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Allan Xia continues his cool travelogue of the recent China delegation we were on. Enjoy!


There’s an old joke about a shifty-looking guy asking a straight-laced man if he has any naked pictures of his wife.  After the straight man repeatedly insists he doesn’t have any naked pictures of his own wife, Shifty casually asks “You want some?”

Cue the rimshot.

But seriously folks, I’m here to talk about nude pictures of my wife.

(Note that in the joke, it’s naked pictures. When I’m talking about Cece, it’s nude pictures. The difference? Confidence!)

Every year at Massey University, the 3rd year vet students sell a fund-raising calendar. Way back in the dawn of time it became a saucy, cheeky nude calendar, and sales have gone up ever since.

This year is Cece’s year. And she’s trying to figure out what kind of saucy, cheeky scenarios she wants to do.

Y’see, this isn’t Playboy with its soft-focus Photoshopped Barbie dolls. This is saucy and cheeky and fun, and so you need a scenario.

Something to do with animals. Or veterinary science. Or academia.

Now for your part. If you’re friends of ours, chances are you’re kind of awesome. And creative. And saucy, and cheeky.  And possibly nude.

So we want your help. We’d love your ideas on scenarios, locations, poses. The funnier and cleverer the betterer.

If Cece picks your idea, we’ll send you some possum-fur nipple warmers. Or maybe a possum-fur willy warmer.  Trust me, they’re awesomerer than they sound.

Let the suggestions begin!

[Added by Cece later: My name is Cecilia Barr, this message has been edited and edited and edited again for content. I now approve this message.]

This is a short list of things you shouldn’t do if your fingertips have recently gotten in the way of a shearing device.

(I’m so smart, I learned all these lessons in only one day!)

0. Trust that your wounds have healed enough to not re-open
1. Run out of bandaids
2. Fold the clean laundry
3. Do the dishes
4. Use your iPhone or other touchscreen device
5. Put your hands on your hips.
6. Put your hands in your pockets.
7. Put your hands anywhere.
8. Handle raw chicken
9. Put salt on the chicken
10. Try to stifle the screams induced by getting salt and salmonella in your cuts
11. Type a post about having cuts on your typing fingers.

This has been a public service announcement from your local neighborhood klutz.

The lovely Christina Walker is back with the third installment of her travels through the antipodes.

If you want to start from the top, here’s her first post.

DAY 6:  Missed my bus to take me to Rotorua.  The lesson: if you’re close to missing your bus plunk down the cash and take a cab rather than wait for the bus, hoping that it gets you there on time.

I wound up having to pay for an additional bus ticket.

This actually turned out to be a good thing because my bus driver was the NICEST man and told me about all the things I needed to do while in Rotorua, and turned the bus trip into a mini tour.  He also let me know which cultural experience was superior to the others, and gave me a brief history lesson about the Pink and White Terraces (aka Buried Village).  Never heard of them?  Neither had I, and they’re considered one of the lost WONDERS OF THE WORLD.

So once I had arrived at my hostel, the worst hostel of my entire trip, I asked about the cultural experience along with taking a trip out to the Buried Village.  The front desk guy was actually able to get me with a group for that night, so I hurried off to learn as much as I could.  (Rotorua is like the cultural mecca of New Zealand and their cultural experiences are supposed to be the most authentic.)

Upon arrival we were placed at long tables, and our guide, John, welcomed us.  We learned that we were to be a tribe of 13 nations (yes, there were people visiting from 13 different countries in our group of about 40 or so people.  And the pretty cool bit was that John, our guide, could welcome each group in their own native language.)  Our leader wound up being a guy named Steve, and I think he was either from the UK or Australia.  So John led us down the chilly dark path, and we saw a war party approach from the opposite direction in their waka (war canoe).  Even in the winter weather these guys were dressed in the traditional shirtless attire, and it was freezing.  They danced, and told us about their traditions, customs, and ways of life.  It was very educational and acted out in an authentic manner.  They chatted the Haka chant that is preformed each time the All Blacks rugby team plays.  For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about check out the link below-it’s pretty impressive:

Finally, we got to go back to our tables and have the full meal.  By this time I was starving since I’d been on a bus for most of the day, and had only been able to grab a snack at our one stop.  The food was decent, and the coffee warming.  After dinner we were offered blankets and flashlights to follow John back behind their village, and were shown where and how the meal was prepared.  Further back we were shown the glowworms caves that light up.  It reminded me a bit of AVATAR, and if Cameron had been to NZ I can see where he might’ve gotten some inspiration.

Eventually, we returned back to the main area and were escorted back to our respective buses.  I believe this is the tribe I saw:

Upon arriving back at my freezing hostel, I immediately turned on the heat, only to find that it didn’t work.  (I learned the next morning that they turn off the heat after 10PM-inded-WORST HOSTEL EVER.  For those of you possibly going to Rotorua-if it has the word Spa in the title-DON’T GO THERE.)

I also was told by my ever helpful from desk guy that there wasn’t a way to get to the Buried Village that day, and I informed him that instead of staying the week I would only be staying an additional day.  He gave me a map and showed me the places I could walk to, and the weather was nice enough that I followed the path he’d drawn for me.  (However, while at breakfast I called up the Buried Village people myself and was able to get a driver to pick me up to take me the next day.  So lesson learned, never take no for an answer when you might miss something you really want to see.  This being the anniversary of the eruption I knew that I wanted to go there if I could.)

Along my walk I smelled several of the native flora and fauna along with the pungent sulfur smell that comes from living in a place that has natural heated pools all over.  During my walk I also found my way to their main locals village/part of town.  I say village because of how small it was.  I found a shop where the owner’s husband had carved everything in the store and was an elder and teaching others his trade.  (This was also the best place to buy remarkable pieces at a decent price.)

Later in the day I walked by a lifesized waka caged so that it wouldn’t be damaged, and I also walked through an English garden…which seemed so out of place but very beautiful in its own way.  I slowly made my way back to the hostel and had a nice chat and dinner with some of the other travelers.  Warning newbees about the loss of heat at nice, and armed with a small portable heater I eventually made it to bed-a little warmer than the night before.

Our friend Christina Walker just sent the next update to her antipodean gallivanting…

If you want to start from the top, here’s her first post.

DAY 3:

I lucked into having beautiful summer weather for a day in Auckland and I took advantage of it by walking through the city and finding my way to the docks.  I had missed the ferry to Waiheke Island, so I caught a bus for Parnell Village.  I found a quaint little street with several unique shops and can say that this area is the best place to find lots of souvenirs at a reasonable price.

Thanks to my new coffee friends who recommended Prego-a fantastic place to dine for dinner.  I ordered a lamb pasta dish (which may have been a special since I can’t find it on their online menu) along with a glass of my favorite wine (Two Hands’ Shiraz Gnarly Dudes).  Both the dish and the wine were perfect.  The only downside to this place was that the bread that I ordered was not only terrible but cost $4 (almost the same price as my wine.)  Also their tiramisu was decent but not nearly as delicious as my entrée.


DAY 4:

I took the ferry bright and early over to Waiheke Island.  I did the day tour, which took you over the entire island, and lucked into several people wanting to be dropped off at a winery on the way back to the boat.  I decided to get off as well and found myself at Cable Bay Winery.  The view was beautiful and the wine…the BEST Pinot Noir I’ve EVER had.  So I of course had to buy a bottle.  I followed an additional set of US travelers to another winery called Mudbrick.  Still a nice vineyard but not nearly as good when it came to the wine.  The day pass I had purchased allowed me to catch the bus back to the ferry, so I didn’t need to walk all the way back.  (Doable but I probably would’ve missed the ferry I wound up being able to catch.)

On the way back to my hostel I was able to catch the bus over to the Sky Tower.  Can you say overrated and a waste of money?  I used to live in Chicago so I can appreciate seeing a city from way up high, but unless you want to do some bungee jumping skip this and save your money for something more fun and exciting.


DAY 5:

I spent the day leisurely catching a film.  In all honesty I probably could’ve left a day earlier, but am glad I stayed and here’s why.  On Tuesday nights the Stardome (Auckland’s Observatory) has a cheese and wine night to accompany the evening’s star gazing.  The wine was decent and the cheese was yum, but it was amazing to stare up at the sky, something I’ve done so often in the states and not recognize a single constellation.  I learned about the stars that are important to those living in the southern hemisphere along with peering through high powered telescopes during their intermission and being able to see the moon, Saturn and additional constellations.  Definitely worth the cost, and the best part is I was able to get there and back by bus alone.

Do you see the itty bitty lamb tongue?

Hef the rooster stars in New Zealand’s first telenovela as El Pollo Magnifico, the flamboyantly gorgeous and exceedingly estupido Cassanova of Te Matai Road.

Aye Caliente!

Alone in his coop with no one to admire his hotness, Hef is seduced by the siren’s call of the neighbor’s chicken coop.  Driven mad with desire, Hef steals away for forbidden rendezvous with los pollos de ill reputo.

But alas, the neighbor will not let this stand.  Hef is chased away again and again.  Until one morning, on the other side of her front door, Nikki, Hef’s keeper, hears the muffled sounds of our lovesick poultry.  She opens the door and lo!  Hef has been stuffed into an empty burlap sack and left on the doorstep with the warning “should he breach the threshold of the neighbor’s coop ever again, Hef will be separated from his head.”

Aye Caramba!

El Pollo Magnifico refuses to be kept from his pollos de pasion prohibida!  But frantic with worry for our hero rooster, Nikki arranges for the arrival of Hef’s very own senoritas, the Princesses Layer, von Possom, Buttercup, and Sofia.

However, the princesses, newly liberated from chicken jail were not ready for life on the outside.  Nor were they ready for Hef’s rooster dance of seduction, la lambada de sexy.  Unfortunately for everyone, the princesses opened what was later identified as un can de whoop ass and unaccustomed to such displays of white trash brawlin’, Hef escapes to the comfort of his pollos cholas.

What will happen to our lovesick hero?  Will the princesses soften to Hef’s charms?  Will the lusty neighbor hens be the end of our favorite idioto delicioso?

Tune in next week for more of “El Pollo Magnifico”

Dare to resist

The Maori language (Te Reo Maori) has a lot of cool concepts inherent in the language itself. One word I learned recently is quite a mouthful, but the concept behind the word is pretty rad.

The word is kaitiakitanga.

I know it looks like a whole lot of syllallallables strung together, but sound it out and let it roll off your tongue.


Instead of defining it myself, I’ll defer to Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand.

Kaitiakitanga – the protection and preservation of the gifts of our ancestors for future generations, most commonly defined as guardianship, but is also regarded in a wider sense as care and management of all resources – an expression of the responsibility of iwi and hapū to protect and care for taonga for future generations. Many also see it as an expression of rangatiratanga – ‘rangatiratanga is the authority for kaitiakitanga to be exercised’ (Merata Kawharu, Kaitiakitanga: A Māori Anthropological Perspective of the Māori Socio-environmental Ethic of Resource Management, The Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 110, No. 4, 2000). See also M. Marsden and T. A. Henare, Kaitiakitanga – A Definitive Introduction to the Holistic World View of the Māori, November 1992.

(Iwi is analogous to tribe, hapū is an extended family within the tribe (like a sub-tribe), taonga is cultural treasure.)

So “kaitiakitanga” is like “conservation,” but the word itself contains the purpose and the context of the conservation.

That’s pretty bitchin’.

We met on the side of the road one sunny afternoon. I was in my car, she was in a field of daisies and wildflowers.

Our eyes met. Mine blue, hers a brilliant yellow.

I smiled; she smiled. I waved, she chewed her cud.

It was love at first sight.


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