365 days ago: Kaikoura or the day when I thought I was going crazy
New Zealand, South Island, Kaikoura.
- I fell in love with Kaikoura. The name itself is beautiful, say it aloud: Kaikoura.
- Chasing whales that unfortunately were not there that day. But enjoying instead a two hours boat tour in front of an amazing coast (never had seen snow from the sea before), with a dedicated and witty crew and watching an amazingly good produced video. We got to see albatross and their size and the way they took off was impressive.
- The most beautiful tattoo I have ever seen. Imagine: You go to see whales, you learn about sperm whales from a man who seems to be in love with those animals. He has a beautiful Maori tattoo on his forearm. When you look at it with more attention and put together those geometrical forms: It is a whale! I love Maori tattoos because they integrate the shape of the anatomy where they are on, they play with it. The drawing gains by being on the human body instead of on a piece of paper. But if the geometric forms add together making the shape of something recognisable, but not obvious, then it is a big plus. And if that something is close to the heart of the person who carries that tattoo, then, that is it.
- Flying over Kaikoura on a chopper with the refund money (you get 80%, I know: crazy! It is the tourist welcoming spirit we found everywhere) we got from Whale Watch because we did not get to see any whales. From all the amazing things we saw during those weeks, I keep this place in a special, warmer, corner of my memories.
- Remember how I told a couple of days ago about a special tiny restaurant whose photo was displayed in the ferry? This was it: Nin's Bin. An incredible-incredible roadside minirestaurant. At an amazing beach, they cook and serve fresh crayfish they catch themselves (and blue mussels and chips too) for three generations. I told the owner "You know that you work in paradise, don't you?" and he answered "Yes, but it took me to go away to realize it". I guess this is the way it works. We ate our delicious food standing, seeing the turquoise infinity in front of us while a seagull held still in the wind, watching back at us.
- Now: This is the moment when I thought my head would explode or I was imagining all this. Because we are talking here of all those experiences in a single morning. We walk five minutes from the parking lot and we get to a waterfall that could be the location for a Fa shower gel. Already amazing. But then: There are seal babies swimming there. Seal babies. In a waterfall. Five minutes away from the road. Just... I don't know.
- That night we slept in a DOC camp. I had wished to sit by the fire. We made a fire. But the sandflies (we were already crossing to the East Coast) were so annoying that we had to watch the fire from inside our camper. See, not everything is perfect in New Zealand. But pretty close to it. Like the whole idea of the Department of Conservation: one institution regulating environment conservation and tourism.
Rest of the travel published so far: here.