Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, March 22, 2009

We decided to go to Oamaru after Lake Wanaka to visit my buddy Elaine that I met at the golf outing.  She was the sweetest lady and invited us to stay with her and her husband, should we be in the area.  When I called her, I told her we'd be happy to stay in our tent in their yard but she insisted that we stay inside.  We when got there we were so happy we decided to come.  Elaine and her husband Merv were so wonderful to us and the town of Oamaru was beautiful.  It sits right on the ocean and has a wonderful downtown historic area.  It has the best preserved historic buildings in the country (according to a brochure) but I agree. 
So for the next 4 nights we hung out with Elaine and Merv.  They live on 5 archers and have an amazing home.  They grow apples, pears, lemons, all kinds of berries, a whole field of cherry trees, an entire garden filled with everything you could think of and they even have a neighbor pig that comes around and eats leftovers.  Elaine freezing all their berries, so every night after dinner we had Hokey Pokey ice cream and berries!  It was soooo good.  It was like we went back in time. 

They were so inviting and wonderful to us.  We cant thank them enough.  Elaine showed us all around town.  We went down to the ocean and got to see one blue penguin (which is really rare to see them during the day).  We also got to see a handful of yellow eyed penguins.  We've been waiting and waiting to be able to see any type of penguin!  We even saw one really up close when we were leaving the yellow eyed area.  On the way out, Elaine noticed him in the bushes just a few feet from where we stood.  Unbelievable! 
While we were there  they made us a roast of lamb, or hoget as they called it.  So another night Brian and I made them Mulligan Stew, a recipe from my family.  Merv took me mushroom hunting.  When we got back we saw their neighbors pig hanging around.  It is this huge ugly old pig that always wonders up to their fence in hopes of getting leftovers, and of course she always does.
Some of our best experiences so far on our trip are when people invite us into their home, like Elaine and Merv did.  That's when we really get to see what the people are like and how they live.  So, thank you Elaine and Merv for making our stay unforgettable.
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