Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A quiet Tuesday evening out

Ahh the annual round of Christmas gatherings (parties is a bit of stretch). This year I've opted for the bare minimum mostly because I live so far from town and so I have to add an hour or two just to get there and home and frankly having drinks with industry people that I hardly know does little for me but I knew there would be plenty of people I know and it would be seeing lots of people in one go - lazy, lazy attitude.
This is a vista of the Waimakariri River. We have braided rivers here in Canterbury and because we make our own fun around here we have made the most of the the narrow channels and shallow rapids but more on that later.
The Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau organises what is called famils (short for familiars - nothing like witches cats though) where a bunch of members go and visit other members to see what their business is. When an invitation came through to spend an evening jet boating and 4 wheel driving with a farm show thrown in - the Blue Fairy and I thought that would be a great idea.

Here are a bunch of members getting ready to go jet boating with Alpine Jet.

I've been jet boating a few times - mostly in winter for some reason which I don't recommend unless that's the only time you are here - so I really wanted to go 4 wheeling across the back country.
Another bunch of us piled in and went off to go up hill and down dale. It was fun but not that exciting. I think if you do the full tour and go see sites from Lord of Rings and things like that it would have been funner. I did keep expecting to see Disney exhibits in the bush as we drove past - I'm too jaded!

This is one of their converted unimogs - I like that word 'unimog' it's like an educated cat. Oooh maybe we can call the wild cats at the University unimogs! Technical term.

Above is the back of Andrew's head. It took me all evening to figure out where I knew him from. Vbase! He was an excellent duty manager during our conferences, really, really good duty manager and now he works for someone else doing a different job but I can't tell you where because I was trying to peer at his name badge without him knowing that I couldn't place him. I think he figured it out though. Don't you hate that.

Then we returned to Toby Hill farm, maybe a station to go jet boating. By then it must about 5.30ish and still really warm but windy - they go together here.

Jet boating is basically going super fast in super shallow water in super light boats (I'm winging this explanation) and you race along and ever so often you do a 360. Here is Greg (?? I'm really bad at getting names) our driver (??pilot?) explaining keep your hands in the boat and don't smoke on board etc etc. I like the wear sunglasses or your contacts will fly out advice.

Off we go. It's kinda hard to take photos and jet boat even though all you do is sit there and hold on. Videoing would be much better.

I like that there are sandy dunes 100 kms inland. Look how diverse NZ is people! We really can lie on a beach and be skiing in less than an hour - though you wouldn't want to go swimming in the Waimak cause it is alpine fed water.

Videoing would have been really good here because Greg (and all jet boaters) like to race straight towards big rocks and cliff faces and then turn away at the last moment. You can understand why tourists freak a bit particularly when the drivers almost always start out by saying helpful things like "This is my first time too" - it's a joke tourists! We find it funny, it's called irony and it's doesn't work well with English as a second language people or Yanks. If you hear a NZer say that assume it's not their first time cause we would never tell you if it really was. This applys to NZ slutty reputation too unfortunately.

Ahh the mandatory group photo - see how Andrew is hiding so I wouldn't figure out who he is. That's Craig on the right. It was fun teasing him about being in industry photos as he made the cover of Meetingz last month.

This is the same company Alpine Jet carrying the other half of our group up river. So back to getting wet and it seems silly to be annoyed when you get wet doing something like jet boating and I do have to say I didn't get wet at all this time. But to go jet boating you have to travel usually by bus for an hour or so and the activity is generally one part of a long day. Wet pants are horrible so wear your rain trousers when you go. Unless it's warm day, though the Blue Fairy may disagree.

The nice Alpine Jet drivers apologise when they get you too wet. I suspect they might have to do this quite often.

I love these Rapunzel tree roots!

So here's the dealeo - the smooth rock is the bedrock and the bumpy stuff is the river bed from forever ago. Basically the Waimak has been running for a super long time and eroded this far down and will keep doing it for an ever super longer time. You can find sharks teeth in that smooth rock which means that is how high the shore line was and so we really don't have to worry about rising sea levels cause look how high it used to be!

Back on shore, full carpark - a boys own dream really.

Then the farm show. This is Tim and he is a header dog rounding up the sheep. I love watching working dogs. Tim is only a teenager and a bit bouncy but he did the job then mopped around the door while we all ate and drank. Good dog Tim!

This is a newly shorn sheep posing very nicely. There is a wee farm who but Farmer Trevor was telling us they do team building and they have teams of people rounding up the sheep. As a conference organiser I'd pay to see that because for the most part my job is like herding cats and I would appreciate sharing the joy.

One last photo - I love cabbage trees and they have some good ones up at Toby Hill.

A good if long night was had by all. I do enjoy jet boating and recommend Alpine Jet - clears your sinuses and makes you feel alive. Make sure you do your zipper up on your rain coat hoods, otherwise it hits your cheek the entire way.

Toby Hill is a real Kiwi outfit and it's always fun watching other people do farm work.

Thanks to the CCCB for working so hard to represent the locals and organising a good night!

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