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Day 19 - Christchurch,
New Zealand

Now, here's warm breezes and beaches. Ziggy is beside herself looking out the window. The plane had to circle Christchurch and we got to see it from the air from different viewpoints. It was truly amazing.

The city of Christchurch is located in the central South Island of New Zealand. "The Garden City", how it is nicknamed, is a delight all year round - diversity of picturesque and spectacular destinations. The city has a cosmopolitan ambiance with an abundance of shops, cafes and a busy business district. Christchurch has a lifestyle culture of its own.

When we got off the plane, Ziggy and I skipped through the airport whistling a happy tune. When all of a sudden, she stopped dead in her tracks. I turned and Ziggys' eyes were transfixed on something or someone outside, I couldn't tell. I had to pick her up to continue. It was like she was paralized but in a good sort of way.

When we got outside, waiting right near a cab was this cat. A bizaare looking cat, but none the same, a cat. Ziggy motioned for me to set her down so I did. She walked over to this cat and they just stared at each other.

We got into the cab and this cat jumped in too. The cabbie intoduced himself and told us he hoped we didn't mind but he brought his cat with him to work. You see, it was... Bring Your Cat To Work Day in Christchurch. He introduced himself Jacco and introduced his cat as Bowser Joe.

All the way in, they just sat there and stared at each other. They started meowing back and forth. Ziggy told me Bowser was going to show her around and she would be back for dinner. What could I say.

When we got to the hotel and Ziggy and Bowser jumped out of the cab and took off down the street. I just checked out some of the sites. After an hour or so, I saw Ziggy and Bowser in a boat. It looked like a gandola, which it was in a sense. The difference, the gandolier is is called a punt. Don't ask. Here they are the first time I saw them.

Then the second time.

The third time, I told Ziggy it was time for dinner. With restaurants and cafes open from midmorning til late in the evening, eating out can be an experience on its own. While very laid back it has everything and something to tempt everyone.

The waitess came up to us and asked me if we would like to try some New Zealand Pasties. I was a bit taken back at first. I even turned a nice shade of red too. Ziggy chuckled cause she could tell I was embarressed. Then she explained what they were and I replied with relief, "Sure, thats what we'll have." Here's the recipe.

New Zealand Pasties

Serves 2

ROUNDS
8 oz Flour
2 oz Crisco
2 oz Butter (or Marg)
1 pn Salt
2 tb To 3 tb water (approx)

CORNISH PASTIES
4 oz Finely diced RAW potato
4 oz Ground beef
2 oz Chopped onion
2 oz Finely diced RAW carrots
1 oz Green peas (optional)

Sift the flour and salt. Rub in the Crisco and butter until a sandy texture is reached. Make a hollow in the middle and add water. Handle as little and as lightly as possible. Wrap in grease proof paper and refrigerate for 24 hours. Now it's ready to use for the Cornish Pasties.

Roll out pastry to approx 1/8" thick, cut into 5" diameter rounds. Cut around a dessert dish or the like, moisten the filling with a little water and place a generous spoonful in the middle of each round. Make sure it is in a pile not flattened out. Moisten the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Fold in half and flute the edges. Now stand them up so the fluting is a cross the top, and push with your fingers to make the join into a wavey seam.

Brush the outside of each pastie with beaten egg, and cook at 275 degrees for 3/4 hr. to an hour. When cooked, pastry should be nicely browned.

Buon appetito!

During dinner, I had to have this heart to heart talk with Ziggy. All she could do is talk about Bowser Joe and how she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. I reminded her about Giorgio Giuseppi Fernando Vazuela, cat dude she met in Palermo, Sicily. But she assured me that he was just a friend and meant nothing to her.

She said Bowser was her soul mate. I, unfortunately, had the task of telling her that this was his home and it would never work so forget about it. End of story. Then she asked if she could have her own suitcase or a backpack like mine. If you remember, she broke the handle on her little suitcase in Zaragoza, Spain.

I told her that we would stop off and pick one up but I was okay with carrying her stuff around. But she insisted on having her own. So we stopped off a picked up one little backpack for Ziggy.

The next morning, we headed off to the airport and while walking through the airport, I noticed something peculiar about Ziggys backpack. It was really lumpy. You guessed it. She was trying to smuggle Bowser Joe out of New Zealand. It's a good thing I caught her because her buddy Jacco, the cab driver, was frantically running through the airport looking for her and had a good idea he was with Ziggy. He was right!

Make a long story short, they said their goodbyes, we said our goodbyes and we were off. I have to say, Ziggy did take it really well after I told her what it might be like if her and I ever got separated. She agreed and went to sleep. Go figure.

Tokyo, Japan was far more than we ever expected. All the times we saw Tokyo on TV didn't compare to seeing it in person. Wait til you hear who we ran into and spent the day with. You will faint!

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