February 20, 2008

New Zealand

Returning from New Zealand is a very sad endeavor. Not only do you get to endure a very long day—somewhere around 36 hours and involving numerous cars, planes, and sherpas—but you also must deal with leaving one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Speaking at Webstock (the impetus for the trip) was both an honor and a fabulous time. I’m still adjusting to the timezone reverb and the cold (it’s summer in NZ), but I wanted to collect a couple of thoughts from the trip.

The kind folks at Webstock (Tash, Mike, and Siggy, to name a few) put on a wonderful conference, sparing no detail in showing the attendees and speakers a splendid and informative time. As Dan Cederholm said, New Zealand is a sort of “Earth Concentrate”; travel about five minutes in any direction and you will likely be confronted by a different and gorgeous landscape. Thank you to everyone at Webstock and all the attendees for showing us around and being so damn nice. I definitely want to go back and visit someday.

Some stats: I managed to take 298 (and post some on Flickr), saw about 835 sheep and 3 movie stars, ate the largest mussels I’ve ever seen, and rode 27 times in 16 different vehicles over the course of 10 days:

  1. Volkswagen Jetta (2)
  2. AirTrain (3)
  3. B757 3-cabin (2)
  4. BART (2)
  5. 747-400 (2)
  6. Airport bus (4)
  7. 737-300 (2)
  8. Volkswagen Golf (1)
  9. Double-decker bus (1, top floor)
  10. Taxi (1)
  11. Ferry (1)
  12. Rental Car (1)
  13. Water taxi (2)
  14. Kayak (1)
  15. Shuttle bus (1)
  16. Cessna Caravan (1)

Commentary (19):

1. Greg Hoy says… feb 20, 2008 | 2:37 pm

No handsome cabs? No camels? No taun tauns?

2. Brian Flanagan says… feb 20, 2008 | 3:32 pm

Welcome home.

3. Johnny Hall says… feb 20, 2008 | 7:33 pm

New Zealand *is* renowned for their famous, well priced sherpas.

4. Simone says… feb 20, 2008 | 8:23 pm

NZ was happy to have you. Of course you do realise we want you back?

5. Charles Adler says… feb 20, 2008 | 8:40 pm

Great story, and nice to see you got to hit some scenery while down there. Never been myself, but it really looks amazing.

6. Jordan says… feb 20, 2008 | 9:23 pm

It was great to have you Jason. Although i can probably only offer half a welcome, being a transplanted Aussie myself.
But it was a pleasure to meet you briefly, and more so to sit in on your presentation. Truly inspiring.

7. bearskinrug says… feb 21, 2008 | 5:27 am

I see a Jetta twice. Did you pack your car for the trip?

8. Scott says… feb 21, 2008 | 9:26 am

Amen. That place is heaven. It’s like having every place you’ve ever wanted to visit, side by side, within an hour of each other. Glaciers and fiords and mountains, oh my!

9. jessae says… feb 21, 2008 | 12:10 pm

BART, sounds like a stop over in SF

10. Jason Santa Maria says… feb 21, 2008 | 12:15 pm

Jessae: Yup, things were so hectic leading up to leaving that I didn’t even notice I had a seven hour layover in SF. It seemed like a nice chance to head out of the airport for some good coffee and Mexican food.

11. RJ Hampden says… feb 21, 2008 | 1:37 pm

If I were in New Zealand, I would have never gotten out of the Pussy Wagon.

12. Bonzy says… feb 21, 2008 | 5:51 pm

Did you see any hobbits?

13. Jason Santa Maria says… feb 21, 2008 | 5:53 pm

Bonzy: Yes, I saw all of them :D

14. Peter Asquith says… feb 21, 2008 | 10:18 pm

Excellent and thought-provoking presentation and great to meet you and briefly chat about vacuum cleaners! Impressive sheep-counting, by the way - a lot of us who live down here have become somewhat blasé about our sheep-counting.

15. Liz Danzico says… feb 22, 2008 | 3:27 pm

And if you miss the 835 of them, there’s always this.

16. Andy States says… feb 24, 2008 | 1:07 pm

The photos look great. I’m green with envy. Did you use any special techniques/equipment to get such vibrant darks and nice vignetting?

17. Jason Santa Maria says… feb 25, 2008 | 8:59 am

Andy States: No photographic trickery used, where vignetting occurred was just happenstance. Maybe NZ is just a naturally vibrant and contrasty country :D

18. Maya says… feb 27, 2008 | 2:34 pm

Great pics!
Where can we get a glimpse of that presentation, though?

19. Zef says… feb 27, 2008 | 10:44 pm

Great to meet you JSM - remember, we are only 36hrs away and the coffee is great! (PS - next time bring the monkey or the sheep gets it).