Last week, as I drove along the Southern Coastal Highway (a two lane road) towards a favorite local fishing spot, I began to feel…well….comfortable. I noticed I’m no longer freaked out by seeing the steering wheel on right hand side of the car. I rarely have to remind myself to stay on the left hand side of the road (rarely…but not never). And, as I drove along this beautiful stretch of road, with the deep blue Pacific Ocean on my left and the rolling verdant hills dotted with sheep on my right I thought to myself…yep…I live here. I see this stunning beauty almost every day.
Almost every morning the sunrise is spectacular, and almost every evening there is a breathtaking sunset right outside my window. By now, you will recognize the view from my deck (above)…truly this is what I see as I eat dinner each night. I’ve now been here over 2 months…enough time to not be overwhelmed by these amazing spectacles of light almost every morning and evening, and despite their frequency, I remain truly awed when they are there. I hope the awe never ceases.
This last weekend I drove North to Moeraki Village.. a quaint little fishing town, and home to the world famous Moraki Boulders (more below). In New Zealand, lobster are called crayfish. I happened upon a local open air eatery called ‘The Fishwife’, and found myself faced with a paua/crayfish dilemma. Paua is the local word for abalone. I opted for a lunch of paua (fritters) and chips (French Fries). I believe I’ve already gone over the coffee menu..but as refresher…a long black is a regular cup of coffee..a flat white is coffee and warmed milk…and just last week I learned what a piccolo was…espresso and a very small amount of milk, served in a very small cup.
As I was finishing my lunch, the one of the cooks at the Fishwife began passing out very sturdy squirt guns. One to a table. ‘This will get interesting’, I thought to myself…sizing up the other patrons of the restaurant. I spied several little kids I thought I could easily take down. The cook, noticing my zeal and the tight grip around the barrel of the gun, said, “They are for the seagulls.” “Oh, I know.” I lied.
I realize I have not posted for the blog in over 3 weeks…which feels somewhat humiliating and I am embarrassed at the length of the lapse. In my defense, I have been working a lot, which is the double edged sword of lots of time spent at the hospital and not a computer producing a piece for the blog, and also more time at the hospital means less time exploring. So, with that Mia Culpa out of the way…onward to more exploring.
As you might imagine..there are two stories of these magnificent geological structures..one story from the indigenous Maori, and a slightly less colorful one with longer and more difficult to pronounce words… from a geologist. Regardless, there are few sights like this in the world…and less than an hour from my house I can walk on this beach and hop onto these ancient stones and watch the waves swirl around me. It’s like I live here.
This is, after all, an island country. We are surrounded by water, and it’s no surprise that so much of the history, culture, and art of New Zealand incorporates the theme of of the ocean. In the news this week, it was a highlight when a large number of humpback whales were spotted off the coast of Kaikoura ( a town just North of Christchurch..usually known for its large population of sperm whales, but humpback whales, like the one above, are much less common). There is something magical about the ocean…and despite the fact I see the ocean every single day, it never fails to capture my imagination. Even now…late at night (I’m on call…from home, thankfully)…I gaze out at the reflection of the city lights shimmering in the harbor waters..and I think to myself…I live here. I am so lucky.
Until next time,