Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The Sublime And The Slightly Ridiculous
It would dovetail really well with my previous blog posting to tell you that ridiculous things happen to me in threes, but I would be telling a porky if I did. No, for me the number is always legion. But for reasons of symmetry and to guard my sensitive ego I shall only tell you about three of them.
One of the main attractions for me in doing this trip was that I would be able to bike through parts of it. I learnt a lot about the merits of cycling in The Netherlands - and the main point is that you really, really do interact in a much more exciting and personal way with the environment when you are truely close to it.
- Its the difference between winning your way to windward through spindrift towards a safe harbour on a beautiful little yacht called 'Crackling Rosie' as opposed to motoring there in an ugly fat launch called 'Fatmans Gin Palace' spewing diesel fumes everywhere - - So when it came time to put the quick release wheels back on the bikes and saddle up I was disappointed to find that a nut off the back axle was missing. The wheels had been stored in a cardboard box (with a large hole in the bottom) and had been loaded in and out of the back of the camper in various camp sites all the way from Auckland. To say that I was disappointed is well a bit of a porky - I was furious, and got angry - well angry as in throwing a mild tantrum, Ok, Ok, a fairly large tantrum, but being a sensitive new age guy I stopped as soon as Chris started to take a photograph of me.
I was pretty sure that for me the cycling was over before I had even begun. I couldn't see where we were going to get such a strange little nut with such a curious little thread. BUT find one we did - we took one of four nuts and bolts that held the carrier on the back and before you could say "Nick knack paddy whack adult tantrums are so immature and make you look and sound like a really sad bastard" my bike was ready to go. NOW here is the interesting bit. A couple of days later when we were parked up at a former place in a previous camping ground the axle nut with its little black plastic end was found by my brother, "Hey, he shouted, come and take a look at this! " - I held it in my fingers in disbelief - a nut, returned to a nut - how appropriate I thought.
The second and third interesting things happened to me at the southern Molesworth station camping ground. After a long day cycling I went down to the Clarence river for a much needed wash. I took with me a bottle of green Palmolive Dish Washing Liquid as we had both forgotten to bring any shampoo with us. I thought that if this stuff gets dirty dishes squeaky clean then it will do the same for my hair. I stripped naked and plunged into the icy snow fed Clarence river. It was invigorating and refreshing after having spent the day cycling in 30 degree heat - The Palmolive liquid didn't turn my hair green, in fact it worked a treat, and as I was plunging myself under and telling myself what a fine, intelligent and oh so adaptable fellow I was............
(Dish washing liquid! pah! when I am cycling the Gobi Desert I shall scrub myself with sand ! I am such a hardy and redoubtable character)
..............I felt something bite me very very hard on my right foot ---- Don't try and imagine this, protect yourself, pass over this bit quickly --- a slightly overweight white man runs stark naked, stumbling over slippery boulders, leaving a comet trail of white fluffy dish washing suds behind him... out of the river... a pretty sight? not at all, but I wish someone had had a camera, the photo would have looked really, really good alongside any of Lady Gagas' photos.
As I reached the river bank I turned and saw a large black eel swimming away. It had bitten me very hard and when I looked down at my foot it was bleeding. Later on I showed the wound to the DOC Ranger at the camping ground and he said, "Yes, thats an eel bite, see the pattern of the rows of teeth, lucky it didn't bite a chunk out of you."