Waiheke Island

In May of 2008 I was on my way to New Zealand.  Alone, with no plans or place to stay, I began wondering what I was doing.  The cute girl sitting next to me eased my anxiety about having no plans for New Zealand, but gave me a new reason to feel anxious.  Since my smoothness with the ladies is unparalleled, I turned to her, smiled, and then worked on a Sudoku puzzle in the airline magazine.  Nothing drives women more crazy than a man doing a Sudoku puzzle.
During the flight we began talking, probably because she saw me complete the Sudoku puzzle in record time.  Jessie was from New Zealand, so I took the opportunity to ask where I should stay and places I could visit.  After talking for a few hours, she invited me to stay with her and her family.
After a couple of days amongst the buildings, traffic, and noise of Auckland, I decided to go to Waiheke Island and stay with Jessie and her family.  Even though it was just a 35 minute boat ride from Auckland, it felt like I had entered a new world.  The island was very small.  It seemed like there were only a few people living on the island because it was so quiet.
At Jessie’s house, I met her dad and her brother.  Her dad had long grey hair tied in a pony tail, scruff on his face, and a very relaxed demeanor.  He told me his attitude towards life was “life’s a vacation.” The best description I can give of him is that he is a hippie.  His life goal was to go to Europe and pick grapes.  He told me this more than 100 times!
In keeping with the picking theme, the next day, her dad invited me to go with him and pick macadamia nuts.  I had to see what all the hype was surrounding the picking industry, so I agreed to go.
Picking macadamia nuts was a first for me, and it was probably the last.  We spread tarps below the trees and then hit the branches of the tree with rakes.  We collected all the nuts that had fallen on the ground and use the tarps to put all of the nuts in the back of a truck.  The entire day, Jessie’s dad had a huge smile on his face.  I was amazed that someone could get so excited over picking macadamia nuts.  Jessie’s dad taught me to find joy in everything you do, even if it is as small as picking some nuts.
See Travel Tips under the category section for today’s travel tip!

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