June 16

We spent the day exploring Nelson. Nelson is the self-proclaimed sunniest place in New Zealand. It supposedly gets about 300 days of sun per year. The town is quite cute, with lots of shopping and restaurants. We drank coffee and wandered the streets. Eventually we went up to see the cathedral, which is a central focal point of the city.

Since we didn’t need to do any shopping, we moved on to head back towards Blenheim. On the way we stopped at the Pelorus River so that Zhoel could do some fishing. I laid in the sun and read a book while he fished.

While I was reading, I heard someone come up behind me. I assumed that it was Zhoel (as he had jokingly sneaked up behind me before). Of course, given my experiences with numerous vicious birds, I should’ve realized that it was a bird trying to peck my eyes out. By the time I turned around the rooster was almost upon me. I gave up my sun-drenched hillside and made a break for the car. The rooster pecked around the car for a half hour until Zhoel returned. By that time it had decided I was part of its hen harem. (I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get any pictures of the amorous rooster.) When Zhoel approached it puffed out its chest threateningly. Zhoel made to kick it (thinking it would flee); instead, he ended up kicking it several feet away and it retreated (unharmed) but squawking.

We made it to Blenheim and joined Laurie, Fran and the kids for dinner. It was wonderful to catch up with them again for a visit. As always, the food was amazing and the company was top notch. We left their place and stopped for a brief visit with Brian. It was nice to see him and to hear about his work. He has a ticket booked back to the States for August, so we may even end up seeing him over there!

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