Nathan's Laserium: There and Back Again - NZ Tenth Anniversary Edition

Ten years ago, which happens to be exactly one quarter of my life ago, Corinne and I gave up the keys to the Woodsy Crypt and went to New Zealand by way of Malaysia and Singapore. The original plan had been to go to Nepal first and work our way wherever, but when we went to purchase tickets to Kathmandu we were told the airport was closed due to rioting caused by (if I recall now) the assassination of Nepali nationals in Iraq. The travel agent (remember those?) was very sorry but she said it would be a while before air travel was expected to resume.

"Should we just go to New Zealand, then?" I asked Corinne.

"Two tickets to New Zealand, please!" she said. In fact the travel agent refused to sell us the tickets since she seemed to think there was no way such carefree spontaneity could actually be real, and she urged us to go home and think about our itinerary. Sleep on it, she probably said.

So we went to the next travel agency down the road and booked two tickets to New Zealand.

Quick shout out to Malaysian Airlines who are having a nightmare time lately. We booked our tickets with them. They were very lovely to us and encouraged us to take an extended layover in Malaysia so we did. Why not? Three weeks seemed about right.

And it was. We had many adventures including learning to scuba dive on this perfect little tropical island. Hopped over to Singapore for some Boom Boom Room and such.

Then we flew to New Zealand, home of hobbits and dwelling of dwarves. Wait, Corinne was much more interested in Elves. What's a good E word for that? Environment of Elves. We traipsed all over both the North and the South Islands in our little rented camper van we named Wedge whom Corinne immortalized here. We had so many adventures you wouldn't even believe it. Did you ever read a National Geographic article on NZ? We did all that. All of it. Yes even the Fjordlands. Well, we didn't visit a sheep farm. Wait, yes we did, the one they built the Hobbiton set on. Yup, we did it all.

Anyways I want to commemorate the trip on this anniversary. I only stayed a little while, until December. My years-long layoff at the coalmine ended, and Michelle was waiting for me to come home. Corinne stayed on for 7 more years. Met some Elves, just like she said she would. If there's one thing I learned about Corinne, both from living at the Woodsy Crypt and from the trip, is if she says she's going to do something, it's gonna happen. Even if there's no precedent in the laws of nature, she somehow finds a way. So this post is a toast to her, and to us, and to that trip ten years ago which I still think about all the time. Cheers!

We got motifically matching tattoos in Wellington- not the identical art but the same concept as interpreted by two different artists. Corinne wrote me a poem on this day exactly ten years ago (I shit you not) in my travel journal about mine which I share with you now:


... And Nath with his Ringwraith

and I in my cap

had just settled in Wedge

for a summer eve nap

when out on the lake

there came such a clatter

that we opened the curtains

to see what was the matter

A fell beast had flown

down from Pelennor Fields

and was dashing down riders

Gondorians, it was revealed

Nathan became a right

Homie Bear

and I with my fangs

followed him there

The beast- how it howled!

the fury- how fierce

but Nath would hear none

and spoke to it first

"Now listen you fell beast

you dasher of men

you'd better leave off

before i count to ten"

The beast would heed nothing

and continued his rage

So Nath allowed bear-strength

to guide him as sage

The two how they tussled!

The battle- how wild

but in the end Homie

won out by a mile

The beast no more plagues

the Gondorian men

for he's trapped on Nath's leg

as though put there by pen.


- Nathan Waddell