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l'enfer du North Island

  lessons from a short break Tuesday 24 January 2012 link

A few things I've learned over the weekend.

Occasionally, you do get large pods of dolphins following the ferries across the straight and playing in the wake.

The Takaka Hill Road has a fearsome reputation, and for good reason. No-one vomited on the trip, but we did have to stop once or twice for fresh air.

Golden Bay is a really nice part of the country, and I can highly recommend The Innlet as a place to stay.

If you ever want to have everyone in a room avoiding making eye contact, be in the main lounge of a backpackers with two screaming, weeping toddlers.

Craig Potton is a genuinely really nice bloke.

The Free House in Nelson has a yurt. It's pretty awesome inside, and gives a good, warm audio response for live music.

The duckpond in Queens Gardens in Nelson has eels. Lots of eels. Why doesn't the Wellington Botanic Gardens have eels in the duckpond? Eels are awesome.

A ferry ride on a calm day is great. A ferry ride with a 3m swell induces vomiting in those susceptible to motion sickness. Such as myself. Full credit to the band members who looked after the kids during vomit-related immobility.

Related: if you're not sure whether to vomit over the side, or into a vomit bag, why not do both? Then you can compare the two experiences.

So: a good long weekend away, with some excellent performances by the Klezmer Rebs. If you're around Wellington, they're playing at the Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt at 7pm on the 2nd February (admission by koha, and there's a cash bar!); if not, you can get their latest album, Anarchia Total, on Bandcamp for US$5. It's a damn good album; treat yourself.

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unspoilt by progress

calm, peaceful, sweary

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