Jan 02

Robbie, Rebecca, Wanaka, Bakpaka I

by in Drawing & Writing

Robbie and Rebecca are friends of ours from Düsseldorf. Recently we’ve had many things in common:

Not only did they, too, tie the knot this summer, as a human male and a human female, but they, too, chose New Zealand for their honeymoon, and they, too, postponed their trip to coincide with a Kiwi summer. We exchanged itineraries beforehand, and lo and behold, they, too, went through a town called Wanaka–on the same day as us!

And that day was New Year’s Eve!




Over two beers we tried our best to catch up on everything that everyone had done in New Zealand, but with the combined volume of tales to tell; our group’s tendency digress into other, also very interesting topics; our collective inability to tell things in the chronological order that they happened; some mixing up of name-places due to the preponderance of ‘K’s, ‘T’s, and ‘R’s in them; a touch of genuine human forgetfulness (aw shucks); and the fact that our table was bathed in an 80-degree (27) spotlight of ozone-free sunshine…. We made for the supermarket instead.

As the gas barbecue at Robbie and Rebecca’s B&B was free for the night–the entire B&B was empty, with no owners in sight, in fact–”KIDS RULE!”–we ate and drank in the backyard of their personal private mansion. A glacial brook curved under a bridge, through the lawn, and down to the lake, looking like it’d been plucked from the landscape of model train-set. The sun set, and between us we saw five or six shooting stars… save for a frustrated Antje :)

We’d chosen Wanaka for New Year’s due to a cryptic sentence slipped into the guidebook. It read: “Note: Wanaka wakes up in a big way for New Year’s.” At 11:45PM we walked down to the lakefront to see exactly what that meant.

It meant around ten thousand people in a town of five thousand, most of them between 18 and 23 years of age, drunk. A live band was playing cover songs, and they were pretty darn good for Wanaka. When the fireworks got going we found out that most of them would be seen through, and not above, one of the many willow trees that line the shore. Oh bother. But oh well. As the fireworks tapered off, and they really did just taper off, no finale here, not necessary in Wanaka, a drunk girl splashed into the lake, followed by her friend, another drunk girl. Some guys joined in, and when they’d all made it to the float, it turned out one was naked (a guy). A police boat slinked over, shining the spotlight across them, and all dove back in like surprised penguins… save for one guy who apparently wanted to sit there for a while and just have a nice pleasant conversation with the police boat at 12:30. He did just that. Then he jumped in, swam back, and by that point others were wading in. It was a “good idea,” this swimming stuff, and it was spreading down the beach. To the best of its ability, the police boat combated the lemming-like behavior, shining us back to the shore. As the boat retreated, two guys waded in to their ankles, dropped trou, and urinated into the water in dreamy oblivion. Before their pee-pee could osmosis its way over to me, I dove in and made for the dock. Happy New Year’s, Wanaka! Seattle still had 21 hours to go, and Germany 12.

So because of that time difference, as well as the fact that we’d all gotten married that year–the mighty 2011–it felt like, and actually was, the shortest of our lives.


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2 Responses to “Robbie, Rebecca, Wanaka, Bakpaka I”

  1. From Mom:

    So cool to rendezvous with friends from home when you’re so far away! Loved the story and drawing! Enjoy your nice weather–it’s raining hard and about 50 degrees here :-). Love to you both.

    Posted on January 3, 2012 at 03:11 #
  2. From Esther:

    how very, very nice. I miss all 4 of you and wish you a very happy new year. less stress, even more love!

    hugs & kisses,

    Posted on January 3, 2012 at 05:12 #