Monday, September 25, 2006

25 - September 2006

As promised, today was a slow day (good thing, too, as I'm feeling yesterday's hike in my thighs!). At the recommendation of a local gal we met last night, we had brunch at Cafe Fe, just up the hill from central Wanaka. The food was great and the view even better (from inside, that is--it was unbelievably and unpleasantly blustery and chilly out today!).

After walking around the lakeside town a bit, we made our way to Wanaka's E-M@il to download our backlogged blog entries. We feel very at home in these little stations by now, and they are all pretty much the same: locals surfing the Web and checking their email (and giggling to themselves every so often as they do); awkward guys taking a very long time to draft a very short email via the hunt-and-peck method (and often muttering or even swearing periodically); not-quite-fully-on-holiday businessmen barking into their cell phones with IT departments about why they can't seem to log into their mail programs (it always ends with an "aha!" moment, but rarely an apology for their just being dense); folks doing online banking (and then, almost on cue, asking how best to erase all traces of having done so); teens playing online games until the moderator says their minutes have run out; and backpack-toting travelers--usually tired-looking couples like us huddling together at one monitor--staying in touch with loved ones, searching new destinations, and booking upcoming hotel stays and tours. The people who run these places are always incredibly laid-back and friendly (and great sources of local info and humor), and the atmosphere is always kooky and comfy.

Then it was time for Mike's afternoon doctor's appointment. Dr. Allen of Wanaka Medical Centre had the personality of a doorknob, and after an hour-and-a-half in his office (of which about ten minutes was spent with him), we still didn't feel any more confident that we know what Mike's rash is all about (oh, how we miss our trusted Dr. Cooper!). Dr. Allen gave Mike a prescription, but we've decided to hold off on filling it because we just aren't convinced (nor are we convinced that he was convinced) that it's the right diagnosis.

This evening, we headed to Cinema Paradiso to see "Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont," an English flick we knew nothing about (we wanted to check out what we'd heard was no ordinary theater, and this was playing when we were free). Paradiso has a great menu (fajitas, gourmet salads, hearty soups, wraps, pizzas, lasagne and garlic bread, coffee cake, wine, beer, juices, milkshakes...and of course there's soda, popcorn, and candy for the traditionalists, too). You bring real dishes, utensils, glasses, mugs, and even pitchers of water into the cinema (which feels like town hall) and sit in your choice of old recliners with mish-mashed pillows, cushy armchairs, mended couches, or even a yellow convertible Morris Minor! Halfway through the movie, the film clicks off for intermission, at which point everyone flocks to the cafe to grab still-warm-from-the-oven cookies and homemade ice cream (we had kahlua coffee ice cream--yum!), spiked coffees, or anything else their stomachs desire. It's like watching a show from the comforts of home--only the pantry is far better stocked, and someone cooks to order and even does the dishes! Oh, and the movie (it turned out to be an off-beat, tender comedy about friendship, family, and love) wasn't too shabby, either!

More on how to speak Kiwi:
--"soda/pop" = "fizzy"

--When you order a milkshake Down Under, you get a rich but still milky substance; you need to specify a "thick" shake if you want it ice-creamy like back home.

--Marshmallows are entirely different Down Under (and they're served with mochas, not just cocoa!); they are flatter and more disc-like and come in pink and white, and they are powdery, slightly crispy on the outside (almost as if they are stale), and dense and chewy on the inside. They make American marshmallows seem like foam! (Wait, how do they make Rice Krispy Treats--er, Rice Bubble Treats--here?!)

--We've come across lots of hitchhikers in New Zealand. Most are young and toting a snowboard (but not for long--ski season should end this week or next, we're told).

--Nowhere but New Zealand have we ever seen so many Caucasians with dreadlocks.

Favorite sign of the day:

(This is a very typical Down Under take-away menu.)


Sonya said...

Wait, how do they make Rice Krispy Treats--er, Rice Bubble Treats--here?!

They don't. :p

Actually, they lean toward making "Chocolate Crackles" ..... consisting of Rice bubbles, copha, icing sugar, cocoa and coconut. Usually all melted down in a saucepan and then heaped into foil or paper cupcake patties, sprinkled with coconut and put in the fridge to set. Usually served only at children's birthday parties....

11:20 AM  

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