Punting down the river

My family took me out on a “cruise” of the Waikato river, on a lovely little “paddle steamer”. Mostly in honour of my leaving for Texas. That is, if I ever go. Because the images are bandwidth intensive please click “more” for the rest of the images.

The image above is the whole group on the boat, from left to right, Scot, me, Susan, David (her husband), my mother and Arth!

The interior of the boat was done up in lush wood and lit up with soft warm lighting.

One of the highlights of our evening (apart from the excellent food, the live entertainment and the company) were the bridges we passed on our way up and down the river. The bridges are lit up at night, like many of New Zealand’s buildings. They are far more impressive than this picture does them justice.

The restaurant operates as a stone-grill / buffet. Stone-grill in that they bring you your meat on a stone heated to 400 degrees and you cook it there yourself. Buffet in that the soup starter (tomato, my favourite) and desert is an all-you-can-eat-help-yourself affair.
We were fortunate enough to sit right in front of the musician who sang a number of classics, ranging from Blondie to Ah-Ha. Being the sort of people we are, we sang along with gusto, much to the amusement of the other patrons.

The musician, recognising our not-so-hidden talents for making fools of ourselves, incited us to sing backup vocals for her rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” she didn’t count on us actually doing it with harmonies though.
Even though it was cold, we couldn’t resist going outside onto the frigid deck to have the “boating” experience first-hand.

The mist-covered water churned relentlessly under the large paddles and our breath misted up as soon as it left our mouths. Still, after a nice warm meal, the chilly air was refreshing and there wasn’t a hint of rain.
This is a picture of the happy (if slightly and totally not tipsy) parents.

And here is my sister and her husband, David, sharing a private moment together while the rest of us were out and about the boat.

Finally, here are some nice portrait photos of the three siblings, my sister, my brother and myself:
Susan, the doctor, looking very professional in her new boots:

Scot, the student-actor, looking very arty in his polar-neck jersey:

Me, the software developer, stunning as always, in my new suede jacket: