Monday, August 15, 2011

Birthday Churros and Pygmy Marmosets

So yesterday was my birthday here in New Zealand, and today is my birthday in the States.  I think this means I get two birthdays now.  Someone back me up on this.
For my birthday weekend, we started out at the Auckland Zoo.  In general, I haven’t met a zoo that I don’t like.  And this one was extra impressive.  There were lots of fun-sized baby animals, and you could get up close and personal with spider monkeys and otters and wallabies and a tiny pygmy marmoset that we almost convinced to climb into our backpack.  He got suspicious though and ran away.  Next time I will bring him treats to show him how nice and friendly we are.  I also could have reached out and petted an emu or a peacock.  But the emu kind of looked angry, and I questioned whether this was truly good for my safety.
Do not pet the rhinos. 

Then we went to Bellota, a Spanish tapas restaurant, for dinner.  It was a good life decision to eat there.  It has a cool lounge atmosphere, and everything we ate was delicious.  We tried the squid, green shell mussels, manchego cheese and serrano ham, and ox tongue pintxo and olive paste pintxo (pintxo = slice of french bread with toppings). The ox tongue was actually my favorite dish.  See, you never know until you try.  And my birthday churros with dulce de leche were also quite tasty.
On Sunday, we did a winery tour in Kumeu.  On the way there I happened to look over and spot a familiar bullseye symbol with the letters T-A-R-G-E-T.   
David: “Oh umm yeah... I moved it here for your birthday.”
And that is why he is the best husband ever.  Because he moved my favorite store 8,000 miles across the South Pacific for my birthday.
(Unfortunately, it is just a Target Furniture store.  But I am still kind of impressed with him.)
Then we went to three wineries in Kumeu: Soljans, Coopers Creek, and Matua.  We did wine tastings, and they were all quite generous with their samplings.   We also ate a great lunch at Soljans cafe: a huge Vintner’s Platter filled with lots of Mediterranean, appetizer-type foods.  It was the ultimate food coma.  Halfway through, we were like “White Flag! We surrender! You win brie and olives and feta salad, you win.”  


Oh and on Friday night, a cloud got STUCK on our apartment building.  It was a complete whiteout for like 8 hours.  I mean you couldn’t see anything.  “Where did the city go? Where did the world go??! OMG, it’s the apocalypse! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”.  I guess I have never lived in a skyscraper before.  Sorry, I missed getting a picture of it.  I was too busy hiding under the covers waiting for the world to end.  Stop laughing.  It was scary.
- Meredith

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