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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Rivers Meet in New Zealand

So, after what was supposed to be a grueling flight across the vast pacific that turned out to be a cake walk, or rather, a 10 hour nap on the comforting teddy bear shoulder of an oversized, extended seatbelt Maori New Zealander by the name of Jason, who kindly let me snore and drool on his shoulder in apologetic compensation for using half of my seat as overflow for his rotund happy belly, I HAVE ARRIVED IN NEW ZEALAND. It began on a bit of a dischordant note where things just wouldn't fall into place. I knew i had to make the most of my limited time here, and in doing so pished away too much of it trying to force the issue. But its gotten far better since.

I landed in Auckland on Saturday the first of October, and notice it\ bore strange resemblance to Vancouver, with of course a Kiwi twist (kiwi is the self-proclaimed blanket term for all New Zealanders).... I then fell into the pit of the "tv lounge" which harbors all things mindless and boring, found myself in some aimless hair salon chatter with two well fed girls from America (texas i think).... i found some fun canadians though, wandered around the city, which is small and for the most part a city just like any other.... parks, flea markets, etc.... they were cool, but they took off to go farm cucumbers... yup... kyoooks of the cumber.....

anyway, so this Maori fella fromthe plane gave me his address and phone number, so i woke in the morning intent on seeing what it was like to live in new zealand... fo weel newga!! (i make it sound like it was an easy decision, but you know me... i spent about half a day deliberating over it... indecision will be the death of me).... so anyway, i stopped in a thermovolcanic area called rotorua on the way, when my troubles with people void of personality lingered.....once again, the TV lounge.... BLAAST!!!! after an unexpectedly exciting few hours of wandering around the streets of this suburbian strip trying to hitch a ride to some hot springs, i gave up and just walked around the golf course and couldnt quite figure out what to do with myself... it was peaceful, but not quite the way i had imagined the trip's beginnings, so i got a little frustrated and began to regret my decision in auckland to wander around aimlessly down in the bay of plenty as the call it... and the bane of my existence, the TV lounge was in full effect when i came home... asked fools if they were down to go out to eat and grab a beer to lubricate our social demons, but i was met with blank stares and ugly faces.... everyone is ugly in the glow of a tv screen.... and it was raining outside too

so i woke up determined to change my flight and head down to fiordland in the south, but i was thwarted... blast!!! no such luck.... so i rushed to catch a random shuttle and thought i would make something of this land of leaking bowels and steaming buttholes that we call volcanic activity.... and as i sat on the bus and entered my third journal entry, i got really lonely and upset that i wasnt doing my best to make of my situation whatever i could... and then, on the verge of a breakdown originating in the armpit and festering up to the corner of my eyes, i remembered what jen had told me after her travels in europe.... "panta rai" she said... which was latin for "let it flow".... and folks, that was the pivot upon which all things mindful turned.... in no time i found myself shying back from bubbling mud pools and in awe of my first glimpse of a geyser.... and then, as i got dropped off at the attraction, i decided to wander down the road to a spot someone had told me about..... took off my shoes and all my clothes and jumped into a place where two streams, one hot one cold came together, and mingled in a lagoon... and mee, i mingled madly..... i had it all to myself, drooped over by an umbrella of strange, hanging new zealand trees, bathing in the hot waters from inner earth, checking out mini sulfur gaves, singing with the birds at themoment that the sun gifted me with a ray for a spotlight, and entirely engulfed in the beautifully eerie mist that seems to come together when opposite worlds meet.....needless to say, it was a good day...

then i hopped on a bus to whakatane to see my maori buddy.... staying in a quaint hostel, rented a bike and just chilled amongst fisherman of this wonderfully intimate beach town where everyone knows each other... and i went on a search, planting little clues in the community areas in the town in hopes that jason would emerge out of a sewer or something... had one too many beers comped for me by a bartender at an irish pub, who turned out to be the most uninteresteding person i have ever met in my entire life.... she took me to the beach a drive over the hill and did not have anything to say to any of the questions i asked her... the longest conversation we had was me explained to her what government does, and the differences between capitalism and communism...

but, i persisted in my maori hunt, showered off beach grim in the sink of a KFC, and finally found jason at his university, where his teacher invited me into their class, where they were having a discussion aobut their trip to america and what they notice culuturally that was different from their maori community.... it was gnar gnar.... yipee school again... how ive missed classes and all that jazz....

anyway, much more happened, we grabbed beers and became lifelong homeys, he gave me a traditional clay flute that i am still try8ing to learn to play, and then saw me off on a bus to auckland, had an eventful night with some girls from austria, norway and amsterdam (this one almost dreadlocked my hair for me, but fell asleep after two glasses of wine instead)..... the next day (today) i caught a flight down to the mysterious planet of new zealands south island.... im in queenstown now, and it is a ridiculous landscape... pictures are too come... ive rented a car and am looking for people to share the costs.... im going to head out to the fiords, glaciers and penguin beaches if all goes well.... more to come soon...

i love you all and miss you interminably.... i keep turning around thinking i hear one of you call out my name and that ill have someone to share this madness with..... i almost cry with the prospect of stumbling upon one of you.... and soon.... i will.... igor, you lousy son of a bitch ill see you in a week. (sorry for all the profane things i may write now and in the future, but i refuse to censor any/most of the things i am trying to share with you... if you wish to receive an edited version of these mails, have your people talk to my people... no i can arrange that if you so please...)

adios amigos


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11:55 PM  
Blogger sthapit said...

Ashwin!!! So good to hear from you, and I love your blog! Safe travels, and keep us updated please. If this is your first time using blogger, be sure to check out picasa, which makes posting pictures to your blog a snap ;)

12:25 AM  
Blogger abhi said...

Welcome Christopher Columbus! Welcome to the land of blogging. I am putting you on the top of my RSS feeds.

Looks like you are already having a blast. I am so tempted to come join you, u sum of a beach. Although, I must admit that I am a little distrubed by how much attention this Maori dude is getting. ;)

Have fun bro and keep us "posted".

8:54 AM  
Blogger hayes said...

whattup gangsta?

your travels sound cool... here, lemme do my own blog posted through your comment section.

Today I sat in an office and looked at a computer for about 4 hours. Then I ate a sandwich. I went back to the computer and worked on it for another 4 hours and went home. Then another round of eating and sleeping. Oh... I think I saw a red and white bird from my window during this computer watching. It was cool. Alright more on that later followed by commentary and analysis.


3:53 PM  
Blogger homes said...

gua gua. you are funny drunk man. ees funny you almost got your hair dreadlocky. keep having funnnnnn.

11:17 PM  
Blogger courtney said...

Ashwin!!! Add me to your email list of buddies. Rajen forwarded me your blog, so I was able to read it. I'm so excited for you! So, maybe you were off to a rocky start, but I'm glad you are having a good time and already sounds like you've had some pretty amazing experiences! Keep having fun!

much love,

3:48 PM  
Blogger igor said...

it sounds pretty over there, and it sounds like rotund folks keep finding their way into your life, which means something, and it's up to us to figure out what.

every day the hills of melbourne (if there were any nearby) call your name to me and the rain pounds on the pavement (sometimes) as the sky weeps that you are still absent from this backwards underwater land.

which, in english, means: come here silly boy, let me take you to a university much like ours except that there are events with free beer, free lunch and free live music waiting to free our souls.

which, in english, means i can't wait to see you chuddy bhuddy....


9:48 PM  
Blogger walnutchinasoods said...

Hey Ash, we finally were able to open the blog - did nothing different that I know of. Your writing style reminds of Rushdie - make sure nobody takes it personally. Had fun reading your adventures - and to think it's just the BEGINNING! You are in for a great adventure. We look forward to your next update...ours will follow soon also..Lotsa love, ash puttar...

6:47 AM  

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