Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Little Beach, New Zealand: Outing the In-laws

The Tasman Sea is not restive today, but churning decent sized waves that come crashing towards the beach outside of Mike and Phyllis’ bach (pronounced batch). A bach is the Kiwi name for the tiny beach homes that dot the coast. Mike and Phyllis have not only refurbished their tiny bach but have also built a lovely summer home that takes advantage of the ocean view by situating a sitting room on the upper floor, where countless hours can be passed watching the ever-changing sea and contemplating the more important issues in life, like where to pick the best mussels for dinner and where to find the the most potent bug juice to keep off the sandflies.

In fact, we’ve discovered why Mike and Phyllis are so eager to come to their summer home: they’re having too much fun, which they try not to let on while visiting us in the US. Here’s a day in the life of Mike (and Phyllis to some degree, when she’s not whipping up gourmet meals and preparing for their never-ending parade of guests).
6:30 get up, check e-mail from friends and family, go for a walk
9:00 have yummy breakfast
10:00 putter in yard, or on computer, or in shed
11:00 Elevensies tea time
11:30 more puttering (this could involve building, maintance or crafts projects)
12:30 lunch
1:00 nap
1:30 walk on one of the 10 beaches around here collecting rocks and shells
3:00 go to town for errand. Visit with half of town’s residents
6:30 happy hour (may have other half of town’s residents stop by!)
8:00 dinner
9:00 read/walk/stare at beach
10:00 time for bed and another NZ day.

Unsurprisingly, we’ve adapted to their schedule quite well, and only hope that we’ll remember to rouse ourselves when it comes time to leave.

Scott and Stormie (my parents) were able to fit some sightseeing in between the meals, and got to see Cape Foulwind, which got it’s name from Captain Cook who also named a similar cape in Oregon, Cape Foulweather (do you think after so much sailing he was in a foul mood?), and home to a seal colony. They also got to see Punakaiki, the pancake rocks,

and take many long walks along the beach, or through the flax and gorse. Gorse is nasty stuff that the English used to keep their herds of sheep in the fields because it's spiny sharp and probably bad tasting. Gorse has become an invasive weed here in New Zealand, and I’m all for eradicating it after a particularly painful run-in with a few plants. Apparently I could be found on the trail with all my yelling!

We drove my parents over Arthur's Pass, which was socked in by a rain storm, and spent their last two days in Christchurch, the most English-looking city outside of England. Aside from a rain storm that has dumped 10 cm in the past 12 hours, life here at Little Beach remains calm and quiet.
Wearing the usual kiwi garb: raincoat, gumboots and shorts

The "river" behind us is actually the road out of Mike and Phyllis' home


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