Buying a campervan had been one of our top priorities and our most daunting task. After a week and a half on Waiheke Island our connections had connections and we found someone who was selling their van- an old 1989 Mitsubishi L300. We researched and composed a list of questions to grill the seller.
“Is it manual?”
“What company did you buy insurance from?”
“I meant to, but I never did.”
“What did you do about parking tickets?”
“I never got any, but I wouldn’t have paid them.”
That was a warning flag since outstanding tickets would be our responsibility after purchasing the car.
“Hmmm, what’s the VIN number again?”
“What’s a VIN number?”
At least the car had an appealingly foreign look. Unlike most cars in the US, the front seat felt like it was hovering over the road instead of hidden behind the engine. The original interior was long gone and remodeled for traveling. The bench/table in the center could be dismantled and transformed into a queen size bed while the rear hatchback opened up to a kitchenette.
A few days later Barret went into Auckland to see the car. I got a phone call that night from him- he bought the car but had missed the last ferry. So while he slept in the harbor parking lot I dreamt about traveling New Zealand in the first car I had ever bought.
The only problem was that I didn’t know how to drive it.
“You are bloody determined to get around on two wheels when you just bought four.”
It was our day off and our boss couldn’t understand our attachment to bicycling in the rain.
“Good exercise,” – our code word for ‘saving gas.’ After visiting Whakanewha Regional Park we passed Rangihoua Estate for the second time.
“Barret have you ever been to an olive oil estate?”
“Me neither. It’s still open…”
Although my stale rice cracker wasn’t an ideal dip, I actually tasted the hints of banana, asparagus, and tomato. It was a novel way for me to experience olive oil: as an ends in itself instead of a means for cooking. While Barret snuck extra samples I talked to the shopkeeper.
“This olive oil is featured in the Flos Olei, which is the guidebook for the world’s best olive oils.”
“Really?” I replied, “there’s a guidebook?”
“Well yes. It has also won gold in the NZ Gourmet Oil Competition.”
“Mrpmh mrmph.” Barret had finished polishing off the olive oil pesto jar and was ready to leave. “Which one won an award?”
He had finally turned his attention back to the olive oil. “I want the winner!”