|Source: The Wind Wand in New Plymouth by Jarod Carruthers on Flickr, reproduced without modification under Creative Commons licence|
...two dear friends, who moved to New Zealand three years ago and who I hadn't seen since. Hot footing to a new adventure, unsure where it would take them, they've since laid foundations both metaphorically and literally in New Plymouth. My crazy, long haul, short-lived visit was to see them, and I'm very glad I did. It was a joy to see them happy. It was a joy to be shown around somewhere entirely new by people who love the space they are in. It was a joy to be the first guest...
...and underappreciated surf. We threw pebbles out to sea and collected driftwood. There may even have been a penguin sighting (we're not sure, it was small and far away). In evening we climbed Paritutu Rock...
...from the top of which we could see seals swimming, waves crashing and the town turning in for the night, yet also incoming thunderclouds and, despite longing looks all day, not a sign of Mount Taranaki, whose peak would not peek from behind the distant murk. With the weather now closing in, it was time to descend and spend the evening with my friends' family, who have also moved to New Plymouth. Family, it seems, is drawn here - and New Plymouth is perfect for family: catering for events, a healthy lifestyle, and even a free zoo for children (and grown up children). Family need not be related either: throughout the day my friends bumped into their friends, who were immediately welcoming; later in the day, two street cleaners came to say hello as we paused from our bike ride, for no reason other than they had seen us earlier in the day exploring Pukekura and the zoo, and wondered whether we were having a nice time.
We finished the evening watching telly and laughing.
And then I flew home.