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2002 14 10 - Gisborne, New Zealand

Ah, what a week.

I've been living the easy life at my dad's house in Gisborne for the last 6 days now. It hasn't been all lazy days and lazy nights though - I have

The Terry Pratchett books were about what you would expect. "Eric" was a bit weak I thought it didn't really have much plot or character development. "Feet of Clay" was pretty good. The Frederik Pohl stuff was good, but "Wild Mind" was a bit boring.

"Parallel Thinking" is going ok. De Bono seems to have a chip on his shoulder, but it isn't too bad in this book. His "De Bono Code book" has 10 or so pages at the start ranting about how critics are too harsh on him. This book is about his "6 thinking hats" and a few other methods of creative and constructive thinking. As opposed to the more typical critical western thinking as typified by debates and arguments. It is worth a read.

Dad is a member of the Gisborne East rotary club, so I went along with him to 1 of the meetings at the Poverty Bay Gentleman (and woman)'s Club. The idea of rotary seems to be hat everyone pays money to attend, and the pays more money based on a little speech that someone gives. They go on about current events, and every time something vaguely related to you comes up you have to put in a few coins. For example ASB got rated the worst bank for customer service in NZ, so everyone with an ASB account had to put in some money. It seemed like everyone had to donate once or twice.

Then they have a 3 minute speech and a 20 minute speech. The guy scheduled to do the 3 minute speech wasn't there, so someone told a joke instead.

--------- joke --------
There are these two stupid farmers out in the field. One falls off his motorbike and is lying there, not moving. The other one phones 911 on his mobile.
"Oh no, my mate is dead!" he says.
"Well, don't panic, I'll talk you through this" the operator says "First, make sure he is really dead"
There is a short pause, and a gun shot is heard. "Ok, now what" says the farmer.
---------- end of joke ----------

The 20 minute speech was by an architect who was restoring old buildings around the Gisborne area. He gave a power point presentation about 3 sites he had worked on, and what they had done. That was ok, but a bit dull. One of the places was this old town up in the middle of no where.

It was a religious settlement in the early 1900's. But the Maori minister was a bit of a pain for the government and got put in jail. He was selling alcohol without a government licence, and not paaying taxes on it either. He was apparently selling it himself to control the supple to his people, so they didn't get drunk all the time. He was also trying to set up an independent state or something. He also had 4 wives.

Anyway, the place had been a ghost town since about the 1930's. Some of the old buildings had been burnt down the last time some people had tried to clean up the place. It seems that they were burning off scrub, and got a bit over enthusiastic about it.

There is also a dinner, which was chicken, peas, potatoes, kumera, pumpkin, carrots, brocolli and mushrooms on the night I went, with cinnamon muffins with custard and cream for dessert.

I went for a huge rive on friday. I started off heading towards the Rere waterfall and rock slide. The rock slide is a 30 meter or so slab of rock in the middle of the river, then decends at about a 30 degree angle and ends in a big natual pool. The rocks are covered in algie (sp) and you can slide down the whole thing on a boogie board or inner tube. Or on your ass if you are game.

Anyway, I took a wrong turn and ended up in the hills. I drove for about 40 km along some cool 1 lane dirt roads. There were some really good views, but of course I forgot to bring my camera. Maybe I will go back on Wednesday. Went I finally got back to some paved road I drove for about 30 km before I worked out that I was heading away from Gisborne. I think I came out near Wamate, for those of you who know the Gisborne area.

The point of all this driving is to get me ready for my practical test tomorrow. If I pass I get my full licence, and then I can get an international licence as well, which would come in handy in my travels. Also it is good to do a bit of sight seeing, and get away from the computer and emails every once in a while.

During the test a person takes you round in your car, with you driving. There is 10 minutes of general proficiency testing, then 20 minutes of driving in built up areas (in town). During this time they get you to perform some manoeuvre, such as turning right, and then you have to pull over and explain all the dangers that you were taking into account while driving. Such as little kids, parked cars pulling out etc etc. Then you do the same in the country, only you have to point out things while you are driving.

All this is because I was too cheap for the past 8 years to pay the $100 to upgrade from my restricted to a full licence. Back then all you had to do to get a full licence was pay your money. Of course 2 years ago they changed all the rules around. Now I have to do the test, and had to pay $150 for it. And if I don't pass I'll have to pay to try again. And I had to pay $40 to renew my restricted licence before I could book my full licence test. Hopefully this whole affair will teach me not to be so lazy and cheap.

Goldmember was ok, and a bit different from the first two movies, but not too different. I thought the best bit was the part in the doctor's office. har har, good old toilet humour.

A few bits and bobs about gisborne. Lots of people wearing gumboots. lots more Maori people then Christchurch or Wellington. Everyone is quite friendly. I just tried parallel parking, and found out I suck. I failed 7 out of 7 attempts. Maybe I better practice a bit more before tomorrow, or read De Bono's book some more...

On Thursday I am taking a bus to Auckland, and staying with my friend Chris Gadd, who I know from university. Then I will be flying direct to Tokyo on Friday at lunchtime. I arrive at 7:30 Friday night. Maybe a quiet night on Friday to get me settled in, and then I'm off for a "night on the tiles" with Terence.

I'll write again on sometime after that, assuming I survive the Tokyo nightlife.

I've attached a picture of my sister, and a few photos of the country around gisborne.

Shen

My sister MereArihea

Some farmland from the Gisborne region

Sunny Gisborne

To look at the photos full size, click on them, then hit the backspace key to come back to this page

Waihau beach

A house on the hills by the beach