Ornithophobia

Since it is my birthday (🎉🎈🎂) a couple of friends and I decided to take a road trip through the South Island. We’ve been driving at least four hours a day, so I’ve gotten to catch up on a ton of old music I haven’t listened to in ages. My favorite old album so far is The Adicts, Songs of Praise.

Top Left: Chard Farm Vineyard Bottom Left: Along Hwy 94 Top Right: Marian Falls Bottom Right: Random Hike on Hwy 94

We flew into Christchurch, after missing our first flight and catching a later one. Daylight was burning so we headed to Willowbrook Wildlife Reserve to seem some native birds

Wildlife Reserve

I’ve been loving the birds since I’ve gotten here; my walk to class every morning is through a wooded path and there are always birds out singing.  Sometimes I hang out on my dreaded two hundred steps for a bit just to listen to the birds. My favorite thus far is the Tui. They have about four thousand vocal boxes or something which makes it so they have about two billion different sounds (very rough estimate).
 

Tui Bird

 

However, there are a ton of birds in New Zealand that I haven’t been able to see yet, including the kiwi. So we thought the wildlife reserve would be our best shot at seeing some of these rare birds.

  

Well, we definitely did see them. Not only did I see them, but I also was nearly undressed by one of them. There was a section in the reserve where you have to go into a caged area so the birds can roam free. It was exciting because the birds would walk right up to you. The problem was that this bird was not shy. I sat down next to him thinking he would check me out then fly away. Nope. He sure didn’t. I turned my head away for a second and he snuck up behind me and sat on my shoulder. I was so excited for a second, until he started grabbing my necklace, biting my fingers and trying to take off my shirt. Blood was shed and fear engulfed me. I stood up to get him off and he wouldn’t stop following me. 

Kea Bird

It was a bit traumatizing. But I eventually got over it, at least I thought. We continued driving to Milford sound and went through a pretty long tunnel. When we came out the other side there was the most amazing scenery. So naturally, we stopped.

Milford Sound

We got out of the car and turned around to find this bird on the roof of our car… He was pecking away at the rubber, chewing on the antenna and trying to come inside. Meanwhile, we were cracking up. And I was courageously hiding behind a street sign yelling to get him off because he was wrecking out rental car… And trying not to pee myself from laughing so hard.
  

Eventully we got him off the car and drove away. And of course, on the way back we ran into the little guy again. Except this time he brought his friends. I think they’re out to get me…

  

And, yes! I did see a kiwi!  

They are nocturnal, hence bad lighting

One Sheep Two Sheep Red Sheep Blue Sheep

There I was, innocently hanging out in a paddock alone. When out of the blue, a herd of wild sheep went rampant and started running after me. I did my best to fight them off, but it was one on one million and I was severely outnumbered. Punches were thrown, torches were lit and just when I felt I might make it out unscathed, a sheep started charging at me, knocking me to the group where I landed on my pinky and completely dislocated it… 

Before & After

But really, I was playing netball. A sport I had never heard of, either.  It’s sort of like basketball except you can’t travel with the ball, and there are no backboards. It seems to be primarily a women’s sport.  Without even knowing what it was, I signed up for the social league. Turns out, it’s a ton of fun. And after having a couple lessons on how to properly shoot the ball I’ve actually ended up scoring a few points for our team. 

Including right after I broke my finger, I might add. My teammate passed me the ball and I clearly caught it wrong. Immediately I knew something was amuck, but figured it was just jammed so I turned and shot the ball and scored, of course. Then, I looked down and realized I actually had eleven fingers instead of ten. It was pretty nasty looking. 

Before & After

I hurried off the court and went to the front desk where they offered to call me an ambulance.  That alone was pretty shocking.  If you called an ambulance for a broken finger in America I feel like you would get laughed at. Not to mention, my mind immediately went to “no way, they’re so expensive and my insurance is definitely not going to cover that.” 

I was trying to get out of going to the hospital all together, because I was afraid of how much it was going to cost. Turns out, it didn’t cost me a penny. Six x-rays, laughing gas, a local anesthetic and a doctor to pop my dislocated pinky back into place seems like it should cost upwards of a few grand.  And no, I didn’t have to wait a million hours to see a doctor because of universal health care. I actually waited less.  That could have also been because the doctor saw my X-ray and thought my pinky was hanging off so he rushed to get me back so we could amputate it. 

   

The doctors and nurses were so friendly. He actually laughed at my finger because of how distorted it looked. I thought that was a nice touch. Thanks, doc. Eventually we got around to jamming a few fat needles into my swollen finger, getting me all giggly on laughing gas I think just for fun because it totally wasn’t necessary, and popped that sucker back into place. And yes, I heard it pop. Overall, my evaluation of New Zealand health care? I’m quite fond. 

To end things on a happier note, here’s a picture of some cows.