Final photo update

I’ve finally found the time to finish my photo update. Here are a few photos from the TUM alumni weekend up in Turangi in April.

Ruapehu, one of the volcanos there:

0410 Ruapehu

Me, with Ngauruhoe (another volcano) in the background:

0410 AlumniWE ich

Group photo with dog (hiding behind us):

Gruppenbild mit Hund

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Skiing, hot pools, fungus and lice

Two half days of skiing and two trips to the hot pools is what I finally ended up doing last weekend. Not to forget half a day of not skiing but sitting in the cafe at the bottom of the ski field instead.

It was not a bad day at all, but the mountain was in the clouds and at the bottom of the ski field it was raining. I decided that it was too crap for me to be fun, but the others gave it a try. Surprisingly they did not return for four hours. That’s why I ended up in the cafe writing postcards.

Afterwards we went to Tokaanu and had a good soak in the hot pools.

The following day almost everyone else went mountainbiking, and I went up to the skifield again. It was very windy but visibility was not that bad. It was incredibly cold though and the ski runs down the hill were not nearly enough to get warm again for the ride up in the lift. When the wind picked up even more around lunchtime, the skifield was closed for the day.

By that time I was half frozen, so the logical decision was to go to the hot pools again. Victoria who had not gone biking came with me, and after the pools we went for a little walk there around the natural hot pools in that area.

Tokaanu Hot Pools

The drive back was spectacular, with fantastic views of the volcanos.

Tongariro Vulkane von SH47 aus

On Monday afternoon, I went skiing one last time for this season. This time, I went to the Turoa ski field. The weather was high cloud and very little wind, and then even the sun came out. It was absolutely fantastic. Powder on the upper parts of the ski field, hardly any queues at the lifts, yay, this was so much fun.

This week, our new flatmates have moved in. It’s a couple from Ireland, they are in NZ for a working holiday and have only arrived three weeks ago. One of the first things they said was that they found NZ houses freezing cold….us Europeans definitely have some common grounds. I wonder how Pete and Patrick now feel, being a cultural minority.

Have you ever heard of “Information Mapping”? I was on a training for this last week. It’s about how to analyse and organise written information. It was probably one of the most useful trainings I’ve ever had for work. So should you ever have a chance to do this training, go for it.

Most of my herbs and vegies grow quite well. I can harvest coriander about twice a week now, and parsley, thyme and oregano are also ready to be used. Today I harvested my first few spinach leaves, and the silverbeet is not long from being ready to be eaten.

The peppermint has some sort of fungus and lice though. Not quite what I want to have in my tea….

Winter holiday

We had a nice week up on the mountain. Accommodation and location were both pretty good. That’s the lodge of the tramping club where Pete is a member, and it’s right at the bottom of the Whakapapa skifield on Mt Ruapehu.

The weather wasn’t spectacular most of the time, but we had one really nice day. So I was glad that I had gone skiing for a few hours on the days before to get a bit of practise again, and could make the most of that particular sunny and clear day. I also happened to have a free lift pass that day, because I had volunteered for a volcanic emergency alarm test. It took up about one hour only, so it was a really good deal.

Ruapehu Upper Mountain

I found it quite interesting to see how people queue for the lift here. It’s incredibly well organised, and no pushing and squeezing like in Germany. In the queue zones, ropes mark where you have to queue. People stand there nicely one by one. If you are a single skier, you wait until you have almost reached the lift and then shout “single”. Another single skier will then join you for the ride up. You’ll have a little conversation while on the lift (I usually ended up having to explain where I was from and what I was doing in NZ), and at the top wish each other a nice day.

If it gets really busy, there are line attendants that organise the queues and line people up. Or there are separate lines for singles, doubles, and quadruples. Must be the English heritage…

Other than skiing, I spent a real lot of time reading. I usually do not read a lot, which is because once I start a book, I won’t do much else anymore until I’ve finished it. So I indulged in devouring one book after another without any regrets or sleep deprivation.

The food was quite nice in the lodge. It’s a set menu, but since this is a club’s accommodation, people have to do the cooking etc. themselves. So every meal is prepared by a couple of people, but for all people staying in the lodge. I was glad that I decided to do the dishwashing rather than the cooking, because it was what I think must be typical Kiwi dishes and I would not have had a clue what they were supposed to be or taste like. It was yummy and now I’ve probably had most of the typical Kiwi desserts. Nice!

Today was a really lovely day in Wellington. Sunny and no wind, so I wanted to go to the market by bike. The bike had been sitting in the garage for the last couple of months. When I took it out, I was slightly shocked how badly it was corroded. There was rust in spots where there had never been any before, and it was much worse than during any of the last winters in Germany where I had actually used the bike in the snow and the rain. So I ended up to go into town on the bus, and spent most of the afternoon scrubbing my bike. I will still have to wax it, and now I’ve parked it in the bike shed in the back yard.

I also put seal on the windows of our bedroom, and hopefully there will be less of a draft now. It’s quite cold here at the moment, 11 degrees inside and every bit of warmth is much appreciated….

For a while now, our house has been quite dirty. It’s actually the dirtiest place I’ve ever lived in. I’ve pretty much given up on doing much cleaning, because one of my flatmates does hardly any cleaning and makes most of the mess. My usual strategy would be to have a serious word with such a flatmate, but things are different here. Instead, I decided to move out of the main bathroom and into the laundry at the back of the house. There’s a sink and a toilet, and it doesn’t get used as much as the main bathroom. No idea what the other guys here think about me…you definitely need a high level of self confidence to go your own way rather than just blending in. Funny, how different even Western cultures are if it comes to details.