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Following is the continuation from Newsletter No. 121 (January 2005) of the journal that Barbara wrote on her New Zealand vacation in 2000. (See introduction in Newsletter No. 114.)
We decided to just go to Lombardi's in the hotel again. But when we got there no tables were available because a tour group had the whole dining room booked for 19:50. Before I went down, I went to my room to wash and dry my new sweatshirt. We had talked about going to Chinese so we decided to go back into "town" and to the restaurant that we had seen the same couple who live in Hong Kong that sat across from us at the Hangai feast in Rotorua. It turned out to be a japaneae restaurant, Minami Jujisei. We decided to order a 4-serving portion of Sukiyaki for the 5 of us to be cooked at our table. The Duty Manager (Neil Fraser) came by and chatted us up and brought a complementary soup. We didn't order right away and the place was crowded so our "dining experience" lasted about 2 hours. They cooked the 1st batch of meat & veggies and sauce for us and we spooned it over white rice. After that, the cooking duties fell to me by default because I was closest to the raw goods!! I ordered a glass of Gerwitztreimer because on our wine tour we were told that was a good wine with Chinese food or any spicy food. It didn't even hold a candle to what we had tasted on our tour. I thought it had been wholly oak aged and I discovered on the tasting that I prefer on 30% oak aged wine! The dinner for $11 (US) not counting my wine, was very good. Even though it was quite a lengthy process.
My sweatshirt was in the drying mode when we got back at nearly 22:00 but wasn't even close to being dry. So here I am writing in the journal and hoping the cycle will finish before I want to go to sleep. We have a long drive again tomorrow, back up North to Mt. Cook for one night before heading to Christchurch for out last two nights in New Zealand! I took one of Haidi's Benadryl for my itching.
The alarm woke we at 06:00. I started packing and had coffee. The Benadryl seems to have helped because I'm not itching at all. I went down for the Continental breakfast at 06:45. Today, instead of spaghetti, they had baked beans. I took a little. They were quite good (a bit sweet) and I went back for more.
The e-mail Mom sent to Haidi did go through because I got an envelope slipped under my door in response. She was very surprised to hear from us and said that "While I've always thought Barb is an excellent driver, but I don't think I will ride with her the first week she is home." Mom had also received one from Dick.
We got on the road about 08:45. We encountered a farmer moving sheep from one field to another down the middle of the road. We stopped to take pictures. My camera was not handy. I took a picture with Lorraine's camera out the window. Mom got out to take pictures. The herd started to go the wrong way, so they sent the dogs to chase them. The herd "stampeded" and Mom scrambled back into the car without incident!
We stopped at the same fruit stand as on the way down. We got Braeburn & red delicious apples, oranges, plums and a watermelon. While I was in the toilet, the rest were given a mini tour of the family and a sample of a relatively new apple: Sonja. It was very good and I hope NZ will export them.
We continued on and gassed up in Cromwell. We stopped in Omarama for bread, ham and cookies and a potty stop. I drove along the West Side of Lake Pukaki. A beautiful turquoise lake. We stopped for photos of the lake in the foreground and Mr. Cook in the background. We got to our hotel The Hermitage Glencoe about 14:00. I thought it was going to be a long day and it was one of our earliest check-ins! The wing we were to stay in is closed for the season so we are staying in the main hotel. They had us all in the new wing in all non-smoking rooms. So they reluctantly moved me to the old part of the hotel. I'm two floors lower than everyone else.
It was so hot in the room that I changed from my sweatshirt and shoes & socks to a T-shirt and thongs. I am sitting outsaide writing and its HOT with the sun beating on me. The sun went behind a ridge (16:00) and it cooled about 10 degrees almost immediately. It's still a couple of hours until sunset and we are hoping it will be a colorful one on the mountain for more photo ops! We met in Mom & Dad's room to discuss dinner plans. The guest service directory shows the only restaurant is a buffet for $40 (NZ) pp. None of us particularly liked the choices so we decided to just go to the bar and order off their menu.
(To be continued.)
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