I am imagining an endless supply of hot running water, my choice of toilets, a vacuum, soft clean sheets, jacuzzi tub, a mirror, clean clothes and the list goes on. We are on day 21 of living out of our Nissan pulsar hatchback and our tent. I would be lying if I said I wasn't getting ready to come home. We have another 11 days to go though. Everything is pretty manageable, except for the nights when we just find a spot to throw our tent and not even a long drop (this is what New Zealanders call an outhouse) is involved. Sad when an outhouse becomes luxury. We are those people at the local pool who are taking advantage of the showers and brushing their teeth.
Now don't get me wrong, I can't imagine paying 60 some dollars a night for the privilege of staying in a parking lot...disguised with the name "Holiday Park". You do get to use the hot showers but come on people.....$60 for a shower!! As soon as we head for our Department of Conservation tent site and take some secluded gravel rode down to the end of a breathtaking valley I realize that we have made the right decision. The call of the hot shower hasn't out won another beautifully serene New Zealand site.
Another plus is that we are officially out of "black fly" country! Thank goodness. 2 nights was more than anyone would want to handle. You feel as if you are going a bit batty. On the last night there I had to get up in the middle of the night to pee and all I was concerned with was the black flies. I was trying to get my clothes, socks and shoes on as quick as possible, so I could get out and get back in quickly. As I rounded the back of my tent in the darkness and was swatting the bugs, I came face to face with a fat bushy sheep. I was stunned. He was stunned. We both stood frozen in time staring at each other. I felt like I had walked right into a children's book. I had a quick flash of the sheep charging me and then I thought I would try taking a cautious step forward to see what it would do. Thank goodness sure enough it turned around and ran down the hill.
We have spent the last few days in Kaikoura. Graham and I spent some time here 17 years ago. It is always cool to come back to a place you have been. Graham thought it would be fun to tour the area via bicycle and it turned out to be a great idea. We all rented bikes, along with his Aunty Cathy and hit the NZ roads. Our first stop was this beautiful rocky beach area with the NZ seals. As Amelia and I came to the end of the bike trail and we looked ahead for Graham and Alex, I noticed a seal immediately beside us. At this moment Amelia asks, "Where are all the seals?" and she stops her bike. I pointed right beside her and she JUMPED! The seals don't seem quite as friendly as the ones we remember from Galapagos. This guy bared his teeth at us and gave us a "get lost" grunt. It was pretty cool though.
After this Alex let us all know that the trail ended up ahead and all that was left was a hiking trail "switch back" up the side of the hill. Yup you guessed it.....up we went huffing and puffing. We made it to the top of the hill and from there we were pretty much riding a trail along the top ridge of all the hills. Pretty nice. Every so often they would have these wooden 3 steps up and 3 steps down thingies, to make things difficult. No worries though, we are a tough lot and we just would pick the bikes up and over and carry on.
Once we were on the other side we made our way around the peninsula and all the way back into town. We figured we had burned enough calories and treated ourselves to.....omg....are you ready for this...so bad....chili cheese nachos, burgers and fries, fish burger, and even a jumbo thick milk shake. I haven't yet forgiven myself.
We ended the day by doing a really cool loop all the way around the outside of town through all the farm land. We passed horses, cows, chickens and of course sheep. Picture the greenest grass valley ever with a ridge of mountains along one side. It was a wonderful day and a great way to feel as if you really saw the town.
We ended the day with a vegetable stew and a massive healthy salad to make up for all the grease and of course a bottle of Shiraz to wash it all down.
Living it up in the New Zealand Campgrounds
ps...WE ARE SO EXCITED!! Alex said today that every night feels like the night before Christmas. I have to agree. We have so much to look forward to we all feel giddy.....family, friends, a dog, a new home, new schools, work and lets not forget TIM HORTONS!!!