Wandering in Windvercargill

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25/02/08
Hi gang. I bet you’re all wondering what I’ve been up to, aren’t you? Well, the truth is, today was very quiet for me indeed. So why was I so inactive? Well, the title of the post should pretty much give you a clue. It was windier than I could have ever imagined this day in Invercargill. Yesterday’s winds were repeated again, and that pretty much put the kibosh on any plans I might have been formulating to go to Stewart Island. Actually, there are a few reasons for me sticking around. Firstly, I’m tired, okay? Secondly, I was getting caught up on my domestic chores. Also, I had planned to leave for Bluff later in the day, but then decided that didn’t make any sense. Accomodations were fully booked in Bluff and on Stewart Island, which meant I would have had to camp, and rain was definitely going to happen soon. Plus, I figured, why pay for a night down there, when I can just hitch down to Bluff for my Stewart Island day? After all, it’s only 27km between the two. I could get up, and still make the first ferry, then catch the last ferry back and sleep in Invercargill au gratis both nights! That’s really what clinched it for me. Anyway, read on for a little about my restful day. There’s a map, but it’s pretty dull, oh and there are also some pictures over on Flickr.

Even though I was sticking around Invercargill, it doesn’t mean that I did absolutely nothing! After tending to laundry, photo, blog, and map uploads, and some video skyping with the boss back home (Jody that is), I decided that I might as well see what the town had to offer. Sadly, it didn’t take too long for me to realize that there was a reason Lonely Planet came up with clever ways to say it’s sort of dull here. Other people had told me it’s a good spot to kill two hours, but that’s about it. On the plus side, it’s definitely not touristy as a result, so you can’t help but meet locals. For lunch I went to a spot called the Zookeepers Cafe, and it turned out they sponsor a whole slew of bike teams, and had all sorts of memorabilia and cycling pictures lining their walls. Fun!

Once my belly was full, I decided I should probably fill up my brain too, and headed to a museum. No joke, I was trying to find anything to do to get out of the wind. It was tricky just walking outside! This was clearly a day for indoor pursuits. However, even that was hard to do in Invercargill. I don’t want to sound down on them, but there really isn’t much for tourism there. It’s basically a crossroads for people coming from Milford Sound, the Catlins, or Stewart Island. In spite of this, I will say that the museum was worth the visit. Although it was dated and a bit tired with a lot of the exhibits, it still had some worthwhile exhibitions. Of particular interest to me was the wing called “The Roaring Forties”, which was all about life on the Sub-Antarctic Islands. This wing was opened by Ed Hillary himself years back, and had some fascinating stories about the islands themselves, as well as some of the crazy inhabitation schemes tried over the years on some of them. Like trying to raise sheep on these faraway, desolate islands. Needless to say, these schemes didn’t work out, but they make for some amazing history of the toughness of some people.

With the museum finished, it was back out to the windy, cold streets to see what I could see. I toured some of the lovely gardens in town, checked out an old water tower, and took note that the circus was indeed in town. Wonder if anyone from Invercargill would try to run away and join them once they headed out of town? Eventually, I made my way back to the house, where the good doctors were both home, each having their own power naps. Refreshed, they told me they were heading to the pool for a swim. Sweet. I’ve been hurting to get out to do some swimming. I tagged along and we went to the public pool which was pretty big, and subdivided for various activities. The three of us took a lane and swam for about 40 minutes. I can tell it’s been too long since I swam. Looks like the pool will be calling my name on my return.

From the pool, we dropped into a movie store and rented a Jodie Foster movie “The Brave One”, and popped into the grocery store to get some supplies. What supplies? Well, we were having TACO NIGHT!! Yee-haw. Anyone who knows me will understand why I was excited. With a little bit of team effort, we whipped up some amazing tacos to eat. My contribution was a salsa that I made from scratch, using tomatoes, red peppers, lemon, red onion, fresh parsley from the garden, and a few spices. It was a refreshing summer salsa that I was quite proud of. Rajesh cooked up the chicken, and his room-mate whipped up some fresh guacamole and shredded the cheese. These were some damn fine tacos I tell you 🙂 We watched the movie while eating, and it was pretty good. By the time it was over, we were already well past 11pm, so it was off to bed to rest up for the next day?

The next day? Well, I was getting up early to enact my Stewart Island plan. Come hell or high water, I was getting to Stewart Island. I didn’t even check the weather, as this was going to be my last chance this trip to go there, unless I stuck around Invercargill longer, and I didn’t want to either impose on my gracious hosts, or sit around there with nothing to do any longer. To hear about my trip, you’ll just have to read the next post which will fill you in. So there you have it, another lazy day for ActiveSteve. See ya!

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