Scraps of New Zealand

We arrived in New Zealand about 2 weeks ago.  The plane touched down just before 7 in the morning.  We spent the first day getting over the flight.  My cousin Jocelyn and her husband Albert picked us up and took us to their comfortable house in Pukekohe, a farm town just south of Auckland.

Albert was a dairy farmer, and they used to live in the country.  They gave up a house on a hill and cows in fields for town life with modern conveniences.  Jocelyn says she likes to see people walking past.  When they lived on the farm we watched trains rumble through fields below the house and saw the sun set over Auckland.  I enjoyed walking on the country roads.

Jerry and I walked the evening we arrived at the new house.  Walking is helpful for jet lag.  First we walked through a posh, expensive gated community with million dollar houses, then along a much older street with little ginger bread trimmed houses, their gardens planted with exotic tropical plants that cohabit with fragrant English roses.  Roses were everywhere.  Calla lilies and blue agapantha grow wild.  We turned up the road to Pukekohe Hill.  After a bit of climbing there were chickens in the yards, and a little further up sheep grazed.  The road looks over a green valley of patch work squares planted in rows of onions, beets, and other vegetables.   Birds sang.

The next day we took the train to Paraparaumu, a suburb of Wellington where the son of my mother’s best college friend lives.  She was called Twinx (her real name was Anne), and mother kept up with Twinx until she died, then kept up with her son, Hugh.

The train trip took all day, and went through a lot of beautiful country.  I spent the day trying to learn to use my new toy, a video camera.  It is a lot of fun, but I have yet to become proficient.

Hugh always has things to show visitors, and he plans by carefully analyzing the interests of his guests.  Over the years he has taken me to wonderful entertainments.  He took us to a bird sanctuary in Karori , a Wellington suburb where I went to school when I was 14.  I took a lot of fine videos of birds.  There is a New Zealand bird called the Tui, which has a wonderful complicated clear melodic song.  It is black with a tuft of white fluffy feathers on its throat, and for that reason is sometimes called the parson bird.  I have some pictures of it, but I am not able to post them until I get home.

Next we went to an art gallery in Wellington.  There we saw an exhibit of work by a Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama , which was great fun.  It was rather like an amusement park fun house for intellectuals.  There were a number of rooms, each its own installation of inflated shapes and brightly colored spots and drawings.  There were two rooms that were enclosed with mirrors and lights, one bright, one dark, where the viewer stands in a universe of lights and reflections of himself to infinity.

The day we went to the exhibit was a free day, so there were lots of parents with children.  The children enjoyed themselves.  Jerry enjoyed himself.  I loved it.

Hugh Young is 10 years younger then I, but he is at last retired.  His partner, Tim, still works and Hugh busies himself with his web sites.  He is a crusader against male (and female) circumcision.  His other sites are for marketing New Zealand theme novelties that he designs himself.

I wrote the above a week ago, but never finished it or posted it.  I was going to include pictures, possibly movies.  But events began to accumulate and there were many demands on our time.  Today is a rainy day in Coromandel.  I have a comfortable motel and internet.  Jerry is dozing.  I am writing a new post.  In the meantime, here’s a tidbit.

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4 Responses to Scraps of New Zealand

  1. Jan says:

    It sounds fascinating! My husband and I have decided we’re going to New Zealand when our youngest graduates from high school – a sort of “Hooray! They’re all grown now!” present to ourselves. 🙂

    I can’t wait to read more posts; you write so well and so vividly.

  2. Mage B says:

    It’s just good to read you again. Glad you found the time to tells us of your adventures. Fascinating.

  3. I’m enjoying the trip with you!

  4. Tessa says:

    I always thought New Zealand could give Canada a run for its money in the Most Boring Country on the Planet Sweepstakes, but it sounds blissful, Anne. I would love to visit New Zealand sometime, but the thought of the long plane journey puts me right off.

    (BTW, it’s really only the Brits who think Canada is boring, and maybe a few Americans, too!)

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