Saturday, March 17, 2007

On Top - Down Under

I'm king of the WORLDI have been home a week now. I have gone from warm, sunny days abroad, to similar warm sunny days here, but then yesterday was cold, and rainy and then snow. If I had flown in just a week later I may not have been able to land as many east coast airports closed yesterday due to the snow and ice. My Mary Engelbreit calendar quote says, "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to." Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings So let's return to the beautiful, warm sunny day in New Zealand when we went to the Mount.

It was a typical end-of-summer day (the seasons are reversed there) on The Mount Beach, Mt. Mauganui, North Island, New Zealand - mostly adults, as the kids were back in school. It is both a shipping port and coastal resort town, the place to see and be seen, and a popular destination for 20-somethings who love to surf, parasail and rock climb. We met up on the beach with Wendy & Graeme's newly-married daughter Shantelle and her husband Sheldon.Sheldon comtemplating his day with
the lovely newlywed,Shantelle

I thought Sheldon was going to suffer through a day with the in-laws and their circa 1950s friends, but he genuinely enjoyed his time with us and proved to be quite entertaining and attentive to the young-at-heart "old-ladies." He shared local history with us, took photos of us on the point, encouraged and assisted us on our climb to the edge. (See nina's blog for a great photo.)

The beach has 2 natural attractions, what I call the Point, where you can climb out to the edge of the rocks high atop the South Pacific, and the Mount, on which you can either climb to the top, or walk around the base. Of course we chose the base, but on another day, in the right shoes, I would love to ascend the Mount, where the sheep graze and the parasailers launch.a heavenl-like approach to the summit

The Mount is the site of a former Maori pa or village. The tides and rocks also create a pocket of beach which is nothing but shells. Imagine nina's delight.unending source of inspiration

The Cooper family was so patient with us. Imagine being with little children who want to stop and examine every little thing that catches their eye, a few steps forward and then stop again. Anyone who is a parent knows this stage of wonder a child goes through, where every little thing is new and begs to be examined. Well that was nina and I. Like good and patient parents, they never hurried us along. The joy came when Shantelle said that watching us gave her a new appreciation for a place she had come to take for granted.

We all do that. I have been driving around our nation's capital trying to see it though new eyes. DC is not as breathtaking as New Zealand, but it does have a beauty and majesty of it's own.yes, we do have on similar outfits, what can I say - we think alike What travel does is open your eyes, and your heart. When you are open, you not only see and experience the new, but you come home with your heart and your eyes still open and see and experience your own world and life in a new way. This trip was different for me in many ways. 1. It was the farthest I had ever traveled, 2. I was able to spend enough time in a place that I got to really absorb it and 3. I was able to learn about the places I was in from the people who live there and as a result, was able to come to a greater appreciation and understanding of the similarities and differences of the places we call home.

Posing under the roots of a treeNo matter where I go - here in the US, or to faraway places, I always want to know as much as I can about a place - it's history, people, industry, architecture, economic and geographical facts and folklore. Years ago, Nina thought it funny that I didn't like the architecture of the homes in Vancouver, BC. But architecture says a lot about a place. It plays an important part in my next entry and will also be a feature of my time in Australia. Yes, I still have another whole country to share with you - well at least 2 sides of it, the farmost west coast of Fremantle and Sydney on the opposite side.


Judy said...


nina said...

um - i seem to remember finding the architecture rather dull there in vancouver as well? but the trees, there again, were what blew me's always those trees with me, isn't it?! i agree with you, building construction says a lot about a place and its character. ah, lesley. we'll always have these memories, always and always and ALWAYS. xoxoxox

meganpickwell said...

Lesley, You are taking me on a truly wonderful journey with your words and images. It's like reading a great book you just can't put down. I look forward so much to yours and Ninas travellers tales. Can't wait to read how your fresh eyes see my hometown of Sydney.