Surf’s up

Here’s a little addendum to my earlier post today…

After an uneventful bus trip to Hamilton (I was well early for checking in – I’ve definitely learnt my lesson), I then joined a horde of sassy school kids and casually hip surfer dudes on the local bus out to Raglan (I wondered to myself whether I would fall into the latter group to an outside observer, but fear not – I think I’m probably still sporting a ‘I’m quite new to this travelling lark’ sheen, which is no doubt a bit of a faux pas on the surfer circuit). For all their sass, the school children all patiently waited for the tourists to board the bus first, and when one started pushing forward slightly an old lady on the bus got up and started haranguing them all, instructing them to let the visitors on first, with complete success. It seems that this is a country where the adults are still in charge, rather than the children. I’ve noticed that I don’t develop ‘the fear’ as I pass gaggles of teens here, whereas I probably would in the UK. This dramatically enhances the country’s welcoming and mellow ambiance. I know that sounds a bit Daily Mail, and most UK teens are I’m sure completely lovely, but there is definitely a difference in the adult-child power balance out here. And from what Juliet has told me about her job as a secondary school teacher in Auckland, this very much extends into the school domain as well as home. As an example, children at her school can get detention for not having their sock garters drawn tight enough – fact!

Raglan is a tiny town on the east coast of North Island, and is THE surf hang-out in NZ. As such, for its small size it is absolutely crammed with everything that a surfer could wish for. The hostel where I’ staying is the same, on a smaller scale – it is achingly cool: hot tub, hammocks, sauna, fresh eggs, yoga classes, daily trips out to the best surf spots, free kayaks with a launch into the adjacent navigable river, free bikes, footpaths into the mountains from the door, lots of people lying around reading intellectual books. I’m in heaven, and just wondering how I will be able to fit everything that I want to do into the two days I have here. Also, as a bonus for me, there is a ‘quiet’ policy after 9:30pm, as surfers are a strange breed that often like to get up obscenely early in order to catch the best waves. This is perfect for an early bird like me, and for once I hopefully won’t feel like a freak of nature tomorrow, when I’m bouncing off the walls with the dawn chorus, waiting for the day to start…


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