I miss Wednesday.
As it was, Thursday was pretty perfect. i got my hiking boots form my rucksack cleaned at customs (whoops) in case i tramped destructive substances into the wildlife, then marched confidently enough for someone who had just had a 29 hour journey through to Jess. Lucky she was there really, my hugely beaming face would soon have lost its smile if there were no-one to meet it.
Auckland is - FULL of cicadas. It's the first thing you notice, the deafening clash of their wings as you drive past the very green bushes and trees. Gerald Durrell would have had a field day (pun intended). I was, of course, completely rapturous to be out of the plane ("oh JESS! It's beautiful!" "er, yeah, that's the swamp.") I'm not sure what I was expecting - people had told me that NZ was like stepping back in time, so i think i imagined i'd be walking out onto the set of Lark Rise, but that's certainly not it. I think perhaps what people are trying to sum up by saying that is that there are long stretches of road that are wide open and the landscape is untouched. Not in the English countryside way, where the fields' structure is testament to the hundreds of years' history (mess ups) we have, but in a kind of beginning to be tamed way. There's construction everywhere, but not the "'ello darlin'" cup-of-tea-swigging UK type, here you have builders sitting on wooden roof frames with hammers belting out Celine Dion tracks in the sunshine. It's certainly not 'unmodern' either though - we passed a Buddhist monestary complex not far from the c*** and Bull pub and cinema. It's as though the town (based on a half an hour car drive obviously) is a quilt of different cultures - as thought they've just found this new blank canvas to make their marks upon. It feels refreshing.
And Jess' place is Mecca. Not only does it have a wonderful shower (bliss!), but there is a huge open window onto a wooden terrace looking over green tropical woodland. The rest of the day passed in a blur of basking in the sun, strolling the five-minute walk to the beach, which was empty, and eating fresh fish and jerk chicken from the bbq. And of course, gossiping it up with Jess...
For the Grandparents:
The Weather Report
Humidity - 80%
Cool Breeze and sun (23 C)
Some clouds. Downpour predicted (of course it is, I'VE arrived).