If you are ever in Nelson, New Zealand, stay at the Palm Grove B&B. Richard Tidmarsh, the proprietor, took FABULOUS care of us. He picked us up at the hospital. My bike wouldn't fit in the van, so I took a deep breath and said I'd just ride over. It was about 9:30 and I didn't have a headlight, but I figured it didn't really get dark until 10, I could use street lights, and I did have a taillight. Well, it was darker than I thought! When Richard saw that I didn't have a light, he "paced" me the 3 km to Palm Grove. (I was VERY grateful for that.)
When we got there, he fixed us some dinner (Hala hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast). He told Hala she could have breakfast in bed. He practically hovered, it was wonderful. (It was not just wonderful for Hala, it took a lot of pressure off of me, too!)
The next day, at breakfast, Hala found her missing lens tucked way back in
I took care of business and went hiking up a steep hill
at the geographical center of New Zealand. Funny how the exact
geographical center happens to be exactly at the peak of this hill,
hmmm. The weather was really nice and sunny. Hala basically slept.
The next day, Hala still looked like something the cat had decided to
not bring home, but was feeling much more chipper. My experience with
jaw surgery and my friend Jeff's bike accident served me well; I knew that
facial injuries always looked worse than they were, and that she was
still Hala under there. (She had one scrape on her knee, but mostly
it was facial lacerations and abrasions.) So we were kidding and
joking around and having a grand old time.
We took a FAST boat (40 knots) over eight foot swells for three hours over to the Abel Tasman Park. This was fun, like riding a mechanical bull! When we got to our drop-off point, we had to ride in on the dinghy. I made a crack about, "Where's my porter to carry me to the beach?", and son-of-a-gun, the dinghy driver DID!!!
Photo by Hala Fauzi
The minute we got off the boat, it stopped raining, and was nice and sunny the rest of the day. For the first time, I felt like I was in the South Pacific, with warm sunny and refreshing sea breezes over palm (well, ok, fern) trees and golden sandy beaches. A very nice day, and the sandwiches that Richard packed for us were delightful.
We hiked for about an hour, then waited for about 30 minutes on a
beach for the boat to come back and pick us up. I went and played in
the sand and surf while Hala tried to keep the sun off her face. On
the ride back, I had a really enjoyable talk with a man in street
was a forestry economist on his way from his
holiday to catch a plane to Finland to talk about trees. We talked
about complexity, trees, Finland, travelling, and so on.
Photo by Kate Sherwood
The next day, Hala and I went to a historical village, a Japanese garden, and a Maori meeting hall. After that, Hala went to the beach, while I went to an art gallery and then strolled through a park. The Kiwis have really nice parks, something that seems lost in America. Parks in the US aren't really for strolling or hanging out, it seems, they are mostly for basketball or softball. (I will grant Golden Gate Park an exception.) They also don't have homeless people, so there are still benches in the parks. That day I also shipped the bikes back to Auckland so Hala couldn't get any ideas.
Photo by Hala Fauzi
Hala and I met up again later and visited Nelson's Christchurch cathedral. (The yellow dot is me again.) The pews and this phenomenal organ were all made out of rimu, a really pretty red pine native to NZ. Very nice, worth a visit next time you are in Nelson.
We then wandered around looking for a place to eat. I spotted it first: probably the only Egyptian restaurant in the southern hemisphere! We went in, and the owner was just horrifically excited to see another Egyptian! Apparently Hala was the third Egyptian he'd seen in ten years, wow. So they just had a grand old time yakking it up in Arabic, and I had a grand old time watching them.
We didn't get home until pretty late, but Richard was still up. I groveled and batted my eyelashes at him, but when he heard that what I wanted was to have the Southern Cross pointed out, he just beamed. (Richard, you see, spent 35 years on the sea.) So finally, after being in the Southern Hemisphere for three weeks, I got to see the Southern Cross.
Also, realizing that I didn't want to hassle with the airline fascists again, I had Richard take the gas I'd carefully put in the camp stove in Springfield (and never used) and put it in his lawnmower.
Photo by Hala Fauzi
The next day we caught a bus to Blenheim, a little nothing town in the northeast corner of the South Island. It is famous for its sunshine and it is also the center of the rapidly-expanding NZ wine industry. (It looks a lot like Napa, surprise.) After wandering around for a while, we finally found a place to snag some lunch, and caught a bus down the east coast, past sunny beaches and seals on rocks, to Christchurch.
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The North Island
Copyright, 1994, Kaitlin Duck Sherwood