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Published: July 25th 2008
The days that Christoffel and Alison were down in Dunedin for his med school interview went well. Jack and I kept everything very organized, stayed busy with little projects and improvements around the place, and just enjoyed our time. We went out to Huntly a couple times to take care of their dogs, and attended a town tourism meeting to take notes for them and mingle. Big things are happening in Waihi! Well, no, not really. Not yet. People are coming together for the first time to develop strategies on how to not only attract tourists, but keep them here. All of the businesses here are struggling and we all have the same needs, but just aren't able to make an impact. If everyone collaborates, though, there is power in numbers and their efforts wouldn't go to waste. It was really cool to be at the meeting, and since we more or less know the town and the people in it, we almost felt like we were a part of something. I bet in five years if we were to come back down to Waihi, things would be very different.
We are out of here on Monday
morning to hit the road and head straight south. We have been having a great time with some of our regulars here in the cafe, and it seems like every night this week until we leave is booked with another couple! Wednesday, our flatmates from Auckland came for a visit (Steff, Morgan, and their friend David). We took them over to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui for the day, and then they headed off to Hamilton to visit some other friends. Yesterday, we went to Pete and Deb's house for dinner (customers from the cafe). They live out by Waihi Beach in Bowentown. The Pacific is their backyard. Deb made a white fish casserole and steamed vegetables, then they took us for a walk along the beach under all the stars. We had dessert, talked forever, and didn't leave their place until 11:30. They are kiwis, but they have lived all over the world. They love to travel, they are really sweet, really loud, and very adventurous. They have three kids who are all about Christoffel and Alison's age living over in Australia, but they run around like nomads just enjoying life. If we are ever in Aussie, we have a
place to stay, and they are headed up to Minnesota on their motorbikes next summer!
There is a man here, Peter, who owns two carvers (I think we mentioned him). They are the three-wheeled, really rare, tilting vehicles that he gives tours around the curvy NZ roads in. This morning at 8:00am sharp, Peter showed up in the carver and took Jack and I out for a 20 minute joyride each - FREE! It was unreal. Every turn, the cockpit (for lack of a better word) pivots with the turn and you roll to where your shoulder looks like it is on the pavement! It pivots to 45 degrees and you just hug each turn like it's nothing. There are only two in NZ and he owns them. There aren't any in the States, so if anyone ever comes to Waihi, give it a go. It has a 660 twin turbo engine, a six speed manual transmission, and 57 patents on the hydraulics alone. The man who invented the carver was a Dutch fighter jet pilot. He made the body roll in a way that mimics flying, plus the three wheel steering allows you to take a tight 35
kph turn at 105 kph. Peter and his wife stayed for coffee afterward and we wound up talking for 3 hours or so, and tomorrow night, they invited us to their place for dinner.
Remember that Waitete restaurant owned by our German friend Roland? Curry night last week? Anyway, Heidi and Roland always come into the cafe for a chat, and they invited us out to the restaurant tonight for dinner. We are completely surrounded by amazing people and delicious food. So, aside from work, we have just been hanging out with our customers! The best part of it is that they are all at least a decade older than us, sometimes three or four! It seems that if you are around all of these incredible people, you can't walk away from a single conversation without having learned something valuable. We love it.
So, enjoy the pictures and get ready for the next month! We are going to be covering a lot of ground after we leave here!
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