Delayed New Year’s celebrations and a rare sight

The hot weather continues in Southland, so I was able to start my week with a beautiful bike ride and TRX in the garden, resistance work with a view!

We continue with our redecoration of the main bedroom, all the walls are done (thanks Mark!) and all the wardrobe doors are off being painted. I made the curtains this week, really simple, saved $200+ and they look great!

Sadly, I was working on New Year’s Eve and new year’s day. So, here’s how I managed my solo celebration!

Mark booked a lovely surprise hotel in Dunedin for Friday evening, the next time I was off work, so we simply postponed our proper celebrations until then!

Sufficed to say, we had a brilliant time. The hotel was in the same building as Dunedin Casino. Well…. Of course we did! After a stop off at the hotel gym, we had a lovely chicken dinner at Nando’s (there isn’t one in Invercargill) then headed to the Octagon for some liquid refreshment. We didn’t realise (well, I didn’t anyway) that because 2 Jan is a public holiday most bars charged a 15% surcharge. That made 2 beers come to $20! :-O but, ah, never mind!

You forget about small things, living in a sleepy small city, until sat in a bar somewhere bigger. Like, people watching. There’s no point watching the farmer people in Invercargill, they all look the same! Beer, chillaxing outside on a warm summers evening watching our surroundings, some music: the perfect way to spend an evening.

We couldn’t not go to the casino though, once again, none in Invercargill, just pokies. We set ourselves a limit of $100 and headed upstairs. Besides , it was the only way to get an after hours beer!

We have been in casinos before in America, so I knew what to expect. There were pokies (slot machines) as usual, then a main room with the betting tables, roulette, poker, blackjack and some other games I didn’t recognise. No craps though, a dice game I did quite well at in Nevada which basically involved people betting on whether you would or would not roll a 7! (7 was bad!)

We sat with a beer and watched for a while. I was completely aghast how seemingly normal looking people were throwing thousands and thousands of dollars across the tables for hours on end. I just couldn’t believe it. I think it was more noticeable to me because there wasn’t the Nevada glitz and glamour, it was quite a small place. Mark played some blackjack and did ok, for a while, till his luck ran out.  A pair of young lads joined him for a while, throwing a rapid $100 each away in chips before moving on to the next table. I eventually plucked up the courage to play roulette but avoided the main table, which had a huge crowd and a guy who had been there all evening cashing in gigantic sums of money in huge piles of chips, which he used up at great speed. I dread to think what their value was, but he was dealing with pieces of signed paper rather than actual cash.

I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, it seems there’s much more to it than choosing a number! Anyway, my allotted cash lasted me a short while and it was fun!

Farmers marketThe following morning we took a walk to the farmers market. It’s well worth it, and something we came upon by accident on a previous visit. We stocked up with fruit and veg, in preparation for our New Years resolution to cook properly and stop being lazy!

After some more shopping (essential when you live in a city with a choice limited to two or three!) we had a last ditch coffee and cake before a beautiful drive home through the Catlins.

The Catlins is always a beautiful drive, and ever tempting to stop at every corner and take a photo. Pesky place was full of tourists though! I have never seen so many people in Owaka at one time! Haha!

We stopped at the beautiful cafe at Niagara for a coffee on our way through and popped to Curio Bay. We were super lucky, the ranger was there, the sign was out, only a possibly 30 minutes to wait before the extremely rare yellow eyed penguins would be coming back to their nests for the night. We have been a number of times but not caught a glimpse. They are one of the rarest penguins in the world, and only 3/4 pairs nest here. Like a needle in a haystack.

Our patience was rewarded though, one penguin popped up out of the water onto the rocks and rested a while in the sun before waddling off to its nest. It was quite a way off, so we couldn’t get a photo, but we feel utterly blessed, and there’s another thing we can now tick off our list! Next, I need to go look for a Hectors dolphin!

Another wonderfully sunny week, a great night out, what a great start to 2015.