Probably I will always remember 2011 as the most exciting, weirdest and most surprising year of my life. I started the year as far as I could be from my hometown: in Gisbourne, New Zealand; I ended the year as close as I could be: in Barcelona, Spain.

I keep a text that I wrote the first minute of 2011 to remember that we didn’t start the year dancing Eurythmics, Ina and I went further dancing a catalan sardana while Shihad were playing.

This year I’ve been through all New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and I came back to Barcelona. Not bad, don’t you think? But it wasn’t only travelling, it was also growing, learning about myself and meeting all sorts of amazing people on my way.

Guys, thanks for making this year unforgettable.

 
 

#5 Fujiya & Miyagi – Knickerbocker

Vanilla. Strawberry. Hoky Poky Glory.

Singing this song, Ina and I drove more than 4000 kilometres along New Zealand. Half of it with Marty. Every single meter was worth it. Every single minute was worth it.

 
 
#4 Antònia Font – Icebergs i Guèisers

I don’t know why, but I became obsessed with this album and this song. I think it’s the most beautiful way of saying how much you miss someone. And this might have been a travelling year, but it has also been a year of missing people: the ones that I left home, the ones that I keep leaving as the trip went on. But missing is not bad, it just means that someone went through your heart. Missing people is just a sign of the amazing people I have met in my life.


 
 

#3 El Guincho – Bombay

This song is Melbourne: roast chicken, parties, dancing and realizing that nothing lasts forever, you just have to enjoy it on the meantime.

 
 

#2 George Harrison – My sweet Lord

The hippiest hippies in New Zealand were definitely us.

 
 
#1 Talking heads – This must be the place (Naive melody)

This must be the place. Not a physical place but an emotional one.

 
 
 

Thanks for sharing another year by my side. Wherever you were, wherever you are, Happy 2012!

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(ENGLISH VERSION BELOW!)

POST IN SPANISH

Yo me imagino que os acordaréis de esa gran idea llamada Earth Sandwich Project. Pero por si acaso os refresco la memoria: aprovechando que Nueva Zelanda está justo en las antípodas de España (como podéis comprobar en esta web), quise hacer un sandwich con la tierra, poner al planeta entre rebanada y rebanada de pan.

Earth Sandwich (spanish perspective)

Estando yo en Marton, resultó que las antípodas eran un pueblo llamado Cardiel de los Montes. Pues un chico muy majo (hola Pablo!) de ese pueblo encontró mi blog, y no sólo eso, sino que cumplió mi petición y puso su rebanada de pan.

Señores, el sandwich está hecho.

¡Oh sí!

Bread Slice in Cardiel de los Montes, Spain

Bread slice in Marton, New Zealand

¡Por cierto! ¡Gracias a ese anónimo voluntarioso, majo y guapo que me ha hecho el trabajo sucio con el Photoshop!

.

ENGLISH VERSION

I believe you’ll remember that great idea called Earth Sandwich Project. Just in case, let me refresh your memory: as New Zealand is exactly the antipodes of Spain (as you can check in this website), I wanted to do a sandwich with the earth, put the planet between slice and slice.

Earth Sandwich (New Zealand perspective)

When I was in Marton, it turned out that the antipodes were a town called Cardiel de los Montes. Then a really nice guy (hi Pablo!) from that town found my blog, and not only found it, he also followed my request and put his slice of bread.

Ladies and gentlemen, the sandwich is done.

Oh yeah!

Me with the bread in Marton, New Zealand

Pablo with the bread in Cardiel de los Montes, Spain

By the way! Thanks to that anonymous, willing, cute and good-looking person that has done the dirty job with photoshop!

Several weeks ago (click here to see the post) I told you about our new theory of kiwi animals, how a Pukiwi (also known as Takahe) was the son of a Pukeko and a Pukiwi.

Well, I guess if you have no idea of what those animals look like you might think we are crazy. But seriously, it all made sense when we thought of it!

Anyway, I promised a diagram of those animals, the real and the unreal ones. And thanks to Ina, here it is:

New Zealand birds

To sum up and to make sure that we all learn the lesson:

UNREAL ANIMALS: kiwi and pukiwi (formerly known by New Zealanders as takahe)
REAL ANIMALS: pukeko and pukiwi second (formerly known by New Zealanders as weka)

kiwi + pukeko = pukiwi
kiwi + pukeko = pukiwi second

As you all see, if a real animal has babies with an unreal animal two things might happen: a real baby or an unreal one. Our diagram clearly shows the birds development as we saw it. (never trust the books, we know the truth!!)

Darwin would be SO proud of us!!

New Zealand in numbers:

– Days been here: 125

– Kilometers done: more than 9.000. We’ll actually never know because we were stupid and we didn’t look at it when we rented our camper van in South Island.

– pictures taken: 1.298

– New friends on Facebook: 35

– NZ phone numbers registered in my cellphone: 23

– sheep and cows seen: more than in my entire life. Millions, seriously.

– memories that I’ll try never to forget: uncountable.

New Zealand in my heart:

Marty. The guys’ house. Their jam sessions. Jai. The road trips. The car. Eating salad for Christmas. The weird pineapple lumps. Jon. Shihad. Jägermeister. Listening to Pony Bravo. Listening to Fujiya&Miyagi. Summer. Beach. Forest. All green. All blue. Fish & chips. Hokey Pokey. Earthquake in Christchurch. Auckland. Wedding. Weeding. Rotorua smells like egg. Mince pie. Nelson. Madcester. Anzac biscuits. Wellington is alive. Anaya. Totos. Dresses. Salvation Army. I like lager beer. Yellow Submarine. Vampiritos. La niña. My first nephew. My grandma’s surgery. Being a hippie. La Fea. Cows. Sheep. “Highway”. Kiwi. Pukeko. Their idea of “city”. Their idea of “town”. Laughing. Crying. Smiling. Ok Cool.

Us

All in all, I’ll miss New Zealand.

(ENGLISH VERSION BELOW!!!)

POST IN SPANISH.

A ver, que necesito ayuda. Sí sí. Necesito que tú, persona en las cercanías de Talavera de la Reina, leas con atención lo que te tengo que decir. Que yo ya sé que no hay mucha gente de Talavera de la Reina que lea este blog, de hecho sospecho que desde allí no me lee ni el Tato, pero oye, yo tengo que intentarlo.

El tema es que un amigo mío un día tuvo una idea brillante aprovechando que yo estoy en las antípodas: EL SANDWICH TERRESTRE.

¿Qué? ¿esta se ha vuelto loca?

Un momento, ¡calma!

Si entráis en esta web (sino ya os lo digo yo, no os preocupeis!): http://map.talleye.com/bighole.php podréis ver que las antípodas exactas desde Marton, New Zealand, están entre Cardiel de los Montes o El Casar de Escalona, cerca del río, sin pasar por la autopista. Y eso está cerca de Talavera de la Reina. Así que me pareció un buen punto para hacer el Sandwich. ¿Que lo podía haber hecho más fácil para vosotros? Correcto. Pero es que a mi me gusta Marton y la que empieza el sandwich soy yo. Punto pelota.

Yo puse mi rebanada, ahora necesito que alguien en España haga lo mismo y podamos tener al planeta entre pan y pan.

rebanada de pan // slice of bread

sandwich terrestre (primer paso) / earth sandwich (first step)

¿Que esto no sirve de nada? Correcto. Pero, ¿desde cuando me ha importado eso?

ENGLISH VERSION.

OK,  I need help. Yes. I need that you, person in the nearby of Talavera de la Reina, read carefully what I have to tell you. I know that there isn’t many people from around Talavera de la Reina reading this blog, actually I guess there won’t be anyone from there reading me, but I have to give it a try.

The thing is that a friend of mine one day had a brilliant idea with the fact that I am literally in the antipodes: THE EARTH SANDWICH.

What the f**k? Has she gone crazy?

What a minute. Stay calm!

If you enter in this website: http://map.talleye.com/bighole.php you’ll see that the antipodes from Marton, New Zealand, are between Cardiel de los Montes and El Casar de Escalona, close to the river, not by the highway. And that’s near Talavera de la Reina. So I thought it was a good place to do the Sanwich. Could I had done it easier for you, in Spain? Yes. But I like Marton and the one starting the sandwich is me. Period.

I placed my slice of bread, now I need someone in Spain doing the same so we can have the planet between slice and slice.

yo y el pan // me and the bread

Do you think this is totally worthless? Right. But, did I ever care about what people think?

One of the things that surprises me most when I travel to other countries is visiting their supermarkets and analyzing their products. Specially: the cleaning products.

When I was living in Holland, me and my friend Chiara were totally obsessed with finding the same products that we have home, but that didn’t happen and we realized that Dutch people have their own things, and a regular mop was not part of that. So when I came to New Zealand, I also wanted to know what to they use. And, of course, it has nothing to do with Spain.

1. Dishcloth. Our spanish “bayeta”.

Here they don’t have this! I mean, they have it in the supermarkets but we haven’t seen it in any house! And it’s so useful! You put in underneath the wet dishes and… surprise! It absorbs the water!

Dishcloth in Spain

Instead of that, in all the houses we just found a regular cloth.

Dishcloth in New Zealand

2. Scrubber. Our Spanish “estropajo”

That was the most surprising thing. For me a normal scrubber to do the dishes would be something similar to this:

 

Scrubber in Spain

Instead, Kiwis use something that I would regard for the glasses only. I have to say that I’m getting used to it, and for pans and cutlery is really good. I miss my dear “estropajo”, but I admit that the Kiwi version cleans better. By the way, in Spain our procedure usually is to put soap in the scrubber, put soap in every dish and leave them in the sink and then we rinse them under water. In New Zealand what they do is filling the sink with hot (really hot!) water and soap and they clean and rinse at the same time.

 

Scrubber in New Zealand

3. Mop. Our Spanish “fregona”

Well, here comes a weird thing. Theoretically the mop was a spanish invention. We have always been told so, and so says the spanish version of wikipedia. But if you look at the english version, then it was an american invention. Uhm. That’s weird. Anyway, that thing used to clean the floor in Spain is something like this:

Mop in Spain

The mop handle is supposed to be longer than the person using it, so you don’t have to bend down while using it and you don’t hurt your back. Instead of this, in New Zealand we have found a weird mop with an extremely short handle. It might seem useful, but it has a weird inclination that makes impossible to clean corners, and, moreover, if you mop without sweeping… it’s impossible to clean!

Mop in New Zealand

And well, this is the post that will make you all think that I’m a cleaning freak. Believe me: I’m not at all. It’s just that I’ve been in lots of houses, in different countries, and hey, I find it interesting to compare the products.

When we left Christchurch after the earthquake, neither Marina nor I had any doubt that we wanted to come back to see what was left of the city. Before going back to the North Island, we decided to spend 5 days in Christchurch.

We were incredibly lucky when we contacted Matt from Couchsurfing: he has been amazing!! His house (soon known as Mattpackers) is crowed, busy, funny, happy. One of those places where you can never be bored or feel lonely. They made us feel like home. And believe me, it wasn’t easy in a city that still shakes several times per day. Matt, thanks!!!

The sad part was that coming back to Christchurch was way more traumatic than we expected. The city center is still closed by the army, there is still danger of buildings to collapse, there are thousands of families still without water or electricity. Everywhere you look there are signs of the strongest earthquake ever. Everyone has lost either someone, or a house, or a business.

Matt took us by car to see whats remaining of the city. I have the feeling that Christchurch had to be amazing. Unfortunately, I will never know. Again, I just want to wish the best to the families of all the victims.

Judge it yourself:

 

162

floor crack in a supermarket

159

bridge

158

another crack in the floor

160

random building in Christchurch

161

rocks destroying a building

 

This is just a sample of what we have seen. Besides the buildings, we have also met a lot of people from Christchurch, whose strength facing the destruction was shocking at the beginning, but taught us a lot.

Matt, again, thanks for taking care of us.

South Island, we’ll miss you! Definitely, the best scenery ever!