Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Away with the ladies

July 21st, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "wrist arrant". Somewhere to eat out

"You the drunken Irish bird who got arrested?" he’d asked of a young woman on the bus. She’d earlier explained she was from Ireland. Limerick. Started to describe roughly where that was. Abruptly interrupted. Said he knew. Dismissive.

He was from Paisley. North of Glasgow. Lowest social demographic in Scotland. Said so. Doubted if anyone on the bus would have disagreed. He’d been in Christchurch the previous day. Couple of earthquakes that afternoon. Coach he was on shaken violently.

We stopped briefly at Punakaiki. Asked if was going to visit the nearby Pancake Rocks and coastal blowhole. No, I replied, I’d already done that. Was he? No, he explained, he’d been there five times already. Whilst others went to the viewpoint close by, we both wandered into the village cafe. He wanted someone to talk to. It wasn’t going to be me.

He got off at the next stop. Westport. Small backpack. No one to meet him. For all his brashness, his loudness, I thought him terribly insecure. Lonely. Sad. Felt sorry for him.

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Jockeying along

July 21st, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "cuds". Young people

Still bouncing about. Steve. Greymouth bus station. Would he be our driver to Nelson? No, he explained. Heading south to the Fox Glacier. I was disappointed. Told him so. Would miss his commentary I said. With a grin. He’d worked on radio. Talk radio, I asked. But too slow. He’d bounded off. Passengers to shepherd. Bags to load.

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Poetry in motion

July 7th, 2011

Nikki(1)

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "Brists". Chickens have a couple of these

Was it poetry I was writing, she’d asked? Seen me scribbling in a small pocket book. The sort, she explained, writers used for composition. Not exactly, I’d replied. Had once tried Haiku. But that was quite a while ago. Decades.

Nikki was from San Francisco. Fellow bus passenger. Spreading her wings after a spell in an urban winery. Everything but the vineyards she explained. Heading south towards the Franz Josef glacier.

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Cafe stop

July 6th, 2011

Cafe stop from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Early morning stop as Ken explores New Zealand’s South Island by bus

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Onward

July 6th, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "fear". What you pay when you get on a bus

6.45 am. Remarkably jovial. Baseball cap. Bomber jacket. Navy blue. Chill morning. Shorts. Rummaging around for his shades. Our driver. Early bus to Punakaiki. Still dark. Now checking off names. Where was I staying? At the hostel. Which one, he asked? YHA I replied. She’d come and pick me up, he explained. Couple of miles outside the village. Apologetic he couldn’t drop me off at the door.

Nelbus

Friendly reminder to a young man at the front of the bus to keep his food stowed away. We’d be stopping for tea about nine fifteen. And there’d be pies. And then "Onward" announced our driver. His name Steve.

Fellow passengers, mostly young travellers. Backpackers. A few Japanese. Save for our man at the wheel, I’d have been the eldest. Portly chap in his fifties. Bounded about whenever we stopped. Shepherding his young flock from luggage trailer to the small bus. Too few of us for a full sized coach.

And a Canadian woman. Sure I’d seen her the previous evening in the hostel. On the face of it late forties, but the eyes said differently. She’d smiled at me when I’d arrived at the bus station. Early.

[Author’s note: Steve makes several very welcome appearances as the story unfolds. For which, following feedback to his employer InterCity buses, he’s been awarded a particularly well deserved Certificate of Merit!]

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Lunchtime story

July 3rd, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "a nelly sus". Logical scrutiny

It had to be up there with the one about mobile phones. Causing explosions in petrol stations. Invariably prohibited. But has anyone ever seen it happen? Ever. I doubt it. The bus driver had explained that eating onboard wasn’t allowed. Quite apart from the mess, there’d been an incident. He wasn’t sure exactly when. Someone had opened a bag of peanuts. Aroma spread by the air conditioning. Driver collapsing at the wheel. Nut allergy. Our man was certain of this. Picton bus station. Ten minutes to departure. Ate my lunch on the pavement.

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