February 20, 2008

Loads Of Photos

Here's Jerry at the bus stop near the Sky Tower. Jerry and I went to the top but I forgot to bring my camera. It was really nice though. You can see water everywhere, Auckland is pretty much surrounded by it except for one narrow place where you can see mountains. People more adventurous than me can walk around the outside of the Sky Tower or even jump off of it. New Zealand is famous for these kinds of hair raising adventures. I'll be keeping my feet on the ground though. No bungee jumping or sky walking for me.This is downtown Auckland from the top of Mt. Eden, one of the many volcanic cones scattered throughout the city. This is the crater on Mt. Eden. You can't go down into it, though. Too bad because it would have made for some fun hill rolling. If you look close you can see that someone has actually gone down into it and written their initials using stones.And these are the cows on Mt. Eden. Yep, cows in the middle of the city.This is Mt. Victoria (another volcanic cone). Mt. Victoria is in the suburb of Devonport. We spent an afternoon wandering around the little downtown area. They had a nice used bookstore where I bought an autobiography of Sir Edmund Hillary called Nothing Venture, Nothing Win. Hillary was a Kiwi explorer, much respected and loved, who died recently. In the foreword to this book he writes:
The heroes I admired in my youth seemed to possess abilities and virtues beyond the grasp of ordinary men. My desire to emulate them was very great but I never succeeded in approaching their high standards. Fearful at heart in moments of danger, I found it difficult to produce the calm courage of the heroic mould. Having a certain rude strength, I lacked the quickness of hand and eye of the natural athlete. Well meaning enough and with a desire to help, I made few sacrifices in noble causes.

I discovered that even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve. In a sense fear became a friend--I hated it at the time but it added spice to the challenge and satisfaction to the conquest. I envied those who in success clung to a measure of peace and tranquility--I was always too restless and life was a constant battle against boredom. But the compensations have been great--certainly more than I deserve. I had the world lie beneath my clumsy boots and saw the red sun slip over the horizon after the dark Antarctic winter. I have been given more than my share of excitement, beauty, laughter and friendship.
This is Jerry on his own adventure up the slopes of Mt. Victoria. He took the high road.
Warren and I took the low road. This is the low road with Rangitoto Island in the distance. It's Auckland's youngest and largest volcano, but at 260 meters it's not all that high. Here we are at the top.And here's Jerry inside the "disappearing gun" at the summit. There was a fort up here in 1885.
We explored the eerie concrete bunkers underground. This is Warren and me inside the largest of the bunkers.
Back in Devonport we found a popcorn machine.We had to try it out, of course. We'd never seen a popcorn machine like this before.Mmmm. Good.
This is Jerry and his new friend Isaac (making a silly face) on Sunday night at Isaac's house.
Here's Isaac looking out at Goat Island just after our arrival.
This is on the beach across from Goat Island. We were there with Isaac's family and another family (also homeschoolers). It was a lovely day and Isaac's sisters declared Goat Island their favorite beach in the world. This is Goat island from the glass-bottom boat. You don't get to go onto the island. You just swim around it. Apparently there are hundreds of "Goat Islands," so named because goats would be left on them as food for shipwreck survivors.
Here's Jerry on the beach.
Here's a photo from the unschooler's park day yesterday. Jerry really didn't want to go but I insisted. We both ended up having a really nice day. The people were so welcoming and it was very relaxed. I felt right at home. Jerry played with some of the kids but spent most of his time watching and talking to an 18-year-old boy from the neighborhood who was riding his skateboard on the ramp there at the park. He was very sweet and didn't seem to mind Jerry 's company at all.And here is the view from our hotel again. Things are definitely looking up.

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