Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 2 (Sunday 3rd May 2009) – Countryside and beach

After a hearty breakfast, we – Ma Hen, AD, D, Aunt and I - traveled about 18 km out of the city to the village of Clevedon in the countryside. It was only 6.00 am but the sun was already up. And surprisingly so were the villagers. There were cars already parked along the country road.

Similar to Pasar Tani in Malaysia, the New Zealanders have farmers’ market. And this was our destination on that early morning, Clevedon Farmer’s Market. However, unlike Malaysian messy and otherwise boring Pasar Tani, the Clevedon Farmer’s Market was clean and had this festivity atmosphere.

There were people selling home made jams, mustard, muesli (mixture of cereals and dried fruits), cakes, buns, honey, freshly pluck fruits and vegetables – just to name a few. There were picnic tables, and blocks of hays under shady trees. People sat and enjoyed each other companies. Little kids ran around and played on the grass. There were even pony rides. If you ran out of cash but still want your kids to have fun, no problem, booths here accept credit cards!

We didn’t stay long, but long enough to stuff ourselves with freshly baked bread. AD needed new pair of shoes (the old ones conveniently gave up on Day 1). Aunt took us to a place called Botany. Contrary to its name, it was not a flora-fauna-kind of place. It was some sort of shopping centre. Having used to KL’s high-rise shopping malls, it took some time for me to realized that New Zealand malls, though not imposing-tall, was equally big, sprawling to form some sort of little town square. We went to Number1shoes and a few other shops there. I wanted to buy new boots for work, unfortunately none met my specific criteria.

Then we drove up north, making a stop at a shop selling the iconic sheepskin rug. Aunt suggested that we check out the price and compare with other places that we might pass during our coming road trip. Then we continued further up, to reach Mission Bay. Shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars lined the main road. It was a bustling business centre. Across the main road was a park over looking the sea. They were people basking in the sun and playing in the public ground.

To get a better vista, Aunt drove us up to a nearby hill, Micheal Joseph Memorial Park. There were people lounging on the freshly mowed grass. Initially Aunt just gave us five minutes to enjoy the view. When we passed the time limit, D came looking for us, only to join us doing geeky tourist stuff – taking loads of photos – and further prolonged Aunt waiting time! Realizing that we already spent about 20 minutes, we headed to the car.

We had barbecue dinner in another Singaporean's house.

Distance traveled: approx. 79km

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