Monday, January 26, 2009

1/25/2009 - The Return of the Vannamans

Did not sleep well but up early enough for some Weet-Bix and fruit, my new favorite breakfast delight, though not as much as usual. The morning was taken up by a very nice tour of Masterton and the surrounding area by Tracey. Toured the hospital, train station, close to the park (again), and then the tour-de-force. As it turns out, Peter Jackson (director/producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, and on the short list of the upcoming vote for the Most Celebrated Living New Zealander now that Sir Edmund Hilary has died) lives in a house about 5 miles outside of Masterton. Oh yes, I have now been there.

IMGP1429.JPGKind of have to do a Where's Waldo here - there is a turret sticking out of the forest behind me - see if you can find it. That would be Peter Jackson's house.

IMGP1430.JPGThe gates to Pete's house. Many hobbits labored hundreds of hours to build this wall. They are buried under the wall, or so the rumor (that I just made up) goes. That would explain why I haven't seen a single hobbit yet on this trip.

IMGP1431.JPGPeter Jackson's neighbors, about 200 yards and maybe a millenium from his house (judging by the turrets). There are grazing sheep and horses right across from it.

IMGP1432.JPGOut in the country around Masterton. The pictures never seem to do it justice. This is wine country.

After the very kind tour, I took a run to help clear my head, managing to get lost in the park, in a cemetery no less. Picked up some provisions at the local food area.

The Vannamans returned, which was great. Kipp and Kylie and Ollie (their almost-two year old) along with Kipp and Kayra's parents. Suddenly, the massive apartment is not quite as massive.

I know them mostly through Kylie, who was an intern when I was a senior resident back in residency. She was the one that all the senior residents breathed sighs of relief when they got her as their intern during our hospitalist months - she was fantastic. This is her first job out of residency. They quite enjoy New Zealand in general and plan to stay for the near future.

It really is a pleasant evening that I needed as we all get caught up again.

Stupidly, I did not take pictures of the family. I will redeem myself by pimping their blog when I can find the address so you can go check their adventures out for yourselves. They had just spent time in the Nelson area of the South Island, and loved it. Pictures are amazing.

The feeling of being treated like family continued with the addition of Kylie, Kipp, Ollie, and Kipp's parents. We all talk and chat like it hasn't been 2 or so years since I have seen them. It is really wonderful.

IMGP1425.JPGThis is their apartment. It has four bedrooms and a massive central area with connected kitchen. Could pretty much play full-press rugby in this place as long as you had non-sliding socks.

IMGP1426.JPGView from the window looking out over the nearby mountains. They look really far away in the pic, but are actually close-by.

The sunset is amazing.

IMGP1433.JPGOne of those sky-on-fire kind of sunsets. Wow. If this were a war-torn area, you might think you were looking toward ground zero.

Get to bed at a reasonable hour. Am planning to head out tomorrow to land in Picton, signaling the end of my North Island travels and the start of the South Island.

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