Today, for the very first time, a White Tail crossed my path. I was outside in the Hammock sunning myself and playing solitaire on my laptop, despite the risk to my screen, when the little fucker came creeping up my computer desk/wooden foldout chair. I have been told that I should move away from them and kill them immediately. So, I clumsily got out of the hammock, took the book I keep convincing myself I’m gonna read (Snobs – Julian Fellowes) and clobbered the eight-legged venomous monster. The guilt was fleeting, much like I feel about having just one more cookie. After all, the thing is deadly and I’m not taking any chances of ruining my lovely holiday. At least I think it was a White Tail. Their bite is similar to that of a Brown Recluse, nothing too serious, I mean, you won’t die. You’ll just have a huge gaping hole where your flesh was eaten away by the spider’s caustic venom. Regardless, it’s 20-something degrees out and I’m not letting anything detour me away from my Vitamin D addiction, which, with the 15 hours of sunlight right now, is flourishing. December 21st was the shortest day of the year up north. In the Southern Hemisphere it’s the longest day. So while my days are about to get shorter, I can take comfort in knowing that come April my days will again begin to get longer.
Life on the coast has been calm, however – nothing like the party-driven, go go go style of the Stray Bus or Queenstown. My new roommates enjoy drinking as much as I do and while we all tie one on a few nights of the week, I’m surprised to see them go to bed before midnight and wake up before 7 a.m. Are we all really that old now? Sometimes it feels like island-time here – things get done when they get done and no matter – they’ll get done. I suppose it’s more accentuated here. But I like it. There doesn’t ever seem to be a rush, and seeing as the summer/party season is here, everyone is low-key and just enjoying the warmth.
There are orchards and vineyards everywhere. We even have apple, lemon and Fijoa trees in the backyard. I have yet to try the Fijoa, but apparently it is one of the best laxatives known to mankind. It’s also very convenient to not have to pay for any lemons. I get a little sad when I see the fruits that have fallen to the ground and are rotting away. I almost want to pick them up and put them in a basket at the front gate for people to take, but I haven’t been that ambitious. Besides, people might find it weird. I’m thinking it may be a good idea to get a job picking fruit in February. They pay by the piece, and seeing as I’m kind of a driven hard worker, I think I could make some really good money. It’d be nice to spend all day in the sun.
While running with the dog – aka Deadweight, the other day, I decided to take a different route and go past the marina and the shore line.The tide in the harbour goes out twice a day leaving ships stranded on their hulls on the seabed. It wasn’t as stinky as I thought it would be, but it was kind of strange. It seems the tide goes out past a kilometer, but it’s hard to tell. When it comes back in the boats get lifted off their keels and become buoyant structures again, rather than monuments in the sand. I find this practice kind of odd, but I guess when you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to live on the shoreline, you want to be able to get to your boat quickly when the tide comes back in. I guess.
Many people told me Motueka was filled with hippies, and it is. There are herb stands and crystal shops and used clothing stores everywhere. Hippies are most likely characterized by their lack of shoes, though I’m beginning to notice it’s more of a Kiwi thing. I had gone to the library one day to get Frick some cook books for slow cookers (the oven just up and died) when I saw a gaggle of school children walking hand in hand to an auditorium and two thirds of them were bare foot. How’s that for cutting down on your children’s clothing costs? People go in and out of grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores and pharmacies sans shoes. Needless to say, the iconic American signs which protect shop owners from sue happy retards who will walk bare-footed on broken glass in a shop just to get a pay out do not exist here. Stupid people are not a protected species in New Zealand.
Occasionally I see backpackers hitchhiking on the side of the street. It’s nice to see there are some places in the world that haven’t gone completely crazy with liability laws and protecting us from ourselves. It’s relatively safe to hitchhike here, but with everything in New Zealand, it does have its risks. Also there are campervans everywhere here. Mot is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. Some of the nation’s best walks, some of them a week long, are in the park here. People travel from all over the country to come for the excursions here, and I don’t just mean tourists. Many locals come here for their holidays. It’s the sunniest part of the country and has hundreds of untouched, un-crowded beaches. In other words, it’s paradise.
Last week I went with the staff of Skydive Abel Tasman to their annual Christmas party on Kaiteriteri Beach, a stunning oasis of gold sands and bright blue, crystal clear water. Stu, the DZO, brought along his boat and gave us all rides in the choppy water that sent us airborne about 100 times much to our impulsive nature to hold on to anything but our drinks – they were already spilled by the third launch. No matter though, the drinks were free and the food spread was awesome. It was great to meet everyone and I was glad that I didn’t drink too much that day as the following morning I had to fill in for Frick on the packing mat.
Christmas Eve is but two nights away, yet it still doesn’t feel like it. I haven’t felt the compulsion to buy presents, nor have I yearned for any type of bestowal. I did buy some chocolates as they’re on sale everywhere and one can’t help but buy chocolate when there’s rows and rows of it in front of you. Also, I’ve started running/walking again, often taking Deadweight with me, and it seems every time I try to lose weight my subconscious undermines me and I end up drinking a case of beer, having mac and cheese, eating two bags of chips and downing five candy bars. Willpower, it seems, goes on hiatus at Christmas.
But the good news is that I’ll be working over Christmas, I hope to jump sometime in the next couple days (when I work up my nerve and talk myself into it) and I have moved into my own private bedroom. Life, it seems, is working out pretty good. Now I just have to figure out how to capture Dave and make him move to New Zealand until April. Just kidding, Dave.
Merry Christmas everyone!