Northern weirdos and beaches galore

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April 18th 2005
Published: April 18th 2005
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Dearest doozies,

I just purchased a half dozen "Barn Eggs" at the Four Square corner market. According to the cardboard box, the eggs come from chickens "raised on lNew Zealand ifestyle properties and looked after by caring farmers who allow the chickens to roam and engage in natural expression." Riiiiight.
Since my last entry in Auckland, things have been...adventuresome. I met up with a German gal named Isi, who I met a few weeks before in the natural hot springs in Lake Taupo. We're both nuts, so we make great travel partners. We've been clunking around the northernmost tip of the north island in her 1983 Honda, which has given me ample opportunity to practice the disconcerting act of driving on the left side of the road. :-) I don't know why it is, but we seem to find ourselves in the weirdest situations.
One night we stumbled upon a backpackers where no one was around. No one except a very talkative older guy from Minnesota who was a total dork. He kept mumbling about the most random crap and you'd think it'd been a few years since he saw women. Then Bernie, the owner, came stumbling in around midnight, drunk as a skunk. He wore a neon tracksuit and talked about how his wife and daughters left him.
The next morning, we zoomed north to what the Maori call "the spirit world." The landscape here is drier than the rest of this wet country, and absolutely soulful feeling. After passing through a moist area of orchards and orchards of kiwifruit, we decided to save some money and sleep in the car. We found a nice secluded spot behind a big feijola tree. How lovely! And how lovely when we stepped outside to find a deer carcass right next to us. It was giant, with vacant black holes where its eyes used to be, and mean, protruding teeth. Oh well, it was too late to find another place anyhow, so we spent the night with the poor girl.
Days are spent driving around, visiting beaches upon beaches. All the towns and harbors and beaches have incomprehensible, multisyllabic Maori names like Whakatanake and etc. and we just lazed about on a silica beach. The SAND is beyond belief; pure white, some of the purest white sand found on earth. And tonight was so amazing. We caught the sunset at Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand. From the lighthouse you can see where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet in a boiling cauldron of surf.
Now I look at my pathetic bank account and am content to eat beans and rice if necessary. The wild adventures are behind me and I feel lulled into a happy state of, I don't know, beauty and serenity I suppose. I'm going to spend my last week in NZ working a bit at "The Little Farm Hostel" in the kiwifruit town of Kerikeri. It's such a cute place -- eucalyptis wood floors, tangelo orchard, apple trees, roosters and chickens (collectively referred to as "chooks" by the Kiwis) and a cow. A big cow. I think Claes, the Swedish owner, feels sorry for me and is going to let me stay for free in exchange for "work" but I don't think he'll be a labor Nazi like the other two places. Smiles for me!
It's time to blast the molecules of those eggs into action, because I'm just starved. The beans and rice diet will have to rest for one day.

Miss you all!!!!


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