Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Road Trip

It was Labour Weekend, so Jesse and I went up North.

It was grey as we left.

Grey skies and lamp posts.

The Auckland Harbour bridge.

After we crossed the Bridge, it started to rain. 

Rain on a car window.

Friday night, we stayed in Wellsford with Jenn, and her husband Zac. We went to the local pizza place and drank red wine and ate a pizza called Johnny Cash. It was Jam Night, and the locals came in and sang Johnny Cash songs. 

Jenn and Zac's house is huge. It has a big lounge, a dining room, and two spare bedrooms. It had a vase of roses on the mantlepiece. "I just found them!" said Jenn, "They were just growing out there somewhere," she waved causally in the general direction of their enormous backyard.

Red roses on a mantle piece.

Last time I saw Jenn, I swear we were both just kids. Now she's a grown up. She and Zac have a dog, Jet. 

Jet the boarder collie.

A red chicken.

And some chickens, and a bunny and two cats. 

On Saturday, we went to Tahoa School Calf Club Day, which deserves a post of its own. These are some photos from it though:

A little girl with an award winning calf.

A lamb. Its ribbon says AGRICULTURE.

Flowers arranged in a sheep's scull.

A selfie with a black lamb.

Then we kept on heading up. 

In Kaiwaka, we stopped for cheese, and got a coffee at the hippy cafe. In Kawakawa, we got milkshakes.

A selfie with a milkshake - The Longest Drink In Town.

The Kawakawa theatre. It's a beautiful deco building.

And used the toilet. 

The Hundertwasser toilet.

We stayed in Mangawhai, which was built in 1890, and gives the pleasant impression of having not been touched ever since. But we mostly just looked at the view.

We stayed in a suite - this was the view from the living room.

The was the view from the balcony.

I'm sure where we stayed was the nicest place in town. 

A yellow boat, on the harbour.

Another shot of the harbour. There are daisies in the foreground.

Looking past the church, into the harbour.

The harbour at Mangawhai.

A penguin crossing road sign.
We got beers.
A beer in front of a really nice view.
And fish and chips. 
The World Famous Mangonui Fish Shop.

The whole weekend, I used a Holga Lens on my Canon camera. I took my regular lens, but I was having so much fun with the Holga, I didn't bother snapping my canon back on. We argued briefly about the photos - "I think the blurry, instagram-y effects will save me a lot of time later,"  I said. These shots have been minimally edited, or not at all. "I'm just glad I have a real camera," said Jesse. His camera has wifi, so he can, in theory, post directly to instagram. He doesn't, though.

The Sunday we went to the top.

A road sign that says, Cape Reinga, 20km.

New Zealand farmland.

The beach at Cape Reinga.

Cape Reinga. That's the end.

The Cape Reinga light house is in the distance.

That's the Cape Reinga light house.

I had wondered how the Top would feel different from the Edge (any beach), but it did. It was very hot and windy, but the air felt very heavy. I was aware of people breathing. I could hear it when they passed me.
A winding New Zealand road.
There was a lot of driving - Jesse did almost all of it. We took his car. I think he's a better driver than me. 

Road trips are funny things. I'm always aware that they won't last much longer. Peak oil, and all that. It was expensive. I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

We went to Ninety Mile Beach, but we didn't drive on it.  

The sand on Ninety Mile Beach.

Fishing on Ninety Mile Beach.

We drove down to Waitangi, and stayed there.

The view from our hotel at Waitangi.

The view from our hotel at Waitangi at sunrise.

We had dinner in this flash restaurant with an aquarium inside it.

A fishy in the aquarium.

A lobster in the aquarium.

They weren't eating fish. They were just for looking at. We had sea food, and it was the best I've ever eaten. 

On Monday, we went to the Treaty Grounds.

Top of the waka where at Waitangi.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was strangely moving, and very well done.

 The meeting house at Waitangi.

Four figures on a hill contemplate the (out of frame) flagpole at Waitangi.

The flag at Waitangi.

A tui feasts on flax at Waitangi.

We took the ferry from Paihia to Russell.

A shot from the ferry, just leaving Paihia.

It's a cute little town. We walked around it in ten minutes.

The most adorable little bungalow.

I never wanted to leave.

A beer at Russell.

We took a look at the Flagstaff. It's original. 

The flagstaff at Russell.

A woman came up to us, and insisted on taking our photo on Jesse's camera. "Smile! Look like you love one another! After all, you're in Romantic Russell."She was obviously a local. Maybe she's employed by the tourist board to hang out in picturesque places and repeat slogans. We smiled. 

The land was beautiful, but very empty, as if all the farmers had given up at once and decided to just make golf courses instead.
A farm in New Zealand.

Jesse tried to explain, last years animals have been eaten, and this years are growing. Out of sight? Or maybe they're just smaller?

I tried to think of ways to get out of going back to the real world. 

The thing about holidays is everything's better. You eat better, and drink more. You only see people you care about - not annoying coworkers or your stupid neighbour. You sleep better. The view's better. It's sunny and there are days at a time when your only goal is to go to the beach. You wonder, why can't it be like this all the time.  

But there were patches of blue skies as we came home.

The sky tower. Auckland, New Zealand. Home.


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