Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Domestic Bliss in Timaru

Watching the sunset from our free
and legal camping spot  in Timaru
We rolled up to the sunny town of Timaru (pop 27,000) over 19 days ago.  We were unaware that we would be spending so much time here.  Soon after arriving, an "Australia sized storm" hit New Zealand and grounded us for more than 2 weeks.  The NZ Herald called it the "biggest storm on the planet".  The gale force winds (80 mph) and snow in the mountains lasted 2 weeks.  They say that they have lost half a million lambs due to the cold weather and storms.  Yes, lambing season is at the end of winter -- poor little lambs.  During the storm's fury, we just happened to pick the only place in the country that was sunny and dry! In fact, today, Timaru had the highest temperature in the entire country (23.3 C = 74 F).  I forgot to mention that we are in the southern part of the South Island, usually not the warmest place.  We are stupidly still holding out for some snowboarding.

Sun Conures in the free aviary in Timaru.
They never left each others side.
If you're going to be grounded due to weather, Timaru seems to be the place to be.  It has large parks where we can run and/or bike everyday.  One of the parks has an aviary that we visit almost everyday (you know you're getting old when the highlight of your day is the aviary).  We got to be pretty good friends with the big white cockatoo...after we started bringing our old bread (shhhh).  When he wanted more bread, he would say "hellllooo". They also have a pretty beachside location with FREE and LEGAL campervan parking. They request that stays are limited to no more than 3 nights. I guess we broke that rule, but they don't seem too motivated to enforce it at this time of the year. Lately we have been venturing out of town to some clifftop sleeping spots.  During the harvest moon, we watched the moon rise over the ocean for a few nights -- I almost needed my sunglasses!

Watching the full moon rise
The library has free wireless where we spent the past few days repairing a massive computer crash on our 13-month old HP laptop.  Why do we still own stock in HP?  I'm writing this post while reinstalling all of our software and backed-up files.  During the frenzy of realizing we lost all of our photos, documents, etc. from the past 6 months, I learned that our Visa credit card gives you an added year to the manufacturer's warranty on items that you purchase with the card.  If I hadn't been able to fix the computer, this would have been a great option for us.  Who knew?!  I write this hoping to encourage other people to take advantage of this little perk if your card offers it.  Some credit card companies may require you to register the product with them when you purchase it, but that's not a bad thing, as it is probably easier than tracking down your original receipt.

No pharmacy visit needed

Timaru's retailers have received more money from us than any other place in New Zealand (van repairs do not count as retail).  Scott bought a spiffy new wetsuit, and we also bought another portable hard drive.  You can probably guess why we purchased the portable hard drive.  We also bought our replacement propane tank here and "donated" our old one to the local gas-supply shop.

When we first arrived in Timaru, Scott was having pain in the tooth that was root canaled in OZ last year.  The pain had slowly built over the past month (something he never told me).  Turns out, he had to get it extracted. The whole dental experience was fast, friendly, and inexpensive.  Scott had 3 appointments, including a tricky extraction, two x-rays, narcotics, and an emergency follow-up where he got antibiotics.  The dentist counted out the penicillin capsules, put them in a small brown bag, and wrote the instructions on the bag.  The whole thing (including meds) cost $193 USD.

Timaru has been good to us, but I think it's time to move on.

1 comment:

Danno said...

I read your last 3 posts a few weeks ago in a tired, dark, mood. It cheered me up. I really enjoyed them. Gives me better insight into the lives of "retired" folk.