Everyone was quite cheery on this happy holiday. While others were busy prepping their dishes I occupied myself with further research on my travels. As a break in the midst of my planning, my dorm mate offered me a ride to the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, usually the only reason people come to stop by in Punakaiki. In this English woman’s car, she brought along a Dutch girl she had been traveling worth for a short while, a retired hippy postal worker from Portland, and myself (a fairly odd bunch). The walk itself to the rocks only takes a brisk 30 minute walk but we wanted to let the scenery really soak in. The Pancake Rocks do in fact really look like a stack of pancakes. The phenomenon has not been solved by science; theories exist but they can’t quite pinpoint this alternation to the appearance of the rocks and the reason for it occurring in this spot along the coast and nowhere else. Apparently nature still has its share of mysteries. During high tide, bursts of water vapor erupting from blow holes should occur but today we had no such luck. I was entertained by the simplicity of the waves crashing into the rocks and the water dripping down and gravitating back to its source. All the shapes, cuts, grooves that have been formed over thousands and thousands of years from the pure act of water continuously striking and running itself over the rocks is fascinating to me; all the formations have an odd artistic quality to them. The Pancake Rocks still befuddle me: how can all these limestone rocks, some rising up into narrowing towers while others sit as thick slabs of rock all have that uniquely cut line revolving around its surface. Back at the lodge, Christmas dinner was ready to be served. I was pleasantly surprised by the spread and the innovation of all the guests. The table was lined with salad, potato salad, pasta salad, beet couscous, lamb, sausage, burgers, spiced rice and beans, and cheese and crackers. I ate very well today with a good two helpings worth. Of course there was dessert! Pavlova cake with freshly picked steroid enhanced blackberries, mini fruit pies, and homemade pumpkin pie. The English woman offered me her last two beers to drink (I must sound like such a bum). We sat around talking about all things Kiwi with a New Zealander about how great here has it here living amongst such variety of wildlife and geography and discussing food like marmamite (disgusting) and jaffycakes (delicious). As far as worthwhile topics, we got around to what brought everyone here. They came here for a short native holiday, a month away from wintry Europe, round the world travel, or working holidays. The day was mostly quite sedate, mostly sitting around each other’s company in this rainforest paradise. I walked through the rainforest and along the beach some more with a few backpackers before winding down the day. Before getting some sleep I stood outside in a clearing within the forest to observe the night sky. The beauty of being so isolated with no legitimate town in sight is the fact that no lights can mask the array of stars spread overhead.
Middle Earth Day 14: Merry Christmas!