Special People and Places

Date: 22/02/2007 | Author: gabby

I felt very sad leaving the South Island. It's an amazing, beautiful part of the world with jaw dropping sights as well as a feeling of remoteness that makes you feel like you're at the end of the world.
However, we were looking forward to going back to the North island. We'd loved it when we first arrived in NZ so we were sure that wasn't going to change. One of our favourite places in the whole of New Zealand was the the flying fox on the Whanganui River Road so we booked a couple of nights there as our first stop back on the North Island. It was as lovely as we remembered. The remoteness of the place ensures you relax and do nothing. We spent our time there reading, listening to old vinyl records and helping the kids with their scrapbooks and school work. Waking up to the sound of birds was magical and the starry night sky encouraged a blissful night's sleep. It's all music for the soul. We were very sad to leave there. We hear the largely unsealed Whanganui River Road is going to be tarmaced for it's entire 100km or so length which will definitely change the character of the area.
Another reason to head back to the Whanganui River Road was to go to the Pipiriki Coffee Bar and reacquaint ourselves with Bobby Grey, the lovely 70 year old Maori man we met on our last visit there over a month before. He had created a lasting impression on all of us. The girls know him as Koro (Maori for Grandfather) and over the previous month had often spoken of him.
As we walked in to the coffee shop I warned the girls that he might not remember us, but I need not have worried because he did and despite the fact that he was busy he still made some special time for all of us.
I don't know what it was about him that made him so special. Sometimes in life, you have fleeting meetings with people but they leave permanent footprints in your heart. Koro is one of these people. Perhaps it was his wisdom, he certainly shared a lot of his wise thoughts with us, maybe it was because he found the time to talk and listen to all of us, I'm really not sure. I was incredibly sad to leave him and hope that if I ever return to this beautiful country I will still find him making capuccinos at the Pipiriki Coffee Bar......

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