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Published: January 16th 2009
This wasn't the way it was supposed to start. Actually, I could have done without the cold at any stage. But jumping from winter to summer seemed to do it, and the first few days of my visit back home were spent swallowing pills and trying to sleep it off - in between getting the Christmas shopping done that is. I'd been too busy to get it done before the trip over. Actually, that's not entirely true. Scrabblers On The Roof
I had gone to Matsue (about an hour from where I live, and with a whole lot more in the way of shopping prospects) one day with the intention of meeting a friend for coffee, and picking up a few things to use as presents. We allowed, or thought we had, enough time to drive to a souvenir shop near Matsue Castle which usually has some good stuff. Short story, it took us 2 1/2 hours to get out of the carpark - we'd parked on the roof, so got the shortest of straws on that one. I happened to have a Scrabble game in the car (sometimes not cleaning the car out does pay off), which became our
entertainment for the duration. Now you're talking
While I was not at my best, neither had the weather been. Not completely unexpected for Auckland, until that point it hadn't lived up to the previous year's performance. Fortunately I recovered, the clouds went elsewhere, and after a quiet but enjoyable Christmas with family I headed off to Tauranga (east coast of the North Island) for New Years with a few Kiwis I had met in Japan. 'The Mount' (Mt Maunganui) is notorious for incidents during New Years celebrations, but we steered clear of that, and after an afternoon walking round The Mount and lying on the beach soaking up vitamin D, went back to my friend's parents' house - minus Mr Whippy........ Happy birthday to us......
Following the theory about the journey being as important as the destination we took the long road back to Auckland - from lookout point, to beach, bakery and a large L&P bottle. The four of us remaining, after others were unable to make the event, all have our birthdays in January, and decided that with all of us about to go our different ways that the evening couldn't pass uncelebrated in some way.
An afternoon in the pool at Hotel Heidi, hamburgers and cake marked the occasion - with plenty of laughs along the way. From sand to snow
Before going back to a northern hemisphere winter, it was time for one more day at the beach :-)
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