I will try to catch up a bit as my last posts have been cut short by lack of computer time!
Coral (on Stewart Island) was in her late 70´s probably and was super friendly and also very witty and full of humor, and very enjoyable to chat with. Her house has the premier location in the village, as it has the best views of the harbor and the town. I got to watch the sun rising over the bay through a huge single pane window in my bedroom, and that was pretty hard to beat! I planted some plants, pulled some weeds, made myself as useful as possible and let her win at scrabble (yeah right... she whooped up on me! they were using a lot of scottish and irish words that I found questionable... but they were in their ´English´dictionary so I had to allow it!)
Her daughter and son-in-law have a B&B called Jo&Andy´s and they were originally from Idaho so we swapped a lot of stories especially about hunting and the outdoors as Andy used to tramp all over the state. They also took me to have the best fish and chips and then to the local indoor lawn bowling league... I had no idea such a thing existed, but they are all over NZ and I suppose Great Britain as well! Basically 2 teams of 3 or 4 people, each person has 2 balls (like bocce balls, but they are weighted offcenter so they roll in a curve). A small marker ball is rolled out about 20´and then the players take turns trying to get as close as possible. Somewhat like shuffleboard and its quite tricky but a lot of fun! Im not sure I actually scored any points, but I sure did some damage to others balls!
I left on the 11th and the boat ride back wasnt nearly as bad, and I took her advice of eating a whole bag of Ginger snaps and that worked great - no problems! I took the next 2 days to drive up the east coast back to Christchurch, stopping in Dunedin for a bit (where Jamon spent time in University) and generally taking the scenic route. It was quite a nice drive as the land changed from wet, forested hills at Invercargill to flat, farming and much drier land at Christchurch.
Took a plane to Auckland on the 13th, then to Santiago, Chile, then to Buenos Aires where I am now! I flew out of Auckland at 5:30 pm and got to Buenos Aires at 6 pm on the same day! It was pretty cool having the same evening over again, even if I was too tired to really enjoy it. I had a business class seat from Santiago to BA for some reason... not sure how that happened but it was a world of difference, and I didn´t say anything! Had a great view of the Andes - what an amazing mountain range! it only takes about 10 mins to fly over them and it is basically flat on both sides. Incredibly rugged peaks, desolate and much drier than I anticipated. Even Santiago was really dry, as I had assumed it would be wetter and greener being on the west coast...! East from the Andes, it is still dry but it looks somewhat like southern Idaho - towns here and there with irrigated farmland. Closer to the east, the pastureland seems to go on forever. It kept getting greener and it was nearly all pastureland its no wonder they are known for their cattle!
I took today to wander around part of the city and it is really nice! Friendly people so far, probably 70´s, some really nice parks and the sky is a beautiful pale blue, like their flag (Santiago was very smoggy). Tomorrow is skydiving! A bit nervous about that, but I had planned to do it in NZ and ran out of time, so... ! I met 5 people in the hostel that are going, so me too! Also meeting up with 2 local girls I met in Athens, Brunella and Antoinella, tomorrow so that should be fun! Then Im heading south to Tierra del Fuego and whatever else is on the way...thats all Ive got for now, let you know what happens next!