Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Summer Holidays

I was reading on the BBC website that the Black Caps (NZ cricket team) are in for a busy winter. They were referring to December and January 2007/08. This is in fact a busy SUMMER in this part of the world. This is not an isolated example of a prejudice for which I do not believe there is currently a name. I have started calling it hemispherism - the implicit assumption that one hemisphere is superior to the other. It is a learning process but helpful in shaking up your thinking. Much of the symbolism of Easter, bunnies, bulbs, chicks, new life does not work as well when Easter is in the autumn.
One of the differences is that there is no incentive for people in the Southern hemisphere to take a holiday in July in the middle of the winter. Many people here use all their holidays in one huge chunk and then just keep going for the rest of the year. It means that January is a month when people vanish and the world slows down.

Nigel spent a week in St Louis at Urbana doing a seminar and exploring some opportunities for people to be involved in the Pacific. While this was going on Grannie and Grandad were on a bus tour of South Island. We all got together for some holiday meeting up in Christchurch and then heading North.

We had a fantastic crossing of the Cook Strait, which can be a tricky stretch of water but on a fine day is spectacular.

We sailed past Curious Cove where Luke's school camp was last year.

Other highlights of the trip were feeding giraffes at Orana Wildlife Park in Canterbury.

Walking round the gardens and homestead at Riccarton Bush, home of the first Scottish family to settle on the Canterbury Plains.

Adventure Maze, Mini Golf and Hot Pools at Hanmer Springs.

The World of Wearable Art and the site of the first rugby match in New Zealand in Nelson.

And what was for us the highlight of the trip visiting Abel Tasman National Park and walking part of the track.

For those of you with historical interests here is the eponymous Abel Tasman.

Mariner, explorer and first European to "discover" New Zealand, he may have been one of the first in history to experience the confusion of summer in December, but since no contempory portraits exist the depiction of him holding his hat to his thigh in a rafish manner belongs in the realms of artistic speculation.

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