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Published: February 26th 2018
A long day for the Donkey
The next morning Showpony and the Donkey awoke to a beautiful day, well suited for biking except for the fact that first they had to get from Auckland to the Cape, a distance of 420km so that was going to take the best part of the day. Showpony and the Donkey biked to the assembly point, just down the road from their hotel, where they met other, like-minded animals, all getting ready for the Tour Aotearoa. There were plenty of donkeys, some horses, a single cat, some kunekune pigs, three large ducks, a flock of sheep, a few shy deer and an Italian goat, and a whole lot of other species but Showpony was the only show pony. The Donkey eyed them all up and informed his friend not to worry about the cat and the sheep as they would not get past the first day. The cat would be way late for the start as he could not be bothered and the sheep would be lost before they hit Ninety Mile Beach
To call the bus battered was an understatement. First registered in 1985 it had done so many miles that it
could have circumnavigated the world at least twice. The bus treated it’s passengers with disdain as the mere 3000km they were going to do on their bikes was nothing to him. So he made sure his seats were worn and so close together that the Donkeys knees were jammed hard against the chair in front of him. The back of the seat was straight, at 90 degrees and not moving anywhere. It made for a most uncomfortable ride for the Donkey whose back was already worn out from the loads he had carried over the years. Showpony, in contrast, was as happy as a sand pony. His legs were shorter than the Donkey’s, much to the Donkey’s surprise, as one of the characteristics of show ponies is that they have long legs, which made the Donkey think that his friend perhaps was not a real show pony but a dud show pony. He dismissed that thought as soon as it came into his head as it was too absurd to consider. The upshot of all this however was that Showpony’s knees were not jammed at all and his back had seen very little hard work in his lifetime and was
therefore in a pretty pristine condition and good to cope with the hard and straight back of his seat. Showpony talked and sang and made lots of new friends during the trip, oblivious to the misery of his mate. He even fell asleep for a while much to the Donkey’s disgust.
The bus stopped at Kaitaia and the Donkeys mood lifted for a short while. As it was already past five o’clock they decided to have dinner there and then rather than heat up a freeze dried meal at their overnight stay in a cabin at Waitaki Landing. The only restaurant open in town was McDonalds. McDonalds is good for sore backs and a lot of other ailments, at least that is what the donkey told himself knowing full well that it only helped for a very short period of time for depression and that the uplifting effect of McDonalds has a very short half-life and does not weigh up against the detrimental effects on his general physical health. But the Donkey put that thought away for the time being as he felt miserable enough.
That night Showpony and the Donkey went to bed early. Showpony was soon in dreamland but the Donkey was once again mulling things over and bemoaning the fact that this whole journey was already a lot more complicated than he had envisaged and they had not even started biking. Surely the biking could not be as hard as the bus ride, or could it.
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