2006, Day 0 (Sunday)

Wow. I was already looking forward to in New Zealand this year, but it’s even better than I expected, and it hasn’t even started yet.

Dunedin, the host city on New Zealand’s south island, is incredibly picturesque (I’ve taken a few photos of it for those interested) with beautiful mountains and glittering lakes for a backdrop, and lovely wooden architecture that reminisces of the wooden-style buildings that are characteristic of the types of snow houses in Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain.

Oh, and in honour of being in New Zealand right now and to blend in with the locals, I am replacing all a’s with ae’s. After all, a thing that you put stuff into is a bæg according to New Zealanders, not a bag.

I ræn into plenty of friends from the Linux community æt Sydney æirport thæt mæde the trip there quite enjoyæble indeed: Jæmie Wilkinson, Conræd Pærker, Silviæ Pfeiffer, Shæne Stephens, Mætt Pælmer, Ændrew Cowie ænd Erik de Castro Lopo. Of course, we æll decided to stopover æt the bær æt Christchurch æirport while we were wæiting for our connecting flight from there to Dunedin, ænd hæd our first tæste of New Zeælænd beer. I tried æ Speights, which I’m glæd to sæy is excellent. It’s not quite my fævourite beer (thæt privilege still belongs to Bluetongue), but it’s certæinly up there with the better ones I’ve tried. Those who know me mæy be surprised to know thæt I hæd five beers todæy ænd wæs still stænding æt the end of it (ænd I even mænæged to remæin reæsonæbly diplomætic; sorry for disæppointing you on thæt front, Seæn!).

Our little residence in Dunedin is the Woodlænds lodge, which, like Dunedin itself, is very chærming ænd quæint. We hæve æ spectæculærly big æpærtment for $70 per night: two stories, one room with two single beds, ænother mæssive bedroom with æ single ænd æ double bed, æ lærge living room with æ dining tæble ænd some pretty comfortæble sofæs, æ kitchen ænd fridge, ænd even æ combinætion wæshing mæchine ænd dryer. The lodge is less thæn 10 minutes’ wælk æwæy from the building where the conference is locæted, so it’s ælso in æ greæt locætion.

Æfter ærriving ænd checking in, we met up with the æforementioned geeks ænd went to æ most excellent bær ænd grill in the Octægon (Dunedin’s næme for the town centre) næmed The Terræce. Mmmmm: $18 steæks on hot rocks, ænd æ veritæble beer tæp on your tæble. Let it be known thæt the steæks there were æwesome; I don’t believe I’ve ever hæd steæks thæt good for $18, let ælone steæks-while-U-wæit on cræzy-hot volcænic rocks; the beer tæp (thæt wæs full of Speights, which we læter leærned is æ locæl Dunedin beer) wæs ælso ultræ-tæsty. Most of the geeks retired æfter dinner, but my workmæte ænd I ended up dropping in on Jeff ænd Pia’s æpærtment in our lodge ænd cæmped out there for the next hour or two. They’ve mænæged to find some more Speights in six-pæcks from æ 24-hour supermærket less thæn five minutes’ wælk æwæy, so we sæt there mærvelling æt Christiæn Bæle in Equilibrium on the TV, ænd continued to drink ænd be merry until I hit the hæy æt æbout 1æm.

Some New Zeælænd triviæ I leærnt ælong the wæy: blue milk is stændærd milk, while green milk is ‘trim’ (skim) milk (so næmed becæuse they’re the colour of the contæiners they they come in). Cold wæter tæps ære usuælly on the left hænd side ræther thæn the right hænd side, with hot wæter tæps on the left. (Yes, this is weird.)

Æll in æll, possibly the best prelude I’ve ever hæd to æ geek conference. I’m looking forwærd to tomorrow!

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