Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Bus Came By And I Got On, That's When It All Began

(This is Kimberly's post. She is making her rare contribution of which there will hopefully be more. It's not easy coming up with these things every week.)

Friday was my first real outing experience as a volunteer chaperone with CANTEEN. We were to go swimming with the dolphins in the Marlborough Sounds.

The van was leaving at 8 am. Kiwis are VERY punctual. I decided to walk to town to save the trouble of parking. Nelson has metered parking with 2 hour limits. The walk took a few minutes longer than I reckoned and I just managed to jump on the bus as they were pulling out of the carpark.

In the van were 4 kids and 3 adults. More members were to show up at the docks in Picton.

It is a 2 hour drive past 25 wineries, where the award winning vines are starting to bloom. We had no time to stop for samples. Kiwis are punctual.

In Picton, we got on the huge catamaran and everyone was getting fitted for their wetsuits. I declined as my intention for the day was to sit back and observe, take photos and witness adolescent behavior, an age with which I have no familiarity.

Waters were calm and skies were clear. For the next 90 minutes, boys and girls separated from themselves. On the deck the young men peeled their wetsuits to the waist and flexed their young muscles. Eventually this drew the girls outside of the cabin.

Let the games begin.

This was my chance to blend in with the group. I used the camera as a tool to ask some questions and get the kids together. Every time I tried to take a picture of the boys, they would not stop flexing.

What’s up with that?

Every time I tried to photograph the girls, they turned their faces away.

What’s up with that?

Remarkably, after 2 hours on the beautiful still waters, we had seen none of the 4 different kinds of dolphins that thrive in the Sounds. The captain and mate had no explanation. So we stopped at lovely point to share biscuits and tea.

Then back we headed for 2 hours to the dock, where the director and I ran off to a takeaway for pizza, fish and chips, soda… healthy kid food. As we ate, we played Good Day – Bad Day to announce how we felt about the experience. Most claimed it was bad that there were no dolphins.
I said it was bad because the food was stuff I never eat… it was too greasy for my diet. But I must admit, the chips were sinfully delightful.

The ride home was uneventful except for when we passed a large bus pulled over to the side of the rode. Outside were 15 men in kilts all pissing over the mountain cliff.

What’s up with that?

It all happened so fast, I had no time to take a picture. Sorry.

Back in Nelson, I had a lovely walk home in the sunset.

What I took away was that on top of being adolescents, these guys have to live with cancer, chemotherapy, and surgery. All the same, they seem just like any kid on the street. They’re beautiful, look healthy and do not want to be treated any differently. If they have scars, they are keeping them inside. I can’t know if I could show the same brave face.


At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike has nice tight buns......he looks cute in his kilt..........


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