I know the whiff of opportunity when it shows up in my in-box. And when I got a message from pommepal, aka Pauline, asking what’s the one must do thing I’d recommend in Napier that whiff had me asking questions.
You see, I’ve followed Gypsy Life and Jack’s Jottings for a while now. It was pommepal who told me about Airbnb, and who invited me to join the five day black and white photography challenge. As for Jack, his blog is a celebration of life that always affirms and inspires.
It turned out that they were taking a cruise around New Zealand and coming to my home town! My questions culminated in: “How would you like a chauffeur named John and a map reader called Jill?” (Not that either John or I need a map, we know Hawkes Bay better than most.)
Will I recognise them, I wondered as we drove to our meeting place, yesterday. I needn’t have worried: they popped from the crowd the way old friends do. And, like old friends, we picked up from where we’d left off when they took a break from blogging to begin their cruise.
It was a classic Hawkes Bay autumn day. There was no wind, the ocean was smooth, the sky clear, and the sun warm enough for me to hope this could be the year winter doesn’t make an appearance. There really was only one thing to do, apart from talking and laughing: show off Hawkes Bay.
The best place for views is at the top of Te Mata Peak. It’s about thirty minutes drive from Napier; the last ten minutes or so up a narrow and winding road, the sort where you really must have your wits about you. There’s no room for error, the drop on one side is precipitous. Nervous travellers might have been anxious on that road. But we were all much too busy swapping stories to have time for worry.
Bloggers at work:
Bloggers at play:
After Te Mata Peak, there was just enough time for a drive through the Tuki Tuki Valley to Te Awanga Beach. There’s a café there that’s perfect on a day like this but it was closed. Never mind, we took in the sea air. From the beach I confidently pointed out Jack and Pauline’s cruise ship. I don’t know, said Pauline, our ship is black. Hmmm, it looks like a cruise ship to me.
Well, don’t you think that the white shape on the far horizon looks like a boat?
Regular readers of this blog will know by now that when I speak with such authority, more than likely, a fall is just around the corner. Sure enough, when we visited the Bluff Hill lookout to check out the ship I discovered that, although it’s only a couple of weeks since my last eye test, my sight is, well, unreliable. We’d been looking at a large white shed. From a distance it could be mistaken for a boat. It could, really, it could.
All too soon, it was time to say good-bye. For security reasons passengers must catch a shuttle bus to their boat. They run regularly along Napier’s Marine Parade whenever a cruise ship is in port. We were talking so much Jack and Pauline missed the first shuttle that came along and only just made it on to the next.
John and I waved them off from the look-out above the port. They sent us a text to tell us they were welcomed back aboard by a dixie band – so very apt for Napier, Art Deco capital of the world.
We hoped they had a smooth sailing, I’m pretty sure they got it!
This was a blogging first for me. You hear stories about how people on social media shape the information they reveal, that meeting virtual friends is full of danger because of it.
Over on King of States Michelle reminds us the Internet is made of people.
And Mr Ross Murray at Drinking Tips for Teens has something to say about friends on the web, too.
Jack and Pauline not only looked like the them I knew from their blogs, their actual selves were just as I’d expected. The best thing was that in real time we could hear and see each other laughing and enjoying life. What a pleasure and honour it was to show them around my place.
Who knows maybe we’ll get the chance to meet again.
If you’ve met up with other bloggers, how did it go?