When we landed in town, it was – of course – time to eat again. There was little park with a playground, picnic tables, and a restroom in the center of town – which by west coast standards, was pretty close to a major metropolis. We could get a latte across the street. The general store there had a little restaurant attached, that was doing a bustling business. At one point, while sitting at our lunch table, we noticed a pair of white wellis parked at the door (very considerate, I suppose – not traipsing in whatever might be on the bottom of them into the shop). I went to get a photo of the standalone wellis, but by the time I got a hold of my camera and was preparing to take the picture, the owner (a woman) came out and gave me a strange look as she snatched them up.
While Karsten and Jenny were laying out the spread, I went to visit the local art gallery, Kotuku. There’s a white heron sanctuary nearby, which is where the gallery takes its name from and the town displays on its flags. The owner of the gallery, a Maori man, and his daughter were there – really nice and helpful people. It had some beautiful things – jade, whalebone, paua, and I of course did some shopping. This is where I got my carved whalebone with paua inset koru necklace that I’ve worn almost every day since getting home – the bone has been tested and is supposed to be over 3400 years old. I also bought some pieces for decorating my guest bedroom, which is destined to have a Polynesian/South Pacific theme now…some items coming from Tahiti, some from NZ.
After lunch, while cleaning up, Imogen, Catherine and I had some fun playing with a little girl who was visiting the playground. Brought back memories of spinning around at Beach 2 in White Meadow Lake, where I grew up. I remember, as kids, going to that playground and trying to get someone to spin the “merry go round” as fast as possible and see how long we could hang on. I could tell similar memories were going through my companions heads as they spun the little girl ’round and ’round. Not sure who was laughing harder – the little girl in the bright pink fleece coat or us. After lunch, it was time for more cycling, but only after the virtual ride over Mt. Hercules – which everyone felt was better done in the van.[inspic=4,,,0][inspic=5,,,0][inspic=7,,,0][inspic=6,,,0][inspic=8,,,0]