Friday, April 23, 2010

Thinly Veiled Excuse for a Photo Essay on New Zealand

I just finished Karina Bliss's What The Librarian Did.  I realize now I have no idea what the librarian did -- well, I mean, she did lots of things, but few of them are worth discussing.

Ah, but Where The Librarian Went?  Much more interesting.  She went to Waiheke Island, near Auckland, New Zealand.  She went there because the Retired Rock Star lives there.  And now I want to go there too.

I went to New Zealand in 1987.  (Which is right about when some of you were born, I realize -- I suppose I could just write "I went to New Zealand in the last century..."; I am that old.)  I have family there, mostly in the southern portion of the North Island.  I saw something of Christchurch and drove around Lake Taupo -- all of it was so amazingly beautiful that my photographs (alas, all pre-digital) didn't do it justice.

Now, I did fly into Auckland, but I saw nothing of the city, just the airport.  So a book based in Auckland was fascinating.  Let's see what I was missing, shall we?

First up, University of Auckland.  Bliss mentions the clock tower:

and a fountain in Albert Park, where Rachel waits to "accidentally" run into Devin, the RRS:

Here's where Rachel works:

and here's where Devin lives:

In fact, this might be his bedroom:

This could be Devin's pool:

Here's what Rachel sees on the ferry as she's leaving Waiheke Island:

and the view of Auckland from the ferry:

Finally, there's a wedding at the end of this book, and this is what the view is like from that scene:

Needless to say, I didn't take any of those pictures.  But thanks to Flickr, I can snitch borrow -- with proper attribution -- these photos of Auckland and Waiheke Island.

What?  You want to know what I thought of the book?  Let's put it this way:  stick it in the United States and it's not nearly so much fun.


  1. You went to NZ but not Aus?? I am shocked and wounded!
    Though one could argue that NZ is one of our states.. LOL :P to any NZ readers of the blog. ;)

  2. How very cool!! You should send a link to this post to the author. A pictorial version of her story. Very cleverly done!! And that bedroom is TO DIE FOR!

  3. Oh what gorgeous pictures: thank you for the mini-vacay!

  4. Oh, Edie -- You force me to confess all. When I was in London in 1980 (for my third long-stay there) I met Annajane, my first cousin once removed (and HG Wells's illegitimate daughter). She liked me -- I'd learned the fine art of being considered likable by people who live in interesting places -- and invited me to New Zealand where she was emigrating.

    Seven years later, I took two weeks and a bunch of money I didn't have (I was dead broke but mysteriously had been issued a credit card) and went to New Zealand. I only saw a little bit of the country, and NOTHING of Australia, Tasmania, etc.

    Annajane and her children (who are more than 25 years older than me -- Annajane just turned 100) were very crazy and difficult to visit, but I hired a car and drove off to visit some New Zealand-born & bred cousins near Lake Taupo. That was lovely. They had a sheep farm, so I got to see that, and eat lots of lamb.

    We'll definitely go back, but with LOTS more time and LOTS more money. And then we'll come visit you, Edie, because everyone knows Melbourne is the PRETTIEST PLACE ON EARTH.

  5. Keira -- What a nice idea, but if you think about it, Karina Bliss is almost certainly sure to know precisely what all these places look like! (Plus, I wasn't all that glowing about the book...)

  6. Janet -- Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  7. I love New Zealand with practically no real-world experience to draw from. But I just know we'd be BFFs.

    Also, it is strange that you know two Keira's of the same spelling. You may call me Number One, if you like...

  8. Keira -- Get in line! In addition to you ("Betty Keira"), I know Keira Soleore ("Regency Keira") and Keira Gillett ("Love Passion Romance Keira"). I also know a Kyra, but that's from the way way back and she was a tiny baby, so I guarantee she doesn't know me.

    Here's my no-holds-barred take on New Zealand (based, of course, on 23-year-old memories): Amazing, stupendous, mind-boggling scenery; nothing-special architecture; everyone has a gorgeous garden (and every town -- even the Podunk ones -- has an outstanding municipal garden); the food is pretty unimaginative.

    I'd go back in a heartbeat.


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