We decided to adopt the motto “If in doubt, ask at the i-site”. (“i-site” is the name for NZ tourist information bureaus.) Everywhere we went, they had super helpful staff, who were very knowledgable about the area and gave great practical advice on routes and sights we should see.
I’ve spent most of my life struggling to work things out independently for myself. The joy of asking someone who actually knows stuff for help has been a recent discovery. I still struggle to do it, but we accumulated such good advice from people on this trip, it reminded me to keep practising asking for help. I actually really don’t like doing it, but of course most of the time people love to be able to help. (Maybe I should think of it as giving someone the opportunity to be able to help me? Would that persuade me to do it more…?) It’s an uncomfortable, vulnerable feeling, needing help. But maybe this is one of the gifts of this trip to me? To exercise vulnerability, to become more accustomed to it? Or maybe to change the way I think about needing help?
On the road to Dunedin, we stopped for lunch, and Tash introduced me to New Zealand lolly cake. “Lollies” are what we’d call “sweets” in England. This cake is a sweet kind of refrigerator cake, made (I think) with crushed up malted milk biscuits, some sort of condensed milk and marshmallows. The taste of it was very sweet and reminded me a lot of the taste of dolly mixture. Yum!
A general reflection about traffic. It’s been a relief even being in a country where you drive on the left. Even though I’ve not had to do any of the driving, crossing roads is so much less stressful here a) because the roads are usually only single carriageway or at most dual carriageway, b) because there’s hardly any traffic out here in the South Island and c) because when walking across, I automatically look in the correct direction to see what traffic might be coming. In America I found it pretty stressful trying to work out where to look at major crossroads, where each road had about four lanes to it. Here, you’re generally more likely to come accroper from sheep roaming across the road!
Many of the beaches along this coastline (including the South Island’s very own Brighton Beach) have long stretches of distinctive white sand. Although the weather was not great, it was good to stop and admire the view periodically.