We're not in Kansas anymore
This entry should have been much, much better, but our laptop developed a severe case of frozen touchpad disease (FTD). Yesterday, we hooked up the modem and got online. After checking the many encouraging emails, we came to one from brother Barry, always a source of trouble, and the touchpad locked up. Of course, it was Friday night. All problems that require outside assistance always happen on Friday night. Nobody is around anywhere on earth to help anybody on a Friday evening; that is a rule of life.
I am writing this without the use of the touchpad, or mouse if you will. I know our dad, who is a registered Luddite, is having this technical information decoded by a 21st century human. Be that as it may, we hope the problem can be solved and corrected in a few days.
On landing, Kimberly got teary eyed, looked at me and said, "we're home", I was very confused and frightened that we made the mistake of our lives. We were to learn that this was due to jet lag as the plane ride including the wait at the LAX took almost 21 hours.
The house we rented here was damp and cold, the shower has no hot water pressure. There is no microwave oven. No Cable!!! We collapsed into the bed and tried to sleep, but it was morning and we were restless.
So we stayed up and drove into the town of Nelson.
We had to focus on staying on the left side of the road and it was raining. We were hungry and still confused. We parked our car and needed to put $2.NZ into the meter. We had only traveler's checks, and plenty of them. Also in Kimberly's purse was a Soprano sized wad of cash. It didn't take long to realize that "your money is no good here" is a common phrase. We needed kiwi dollars to avoid our first traffic violation in NZ.
Certainly, our ATM card would save us.
No. It doesn't work that way sir.
After a trip to a bank and a currency exchange desk, we had NZ100 and looked all around for some food and drink.
On our wanderings, we ended up at a used car lot and met Norm Lovelock who showed us a Suzuki Grand Vitaro. Can you imagine us attempting to negotiate a used car deal in this condition, or actually in any condition? We liked the car, 2001, low miles, roomy, only 20,000NZ, which is something like 12,000US. Anyone out there know what this thing is worth? We sure don't.
Luckily, hunger led us away from Norm, who we promised to visit later when we were awake.
Finally, we came to Lambretta's, and had a fine, tasty salad and pizza. Kimberly had her wine, and I had a local beer, as I have decided to start drinking at this point in my life. This new vice will be added to the others which I have nurtured over the years. The food was all organic and Scott, the kid behind the counter was very friendly and invited us to a sports bar Saturday for the finals of some Rugby tourney.
We came home and passed out at 8 pm, in some time zone or other. I dreamed that Nelson was better.
After a short 12 hour nap aided by Kimberly's Ambien stash, which is larger than that of Patrick Kennedy, we awoke and felt refreshed. We managed to take showers in the dribble in the bathroom, we made a fire in the fireplace and felt much more cozy.
The town is only about a mile from our house and we thought a walk would do us good. The sky was clear, we were surrounded by rolling hills coated in trees of brilliant fall colors. It looks like new England, without the drunken Kennedys.
The trees played the music of a thousand birds.
On the way, we passed a real estate office and dropped in to met Helen, who gave us a pile of listings and some facts about the area neighborhoods. We were pegged as future homeowners in Mapua, the best place for property and views of the water. We promised to be back later and buy a house from her.
We came to town on foot very quickly, chatting with everyone we bumped into along the way, from students who go to Nelson College, a magnificent school on a hill next to our house, to Lynda, a very old henna haired woman who was raking leaves as they were falling all around her like golden paper.
Thai food for lunch was delicious and priced reasonable considering you do not tip here.
We went to every bank and talked with very friendly people about opening up accounts. The town seemed completely different, like the way the Wizard of Oz goes from black and white to color. Absolutely enchanting. We walked and walked. More used car dealers, yoga studios, bars, restaurants, gardens, parks, the cathedral on top of the hill at the end of town, the views of the bay, the fall colors...blah, blah, blah.
Things we have not seen or heard:
People with ipods
water bottle carriers
loud music blasting from cars
sheep???? Where are they hiding?
Another superb meal at another great watering hole (NZ is no longer only mutton and potatoes). We even met the chef, who is a kid from San Diego.
When we got home last night, we stoked up the fire and hooked up the internet to the laptop. Life and Nelson were much, much better.
Then we read Barry's email.
So today, we went to the farmer's market and spent about a million dollars on wine, cheese, organic fruits and vegetables...and ...a plug in mouse to override the touchpad problem. Already we are back in business and life is good again.
But Barry may still be a pain in the ass.