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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Polar Express


It was a beautiful day, the kids were in school and Chad rang up to tell me that as part of the Art Deco Days in Napier, an old steam train would be coming to town. We went down to the old train platform to watch the train arrive. The area was a buzz with stalls set up selling strawberry shortcakes, honey, sausages and tea sandwiches. We heard a cry of "here she comes!" We could hear the train blasting its whistle before we could see it. I felt the excitement in the air and believed I had stepped back into another time. As the train pulled up women with furs and hats, and men with suspenders leaned out of the windows and waved to us. We watched as they disembarked, so nostalgic looking with gloves on their hands and canes in tow. Some even had wicker picnic baskets packed with a lunch to be enjoyed under a tree. We mingled enjoying the atmosphere then went to take a look at the train.
My Grandfather used to work on a steam engine so I found it especially fascinating to watch the engineers check gauges and oil gears. Coal was shoveled into a fiery, hissing furnace. It took a full hour to be sure everything was in proper order before they could turn the engine around to head back.
The conductor came around yelling "all aboard" encouraging passengers to embark upon their journey back to Napier. The train began hissing and chugging as it gained speed, the wheels clacking on the tracks. People waved goodbye out the windows as the red caboose disappeared in the distance. Just as the smoke faded into sky, so my jaunt into the past faded away.

No worries - Kris

Friday, May 22, 2009

Under the Big Top


About one week ago, all of the sudden signs started to appear around town saying that the circus was coming to town! Dad decided that he would go alone with me so that we would some time together! We bought tickets for that night, we could have gone on Tuesday night but that was the night Mom and I got back from Rotorua- 8 hours away from Wairoa! So instead we booked it for Wednesday night! But when we were at young leaders in Rotorua we got bad news that Dad was sick. When mom and I returned Dad said that he was feeling a bit better but he was not up to going. Mom ended up going with me and all the same it was fantastic! When we got there that night it was pretty cold but I was really exited for it to start! I went up to the food stands and ordered some candy floss (cotton candy)! The place was giant and there were ropes everywhere! We sat for about 15 minutes, I spotted my friend Grace and went to talk to her. 2 minutes later they announced that it would be about 5 minutes till it started and we needed to get seated! My favorite act was the first one! Not just because it was the first and it was special, but because they did all the different kinds of gymnastics and it was just amazing! First a lady dropped down on ropes and she was wearing wings (it was supposed to look like she was flying but it really didn’t!) She untied a red knotted up ball and it fell draping on the floor. I wondered what they were going to be doing with the red strips but right then the lights dimmed, and just about 10 seconds later the lights got a bit brighter and I could make out some people wrapped up in it and I right away knew this show and just this one act in it’s self would all be great! Music started to play and they started swinging around and doing all these different kinds of tricks! There were about 6 or 7 people in that act and I think there were about 6 or 7 strips, one for each person to swing on! Normally some of them would stand off to the side and watch the other people but in the end all of them went on it! 4 people were on all of the sides swinging around a girl in the middle of all of them, she was hanging upside down with the fabric strips somehow wrapped around her legs so she was doing the middle splits, her hands were out stretched so that she could hold onto a man! That was my favorite of all the acts even though there were many more than just that, but I do not have the time to type up all of those different acts and crazy things like stacking up chairs and doing handstands on the tops of each one! Sorry I can’t tell you more about the Circus so if you have not gone to one yet than you need to go!

-Elena

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Monet Exhibit

When we were in Wellington we went to a museum called Te Papa. I do not know what that means but it is something in Maori. Te Papa is the only museum in the world to have a colossal squid on display and most of all one that was caught alive! Yes we did go to see that when we were there but that's not what I'm supposed to be writing about! I'm writing about the Monet exhibit! When we visited we got the wonderful experience of going to see Monet and the Impressionists! Impressionist paintings are a certain kind of painting - it's painted to really only look best from a farther distance, you would be surprised! When we were looking at them there was a line of tape on the floor so we knew where we could stand to look back from and on the wall next to some of the paintings (most of them) it said a little caption of about who painted it and when it was painted or finished! We had to wait in the beginning in a very, very long line, yet it was worth it because all the paintings from the group of about 7-10 impressionists were just truly amazing! Once we made it into the room with all the paintings we one by one got through all of the paintings while remembering our favourites out of them all! When we finally finished looking through them which took about an hr. and a half, Mom and Dad asked which ones were our favorites and we went around showing about 1-6 each! Almost all of them were by Monet except for one that I chose!
I think all of us ended up having a really good time in the end!
Sorry we have no photos we took ourselves but I think a lot of you know Monet paintings!
-Elena

Friday, May 8, 2009

Science Alive

In Christchurch we went to the Science Alive museum. First Damon, Elena and I went on a gyroscope where you sit in a seat and someone spins a wheel and you go upside down and around. They use this to train astronauts because it makes you feel like you are in space where you can't feel gravity. There was also a slide that went straight down then curved. It was scary when you first dropped straight down, but it was fun! There were also these chairs with a rope in front of them. You had to sit in the chair and pull yourself up with the rope. There were three chairs and one had one pulley, another had two pulleys, and the last had three. The one with 3 pulleys was easiest to pull myself up because the pulleys were doing much of the work. There was a beehive where you could see the bees going up a tube to get outside. There were lots of games to play like rolling a ball on a board around the pegs to get to the end or trying to balance on a board for as long as you could. We also did a climbing wall. It was a lot of fun!
-Maddie
video

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Cathedral in Christchurch



While Mom and Damon were on a bus tour, Maddie, Dad and I went into the Christchurch Cathedral. We oohed and ahhed at all the beautiful wood work, tiles, stained glass windows. We saw some pipes for an organ, but couldn't find it. We searched all over and finally found it! It was under a cover and we couldn't touch it. We also found that there was a bell tower! We did not want Mom and Damon to miss out so we thought that we would wait untill they were back. When we got to the cathedral Mom and Damon had not been there so we had a look around with them and then we went up in the Bell Tower. Damon went to the front and paid for 5 people. At last we were headed up! At first we were walking on cement steps and I did not feel like I was going to fall at all. Then we started walking on wooded steps and they were a bit wobbly! There were little labels on all the steps saying names of different people and the number of steps we were on! All the steps were going around and around, so that we kept on going in circles but we kept moving up! Every step I took upwards it just kept on getting scarier and scarier. Finally we got to the last step before a landing, and on the very last step it said: 134! We walked up 134 steps! When we all had stepped up onto the landing we found that there were 4 doors. Dad and I went into one, Maddie, Damon and Mom went into the one right next to us! On the outside it was really cool, we were fenced in and we could look right down at the Cathedral square in all directions around the tower! When we were all finally done, we started climbing down the steep ladder that we had climbed up to get to the very top of the tower! Now we just had to climb 134 steps down! Soon enough we were down and we could go relax or look around a bit in the market!
-Elena