Car hunting in N-Zed. There is a huge market for buying and selling cars between backpackers. It’s a big thing. Instead of paying exorbitant rental prices, you can purchase a car, drive it for half a year and very possibly sell it right back for almost the price you paid! So we checked the walls of the hostels for posters, TradeMe (the Ebay of NZ) and physically showed up at the weekend car market in order to find us a good old vehicle. We negotiated a deal for a rusty colored ’86 Subaru station wagon. With a manual transmission and choke!… back seats that folded down, and crates of extra camping gear, it was just what we were looking for. It must have been driven (or barely driven) by a little old lady for years because it hasn’t clocked too many kilometers. A mere 177,000 which is only about 110,000 miles! And despite being rust colored red, she hardly has an inch of actual rust. We promptly named her Kuaka, the Maori word for the Bar-tailed Godwit, the bird known to make the longest non-stop flight of any bird and the longest journey without stopping to feed of any animal! Hopefully this will prove true in her petrol consumption and stamina for driving up and around mountain passes.
In celebration of our new travelling companion, Peter and I drove her to various markets, sampling tastes and music of the Pacific Islands, perusing flea markets and enjoying a cuppa java in the sunny but windy weather that is now the beginning of autumn in Aotearoa. We were having such a good time, we made sure to make it to the Pasifika Festival. A huge celebration of Pacific Island culture with music, dancing and food. We ate everything from banana pancakes and curried lamb with taro (a quite plain root vegetable) to deliciously fried fish and an ice cream sundae in a hollowed out pineapple. Thoroughly content, we synched our new Pacific Island tunes to the ipod and blasted music through the speakers just inside Kuaka’s nasal cavity as we rolled around the hills on our way to the next new adventure.
I like songs that are good for drivin’ around in the wagon. Here’s a good one. I think if Kuaka could play an instrument it would be the harmonica.