Friday, April 20, 2007

Manna from Japan!

My friend Manna has just been staying with us for 10 days. I met her when we were living in Stratford - we were on the same dragonboat team. She was working as a Japanese translater for an Automotive company. Her father is Canadian but she was raised in Japan and came to Canada for University. When I first left for NZ, Manna subletted my apartment. And that's my history with Manna!

She has been doing her Masters of Teaching in Australia and did a term in Nelson (in the South Island). She came to stay with us en route back to Japan where she will finish her thesis.

It was so great having her here! It was like we were back in Canada... except for the touristy stuff we did. The girls and I took her to the Kiwi 360 - where they grow Kiwi fruit. It's in a town about 15 minutes away called Te Puke. We also went to see a Bee Display that day but for some reason we totally forgot to take photos! It was all quite fascinating. Did you know that worker bees are female? The males can't collect pollen. Their only purpose is to mate with the queen - and once they do that, they die! Below the girls are doing the "Price is Right" model thing and showing us the beautiful Kiwi fruit growing on the vine. Manna is happy to pose with the luscious Kiwi fruit dangling behind her.

Then we took a drive to Maketu where they make the famous "Maketu Pies". Meat pies are a staple food of the Kiwi diet. You can buy hot pies from every gas station across the country. Maketu is quite an easy drive from my house and I'd never been there before! It just goes to show how great it is to just hop in the car and drive sometimes. We didn't know where we were going.

Here Manna is enjoying her Maketu pie AND L&P which is a complete Kiwi meal. YUM!

We went on a day hike with a group of girls from my church through Native NZ bush. Our objective was to look at two of the oldest Kauri trees in the area. Kauri is a NZ Native tree - they are the Redwood of this country. Most of the Kauri were chopped down in the 1950's but these trees were spared due to the fact that they were deep in the bush and it would have been too difficult to get them out. Lucky for the trees!

We had to cross the river 8 times to get to the trees! It was such a fun trek! The girls were so impressive. No one fell while crossing the rapids and no one complained of cold wet feet. Kiwi girls are tough as guts!

And here are the girls hamming it up. The two on the left are mine. We have seen the trees... we have eaten our lunch... and now we are about to cross the 8 rivers we crossed to get here.

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