Two weeks away in native New Zealand. Packed for an Arctic trip. Although it's advertised as being in the early throes of autumn you can never trust New Zealand weather.
It was the warmest I have found New Zealand for years, especially compared to the previous trip when I arrived in the middle of winter.
New Zealand is one of the prettiest places on the planet - even non Kiwis seem to think so. I tend to agree.
New Zealand is also where the people who pass as my family live. A Mother, a Sister, sister's remaining (the other daughter safely domiciled in Sydney) obnoxious and loud child, complete with child of her own.
The plan was to spend the time visiting old haunts, the places I grew up in, got schooled in, got laid in. Standard nostalgia trip. For Mum and I. Day trips, overnight trips, checking the place out.
Christchurch, Waikari, Hanmer, Ashburton, Hinds, Flemington, Longbeach, Timaru,then across the dividing alps, Hokitika, Greymouth, Runanga, places beyond. Checked out the skifields that proliferate the Arthurs pass region.
Observation: Ski fields with no snow do not look like ski fields. They look like hills with no snow.
Two weeks not swimming, not riding, local doctor consulted re refusal of leg to heal confirms a burgeoning ulcer, infected as well. All the better to have something to show people not seen for a decade.
It was great to see the place again, arriving, after a 3 hour flight from hell, on a cold rainy evening. Not the best first impression. An impression hastily revised the next morning bright, warm, and clear. Such is the changeable nature of the New Zealand weather. You regularly get to experience all seasons in one day, honing the art of layered clothing.
Observation: All cities look the same.
Two weeks of no internet, no e-anything. Hard to do in New Zealand with such a huge uptake of technology over there empowering everyone but my Mum to get connected. Technology - phones, net, satellite tv, all well advanced, more so in most cases than Australia.
Two weeks of great scenery, too much food, too little exercise, too much outlay. Two weeks of holiday from the cleaning, from the cat, from the rest of the family.
I wondered about the possibility of living there again. Yvonne was undecided when she and the boys went over last year. I have returned undecided. Cannot see a valid reason for living in a city. We do that already. If it were easy enough to make money while living away from the major cities I would be keen for a look, but there is not the population there to create the opportunities that we take for granted here.
Kite buggying would be a breeze, kite anything is practiced on a daily basis over there, Ashburton being the home of Peter Lynn Kites
, the man who started to kite buggy revolution.
The kite surfing community is huge as well - how they handle the water temperature is beyond me, way beyond me, but they do, and they do in big numbers.
The two weeks is up. The observations catalogued for Yvonnes perusal, the bastardry of repacking to go home again, the goodbyes, the terminally boring bit at the airport: all done, New Zealand fading behind, Australia looming, holiday over, normality presiding.
Is it a place to live in? I think, conditionally, a possibility. But I couldn't do a probability on it. Maybe something to look at when the boys are old enough to look out for themselves. Assuming the place still exists.
In the meantime it's is really a beautiful place full of amazing adventures. And, for us here in the Southern Hemisphere, a place we can be with just a three hour plane ride.