"Your still on ya London honeymoon, you've been back five minutes and have written Aotearoa off in less than 2000 words. Bro, harsh. Where is the aroha??"
Well Mr.Aotearoanz, whoever you are, I don't think I've written off the Land of the Long White Cloud just yet. It's been roughly a week and a half since I landed back on these fair shores and it's taken that long to slip back into the pace of Auckland.
There are parts that seem to stand still in New Zealand, I suppose that's a part of the charm. It's just when you come home, only for a visit and only for a short trip it's taken half my stay to actually notice the things I miss about home.
I've been staying at a friends place that is in a really nice quiet part of town that is totally bush clad. This morning I woke to a few young Kauri trees, a couple of twittering fantails and the most crystal blue, pristine sky with a fat orange orb peeking between the trees. All from my window.
An hour later my friend and I were driving across the bridge, the harbour glinting, and all the buildings in the city looking postcard perfect. It looked really nice. I suddenly realised what I have been missing.
The sense of space. I can look as far as my eye can see in any direction. I actually have bearings here. All I can say is that it feels kinda comforting. I know where I am.
There is space between houses, personal space on public transport, space to wander around the city, space to think, space to shop and even space to park your car. All this is in the city too. Well maybe not on the housing front.
This weekend I'm heading out to the west coast of Auckland to a really nice spot called Karekare. I'm really looking forward to it big time. I wish I had more time to actually get round the country a bit more and have a bit of a road trip. That's the real N.Z. in my eyes.
I'm not going to go great detail on the other part of my stay which has been a constant highlight so far. It's no real hard guess to say that I have been eating a huge amount of the finest seafood and drinking a staggering amount of fantastic New Zealand wine. I have not spent a penny on gifts, clothes, music ( I will however grab the latest Fat Freddy's Drop album, and maybe the Mint Chicks. It is NZ music month after all. Click here for a review of new FFD album.)
I've had the most melt in your mouth sashimi, marinated mussels, huge scallops, crayfish, tiger prawns, and mountains of tarakihi, snapper, blue cod and orange roughy. I've almost been tempted to eat meat, a divine piece of organic aged beef to be exact, topped with tiger prawns and a bearnaise sauce. How do you say it? Surf 'n' Turf? Possibly two of the best matches in food that I can possibly imagine. I'm drooling, just thinking about it. If I have enough cash, i'll bring back a cache of fine NZ wine to drink with friends. (You know who ya all are guys and gals)
Just to rub it in a bit more, here's what I'm having for lunch...
Crispy Skin Fillet of Snapper with Citrus Baby Onion Confit and Pumpkin Reduction, washed down with a 2004 Kumeu River Pinot Gris. (Oh and yes, I'm gonna be broke when I come home, and probably be as big as a house.)
I think by the time I leave NZ to go back to London, I'll be having second thoughts, wondering why I'm off again to the other side of the planet to the concrete sprawl that is London. No doubt I'll feel strange for probably the same amount of time, as I have in New Zealand, but it will pass, that I'm sure of. Considering summer will be showing it's shy face in the next month. (I Hope).
P.S. I've managed to snare a nice camera for the weekend, so I'll have a wad of nice shots to post in the near future.