Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Nearly legal!

The immigration gods have answered! We received an e-mail late last night informing us that our residency application has been approved!* (*It's now all over but for the paperwork.)

Sorry for the short entry, but that's really all there is to it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Down to business in Wellington

At some point during each and every vacation, people get tired of living from suit cases, staying in expensive places, staying in places that they wished they had spent more to not stay in, eating out, cooking in borrowed kitchens, etc. They wish they were home so that they could bask in the drudgery of daily life, sit back, enjoy a good beer, sleep in their own bed, and not be expected to do anything—no expectation to have fun.

Now, if we still had these things, and on a predetermined date, we would be brought back to them, I guarantee you that travel weariness would have taken a lot longer to set in. Sadly, I think both of us are ready to be done with the vacation phase of our trip, and we haven't even been to see the South Island yet.

Don't get me wrong, travel weariness is not the same as homesickness. With homesickness you feel bad even if you have no rational reason for doing so. Travel weariness is simply the desire to veg-out or maybe remember where you are when you wake up in the morning.

Far from bummed out, our trip from Tauranga back to Wellington was a pleasant reminder of what we like about NZ. We showed up at the airport and had a nice conversation with the Turkish counter agent. We payed for the overage of our baggage and sat down at the café at the Tauranga airport. The airport felt like a small-town airport despite Tauranga being over twice the size of Missoula.

A group of schoolboys came in—wired from plastic bags full of the spoils of Easter—and their chaperone told them to go outside as to not bother the other passengers. So, they went outside at sat at the picnic benches separated by a lawn and a four foot chain link fence from the runway.

They announced that we should all board, and so we just walked out the door and up to the plane. There was no security screening. We got onboard the plane, and in a few minutes we were whizzing down the runway, with people leaned over the fence and waving to us. I'm sure that security is tighter if you are flying out of an international concourse, but it was nice to get a glimpse of a society that isn't afraid of itself. And you can feel it, that at all levels, kiwis are not destroying themselves psychologically from within the way that I feel the US is.

So here we are back in the bustling but homely (that's homey, not ugly, for you non-kiwis) capital. We're glad to be here, but nevertheless tired of travelling. We'll be staying at a bed and breakfast for a few days until we can find something a little cheaper and a little longer term. I'm actively submitting CVs now, and once one of us has a job here, we'll be looking to find and furnish an apartment.

I'm still keeping an eye out for positions elsewhere, but at this point, Wellington seems like the place. Also, we had our immigration interview last week while in Tauranga. Our friendly immigration agent, based in London, called and asked us a series of questions about how we were finding life in NZ and what we knew about various cultural aspects. I feel very good about the meeting. He told us that they would be making a decision soon and that we would likely hear back within a week. The three outcomes are: 1. application denial (i.e. we go back to the States, lick our wounds, and find jobs there.) 2. work permits 3. residency approval.

Application denial seems unlikely at this point, and while residency approval would be much more convenient for us, long-term work permits would allow us to meet most of our objectives. Our fingers are crossed. We'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Yarrr... the sea be a cruel mistress

Casting a line into water and pulling out something creepy and delicious has long been a favourite activity of mine. We figured the Pacific ocean might be just big enough to afford us that opportunity here in NZ. So we woke up Saturday at dawn or a little before and moseyed across the street to the Tauranga wharfs to get on a boat with Tim and kill us some sea life.

$190 NZ later we were on a boat, outfitted with poles and all the squid we could want, and motoring across a placid harbour. It was a beautiful day with plenty of sun and only a few rain clouds receding in the distance. After a brief stop to pick up more passengers at Mt. Maunganui, we—roughly twenty souls—pulled away from the wharfs to seek our glory.

As we rounded the mountain to exit the harbour, a statue of a Maori warrior knelt as if to lay a fern leaf at our feet. The Maori welcome visitors to their marae by placing a fern leaf at the visitors' feet after performing a ritual resembling a haka. If you are a friend, you will pick up the fern leaf and carry it with you, being careful not to break it or let it touch the ground. So too was this Maori statue welcoming us to the open ocean, or perhaps it was to greet us on our return.

As we left the calm of the harbour, Tim remarked at how placid the ocean was. With swells of a meter to a meter and a half, our fishing boat slowly made its way toward the island of Motiti, which we could see in the distance.

Our first fishing stop was approximately thirty minutes from the Mount, and that's when Roni and I had our first realisation that the ocean was not at all like the various rivers and lakes that we were used to. Yes, the constant heaving of the ocean—mild though it was—had made us both violently ill.

My first thought was to curse my parents. Couldn't they have taken us to the ocean once as children so that we could have maybe developed some kind of tolerance to sea sickness?

"Don't worry," said Tim. "Everybody gets sea sick at some point, even veterans. I knew a guy who has been sailing since..." I looked over and saw a kiwi leaned over the railing. Okay, it wasn't just the Montanans.

You'd think that at some point you'll get over it, but you don't. We had booked an all day excursion and that's roughly how long we were sick. Roni took the opportunity to head below deck and get some sleep. Her body had had enough. I took the "stare at the horizon" approach. I think she faired slightly better, but she missed more. Tim tells me that you don't even feel meter and a half swells in a sail boat because a sail boat has a keel. Note to self: be on a sail boat next time.

I wasn't in much of a condition to cut up baby squid and feed them on a hook. No, I wasn't squeamish about the squid or the fish smell—simply focussing my eyes on anything closer than the horizon caused intense nausea. I didn't feel too bad about not getting to fish, however, because almost nobody was catching anything of legal size. People were mostly hauling in baby snapper, removing hooks from them, and throwing them back. And that's a fine spectator sport.

We moved around to a few more spots and people mostly had the same luck: bad. Toward the end of the day, we had positioned ourselves in a spot where most of the swells had died down. Miraculously, my sea sickness subsided. Equally as miraculously, larger fish started biting.

I took that opportunity to pick up my previously unused rod, cut up some squid, and put them on the hooks. Wham. Baby snapper. Oh well, toss him back. Rinse, spin, and repeat a few times. Hey, this feels a bit bigger. Ooh a keeper. Not huge, but a respectable snapper. Excellent.

Tim had some good luck. He caught a kahawai, which had to be bled in order to keep its taste, and three snapper. While it didn't seem like a huge haul of fish, Tim didn't really want a bunch of fish anyway, and we certainly weren't in a position to prepare them where we were staying. So, in the end, we had just the right amount of fish: enough for Tim to cook a little snapper and smoke the rest. Despite Roni and I periodically chumming the waters, the poor guy fishing next to me didn't catch a single legally sized fish—and he was fishing the whole day.

Aside from the snapper and kahawai, we caught and saw all kinds of other interesting fish. One fellow caught a large eel, which was very interesting. Another caught a blue shark that was simply stunning. I caught a number of scorpion fish and a couple of (too small) blue cod. The scorpion fish are gorgeous. They have every shade of neon red and orange you can imagine. They also look rather spiny.

I'm glad that my evolutionary senses kicked in, however, and that the colour and spines prompted me to use a rag to handle the fish. While I had no problems handling the snapper and avoiding their razor sharp spines, apparently the scorpion fish are venomous. I don't know how venomous, but I'm just as glad that I didn't have to worry about a venomous sting on top of sea sickness.

After catching a few more small fish, the swells started to pick back up and I was done for the day. Fortunately, we headed back in shortly thereafter. Roni came back up from her nap below deck, got sick again, and together we eagerly anticipated solid ground on the ride back.

Once on ground, we found that, in fact, the ground does pitch and roll for a while. After a shower and a bit of a rest, we felt well enough to go find some food. After a very heavy, cheesy Italian dinner we retreated to our room for the night.

Back to Tauranga

After the bustle of Wellington, we wanted to see a bit more of the sunny north island. We decided to go back to Tauranga for a week to see the sights that we missed the last time around, not to mention the every-day life of the city. Tauranga is the fastest growing city in NZ, after all, so there might be job opportunities here and a progressive style of living. Why not stay for a while to get a feel for the place?

All it all it's been a good layover for us. We had a chance to get caught up on paperwork that we've been putting off up to this point. I applied for a few jobs here, and Peter's been applying for jobs via the internet. We've also had some very fun days on the beaches, another a walk on the mount, checked out a jujitsu dojo, and did some grocery shopping (always fun in another country). We even had our first encounter with The Warehouse, NZs version of WalMart (dun dun DUN!). Not exactly the most exciting week, but well worth it. I think we've seen more of what it's like to live like a kiwi here than on any other other part of our trip.

After a week we've come to the conclusion that Tauranga is a bit sleepy for us. It's definitely a nice place to visit, what with the beautiful scenery and all, but it's beginning to feel like there are two Taurangas. There's the tourist spots that are full of cool cafes, surf shops,kiwifruit orchards, and wineries, and then there's the sprawling shopping and residential areas that are nearly impossible to navigate if you don't have a car. It feels a lot like any other tourist town at this point: nice to visit and equally nice to leave be after a while. We're still drawn to Wellington (for some reason we haven't pinned down yet-call it a predisposition?), so we'll fly down there on Monday to start our next wave of job hunting.

Oh, and this last picture is for Jen. I know you were wanting to see me hugging a tree or some such hippie nonsense, but this was the best we could do for the day. After all, one of us has to be able to dip into the ocean without getting stung by jelly fish.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Wellington: waterfront

Perhaps even more-so than Wellington's cosmopolitan central business district (the locals call it the Cee-Bee-Dee), the waterfront dominates the Wellington cityscape. A lovely park symbolically bridges the gap between city and water; on one side, metal and stone blend into buildings. On the other side, Maori styled wood carvings evoke images of the sea.

There is a different kind of vibrancy at the waterfront. The CBD has the excitement of commerce and urban art. The waterfront has happy people strolling, eating ice cream, bicycling, kayaking, and otherwise enjoying themselves.

We spent a good deal of time simply strolling the waterfront and marvelling at the views, but both days we spent by ourselves in the waterfront district we found our way to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa. Te Papa is an impressive museum with days or maybe weeks of content to peruse.

Though Te Papa is free to visit, certain special exhibits charge admission. We paid to see the "Splendours of Japan" exhibition (no, we did not pay to see the Lord of the Rings exhibition). Te Papa secured an exchange agreement with the Japanese national museum in Tokyo to display a number of Japanese national treasures, including various scrolls, paintings, sculptures, and (our favourites) some ludicrously sharp looking samurai swords.

Additionally, we spent some time looking at some Polynesian exhibits. We found these a bit overwhelming in one shot. In the future, we'll be taking more trips to Te Papa to explore these exhibits to learn more about the Maori in particular.

After working up a thirst, we found a Mac's brewery. The food was mediocre, but they had a beer called "Brewjolais," which is apparently a one time special brew. That was nice to find. It was another taste of home. Made with fresh hops and lots of fermentables, it tasted very much like a beer from our beloved Kettlehouse brewery in Missoula. Now, if only we can figure out how to get them to make this beer again...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Good 'ol Welly

We haven't been here in Wellington for long, but we're starting to get a feel for the place already. We've met a number of people who have given us a glimpse into what it's like to live here, and it seems like it's a very livable city once you get used to it. It felt very imposing when we first pulled in, we'll admit. But after a day or two of wandering around on foot we're learning where things are, how to get around, and what kind of people make Wellington their home.

So far our impressions of Wellington are mostly positive. The landscape is breathtaking, as the pictures will attest. It has a decidedly metropolitan feel to it and there's a vibrant and artsy feel to the place. The central business district (CBD) is full of professionals wearing suits and game faces, and the skyscrapers and cafes lend it a very urban pace. It can seem a bit sterile during business hours, but on the weekends and evenings it's like any other scenic district.

Not far away is the shopping district, the waterfront park, the national museum Te Papa, and the sloping residential areas. There are little gems of art all over the city. There is a Writer's Walk that features New Zealand wordsmiths, kids play areas, sculptures, and parks. All of these areas sit nestled among the skyscrapers so you're never far from anywhere, really.

It feels as though all of these different areas of the city are all sliding down the hillsides and mashing together on the shores of Wellington Harbour, but they've managed to do it without stepping on a single toe. That being said, we haven't been here long and we've only seen a small portion of the city, but from what we can tell it's a fairly representative sample of the larger community.

We're staying at the Annaday Homestay. For those of you who have never done a homestay before, it's like renting out a bedroom in a fully functioning family home. We have a cosy bedroom and share the bathroom with another couple that is staying here for the month. Breakfast is served every morning in the family dining room, and we get panoramic views in a quiet neighbourhood. Our hosts Ann and Dave are amazingly open and friendly people. They've been very generous with their time and advice, and we've had a number of good conversations in the halls on our way in or out. Their house is of the typical Victorian style of the neighbourhood, high ceilings, wood trim and all. We get the impression that they live in one of the wealthier areas of town because of the size of the houses and the harbour views. These pictures show lots of houses on lush and steep hillsides, and the streets wind their ways like snakes through the trees. It's a good thing they don't get snow here, because getting up and down these hills would be a massive pain in the arse if it did.

This last photo was taken outside of a the Curry Village restaurant. Why the big Luigi statue outside of an Indian restaraunt? The world may never know.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


We stopped by a dojo to watch a jujitsu (jitsu, they call it) class tonight. I can tell that I'm missing jujitsu. I made a point not to bring my gi so that I could check out the club without pressure. Finding a dojo is a delicate business I think. Some dojos can be testosterone-charged venues for death sport.

Fortunately, this dojo was not one of those. The guys down an the dojo seem really friendly. They keep the fine tradition of "beer-waza" going. I'm sure if we end up here, I'll eventually fit in.

Sure enough, I was kicking myself for not bringing my gi. The club seems much more educationally focused rather than competition oriented. It also seemed like they were pretty careful on the mat to avoid critical injuries. I had been worried about death sport, but if anything, i think this club is more mild than what I'd been studying back in the sates.

This experience also really helped with the homesickness we felt today. For some reason, watching people strike, throw, and strangle each other is a comforting feeling.


Well, it was bound to happen. It coincidentally happened around the same time that we started to poke our heads up from vacation mode to look for jobs. It turns out that vacationing is easy, whereas moving across the globe is hard. Who'd have thought?

But, somewhere around noon, homesickness hit. It was short lived, but there nonetheless. All of the things we'd thought about resurfaced: Where should we stay? Is Wellington the right city? Should we be trying to find jobs right away? We miss our cat.

In reality, NZ has met or exceeded our exceptions in all areas but one (Internet access is costly and slow). Evaluated objectively, everything has gone as smoothly as could possibly be expected even in our wildest dreams.

They say acculturation takes place in five phases: euphoria, distress, re-integration, autonomy, and independence. I don't think that we're going to hit these in order. I suspect we'll experience all of them at various points and at varying intensities.

The upshot is that, after a good dinner and a trip to a dojo, we're feeling better for the moment. We also had a nice afternoon chat with some friends over the instant messenger, and that helped immensely. Thanks, Casey, Heather, Jonathan, and Tim! :-)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Driving South

A lot has happened since we've given a geographical update on our travels. We left Tauranga on Sunday the 9th for Wellington. We rented a car, bought ourselves a good map, and headed south toward our hoped-for promise land. A travel specific entry is soon to follow, so all of you interested in the whole driving-on-the-LEFT-side-of-the-road thing should stay tuned! (Note I said LEFT side of the road and not WRONG side of the road; the Americans we've run into thus far who have said that have come across as a little ethnocentric.)

We didn't stop to take pictures and are now kicking ourselves for it. The geographical- and bio-diversity of this country are astounding. After an overnight stop in Palmerston North we finally reached Wellington, or Welly as the kiwis call it.
A small note on Palmerston North. Most importantly, it's Missoula's sister city! As a funky university town with ties to home, we wish we had dedicated more time to it. We stayed at a truly excellent B&B run by quite possibly the nicest lady on the planet. We had our own newly re-modeled loft with a lounging nook and a wide breakfast spread. When we booked over the phone, the proprietor asked me if I had a partner with me or if I was alone.

"Yes, I have a partner with me."

She then asked my name, so I told her and the booking was complete. As we arrived she had just put some freshly baked muffins in our room and written this greeting on a board outside our entrance. I would definitely recommend Nikau Loft (www.nikauloft.co.nz) to anyone wanting to stay in Palmerston North. Sue definitely takes care of her guests there.

We finished the drive to Wellington the next day. It was a great day for driving, and we pulled into the capital city without incident. More on Wellington later.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mount Maunganui

We woke today with high hopes for a full day of new things. We had made the decision to go sailing with one of Tim’s friends in the afternoon, so we decided to take a hike through a mountain trail/garden in the morning. After a leisurely breakfast that went longer than we expected, we ended up simply going back to Tim’s apartment for a walk to the beach. It was low tide, and we had a great time looking around it the tide pools. And then it started raining.

Needless to say it proceeded to rain pretty heavily for the next three hours, the very same three hours we had scheduled to be on the water. Damnit! But there’s a silver lining that comes free of charge with every rain cloud, so we took the opportunity to buy Peter a kickin’ rain jacket.

After lunch we hiked up Mount Maunganui to catch the view of the Bay of Plenty from above. It was breathtaking! Rainbows over the ocean, the sun casting patches of light on lush and rocky cliffs, long stretches of beach and surf. It’s a little hard to believe that we’re really here. During our hour and a half long hike we came across grazing sheep (they graze them everywhere, even on large mountains in the middle of urban areas), a handful of new-to-us birds, and more unfamiliar plants than I can count. I want to get a field guide so we can start learning the names of these little guys that we’re seeing on a daily basis.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Going Mobile

As much as we wanted to take the day to sight see, we decided to take care of communications details today. We got a mobile phone with a prepaid number for immediate needs and scoped out the wireless access situation in downtown Auckland. Evidently coffee shops here in NZ aren’t keen on offering free access to patrons, so most internet access is found in businesses specialising in computer related activities like web access or gaming. We hear Wellington businesses are a bit more prone to offer general wifi access, so we’re looking forward to checking that out.

We’d made plans to meet with our friend Tim the weekend after we landed, and he surprised us by pulling into town on Friday afternoon. He recommended a sushi bar downtown, so we hopped on a bus and headed back into the bustle. Sushi on a conveyor belt--oh yea! At this little bar you just grab a plate of sushi or sashimi as it goes by and stack the empty plates next to you. Each plate has a design on it that marks the value of the food, so you can eat whatever you fancy and the plates are counted up at the end of the meal. It was the best (and cheapest) sushi I’ve ever had.

After dinner we walked to the pier to look at the boats docks. Most of them were for sale, and we were able to plug Tim for info on sailing. He’s pretty handy if you want an explanation about boat related topics.

This particular boat was designed by a Kiwi to do two revolutionary things: pierce waves instead of going over them, and break the world circumnavigation record while powering its motor with biodiesel. The Maori designs painted on the hull draw on the cultural heritage of NZ and their attention to the environment. Its been in the works for a while and is close to starting its trip. Very slick.

After a few beers here and there to get out of the rain (surprise surprise, the rains tend to soak here) we took a lovely walk home under the stars.

Saturday morning we woke up early and headed down to Tim’s home in Tauranga. It was a gorgeous 2 1/2 hour drive down to the Bay of Plenty (on the east coast of the North Island). They call it the Bay of Plenty because you can basically bury any plant in the dirt and it’ll grow. Personally, I get the feeling that this is the case in a lot of areas of NZ. Once we left the Auckland suburbs we got to see what most of NZ looks like: rolling green hills with patches of trees and livestock. It looks a lot like Bavaria, actually, in that tracts of land are relatively small and each pasture or field is hemmed by a fence of trees or long grass. Of course the big difference between NZ and Germany is the subtropical plant life. There are fern and palm trees blanketing the ground under huge stands of evergreens. I get the feeling that if every human were to leave the island, the plants would simply grow over the buildings and reclaim the area as its own.

Once in Tauranga, we dropped our things off at Tim’s place then headed out to see a bit of the city. Tauranga is the fastest growing city it NZ and has a pop. of a little over 100,000. It sits on a natural harbour and has a great funky small town feel to it. The main beach sits down by Mount Maunganui and attracts surfers and sunbathers. Since it’s fall right now there weren’t that many people on the sand, but there were quite a few surfers taking advantage of waves. We spent most of today getting a rundown of the city from Tim. There’s definitely a cafe culture going on here, so we’ve been eating ridiculously well here. The night life here is pretty much the same as in Montana: all the stores close down and locals go out to eat, drink, and generally be social. We went out for Indian food and a movie. When in Rome...

Thursday, April 06, 2006


We found a nice little Thai restaurant for lunch with a friendly waitress and tasty food. The problem only came when we went to pay our bill. What is customary for gratuity? We consulted our trusty guidebook and found that tipping is generally not done at all. Only at fancy restaurants with exceptional service does anyone tip, and even then only at 5-10%.

Afraid to believe the book, we leaned over to a lady at the next table, confessed our Yank status, and asked her. Same thing. No tip. Hmm...

She saw the pained look on my face, "Really?" "Yes, really." She tried to console me in the fact that there is a tax assessed on each and every meal purchased in NZ that goes to the government. I think she thought I was disappointed at getting off cheap at lunch. We thanked her for the explanation. I left two dollars on the table anyway and we left.

Ah, the life of a beagle...

Here we sit, safe and sound in Auckland. I must say that the trip from Montana to NZ was much more pleasant than we expected. I thought we would have to roll ourselves out of the plane and drink coffee all day to stay awake, but we felt energetic enough upon finding a B&B to hike up Mt. Eden (more on this in another posting).

The actual flight from the US to NZ was fantastic! At twelve and a half hours the flight was much shorter than we expected. Not that we would have minded a few extra hours. Each seat had its own TV screen with a full menu of movies, TV shows, and video games. It was pretty nice to have the option of watching a few episodes of The Simpsons instead of the latest Legally Blonde nightmare. The seats were even nice enough to afford both Peter and I a good 7 hours of sleep. I only hope that future Air New Zealand flights will go as smoothly.

I must say that the customs folks in NZ are much more pleasant to deal with. Of course they’re picky about environmental protection, but they were all very amiable and easy to work with. I mean, who would mind having their bag sniffed by a beagle? How about a friendly black lab? One of the dogs was lucky enough to find a bag with beef jerky in it (which you can’t bring into the country) so the customs people gave him a bite before carting it away. Ah, the life of a security dog.

All in all we’ve felt very welcomed and appreciated here so far. People are glad to answer the silly questions we yanks ask, like Are we supposed to tip wait staff? and Will this bus take us back to the Mt. Eden neighbourhood? They’ve gone out of their way to make sure we feel comfortable with the new customs (it’ll take us a while before we feel ok with the whole no-tipping thing). I like being able to ask questions without feeling silly about it.

Kiwi language lesson #1: A cell phone is called a mobile (pronounced mo-bile), while a gas station is called a mobile (pronounced mo-bl). I guess it’s all in the accent. More language lessons to follow for all you linguaphiles out there.

Mt. Eden

Mount Eden
Still buzzing from adrenaline we asked the host of our bed and breakfast what she recommended to kill time while our room was being prepared. Being that the Bavaria Bed and Breakfast is located in the Mt. Eden neighbourhood, it turns out that a short jaunt up Mt. Eden killed the required amount of time.

Euphoria set in as we marvelled at the lush green vegetation and gorgeous sunshine. As we walked the path up Mt. Eden, we were treated to several breathtaking views of Auckland.

At the top of Mt. Eden I got an idea of how geologically active New Zealand is. Mt. Eden is only one of a handful of extinct volcanoes that dot the sprawling Auckland cityscape.

Peering down into the crater, my enthusiasm was only tempered by seeing where a band of (presumably) christians had ignored the warnings that the Mt. Eden crater was a fragile and sacred archaeological site that should not be descended into. Down at the bottom of the crater was spelled out in stones, "PRAISE THE LORD." I see that sort of thing, and I hope that they all get taken away in their rapture. Soon, please.

The whole of Mt. Eden was blanketed with green, green grass with the occasional cow milling about (the cattle seemed to be heeding the warning not to descend the crater). Very picturesque.

Our room at the Bavaria Bed and Breakfast was ready by then, and we were starving for lunch, so we left Mt. Eden feeling much rejuvenated.

Pictures of Mt. Eden to come...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Getting ready to leave Three Forks

We've already sold our stuff and carted the remainder to Three Forks to stash at Roni's parents' place. We're having a relaxing time here in their lovely home and with picturesque surroundings.

Our whole trip so far has been all about purging personal belongings. We started with an apartment, car, bikes, and a cat in Missoula and gradually sold or gave them all away. Getting rid of the cat was the hardest, but that has been eased somewhat in that she and Devin, her new owner, are getting along swimmingly.

Tomorrow is the big day. We'll fly out of Bozeman (Belgrade, actually) and sometime on the sixth, we'll be on the ground in Auckland.