A little catch-up

Since I’m not at all regular about keeping this blog, I’ll try to fill in a little although we haven’t done anything eventful. You can see from my previous few posts that I’ve been very busy with experimenting with various live linux installations. Wow! do I ever wish that I had brought a couple more USB drives with me, especially a 32GB one.

As I last reported on January 2nd, we took a longer walk that day. We discovered Manly Park, Big Manly Beach, the stairs leading from Manly village down to Manly park, etc. Since then we have repeated the same walk with variations. The roads around here are kind of like the roads of Boston, they wander and meander. It’s sort of nice but not very efficient, especially when you are on foot. I started examining google maps of the area and found some gray routes depicted, that weren’t roads. It looked like, by following those routes, we might be able to cut across some of the cow path roads and have a much more direct route from Manly Park back home. A couple of days ago it was cloudy and a bit cooler so we decided to give the prospective route a try. Sure enough, not only did those gray routes provide short cuts, they are official walking paths with signage at each end.

When we reached Zealander road we decided to follow another path which seemed to lead to the middle of a residential area. In fact, it lead to a school that was on a road called Ladie’s Mile. If you take a
right on that road from the school, it leads you to Big Manly Beach. If you go left, it intersects Whangaparaoa Road.


Looking down from Manly Village to Big Manly Beach — There are a lot of these reserves around the neighborhood


 Tui under Beech trees in Manly Park


Tui running up steps from Manly Park to Manly Village


Beautiful blooms of the Lantana Camara near the park


Tubby on one of the short cut walks sniffing one of the many varieties of aromatic leaves

Two days ago we drove to Whangaparaoa village, only a few miles down the road, to go shopping. Tui’s plan was to go to the Columbus Cafe but we couldn’t find it. Instead we stumbled across the Esquires Cafe. It turned out to be a good find. The espresso was very good for a public place.  My short black double shot (Kiwi for espresso) was very good and well balanced, if uninspired. Tui also liked her Latte and the barista made some beautiful Latte art, a depiction of the New Zealand silver fern.


 Tui’s latte with a beautiful depiction of the New Zealand Silver Fern. It is somewhat of a national symbol for New Zealand.

I learned that Esquires Coffee is a chain of “coffee houses” in New Zealand, mostly in Auckland, Wellington and Christ Church areas, with a total of about 45 shops. I spoke a little bit with the barista but mostly the woman working there, probably his wife. I told her that I roasted my own beans and made espresso. She was very kind and interested. She showed me one of the bags that they get their coffee in. Except for decaf, all there coffee is Fair Trade organic. Other than that, they don’t specify the origin of their beans except to say they are arabica.

There is a really nice beach within a few minutes walk of here. There are high bluffs between our house and the beach and a nice path leading down to the beach. There is an overhanging Pohutukawa on one of the bluffs before the beach which has been the haunt of a dozen boys and a few girls for several days now. They climb onto some overhanging branches high above the water and jump. I was impressed by that but yesterday I saw jumping from near the top of the bluff with a running start! I would say it is at least twenty five feet high!


Overhanging tree and bluff where boys (and girls?) jump into the water

You can see the overhanging tree and if you look hard you can see a figure in the tree who has just jumped. Above him and to the left you can see another figure. This is where they run and jump from. If you zoom in on the photo you can also see two boys in the water a bit out from the jumping figure.

For over a week now, Tui has been working on some colored pencil drawings from some photos she took of rocks near the beach.

…to be continued


Coffee possibilities in New Plymouth

We will be heading down to New Plymouth on January 16th so Tui has been doing some investigation into the coffee situation there. It looks very interesting! For a start there is Ozone Coffee Roasters




Shopping trip to Orewa

Today I threw all caution to the winds and self-drove from Manly to Orewa. This was the next step in my driving on the left hand side of the road education and practice. The strategy was to go early Sunday morning before the traffic became heavy. It worked out perfectly. We left about 8 am. The drive is pretty short–about 15 to 20 minutes.

Our main mission in Orewa was to go to the New World Market for groceries plus  a few dry goods, wine and water. Mission accomplished and we spent a lot! My other goal was to buy another US to New Zealand plug adapter at a place there called Dick Smith that sells portable computers and acessories. I bought an adapter for NZD 20, twice what we paid for the multi-adapter we bought in the US. I’m using it now but realized that I should have paid another $10 to get an adapter that had a built-in USB port. I intend to return and exchange it.

There was also a little farmer’s market where Tui bought some fruits.

Afterwards we went to a mediterranean restaurant called Casa Blanca that Peter had taken us to but I didn’t remember at all. We got a mixed plate which included Lavash bread and several different dips, olives and vegetables. It wasn’t particularly tasty but it wasn’t bad and a good deal at NZD 24 for two people.