Wednesday, 25th, May, 2011.
We were stationed back in shed 1 today. Only half aware of my body’s work I thought about our new adventure to come, down in the ski field at Mt Ruapehu. I imagined myself armoured in thick coat and boots, gauntlet gloves and goggles. The mountain peak looming over me in the darkness, a stark beam of artificial light from a snowmobile cutting a path into the darkness. Shovel in hand I sculpt the powder, commanding it to do my bidding, with a zen like understanding of my work and the universe.
In the evening Maggie and Kiego came round for a meal. Maggie is a chinese friend whom Sarah and I met in Yang shuo when I first visited China. She has been in New Zealand for a year now, mainly in Te puke but recently she has traveled around the south island. Tonight isn’t just a meal for me leaving as Maggie is also going back to China on the day I leave.
Kiego is the Japanese woman who we met at the camp site when we lived in the caravan for the beginning of the kiwi packing season. She is always seen with her large grin chatting with strangers in Trevelyan during lunch. She has an inexhaustible interest in life.
We all walked back to our place after work laden with supermarket food to be cooked. Kiego had already baked a Pavlova cake which I was really looking forward to, when we had left the camp site a few months ago Keigo had baked a Pavlova cake and I remember it was one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. When we got back home Sarah cooked spicy chicken drum sticks, lamb, bean curd tofu with tomato, peppers with broccoli and the Vietnamese wraps which one has to soak in warm water so they become soft and edible.
We sat down when all the dishes were ready and began the feast. Kiego exclaiming regularly how good the food was while Sarah radiated with pride over her food. ”we eat like this everyday” Sarah said proudly. Kiego spoke about how she had been told to leave from her last house because she had become too drunk and raucous ” I had so much whiskey and beer and wine and I was very loud, there was also an Indian guy who was told to leave as well but then I heard a few days later he went to live back in the same house again” Kiego laughed but I could tell the whole experience had affected her negatively.
After the meal I walked Maggie and Kiego home, Maggie lived near by but Kiego lived in town and on the opposite side of the railway tracks. The opposite side of the tracks, the place people in Te puke talk about as if it is a ghetto area full of criminals ”dont live on the other side of the tracks, its dangerous there, I wouldn’t walk alone there at night” I have heard on many occasions. I was curious to see what it was actually like. I walked Kiego over the tracks and into the residential area. I was expecting dilapidated houses with the decomposing corpses of crack addicts littering the streets but apart from one burnt down house with a metal fence around it the nabourhood looked clean and was quiet. After dropping Kiego back to her house I walked back home searching for the rough part of Te puke. I didnt find it.