Saturday, 21 December 2013


Kiwi Customs were surprisingly dis-interested in the international homeless couple….our tents were more of a concern to them but fortunately they passed the Middle Earth bio-hazard examination and we were all cleared to enter NZ…Cathy was pretty freaked out about our detour down "Line 1" where the extra scrutiny takes place and waited anxiously for word of our arrest and detention but the gods were kind and within 15 minutes we emerged from the principal's office looking relieved and tired........the morning is warm, clear and fragrant  - something sweet in the air - - we pick up the car and the first NZ adventure begins…..left side of the road, right hand steering wheel….seriously, if you have never done this….oh my god!!…we head into Auckland on the wrong side of the road looking for a Kmart and some camping supplies….the map sucks, the driver has jet lag and NZ don’t believe in too many signs…..oh yea, did I mention roundabouts??…..what the hell are the rules in roundabouts???….I received no coaching, advice or related preparation….it is a miracle that we did not get into a fender bender….after several near misses and a renewed memory of profanity not used since my youth, we accidentally find a shopping area (forget finding Kmart) and buy some stuff….there are few signs of Christmas in the stores (other than huge crowds)…we find some camping gear and have a couple of meat pies - my pie filling is buttered chicken and very seriously good……somehow we find the road north and we head up to Otamure Bay for our first camp out….we stop in a nearby town for supplies….the day is hot, we are pretty jet lagged but ya gotta eat….BBQ chicken, that’ll do it…..Northland roads wind like Austrian mountain roads - the corners are steep and one minute you are climbing, the next you are descending…..when we finally arrive, we are greeted by our first real Kiwis and they are friendly and helpful….after I back into one of the 10km speed signs for the camp car road, we set up tents by the ocean - talk about military precision, the tents are done in record time…..Cathy and I swim and Linda watches…..the water is refreshing (which is the Kiwi word for cold)….sleep comes easy for me but the girls are not quick to adjust to tent sleeping (good thing the car seats fold back)……tomorrow we re-unite with Jess……and get softer camping mattresses for the ladies…I hope I remember which side of the road to use……

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