Monday, December 27, 2010

32ºC... and I made "hot salad" for dinner.

This morning I was awaked at 7:30am by a convoluted text message from Stefan concerning fixing Emma’s new iPod touch (apparently it’s crashing their computer when they try to sync). While I wasn’t able to do much but ask which OS the computer was running and suggest turning off any anti-virus software, it did get me thinking about showing Fay and Frank what I do on my computer, and how some of the technology works. Over breakfast I pulled out my iPod touch and let Frank have a go at it, demonstrating for him some of its features and cool aspects of the user interface (he especially loved flicking his finger to scroll down a list of artists, and the beauty of browsing albums in cover flow). While Fay was far more tentative with the technology, I think Frank, with a little encouragement, could be coaxed into buying and using a computer; he certainly was fascinated by everything my iPod could do.

After breakfast I made it my mission to walk into town and purchase a few things I will be needing for my hiking trip in January. It was a gorgeous sunny day today, and already the temperature was in the high 20s as I strolled along Marine Parade (at one point sandwiched in between a slow-walking German family and two mushy Kiwi love-birds). Since I couldn’t remember exactly where the Kathmandu was, I decided to wander down Emerson Street, and ended up seeing Jullian (Astrid’s husband) from Waipawa: he was busking, playing his Renaissance recorder! I said hello and put all the change I had (a measly 20 cents) into his hat. Continuing on down the street, I ended up in Clive Square, where I was treated to my second musical experience of the day; a giant metal harp-shaped carillon containing suspended bells playing Christmas carols! Its sound was similar to the carillon by the Royal BC Museum, but its appearance radically different... and either way, I couldn’t see how it was being played or controlled.

Finally locating the Kathmandu, I purchased a combination lock, a sun hat, and a small pot and pan set (one pot with a lid, one very small frying pan, and a teeny tiny 125ml mug), all made of anodized aluminum and very compact and light. I also went to Kiwi Outdoors, where I purchased a tasty selection of freeze-dried meals (mmm, honey soy chicken) for the track, a pair of fingertip-less wool gloves, and a length of cord for lashing my sleeping bag in its compression sack to my backpack, should the need arise. Walking into those outdoor stores is a bit of a minefield; there are so many different gadgets and pieces of equipment they try to convince you that you need or else you are will suffer a horrible fate on your hiking adventure!

Another goal I had for today (that went unrealised, sadly), was to find a store that sold yarn and knitting needles so I can practise my left-handed knitting. It’s a sign of the times and the economy when one can’t find a knitting supply shop in downtown Napier, a town whose port processes a huge percentage of New Zealand’s wool exports.

My last stop of the day was the Countdown supermarket, where I purchased ingredients for dinner: yes, I made dinner tonight! I bought chicken, peppers, zucchini, carrots, lettuce, and stir fry sauce, along with bandaids, hand santiiszer, and lip chap (again for the hiking trip).

By the time I got home with all my purchases and groceries I figured I had walked about 8.5 km in total, most of that in blazing intense sunlight. Thank goodness for sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses! Even so, I spent most of the afternoon inside, away from the glaring intensity. I started assembling dinner around 5:30; I hadn’t counted on it being so hot today (32ºC in the shade!), so I felt rather foolish for choosing to make a chicken stir-fry, but I did make a salad as well, which was cool and refreshing. Either way, Fay and Frank were most impressed with my meal, even complimenting me on its appearance (which made me snicker, as I never went to the Stefan Fletcher School of Culinary Presentation). For dessert we finished off the pavlovas, and I was proud and pleased that I was able to prepare a whole meal for the three of us where Fay didn’t have to do anything; she normally works so hard to cook and prepare food for Frank and I, and I felt she more than deserved an evening off.

Now it is still quite hot out, and I haven’t had the energy to do much more than put my capri pants in the laundry to soak (I managed to spill oil on them while stir-frying), read a little of my book, and now write this blog entry... I think it’s time to brush my teeth, lie down on my bed, and hope the room decides to cool down over the course of the evening. Night!


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