About Boats, Boots, Beers & a Blowfish (but no Bicycle)

Exactly 60 years after my granddad’s brother got on the ship ‘Het Zuider Kruis‘, (the Southern Cross) and set sail for New Zealand, I got here on my bicycle.

Sadly he isn’t around any more. But his wife Mary and two daughters are still living in Christchurch.

An odd place to arrive. Of course I’ve heard about the earthquakes. But to cycle around town, and to see the destruction, is shocking. Buildings in crumbles and so many houses damaged beyond repair, boarded up and ready to be knocked down. It’s sad. About 6,000 people have left the city. And there have been 10,000 aftershocks since the September quake.

Five of them shook me. And as I ran into the living room in half a panic Aunt Mary didn’t bat an eyelid. She’s used to them by now. “look, the light is not even shaking! With magnitute 5 or over the light will shake. But if you’re worried just stand in the doorway or under the table in the kitchen“. But it does seem a little odd for me to sit under the table while she’s still in the comfy chair watching telly.

But it’s not right. The ground under your feet is not supposed to move.

I’ll be away on my bicycle soon.

My arrival here was interesting. I dislike airports and flying. But hardly anything can go wrong if the Stewardess on your flight is “Miss World Body Builder”. You would not want to get in an argument with her  🙂

They took my shoes away for disinfection at immigration. I got them back soaking wet. I did expect my shoes to get wet in New Zealand. Just not that quickly.

My last couple of weeks in Australia have been busy,

I sailed in a race and, not surprisingly, lost. I have no idea about sailing. And I don’t like water. Still had a great day thanks to Gary Mason.

Took a trip to Penquin Island with Stuart and his sister Erin. Erin works for the department of Environment and Conservation so we got the chance to stay overnight. It’s normally only open for public during the day.

It is WA’s largest penguin colony.

Apart from Penguins there’s a whole lot of other birds out there. Like pelican,

Bridled Tern,

and seagulls.

But our main reason for heading down there was to catch fish.

Not these,

But these.

And so we did. I cought 4 while Stuart and Erin got about 400. Well, not quite, but a whole lot more than me anyway (I blame it on the rod).

Then I crossed three states in one day to make it to the Tamworth Country Music festival

Where I celebrated Australia day in (some sort of) style. On the 26th of January Australians commemorate the arrival of the first fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 by dressing up in the National flag.

last year I rode the motorbike here. This year Lance gave me a ride down from Brisbane.

Apart from wandering the streets checking out performers I must admid I did very little during the 10-day festival. I drank beer. One of my favorite pasttimes.

It’s only in a place like this I see people I got -wel, had before it fell of my tractor- on my Ipod.

I ran into Chad Morgan aka The Sheik of Scrubby Creek in the supermarket.  He is, as his new films title tells us, Not Death Yet…

And had a yarn and a dance with The Bushwackers,

Who, hurray, won a golden guitar this year. (the prize in Australian Country Music)

Beccy Cole won a bunch of those too.

But time has come to leave the boots and beers behind. Get some serious milage done and try to repair my liver.

Many roads are waiting for the touch of my wheels.

The weather is, after a few drizzly days, great.

Just a long white cloud. (lame, sorry)

8 thoughts on “About Boats, Boots, Beers & a Blowfish (but no Bicycle)

  1. Mirjam, my english is very poor, sorry for that. But try learm more. I like English. Your history it´s very interesting. I like. My dreams is traveling NZ and Australia. Big hug!
    Guillermo.

  2. Hey Miriam!

    Afgelopen zomer had ik een familie in mijn winkel. Een opa en oma en een moeder met twee kindjes. De jonge vrouw bleek uit nederland te komen, maar nu te wonen in Christchurch. Ze had een boerderij daar en was ernstigngetroffen door de eerste aardbeving. Met haar laatste geld is ze met haar kinderen nog op bezoek gegaan bij haar ouders, want als ze terug is kan ze jaren haar ouders niet bezoeken. Ze waren alles kwijt en door een stomme fout bleken ze niet vezekerd te zijn.

    Ik heb een hele tijd met ze gepraat en haar ouders komen nog wel in mijn winkel soms. Een heel erg indrukwekkend verhaal! Ik denk er nog wel eens aan terug, zeker als ik weer iets over een aardbeving hoor, of over Christchurch…

    Dennis

  3. Ha zus,
    Net met Gijs Midas uitgelaten, nu weer lekker bij de kachel. Hier nog geen t-shirt weer… Mijn verlof is net ingegaan, dus het grote wachten kan beginnen.
    xx
    Esther

  4. Hardly lame, far from it. I always enjoy your postings and photographs. It’s nice to know something of your family history and motivations for going where you do. And nice, too to hear of the people you meet. I hope the cycling in NZ goes well. Ride safe. Norman.

  5. Hoi Mirjam,

    Aha, weer een bericht. Leuk! Had tante Mary en Teresa en Jane al een aardig poosje niet meer gezien.. :-).
    En nu dan maar weer eens op de fiets. Benieuwd naar de foto’s en verhalen die dat weer gaat opleveren.
    Veel plezier met fietsen, zolang het nog kan blijven wij hier nog schaatsen…

    Liefs,

    pap & mam.

  6. Hi Mirjam,
    I lived in Christchurch or over a year…while you were cycling through Asia… I think…. I am still in touch with people there and I just saw this coming up for this week: the cycle powered cinema – perfect for you!

    Maybe you wanna go? 😉
    Enjoy ChCh… it’s hard to imagine how it is now with all the quakes, I certainly loved my time in NZ!
    besos
    herdis

  7. Harae Mai Mirjam! Give the Kiwis something to talk about for the next 60 years til somebody else makes the pilgrimage from Appeldorm. Wish I was there to show you around but I guess you’re getting pretty good at finding your own way.

    Much love xxxxxxooooooo

  8. Hey Miriam,

    De blog dan tot geupdated geraakt! Good on you! Hoe was het festival in Hororata, the place to be? We hoorden dat je al in Géraldine bent. Wij schuilen in Twizel vooraleer we naar Mount cook gaan. Misschien kruisen onze wegen mekaar nog eens. ‘t zou een plezier zijn!

    Enjoy the ride!
    Celien en Jeroen

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