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New Zealand Vacation

By Barbara K. Almy


Following is the continuation from Newsletter No. 114 (April 2003) of the journal that Barbara wrote on her New Zealand vacation in 2000. (See introduction in Newsletter No. 114.)

Tuesday, April 4 (cont.)

At the stroke of 18:00 we went over to the restaurant that the Dane's had recommended and was given a 4 star rating in my NZ Pocket Guide, Gannett's. There was a four-some and one couple already there. Mom went to the bathroom (toilet, in the local vernacular,) telling Dad she wanted the special of the day, Hakuru - a local fish. We were all ready to order, but the waiter didn't come back until Mom returned. We ordered about 18:15 with Mom, Dad and Lorraine all selecting the special, Don; a dozen grilled oysters and I: a half order of scallops sauteed with garlic, butter and slivered almond sauce $13 (NZ). Don & Lorraine also ordered the soup of the day: pureed lettuce and peas with a light curry. Both said it was good. By 19:00 we still hadn't gotten our meal, but had seen several parties that came in later than we did get their meals. We saw the chef put two plates up and then said to the waitress, "I better do it this way." She then removed them and put two more up which the waitress carried to a party that came in about five minutes after us. We called our waiter over to ask what the deal was. He explained that they don't start cooking the entree until the starters are finished. I suggested that it might be a nice gesture for him to tell people that. Since Tipping IS a city in China they didn't seem too concerned with service. Mom and Lorraine were satisfied with their meals. Dad said the fish was very good while the vegetables were lukewarm at best and undercooked. Don expected the oysters to be fully cooked. Instead they seemed to have been sprinkled with cheese and just been shown the broiler! My scallops were tough (I thought) and there were some pink chunks that were slimy. I asked if anyone who liked scallops to try mine to see if they really were bad or it was just me. Don tried some and said they were OK. Mom tried some of the pink stuff and thought it was pure fat. I think part of my problem was it appeared that they left the necks on. I'm used to nice round, white scallops. Bottom line is that when we got back to the Dane's I had a couple of slices of bread and cheese. We sat on the veranda. Don & Lorraine had tea, Dad nothing and Mom and I had a drink. Roger came down to ask what we wanted for breakfast and what time. We offered him a drink, which he accepted. Joy joined us and we chatted for a while and about 21:15 everyone turned in but me. I read until about 22:15.

Wednesday, April 5, 2000

It dawned a beautiful day. Much different than yesterday. We had planned to go back to Russell before heading back to Auckland. We all thought we had two nights there. But no, only one. In light of this I proposed to Mom and Dad that we skip Russell and go right on to Auckland because it's a five-hour or so drive. And who knows what we might encounter along the way? Lorraine still wanted to go back to Russell, but realized it wasn't practical. We were to go up at 07:45 for a breakfast of scones topped with bacon & cheese and put under the broiler. Evidently the power had been flickering several times since about 04:00 and finally went out for good about 07:30. Roger came down to discuss our options. He said the croissants were already baked, but without the power the rest couldn't be cooked. Did we want to wait it out or come up for the warm croissants, fruit, cereal and fresh squeezed OJ? We decided to wait awhile and discuss the day. We went up about 08:00 and started with the same fruit selection (plus papaya) as yesterday. Then we had the warm croissants on warmed plates that melted the butter! The croissants were so rich they didn't need butter. Don & Lorraine also had cereal. About 08:45 the power came back on and Joy wanted to cook us bacon and eggs. Don took her up on both and Lorraine on the bacon. It turned out to be Canadian bacon that smelled sooooo good. Lorraine gave Mom a piece, who gave me a bite. It was wonderful.

(To be continued.)

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