Posts from Zoe

Darwin in the Galapagos

We entered the Galapagos on February 15. Upon arrival, I had no idea that Darwin had visited the islands about 180 years ago. In my defense, I was busy looking around and holding onto a raft that would take us to the boat.

Originally, Darwin wanted to be a Clergyman, like his father. However, Darwin didn’t have a particular liking for the job and moved onto another topic. Darwin wanted to come to the islands because his next topic of interest was geology and since the islands had been formed by volcanos three to four million years ago. When he got here, his focus switched to evolution, the reason the islands have so much fame. His main study was of finches.

Now that I have explained a bit about Charles Darwin, I will tell you about the formation of the islands. The first island that appeared was Española. It was the product of a hotspot that sits directly under the islands. Slowly, Española moved to the right of the hotspot, so other islands came up in its place. Now, the Ecuadorian province is home to 13 major islands, 6 minot islands, and a great deal of small, barren islands and large rocks. Some of them include Isabela, Fernandina, Santa Cruz, Santiago, San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana, etc.

While we only visited some of these islands, we spent ⅕ the time Darwin spent there and hit just as many islands. Well, we weren’t doing scientific research!

family standing behind large tortoise


Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world, from its amazing hiking trails that you can do in 10 minutes or 5 days, to it’s crazy bungy jumping and sky-diving reputation. On the shores of the giant lake Wakatipu. It is largely a tourist town and almost everyone who lives in Queenstown work in the tourist industry. All the people in Queenstown are adventure lovers and aren’t afraid of anything it seems. Travel booking centers are everywhere and you can book everything from a zipline to a scenic helicopter ride.

A lot of things you can do have to do with heights. You can do zip lines, bungy jumps, paragliding, sky diving, airplane and helicopter rides, etc. Since, at least two people in our family are deathly afraid of heights, we decided we should try other things. You can go jetboating, white water rafting, skiing and snowboarding (winter only), hiking, and lots of other stuff.

Water related activities include water skiing, parachuting, kayaking, and boat cruises. The goal of Queenstown is to put some fun in the scenery. Queenstown also is home to a fantastic gondola ride up to a viewing deck and cafe at the top of a mountain. The main attraction up at the top however, is the go-cart type ride that you can do. It is so much fun!

lake for white water rafting Queenstown is the place to visit if you want some amazing scenery, awesome hikes, adventurous activities, and more!

Panthers vs. Broncos

The Superbowl was scheduled for Sunday night at home, but we are basically a half a day ahead of the East Coast. So, we show up at an Irish Pub called Póg Mahones at about noon on Monday, February 8th. I think it is safe to say that we were the only people in the entire pub wanting the Panthers to win. We got there just as they were calling out the MVPs for the past 49 Superbowls.

We cheered when Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco came out, and we were the only people doing so. Also, we felt very bad for Tom Brady. When he came out, everyone booed. How bad must that feel? You are getting honored and as a three time Superbowl MVP and people boo you? That sucks. I mean, I am in no way shape or form a Patriots fan, and I do not like the Patriots at all, or Tom Brady for that matter, but that was horrible.

We were excited for the actual game as well. I think, I have never had a year in my life where the football wasn’t constantly on during the fall and winter. We would watch the Ravens games with my aunts and uncles and we would have yummy food and just have fun. You don’t really realize how much you take for granted until you loose it all. It felt amazing to watch the game again. It felt like I was at home again, with the exception, chicken wings are not at all popular in New Zealand. You can find them at some restaurants, but they are asian style chicken wings, with a soy-hoisin glaze and stuff. I miss Old Bay! Like I said, you don’t realize what you take for granted until you loose it all.

Only Da and I watched most of the Superbowl. Gianna, Tori, and Mama went to the apartment after halftime, while Da and I stayed until the three-minute mark. The halftime show was not at all what I expected. I was mostly just excited because… uh… BEYONCÉ! Oh my lord she even makes falling look fabulous. I was a little weirded out by all the flowers and stuff, it seemed weird to me. Mama called it the “kidzbop halftime show” because of that. I liked the nostalgia part at the end, but the rest was weird. I liked the dance battle thing between Bruno Mars and Beyoncé, and when Coldplay, Bruno, and Beyoncé sang together at the end. It was the thought that counted.

Also, Lady Gaga crushed the National Anthem. The memes on the internet are hilarious too. “When you have to sing the National Anthem and 6:30 but you gotta host the hunger games at 8,” was one of my favorites that my mom showed me. But off that topic, Lady Gaga can sing! She killed it.

I thouroughly enjoyed watching the Superbowl and while I would have liked the Panthers to win, I’m glad Peyton Manning got his win. I’m not a Broncos fan, I’m just happy for Peyton.