9th and 10th, March, 2011. Yet another two days house ridden. I peak outside sometimes into the harsh hot sunlight and view it cagily like I was a vampire. The peeling is maddeningly itchy and I have woken up often scratching away madly. Lynne came round yesterday again and laughed at my burn “everyone knows the sun is harmful in NZ, you’re a bloody idiot” I smiled and agreed. She asked me to mow the lawn and I said yes but haven’t done it yet. I will do it tomorrow.
I spent a few hours (literally) in the shower today scrubbing my back and now like a butterfly I have laid aside my crusty exterior and am fresh and new again. I have no more peeling to do. I mussed and laughed with Sarah today “ I finally got to New Zealand and even before a week is up I am unable to go out, I get here and spend the whole time indoors”. If any of you are getting even half as bored as I am with all this whining of sun burn then fear not, the next blog will have none of it and with some luck and a lot of carefulness (I will be watching the sun more than the road from now on) the subject will not be rearing it abominably head ever again.
“None of them have jobs, they are all on benefits” Lynne was talking about Maoris again. “But when we went hitch hiking we were picked up by Kiwis and they all said ‘I can take you anywhere, I have nothing else to do today’ and it was during the afternoon on a working day” I said. “Probably all on benefits as well” she snapped back dryly. “Oh it sounds so nice to be on benefits” Sarah giggled sweetly. “No it isn’t and it means the rest of us have to pay for them sitting around all day” Lynne fired back after a brief eye roll.
I like Lynne; she is a hard entertaining woman. Yesterday Fan and Peggy (two other Chinese Malay housemates) came back from seeing Lynne about work. They both looked worried and beaten. It was the “I have just had a harsh, painfully realistic conversation” look. “She said they had no jobs now or till next month…no jobs” Fan said quietly as he came in and ploncked his shopping on the living room table. Although I have only met Lynne a few times I know what having a conversation with her is like. If you start trying to fly away in a dream or fantasy she will rench you back down to the ground and if you’re not trying to fly she will grind your face in the very real very tangible facts of NOW!.
I have an image of a father of stature a gravitas, sitting at the end of a long cavernous room smoking a pipe, fire eerily flickering and crackerling. His son tiptoes in quivering and stuttering. “f f ff father I have an idea I want to become a..” he gets no further as his Father rises like a heavy rock slide and with a booming voice blows his sons very words out of existence “ REALITY BOY!!! RRRRRRRREALITY”.
Lynne took off and I went back in to the house and watched more American reality TV. Addictive stuff if you have the time, Sarah cooked more Lamb spine, I ate the meat around the bone and then put the supposedly finished bone down on my plate “what do you think you’re doing? Give it to me!!” Sarah snarled, only half joking. She whisked up the bone and using her chopsticks like medical tool she dug into the very centre of the bone, a white stodgy globdual emerged and she put it straight in her mouth “so delicious” she said with satisfaction. It would appear that Lamb spine is a very expensive delicacy in China; they have restaurants which specially and mainly serve spine.
The evenings have been very entertaining, everyone just sits around eating and chatting and laughing loudly and closely, in the way Chinese people do. Tonight I sat at the table eating my noodles and all six of the housemates including Sarah where also sitting at the table, shouting and laughing, giggling hysterically. I hardly had any elbow room. It’s a big living room but we were all huddled together. For a moment with the food the company and the language I half forgot which country I was in.