Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ode to Oamaru

Here begins my journey down to the nether lands of New Zealand- to places where time stands still, cousins marry cousins and there may be nary a stoplight in town. Yes, it is the deep south. If you hopped on a ship off the southern tip of the south island, the next place you'd hit is Antarctica. Remote. But very sweet people.

Artwork in Rutherford's Den in Christchurch. Rutherford "split the atom" way back when. He won the Nobel Prize for his work - it all started in Christchurch. Who knew these Kiwis were so smart?
Oamaru, the land of Victorian architecture. It's on the east coast about four hours south of Christchurch.
Dear Lord, why do I keep taking pictures of OLD cars? I can't help it. I think it's a familial dysfunction that's been passed down. But isn't this little Singer so cute? The dash almost had a heart shape. I think I'm in love.
Inside the whiskey distillery where they hold wedding receptions and a local artist paints every day until 4:30. I did my whiskey tasting downstairs and got the inside scoop from the lady who poured for me. Mmm. Whiskey! Surprisingly, they also had the best port I've ever tasted as well. (I wanted to buy a bottle for Lourdes, but those weight and shipping issues again.)
More whiskey. I don't have a problem. Aren't they beautiful?
Can you guess which building this was? I feel like I'm a 21 year-old. But we all know 21 year-olds don't drink whiskey.
This town is a place after my own desires! The bike shop started in the 1800's. And it's my favorite color on the garage door.
I don't know what this building was, but I was mesmerised but the light and the clouds.
An old hotel.
Just down the street, I spent about an hour talking with shopkeeper Michael O'Brien, who's a bookbinder in the old sense of the trade. He works by hand, making new books and restoring old ones. When I visited, he was working on an ancient worthless text for an elderly woman.

I asked, "How long will it take you to finish that?"

He pointed to a stack completed (less than 5% of the book) and said, "That's about three weeks work." I nearly fainted. He said, "I put off starting it for three years."

"I hope she doesn't die before you finish. How old is the lady?" I asked.

"I don't know. I had to get an advance from her to start the work," he said.

Oh lord. But this man who was dressed the part in Victorian garb from a shoppe down the street, was an interesting chat. He said he'd been trying for years to get people to do more trading and less money transactions. He'd moved his family from Auckland to the south island for a better life. He noted that the trades, like optometry, writing, bookbinding, tailoring, etc, were around before the industrial revolution and will continue to have a place in society. I felt better about my choice in careers despite the fact that I've now been unemployed for over six months. It's a noble career. And every career gets repetitive after a while. Sigh.
He also knew that one of our Wwoofers (Sven from Germany) was leaving today and he'd heard that the owner (Kelly- a girl) was sad about it. Small town living. A little scary.
Onward to the next cool building... Shit if I remember what it was. I wasn't paying attention.
And the bakery. But I didn't buy any baked goods. The woman who ran it was wearing a skin-tight, shiny copper long-sleeve top, had long wavy hippie hair which she kept playing with, and was all around, snooty, if you can believe that. So sad.
Here starts the obsession with the night light. It was like walking through a picture.
Oh the light!
Again! I think this is the coolest one. How the building turned blue. Heaven.
Old school natural books.
The church.
I think this was a bank. But it was more about the lighting anyway.
I guess you can read for yourself that this is a monument.

Who doesn't want to visit Oamaru after these photos? And to think I'd never even heard of it until a few weeks ago.

I'm doing my second stint Wwoofing at a backpackers and it's much better than the last. This time there are five other Wwoofers, from all over the world, so there is a sense of camaraderie and fun, regardless of the task at hand.

I'll be leaving here on the 22nd of April to head to Invercargill, where I'm meeting up with two of my students to go to Stewart Island. And that really is the last place before Antarctica.


Auntie DJ said...

This may be a duplicate - not sure where the first one went:
The sunsetting pictures are just beautiful - any special camera settings? Your writing is relaxing and calming - however since we will be in Rome in a few days I must not relax or I will be hit by a scooter! Enjoy the surroundings - it looks gorgeous.
Happy travels.
Love, Auntie DJ and Uncle Ross

sara said...

I use the manual settings on my Canon Power Shot SD 870IS Elph. You can set it to allow more or less light and I almost always shut off the flash. I also use the 2 second timer so that the picture is not out of focus from me pushing the button and jittering the camera.

Those are my secret tips! :)

Auntie DJ said...

Nerd Alert - I just got the Canon PowerShot SD890IS Digital Elph a couple weeks ago and am studying the manual - I will use your tips! First I will have to study the manual some more.
love, auntie DJ