Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 24 - Motueka

Day 24: Motueka

Education expenditures: 6.2% of GDP (2010), country comparison to the world: 28 (up from 38 just 4 years ago), which led to a dinner time conversation of the meaning of the statistic and thus research shows that NZ is number 28 in GDP per capita and number 123 in population.

So, is NZ is spending more % of their GDP on education than many other countries?

Pics: Oystercatchers (?) and just down the road from our exchange, and the car swap

Pop Audio Quiz: What are the following?
- Chicken disk
- Afternine
- Cowshit

The check-in desk, afternoon, and the cowshed.

Book review: Then Came the Evening, a novel by Brian Hart, Kindle edition. An odd book, chunks of it seemed very pedestrian and long periods compelling. Basic plot line: a Viet Nam vet commits a murder while drunk and the same evening his common law wife burns down their house and leaves to live with another man, pregnant with the vet’s son. Twenty years later, the wife sends a letter to prison to let him know he has a son, the vet gets out of prison and the three of them re-unite in the vet’s now dead parents’ house. A fast read, semi-recommended.

Breakfast same-same and this time we decide to do an early morning walk out to the Motueka spit (not as famous as Golden Bay’s Farewell Spit, which goes for many a mile). Probably a mile and half to get there, and half a mile past as THB thinks it is a lot further, then back to where DB said it was and it was right there. Very pleasant, probably in the high 50s and no humidity.

Then we backtrack 45 minutes to Nelson to swap the Apex rental car, it has been continually making odd grinding noises in 2nd and 3rd gears. The new car is a Nissan Sunny automatic (THB’s left hand keeps reaching for the gear shift) with 66,000 kms on it, no spring chicken.

After a brief walking tour of downtown Nelson, THB guides us (well, actually the GPS guides as, as always) to the Boat Shit, er Shed, Café, cantilevered out over the water. With a gorgeous view of the bay, in a pleasant breeze, the Boat Shed serves up our best dining-out meal in NZ: pear, gorgonzola, walnuts with assorted greens salad, grilled scallops with chilli, mussels in a light broth seasoned with mild garlic and leeks, Eton’s mess for dessert (a pavlova), and we share a tall bottle of Fair Maiden Pale Ale. Total $65. About as good as it gets…without the bad car, no great meal. Travel karma!

Later in the afternine, we take in the combo Wearable Art and Car Museum. Great pricing: two adults for $35 or two adults and one child for $32. THB claims that the person at the chicken disk can’t see our child (well, since they are both about 13,000 kilometers away, she has to use her imagination), and she lets us in for the lower price.

Turns out that there is an annual wearable art event and the best of the past contests is creatively displayed (though very dim lighting, a THB no-no). Then we watch a video of a prior show, in the dark, on a small screen. THB has just finished a great meal with beer and is finding it harder and harder to concentrate.

And, a big surprise awaits THB in his e-mail inbox: After sending a complaint about the snarly Mercure Picton to the owner, Accor Hotels, a reply has just come with a long explanation of why all the problems occurred AND a refund of $80 off our bill of $150. Connecting the dots quickly, THB things we just got a free lunch at the Boat Shed Café!

Our last dinner in a home exchange setting: the last of the smoked fish pates, a wild pork and apple pie (small pies a big thing here in NZ, and they come in many flavors), cheese and walnut wheat bread, tomatoes, carrots, and Neudorf Pinot Noir. Probably $45 or so…

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