21 October 2005
During the wait for the sea container -doomed to be bored to death- our favourite thing to do has become shopping. Every day we allow ourselves to buy 1 something, because that is our only amusement when the sun is not shining. If the sun does shine, of course we do exhaustive forest and beach hikes, but we won’t bore you with the enumeration of all that scenic beauty.
That ‘buying something’ can range from furry winter slippers (there’s only 1 single wood stove in the house) to a clothesline, or a strawberry plant, or chrome polish. Every day we are looking forward to this shopping moment. Mostly 30 minutes before leaving the house, at least one of us is already waiting and tail-wagging at the front door, anticipating the joy.
We buy 1 thing per day. Today our highlight was buying a tin opener. Usually we write a real honouring shopping list for that one and only thing!
New Zealanders love to talk. If they ask: “How are you?”, they expect a real answer. They are not easy to put off with some mumble. The least thing you have to do is to ask the same question in return. Therefore often encounters with neighbours are turning into endless conversations. In daily traffic eye contact is answered promptly with an explicit greeting. Even teenagers half hiding under a tree, politely interrupt their kissing session for a friendly nod.
During shopping you can not avoid some form of attention. For me, as being a hermit-light, it is something I really need to get used to. In the Netherlands contact with strangers was much more formal, so living in my invisible mobile cocoon didn’t necessary feel like being unsocial.
In a New Zealand supermarket:
Cashier: “Ah, cat food … what kind of cat do you have?”
Customer: “Um … a black and white”.
Cashier: “We used to have a cat. But now we have moved on and we had to left him. Too bad though, because they are cute. How long do you have him?”
Customer: “Um … five years.”
Cashier: “Does it taste good, that Italian coffee?”
Customer: “Uh … yeah, good.”
Cashier: “I always wanted to try it, but it’s a little expensive. Maybe I should buy it some time”.
Well, you see … I’m not good in it. It’s a totally undeveloped area in my brain.
The container ship ‘Busan Express’ will arrive next week in Tauranga and yesterday we were at the port already, to arrange the paperwork. We have visited 4 offices! A joy, because the day flew by!
To make it into a bit of a break, we went to the mineral hot pools too. No, not those white terraces in the open countryside, where people with skin diseases are soaking. These were just some private swimming pools of 3 x 5 meter, that you can hire per 30 minutes. Or you can choose to swim in a normal sized pool without a time limit, together with floating strangers. The mineral water comes from somewhere deep inside of Mother Earth and is just the right temperature; the temperature of mild fever, haha.
When we dipped in it was already dusk and it just started to rain really hard. We chose one of the private pools without a roof. It was fun!