I was sharing a three-bedroom apartment with my supervisor and another PhD student. Since I was the first to fly in, I got to the room first. I was surprised to find a sticky floor, dirty dishes, no sheets or towels or toilet paper, and a stink of stale cigarettes. When I asked, I was told the cleaners just hadn’t gotten to it yet. So, I went for a wander down
While not as overtly vegan-friendly as
I had high hopes for the conference food—on the first day there was a tray of mini-bagels with avocado and tomato, or with jam, and in the welcome session the organisers said those with ‘special dietary requests’ should ask the servers who would keep the vegan stuff in the kitchen for us. Lunch wasn’t provided, to keep costs down. At afternoon tea I asked and was given veggie sandwiches on gluten-free bread. The next few days, I asked and was told there was nothing. I got fruit a few times when it was put out for everyone, but I mostly tried to keep my stomach full of tea instead of food. Luckily there were cafes for lunch close to the conference space.
Although the conference program was pretty full-on—400 papers and 450 delegates from a surprising number of countries—the organisers planned an afternoon off on Wednesday. They offered three choices of organised tours, or of course you could go off on your own. I chose the tour to the “Wild West Coast”. I picked up my bag lunch (yummy salad, fruit and juice) and hopped on the bus along with 30 or so other anthropologists from around the world, and we were off.
We drove through the mountains, stopping only once for a brief walk to a big kauri tree. The photos don’t do this tree justice—it probably would have taken about 8 adults with arms outstretched to fully circle the trunk.
When we came down out of the mountains, the next item on our agenda was to visit a winery. There, we had bottles and bottles of free wine for tasting, along with fruit, crackers, and some non-vegan snacks.
In addition to black sand, waves, and a generally dramatic coastline, Muriwai is home to a huge colony of gannets. Each white speck on those rocks is a bird—most were sitting on nests full of baby gannets.
We watched the birds for a bit, but then it was time to head back to
Now, I will leave it there for this post, and pick up in my next post with my last two days in Aotearoa New