Why doesn't a woman like Ann Coulter just find a husband, be quiet, and stay home? :)
Marsha is learning how to play Warcraft! Have I created a monster? :)


I found a great book on whales. The best part is that it has wonderful illustrations and very few underwater pictures! I am trying to embrace the creatures I have feared for so long, but . . . carefully . . . !


Back in the USA

My wife and I are now back in the USA after about two weeks in New Zealand. We did both the North and South islands, drove something like 1500 miles, hiked under Mt. Cook and Mt. Aspiring, cruised in Milford and Doubtful Sounds, swam with the dolphins, saw several seal colonies, and spotted three sperm whales--oh, and I saw the Magellanic Clouds and 47 Tuscanae!

Some thoughts about coming back:

one doesn't realize how much of melting pot the US is until one spends time in the old British Empire;

we need $1 and $2 coins instead of bills, and we need to loose the penny.

Fish and chips is pretty good, if the fish is fresh.

Kiwi beer is weak.

There are good used bookstores in NZ--I found copies of Fletcher's and Austin's commentaries on Aeneid VI and IV, for NZ$12 (US$8.50?);

Driving on the left isn't that bad--I got pretty used to it;

Kiwis are always using "wee" to indicate little, small, modest, familiar;

Kiwi women commonly use "Darling" as a vocative with everyone and anyone--it takes a little getting used to!

Wendy Houston of Lakeview Homestay, near Twizel, makes the best roast lamb Marsha has ever eaten;

There's a Mexican place in the Whangamata that makes the worst chicken quesidillas in the world--trust me!

sperm whales are really interesting after all, but they aren't entirely safe either . . .


In Wellington

This will be telegram style as am at kiosk. After spent two days in auckland, picked up car and went east for a day of reckless driving in over-winding roads in coromandel penninsula. Water is cold, penninsula bella, bella, bella. Drove through Matamata by accident, got a picture of a sign: "welcome to hobbiton." Drove down to rotorua, the hot spring town, aka town of sulphurous smells. Went to Whakatane next day on dolphin safari, swam with dolphins (JNW panicked at first, when dropped into xxxx' of water!) The underwater view of a pair of dolphins swimming along under me, chirping as they went, is an image that will remain with me alway. Didn't get sunburnt that day, but did get sunburnt on snowfield on central volcano in central NP yesterday. Saw "mordor" or what was used as such. Interesting terrain. Drive to Wellington was beautiful. very very varied topography. always changing. Ferry today across cook straits and to south island.



My wife and I have arrived safely in the northern island, and have spent the last two days tramping the city -- and fighting off colds. We did the Sky Tower yesterday, and Auckland Museum and Domain today.

Tomorrow we pick up our rental car and head on to Rotorua. Having a great time thus far--and enjoying sun interspersed with scattered showers.

Happy New Year!