Friday about dinner time (or tea as they call it here – just another reason that I totally love NZ) my bus pulled into a depot at Palmerston North. Yes, there is another Palmerston on the south island.
Waiting for me there was a friend I had not seen in over a decade. Happy tears and warm hugs, both her and I almost not believing we were seeing each other again. Much has happened since we saw each other so there was much to catch up about.
At her home I was introduced to her husband and son, and reintroduced to her daughter. Last time I saw her daughter she was 2 or 3!
Saturday we went to a rugby museum. I went head to head against a 10 year old on couple of simulators; kicking a ball through a pair of uprights, tackling 2 dummies and pushing against a scrum simulator.
I was humiliated by a ten-year-old. He totally kicked my scrawny Canadian ass.
Saturday evening I was invited to an evening of stock car races, motorcycle sidecar races and a demolition derby, dropping a car from a crane at a great height, the impact ‘helped along’ with some well-timed fireworks.
It was a blast.
On Sunday I was invited to go a motocross event where her husband was competing. Well, not actually competing. It’s not a sanctioned race, it’s motocross enthusiasts that get together every two weeks or so and put together a day of track time. Very cool to finally getting my thirst for moto-cross finally quenched.
The noise, that “Brring ING Ta-TING-ta-tingtingting-brring-ta-TING-ta-tingting”of the two stroke engines. The dirt and mud that gets everywhere. The smell of exhaust, of fuel, of brake dust that permeates every layer of clothing.
It was a blast. I loved it.
And I love these people. Good, honest hardworking people that welcomed me into their home, their routine and private lives. I cannot thank them enough for their time and hospitality.
We parted as better friends with promises to get together again.
Now, I’m back in Auckland, tremendously enriched and humbled by their friendship. These friends I will keep for life, even if we only see each other once per decade.