Saturday, May 3, 2008

On the Road Again

new yealanPaihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand, Sunday May 4th, 2008 7pm

"I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad." ~George Bernard Shaw

"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine." ~Caskie Stinnett

Hello from wet and rainy Paihia! After a lovely time Wwoofing at Waihoihoi Lodge I am back on the road again. A big thanks to Rosemary for her hospitality at Waihoihoi. I was more than well fed and taken care of in exchange for work in the garden and lodge. I had fun cooking scones, paella, cookies, salads, fruit compotes and all sorts of fun things. It was fantastic to have my own room and bathroom, to be able to sleep in past 7am, and to be in one spot for a while. It did start to get a bit too comfortable though, and the open road was definitely calling. I was anxious to head out traveling again!
Yesterday morning Rosemary and I walked the dogs on the beach and then she took me out to breakfast in Waipu. I had a delicious meal of mushrooms, spinach and toast . . . really quite delicious. I said goodbye to her and the dogs as I waited for the Stray bus to pick me up. I had been told to be at the BP in Waipu at 11:30. Well, sometime after 12:15 I got a bit nervous and phoned the Stray office. Somehow I had never been put on the manifest, and the bus was over an hour past at that point. The lovely ladies at Stray saved the day, however, and booked me onto an Intercity bus that left at 3:50pm.

I spent the day in tiny little Waipu, which was generally lovely. The helpful folks at the museum/information center stored my bags for free so I could wander unencumbered. I learned (at the museum) that Waipu was founded by a Scottish reverend and the 800 highlanders following him. After Culloden things got rough in Scotland, and this group moved to Nova Scotia. They didn't quite fit in there, and things were rough so they headed for Australia. Australia was in the middle of a gold rush and they didn't quite fit there either . . . . they sailed to Waipu, and ever since it has been a Scottish town! They have highland games every summer, tartan days in the winter, and lots of pale people with freckles.

I got a bit nervous when the 3:50 Intercity bus hadn't shown up by 4:45. A shopkeeper had lent me her cell phone to call Stray and find out what was going on . . . just then the Intercity rounded the corner and came up the drive! Two hours later I was in Paihia. It was a short hike to the Pipi Patch Hostel where I am staying. I read my book and was asleep by 9:15pm!

Today was fantastic. I was on a day trip up to Cape Reinga that was booked through Stray. We left at 7:15 and headed north, stopping at a Kauri forest and a cafe on the way (there are always plentiful tea/pie stops with these bus tours). We made it up to Cape Reinga just before noon-- it was pouring rain and there was lots of mood-enhancing fog. As the most sacred place in all of New Zealand, the fog and rain really felt quite appropriate. Cape Reinga is a little peninsula sticking up at the very extreme far north of the north island of New Zealand. The big attraction (for me at least) is that you can see the waves meeting . . . . on each side of the peninsula the waves are moving in opposite directions and they crash and meet at Cape Reinga. I was thrilled that we could see it despite the fog, and was quite happy afterwards.

We headed over to the giant sand dunes, and the skies cleared just in time for us to go sand boarding. You lie on your belly on a body board and fly down the sand. It was terrific fun, but I only went twice as the climb up the sand dune was pretty killer!

The driver, Spike, took the 4x4 bus through a stream and onto 90-mile beach. We caught shellfish (rather like mussels) with our toes, cracked them open and ate them raw. Yes, you read that correct, folks! They were actually quite delicious- rather sweet!

Continuing down 90-mile beach (which is actually 64 miles, but who's counting?), we found a stranded little blue penguin (known as "fairy penguins" in Australia) and our driver moved him to safety in the dunes. Hopefully he'll be alright!

After the long drive down the beach we got back on the main road and headed toward a fish and chip shop (supposedly the best in the world . . . or at least in New Zealand!). The fish was actually pretty spectacular and we all filled up.

I'm still completely full-up from the fish and will probably miss dinner tonight! Tomorrow I'll have a lazy day around Paihia (hopefully it won't be pouring anymore!), as my Stray bus leaves at 4pm for Auckland. I have a 6am flight on the 6th to Sydney where I will catch a bus straight over to Canberra- can't wait to see Annika and Michaela!!

Lots and Lots of love to all!



Anonymous said...

pale people with freckles? you must have fit in perfectly, sweetie.

Anna told me that the reason the tip of NewZealand is so sacred is that the Maori believe that it is where the spirits of those that die leave Te Aroa (New Zealand) that way, on their way back yto the Polynesian islands that the Maori originally came from. They stop there to look back on their land, waving goodbye and crying, before they continue on with their journey "home." Isn't that an extraordinarily beautiful and heart-touching belief? I can actually see it, myself, although I have never been there.
I'm proud of you for being so adventurous that you ate the raw mussels. And we all wish the fairy penguin the best.
love, mom

Michael said...

My Dearest Anna,

I cannot express how happy I am for you in the journey. From your writings, it feeels as if the world has opened up to endless possibilities for you. That your world has been turned on its axis (which must happen to even get to New Zealand) and that life can never be seen in the same way again.

This is as it should be.

I remain, of course, exceedingly jealous. But this is the journey of a young person, not an old man.

When you come home, I can let yopu borrow the journals from Uncle Chris' cross-county motorcycle trip in 1990 and my bicycle trip on 1976.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

-- J R R Tolkien


Uncle Mike

Anonymous said...

it seems like stray really didn't want you going.isn't sellfish raw grose? was the fairy panguin extremly cute? - grace

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Anna. We are delighted you are having such a great time. God bless you. Enjoy every minute.

Lots of love,
Grandma and Grandpa D