Sunday, 13 July 2008

Fun-filled Sunday with Claus (13th July 2008)

Was up at 8am for breakfast and packed up for my walk this morning. Claus was coming by to pick me up at 9.30am for our walk. It was all a last minute thing - he texted me last night and I agreed to go, not even knowing where! Surprise!! It was such a gorgeous day outside and I was glad I took up the offer to tag along :)

I've seen Claus on several occasions - he's Brazilian and we have several friends in common but we were only acquaintances. It wasn't until one fine day, we bumped into each other at the public library and caught up for lunch that we got to know each other a little better. I'm embarrassed to say I actually mistook him for another friend (and I think I haven't mentioned that to him yet - haha!). Ops!

Claus suggested we head up to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine and walk one of the tracks to a radar. Radar??! What radar? I didn't know of a radar here but a walk in the area sounded just perfect. This was one of the places in Wellington I wanted to explore - I've done walks in Somes Island and the Karori Wildlife Santuary so putting another tick to my list of places to explore in my own backyard is a YES for me :)

Ah, so the radar thing is this huge white 'golf ball' on the top of Hawkins Hill, a radar transmission station which is used for communications and surveillance. It is located about 3kms away from the wind turbine - not too far to walk, perhaps due to the good company (Claus is one funny and interesting fella - we talked about so much stuff!) and the clear skies and fine weather. Such a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors!

Around midday, we stopped at the summit for lunch. Claus made us packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit and coffee - I laughed when he gave me my share (nothing wrong with the sandwiches - they were yum!) because I remembered our friend Rosel telling me before that Claus would make sandwiches for everyone when going for walks (Rosel couldn't join us this time). How very true! We could see the snowy mountains of Kaikoura from where we were though disturbed by keen motorcrossers at a nearby hill. It was as if we were flipping between Discovery and Sports channels!

I'll have to come back again and do the other paths - there are several paths you can walk to, including one leading towards the Red Rocks. Photos taken during the walk this morning: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157606376892453/detail/

The MV Doulos had recently arrived at Queens Wharf and I had been planning to visit this world's oldest ocean-going passengership with the largest floating bookshop this afternoon. Claus was keen to join me so after our walk, we headed into town to check the ship out.

The ship was built in 1914, 2 years younger than the Titanic, and had served as a freighter, migrant carrier, cruise liner and now a floating book shop. Doulos, which means "servant" in Greek, has visited more than 100 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and many island nations. There are about 320 volunteers on board representing 50 different nations, some with their partners and families, and they all work together for a common purpose - to bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world. The ship is to be decommissioned in 2010 so this was its last visit to NZ. Lucky for us, we got to check out this historical ship before it retires :)

Claus and I went on the daily tour which cost us $10 each. It was a 45-minute tour through the different parts of the ship with one of their volunteers. And you wouldn't believe who the other people were in our tour group - James (a work colleague) and his family! We were given a Passport To Discover Doulos each and as we move from one area of the ship to another, we were given a stamp in the passport. It was funny to see us adults behave like kids, so excited with the stamps!

Our volunteer guide was from Hongkong and she was a fantastic storyteller and very good at answering the many questions we flooded her with. If you can still catch the ship before it departs our shores, make sure you go on the tour. Definitely worth it! Photos taken on board MV Doulos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157606389593425/detail/

What a life it would be being a volunteer on the ship, floating from country to country and working in different roles on board. As a crew, you get to meet people from all over the world while serving your faith in God and the nations you visit. I'm not 100% sure if you must be a Christian to qualify as a volunteer though (you would need to check with the local OM office to find out more). The service can range from 2 months to 2 years and be prepared for challenges and hard work. You don't get on the Doulos for nothing!

Around 3.30pm, we caught up with Claus's friend, Daniella, and the 3 of us went inline skating along the waterfront. Claus and I hired our skates with wrist guards and knee pads from Fergs Kayaks for $10 an hour. Oh my god - how did I managed to get myself roped into skating?? I think the last time I ever strapped on a pair was at the age of 10 or 12. Oh dear, this is going to be a real challenge!

Ow, ow, ow...tomorrow, I'm sure there will be purple patches on my butt! I fell hard on my butt a few times, mainly crossing the bridge. Going down the bridge, my skates were going faster than the rest of my body - the only way to stop is to fall back on my butt. Ouch! And so embarassing! Claus and Daniella were supportive and taught me a few simple moves. I felt bad slowing them down as they watched me try to get my balance and take baby steps. Sorry! Hmm, I've to practise more so my body gets used to this. Just felt so out of control on wheels!

It has been an amazing day out, making the most of the fantastic weather and in company of good friends. Thanks for the wonderful day, Claus! We wrapped up our fun-filled day with a cuppa at Lido Cafe on Victoria Street before we all headed to our respective homes. I'll definitely sleep straight through the night tonight after all the workout from today!

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