Bonnie, sounds like the luncheon was great fun. Glad so many turned out, and sorry I had to miss it.
Being the all-American man that he is, Jim likes his milkshakes THICK. But milkshakes aren't on many menus here, so when he finally saw it listed he ordered one. Oops, here they are mostly milk with a little ice cream – somewhat foamy and very thin. So the next time he sees one listed he tells the gal he wants a THICK milkshake – so thick it hardly comes through the straw. “Not a problem”, says she. Well, it was thicker, but still sloshed about. The third time Jim told his story about milkshakes and was promised a really THICK shake. He didn't believe, so I offered to order one for me and he could check it. Alas, a bit thicker, but no blue ribbon. Finally, we found an ice cream shop and the gal offered to let Jim make his own – but she was out of milk. Solution? The golden arches make the same shakes here as they do in the states.
Carol, a friend from the last time we were here has called and suggested we meet for dinner. She and her husband have been here almost 4 years while he had been overseeing the building of a hydroelectric tunnel from Lake Manapouri to Doubtful Sound (Look it up. *g). The project is now finished and they are doing a bit of touring before heading home to San Ramon, CA early in December. We selected a restaurant called The Mussel Boys about ˝ way between Nelson and Picton (where they are at the moment). We arrive after an hour of the most twisty, bending, curling mountain road you've ever experienced. The manager, Matt, greeted us warmly as we arrived. (See, Matt, I did mention you in my letter. *g) We had a festive and tasty (only Dave ordered the mussels) 2 hours with Carol and Dave and Dave mother, Swanee, Jim and Ethelmae (their 36th anniversary) and Matt and I. With hugs and promises to get together once they were home at headed home – Matt making sure no one slept – said if he had to stay awake, so did everyone else.
Oh, here’s an example of Kiwi using his time wisely. Ethelmae & I were in a taxi headed for town, when she said, “Oh, look at that.” By the side of the road was a fellow with his thumb up hitching a ride - while reading a book. LOL Traffic circles are called round-abouts. Tires is spelled tyres. French fries are called chips and baked potatoes are jacket potatoes. Sweaters are called jumpers. A bonnet and boot byres clothes, but the hood and trunk of a car. Restrooms are called toilets – ladies and gents. Dead-end roads have No Exit signs. (Saw the funniest post card a few days ago. Showed a road sign of a street called Cemetery with a No Exit sign directly below.) Coke has a monopoly here, big time. You can't order a Pepsi in any restaurant, cafe, take-away, or even in store coolers. It is only available in the supermarkets, at room temp. And it’s only us Americans that want ice with everything. *g
We've decided to leave for Picton a day early ‘cuz yours truly didn't realize how far it was between Nelson and Picton when I made the ferry reservations for 10am. Oh well! We head back out the twisty, bending, curly road we were on last time and found the second half to be as twisty, bending, curly as the first. We're we ever glad to arrive in Picton! When we checked into our motel and mentioned the trip, the manager asked why we didn't take the straight route instead of the scenic route. Every head turned my way (I'm the trip navigator). Uh oh. Well, it was the most obvious one shown on the map, so it should have been shortest, right? Right! Hey, I never said I was perfect.*vbg
This morning we head for the ferry and as we're trying to get through the gate we notice all the cars ahead of us having to go around an old jeep parked in the first row. We assume it’s broken down. Not so. In it are two guys sound asleep. What a howl. I wonder if they woke up in time to get aboard.
We're about half way across Cook Strait on our way to Wellington where we'll be staying in the Paraparaumu house for the next week. It’s hard to believe two and a half weeks have already flown by and Jim & Ethelmae will be heading home in just a few more days.
We just saw a school of dolphin swimming alongside the ferry. They are so graceful as they jump and arc above the sea, which is somewhat rough today. There’s been a bit of drizzle and the clouds are low, and dark, and heavy. But it’s supposed to clear up around noon. (I hope their forecasters are better than ours.)
We're looking forward to seeing Marianne and Ben, a couple we met on the last trip, and their 3 children who live in Wellington.
Hey, Matt just returned from the ferry casino and told me he was a winner! $23! Well, that’s better than losing.
Going to close now and enjoy the rest of this trip. I'll send this off once we settle in Paraparaumu this afternoon.
Hugs to all,