Tomorrow I fly home: from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere, from summer to winter.
I am leaving the cousin I love and a country I love. I‘ll miss the birdsongs, the flowers, the exotic trees and ferns, the sunshine and the long white clouds. Aoteoroa: the Maori name for their homeland. Land of the long white cloud.
Jerry and I spent 4 days in Coromandel. That’s a peninsula on the north east coast of the North Island. We had a motel that was a bit more than 2 kilometers from town, so we did a lot of walking. Even though it pelted rain most of the time we were there, we walked to town and back at least once every day.
We visited a gold mine run by a talkative geologist who told us a lot, very fast, about the geology of New Zealand. He demonstrated his rock crusher for us and for a bus load of tourists (mostly Brits). The rock crusher didn’t work and he talked a lot more, very fast. Finally, one of the English gentlemen leaned over and said to me, “I wish he’d shut up and get on with it.” The “demonstration” cost $10 for each person.
Jerry was interested in the gold mining, since he had mined gold in Alaska. There was a major gold rush in the Coromandel just as the California gold rush was subsiding. Jerry asked our talkative geologist where the tailings are, since the mines in this region are all underground. Talkative geologist said they had all been dumped in the harbor, and he advocates dredging the harbor, since modern chemical methods of mining can extract a lot more gold than the old methods. He is having a fierce battle with the Greens over this proposal.
When we came back to Jocelyn and Albert’s house in Pukekohe we took them out to dinner, and I finally and unexpectedly got a really good meal in a restaurant in New Zealand. We went to a Chinese buffet. There was a wide array of well cooked Chinese dishes and western dishes, including some fresh oysters on the half shell.
Today my last outing will be with Jocelyn to a luncheon with her Mah Jongg group. Some of these ladies I have met on other visits when I watched them play Mah Jongg.
I am thinking about Christmas and all the rush and activity. Christmas preparations here in New Zealand are well underway, and seem incongruous in this warm sunny land. People sing all the carols and songs about winter and cold and snow and never seem to notice that they don’t fit.
I am bracing myself for winter.