There’s a concept known to travellers that I’ll call ‘a holiday within a holiday’. In effect it’s based on the premise that after travelling for a while, being on the move and being a traveller becomes normal day to day life. It actually comes close to being your job. You commute to and from work, in this case place to place. You complete your daily tasks – sightseeing and experiencing the culture, and you write reports – blog or email. Even meeting new people is akin to building rapport with clients. The only differences between long term travelling and work, well major ones at least, are that its way more fun than most regular jobs, and you don’t get paid for it. Unless you’re a travel writer. Offers anyone?
Therefore, you still need a break, or a holiday, from your ‘job’. So based on this ‘holiday within a holiday’ I decided to go to the southern Atlantic coast of France near Bordeaux, with my relatives from Holland. A bit of sun, sand, surf, recreation, and not too much sightseeing. This was to be my holiday.
Before we left I had a couple of weeks to kill in Holland but I had plenty of blogging, skyping, and emailing to do. I also went and saw some friends in Utrecht, Jesse and Doortje. Utrecht is a little like a lot of Dutch cities; lots of brick buildings and an old town crisscrossed with canals. Except Utrecht has loading docks at water level in the canals instead of just sheer sides. So you can dock your boat and visit one of the many restaurants built into old storage cellars. Great atmosphere.
Whenever people ask me about NZ I promise I never swing the conversation in this direction but they always end up asking about possums. In the case Jesse and Doortje were asking about kiwis and sanctuaries and I told them about islands in NZ that are bird sanctuaries.
And then I said the magic word again. “The islands are pest free.”
Blank stares and a pause “what you mean like…ummm…”
Ok ok I’ve been through all this before. “They’re pest free, as in (phonetically) pahst (that sounds more English) free. Like rats, possums, cats etc…”
“Oh! We were thinking something like they don’t have any toilets on there or something.”
So the moral of the story? Never say pest in a New Zealand accent, it just creates way too much confusion.
Remember my post about Germany, the one about bad things happening in threes? Well they do have to happen to the same person, in this case me. Upon arrival back in the Netherlands I was confronted with a ticket sent all the way from a speed camera in Germany. Yes the same spot I had to replace my battery and lost my side vent cover. Fan-flippin-tastic. And I guess I have to pay it otherwise I’ll never be allowed back on those sweet autobahns again.