Its hard to not like Nelson. There is a kind of homely feeling to the place. Best of all…it is nice and warm (by New Zealand standard that is)! By the time we got to Nelson from Picton , it was way past noon. Everyone was hungry so a quick stop at the shopping mall is called for. Little one wanted the sweetest, most colorful piece of bread on the shelf. My tummy was growling and I decided that (based on Maslow hierarchy of needs), basic needs are to be fulfilled first. A pack of brownies for the chap and some good slices of ham and sandwiches for the parents. The start of a beautiful day!
Both myself and Meun met Penny O. at our old workplace in Langkawi. This was probably about 12 years ago and we have not seen or heard from each other since. That evening, we spent many hours talking about our experience in Langkawi. It was an outdoor education center and we spent most of our work time outside. Very little office time and plenty of sunshine and friends. Back then, Penny was one of the few expats who helped start and shape the company. It was one of the best working experiences ever and the prospect of meeting up with her after so many years is a mixed feeling of mystery and excitement.
When I told my friends I was heading to Nelson for the weekend, the responses have been resounding approvals. Nelson has been described to me as warm, beautiful, scenic and friendly. Coming to Nelson and meeting Penny sums up all the good things people have to say about this place. We stayed at Penny’s house which in itself is amazingly beautiful. She and her partner hand build (how crazily amazing is that!) their house over the past few years. At first, I thought they designed it and someone built it but as they both walked us through the pictures…I realise how crazy these two beautiful people are! The house is their own sweat, blood and tears! Each part of the house has its own story, right up to the green slab of tiles at the main door. Its obvious they have poured so much love and passion into the house. I was amazed then and still am today. Its hard to imagine someone building entire house on their own.
Day two at Nelson, Penny dished up the biggest most awesomest pancake I have even seen. She says its a ‘German pancake’. Her concoction of flour, salt (and God knows what else) puffs up in the over larger than the size of the glass bowl that held it. The pancake plus heaps of fruits, nuts and Kombucha tea was a good and welcomed healthy change to my typical breakfast of just bread and noodles.
First stop day two at Nelson would definitely have to be a taste of local life. Nothing beats the local weekend market. After breakfast Penny and Mark became of local guides and showed us around. It was good fun at the market. People were out looking for bargains, enjoying the morning sun , drink coffee, indulge in some pastry and meeting friends. There’s even a guy with some play cards making his stand on NZ’s social welfare system. The market has some of the best deals on kids toys and books which we happily took advantage of.
After the market, we hauled some goodies (mostly toys) to the car and continued roaming the streets of Nelson town. Our guides brought us to a Asian store at which I bought something secretly for our host to try later on. We then drove to the beach. One of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen in my entire life. The beach here makes the one in Port Dickson look like a monsoon drain. The beach is super clean. No rubbish in sight and definitely no baby diapers strewn around. It was simply breathtaking!
We had a really good time at the beach. We can tell Yang was getting tired and a bit burnt! So, we retreated to a shady place and dehydrated ourselves. I figured it was the right time and place to let our kind host try something from home. Frozen durian from the Asian store! Our hosts trying durians in NZ! Durian from Thailand does not ‘smell’ too much, so I thought this would be a fun idea. What surprised me even more was Mark enjoyed it! Penny still has her doubts I guess but Mark was definitely fine with it on his first try!
Yang Yang fell asleep on the sofa as soon as we got home . This is one of the rare occasions he takes an afternoon nap with us around. The trip to the beach was a big winner for everyone that day. Its not hard to understand why people have so much praises for sunny and warm Nelson. For me, having the chance to catch up with Penny and share old & new memories helps to fill gaps and answers questions from the past. At least I know now she is living a really happy life with Mark and she will most unlikely try durian again!