The Ala-Moana Motel is nice place. Family owned since 1982. Basic, but clean and well run. The name is Polynesian for ‘Gateway to the Ocean’. It could mean ‘dog’s backside’, I’d never know. It’s for sale, in case you’re interested. My room, #8, is at street level overlooking a small part of the bay. Mind you, I have to look over a road to do it. Staying in the room next to me are Martin, mid-60s I suppose, and his wife. I didn’t actually get to meet her but Martin and I had a good chin-wag.
Once again, people love to tell their stories.
Martin’s a retired school teacher from Birmingham, England. He was working on a crossword puzzle. He and his wife have been travelling 7 weeks, first to Australia, then here to New Zealand. “Today is the first day that we have off. No excursions today. Good thing, too, wife and I can relax.” He jerked his thumb behind him.” She’s probably still sleeping.”
I asked him where he’s off to next. “Back home. We’ve been gone a long time. It’s time to go home. You?” I gave him a cursory outline of my itinerary. “Why, that’s quite the trip. Six months, you say?” I nod to confirm. “Good luck to you.” Will I need luck? Does he know something I don’t?
If you walk from my room to the left, you’ll first come to School Street. Last time I was here I stayed in the Bay Cabinz just up past the intersection. (Yes, it’s supposed to be a z.)
Next street up is Williams Street. I took a wander up past the Four Square grocery, the Aarangi Tui Motel and the Dolphin Motel (No Vacancy signs on both) and the war memorial building to see some houses.
I think the word that best describes the real estate here is ‘opulent’. Many are for sale but no prices are listed, not at street level anyway. But if you have to ask…
A little further up is a baptist church and a road sign: No Exit.
I’ll leave the irony to you.
Today there was a swim-a-thon from Russell to Paihia. Scores of brave folk leaped into the bay for the 3 km distance. Quite an event, lots of people milling about waiting for their swimmer to arrive. Real dedication to take on such a challenge.
Also saw a group of 6 or so motorcyclists rumbling through town. Mostly BMWs, one Harley and one Yamaha. I’m jealous.
One small drama today. As I was having lunch on the picnic table outside my room I heard a plaintive, panicked child’s cry. Across the street amongst the dozens of people was a little boy, maybe 3. He was crying, looking around, totally lost and separated from his family. Totally broke my heart, the panic in the child’s cry.
A young lady knelt down to talk to him and flagged down a lifeguard. Then I lost sight of them through the crowd.
About an hour later, I wandered over to the village green where the swimming awards were being presented. And there was the boy, happily eating pineapple bits with his family. All was well.