Jan 03

Robbie, Rebecca, Wanaka, Bakpaka II

by in Drawing & Writing

On day two we kayaked, and if there’s one thing I truly hate, it’s kayaking. I don’t know why, and I wish I could hide it better, but at one point Antje burst out laughing from behind at the anger that was apparently exhibited in my paddle strokes. I was a “grumpy fool,” she said. For her part, she was not only faster, but paddled like a very relaxed windmill. Unfair!

So this was about the destination, not the journey, and the destination was worth it. Ruby Island is one of a few islands in Lake Wanaka… and Lake Wanaka is almost too good to be true: clear blue glacial water, snow-capped mountains, hot white sunshine, local beer with “quaffable contingencies”, and omnipresent ice cream. In the US there’s a common bumper sticker that reads, “Keep Tahoe Blue.” I’ve never been there, but I think this is what they mean. If Jesus had been a lake instead of a man, he might have been Lake Wanaka.

Having hauled our kayaks on shore on Ruby Island, we swam, sunbathed, skipped rocks, swam some more, skipped some more rocks, sunbathed again, ate leftovers, skipped some more rocks, and swam once more. We decided to walk the 20-minute trail around the island, and discovered that it was being temporarily shared by 30 people, a handful of motorboats, a dock, and a free barbecue. It’d been 30 feet (10m) behind us the whole time, but by some trick of optics/acoustics, you’d never know they’re there.

After an angry kayak home for one of us, we went to one of the world’s best movie theaters for an early showing of Tin Tin. Instead of seats, they have sofas, airplane chairs, and an entire car. Food can be ordered before the film starts, and at intermission it’s sitting there on the table, just waiting to be eaten. Beer and wine are also served. All of these ideas should also spread.

Afterwards we made for Robbie and Rebecca’s place for a second round of backyard wine-drinking.

A family was out front, and about halfway through the English-language introductions, it turned out everyone was German.

“So you’re on your honeymoon?” the mother smiled.

Automatically all four of us answered yes–but then realized she’d of course meant Robbie and Rebecca, who the owners must’ve told them about.

“We’re also on our honeymoon,” Antje said, standing next to Robbie.

“We’re on our honeymoon,” Rebecca nodded.

The mother smiled, her eyes flicking back and forth, clearly confused as to who, exactly, was married to whom, here.

Finally I said, “We’re all married to each other. It’s very… modern.”

Not only did this elicit zero laughter from the family… but it also turned out to be the last stroke of conversation between us. As we bowed out awkwardly it wasn’t clear if the family had understood that we were joking at all–there was a chance they’d thought we’d actually meant that part–and this, of course, doubled up on the funny. Oh, Germans!

[Later they came out back to talk to us again, which probably did clear things up. But in retrospect, I wish I could've used that time to confuse them even more, ie, by massaging Robbie.]

But “All good things must come to an end,” as they say, and as we enjoyed that backyard with that perfect little brook one last time, it was a very good thing, indeed.

So thank you Robbie and Rebecca for the the good company and good wine, and safe driving in New Zealand!

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3 Responses to “Robbie, Rebecca, Wanaka, Bakpaka II”

  1. From Esther:

    I am so happy you know some Germans with a perfect sense of humour (e.g. me). Otherwise it would have been another confirmation of the prejudice (please read quotation marks here) that Germans take everything too seriously :)

    Posted on January 3, 2012 at 15:51 #
  2. From Mom:

    Thanks for making me burst into hysterical laughing on my first day back to work after a glorious vacation. Oh, and the drawing was perfect! Love to you both.

    Posted on January 3, 2012 at 15:58 #
  3. From Shan:

    Ahh–So funny for so many reasons. 1) I can totally see the reaction (or non-reaction after your “We are all married” comment. 2) I, too, am not a kayaking fan. I don’t know why–I think it’s because I’m not good at it. I remember a trip on Pipe Lake with Mom where I grew angry by the second and often was turning circles.

    Love you!

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 21:48 #