Thursday, 27 September 2007

Name changes

Well, it's official. I'm no longer a *****. No, that's not me calling myself something off-colour; I've simply changed my surname. Picked up my new passport today. You should see how hideous the new ones are---pictures of mountains and cowboys and the statue of liberty adorning the pages, along with little quotes, and surprise surprise they managed to put god in there, grrrrrrr. I keep thinking of that hillbilly country song...I'm Proud to be an American. Thank dog I'll have an Australian passport in a few years. Just when I feel my nationalistic pride picking up, something like this...

Sunday, 23 September 2007

I want to vote!

This is the first time I actually have strong enough feelings about the candidates to actually want to vote, rather than feeling obligated to vote out of a feeling that if I didn't, I'd be embarrassed to admit it. I feel just as strongly about the candidate I want to win as the one I would hate to win. I'm voting for Barack Obama, and I'll be gutted if Hillary Clinton wins. A woman with no respect for herself, who only stood by her husband after he cheated on her in order to further her political career, has no place as the first female president...a role model for the young women of America. That being said, I also feel the desire to attack Jesse Jackson for the first time ever. I've typically overlooked the fact that he seems to dislike white people, given the fact he has done so much good in his life, but his comments about Barak Obama not being black enough really make me sick. What right does he have to demand one man should take certain actions just because of the colour of his skin. Isn't it enough that by running successfully for president (whether he wins or not), he's paving the way for greater progress? Anyway, that's my vent. I'm off to get my absentee ballot.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Our Wedding

(Remember you can click on the photos to make them larger.)

We're just back yesterday from our honeymoon (and marriage) in Rarotonga. Everything was fabulous and much better than I'd expected. I was nervous about speaking/vows in front of other people (even though there were only 4 - the marriage celebrant, two witnesses and the photographer) but to be honest, when it came time, it was all good.

We had our wedding night dinner at the Crown Beach Resort down the road, in a private gazebo. The waiter would come by in a golf cart with each course, then leave us completely alone for a half an hour or so to eat etc. As you can see, when we came back from the wedding ceremony, there were beautiful flowers in the room, shaped into a heart on the bed. It ended up, all in all, being mellow, pleasant, and just overall perfect.

Just a note that the photos have been reduced in size, so if anyone is interested in having copies to print, just leave a note in the comments or email me and I'll send you what you need.


Here are some pics from the holiday in Rarotonga. Pictures, clockwise from top, are: our accomodation, myself on the balcony, Island Night entertainment at the Staircase , a pic from Steve's diving, Steve on the bike, sunset in front of our accomodation, a pic from Steve's snorkelling, a Cook Island Christian Church and cemetary, another snorkelling pic, Muri Beach from Wedding Island, having drinks at the Crown Beach Resort (where we also had our wedding dinner), Steve and I overlooking the lagoon while on the Raro Safari Tour, and Steve cooking dinner on the bbq.

We spent two glorious weeks here, renting a bike to get around the island (it only takes about 45 minutes to drive around the entire thing). When we first arrived in the middle of the night, I was a bit concerned as it didn’t look like much, and the only thing you could hear was roosters crowing (to my surprise, they do it more than once and not just at dawn!). The hostel we stayed at was fantastic, and our beachfront unit was more flash and gave us more privacy than a lot of the other places we saw when going around, at a quarter of the cost. Mt first piece of ID in my married name ended up being my Cook Islands driver’s licence. I got it for the novelty factor, rather than practicality, as I suspect many tourists do. It’s obviously just a ploy to bring in more tourist dollars.

Burials here often take place on resident’s personal land. I was struck by this at first as I wondered what happens when the land is sold, as it would seem unusual for the same family to own the land generation after generation. They have a different system, however, for land ownership. Land can only be leased for 60 year periods from the original owner, with the option to renew, but not the right. This is quite brilliant as it ensures that this place can’t become overrun with tourists buying up holiday homes and pushing up costs for the locals.

Having an entire two weeks on a beach island was incredible. I definitely like the attitude towards taking vacation time in this part of the world. People go on ‘holiday’ for anywhere up to a month or more…and workplaces are ok with it! It’s actually a bit sad to be back in Auckland now, as it has yet to warm up much and we just miss the beach. We went snorkelling (me once as I found it a bit alien feeling and scary…hey, I’m a city girl), Steve went diving (note the underwater pics in a deeper blue are from the dive), did a ‘safari tour’ and got far up in the hills, and just hung out on the beach. What struck me about Rarotonga was the fact that it so much less built up and touristy than any other beach holiday I’ve gone on. At first, I thought it might not be all that, but as time went on, I enjoyed it more than anywhere else I’ve been, largely due to this aspect.