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Orewa Beach

A big family dinner in New Zealand

When we return to our hostel, tired but happy after our surf class Frank Gold is waiting impatiently. The German had been living half a year in New Zealand, where he did his practical as an engineer. Now his work is finished he moved out the apartment he was renting and moved into a hostel. The same hostel we are staying at. This evening he has prepared a big dish for us, inspired by Mark, who cooked mashed potato with pasta for us the other day. A recipe he learned from his former, Bulgarian wife.

For the second night in a row we sit down and have our food served with the sand and salt of surfing still in our hairs. And we are not the only one, because he has invited his former English and Kiwi flat mate and son, the Japanese cleaning lady and of course Kiwi Mark.

Germans can’t cook

Frank demolishes the prejudice that Germans can’t cook. He serves us a big loaf of bread out of the oven, with melted cheese and herbs inside, chicken curry and salad. Okay the recipes aren’t his own. He picked them up during his trip through New Zealand, prior to his practical, but they are very yummy. The counteract even more prejudices Paul, the English roommate of Mark, treats us on an amazing desert: fruit salad with melted, white chocolate shavings and caramelized brown sugar.

Dinner conversation switches easily from music to the big pleasures in life, the beauty of travelling, the problems in our home countries, the danger of watching too much television and the best spots in New Zealand to visit. Sometimes the conversation is very superficial then it goes back into depth and the next moment everybody is on the floor, with shaking bellies of laughter.

Cultures disappear

Being in multi cultured company I’m always amazed how easy those cultures disappear. When people get together as an individual, instead of being in a big crowd and take the time to get to know each other differences disappear. It’s so beautiful.

Late, really, really late en after way to much beer and wine, we say goodbye to all our new friends who made us promise to come by whenever we are close to them. Backpackers life isn’t so bad.

I wrote this story in 2008; now I'm finally taking the time to translate it into English.
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