Sunday, December 19, 2010

Birds without Wings

One of the main reasons to go to New Zealand is to see penguins. Obviously, we're big fans.
And the sheep don't seem to mind them either!
These ones above are wishing you happy holidays!
You've got to be careful not to endanger them further. Not as cute as a penguin, this is a Kea:New Zealand has other flightless birds, some of which look like chickens.
And then a couple which can even use their wings (spot both).Sadly, the most famous bird, the Kiwi, was only seen hiding in Barry's mustache.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Big Cold Glaciers

In New Zealand, you can go see really big blocks of ice called glaciers! Since it's very dangerous, you can only watch from afar. Hazards include maneuvering through rushing waters like so.
Sadly, it was only sunny at one of the glaciers.It was foggy and rainy at the other.
This is the way the glaciers shave down the mountain.Leaving huge river beds of boulders, which we saw all over New Zealand. Here are some rocks and a poser.
It took Barry a while to spot the glacier, despite its massive size.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Barry's Town of Knives

What would you do in New Zealand! Well, if you're Barry, you'd go to Barrytown!
And what would you do there? Perhaps throw axes (badly)?
Or burn stuff? Well we did these things, so as to make a Barrytown knife, wouldn't you? Below, Barry, in Barrytown, forging steel.Below, Laura, in Barrytown, learning she's not strong enough to forge steel.Barry telling Laura to sharpen up and stop forging like a girl.It turns out there are many steps in making a knife, several of which involve these belt sanders. The precision steps are done my knifemaster Steve.
Since it's NZ, there are lots of sheep.
Finished product, Barry of Barrytown was very proud.
Admire our forging, sanding, polishing, drilling, slicing and riveting skills, oooooooh.

In case you think we made this up, click.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Walking on Fire

After missing it each year, Barry and I finally witnessed the Hindu Fire-walking festival. This starts with a 4km barefoot walk, which would have been photographed below, except we got dazzled by the blinky lights of Deepavali.Beforehand, the devotees hang out in the temple, some appearing to be in cages.There was much music and commotion (as with all things Hindu that I've witnessed). But unfortunately, the actual fire-walking part doesn't start until 1:00am on a Sunday night.So, Barry and I set our alarm; and this is the sight we were able to quickly glimpse.I mean very quickly. We were ushered through, and told to keep moving and stop taking pictures. So you're not gonna see fire, or focus for that matter.But evidently these were hot coals, through which devotees scurry. At then end the feet are cooled in this (likely fungal) puddle.Now since you can't see very well, it's available on TV screens which, they say, add 10lbs. Also involved in this festival is the placing of leaves on a deity sculpture, and walking through what I think is turmeric.
Generally, no burning occurs, but just in case...