One of the things that I have developed a liking for since living in NZ and am damn sure I wouldn't have if I still lived in Singapore, is the 'road trip'. I mean come on. Singapore fits into Lake Taupo. One hour drive from end to end...okay maybe more in rush hour traffic. But still, not much road-tripping to be done there! But in NZ, there's the holiday road trip, the weekend road trip, the long weekend road trip and then there's just the road trip because it's time for one and I'm making an excuse for one.
I love everything about a road trip - the ever changing scenery (let me tell you, there's a difference from one paddock of sheep/cows to another, ok!), the smaller quaint towns with main streets that look like time stood still for them, the antique shops, the junk shops that say 'antique', the petrol station pies (it's not a road trip unless you eat one in the car), the food stops where you discover there's great coffee outside of Wellington!
Found this roastery in sleepy Raetihi - superb coffee and chocolate!
A cafe in quaint Cambridge makes iced coffee with coffee icecream that had bits of ground coffee in it instead of the usual vanilla icecream.
I particularly like those 'look what we stumbled upon' moments - like when we decided to take the back roads driving back from Auckland after Christmas, and saw strawberries sold direct from the grower, bought an ice-cream tub full of strawberries for $7 (I know!!) and then noticing as we drove out that the road the orchard was on was called Marshmallow Road. My inner 7 year old self was tickled pink by the fact that we just bought strawberries on a road called Marshmallow Road. And those strawberries were the BEST I've ever eaten. Like seriously.
Or when the owner of a B&B we were staying at in Martinborough gave us tips on where they bought their amazingly fresh and rich tasting free range eggs from. We drove for quite time and finally found the 'farm house with a red letterbox'. Do you know how many farm houses have red letterboxes??! There was no one home, but the eggs were on a table in the garage with an old rusty biscuit tin for whatever you felt like paying. Those were some damn good tasting free range eggs!
And somewhere between Martinborough and Masterton (which is where we almost got to looking for those eggs!) we found Parkvale Mushrooms somewhere along the way and bought an obscene amount of 'B' grade mushrooms for a song. Which made me think...do we get 'C' grade mushrooms at the supermarket or what??!
Road trips also mean staying in motels, motor lodges and B&Bs. I have this thing about staying in a motel or motor lodge units - I love it! I love the kitchenettes and coffee/tea making facilities - one of the first things I do is open up every cupboard to see what remnants of the past there is in those cupboards. I can't tell you how many times I've been tempted to swipe 70s utensils & crockery from one of those units! And no, there's nothing particularly special about why I like the coffee/tea making stuff. Afterall, it's often just a jug and packets of dubious instant coffee, stale tea and super sugared up instant hot 'chocolate'. But still. I find it quaint and somewhat reassuring, and I like that.
It's on our last road trip over the Christmas holiday coming back from Auckland, that I found these cool little sachets of sugar in our Taupo motel room!! (Yes, yes, the moment we entered our motel room, I proceeded to check out the coffee/tea making stuff in the motel room).
Aren't they cool? Whoever had the idea to print these images on the sachets is genius (in my opinion anyway). My favourites are the combi van and the one with the jandals (aka flip-flops, japanese slippers, jap-flaps, thongs...). Which ones do you like?
To me, the scenes printed on the packets remind me of everything a Kiwi summer holiday is and, the Kiwi dream. In fact, the images got me thinking a bit about the Kiwi dream. My Kiwi dream doesn't entail owning a house (I don't think I'd ever feel any less of a person or achievement if I never bought a house), buying investment property, tickets to the Sevens or Fly My Pretties, nor does it include the almost obligatory Fiji holiday (we went to Samoa instead).
My Kiwi dream is this...
Photograph courtesy of Tina Hillier, from the My Cool Campervan book.
You can stop laughing now. Serious! I would LOVE to go on road trip holidays up and down the country in one of these VW Westfalia campers. I'd be a very happy girl!!
And then one day, when I think I've grown up sufficiently (which some will tell you may never happen) or caved in to the whole home-ownership thing that is so prevalent in NZ, my Kiwi dream will include a lifestyle block not too far from the city, maybe an hour at most (because I'm unashamedly a city girl), where I can have small vegetable patch, a handful of fruit trees, chooks for my own eggs and enough land to have as many rescue animals as I want to. Okay...maybe not as many as I want to. But a few - I'll stop at a respectable number just before I become that crazy animal lady.
So do you like road trips? Which your favourite image on the sugar sachets? Aaaand...what is your Kiwi dream? :-)