Sunday, November 07, 2010

Lake Wanaka, and the Cinema Paradiso!

After viewing the SteamPunk exhibit and sculptures around Oamaru, we left for Wanaka in the early afternoon. We were ready for some personal time and a day "off", so we weren't terribly concerned about the details.

So I guess it was a good day to get lost! Oh, we didn't get very lost, but we took our own unique path. The easy availability of free tourist maps in New Zealand is fantastic. Really. There's a tourism site at every turn in New Zealand, with all kinds of helpful information. But every once in a while we had reason to miss our detailed maps and our trusty Tom-Tom. So our actual route may have been a little longer than we'd planned, but it may have been an easier path. I think we accidentally chose a straighter path. Score 1 for Stephanie, 0 for car-sickness!!!

After numerous stops to take photos of sheep and old shacks (which all look irresistibly quaint to us) we arrived in Wanaka in the late afternoon. I'd read in a guidebook that taking in a movie at the Cinema Paradiso wasn't to be missed, so we'd tentatively planned to watch a movie.

We checked in at a hostel, took a walk on the lakefront, and spent some time sitting in the sun reading. (We both got addicted to the Millennium series during the trip, and read all three books. Two thumbs' up!). It was nice to just take some time to unwind, and I was this ' ' close to just settling into my lazy funk and not doing anything else. But ... the theatre was less than a block away, and ... well, Lonely Planet said it was a must-do! I do love a good theatre experience.

So late in the evening we walked the half-block from the Mountain View Backpackers to the theatre. The guy at the hostel had indicated that there might be a few pizzas on the menu. He was really underselling the place! Although we did end up ordering a pizza, and a pretty good salad, to share.

The theatre was mostly set up with couches, and with the body of an old car for more adventurous theatre-goers. We decided to be less adventurous, and selected a nice couch, front-ish and center. As you'd expect, it's a small, one-movie-at-a-time, kind of theatre, and Animal Kingdom was the evening movie. I'm not going to give a movie review, but I will say that I liked it. Overall, maybe a 4/5.

At intermission I indulged in a hot chocolate with shots of Frangelico & Kahluah. Quite a bit sweeter than my normal pics, but it was a nice luxury after a couple of weeks of flying and hiking and biking and adventuring. A nice, slow, easy, cool spring night in the mountains.

As a side note about alcohol in New Zealand -
When you order a cocktail; the New Zealand standard shot is smaller than the U.S. shot. It never occurred to me that there was a difference in shot size, but a few unrelated locals explained to us that the single shot needs to be smaller because Kiwi's are such alcoholics. Interesting. Maybe we should be marketing the Utah 3.2% beer!

Another interesting note; RTD's are quite popular in New Zealand. I'm not sure I'd ever seen one before, but RTD = Ready to Drink, and refers to popular pre-mixed drinks like the Bourbon & Coke and the Gin & Tonic. They're not the best versions of the cocktails, and the alcohol level is lower (due to the standard shot size), but they're sure convenient.

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