20 February 2006
Every now and then we are asked by New Zealanders why we wanted to live in Whakatane. Sometimes even with undisguised bewilderment; You are not going to live in Whakatane if you are not completely failed in life. Or if you are not sought for a crime in Europe? Living in Whakatane while you are born in that so imaginative Amsterdam, is incomprehensible to many New Zealander. For many other nations too.
Maybe it was because it rained so much during our holiday in 2003, except in Whakatane.
Maybe it was because we only had traveled half of the North Island. We were told the South island, after all, is much nicer and the people even more sweeter, but we never reached the south.
Then Whakatane felt not unfamiliar … Nooo, no scary talk about past lives – just a place I was not ready with after we had to leave! Perhaps it is with locations as with loved ones; Only a few make it to the morning.
On Saturday we went to Auckland again, to pick up my parents in law.
My father is still on pilgrimage to the south of the South Island.
Already anticipating my future stardom, we were staying at the Hilton Hotel.
The apartment on the 5th floor is very comfortable and has a good view on the port. On spit-distance from our balcony is the cruise ship ‘Statendam’ docked and their deck with swimming pool is also on the 5th floor. We can look straight into each others window on a weird uncomfortable couple of meters. A lucky luck that there was no alcohol in our minibar, because even without I got a slight urge to show my bare ass to the 5th.
In the afternoon we went swimming in the pool. Our hotel pool – not the cruise pool. A curious thing that hangs over the parked cars on the 4th floor squeezed between two buildings. That bright blue couple of pixels at the left on the picture is a wall of glass, so from the street you can see the swimmers. From our position we could see the photo shoot of a local bridal couple who stepped into the Jaguar.
And again I got a slight urge to … whahaha.
13 February 2006
I’m always the one who’s poking an elbow; “Psst, that guy is blind!”
“Look! That woman over there has oedema ankles, don’t look !!! ”
“Hey, that guy has a stump, did you see that ?!”
I can’t help it. I just notice these things. It’s like I’m having an extra radar, comparing to my companions.
Regarding artificial legs here in New Zealand my curiosity is ample fulfilled. In the Netherlands, almost the whole year people are wearing long pants. Exceptionally shorts a few weeks in summer. Here it’s the other way around.
Maybe you would think that someone with an artificial leg wears long trousers in public to prevent scaring the kids. Or getting noticed by me. The artificial legs nowadays are no longer made of inconspicuous skin coloured plastic or beautiful polished wood, no … the new prosthesis are shiny stainless steel skeletons with ingenious hinges and screws. Sometimes a more ’emphatic’ user ties a senseless lightweight sneaker on the foot-part, but as a spectator you don’t have to expect more compassion over here. The amputee probably finds that the other leg doesn’t have to suffer for the absent leg. And the remaining leg -like all living legs on earth- also earns some cooling air in the hot weather. Because let’s face it; pants with 1 short and 1 long tube is more weird, isn’t it?
And again … what about my courgette harvest?!
Perhaps in the Netherlands there is walking around the same amount of artificial legs, hidden under layers of fabric, or maybe recently there has been a war over here that I didn’t notice, with a lot of hit soldiers … but today I saw the 3rd in 1 week ! This time 2 stainless steel legs united under 1 shorts! I suppose the owner was legitimately proud on them, because he opened the door of his car, then put his both hands on the edge of the roof and elegantly swung the complete steel store including himself right behind the steering wheel in 1 fluid movement.
Wow! Mighty! I couldn’t help to do thumbs up!
Within my pockets.
4 February 2006
On the last day in the Netherlands, I lost a filling of my tooth. My first thought was that ‘fortunately’ there was no time anymore, to get the gap repaired …
It is a bit weird that you are not capable to immediately throw away that nugget of amalgam, but leave it on the sink. As if the dentist would say: “Ah, it’s good you have brought the fitting evidence! Otherwise I didn’t believe it was yours.”
Or should it be the grownup version of the fairy tale: In stead of the milk tooth under your pillow changes in a coin … our nugget of amalgam on the sink would change in a nugget of gold?
Which fairy by the way I incidentally discovered far after I lost all my milkies!
(Mum, dad … we need to talk!)
In the Netherlands I always wanted an anaesthetic, because otherwise I instinctively pulled back my head right into my torso. Rather I wanted them to completely knock me out, but I never dared to ask.
The Dutch dentist probably found me a whiner, because I could not avoid the impression that he always was squeezing out the syringe too quickly, while staring at me with an amused look on his mug. Gum isn’t very elastic, so you understand … (I become nauseous again). He used 3 shots per cavity, where I was salivating at least for 3 hours and felt bruised inside my mouth for the rest of the day.
Now, in any case, I got a legal reason for delaying to visit a dentist. Indefinite postponement, because maybe there didn’t exist dentists in New Zealand.
Yeah right …
What do you think of my courgette harvest???
But you know me as a very dutiful girl, so last week we were sitting in the waiting room of a new dentist. Precisely 6 months after the obliged visit to our previous dentist. The New Zealand dentist is a lady from South Africa. The whole experience was a world of difference. She was very gentle. I got just 1 shot that I hardly felt and the anesthetic was gone after 1 hour! No bruises … nothing.
Now I conceive there are dentist-fear-free people out there. Earlier I just never believed them.
1 February 2006
As long as we are living here, Frank and I are having the same strange sensation each time we see Whale Island off the coast. One time the island seemed to be much bigger than other times. Sometimes it was located close to the coast, dark and glooming … and the next day it could be pale and tiny on the horizon!
Well, perhaps it got the right name; because popularly Moutohura is called Whale Island.
The local newspaper said the island is a nature reserve and could be visited under supervision. That was our chance to discover the secret.
“Don’t spare the horses” apparently was the motto of the captain while he steered the big boat with a sickening speed across the sea.
“At 12:30 you have to be aboard again! I’m not waiting for latecomers.” the captain ordered with a loud and harsh voice, when the passengers stepped out.
It was a nice walk with a guide – certainly not interesting for everyone – therefore I will not dwell on this further. Except that there were 2 (endangered) kiwi birds released after they first were … blessed! This blessing was a mumble of 5 minutes by a Maori priest, although he didn’t show any priest-like outward appearances. He wore sunglasses and had a bright coloured towel around his neck and then just went swimming. Maybe that morning, when he selected the apparel for that day, he thought those birds didn’t care what he was wearing. A priest also has to be practical, isn’t it?
By noon we were done, but the boat didn’t show up to pick us up …
It was bloody hot and so there were 40 people in hiking clothes on a beach in the relentless sun, clumped together under some trees that brought a few meters of shade. It was nature. Just sand, so no booths with coffee or ice cream. A few of the people amused themselves by swimming (the sensible ones that brought a swimsuit with them!), but the majority was waiting. Silently waiting. For hours. Waiting and melting …
In a group of people of this size there is always someone who gets upset by the situation and is starting some drama. The one who will beat the shit out of the responsible person for this shameful act. Especially when there is paid for, isn’t it?! I already tried to guess which of these individuals would emerge as leader of the angry crowd.
But … when the ship arrived, after waiting for almost 4 hours in serene resignation, the captain cheerfully asked the crowd if the hike have been a good one. Everyone enthusiastically said that it was fantastic and they enjoyed, followed by a list of all the positive things that day. Nobody demanded clarification for the terrible wait and the captain didn’t explain anything.
At the disembarking, he was warmly thanked, like New Zealanders always do after a ride in any form (even when getting off the bus).
At first it surprised me a little. I wondered if we might have ended up accidentally on such a happy sect where everyone loves each other. Then I saw a pattern in this behaviour. The average New Zealander has a tireless courtesy and never expect malicious intention or negligence. At least they never show such thoughts. This is cast in their upbringing.
Even when later that day, we encounter a couple of kissing teenagers in the woods; This operation promptly will be interrupted for a friendly greeting.