By Mike

There is a life lesson to be learned here, a lesson which will hopefully assist me in future life. It involves confusion between food, and places that sound like food. That place in this case was Pancake Rocks on the west coast of South Island, a stack of beautiful limestones which looks a bit like a stack of pancakes, if you sort of close your eyes and look the other way. These rocks are a specific kind of limestone called dolomite, a rock made of a mineral conveniently called dolomite, named after a place also conveniently called Dolomite. What they are not is a delicious fried snack made from flour eggs butter milk and sugar. We can’t have everything, I guess.
After the confusion of pancakes was cleared up we headed to a river to do some wading and rock hunting (n.b. this actually happened before the pancakes but since in New Zealand I seem to have lost all perception of time, as well as vowel sounds). We were hunting for elusive hidden rocks called xenoliths, or xeno = foreign; lith = rock, rocks which are found somewhere they do not belong. These xenoliths we were hunting for were peridotites, rocks from tens to hundreds of kilometers deep in the earth which really shouldn’t have any place on the earth’s surface. These sparkly green chaps have been brought up rapidly by molten rock tearing through the earth and picking up hitchhikers on the way, so if we cared enough, we could learn something about the deep earth by analyzing them.
A trip up a mountain, some balls-off-a-brass-monkey cold lakes and a warm dinner later took us to the beginning of a quiz which soon became a party even though our only source of music was a cassette tape player (still a big thing in New Zealand) with the greatest hits of Ronan Keating and the Love Actually soundtrack. New Zealand is fun.