A disgruntled librarian packs it up and leaves fabulous New York City behind,
going on random adventures through South America,
while simultaneously promoting literacy
and spreading the love of the written word.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

eye on "sports:" zorbing

so new zealand is a very beautiful place with lots of many natural wonders to explore.  however, when you are not exploring these natural wonders, it has come to my attention that there isn't a hell of a lot to do.  but do not fret my dear blog readers, the good people of new zealand have invented a variety of activities to keep busy!

if you've ever had a pet hamster, you probably already familiar with the concept of zorbing. pretty much, due to what i can only imagine was immense boredom, the people of new zealand created a large human size hamster ball.  this is no normal hamster ball though, it has been engineered by top new zealand scientists to allow for human beings to be propelled down steep hills without injury.  thank god!  how long did mankind have to wait for such technology to be developed?!

there are a few different zorbing variations: wet, dry, single, group.  in a dry zorb you are strapped in to a space simulation type device inside the zorb, so as you are rolling down the hill you will be tumbling upside-down, leaving you very very dizzy.  this sounded torturous to yours truly as i do not like to be upside-down.  in a wet zorb, warm water is sprayed into the zorb allowing you to splash around freely inside the ball whilst you are rolling down the hill without fear of friction burns (and without fear of drowning).  then there is the option to do the wet zorb with up to three people all bouncing around at the same time.  so many choices!  what a country!

and that is how my beloved bolshevik and i wound up splashing down a hill inside a giant hamster ball on a brisk new zealand day.

p.s.  if you stand up in the zorb when you start to move (as the bolshevik did much to my initial dismay) you go down the hill crazy fast.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

eye on sports: rugby world cup

you can't go anywhere without
running into some
argentine hooligans
i bet you have always thought to yourself, “self, i wish that miss dewey decimal would commentate on more sporting events!”  (and by more you mean at least one)  well dear blog readers, you are in luck because today i am going to expand my charming brand of witty observations into the realm of rugby.  hold onto your hats!  (hats are something that people sometimes wear when playing sports, but not so much in rugby where hats are not typically implemented ... are you witnessing this sporty knowledge?!)

SO, here in new zealand everyone is very excited for the rugby world cup.  i am supporting the new zealand national team, the All Blacks.  i support this team for the following reasons:

          1.  they do a maori war dance called a "haka" at the beginning of each match to 
          intimidate their opponents.  it's pretty badass and i like dancing.


          2.  they wear all black, which is much more sophisticated than the typical garish color 
         combinations that many sports team have on their uniforms.


          3.  i already own an All Blacks hoodie that the bolshevik purchased for me the last time    
          he was in new zealand.  this is part of his attempt to get me to like sports by appealing to 
          my interest in accessories and outerwear (i now own three, yes THREE, sports related 
          hoodies!)

waldo watches the maori boats row
into town on the big screen
yup, getting my support of your team is that easy.

moving on!

when we arrived in auckland it was a few days before the opening game of the RWC and the excitement was palpable.  every store window was somehow tying in rugby and the All Blacks into their displays, there were signs all over the city advertising different opening day events, etc.   even though i really don't care about sports, i found myself getting excited too.

on the day of the opening game, there was a huge event in the city center where hundreds of maori tribesmen rowed into the harbor on huge maori war boats.  sadly, we couldn't actually get anywhere near the harbor since there were so many people there.  but we were able to catch glimpses of it on the huge screens they had in the middle of the street.  this was followed by a maori parade down the main street which we also couldn't see because there were so many people.  it was around this time that we decided that maybe it was best to just get to the stadium since we couldn't actually see any of the events that were going on where we were.

i join in a haka
at the stadium there was an opening ceremony that included a long dance number that was not dissimilar to the interpretive dance numbers that they used to have at the oscars.  there were hundreds of people running around the pitch (that means field!) in loin cloths, carrying shields and spears, and weird metallic sailboats raced across the grass.  then another hundred or so dancers came out dressed as rugby players and were dancing with a young blonde boy who was then dramatically raised about 75 feet in the air as he tried to grab hold of a gigantic inflatable rugby ball floating overhead.  this part was actually quite cool, although it made me wonder how this kid's parents ever signed off on this as it seemed highly dangerous.

then there were some fireworks and a maori guy blew a large horn and then eventually some guys came out and played a game of rugby.

sonny bill williams gets help
putting on his super tight jersey
deeeee-lish
rugby is very similar to american football except they don't stop the clock every five seconds.  they just keep playing, which is nice because it keeps the game moving.


the highlight of this particular game was when sonny bill williams' jersey was ripped in a scrum (big pile of sweaty rugby men) and it exposed his very cool maori tribal tattoo.  then there was some lovely footage on the big screen of him getting assistance in putting on a new jersey.  (these jerseys are super tight)  turns out he's totally cut.
miss dewey d
reporting to you live from
the new zealand rugby world cup
2011

oh, and the All Blacks beat tonga.  GO THE MIGHTY ALL BLACKS!

and thus concludes my short-lived career as a sporty commentator.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

the story of auckland sky tower



Once upon a time in a far away land, there was a large tower ...


one day this tower was visited by a boy in lightning pajamas ...


and then THREE ...



TWO ...




ONE ...



SPLAT!




just kidding, he's fine ... he did it twice in fact.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

tahiti ... where the french go to speak french and act fancy

i know that i like to get my kvetch on now and again, and i hope that usually it is lovable and charming in a woody allen meets larry david meets phoebe buffet kind of way.  but i know that some of you beloved blog readers will have difficulty with my complaining about being in the island paradise of tahiti.  but i shall do it nonetheless ...

here goes ...

on with the kvetching ...

poolside sunset in tahiti ... do not be seduced by the
beautiful tropic tranquility!
so, we arrived at our free hotel in tahiti and it was just plain gorgeous.  definitely of a fancy caliber beyond our means.  on the grounds was a very chic looking pool overlooking the beach and the mountains and the little floating huts out at sea.  very lovely.

at happy hour we sat on oversized armchairs on the beach and sipped extremely pricey cocktails that were only affordable from 5:30-6:30 pm ... thank goodness for this or we would've spent the entirety of our trip sober!  the shame of it.

in the morning we arrived at the breakfast pavilion and were given warm chocolate croissants and breads, and then we gorged ourselves on a buffet of french cheeses (i must say that the combination of french cuisine and island living is quite nice) ... however we were quite shocked when we found out that said breakfast cost about $30 per person.  to be fair, the bolshevik did eat his weight in brie.

side note:  we were in the rare minority of non-french speakers in tahiti and i have developed the odd problem that when someone speaks to me in a foreign language i cannot help but answer in spanish.  this is not helpful in french polynesia.

it is also interesting to note that the majority of visitors to tahiti had traveled there from france.  if you look on a map and are successfully able to find tahiti, you will see that it is damned far from everything, especially france.  i can only assume that wealthy french people are choosing to fly across the globe in order to have tropical vacations where they can still have the comfort food of home and speak their native language.  odd.

anyway, moving on ...

we tried to save some money by having dinner in town where (i had read in our guidebook) they have a plaza filled with food trucks every night selling "cheap" food.  mmmmm .... food truck food.  when dining in tahiti there are three food truck options ... seafood, chinese, and crepes.

we quickly found that the cheapest dish at the food trucks was about $20 ... seriously?  it's food from a truck, which is then eaten on plastic picnic tables.  this is not to say that i do not love food truck food, however, i think it should come at a discounted rate.

heaps of raw fish deliciousness
anyway, we opted for seafood and i must say that it was deeee-lish ... i got a dish that was pretty much a pound or so of raw tuna in a coconut milk sauce and a side of fries.  it was definitely a good value considering the amount of food i received, however, it would've been nice to get something like a half a pound of raw fish and save myself some cash.

i will not bore you with the rest of my complaints, which all revolve around expensiveness ... but here is a little list, just so you know:
rental car: $150 ish for about 5 hours
polynesian dinner show: $75 per person (we didn't actually go due to pricey-ness)
very short cab rides after the bus stopped running: $35 each
hotel wifi (which was extremely slow, and had the odd habit of continuing to charge us even when we had logged off and left the hotel room) - $6 per hour

anyway ... after a while we kind of felt like we were hemorrhaging money, and all in the period of a three day layover.

okay, enough with the kvetching ... i will now tell you about fun things we did in tahiti:
view from our 4x4 adventure
- we swam in a cave
- we visited a religious site with tiki statues
- we rode in the back of a 4x4 through the mountains and looked at flora, fauna and waterfalls
- we swam in a waterfall
- we drank tropical cocktails (but only from the hours of 5:30-6:30 pm)
 - we ate ridiculous amounts of french cheese

in conclusion ... tahiti is quite beautiful and filled with natural splendor.  however, if you are not independently wealthy i would suggest visiting a different tropical island.  next time we will try fiji.