Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas time, an unexpected outcome

Go ahead Concerned Santa, tell me all about it.

  Christmas was practically decades ago in my mind. A life almost forgotten in the excitement of the last few weeks, sitting on the other side of a foggy haze but close enough I can just make out the blurred greying outlines of memories past.  Let us step through the haze, shall we? Let's gain a little clarity.
  My last entry was the Christmas Eve's eve poem where I poetically, (a Dr Suess-like attempt at best), laid out a timeline of the follies of my trip. While in the thick of feeling displaced I tried to do what I do best, grin, bear it and make a terrible joke of my predicaments.
  Cry baby cry.  What first world problems I was having.  Here I was "stuck" in the beautiful town of Palmerston North during the week of Christmas with a bum foot.  Things, were topsy-turvy as usual. Maybe I should lengthen my name further to Saratopsy-Turvy, the Ever Wandering Fool.
  After checking back at the post shop three more times throughout the day, the women at the counters becoming ever more familiar with my face, I accepted reluctantly that the key which had been mailed to me was delayed while meandering through the Christmas postal labrynth.  It was time to surrender and find a place to stay.  A special thanks to the woman at the post shop who offered to take me home to her house full of "lots of children, and a lot of cats," but I politely declined. Christmas is a time for family, not for acquainting yourself with an unexpected traveller.  Also, there is a magnificent stretch between being in a predicament, and being in need. I certainly was in the former.
  I inquired within a hostel directly across the street from the bus station.  The New Railway Hotel and Backpackers was permanent residence and backpackers accommodation in exactly what it says it is. An old railway hotel.  Situated above a bar, which incidentally seems to be a favorite for the locals and has an excellent selection of jukebox hits, it was clad with hallways reminiscent to those featured in The Shining...but I always think old hotel hallways look like versions of horror movie sets.  The man who runs the place was so inviting and nice I was waiting for the catch.
  This is where my imagination takes control of my body and sends me reeling for hours over the possibilities of entrapment into some sort of sex trade or underground drug ring.  Lets be honest folks, travelling alone as a small woman, you think about these things.  "Are there locks on the window?  Why is he being so nice? I should notify someone where I am staying as this could end up titled my 'last known where-abouts.'  Okay, family notified. Oh crap, I have to go to the bathroom, which mean I have to leave the room.  I'll hold it a little longer.  Oh, how nice, there's a mini fridge and microwave in here! Why am I excited about a microwave? I haven't used one in over a year. What was that sound!? Oh my gosh, I have my own television!!! Which should I sleep on, the top bunk or the bottom bunk? Why was he so nice? Man I have to go to the bathroom. Okay, I am going to go to the bathroom, get water, and stay in my room for the rest of the night. Is it overkill to sleep with my knife under my pillow? I am going to prop that chair up against the doorknob...just in case."  There you go folks, that was a nice 30 second splice of living inside my brain.  As you are reading this post I am sure you have put together the fact that I made it through the night unscathed. 
  Garry, the owner of this fine establishment, gave me a 2 person room all to myself, but only charged me for one, and when the opportunity arose for him to accommodate someone else he turned them away so I could continue having privacy over the holidays. It took the weight and stress off these tightening shoulders.
  Now, what to do over Christmas Eve?  I had gone to the nearest grocery store, which strangely was placed in the back end of a shopping mall, and as I walked past the shops along the way I found a jigsaw puzzle. It is tradition for me to put together a jigsaw every year at Christmas.  It started as a family venture, but I supposedly selfishly took it over as a solo project. The reality of the situation, contrary to what my mom and sister will tell you, is that when math and puzzles are involved I cannot tear myself away.  I love them. So, while everyone else in the household would listen to their common sense and go to bed at a reasonable hour, I would pour over puzzle pieces well into the dimly lit hours of the night and on occasion the puzzle would be finished by morning.  I'm sure everyone else in the house also listened to their eyes and remembered to blink on occasion, but hey, we all do things differently. Note, that this is the first puzzle I can ever remember not finishing. I'm turning over new leafs I tell you.
Unicorns, orbs and faeries...if that doesn't say merry Christmas I don't know what does!

  Christmas day I was hoping, and was correct to suspect, that the streets would be empty and Palmerston North would turn into a veritable holiday ghost town. I took it as an opportunity to go on a walkabout to see what the city had to offer artistically.  A ghost town indeed except for the family I saw having a BBQ in the park and playing a rousing game of cricket while a few members flew kites in the light warm breezes. Having a warm Christmas was interesting. I also met a Greek fellow while taking a photograph near the library who was baffled by the vacant streets, even though it was Christmas. A few days later I met him for coffee, a walk through the park and great conversation. Here's to the random meetings!!!
  And here is a collection of the sculptures I saw around town before my days here ended and I continued on to meet my friends to kayak the Whanganui River.

On the side of a gaming store

They sure are proud of their giant insects in this country!

A Paul Dibble. He is slowly becoming one of my favorite NZ sculptors.

Outside the library

Numbers  From one vantage point (infinity)

Numbers  Displaying the arch, and dependant on the angle of the sun either a circular or oval shadow. Math nerds rejoice!!

This is one of natures sculptures. A Merry Christmas flower.

A series of rock sculptures from around the world

Japan was my favorite


Umm, excuse me Mr. Lizard, but my eyes are up here!!!

Street art

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