Nice couch bro!

Next stop in my New Zealand tour is to spend a week up in the Coromandel with my Mum, Sister and Brother in law.

Sister and her husband drove up separately whilst I drove Mum and me up through the middle of New Zealand. All up it’s a nine hour drive, to break up the journey we stopped for lunch in at Taupo (see obligatory photo op below), then continued on to spend the night in Rotorua.

Living overseas you often forget how aggressively friendly Kiwi’s can be.

image-title-hereRotorua is a town that only seems to exist to service the tourists that form a steady stream of buses from Auckland. The township of Rotorua, like Taupo an hour to the south, consists of a non-stop procession of hotels, bad restaurants and tourist activities - with ever creative ways to risk ones life. The Lakes are large and the towns are not, so a few KM in any direction from the town centers is always a lot quieter. We were staying about twenty minutes north of Rotorua town in a small settlement on the banks of the lake.

Living overseas you often forget how aggressively friendly Kiwi’s can be, our brief intermission in Rotorua gave me two first hand experiences of Kiwi hospitality within the space of an hour.

We arrived much earlier than my sister so mum and I decided to go check out the lake. There was an SUV parked next to the lake with a couple sitting watching the view, as we approached, the car started up and tore off, before leaving the driver braked hard, wound down the window and shouted out to us in the most Kiwi accent I have heard in years (and I’m Kiwi, so Chur) “Hey Bro! Oi, Na! You don’t want to go in there, it’s all duck shit.”, Mum and I looked at each other confused. He continued. “Na, it’s all duck shit, go down the road, across the foot bridge, its heaps better” - Kiwi’s are so friendly.

We decided to heed the strangers strange warning and walked further down to take a look, we approached the footbridge over a small but deep looking river where around twenty of the local kids were demonstrating their ‘bombing’ prowess to one another. The kids were in that middle age where they are too young to be threatening but old enough to want to be badasses and emulate their older siblings demeanour. They regarded us cautiously as we walked past but otherwise didn’t pay us any mind.

We continued our lake inspection without incident, and to our SUV driving friends credit, that particular area of the lake was marginally less befouled than our original spot - bullet successfully dodged.

After another hour or two back at the accommodation I decided make the most of the setting sun and use the opportunity to test out some of my new remote working kit, specifically an inflatable couch. I collected the couch, a beer and my wireless speaker and headed back to the lake. I figured it safe to head to the befouled area, as I had no intention of wading into the depths.

I was enjoying some music, and a drink next to the lake when I got my second aggressively friendly interaction. Dinnertime was fast approaching and the kids who had been doing bombs at the bridge were now dispersing. A group of five or so came biking along the road. They stopped for a bit and I could hear some chatter, then one comes biking quite fast up to me. A kid aged no more than twelve brakes hard just before getting to me - egged on by his mates up a the road chanting “Pop it, Pop it”.

The boy, seeing that I am an adult and not a small sized one at that - is immediately himself deflated. “Nice couch Bro!”, to which I thanked him for the compliment. “Sooooo, is this one of those ones that you can’t pop”, I responded “No, I’m pretty sure it could be popped if it was misused”.

Awkward pause,

“Soooooo, have you had a nice day?”, this question threw me off a little as it was quite unexpected. We exchange smalltalk, his mates all the while still egging him on from the roadside, unaware of the perfectly civil conversation we are having. The boy ends our interaction with “OK Bro, nice to meet you, have a nice evening”. Emboldened he heads off to rejoin his mates who a whooping and carrying on.

The boy having tested his metal and gained the respect of his peers, now quickly heads home for dinnertime lest he incur the wrath of his Mum - I smile to myself and enjoy the last of the evening sun.