, pie

Say the word "pie" to an American, and one probably thinks apple, pumpkin, banana cream. Or if you're from New York or Chicago, maybe you're thinking of pizza. But in New Zealand, a pie is a wonderful smaller savory thing filled with a variety of things such as mince, mince and cheese, steak and cheese, steak and mushroom, venison, lamb ... am I starting to sound like Bubba in Forrest Gump? The closest thing I can think of to resemble a New Zealand pie in America is those horrible frozen Swanson's Food pot pies. (I have to admit that I loved those as a kid though.)

Jimmy's might just be the country's most famous pie. Jimmy's is based in Roxburgh, not far from Queenstown. They're probably terribly unhealthy for you. But I can tell you that nothing, but nothing, beats a warm, flaky, hearty pie when you're cold and hungry. I'm definitely a fan.

But probably my favorite is the chicken and apricot pie made by Arrowtown Bakery in Arrowtown. Over the weekend, I stood in the rugby paddock watching Arrowtown play Upper Clutha. I was a bit hung from that Friday night birthday party I previously blogged about. It was cold, and I was wishing I was wearing my Sorels that are currently in storage in California at my brother's house. But I had a pie in my hand and that made me cosy and kept me warm. Mmmmm, pie ...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What a WEEKEND!!

Friday night was another great birthday party, this time in Arrowtown. It was held at New Orleans Hotel. I saw people I hadn't seen in a year ... which is an odd thing considering Queenstown's population is only around 20,000 during its busiest time of year. Another great party with the first public appearance of a band that includes a woman I met a year ago who has never sung for a profession. Queenstown is like that. You can re-create yourself here.
Queenstown hosted a poker tournament this past week. Players came in from all over the world, but mostly from Australia and other areas of New Zealand. I know a few of the local players, most who advanced pretty far. Unfortunately, it was an Aussie that eventually won the NZ $87K 1st place prize during Saturday's final.
Saturday was also the North Face Peak 2 Peak competition where teams (or really fit and ambitious individuals) skied or boarded, kayaked, mountain biked, ran, and cycled from the top of Remarkables down to Queenstown and back up to the top of Coronet Peak. All I have to say about this is that I'd have to train for a year to do even a portion of this event, and I have a few non-athlete friends who did it. Those are Kiwis for you.
Today I used my seasons ski pass for only the 2nd time this winter. Shameful, I know. And I have new ski boots! It was fantastic! Social Sunday, incredible snow, not crowded. What a great day, and what a great weekend!

She'll be right ... (or should I say he?)

"She'll be right" is a New Zealand saying. It's also an attitude. A popular Kiwi comedian, Te Radar, recently based his entire comedic routine, Eating the Dog, on the New Zealand attitude of "she'll be right".
Last weekend I went to a HUGE party of a father and son both celebrating milestone birthdays. It was great party at a house than was more of a compound. There was a band, a mobile open bar, and fireworks. A few of us staggered out about 2:30am-ish and stumbled our way down the dirt road, only by the light of my mobile phone, to meet our taxi on the main road. The husband of the woman in the taxi couldn't be bothered to walk all the way down the drive. So we left him. She said he'd be right. And I guess he was, because I saw him this weekend, and he had come right.
This weekend I heard that another friend's husband got home around 4:30am-ish. He walked home from the party in 24 degree Farenheit temperature across neighbor's paddocks. Paddocks with electric fences for the sheep. He apparently got zapped ... more than once. He came down with the flu during the week, but when I saw him at the top of a blue run today on Coronet Peak, he had apparently come right and "needed some fresh air".
But probably the funniest story I heard about last weekend and another fine example of a New Zealand saying and attitude is this. Apparently someone was not right at the party. Too much of the drink, no doubt. His friends asked for help. Someone volunteered to take a look at him. The diagnosis - take a shot of "harden the f*#% up".
Yep, don't expect sympathy if you're just whinging. I learned this personally last winter when I complained about cold hands while skiing. I try to remember not to do that anymore.

Anita Bay-Milford Sound and Mardi Gras @ WinterFest

What's been happening?

So ... from 13 June till 26 July, much has been going on. A lovely visitor came from America for a visit for a few weeks. On the agenda was parapenting, Milford, Queenstown WinterFest, parasailing, skiing, a spa visit, bungy jumping, eating. Lots really. And lots of eating. It was great fun! She is a lovely, bright teenager, and is one of those teenagers that made me feel better about getting older, knowing that she is part of the future. One of my nieces in America also graduated from high school in the past 7 weeks, and there were some birthdays of very special people to me in the past month as well. Some of which I didn't acknowledge with phone calls. (I'm still feeling guilty about that.) Anyway, next are some photos of the last 7 weeks. I hope you enjoy ... I did!

I'm back ...

... well, I didn't really go away, at least not physically. I didn't go on holiday, I didn't go bush. I just simply got busy with life, and as Kiwis would say, I just couldn't be bothered ... or I just couldn't be f*^#'ed. Visiting family from America ... busy, busy work in a crazy work environment. (But this is another story.) Anyway, I'm back. And I've got lots to say ...