Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where fools dare to cycle, NZ trip part 2, South Island continues

Sometimes you may be pedaling (albeit slowly) up the first of what on your altitude map looks like the first of three spires of doom, and you may find that up at the top of King's point/lookout, there is a family from Mumbai, all cameras and laughter and beautiful blowing matching blue and gold scarf and salvar cameez (sp?), and they may ask if they can pose next to you for a picture. And you may not be looking your best, for after 3 days of headwind and 1 day of stultifying humidity, who among us would? And you will say yes, because how could you say no to a family so charming and happy and so incredulous at your undertaking, talking back and forth in Hindi, which despite having studied briefly, you understand nothing at all of.

And so somewhere on a highway, in a van, in a purse, in a camera on a memory card, there is a picture of me in cycling garb, happily smiling with the family that found me noteworthy enough to bother taking a picture with.

In other words, still alive. Clarification: pizza was a whitebait pizza, where the whitebait (some kind of small, mild fish) was mixed with a beaten egg. It did not cause a sad stomach saga, but it makes for a heck of a story, it would seem.

Today was my best day of pedaling, despite the three spires of doom, which followed yesterday's three spires from Hades, and precede cycling up the Haast Pass, which is probably enough to foil mere mortals. Luckily, while mortal, I am feeling particularly unmere lately. The radio station in my head trudges along, but is continuously interrupted by "Cripple Creek," sometimes sung in my version of a hillbilly accent, and sometimes not. This because of the scads upon scads of creeks I cross, each one with its own, numbered bridge. They are numbered in the thousands, and I believe it. Today there was a time when I was passing through the bird-and-plant named creeks, passing Rata (a tree), Kea (a bird) and Kiwi (another bird). I do not know what tomorrow's creeks will be called. Any guesses?

I have taken hundreds of pictures, and promise to bore you all with them (but not with all of them) at a time and from a place where I am not on coin-operated internet in a supermarket (their name, not mine).

New Zealand is lovely beyond my imagination and I owe a set of people shoutouts from here, which I will do when I can open more than one window at a time. Heather (See previous post's comments) hooked me up with a fab. breakfast, where I ate poached eggs for the first time in my life, and did not make fun of my excessive coffee consumption. What more could you want from newly-minted internet friends?

And now I return to the drizzle.


shantiwallah said...

Oh , it was whitebait! That's like gold to Kiwis. It used to be plentiful and now the numbers are getting smaller and smaller. In Michigan (where it suffers from the same fate) they call it smelt, but I don't know if there's another name in other States.

So happy to hear you are still having a great time.

Richard said...

Coin operated Internet in a supermarket? Reminds me vaguely of those ancient arcade machines that we used to get in cafes here. Except, y'know, without Internet. As for that pizza - the thought of eating bait on a pizza makes my tummy turn. You are far more unmere than this mortal!

hal said...

Haha, I love the mental radio station on the bike, though sometimes the selection is wanting. My platinum record track on my SE Asia tour was "Country Roads."

Annje said...

Glad to hear you are doing well and still pedaling. I can't wait to be bored with photos.

ps- your clarification didn't make the pizza sound any better ;-)

julie said...

"And so somewhere on a highway, in a van, in a purse, in a camera on a memory card, there is a picture of me in cycling garb, happily smiling with the family that found me noteworthy enough to bother taking a picture with."

I love the thought of this!

Michelle said...

Ah! Smelts! David loves a restaurant in SF that serves "fries with eyes." They're smelts here, too. Bought some at the local Korean grocery (headless and eyeless, though!) and we fried some up. Yummy.

Weird on pizza, though...

Margaret said...

Wow, despite the wind and upward-bound hills, it all sounds so lovely that I'm almost ready to go out and look for a bike!
And I can't believe you've never eaten poached eggs before? wow!

Can't wait for the pictures!

Fly Girl said...

Whitebait pizza? I'm sorry, I just can't get past that. The thought is making my stomach do funny things. Sounds like a real trip in every sense of the word. Can't wait for pix.