Archive | January 2006

Jet cars

29 January 2006

Yesterday we have seen the second attempt of the drag racers (here’s the first).
The starting sound of a jet engine in a race car is not less impressive than the starting sound of a large aircraft. It’s not just a ‘big’ sound, but rather a scary sound of something way too large which is trying to escape from something way too small.
When the motors are getting ‘warmed up’ the underlying whistle doesn’t stop swelling. Every few seconds you think; “Now it is at its worst/hardest/highest … and then it still pumps up!

The complete wide hilly countryside around the circuit slowly got filled with that particularly sound. There was nothing else to exist anymore. The audience was silent and mesmerized staring at the starting point …

The moment such a car is launched, the people who are staying the closest, were literally blown away. The sound gets so into your bones that you automatically start screaming; a natural physically reaction to try to neutralize the threatening sound. And you drop everything of your hands to be able to save your ears; Women threw away their newborns and we threw away our expensive cameras. The collective thunder felt in our sternum creates a close bond between every soul the audience, for a few seconds.

Jet car drivers are heroes.

Red dot

26 January 2006

The obligatory tourist attractions includes a visit to Hells gate. You look straight into the open wounds of mother earth. The beautiful almost fluorescing yellow sulphur what’s bubbling out the natural pools, stinks like rotten eggs.

White Island is located 50 km off our coast, consisting of a volcano that occasionally let out a smoky burb.
The guide told us that on a cloudy day, he suddenly heard a strange rumbling sound. For a moment he thought anxiously & pleased that “his” volcano came into action. But soon he recognized the intro of Billy Joel’s hit … it was just the sound of a helicopter. However a fraction before seeing the helicopter, he saw a car from the sky come down. Hanging on a wire that was neatly put down on the island. It turned out that Mitsubishi was going to record a TV commercial because White Island exactly looked like a moonscape.
By the way; That car was a Pajero!

After two weeks, my father couldn’t bear with us any longer 😉 and he has started a private round trip with our Pajero. I have given him a fresh new diary (without a lock!) and instructed him to try to penetrate Fisher’s fortress.
Well, well … last Monday morning the gallery was OPEN. And what was even more surprising; there was a red dot on one of my paintings!!! Yay, one is sold!

Arrows findable in the enlarged pictures.

Swimming with dolphins

15 January 2006

So last week we headed to Auckland and Fisher-wise I was prepared to count on nothing.
And that was a good thing … because Fisher’s gallery was closed. Contrary to what was announced on the front door.
At this moment I have received an excuse mail from the secretary for that 3rd Christmas Day blunder and an apology from the gallery owner for this latest blunder. They just had decided to close on Sundays in the month of January, because it was too quiet. Oh really? That must be an intense exploration … they are existing 130 years already.
Windfall is that the exhibition will take 2 months, instead of their usual 2 weeks.

Then Fisher’s was on Teletext and in the newspaper! Although only the Sunday paper, but still … a paper. They wrote that his gallery was removed from the ‘Guild of restorers’ because one of the restorers had messed up a valuable painting.
Now I’m hoping all Fisher’s colleagues will take a look on his website and then … they discover that fresh art of that newly launched Dutch lady painter. And then try to steal me away from Fisher … and then treat me like a queen. Yes, that is what I had in mind …

Swimming with dolphinsOn Sunday morning we picked up my father from the airport. I still recognized him!!! After 4 months, whahaha.
To prevent to exhaust him too soon after arriving, we booked a hotel room in Auckland. We finally have had a dinner at the Skytower restaurant what is rotating 360 degrees in 1 hour. You also can stand on a floor of glass tiles on 200 meters high. Scary huh ?!

Now have done the tourist highlights like the vaunted ‘swimming with dolphins’. We were told they have healing gifts which make blind people see and the crippled walk and the balds get their hair back.
Swimming with dolphinsThe sailboat entered a school of dolphins and all the passengers were told to hang behind the boat dressed in their borrowed wetsuit and a snorkel. I never had used a snorkel before, so unfortunately I was more concentrated on the non-choking part than I got ‘healed’.
Well, seen from above, they were also nice. The dolphins were doing their very best for us.

Cars on licence

6 January 2006

The regulations to get a licence in New Zealand may be even worse than in the Netherlands. Firstly those demands seems to be a state secret, making it uncontrollable for us. They also seems to be quite dependent on the mood of the owners with the desired stamp.
cars on licenceEverything what needs to be done after the first inspection, is not allowed to do by yourself. You have to show a ‘certificate’ of the installation or the repair.
Over the years Frank collected a lot of these parts already via Ebay, exactly because they are difficult to obtain and because the average young boy mechanic (obligated by the inspectors cough) doesn’t have any experience how to deal with these classic cars (which are not findable in their computer files …) But in a manner of speaking … we had to ‘suck off’ that stamp … a nasty thing to swallow.
Apart from the fact that many of the required jobs have nothing to do with safety. For example, there was some surface rust on the edge of the lid of the trunk what certainly had to removed. Why? Are they afraid we will losing the trunk lid? It looked like a purely cosmetic thing to me.
Anyway, I will not dwell on the larger and totally unreasonable demands, otherwise I spontaneously get heartburn.
cars on licence
Tomorrow we will leave to Auckland for a few days and pick up my father from the airport.
And of course to check if my paintings really are hung at Fisher’s. I don’t count on anything.

Drag race

3 January 2006
drag race
Yesterday there was a drag race in Taupo, which is about two and a half hours drive. We went for the jet cars because we once have seen them in action in Zandvoort in The Netherlands and we found them amazing. Jet cars have exhausts of at least half a meter wide, which spit out equally broad flames of a few meters long, like rockets! If they come by with 448 km per hour you have to cover your ears tightly and feel the sound in your chest. Nice! They are hardly steerable and brakes need extra help of a parachute.

drag raceAt the event the English influence was clear seeing that neat straight queue for the chips stall. A lot better than that bunch of clumping customers in the Netherlands. If -after intensely trying to make eye contact and making yourself as long as possible- you finally got your fries, you hardly could work your way out of the bumping clumpers without losing half of your portion. But, at the other hand, the fries here are incredibly nasty. Flobby and completely white.
Is the chicken-club already seen with you? It is made of waste meat, with a binder modelled to a golf club, with a handle of thick wooden stick and provided with an artificial crust. I earlier have seen them in America where they have the size of a big forearm. As far as I could judge to the prey of the other event goers today, chicken meat apparently has to stay pink.

drag raceThe sky was gray all day and the noise was beautiful. By the time the highlight would start, it also started to rain. The jet car run was delayed for 1 hour and we were photographed because we were the only people wearing one of those plastic capes. These things were in our emigrants welcome pack haha, and we happily used them.
The rain kept pouring and the show of the jet cars was postponed to January 28.

Photographer failure

1 January 2006

Somebody I told about our useless trip to Auckland, wondered if we couldn’t have left the paintings to the neighbour of the gallery? Of course we have walked around looking for something that looked reliable, but Parnell Road exactly looks every shopping street on Sunday afternoon. Deathly quiet with rolled-down shutters and at the very end a doner kebab guy who sits in front of his shop in the sun, attentively cleaning his nails with a fork.
Across the gallery was a classy elderly flat with a central door and 20 shiny brass bells, but suddenly I lost my desire to explain who I was, why I was here and what should be done in a tiny microphone to a complete stranger.
Returned home I sent a acidly email to the secretary where I ‘thanked’ her for the warning about the closing hours.

Two days later we went again. Without notice them and knowing they were open. The secretary was on vacation, the owner of the gallery was out for surfing and the girl who looked after the shop … well, she was just looking after the shop and has nothing to do with it.
My relationship with Auckland became even more difficult because the photographer next door, unanticipated had no time for me in the next 2 weeks!!! While during my visit of 2 weeks ago I already asked him if he was sure I didn’t need to make an appointment: “No, you can come between Christmas and New Year. Just come along and you will have professional pictures of your paintings within one and a half day.”
I can’t wait 2 weeks because the paintings will hang in 1 week. So no pictures then …
photographer failure
Well … it all does not matter because my clafoutis has become golden brown and the inside was not too sticky. No, that’s not Latin for an inflamed body part, but it is the first recipe from my new “Agenda for housewives.” Whahaha. In the absence of our ‘Dutch oliebollen’ I promoted the clafoutis to our New Year cake because of the wonderful name. And it tasted good!!! Gosh!