Waita tells of travels undertaken by the Maori with the hoe (paddle) upright in salute. There is a modern day reference to the travels that we take in our own lives.
I think God captivates himself into places of nature as well as the places made by people. I think that true happiness can be found in these places – true as in gray tears for no apparent reason or innocent laughter because you felt like it. Finding these places happens coincidentally and you know that you're in a place like this just like how you know whether to take a left or a right. The garden we found in Pudong was one of these places and watching the little girl dancing through her own session, her own life, made me realize that I had come to a place like this. Arriving to New Zealand had the same aura over it.
Phase III: North Island, New Zealand
The same man with a slightly gray moustache and a cigarette in his mouth that could have lasted for years, burning the same fillings over and over again, watched closely as we passed him on Brown Street. The house the man was living in was like every other house on the street. One-storey building with a small garden, taken care of or not, a small mail box with a flag that the postman would lift up as his everyday salutation to the neighbourhood.
Three times we passed the man and every time he was watching with the cigarette in his mouth. His house looked right at the sea with waves nowhere to be seen because the tide was so low. Only a solemn wind blowing, sending the remnants of the man's hair into a slight wavering. I'm quite sure that if I ever return to Brown Street, the man will be there to watch me. Just like he has been watching the tide.
On one hand it feels like New Zealand has found a way to stop the clocks. Seems like people just live their everyday lives like there's nothing else. They seem so content with the present that they just forget all about the future. On the other, it feels like there's life everywhere. Every tree has a vivid spirit around it, every bird seems to flicker in different shades of brown and every person smiles every time you meet, as if it were the first time you would meet them. The country as a whole feels good after the hectic human masses of Shanghai and Hong Kong. There's peace here that doesn't sleep.
We were guided all the way through from the airport in Auckland to our hostel by a mysterious force. A tourist assistant helped us on the right bus to Manukau, from which we could gain access to another bus to Tauranga, our destination. An elderly couple (who might not like me calling them elderly, pardon me for that) helped us in Manukau by guiding us to a desk where we could by our bus tickets from. Fate helped us and we landed on the right street in Tauranga right when the bus stopped, and to make matters better, our hostel was a stone throw's away from the bus stop. Something wanted us to get to our destination.
After a 16 hour sleep, we felt quite refreshed – to be honest, I have never slept for so long. Jet lag took its toll on the following nights but it wasn't too bad. Tauranga itself didn't have much to offer on short notice but it was a nice city for getting used to the Kiwi life. We decided to start making our way closer to Auckland and took a direction towards Thames, a small village by the Bay Of Plenty. The only thing we knew about Thames were the words of a hostel roommate: ”There's really not much in Thames.”
The travels we take in our lives are not designed to be strokes of paint on a canvas. They are a mosaic where the pieces of glass fall into their places and an entity with a world of colors is created. There is yet a lot to unfold in my book of travels but at least now I have found the actual book. A large leather-covered book with soft, slightly smuthered pages sitting in a small leather shop in Dapuqiao. I left it there for now but I think Waita will bring me back there. And then, I can start writing about my travels.