Archive | 2006

The gardens of the grim reaper

4 May 2006

In the Netherlands I was used to cemeteries being quite formal. We only visit them (on days other than a funeral) if we had to do something important. Such places are a bit apart from the ordinary world and therefore kept discrete by hedges or walls. Perhaps from the perspective that in general we were there to do private deals where passersby have nothing to do with it.

The gardens of the grime reaper

Along the highway

For example;

  • Discuss with the deceased.
  • Paying some attention because it’s a national holiday.
  • A visit because we are feeling guilty.
  • Begging for his/her approval in case we want to do something where about we and the deceased in life have disagreed (like marrying that dumb girl, or buying a boat).
  • Or provide an explanation if we had already done something like the latter.
The gardens of the grime reaper

Until the shoulder

Well, you get my point; typical the kind of cases for the wise invisibles …

Here in New Zealand, I can see the cemeteries in full regalia if we drive by. Which means; they are located right beside the road. Openly without bushes around it. Just a square piece of land, sometimes without a proper path or even without a sandy trail that leads to the graves. Preferably on a hill, so every deceased has a clear view on the traffic, like they are sitting in a cinema.
Sometimes the tombstones are build until the very edge of the road. It takes some practice, but if you would like, you even can reduce speed and throw your bunch of flowers out of the window, right on granny’s grave.

The gardens of the grime reaper

In the front yard

Sometimes it’s like someone started a cemetery in his front yard, with 10 graves at most.
There are also more lonely places with sea view, bluntly located in a hollow in the dunes.

Yesterday we came back from Hamilton and for the first time drove in the dark along these graveyards. In the evening there are lights! You know; those LED lanterns charged by the sun.

Beach hop

30 April 2006

Months ago we signed up for the Beach Hop in Coromandel. It is a fifties/sixties themed event during 5 days, with more than 1,000 American classic cars and 60,000 visitors. It’s a yearly returning show and began last Wednesday. “You should have been there and every year it is more awesome than before!” Well, my Lincoln was just old enough to be allowed as VIP visitor, so that could be fun.
Since the first day it started to rain like hell. Even some houses in the area have been washed away! That is not uncommon over here and certainly happens a few times a year. A number of roads got closed because the river has overflowed its banks.

On Saturday we still were waiting in front of the window, ready with our coats on … Shall we go? On the news we saw that in Coromandel 40,000 people were rock&rollin’ in the pouring rain. What an immense optimism!
Well … maybe tomorrow …

So … on Sunday morning at 11 o’clock we left Whakatane. Admitted, it’s a bit late for a 3 hours trip, but we all know that most events are getting on their steaming top after lunch, isn’t it?
beach hop
We arrived at 2 pm at the Beach Hop and speechless drove around for half an hour! The 1000 cars were diminished to … let’s say … 50?! The day everyone was free and the sun finally shone, we expected would be the busiest day …
What a bummer! At the entrée we even weren’t asked for out tickets. And the signs for directions were already cleared.

Badasses 2

21 April 2006

After I had recovered from badasses part 1, today for the first time in my life I saw a guy with a real hook as a hand !!! I thought a hook was a scary concoction of a writer of sailor stories. Probably a hook is a lot more robust in use and you are more frightening at a threatening fight, but it’s still fascinating that someone prefers a shiny hook to a skin-colored fake hand. I forgot to check if his car or wife were looking badly scratched.

If those New Zealanders prefer practical above aesthetic, then I wonder if the guy with the integral helmet actually does have a head …

When we were just arrived, I found the New Zealander much more polite than the Dutchman. Everyone greets each other on the street, except in a busy shopping street because as we said; being practical above all. You will always be noticed by the staff of a shop, greeted and asked for your well-being. Like Americans.
If you are along the road with car trouble, you will never be ignored. And if you drawed your head into your collar, your hands deep into your pockets, while making yourself as small as possible, on a spot that is not especially a walking trail … then the passing drivers still are supposing you are loudly screaming for help.

badasses 2

Drawed with a stick

At this point, their politeness changes into ignoring clearly silent signals.

Recently, there was a door-to-door collection week for a certain charity, of course preferably done at dinner time. You can not pretend you do not hear the door bell, because they just come back, walking up the stairs to the terrace and wish you a tasty meal on the threshold of the open sliding doors. Collectors must be practical too, right?

Toilet secrets

25 March 2006

Waiting at the restrooms of the airport I was thinking: “Which door do people choose when they have to go to a public toilet?”
Do you too make a greased lightning calculation of which of the 2, 3 or 4 available toilets statistically would be the cleanest? Do ‘the Other People’ always choose the middle door? Or just the fist possibility most near by the entrance? So in that last case the most near by toilet, would be the dirtiest.
Or do all Other People think that way and then all flock to the farthest door, so that all farthest toilets are the most used ones?
Tell me. Or do you prefer to keep your strategy secret?

The times that I’m not paralyzed by the quick calculation, is when I see a toilet for the disabled. Than my choice is made. Because I suspect that most people are afraid to use it. Out of courtesy, out of duty or because of their cleaner morals.
Or because of consideration of using a toilet for the disabled is processed in the same brain-box as using a parking lot for the disabled. We were brought up that you will be fined if improperly using that parking, so automatically the whole territory of the disabled became trespassing for the non-disabled.

Sometimes ‘the big progress’ looks like carried too far to me. At the airport in New Zealand you need to close the toilet door electronically.
There was a queue for the 2 available toilets. The mixed gents and ladies peeked into a dark hallway, where a red and green light completely random went on & off, on the gender-free doors. Every few seconds an electronic voice shouted out the same stinging message: “Through closed uf … kgggg, tsk … Button!”

toilet secretsOnce inside the spacious toilet room I stared to the smooth sliding door without the possibility to lock it … Ah, at the doorpost I could press a button. No, two buttons!
Hmmm, first I needed to translate and understand the manual. But in the meantime I pulled down my pants, because with the long queue in mind I wanted to do my business asap. But now I was too far away to press the buttons, so I rely on my wits and quickly pressed the red button. Red hardly could be any different than CLOSED, isn’t it? Red is forbidden access. Red means STOP or danger.
Sitting on the loo, or rather hanging above -because sitting is dirty- I saw a flashing green light above my door. Oh no … so my door is open???
Well, the entire amount of people has seen me entering this door, so I trusted on nobody would going to sit beside me. Apparently I had to turn OFF the green light by pressing the green button …
A wonderful outgrowth of technological advances. What the hell is running in the minds of the creators of this? Was he trying to achieve saving time in such a hectic environment like an airport? For a moment the memory of the old-fashioned slide-lock just makes me melancholic.
At least I stopped trying to understand the instructions yet. That was the best time-saver.

And more Brisbane

14 March 2006 (Australia)

and more brisbaneIn the late morning we do some walks. The beaten tracks; such as the botanical garden, the South banks and a mangrove-boardwalk along the river. I hope ever to become an early bird, so that I will be able to see these beautiful things at sunrise, when there is nobody on the street and for a while you can imagine you are the only living soul in the city. For a moment wading through the empty, silent, warm pool and see those strange mangroves in the magical morning light.
For a night owl this is an almost unattainable time of the day.

and more brisbaneOne of the forms of public transport is the City Cat; a catamaran crosses the river at high-speed, zigzagging from jetty to jetty. You can use it all day for only five Australian dollars. For us tourists this was a perfect way to spend the sun-drenched afternoon; Sitting in the wind on a fast boat, stepping off, checking out some neighbourhoods and stepping on again.

A very wide river runs through Brisbane. Ten meters from the edge a bicycle-path with a length of 2 kilometers is floating in the water.
and more brisbaneVia thàt cycle track and a lot of other streets, we walked to the gallery area to do some research in advance, because … well, you never know.
Like in all big cities, the neighborhood with the galleries is located just off the center. We only visit one of the top galleries, looking for paintings that are similar in price and size to mine. And yes, my concurrents are existing! So there must be a market for. I almost know for sure selling over here will be easier than in New Zealand. Not easy, but easier.

Ai … another point of consideration to add to the list with allurements … Unprepared a seed is planted.


12 March 2006 (Australia)

brisbaneWe have arrived on Friday in Brisbane. My in-laws were knocked out after a full day of traveling. Auckland/Brisbane is only 3.5 hours, but like everywhere in the world for an international flight you need to check in at the airport 3 hours in advance, after an equally long journey by car before.
Frank and I have more energy and appetite and want to stay & play outside for as long as possible. It is 25 degrees and the lady at the hotel desk explained the eateries could be found across the river in a sort of park.

brisbane As far as we can judge in the dark, Brisbane is beautiful!!!!! And clean. The park is richly decorated with palm trees and there is a large ‘artificial’ beach with air heated chlorinated water, mini-lagoons and boardwalks. You can swim for free at any hour of the day or night. It is dark (the pictures are from the next day), but it is pleasantly lit and there is a peaceful and fairy atmosphere. Fantastic!

I always forget to bring some item in our suitcase. To keep the tension alive, I refuse to make a proper list. Last time it was a classic one; toothbrushes. Nothing to bother because you can buy them in every night shop. This time I had forgotten a more difficult piece; the battery charger of the camera!
Since the arrival at the airport I was complaining that we urgently had to buy one, but Frank likes to live dangerous … he thinks there is nothing more fun than making a picture on the last drop of gasoline.

brisbaneIn contrast to New Zeeland, there is an extensive network of public transport. The first day was for family visits, but Sunday we went by train to Underwater World in Mooloolaba. But just THAT day there was a strike going on! Instead of 1 hour we did the trip in 4 hours …
The same applies for the return trip. So we have had plenty of time to think about whether we could live here …
* Yes, because Brisbane is the nicest city we have visited so far in our lives.
* No, because a large part of the year it is too hot.

At first glance Australia seems to be a lot more Americanish than New Zealand. Both socially and in their appearance reminiscent of the pastel colored Florida. The social parable appeals less to us, but in detail the groomed appearance of Brisbane and Mooloolaba is delightful. Even the high buildings are not too ugly. Everything meant for public use, is made of good materials; hardwood, stainless steel which is cut in fancy shapes and decorations. Tiles, planters, fences, staircases and fountains; everything looks equally chic. No plastic or molest-proof and graffiti resistant stuff.
We noticed that the men -although closer to the equator than in New Zealand- are all neatly dressed in long pants and that all women are -without any exception- try to at least ‘make something’ of their appearance.
Well, not for nothing New Zealanders are bullied by the Australians because of their … well, their countrifiedness.

(more Brisbane)


8 March 2006

promisesLast Saturday my father returned to Whakatane from his private tour through the North & South Island. Dutifully he had written his diary and closely followed the recommendations of the Lonely Planet guide and daily emailed his Dutch girlfriend who’s living in South-Africa. He never had been on holiday for such a long time and now was desiring to his own couch, a stack of fresh Dutch magazines & papers and craving his used brand of chocolate.

After we had brought him to the airport, of course we also planned a visit to Fisher’s gallery. These days I’m already getting irritated as soon as we are approaching Parnell Road.
But … the gallerina plunged me into praise and brought up -on her own initiative- the ‘is-there-life-after-the-exhibition subject!
The one and only sold painting was now owned by an important collector ‘who got the right friends over’ (oh yeah, every artist knows that wear out record) and gallerina’s plan was to organize a group exhibition in 2007 with a number of surrealists or other ‘ists’ that fits my work.
Or should I look the other way? That I fit their work?

Anyway, an exhibition will be accompanied by some more fanfare and ballyhoo than this ‘Summer Salon’, which was given ZERO publicity according to me. She said that when I have finished a new painting, she could mail a picture to certain customers and if there was a gap between the exhibitions this year, they could hang my work in between.
You understand that I was fine with this handful of promises and I was a lot less fretful.
Because of our job as entertainer for our guests, currently my easel is catching dust.
First we will accompany Frank’s parents to Australia for 5 days.


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.
exhibitionismIn 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.

Badasses 1

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.
But still.


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.

Whale island

1 February 2006

whale islandAs 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! whale islandThis 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 …
whale islandIn 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.

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!