No bluffing….this is the end!
Invercargill is crawling with journalists. They jump out of the bushes and catch you when your guard is down. Then I discovered there is a school of journalism in the local Polytechnic, SIT (Southland Institute of Technology), and all the students are out there hungry for a good story.
Before I set off to complete the final 30km to my destination, I had an appointment at the studios of Cue TV (www.cuetv.co.nz) where I was interviewed by Margot Sutherland, and then followed by a cameraman for some action shots on the road to Bluff. Didn’t know whether to wave at the camera or simply look as if I was suffering with the strenuous effort…… chose the latter ‘cos I didn’t want people to think I was actually enjoying myself!
So I eventually get to Bluff (the Land’s End of NZ) expecting to quietly take a few photos and then disappear to Stewart Island. But no……my gracious hosts in Invercargill, Marie, Bryan and Cecily, had made the journey down to be my welcoming party, and to join the little celebration of my completion of the journey.
No sooner had the ritual photos been taken, but another journalist jumped from behind a bush clasping his voice recorder. He was a radio presenter from MoreFM, he rattled off a number of questions for which (of course) I had well rehearsed answers, then he amiably questioned the distance I had covered. Unlike the sign on my bike, the signpost said that Cape Reinga was only 1400km away, not the nearly 3000km I had covered. I politely pointed out that 1400km is as the crow flies, and that NZ roads were never designed for avian migration…….and anyway, why would anyone want to take the shortest route? For me, there were too many fascinating diversions.
If you look carefully, you might see that London is over 18000km away……but again, that’s for the crows. But they generally don’t stop off in Singapore to re-fuel.
I am now on Stewart Island, a one hour high speed catamaran journey from the mainland, ready to spend 36 hours chilling out and eating a bit more of the above.
But let me finish with a few more examples of Kiwi generosity: a couple overtook me on the road to Bluff, pulled over and donated $10; a gentleman gave me another $10 as I was having photos taken beneath the signposts; on Stewart Island, as I was trying to negotiate a discount on my pitch for 2 nights, David (who was accompanying a group of deer hunters) stepped forward and paid my $40 bill as a donation. Only in New Zealand………..
When I get to Australia, I’ll tell all the Aussies just how generous the Kiwis have been……..and they’ll all be so hopping mad that their hands will inexplicably go deeper into their pockets and purses :0) Wouldn’t that be great for the Children in Syria Appeal?