Okay, okay, everybody who arrives to New Zealand starts his story with Kia ora, but I wanted to use it at least once. The title of my first blog about New Zealand felt like a good one. And you have to admit: it sounds way more exotic then: yearn, groan, moan; finally New Zealand. Puff.
That is the feeling we have, after travelling for 32 hours: door to door. Flying might be fun, it’s isn’t too comfortable. Well: not if you’re squeezed in your seat for 21 hours. But he: what are we complaining about? Soon we will visit Theo Kroon, an 70 years old Dutch emigrant, who went to New Zealand in 1956. It took him a bit longer to reach this paradise than us. Kroon went by boat; the Zuiderkruis (Southern Cross) and needed a month and a half to reach his new home country.
Intoxicating with beer
Looking back those 21 hours weren’t so bad. When I was young I went by bus to Spain to party at the Costa Brave. Those trips took up 20 hours or more. Although in those days we tried not to be aware of it by intoxicating us as much as we could with beer. Putting the beer in the freezer before the trip, so we had cold beer on the road. Well, that is; if you put them in the freezer department of your refrigerator and not in the freezer, like I did on the last trip. Because I ended up with pure ice. By the time the beer was defrosted enough to drink we were already in the Pyrenees.
For a few hours more (okay more than a few) – we are now on the other side of the world. Further away than New Zealand isn’t possible for a Duchies. It’s a strange thought; especially when I think back on the journey of Theo Kroon. 32 hours travelling, 21 hours flying and I’m on the other side of the world. I think I have to look up what the speed record is to go around the world, going on public transport.
Holiday town Orewa
Discovering this side of the earth will come later. What we need first is sleep, what we will need second is a cold beer. We’re on a new mission and a new mission deserves a toast. By tradition we do this with a cold beer on a terrace. This time the terrace is situated just outside of Auckland, in a little village called Orewa, which looks like a little holiday village with its big houses, chalets by the beach, souvenir shops on the esplanade and numerous hotels and motels.
Directly at our first visit to this little town we find the evidence of Dutch people being all around in New Zealand. In between the souvenir shops stands Windmill Cheese, which specializes in Dutch cheese, peperkoek (kind of gingerbread), speculaas (special cookie), drop (licorice) and other Dutch treats. At least that’s what we see when we stare through the window. The shop is closed. Good, because we long to bed. Discovering Auckland is tomorrow job. Or the day after, or the day after that. We have more than half a year. Time enough to see the whole of New Zealand.
I wrote this story in 2008; now I'm finally taking the time to translate it into English.