Sunday, May 20, 2012

Taranaki, Two

Sunday was another stellar day in Hawera, in the Taranaki region of the North Island of New Zealand.  We had both sun and clouds with a bracing wind.

While Andrew headed off for a tennis match with a mate (how'm I doing on the Kiwi lingo?), Janey and I took off for a nearby museum.  The Tawhiti Museum is the creation of one man, an artist dedicated to learning/teaching about the history of both Europeans and Maori in this region.  He's created both life-sized and miniature figures depicting life as it used to be.  His work is truly amazing and worth a visit.  How wonderful, too, to see someone making a business of his passion.  I couldn't help but wonder if he was married, though.  Presumably the museum started as a hobby at home and I can just picture the woman in his life yelling "It's about damn time you get those bloody little people and the rest of the crap out of here!"

In addition to the historical displays he's created there is a huge display of tractors and other farming tools.  Lawn mowers, hand tools, etc.  You could easily spend hours in that section alone.  We spent about 2.5 minutes, not having much interest in antique farming implements.

The very thoughtful and generous Janey took me home where we warmed up and enjoyed tea accompanied by three kinds of cheese, two kinds of crackers, almonds and dried fruit.  Have I told you that I've begun begging Andrew and Janey to adopt me?  The cheese and the conversation were the perfect way to spend a brisk Sunday afternoon.

We hit the grocery store then visited friends of hers.  They'd been to Samoa recently on vacation.  They chose Samoa in large part because her father is from Samoa, although he moved to NZ over 50 years ago.  It was nice to be welcomed into another home and I really enjoyed hearing their perspectives about Samoa.  I hope they'll be able to return before I leave Samoa.  I'd love to play tour guide.

Another delicious evening of seafood, including more of the delicious and unique Bluff oysters, chilled marinated Green Lip Mussels, sauteed monk fish (which is the price here that it was 20 years ago in the USA) and a salad.  I've been very, very spoiled.

We finished the evening by looking at some of A. and J.'s travel photos.  They've been to so many places around the world and Andrew's photos are excellent.  Much better than mine, which is why all the photos shown here were taken by Andrew as they showed me around the region.

Monday I'm off to New Plymouth, where I'll spend the night to be ready for an early morning bus departure for Taupo on Tuesday. 

I hope you enjoy Andrew's photos...

Janey and Andrew, the most amazing and generous hosts.  We were half way up Mt. Taranaki.  Notice that Andrew is wearing a t-shirt and sweatshirt.

Janey never takes a bad photo.  Notice that I appear to be freezing despite wearing Cuddle Dudz (long underwear, top and bottom), fleece top, fleece jacket and Andrew's heavy jacket.  I'm a Florida/Samoa wimp.

From the mountains we headed to the sea, near New Plymouth.  If you are ever in New Zealand, you must go to Taranaki.

Pedestrian bridge with the mountain in the distance.  The bridge is stunning and designed to look like whale bones.

It was warmer at sea level.  Shortly after this I even took off my fleece jacket because the sun was so warm. 

Fishermen enjoying a beautiful day.

There were plenty of surfers enjoying the waves for which Taranaki is famous.

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