06 February 2012

New Zealand Chronicles | Fun With Friends

10 December 2011

I had breakfast in New Zealand. I had breakfast in New Zealand and I took a picture of it. We packed up and cleaned and hit the road. We were still doing that thing where we wee dressing for the weather we wanted, instead of the weather we actually had. Saturday was colder than Friday, which had been colder than Thursday. We were right to be heading back to Auckland. We still stopped plenty along the way. We took a scenic drive and hoped against hope the sun would appear. It did not. It got to the point where I didn't even want to get out of the car. 




I got plenty of shots from inside the car. To the right, you see Ang doing her thing. Below you see my attempt at capturing the ferns, which added to the Jurassic Park-ness of it all. We sang. We hypothesized. I demanded Angie stop biting her nails. We saw a dog riding in the back of what was not exactly a pick up. This help our attention for kilometers. The dog was THRILLED. We were TERRIFIED. The back of the vehicle had no walls. The dog was pacing back and forth, and sticking his head around the side of the cab. The road was windy. There was dozens of things that could have gone wrong and hurt the dog right in our faces. We couldn't handle it. We kept a safe distance and a watchful eye. The dog was oblivious to us and our panic.




A safe distance.

Not too close.

Eventually the driver passed another car and was really far ahead of us. We never saw anything splattered on the side of the road, so we posit both dog and driver arrived safely at their destination. We stopped for lunch. 

One of the most awesome things about us, is our love of simple foods. We stopped in Kerikeri, not the same as Karikari with the white sandy beaches. It's also not Kawakawa, with the pretty toilets. Kerikeri is a full on tourist town. We ate at Rock Salt, which is such a brilliant rip off, I can't even be mad. They serve you raw food on a slab of volcanic rock. You sit there and watch your food cook. You pay them to do this, to cook your food to own preference. Genius. 
Obligatory cocktail. There was passion fruit involved.

Ang had lamb & steak I think.

A seasoned chicken breast on a slab.

Can I sue if I give myself salmonella?

I cooked and ate it all.
I then wondered how these slabs get cleaned.
It was still might hot.
Overall, lunch was enlightening. People paying to cook their own food at a restaurant. It just boggled my mind. Our spirits picked up a we  headed toward civilization. Maybe we had spent too much time on empty beaches. Maybe we should not have sang the entire Adele CD. Maybe we are really flowers who absolutely need sunshine. Whatever the reason, we were happier as we headed back toward people, and people were happy to have us meet them. 

We caught up with The Ladies' Man and Sharron, who were just sitting on the side of a river with a 12 pack of beer, chips and dip. It was the most perfectly random sight I could have imagined. I mean it wasn't that random, we knew they were there. And I am in no way saying The Ladies' Man is a perfect sight (because I could see him misunderstanding that), but it was nice to familiar faces, even if they had only been familiar for a few days.
"Have you plaited your hair?" - The Ladies' Man
"I was just looking at that."  - Sharron
I had indeed formed a braid as a headband, which I am wont to do simply if I feel it. My mom used to say "come on let me plait your hair," which I'm sure her mom used to say to her. I guess I thought it was a word or saying from the south. I was tickled to hear it in New Zealand. This is in no way to say The Ladies' Man tickled me, as I can see him boasting that as well. 

The spread, and The Ladies' Man.
And what do you know? The Squash Player just popped over,
you know, to tell Ang everything was going to be alright.

We hatched a fine plan, where we would all meet up later and cook dinner. Well, Sharron & TLM were going to cook dinner. I was going to make lemon bars, because let's be honest. After a week of no work, no errands and no cleaning, I was itching to do something domestic. Angie actually shook her head at me about it. We raced home and got ready and waited. We got hungry. And we waited. We watched a little television. And we waited. 

Eating.
Our hosts are apparent dawdlers. They do not know the hostility from an hungry Angie. And The Squash Player also needs to keep his blood sugar on the regular. By the time we arrived, and saw the distinct lack of groceries, I knew the night was in danger. I mean a hunk of meat cooked on a slab of volcanic rock can only take one so far. Sharron & I shopped. TLM was there too, but he didn't really appear until the end. Back home they made Fettuccine Alfredo Lite. That's very much like Fettuccine Alfredo, but with the mushrooms off to the side because of picky pallets. 
 
Lemon bars.
Plus powdered sugar.
I made lemon bars using the metric system and Degrees Celsius. It was a gamble. But it was fun. I like to bake. I knew Ang wouldn't eat it. I knew TSP couldn't it. But I made it anyway, mostly because TLM had been so excited when I described it. Baking for someone who appreciates it makes me all warm and fuzzy. This is not to say The Ladies' Man made me... you get the idea.


We sat and ate and drank and had a lovely time. We talked about words and how "Black" is taboo in New Zealand but "Negro" is proper. We talked about Sharron's time in the states and about that one time I went through TLM's wallet and saw his real name. 
Also -  I'll let you in on a secret. The Ladies' Man takes a lot of heat, but I don't think he entirely deserves it. Not entirely. You can tell a lot about a man by the state of his kitchen. And while we were shooting the breeze, TLM did the dishes and tidied nicely - though we disagree on the need to properly rinse dishes after they've been soaped. Still, a clean kitchen. Swoon. A man after my own heart.

The Ladies' Man also has a bus. Yeah, there's no way to transition to that. This bus - which is actually an RV - was parked outside his home / Sharron's office. I do not recall the exact reason why, but we all piled inside to play a game. I don't remember the name of the game, but it is a proper game, complete with head gear. 


Getting it sorted.
The Ladies' Man.

You raise those little red hands and reveal who you are.
Then you ask yes or no questions of the other players until
you figure out who you are.
The game was fun. Sharron & TLM really liked the lemon bars, so I felt validated. TSP was there, so Ang felt "comforted." Sometime after TLM laid out and lit candles, the rest of us decided  to get going. I mean is that some sort of hint? I don't know. After a rocky start, It was a great night. And even now, it still has me smiling.