|I thought I knew what rain was, being from Canada's we(s)t coast and all, but this is ridiculous! You know when you're driving down the highway and you've got the intermittent wipers going, and that's just fine. Then, it starts raining a little harder so you dial up the notch a bit to make them go a little faster (after mistakenly putting on your turn signal in the middle of nowhere because the handles are reversed). Then, it gets a bit stronger so you go to slow-continuous on. You figure that ought a do it, but no, it keeps on coming. You go to fast-continuous. It's now getting hard to see the curves (remember the curves?). Next you come off the accelerator a bit because the wipers are can't keep up with the flow. Pretty soon you're down to 25 kph. Eventually, everything was useless and we were better off just to wait it out and get soaked! You can actually see it coming in the distance!!!!!
The west coast of New Zealand is wet - really wet. It rains hard. You can feel it hit you. Nothing like the continuous (drench you slowly over the course of the day) BC rain. This is full on fire hose style. It answers the question as to why the place is so lush and tropical looking, so I guess that's a good thing.
We decided to break up our trip down the coast by staying in a tiny place called Punakaiki. There's nothing here except a small national park protecting the "pancake rocks" and the associated blowholes. These formations are layered pieces of dolomite and sandstone that look like pancakes because the have been worn down by the pounding seas. There are incredible crashing pools and caverns, some with a tube that rises to the surrounding landscape that spout off like geysers whenever a big one rolls in. It's very cool, and did I mention, wet.
The beach hostel here was really good - with a nice little hot tub right on the lawn overlooking the whitecaps. We jumped from the hot tub down to the sea and back again in the pouring rain - in New Zealand - you have to learn how to do everything in the rain, or else you just wouldn't do it! It's so funny watching Kristine cook in the communal kitchen though. I think she really just wants to make a meal for everyone and run the place. There are 16 different meals happening simultaneously. Although, I saw something today that I thought I would never see in a hostel kitchen. You see, most people have pasta because it's quick and easy; and for breakfast, it's usually Muesli or toast or some fruit or something simple like that. Well, today Kristine made homemade carbonara sauce for the pasta (well, we used salami instead of bacon...) and she TEMPERED THE EGGS! Now, I hardly even know what tempering the eggs means, let alone in a hostel. My bet is that it is the most complex piece of hostel cooking the place has ever seen. I was expecting people to drop their meals and form a line up or something for what she was making, but I guess that was all just in my head. Anyway, that's another one for the flash packer journal I guess... We've got to start getting our nerve up for the glacier now. The plan is to have snow (ice?) for Christmas.