Published: March 13th 2010March 13th 2010 A quick apology. I'm sorry, some subscribers may have received a second email re my blog about the kotuku, white herons, near Okarito. There was a little glitch in the system, and my efforts to correct it resulted in the second alert. Hopefully, it won't happen again. Now read on.
Alan And Angela
At a cafe at Haast. Angela the tour guide asked Alan the tractor driver how much money they'd raised for children with cancer. He said he wasn't supposed to tell, but told us anyway. It was nearly twice their original target.
People and Places
We were a strange threesome to wash up at the same café table in Haast.
There was Angela, the young American cycle tour guide who was on a day off. There was Alan, the not-so-young southern farmer who was taking part in the tractor charity ride to raise funds for children with cancer. And there was me, trying to drag myself away from the conversation and start my day’s riding.
Alan was chatting about elderly tourists on the sightseeing coaches that do the lengthy return trip beween Queenstown and Milford Sound.
“It’s a wonder some of the old folk don’t kark it along the way”, he said using that kiwi expression.
Angela looked at me and there was a tiny flicker of bewilderment. Then she got it.
“Kark it?” she said using her hand to slice an
A Familiar Face
Tour guide Neville steped off this coach at Pleasant Flat, near the Gates of Haast. He's an old friend of Judy's and it was great to see him.
imaginary knife across her throat. I nodded in confirmation, we laughed and both turned back to Alan who was still in full flight.
They were delightful company, and just two of a blur of faces I’ve met over the past few days as I’ve travelled down the west coast from Hokitika, over the Haast Pass and now to Wanaka.
The people have almost overshadowed the scenery, though not the riding. It’s been perfect. The days have varied in length from 45 kilometres to more than a 120. There’s been lots of sunshine, as well as the inevitable headwinds and even a little rain.
Encounters to Remember
But it’s the people that will remain with me. For example, the motorcyclists I’ve met. My interest in motorbikes makes it easy for me to start conversations and within moments I’ve found myself deeply caught up in the merits of various machines; single cylinder BMW Dakars, Honda’s twin cylinder Transalp and even Harley Davidsons, which I dislike for all their unnecessary American flashiness.
And then there are the cyclists of the pedal variety, like myself. Dozens of us have been
The tractor trek from Southland has been raising funds for charity, and doing a fine job by the sound of it as well as having a lot of fun along the way.
sweeping up and down the west coast, and at the very least there’s a wave, a shout of acknowledgement as we pass in opposite directions.
And Then A Familiar Face
And at a tourist pullover just before Haast Pass, I received a real surprise when a man stepped off a coach and shook me by the hand. It was Neville, an old school friend and former flatmate of my wife’s. It was good to see him, but he’s a tour guide and he had a busload of passengers waiting. It wasn’t long before he had to climb back on board, promising he’d ring Judy and tell her I was ok.
As Kiwi As Pavlova
Now I’m in Wanaka, and the annual A & P Show is underway, with the Topp Twins performing. Predictably, the conversation in the campground kitchen is about farming; lamb prices, the difficulties of working marginal land, the extra paperwork farmers face these days and, of course, the weather.
And last night, one farming couple introduced me to a kiwi expression I’d never heard before. It’s ,”the hundred k critics”. When I asked what it meant,
Bikes Rule The Roads!
Well, not quite. But at a cafe on the way to Haast, two big groups of cyclists arrived in a short space of time. They were all on two tours, and must have been good for business.
I was told they are motorists who dob in farmers for all sorts of reasons - for example, having unfenced waterways that allow stock to pollute rivers and streams.
“100 k critics”. Well, it’s a new one on me. I wonder if Angela the tour guide has heard it?
There are more photos below