Friday, March 26, 2010

the adventures of El Cheapo

There is something that happens after spending a good amount of time in NZ, particularly the South Island. Its no surprise that bungy was invented here, or that tons of people are jumping out of planes or doing whatever the next extreme nature fad is. Nietzsche said (yes I’m quoting Neitzsche---- actually more like paraphrasing) that one doesn’t need to go seeking the world, that all one need to do is do to stay put long enough and the world will come to you: unraveling, opening and reveling at ones feet. New Zealand is a perfect example of this. If you stay long enough, the earth comes right up to your chin, moving like a bellydancer, dancing and undulating all over the place. All you need to do is smile and watch, maybe clap your hands, but you WANT to answer the ecstasy….so you jump out of a plane, you canon down the side of rocks, you ascend glaciers, you walk for days, staying in huts-in effect, You Revel Back. You want to smash your face in the darkest of soils and burrow, seed yourself and come bursting back through the surface, extending toward the sun.
Yep, its pretty much like that. At least for me it is. I spent over a month existing in this pagan drama on the South Island before flying to the North Island, which is where I am now-specifically Raglan: a tiny surf town where the kids run with free license and everyone knows everyone. I’m about to check into Solscape (, an eco-retreat where I’ll be living in a tipi for the next 3 days. We’ll see if I can remember any of my surf skills.
I arrived in Auckland yesterday. Touched down around 4 and after procuring my rental vehicle, was thrown into the insult known as “traffic”. Something that bears mentioning now is that I rented the same car I had on the south island, a Nissan Pulsar—known as the “el cheapo”. Totally adequate car and the cheapest one they offer. However, here on the North Island, they advertise this fact on the side of the car—meaning I’m driving around with the words “El Cheapo” on both sides of my car---Sexy right? You have no idea. Its written in black and put inside a hot pink bubble so its basically impossible not to notice. Its so sexy I can’t wait to park it and get my pedestrian action on, fast.
I could write forever about the rentals here. In fact, I should’ve been keeping a photo journal of all the ones I’ve seen. One company that rents vans is called “Wicked” and they specialize in graffiti plastered pop culture advertising. Thus far on their vans I have seen 1)Turntables and Tags 2) Blondie 3) a caricature of George Bush with the words Buck Fush underneath 3) and Tupac Shakur---that’s right RIP Tupac driving around in the pastoral lengths of the South Island. Wow, right? They also have really beautiful ones that are covered in larger than life tulips of every color imaginable.
Anyway, here I am in my silver El Cheapo sitting in traffic waiting to get into Auckland with ideas of maybe checking out a club, or whatever city inspired something hits me. I should’ve known better. The traffic itself should have been enough of a warning. Or the radio host I’m listening to who after playing the Beastie Boys oh so memorable track “Girls” (for which they have since deeply apologized) says that License to Ill is easily their best album, and that after that and I quote “one became Christian,one became Jewish and one got cancer” and nothing they produced was any good should’ve tipped me off that I need to get off at the nearest exit and flee. I think I lasted a whopping 30 minutes in the city before I high tailed it south. I wasn’t prepared for what an affront the concrete was or for how seriously not ready I was to be in it. I drove 40 minutes and landed in a motel in a town called Papakura. I wake and keep driving till I reach Raglan. Now I’m here, and its time for me get off the computer and head to the beach. The desire to answer the ecstasy freshly renewed.

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