March 31, 2005

Abel Tasman episode one

To be honest i'm thinking about disabling the anonymous comment option. If it wasn't available I would know who it is (I'm assuming it's a man/boy) that assumes that four girls alone in the wild for five days(okay flushing toilets the whole way along the track, not that wild) would be at each others throats the whole time.

To be fair, Thursday night about 10:30 pm when we were doing the communal shop at City New World, I was thinking:

Holy shit, what am I getting myself into. I hardly know these girls...

From the different degrees of exposure I have had to all three they are clearly intelligent, strong, city girls. Linked by one girl who knows all of us well, as a group, we are still at that stage where everyone is trying to be polite to the point that nobody says what they are really thinking and the amount of consultation results in frustrating delays and just the slightest undertone of frustration or resentment. Me, in these circumstances I get annoyingly easy going and submissive. It's a cop out.

A few hours later and we are all crashed out on the floor of the Arahura (is that the ferry's name, it's the biggie?) in our sleeping bags getting little sniffs of sleep. Five o'clock in the morning we rock into the backpackers just up the road from the Picton terminal, a long narrow blue room, with blue furnishings, and I collapse on a top bunk starchy linen. A miserable four hours later and we wake to torrential rain and the prospect of a four hour bus ride to Marahau, the start of the track - and then a four hour hike to the first campsite, Anchorage.
We have Subway for breakfast, to conserve the milk powder. That was Easter Friday morning. I think that was the last time I ate meat until today. No wonder i'm sick, I need a big fat scotch fillet....

I digress.

I'm borrowing Sarah's pack. It's a kind of cerise colour and it's called the Rhino. Luxury item, ummm half a kilo of chocolate. And my beach feet. In an uncharacteristic moment of practicality I have left my snorkel at home. I'm regretting it...and as we march off in the rain single file, I kind of wish I was wearing a wet suit....

"The leader" is in the lead, and we aren't half an hour into the walk when there is a mini conflict between her and one of my more sluggish companions about whether we need to get some momentum going or whether we should be soaking in the view and checking out every lookout we pass. "Non-confrontational mode" me isn't particularly phased either way, i'm just happy the rain has settled into that sweet light rainforesty type of haze. The sky around us looks like someone has burst a bag of flour and it is humid and very peaceful as we walk through an exposed estuary.

"The leader's" pack is about twice the size of mine. I'm feeling slightly bad about that seeing as she is carrying our tent at the moment, but I feel better about it later that first day, after she has pointed out (twice) that she is stronger than the rest of us (okay it's true) and also after I have seen that she has also brought half of the bathroom cabinet into the bush. A couple of days in I have room in my pack to split it.

The bus was late and the dodgy weather convinces us to settle down a bit earlier than planned, but when we get to Stillwell campsite we can't find anywhere to actually camp other than the damp beach, although there is a sign stating there are three sites on which to camp. It is still almost two hours to Anchorage, and it is almost five o'clock in the afternoon and we no longer have daylight savings on our side. It is remarkable the change in the four of us as we make the decision to carry on, conversation ceases, the pace quickens, and for me, I'm feeling a delightful release from the detailed to the minute itinerary that had been organised by "Camp Mother". Not that it wasn't fantastic what she put together, I am still going to get her a bottle of wine or something, without her efforts I doubt I would have got off my ass and booked anything. But it was just a trickle of real adventure having our plans foiled by the weather and needing to make a quick decision to soldier bravely on. Hee hee. Which ofcourse we did, and arrived at Anchorage with the light fading into a dusky hue, our gear drenched, tents are hitched and a hearty meal of rice risotto cooked by torchlight. I think we must have been in bed by about 8pm.

March 23, 2005

A real adventure...

Good golly I'm excited. I haven't been this nervous excited since....I don't know when.

So, I am to take my cell phone (which i don't want to) but i'm not supposed to take flanelette pyjamas (which I want to) and it's silly for me to take my snorkel and beach feet but not silly to take a book! And some people have said, water purification tablets, and others have said boil, and everyone has an opinion. The cool thing is that at the end of it...I'll be the one in a position to dish out the advice. There does seem to be a consensus on the insect repellant. No watch, no booze, no music, no futon (at least I'm used to sleeping on a hard surface) No shower, flushing loos? Don't know. Mostly I'm worried about the food. I have low blood sugar and need food and lots of it. OH, and NO computer, and no blog. But I am taking some paper and a pen....Ha, I'm like Scribe. Is there anything else I've forgotten? I'm running out of time. Friday 1 am Ferry. Eek!

Happy Easter! I wouldn't be going to Church if I was in town, but I have a feeling that I'll feel closer to God where I'm going to be in any event.

March 22, 2005

High speed chase

Crazy. My boss just came rushing back into our office because she can't get her car out of the MidCity Carparking building because there are cops chasing somebody around in there.
It's like that vintage cop programme that Jacob and Frank watch dvds of....ummmm, Hutch and somebody. I think they did a remake quite recently with Owen Wilson in it. Oh, I can't remember.

March 21, 2005

And the dumbass award goes to....

Well, me. But I'm not sure if it's for walking to work in sneakers this morning and not taking any other shoes, or returning two cds to the library last wednesday, and realising this morning that i'd returned empty cases (cds still in stereo).
But I'm actually totally fine with everything. After a swim and a giant chocolate ice cream yesterday afternoon I came to the conclusion nobody is perfect, and at least I am semi conscious of areas of personal development that may need...well, developing. Maybe I should have a baby, that will settle me down.
I have also decided after walking along Lambton Quay on the way to finger gym (yes I am STILL going) that it may just be that it IS the rest of the world that is crazy. But apparently Jesus died for the love of me...for the love of me...or something along those lines. I thought I was going to get tackled by this ancient old preacher type. You gotta watch those.
I turned Morning report on this morning and started cracking up when they said Wellington airport was closed again because of fog, third time in four days. But it is probably causing some people serious distress in some instances, so I shouldn't laugh. And the weather is meant to be crappy all over the country Easter friday and saturday when i'll be doing the first 20 something kms of our tramp, so the bad weather might come round and bite me in the ass. Oh well, I'll be at one with nature, who cares if that translates to freezing and wet. Maybe I'll just cast some druid spells....
I didn't really have anything significant to add, just didn't want the latest post to be the latest post.

March 20, 2005

Right, I haven't written in a while, probably just as well. And I'm tempted to stop typing and go find the ocean before I say something inappropriate again. Propriety, bah!
But that attitude is precisely the problem. I'm getting glimpses of how Ed Norton's character must have felt at the end of Fight Club. The whole movie it seems like it's everybody else who's completely fucked up and dysfunctional, but the twist (and it is a cracker of a twist) is that it was him that was crazy. It's not that I think I have a mental illness, I wouldn't be so flippant. I'm just concerned my perception of the world, my values, may be causing me to act and speak in ways that could, well are, hurting people around me. I guess what I'm really frightened of is that the person I've become over the last year or so has been a violent swing of the pendulum, just a little (or a lot) too far in the opposite direction from when I was in Tauranga. With no responsibility, no commitments, nobody else to consider but myself, am I becoming superficial, callous, selfish? Shouldn't I have earned some wisdom by now?
My one issue (and it's a biggie admittedly) is that I'm really very happy (yeah sounds it right now) - I'm a thousand times happier than I was when I had aforementioned commitments and responsibilities in abundance and was right at the front-line dealing with the whanau and the guy I'd been with since High School. So why the hell would I want to reclaim it? Well I may be imagining it, but I'm feeling suffocated by expectations to get it together at the moment. And I wonder if I should suppress elements in me that may potentially be causing this, grow up a bit (or a lot), think first a bit more, say a little less. I just wonder at what expense?

March 16, 2005

Can't we just be friends?

Okay, it's late, and I'm keeping Josie up. So don't expect eloquence. Had a bit of an epiphany, just want to get it down.
I know I am the last person to comment based on recent history, but why can't a guy and a girl just be friends? Are platonic relationships between men and women a facade? And if you are single, are you just expected to snap at any, i mean any, potential for romance. I only say this because I have been caught out being naive before, and mistaken what I thought was this amazing (platonic) connection that actually eventuated into, well disaster.
Oh melodrama, borne by need for sleep.
I'd just like to think I could remain my wonderful, independent, single self and attract cultivate, and then maintain friendships with guys.
I should be having this conversation with my friends instead of walking around with this air of mystique and talking to my fucking computer! I really don't like to disappoint, but I just can't deliver right now. When I fall in love, I don't want it to brew and boil over a frustratingly suspense ridden period. I just want it to hit me on the head. And you can't stay in one spot waiting for that to happen.
Maybe, tomorrow, I will ask all the people I know who are in solid relationships how their love life is....

March 14, 2005

Blueberries are antioxidants

I had some organic ones that Sarah and Mark picked themselves on my cereal this morning. I feel like I need them. God I'm tired of cancer, it's prevalence, trying to be philosophical about it. The blueberries are nice though. Yep. Nice.

Oh shit. I'm not even really down. It's not even my story. May be a bit tired. The whole flat, (maybe the whole of Wellie) were rudely awoken at just after four this morning by another quake. I hate that feeling, ripped from sleep, lying in bed thinking do I need to move, is it going to escalate, should I go to the doorway? Then it's over. 6.1. That's pretty big.

Oh crap, I can't be bothered.

I genuinely love those intimate moments you have with strangers, exchanging an understanding look or the briefest of pleasantries. A narrow flight of stairs, a small child's antics or an overly friendly dog (and suddenly two strangers are connected in this great big crazy universe, and you are some how more whole, uplifted, a better person, for a simple, fleeting experience.

The stairs: Old man edging his way slowly down, me bounding down behind him, him frantically climbing up the wall to get out of my way, me "don't worry, i'm in no hurry", him "well I am dear, so don't hold me up". Ridiculous giggling on my part.

Small child: Chain store of womens clothing, me not really interested, just doing the laps and trying to remember the last new item of clothing i bought (I can't, it bores me and has done for a long time now). Mother browsing, small girl amusing herself by swinging the hanging skirts that umbrella over her, I walk by, and whack!! Mother turns round just in time to see the little girl slap me on the ass. "Caitlyn!" or some equally popular name, I dunno. The mother feigns outrage, but I can tell by her eyes she's busting to laugh, and I'm kind of impressed by the kids bravado. Pretty sure I didn't pull that shit when I was little.

Friendly dog: Not much to tell, just a cute oldish lady walking her cute fluffy dog and the dog just about floors me when I'm running trying to get a pat. Apparently they never get that far on their walks as it turns into one big ordeal of affection. But I've got a bit more bounce in my step when I leave them.

March 13, 2005

More waffle

Disclaimer: This post is rated Un-PC and may contain explicit imagery. Sensitive souls should seek guidance.

It is another glorious day in the Capital and I have walked some way to be here. Now my toes are busily kneading the warm tiny pebbles that are the sorry substitute for sand here. That's not fair. At least it isn't imported. A seagull is staring at me discontentedly through one beady pale green eye. It is a relatively secluded wee spot and there are only a few brave spirits in the water, including a young guy and a girl wrestling each other, the girl's shrieking like a banshee. Further out two grey heads, apparently much more relaxed with each others presence, bob gently above the surface a metre or so apart.

I have decided that the closest bunch of people on the beach to me are a group of lesbians. They have that look about them. I'm not particularly sure what that look is exactly. Bleached cropped hair perhaps? One of them is topless. I wish she wasn't. Another has a raucous throaty voice and one of them is crouched in front of the others, gesturing in a masculine, emphatic kind of way. Okay, i'm grasping at straws. The whole world can't be petite and pixie like - otherwise, how boring. The crouching one has got up and moved down from the others seeking shade underneath the wooden toilet block raised up on stilts on the beach front. I'm glad I have just been as I know there are rather large gaps in the floor boards and you can see the beach below as you pee. Turns out my hunch was right, the naked one is clinched in a very very familiar embrace with the one in a yellow bikini.

The seagull hasn't moved. I hope it's not waiting to be fed. I have come armed only with notebook, pen, snorkel, towel, sunscreen, a memoir based in rural China under Mao, oh and a chocolate bar for when i emerge from the water, cause I'm usually a little light headed. I can hear the click click of bicycle chains and the gentle purr of cars rolling past behind me, mimicking the lapping sound of the waves. Two sea kayaks paddle sedately past, the eyes of the male companion riveted to the dykes still frolicking in the water. I don't really like that word. So i'm saying it. And I feel suddenly taken aback by how offended I am by their pda, and at my own conservatism, and well, intolerance. And the worst part is I probably wouldn't mind so much if they were hot. One of them is completely naked now. I think. I'm not going to double check.

I'm distracted by an uncharacteristic squeal from one of the grey heads out in the water. The elderly woman is egging on her husband who is freestyling away from her, "swim, swim!" she cries. The lesbians have left the water and a more nuclear family are going for a paddle, clasping themselves tightly and making the water seem somewhat uninviting. Mr Nuclear dips his tiny son in the water and jiggles him like a tea bag. I'm dying to go in but have for some inexplicable reason gone shy. Could it be my growing paranoia that the lesbians have become aware of me and my furiously dancing pen.

I can bare it no longer and self consciously shed my clothing and inch my way painfully across the rocks that form a natural rampart at the shoreline. It's cold. I float on my back and drink in the warmth of the early Autumn sun. There is a slight breeze and every fourth or fifth wave slaps me gently on the face. Shivering, I emerge and retrieve my snorkel and return to fascinate myself with what was previously swimming around my legs undetected. Almost luminescent pale fish, some as long as my hand, starfish that are grainy to touch, and seasnails that suck back into their shells if you uproot them. Plenty of rust and copper coloured seaweed. Although I can't see them, the translucent jelly fish that are sprinkled all over the beach must be lurking down here somewhere.

On the walk home there is a woman in front of me, probably in her fifties with bright cerise toenails and an emergency alert bracelet on her wrist. I am baffled by the plastic bag she is wearing like a glove until I see her gazing across the road and at a path high up on a bank. It is her husband and their dog. The dog is oblivious to the location of the plastic bag and the husband shoots a withering look at his wife while he waits. I have to look out to sea to hide my smile as I walk past her standing with her hands on her hips looking up at them.

March 09, 2005

Be sun smart

I saw a thing on 60 Minutes the other night about melanoma and there was a 24 year old with a new baby and it had got into her lymphatic system, and although the last lot of nodes were clear, I don't know, it just hit me. I'm like one big chocolate chip cookie, and Kelly is following our eccentric great grandfather (poet, polemicist, pretender to the throne of poland), in pagan-like worship of Apollo. I will get her mole mapped when she's back in the country.

In more upbeat news, my African violet is about to flower. This may not seem that significant except it hasn't flowered in a very long, very symbolic amount of time. I feel like it is trying to tell me something.

March 07, 2005


I know I have written about my bbq before. It is one of my favourite things. Unfortunately the Revelations style weather we have been experiencing of late sent me fleeing indoors last night with the onions on the ground and the flames snuffed out and then kept me tossing through out the night as the wind hammered our house. Tonight it was still and peaceful and one beer later I had almost attained a nirvana-like state when I got sucked back into this existence by the gentle strumming of an instrument. And I spied. I stood on our deck in the dwindling evening sunshine and watched the next door neighbour, who is quite cute incidentally, practise his guitar, upright he was completely absorbed in his music sheet. And as bizarre as it sounds, I suddenly wished someone was watching me like that, while I was completely oblivious to it. I suppose they may have been...

March 06, 2005

This is just mine

I'm all in black, except for my sneakers, which still have that crisp white quality about them. I pause for a pedestrian crossing and then dart out on to the road once I've caught the driver's eye, and I feel the first few droplets that the sky has been trying to squeeze out most of the afternoon. I think about my washing back on the line.

I don't see anyone until I stop at the entrance to the Gardens to stretch. Auspicious portent! I much prefer when the weather is dicey or it's the break of day or twilightish and there is hardly anyone around. It's just nice to escape pungent humanity and listen to your breathing and the birds for half an hour if you need to. It always surprises me how empty the Gardens are, as if people haven't cottoned on to it or just don't find it as magical as I do to run around and try and get a bit lost. I'm now under a dense canopy of bush and the air is suddenly electric with the pulsing of cicadas. I breathe deeply the smell of sultry, moist earth.

I've only been in for five minutes and I stumble across a wedding party. Brilliant! I try and skirt up the inside of the bare foot bride and her groom dutifully carrying her shoes but still end up dodging camcorders and cameras further up. I smile awkardly at the guests as I zig zag to avoid blocking their view and nearly crash into a small sculpture of a boy who at first glance I think is peeing, but he's actually just pouring a waterjug. Clever. I am resentful of these revellers and their attempt to take this moment away from me. Hey you - people in love, do you have to be so ostentatious about it?

I pass a besotted dad with his toddler splashing each other from opposites sides of the fountain. I only see the father's face as I run by, but I imagine the same childlike delight would be reflected in his son's face. For some reason I am affected by all this concentrated emotion and happiness and I feel my own wistfulness propel me forward and away and up hill.

I pass between mighty sentinel-like pines and come out at a crest with Wellington City below to my left and the Harbour glittering metallically beyond. But I can't make myself pause and inhale the view today, instead I patter down the steps towards the rose gardens and another freakin wedding. I take some solace in the fact that there aren't nearly as many roses out as when I was here less than a week ago. I don't stop and smell them. But I do, as always, slow reverently to a walk so as not to disturb the worshippers who move quietly amongst the plants with a camera, or sit sketching.

Entering the Serpent's trail the light is filtered out as the bush becomes more dense and I get a faint whiff of weed wafting up from the Dell below and smile. This is being at one with nature. But I have to concentrate on the steady incline and my breathing gets deeper and I glare around each corner daring anyone to interrupt my solitude. Then I am pulled up suddenly when I spot a full-rounded ebony breast with a white tufty beard in a lichen-encrusted tree. I listen to the Tui trill seductively for a moment, my temples throbbing now with exertion and the fabric of my pants is clinging to the back of my knees and calves. Then I'm off again. Further up I see a mother pointing out another Tui to her two small boys and feeling suddenly generous I tell her there is another one further up on her left.

When the gravel trail I'm on spills out on to one of the main crossroads I choose the same way I have countless number of times before. Sometimes I deliberately set out to find small unexplored tracks but today I have a purpose, blowing out cobwebs, and so;

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one more traveled by.

Anyway it's spitting with more determination now and I brush my damp hair back from my forehead. From some not too distant place I hear the exultant cries of a cricket team and I can tell it's not merely a brave effort to sway the Umpire but that someone must be walking by now. I'm drawing closer to civilisation and there are more people here. I am offended by those running with headphones on and knit my eyebrows at the Sunday-strollers rabbiting away on their cell phones. Can't you people be quiet and alone for half an hour? I try and still my mind to this, and the thoughts of the file I can't find at work, but I am almost to the Cable Car, and then I'm out on the road again, and I feel robbed. I push a little harder and each passing power pylon symbolises something I'm striking out at - but I know I'm being dramatic and haven't sincerely got anything to be angry about and soon run out of steam and slow to a walk. But I'm back in time to save my washing.

March 04, 2005


I am getting one. I just have to wait for "them" to rate it. I don't know if it will work here but it will work on Supergood and I am excited.

Luke, just for you, we have set it up so you and other anonymouses can comment. I live to please.

I went to work drinks this afternoon. Actually I kind of organised them, and then sat there and had a disturbing sense of being in an episode of the Office. I have managed in my "i've had a few and am suddenly incredibly assertive and witty state" to offend the Registrar at work. This evening she raised an incident we had at the Christmas party back in December which I had completely forgotten about whereby I teased her for having been spotted in the weekend wearing a headband. But I felt I could make that call without malice as I am a self-proclaimed product of the 80s and have gotten a fair bit of stick about it in my time. And I was just making friends. Anyway, she is basically the second most senior person in the organisation, well, it's administrative arm at least, and I am fairly new and unimportant and fast doing the other thing I apparently do whereby I shock people who don't know me with how at odds my true nature is with people's first impression of me. My boss thinks I'm the sweetest most innocent little thing around and sat there and took great delight in telling my colleagues how I have a tattoo at the top of her voice and then made a big drama about the thing with me and the Registrar and I sat there and squirmed a bit with the building tension. I hope she doesn't hate me. (The Registrar that is) I am thinking about getting her a copy of Flashdance as a conciliatory gesture. It was my themesong in first year.

I am home now and probably not going too far for the rest of the weekend as I have left my bag at work with my ID, eftpos card, and cellphone. I can just hear the voice that should really accompany this statement. It should be whiny, high pitched and preface every sentence with "Ohmygod". Judge me if you want. But it is security. A girl's gotta eat.

Now I'm bored. Everyone has gone to bed. I knew my inner serenity wouldn't last.

March 03, 2005


I went and saw a play tonight with Josie and Sarah. It was Sarah's idea. I think it was a fringe one called Stomping Grounds playing at the Bats. It was about the experiences of young refugees living in New Zealand, and cultures colliding and well, racism I guess. There were some very simple, powerful scenes. Some of it I found a bit disturbing. Some of it was that cliched kind of characters freeze, dim the lights, and then play some voiceover. But I think there may have been some anecdotal stories of real people. I should really find out more about it. my favourite part was when this little currant-coloured sprite of a girl with beautiful frizzy hair who had been sitting in the audience came back into the tiny theatre and saw a photo on an OHP at the back of the stage that was part of the production, froze and called out,
"Hey, that's my mum".
I like how real people are. Or can be.
I also liked how at the beginning we were all lined up waiting to go into the theatre and the actors were milling about pretending to be reporters in wartorn countries and creating a bit of tension.
And there were some cute actors.
In other breaking news I have tickets booked to walk the Abel Tasman. I am excited and nervous because I am going with a new group of girls and I think the dynamics are a bit unpredictable. Anyway, I am slowly going to work my way up to the Himilayas. Well, something like that.
I haven't written because I haven't felt like writing. I don't know why. I have been at an uncharacteristic moment where the scales are relatively balanced, but I'm quite tired and hormonally influenced today, (I keep seeing little babies and feel like I'm losing my stomach) so maybe the calm won't last. I think I rather prefer the highs and lows to be honest.