By any other name

Charlene vagabonding 2 Comments

You know, I’m really not a flower person. I like flowers well enough where they naturally occur, but I would be a bit horrified to be presented a bouquet of the things, artfully arranged for the blushing beauty queen mincing down an aisle in slinky bindings and hobbles, an ensemble popularly known as “dress and shoes.” And roses, don’t even get me started on those senselessly overpriced, high maintenance, fast dying tokens of “love.” Wait, you say, I’m not really sure how you feel about flowers. It appears karma wasn’t either. New Zealand’s brand of cosmic justice is humorous though. New Zealand presented me with a flower – nay, a rose – I could learn to be fond of. This one below? It’s called a …

Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth

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A triplet, from the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth, experiencing the works of its namesake, the extraordinary artist Len Lye. I started doing these batch-of-three things for fun on Instagram, then wondered why I wasn’t doing them on the blog, since I like my blog better than any of my social accounts. Not that you’d know it, from how often I update this thing….

Pukekura Park

Charlene vagabonding 10 Comments

This movie is the beginning of something I’ve been feeling a need to do, wanted to do for years. Made in the lush sanctuary that is Pukekura Park in New Plymouth, it is about watching the change of light on leaves, being absorbed by the forest and those tall, rushing trees, and the magnificence of a single unfurling frond. Pukekura Park, being an oasis for many feathered species, is where I really listened to birdsong, its inhabitants raucous in their haven. Resplendent in stillness, the sanctity of green space.

Karekare Beach

Charlene vagabonding 12 Comments

Auckland, October 2017 …is where Oscar winning The Piano was filmed. When Sherry and Jeff brought me there in 2012, it was a gusty grey day. It is how I remember Karekare beach. And it was grey again when I returned on this trip. Fog roiling on the peaks of the mountains that guard the continent from the treacheries of the ocean. A persistent drizzle falling, heavy skies and a wind that curled its way around my bones into my heart… while the locals were in shorts. Eighty seven shades of nightfall, at noon. And just in case you were after some color… It feels at this point, like I could shoot nothing but Karekare beach for another few years. Didn’t think an inner landscape …

Gannet colony, Muriwai Beach

Charlene vagabonding 8 Comments

Auckland, October 2017 The gannet colony at Muriwai Beach, an hour or so outside of Auckland, was an accidental discovery. Flemming and I had headed to Muriwai on a location scouting mission. It quickly turned into a bird watching one. There is a cliff walk on the south end of Muriwai, where we observed several groups of brightly clad tourists appearing and disappearing from the entire time we were on Muriwai. Never ones to dismiss paths of little resistance, we nosed our way there too. It promised a view of cliffs and sea. We never dismiss those either. Thoughts of views disappear around the bend in the path, approaching the crest though. The cacophony of birdcall, and the sight of dozens of them in the …

Scenes From a Week in Auckland

Charlene vagabonding 6 Comments

Auckland, October 2017 Auckland city probably deserved more time than I gave it, but between volcanic beaches, fifty-something volcanoes in the metropolitan area, and arresting scenery spitting distance from the city center, it was hard to want to be downtown. Having just spent four solid months in crowded, uber urban Singapore, all I want at this point, is space. And if it came with volcanoes, black sand beaches and spectacular vistas around every hair pin bend in the road (and there are many), heck, why bother fighting crowds in the city? Well, for one thing, being so far from the equator, there is the light. That amber, slanted light I sometimes can’t believe comes from the same sun. In equatorial cities, it’s thick with moisture and …

Black sands

Charlene vagabonding 14 Comments

Auckland, October 2017 Five years ago I transited in Auckland with my friends Sherry and Jeff for a couple of days, on our collective way to the USA. They brought me to the volcanic beaches of Karekare, Piha and Te Henga. At some point in those 2 days I decided I really, really wanted to live in New Zealand. Since that wasn’t likely to happen at the time, I then settled for “I really really want to come back for a long time.” I left quite reluctantly, and later waxed all kinds of lyrical about that one day we visited those black beaches. And here Flemming and I are after all this time, with almost 2 months of road tripping ahead of us. Magnetically, the …