Day 379-381: Karamea, New Zealand


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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Karamea
February 12th 2010
Published: February 13th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

Tuesday, February 9th


We got up feeling very deflated. Last night’s documentary had awoken the old feelings of watchful insecurity and fear that we call “normal” in South Africa. It is shocking to realize that we live the way we do back home when there are places like NZ (and we suppose that Australia, most of the US and Europe are similar) where people enjoy freedoms that we can only dream of in SA.

Even so, we made it all the way to the top of the track without taking a break, and all the way down in about 20mins (as apposed to the 1h30 the signs indicate). Back home we sanded down the exterior of the canoe and applied yet another layer of resin. This would probably be the second to last coat. Paddy had given us lots of info on finishing and prepping for painting. Just to be sure we did some research and, not surprisingly, Paddy was 100% correct with his suggestions. It’s beyond us how he can know so much about almost every subject without any form of training. He’s truly gifted.

After lunch we drove out to his place for a cuppa. We took him some of the pepper pickle Talita had made. He took one look at it and said: “No thanks, that’s not Paddy!” At least he’s honest. Well, we’ll just enjoy it ourselves then! When we told him about our harmonica lessons he just laughed and said: “Just play it man!” as if we’re blessed with the same natural ability he possesses. We took our second cuppa out into the grass field behind his place and enjoyed the little creatures that climbed all over us as we drank our tea (that most certainly did not include those darn sand-flies, that’s for sure).

Back home Ferdi did some research while Talita baked banana bread. His research suggests that we have to wait 30 days before painting the canoe so that the resin gets time to cure completely. Luckily we’ll be able to use her during that time. It would be terrible to have her sitting there, just looking at us for 30 days. We did some sanding on the paddles after which we made spinach, potato, mushroom and courgette quiche for dinner.

Today’s highlights:
1. Another layer of resin on the canoe.
2. Banana bread.
3. Lovely quiche for dinner.

Wednesday, February 10th


Instead of doing our exercises this morning we drove to Paddy’s. He needed to go to Greymouth hospital today to meet the surgeon and discuss his options. He was also going to see a specialist about his stomach problems. Greymouth is just over 200km south of Karamea, but the road is slow and winding and pretty exhausting to drive.

We left Paddy’s at about 9am and Talita drove the first 100km to Westport where she gave the driver seat to Ferdi who drove the rest of the way. We arrived around noon and went for a cuppa and some sweet treats at a coffee shop, then walked around town a bit. Just before 1pm we dropped Paddy at the hospital, then drove into the town centre for some exploration. As things go we went by an electronic shop and got a step counter so that we can measure our distances during our morning exercise program.

When we got back to the hospital Paddy said his second appointment was running late and we had three quarters of an hour to kill. We drove back to the town centre where we got a cuppa and some bread and chip sammies. After lunch we dropped Paddy back at the hospital and went to fill up his truck. Back at the hospital we waited for nearly an hour before Paddy made his appearance. He was ready to get out of there and we were worried that he got bad news about his stomach. Once on the road Paddy seemed more relaxed so we asked him what the doctor had said. Paddy said that he got sent from one department to the next while they did tests and took scans and stuff, but the surgeon couldn’t put his finger on exactly what might be wrong with Paddy’s stomach. They would analyse the scans and let Paddy know.

As we drove back it was raining softly and we hoped that Karamea was also blessed with a few showers. The last couple of weeks had been very dry and very hot on the west coast and we were all hoping for a bit of rain to clean and cool the dusty air. We reached Westport at 17:15 and stopped by the computer shop to pick up our external DVD writer. We were delighted to find that it was smaller and much cheaper than the quoted price!

Paddy rented a doccie and we headed home. As we got closer to Karamea the rain stopped, but there was some evidence that Karamea had a little bit of rain during the day. At Paddy’s we had a cuppa, finished watching the movie we’d only watched halfway the other night, then said goodbye and went home. Just as we left Paddy’s home it started to rain in earnest, and we were very thankful for the cool moist air. We were totally exhausted from the drive, having spent more than six and a half hours on the road. Even so we were up late reading and working on the laptop, trying to rid our heads of the swaying sensation from the thousands of corners we had driven today.

Today’s highlights:
1. Driving Paddy to Greymouth and back.
2. Receiving our DVD writer much cheaper than we expected.

Thursday, February 11th


It rained all night and we woke to a cool and soggy day. We spent the morning reading in bed and watched a movie. Halfway through the movie Paddy arrived with chocolate cookies, so we had a cuppa and a bit of a chat. We arranged to go visit him tonight and then finished watching the movie.

We had lunch and did the cleaning, then Ferdi made beer-batter and deep-fried the last of his fish while Talita prepared the left over quiche with potatoes and peas. After a shower we packed up the food and drove to Paddy’s where we watched a surfing doccie called Billabong Odyssey. It’s about big-wave surfing and it is mind boggling! The waves these guys surf are unreal! We had dinner and spent another great evening with Paddy. We both tried to play the violin, but it’s hard on the neck and your left arm has to turn in a very unnatural way to get to the notes. We only managed to produce these terrible mewling sounds.

Around 9pm we called it a night. We were still exhausted from the previous days driving. We’d come prepared to spent the night in the van because we needed to go to Westport early the following day to get a new WOF for the van. We said good night and were asleep in no time.

Today’s highlights:
1. Relaxing day.
2. Another great night at Paddy’s.

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