March 26, 2017

Alyssa’s Travels Abroad

Alyssa’s Travels Abroad

I’ve finally found a place that’s friendlier than Colorado! Driving on the left side of the road wasn’t as hard as I imagined it would be and I definitely like this French Pugeot better than my old crappy car. As I arrived with no phone or computer, I learned to trust again. I didn’t realize how much I depended on it for security until I didn’t have it.

Upon landing, I waited for a friend and we were off on a road trip. First stop Dunedin! Well known for rainy weather, a uni (university) town, and beautiful vistas. There I got a new telephone with my first new number in years and explored the  valley including a clean and busy downtown with fruit and art all around the streets.
We then drove to Cromwell and stayed at a beautiful 18 acre winery, garden, pasture, and orchard. I’ve eaten only fresh food from the garden since my arrival with the exception of a deep fried sausage along the road. It was okay but much too big and, in my opinion, needed a flavorful dip. For breakfast, I had vegemite which is a vegetable spread that looks like nutella and tastes a bit salty and tart. As much as I wished I liked it I only had a bit; I’ll try it weekly to see if my tastebuds change. We also had a tasty kiwi dip which had onion soup with reduced cream and some lemon zest. Tasted like french onion dip but a zillion times better. We traveled to Wanaka and stopped at a beach with clear and warm waters.

Lunch was a piece of fish with an egg on top! While there, I played in a sandbox with some children. We were talking about buried treasure when a 10 year old boy said, “No one would bury a million dollars in this shallow sand pit except an American” I quickly said hey, we’re not all bad! He then asked me if I had voted for Donald Trump, with contempt. DT fills the news here and most people ask my opinions of him as an American. The US is under many watchful eyes including many New Zealanders young and old. The land is becoming more expensive to buy here and is getting bought up quickly. In NZ many things are named in tribute or remembrance to the Maori (Maugh-ri) and children are taught their language. You see many descendants today and some natives today. Apparently they are more in the Northern Island and I live in the Southern Island but I look forward to learn more about them.

The forests are dense and protected – less dangerous and definitely traveled through. There are breathtaking rock faces that drop off into clear blue water. The Springs allow for water collection without purification. Lake Pukaki near Mt. Cook actually supplies electricity with hydro power and sells it to many places over New Zealand. Lake Tekapo is also a tourist destination that we stopped at – a beautiful asian bride was running up the stone stairs of a tiny church on the shore.

There are many sheep but cows had a reign, dropping milk prices drastically for a time. When everyone followed suit and the farmers stopped making $ some committed suicide, some went back to sheep. Many Kiwis are conscious of the negative effects from having cows. They noticed some more waste and less blue in the hue of waters. They aren’t happy to see the rise in cows and want to see the numbers go back to the way they were. Their National Forests were established 25 years before the United States and lead to restoration of kiwis, marine life, and more!

I so look forward to learning the quirks of the areas I visit and to share them with anyone who cares to have a read. I am honored to be an American but excited to spread my wings and learn more about this giant world we live on!

I am sure that our human essence has not changed over time. People have always complained about their children, their leaders, their parents, their spouses, their work, repairing their homes. They triumphed and failed. History is about people as much as it is about events. I think that the more deeply we penetrate history, the more we understand both. Some folks learn history from books, others from TV of the Internet. Sometimes it comes through the oral tradition and is passed down in stories and legends. To me, the most powerful and direct way to get involved with history is through travel: wherever I go, I learn about the people who live there and where they came from. I learn all I can. I immerse myself in a culture and try to absorb and remember everything people say about their origins, ancestors, heroes and heroines, migration patterns, mistakes, triumphs, defeats, trading, leadership, allies, enemies, warmongering, peacemaking, challenges, and adaptations to the ebb and flow of existence. I listen because I am inspired by their history and mystery. I listen as though my survival depends upon it because I believe it does. Every time I travel, every time I encounter people whose lives and cultures are different from mine, I am amazed at how their existence on this blue marble we call Earth adds depth, breadth, perspective, meaning, and joy to my own life.
By Alyssa Baker

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