We took a weekend trip down to Mt. Nguaruhoe (which was used as Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies). It was about 5.5 hours in the car from Auckland, a very beautiful drive, but one of the longest road trips we have taken on the Left Side of the Road. We went down and met some friends who had a large group of friends visiting from the US and UK. We decided not to do the whole Tongariro Crossing, an 8 hour trek through high volcanic plateau, but we did send them off by going about 1.5 hours up to Soda Springs, and then turned back and headed up to Taupo for a soak in the hot pools.
It is quite strange to be going through summer in January. We just had a picnic in front of our house with some friends, and we have been swimming quite a bit lately.
Work is in a new phase now. We’ve had a lot of new staff come in and another batch is due over the next couple months. I am starting to feel more settled. I just put up the large purple painting from my office in Champaign in my office in Panmure. One of the staff members was looking around my office and said, “I see Maori art, Pacific Art, Chinese Art, where is something from America?” Well, I brought in my big purple painting, that is from America. I’m not sure what kind of American symbolism I would want up on my walls. I think I do have some photographs of landscapes from out West, or I thought about my painting that has all the Thoreau quotes on it.
We have been here for 6 months now. Over Christmas, we decided to set up more of a schedule to focus on what is important to us. I have been getting up at 6 AM every morning to either write or exercise. It feels good to have some structure after all the months, a year, really, of dismantling structure.
Here are a few photos from the last weekend’s trip.