Across Continents

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Taste of the Tasman – Part One

July 9th, 2011

Taste of the Tasman – Part One from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Scenes from along the coast around Punakaiki. On the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

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Punakaiki Lisa

July 8th, 2011

Lisa

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "Fitter cheney". Type of pasta

She liked languages. Spoke five. Dutch. Her native German. Italian. English. Fluent. And the Swiss dialect I can never quite remember the name of.

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This is Punakaiki

July 8th, 2011

This is Punakaiki from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

As Ken says, this is Punakaiki. Filmed in slow motion lest you miss it. Enchanting spot on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

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Rolling along

July 8th, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "dome onion". Bit more tricky this one. How the Kiwis describe their nation state

We were making good time our driver explained. Pale white faces around the bus suggested few were surprised by this. His joviality the only constant as we plunged down the steep, windy mountain roads. Safe hands. White knuckles.

We’d made good time to our first cafe stop a little earlier. Murchison. Might also have been the name of the small town on whose edge we sat. I’d missed the sign as we’d sped in. Short break. Enough time for tea, toilets and a few photographs. Felt a little guilty using their facilities as I’d no intention of buying anything. I’d my flask and sandwiches.

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Sound bites

July 7th, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "Willington". Capital of New Zealand

"Makes a McDonalds Big Mac taste like a biscuit" explained Steve, our driver. With enthusiasm undiminished by the comatose state of most of his passengers. Seven twenty three am. Sunrise. Good-humoured descriptions of cafe stops ahead. Home-cooked snacks on offer. That sort of thing. Commentary fresh. Chunky, snappy sound bites. Buoyant. As if he’d only made the journey the day before. Anxious to share the experience. Felt you were travelling together. Or at least I did. Most people by now asleep.

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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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